The article below was written for one of my Facebook interfaith Groups. Each Christmas and Easter we take a walk through the Scriptures,discussing our differences, the differences in Holy writ.
I thought I would take another walk through John’s advent as the forerunner, this time to utilise the remaining Gospels, other than Luke which features in the Quran.
Luke has already set the scene in that he has told us that both Zechariah and Elizabeth are of the house of Levi, John is therefore a priest who becomes a Nazarite and a Prophet. The Forerunner, bringing news of a Messiah.
John the Baptist had charisma, offered a Baptism of repentence and Reconciliation with God. Water rites were common in Judaism, baptism was nothing really new. Though the term “baptism” is not used to describe the Jewish rituals, of tvilah (the purification rites in law and tradition), it was very similar to baptism, and the two have been linked. The tvilah is the act of immersion in natural sourced water, called a mikva. To twist ourselves, together with God as yarn prepared for its intended purpose, to bind. The Jordon was a mikva.
The Mishnah (Commentary on the Torah)specifies what makes the water clean or unclean, and expresses a preference for a larger, fresher body of water, “For in it persons may immerse themselves and immerse others”.
So Yochanan immersing people in the “Living waters” of the River Jordan was perfectly within Jewish law and practice at the time.https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/was-baptism-originally-jewish/
Matthew tells us
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham……..continued (https://bible.oremus.org/?ql=474602938)NRSV
Already the fruit of those who must be obeyed is tainted and false, no repentance here, no presents of good deeds to hang on the tree this Christmas. Claiming Kin doesn’t help either for God doesn’t need such children of Abraham when he can call unto himself children worthy of their great Father, sand on the beach or the twinkling stars in the heavens are they which produce the fruit if contrition. Who are not sons of Satan.
And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’
And John the Baptizer says
There are no true records of my life before my 30th year. I first felt the Spirit stir in me when I was about 16,it was then that my parents took me to the Ein Gedi Community to take my vows as a Nazarite.
After the ceremonies were over and I had made my Vows : to abstain from all intoxicating drinks, to let my hair grow, and to never touch the dead, we, my family and I, proceeded to Jerusalem, where, before the temple, I completed the making of my offerings which were required of those taking Nazarite vows. Samuel and Samson had taken these vows before me, as had many others.
I returned from Jerusalem strong in wind and limb to tend my father’s herds.
After pondering the life of Elijah of Carmel I felt a sense of affinity with him and began to dress as he did, in a hairy garment with a leather girdle, they said I was a fine figure of a man from whom they expected great things.
I continued to tend my Father’s sheep and kept myself in constant prayer, taking only locust and wild honey as my food. In my 18th year Zechariah, my father, became ill and died after a prolonged illness of several months.
I was in a conumdrum regarding carrying out the burial rites since I had vowed never to touch the dead, somehow we got through the rituals of passing, but I was perturbed, I feared I had broken my vows in some way even though it was my mother, Elizabeth who took charge of the annointing and the winding sheet. I went to Jerusalem and from the Nazarite corner in the Court of the women, I offered my sacrifices for my cleansing.
We visited Mary and Jesus later that same year and I discussed with him my descision to begin my ministry. He was somewhat angry with me and told me to go home and look after my mother and to wait for the “Coming of the Father’s Hour”
We went home and began to make plans against the day of the Father’s Hour.
I was a proud man and refused to accept the priest’s allowance from the Temple – to which I was entitled both as a Nazarite and Levi, resultantly we lost our home and at the age of 20 we had to move to Hebron in Judea and in that wilderness I continued to tend my fahers sheep.
I began to return to Ein Gedi more and more often until I spent most of my time there, with the other Nazarite brethren who tended their sheep . I was so very different from most of them and didn’t fit in, though Abner, the acknowledged leader of the Ein Gedi Colony became my mentor and guide.
My mother kept me informed about Palestinian and world affairs, and I became more and more convinced that the time was now upon me as the old order collapsed before my eyes and the anawim began to gather in greater umbers, awaiting the coming of the Messiah. I now remembered my mother telling me that Jesus had quickened me, that I was to become the herald of the approach of a new age, “the kingdom of heaven, in which he would play some part.
I began to gather people about me, Ezda, a young shepherd boy who I adopted and others of the brethren who would listen. My mother Elizabeth died very suddenly when I was 28, this time there were no concerns for me concernng the Burial Rites because some of our relatives had organised everything. I sent Ezda and the flocks to Ein Gedi while I went to Hebron to say goodbye to her.
After returning to Ein Gedi I made a present of my flocks to the Community and for the next 2 and 1/2 years I spent my time between seclusion in the wilderness and evangelizing the Brethren. I ponderered the words of Daniel and what my father had told me of the meaning of the empires.
Throughout this period I read much in the sacred writings which I found at the Engedi home of the Nazarites. I was especially impressed by Isaiah and by Malachi, the last of the prophets up to that time. I read and reread the last five chapters of Isaiah, and believed these prophecies. Then I would read in Malachi: “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 hearts of the fathers toward the children and the hearts of the children toward their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” And it was only this promise of Malachi that Elijah would return that deterred me from going forth to preach about the coming kingdom and to exhort my fellow Jews to flee from the wrath to come. I was ripe for the proclamation of the message of the coming kingdom, but this expectation of the coming of Elijah held me back for more than two years. I knew I was not Elijah. What did Malachi mean? Was the prophecy literal or figurative? How could I know the truth? Finally I dared to think that, since the first of the prophets was called Elijah, so the last should be known, eventually, by the same name. Nevertheless, ….I had doubts, sufficient to prevent myself ever referring to myself as Elijah.https://truthbook.com/jesus/john-the-baptist/the-death-of-elizabeth
Andrew Blair – from the possible fancy of https://truthbook.com/jesus/john-the-baptist/the-death-of-elizabeth
Ein gedi (Hebrew: עֵין גֶּדִי), literally “spring of the kid (young goat)” is an oasis and a nature reserve in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves.