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Jesus sends John to Prepare His Way
by Clifford Tate 
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There were periods in Israelite History when God did not speak to them at all through any man or woman. They spent 400 years as slaves in Egypt and did not here from God at all during those 4 generations until Moses appeared. Their enslavement by the Egyptians at this time was because as they grew in number from only 70 people when they were brought to Egypt by Joseph and after the death of Joseph the new Pharaoh became afraid that the Israelites might rebel and overtake them so he put them under bondage. Moses was sent by God with the authority of God to command the Egyptian Pharaoh to release His people from their captivity so that they could worship Him in the place that He would lead them.

Well, many of the mixed multitudes of Israelites did not truly believe and consequently they rebelled against Moses and in reality their rebellion was against God. Therefore, God let them wander in the wilderness for 40 years until all those rebels died in the wilderness. However, as time went on after they did enter the land God promised to Abraham, many of the new generation continued the rebellion of their Fathers and often went after the gods of the other nations (see Deuteronomy 18:9-14) and forsook YAWEH.

He would then send them Prophets with His word in their mouths commanding them to turn back to Him and they would at times but their persistent disobedience would be more constant than their obedience. Because of their many acts of rebellion, the people of Israel have endured some hard circumstances as a nation. It was due to their stubborn, stiff neck, and single minded rejection and rebellion of the Word of the Lord that came to them from those Prophets like Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Elijah, etc.

Psalm 5:4 For You are not a God Who takes pleasure in wickedness; neither will the evil [man] so much as dwell [temporarily] with You. QAB

Psalm 5:10 Hold them guilty, O God; let them fall by their own designs {and} counsels; cast them out because of the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You. QAB

Then YAWEH sent them a man by the name of Malachi and he gave the people a message of judgment condemning their corrupt priests, wicked practices, and their false sense of security they had in their relationship with Him. YAWEH through Malachi exposed their hypocrisy, infidelity, mixed marriages, divorce, false worship, and their arrogance. The words that the Prophet spoke from YAWEH in the beginning were words expressing His love for the nation and how beloved the nation Israel was to Him.

Malachi 1:1-3 THE BURDEN {or} oracle (the thing to be lifted up) of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi [My messenger]. I have loved you, says the Lord. Yet you say, How {and} in what way have You loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? says the Lord; yet I loved Jacob (Israel), But [in comparison with the degree of love I have for Jacob] I have hated Esau [Edom] and have laid waste his mountains, and his heritage I have given to the jackals of the wilderness. QAB

The nation had become so sinful that the words spoken by the Prophet Malachi had no impact at all and the nation plunged deeper and deeper into darkness and defiance. Therefore, for the next 400 to 430 years YAWEH was silent. No Prophet was sent and the people went on in their religion thinking they were pleasing God. Now after this 400 plus year period of silence, a man burst on the scene with such power in his speech and a life that was so different than others it found him living in the wilderness eating locust and wild honey. John the Baptist was clothed in camel’s hair with only a leather belt around his waist. This was a man totally dependent on God and had no need for people pleasing but would speak only the truth from God to the people. Now in stark contrast to Malachi, John’s beginning words were, “REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!” and he shouted these words with a loud voice.

Matthew 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.” NKJV

Our Lord Jesus knew the condition of the hearts of the people of this generation that they were hard as stone and they needed a messenger with a message that would shoot through the veneer and break the hard rock of their hearts into pieces. The people pricked in their hearts by his message came, “CONFESSING THEIR SINS”, that is agreeing with God about the condition of their evil, wicked, and sinful hearts and looking to be made new. But when John saw the religious people (Pharisees and Sadducees) coming out to where he was baptizing those who wanted new life, he called them “Brood of vipers” translation “Offspring of snakes” further translation “Children of the devil.”

Our Lord Jesus wanted them to know that He saw them during the time of Nehemiah and the Prophet Malachi and the subsequent 400 plus years. He wanted them to know that this is now no longer a time for ritual rites being exercised, but this is the foundation being laid for the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, everyone that is truly found worthy to enter will show forth fruits of genuine repentance (a change of mind and turning from evil/sin). John lets everyone know that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming and it is He who will baptize the truly penitent heart with the Holy Spirit but in contrast the hypocrite, pretender, or actor will be baptize with fire/judgment in @#!*% . Now after John’s discourse with the religious establishment, the Lord Jesus Christ comes to him to be baptized and the Holy Trinity meets at the Jordan River as the Holy Spirit descends upon the Lord and God the Father speaks from Heaven saying, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.”

“Just as the angel’s announcement to Joseph declared Jesus’ primary purpose to be to SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS, so the first announcement of the kingdom (delivered by John the Baptist) is associated with REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION OF SIN.” D. A. Carson

“John’s baptism...was a radical act of individual commitment to belong to the true people of God, based on PERSONAL CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE... This is one of the main reasons that I do not believe in baptizing infants, who cannot make this personal commitment or confession or repentance. John’s baptism was an assault on the very assumptions that give rise to much infant baptism.” John Piper

“No one else holds or has held the place in the heart of the world which Jesus holds. Other gods have been as devoutly worshipped; NO OTHER MAN HAS BEEN SO DEVOUTLY LOVED.” John Knox

“If men’s religion prevails not to conquer and cure the wickedness of their hearts, it shall not always serve for a cloak. The day is coming when hypocrites will be stripped of their fig-leaves.” “It is common for those that are farthest from God, to boast themselves most of their being near to the Church.” Matthew Henry

Sincerely in Christ,

Clifford D. Tate, Sr.

Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…


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