In verse 6, John introduced us to his other cousin (see intro), John the Baptist (JTB). A couple of weeks ago we read that JTB came to bear witness of the true Light, ie to prepare the way for Jesus. The Jews baptized proselytes to Judaism, but JTB was baptizing Jews. Jews and Gentiles alike were drawn to him to be baptized in the Jordan, confessing their sins. Jesus Himself, leading by example, was baptized by JTB. The first disciples that Jesus will call later in the chapter were disciples of JTB before they became disciples of Jesus.
Open our minds, Lord. Speak to our hearts. Increase our understanding, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
15 John [the Baptist] bare witness of him [Jesus], and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Verse 17 has a poetic ring to it. In fact, years ago I came up with a melody and made verse 17 into a praise song coupled with Psalm 85:10. John is using a literary technique often employed in the poetry books know as antithetical parallelism, or contrast. The law is true too, but it is not the whole truth. God needed to give us the law before He gave us the new covenant of grace; among other things, He needed to prove to us that we are not good enough to meet his high standard of righteousness. The Bible says the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ez 18:4, 20) That is only part of the truth, however. God sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. The new covenant of grace is the basis of a true relationship with God. Jesus came to set us free from the curse of the law. (Gal 3:10-13) That is the truth.
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias [Elijah]? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
The question about that prophet was a reference to a prophecy that Moses made concerning Jesus. (Deut 18:15) The Pharisees asked him if he was Elijah because Malachi prophesied that Elijah will come back again before the day of the LORD (Mal 4:5); also because JTB looked like they would expect Elijah to look. There are a lot of similarities between Elijah and JTB. Both of them lived out in the desert. Both of them had long hair. Both of them wore a leather girdle, or belt. Both of them were tough, rugged individuals. JTB probably looked more like someone from the cast of American Choppers than the way he has been portrayed in medieval paintings. Jesus used him as a proxy for Elijah. He did so because He knew the nation was not ready to receive Him. Elijah will come when the nation is ready to receive Christ as King.
…..And if ye will receive it, this [JTB] is Elias [Elijah], which was for to come.
At that time they were not ready to receive it, but someday soon, somewhere a Passover Seder is going to be crashed by a hairy prophet clothed in camel’s hair and a leather girdle, as Elijah takes the empty seat reserved for him and says please pass the charoset.
22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias [Isaiah].
24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
JTB was born into the tribe of Levi, the son of a priest. (Luke 1) Instead of following in his father’s footsteps, however, he became a prophet. He moved out into the wilderness where he could spend time developing his relationship with God. He lived on locusts and wild honey. (Matt 3:4) He may not seem like a very successful person from a worldly point of view, but from a kingdom perspective, JTB was as successful as a man can be. He was more successful than Richard Branson, John Roberts, or Steve Jobs. Jesus said For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Let’s take a minute to examine this statement. First of all, that means that JTB ranks equal with king Solomon or even Moses. There was no greater prophet than JTB. Second of all, Jesus just told us that we as Christians are greater than JTB. This has always been one of the hardest doctrines for me, as a student of Scripture, to comprehend. Yet being part of the church has privileges that are not afforded to the Old Testament saints. JTB was the last Old Testament, or old covenant prophet. (Luke 16:16) He was executed before we were given the new covenant of grace. Why do not we, as Christians, see ourselves for who we really are? Part of the problem is a matter of perspective. We do not see ourselves the way God sees us. God sees the potential in us and knows what we will ultimately become. Consider Troides aeacus, commonly known as the golden birdwing. The golden birdwing is the largest butterfly in India, with a wingspan of more than six inches. Here is what he looks like in the first stage of his life cycle:
However, once he goes through his metamorphoses, he looks like this:
As biped mammals, we are limited to trek on the surface of the earth, much like the Troides aeacus caterpillar. But one day, we will not only be able to fly as the golden birdwing butterfly does, we will be able to soar through the heavens as Jesus did when He ascended on high. (Acts 1:9) We will be able to walk through walls as Jesus did when He appeared to the disciples following his resurrection. (John 20:26) We will shine like the sun as Jesus did on the Mount of Transfiguration. (Matt 17:2) We need to see ourselves as God sees us (and act accordingly). We are members of Jesus’ royal household.
Neither is God done with planet earth. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan 2), the image representing the kingdoms of the world was struck in the feet by a Stone that was cut without hands. The Stone destroyed the image and became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. That Stone is Christ. JTB lived during the time of the legs of iron—the time of the Roman Empire. He spoke truth to power when he told Herod it was not lawful for him to have his brother’s wife. (Mark 6:18) He was beheaded for it. We live in a time when we are transitioning into the feet of iron mixed with clay—the New World Order. Just as JTB was bold, how much more so must we be, considering what is on the line—our freedom to spread the gospel. Millions of souls are at stake. There are multitudes in the valley of decision. JTB is a good example for us to follow. Maybe it is time to get out of the city. It is definitely time to tell the government that what they are doing is not lawful. And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. The interesting thing about this election cycle is the Democrats told us exactly what was going to happen. Speaker Pelosi and others said that on election night it would look like Trump won, but flip to Biden later. In an apparent Freudian slip, Joe Biden said the Democrats created “the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud in history.” He told voters “I don’t need you to get me elected.” Why would he say that? Because he knew the machine was in place for the fraud. He believed it would not matter how WE THE PEOPLE voted. Now that he is the presumptive president-elect, Biden continues to repeat his claim that a dark winter is coming. Operation Dark Winter will be the next phase of the plandemic. When Biden says a dark winter is coming, he is simply telling us what they intend to do—hit us with another fraudulent public health crisis that increases their budgets and expands their power. Just as they used the plandemic to justify their fraudulent mail-in-ballot scheme in another attempted coup, they will continue to use it as a catalyst to implement the great reset—a technocratic form of top-down world socialism where nobody will be allowed to participate without vaccine certificates. The vaccine certificates will be used to condition and prepare people for the mark of the beast. Despite what the enemy may have planned, however, there is an overarching agenda that the enemy has no control over. JTB understood the big picture. He understood that his actions would determine his position in eternity. He understood that Jesus was the King he needed to please, not Herod Antipas.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Finally, the outcome of the election is still not decided and God is in control. It is even starting to look like President Trump has a fighting chance to stop the election from being stolen. According to The Epoch Times, the actual electoral vote count at this point is 232 Trump / 227 Biden; the election outcome is unclear pending recounts and legal challenges in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona. According to CNN the count is 306 Biden / 232 Trump. Fox has it at 290 Biden / 232 Trump. However, the states still need to certify the votes. Then the Electoral College will meet on December 14. The electors are chosen in various different ways, by authority of the state legislators, which incidentally have Repubican majorities in the contested states. On January 6, a joint session of Congress will be held to count the votes cast by the electors and the winner will be declared. (Failing that, the House of Reprentitives elects the President en bloc and the Senate elects the Vice President, but that hasn’t happened since 1836.) That is how it works according to Article II and Amendment XII of the US Constitution. News networks do not decide who wins elections in the US. In 2016, Newsweek famously announced that Hillary Clinton won. In 1948, the Chicago Daily Tribune declared that Tom Dewey won. Of course, they were both wrong. Yet, even if Trump wins, they are going to keep moving forward with their plan for the great reset, which is just a euphemism for the New World Order and the mark of the beast. Their goal is to have their plan fully implemented by 2030. If Trump wins, he may be able to slow it down, but he cannot stop it. In closing, if Trump wins, there is no telling what the new world order may try to pull. If Trump pulls ahead and there is some sort of ‘terrorist attack’, you will know why. Whatever happens, remember that God is still in control. Despite whatever plans they may have for the next decade, God has his own plans and his own timeline.
Father, thank You again for this opportunity to learn to trust You more. Give us the wisdom and boldness of Daniel. Give us the courage of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Give us the strength of your Son, that we may witness a good confession wherever You may place us. Let your will be done, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Magog Update: It has been reported that Russia is set to build a naval logistics base in Sudan. Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe an end-times invasion of Israel led by Russia and joined by a host of Islamic nations, one of which is Cush. Cush is translated as Ethiopia in Ezekiel 38:5, but modern-day Sudan is also part of the region known as Cush. The chess pieces keep moving into place, as prophesied by Ezekiel.