We, like John, must stand aloof from all those whose cry is, “A confederacy, a confederacy!” (Isa. 8:11-13); and by our teaching and example declare unlawful the proposed and sure to come union between church and civil government.
Posts Tagged ‘ john the baptist ’
As a point of interest, this book is called the “Book of Malachi,” and the word “Malachi” means “my messenger.” Thus this book is a paronomasia, a play on words, used by God to keep the message from being understood too clearly too quickly. Present truth is needed to even begin to scratch the surface.
We get only a brief insight into Jesus’ discussion with the apostles, a synopsis of the drift of the conversation. In the vision, Jesus discussed his death with Moses and Elijah. Hence the topic of his death would have been discussed further as he and the three apostles descended the mountain.
Jesus was trying to raise their thinking to a higher level. The supplied food represented his message, his words, but even the apostles did not have a depth of understanding until Pentecost when they got the Holy Spirit, the spirit of remembrance. Then the meaning of Jesus’ words dawned on them.
Many do not generally grasp the full import of immersion, and look at the water rather than the death which it symbolizes. The real baptism is that which cannot be seen, except in its influence upon the conduct; and the real church which is joined is the church whose names are written in heaven whose members cannot be known positively until the close of this age, when they shall be glorified with the Head.
“A bright cloud overshadowed them.” This phenomenon was awesome in itself, but then a voice thundered out very majestically, “This is my beloved Son, … hear ye him.” This scene was so impressive that Peter referred to it in his epistle but said that despite its awesomeness and positiveness, the “more sure word of prophecy” was superior (2 Pet. 1:16-19). Do we have such a conviction? Is God’s Word more “sure” to us than if we had witnessed the transfiguration and heard the voice coming from the cloud? We should have the same reverence and respect for the Word of God that Peter had—regardless of the degree of our comprehension.
Being familiar with the account of the bright cloud over the nation of Israel and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness of Sinai, the disciples would have had no difficulty realizing that the message, or voice, came from God. Also, “Hear ye him [Jesus]” was almost like a reprimand, for earlier Peter had been arguing with the Master (Matt. 16:22). Now the Father was saying, “This is my Son. I am well pleased with him. You had better listen to him.” In other words, in listening to Christ, we are really listening to God, for the Son is the true and highest representative of the Father.
“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back close sealed with seven seals, Revelation Chapter 5 “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back [or outside] close [...]
Notice what naturally happened. The rulers of the synagogue asked the two strangers if they had “any word of exhortation for the people” and perhaps also wanted to hear any news that would be of interest to the congregation. Also, they would want to know the thoughts of others of Jewry in regard to the passage of the Law just read. Paul stood up quickly and beckoned with his hand as if to say, “I have something of significance to say.” Then he spoke courageously, feeling the importance of the situation and the message, and knowing that God had anointed him, through Jesus, to be a special ambassador to the Gentiles.
All men were in expectation of Messiah, but in addition, they were expecting the Prophet Elijah. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Mal. 4:5). Elijah was known to have worn rough clothing, and now along came John the Baptist wearing rough clothing and speaking with authority. Hence many thought he was the predicted Elijah. John spoke with such conviction that the people were willing to be baptized. And they assumed he was doing the very “Elijah” work predicted: “He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6). The point is that the appearing of John the Baptist in this manner alerted and awakened the nation of Israel so that he could introduce Jesus as someone different.
Notice Jesus’ reply: “Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.” The Jews’ question is astounding: “Who art thou?” Not only had Jesus been telling them all along, but they should have been able to figure out who he was because of his miracles. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked his apprehenders, “Why do you come after me at night? I have boldly, throughout my ministry, stated these things to you frequently, yet you apprehend me like a thief.” And at his trial, they asked what he had been saying when he had taught over and over, and they should have known. He spoke openly of his purpose in appearing before them as a teacher. The point is, if one is not sympathetic to the words spoken by another, it is like talking to a stone wall. The reasoning will not get through no matter how plainly stated.