Who Was John The Baptist?

Clay's picture

Malachi 4:5&6

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

John 1:21
"And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No."

Matthew 11:11&14
" Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist....

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come."

I don't know what to make of all this. The prophet Malachi said that Elijah, who never died, would be sent to prepare the way for the Lord. John, when questioned, said that he was not Elijah. Jesus, however, said that if you could accept it....that He was indeed Elijah.

Who was John The Baptist???? Does anyone have some insight on this?


John the Baptist

Jesus does say a couple of times that John Baptist was indeed the "Elijah, which was to come." But he also told his disciples that Elijah was STILL on his way. After the Transfiguration, he says,

"Verily, Elias is coming, and restoreth all things; but he also ALREADY came, and they did bad things to him..." By which his disciples infered that he spoke of John the Baptist. (That's the JStaller Paraphrased Version of Mark 9.12-13)

Jesus' approach to this prophecied Elijah is also Luke's approach, who says of John:

Luke 1.17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

See how Luke phrases it? SPIRIT a"nd POWER of Elias. Both Jesus and Luke portray John as part of a SYMBOLIC Elijah, one based off of the prophecy in Malachi about Elijah. But notice how that prophecy is also connected to Moses?

"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:" Malachi 4.4-5.

Look at how this passage is parallel to what Malachi already wrote earlier:

"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts." Malachi 3.1

This messenger is connected to BOTH Moses and Elijah--and note, too, that Jesus connects Elijah to the SAME symbolic messenger, right after appearing with Moses and Elijah on the mount:

Mark 9.12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.

Jesus speaks of Malachi's Elijah and the Son of Man in the very same breath--because this Son is the same "messenger" Malachi talked of. Malachi uses Moses and Elijah as symbols of God's messenger. Isaiah uses a suffering servant, wounded and bruised for various iniquities, and introduces him through the "voice of one crying in the wilderness." Daniel talks about a kingdom of saints appearing in the clouds of heaven, and calls that kingdom the Son of Man. All were talking about the day when Israel would revive, resurrected from his terrible destruction. And Jesus, showing to Peter, James, and John the "kingdom of God, come with power," shows Moses and Elijah atop a mountain, and talks about the Son of Man suffering and giving his life a ransom.

"Revelation 11.12-13 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven."

John the Baptist was, like Isaiah, the voice that heralded the arrival of this Son on the stage of God's drama--Elijah was a symbol of that Son, being one of the "messengers of the covenant." John was PART of the Son of Man, because that Son represents an entire kingdom of righteous saints, sealed in blood, and so yes, John was in a sense Elijah--in the spirit and power of what Elijah stood for.

Sorry so rambly. Been doing a lot of writing lately, and its spilling out here :)

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." John 5.39-40