Why did John The Baptist come before Christ?
Why did John come before Yeshua?
I was asked this very interesting question and before it can be answered we need to look at the whole picture.
The whole of Biblical and historical records testify to many great biblical men who performed uniquely amazing things, for example, Abraham exercised great faith, particularly when in total obedience to G-d, he was willing to sacrifice his own son! G-d however, never intended for Abraham to actually perform the act, instead Hashem provided a lamb for Abraham to sacrifice. This whole scenario foreshadowed the things that were to come! It represented the future event ( now fulfilled prophesy) when Hashem HIMSELF sacrificed His son, AS A SACRIFICIAL LAMB! Abraham's and Isaac's story points to this magnificent event which was the beginning of the salvation of the world!
Then we read of Moses who not only led G-d's chosen people out of slavery but demonstrated G-d's Might and Power by performing G-d's miracles! He also foreshadows Yeshua as a saviour. Moses was a human savior but Yeshua came from the heavenly kingdom as a spiritual saviour (although he was born as a man, he was part of G-d!) Moses's ministry was only to the chosen people of G-d whereas Yeshua is savior to the world!
We now move on to King David who was a great anointed king. He ruled justly, he walked in righteousness and demonstrated love for G-d and his people. He prophesied about the coming Messiah who would come directly from his descendency.
king Solomon was known for his great wisdom, particularly as a judge and the building of the temple.
All of these renowned figures foreshadow, link or demonstrate Yeshua in some way. But each one of them were mere humans and sinned during their lifetime! Each one fell short of complete holiness, righteousness or sinlessness. Only Yeshua could fulfill these traits.
We read how G-d's willingness to sacrifice his son (Yeshua) even though he provided Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice. This was and is G-d's plan for mankind that through this lamb the world (on accepting the sacrificial lamb called Yeshua) the individual may be saved.
We also know that although Moses performed great miracles, Yeshua came and performed even greater miracles,signs and wonders, not only in the past but also in the near future we shall see further miracles, signs and wonders performed by our saviour!
In the scenario of King David's life, Yeshua's name was and still is proclaimed as the Great King and Messiah to come!
King Solomon speaks of Wisdom and this points to Yeshua who is Wisdom! And through Yeshua we are able to acquire wisdom also! Solomon as judge will be superseded by Yeshua who is the greatest Judge of all, he will return to bring judgement on the world and sit as judge on judgement day! This will be the day when 'true justice' will be seen!
All of the above great men had lives that reflected the savior of the world - all prophesied about Him and all prepared the way for people to be ready to hear about and to receive Him as their Savior and Messiah.
John the Baptist, a great man had the same function. He was a herald, that is, he went about proclaiming the coming of the savior! He went before Yeshua to prepare the way. More importantly he introduced people to the Gospel before Yeshua started His ministry!
All the above biblical figures pointed to Yeshua as 'The Way', the answer to mankind's problems, the resolution to conflict, guilt and sin and the road to peace, How? The sacrificial lamb was the atonement for the world's unintentional sin, he was also the scapegoat as he took those sins upon himself and removed our guilt through His forgiveness and pardon.
He has also become the high priest and the only one who can enter the Holy of Holies that means in G-d's presence.
Each of G-d's great men were prophets in their own right and through their testimonies showed us how we can find the savior who is also our Messiah. He first came as our saviour and soon he is to return as the Messiah! They all point directly to Him as a means of returning to our creator, our father G-d!
John was named by Hashem Himself (as most of G-d's chosen were). he named him John because he would be a delight and joy! (Malachi 4: 5-6)
The angel of G-d also said " He (John) will be great in the sight of the Lord." He was also to live the Nazarite life, (Numbers 6) this entailed not eating or drinking anything of the vine, not to cut his hair and so on. He lived in the desert and wore clothes made with camel's hair, he ate locusts. Matt 3:4 Read also verse 5-17. Note, this also links Yeshua to John as Yeshua was always known as the Nazarite!
Who does this remind you of? Yes another great biblical character not yet mentioned - Elijah!
Like Elijah John was "filled with the Holy Spirit" This happened from the time John was born!
G-d also said that John would bring many Israelites BACK to the Lord G-d!
Now this is where it becomes a little difficult to understand! There is a pattern of behavior and ministry between Elijah, John and Yeshua!
John replicates behaviour performed by Elijah such as eating locusts, living in the desert, wearing sackcloth.
John also replicates Yeshua; as G-d said- through the angel -that John would bring many Israelites back to the Lord G-d! Yeshua first spoke to His people and then to the Gentiles, bringing many back to G-d. But John always recognise he was just a man and Yeshua was more than a man. He said in John 3:31 " The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. "
In John 3:27 he says " I am not the Christ, but am sent ahead of him. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is complete. He must become greater; I must become less.
Elijah is also known as a simile of Yeshua! Jews believe the Messiah will be Elijah returning.
Luke 1:17 it says about John, "He will go before the Lord, in the Spirit and power of Elijah - to turn the hearts of disobedient and uncaring to the wisdom of righteousness "(Yeshua).
This suggests that Elijah and John had the same spirit and power! And both had the ministry to turn people towards Yeshua who is righteousness and Wisdom!
This was John's purpose and why he came before the Lord!. Many Israelites listened to John preaching of the need to repent from sin and to be baptised in water, he then prophesied of the coming savior who would baptise them with the Holy Spirit.
Many saw Yeshua and believed, because they had been pre-introduced to Him. That is the job of a herald. To herald in the coming King!
John was a witness to the coming Messiah and he made it possible for prophesy to be seen to take place when Yeshua began his ministry. The same will happen when the two witnesses come during the first 3 years of the tribulation, they will witness to Yeshua as the Messiah who will return as the victor and King!
There was another link between John and Yeshua through their mothers. For example John was a miracle baby. His mother had been barren and unable to conceive a child, she was old in years, and G-d chose Elizabeth to conceive John.
Just as Mary was a virgin and G-d chose her to give birth to Yeshua, Both women were righteous and loved G-d.
The amount of publicity that arose throughout the event of these two women's pregnancies certainly made people very aware of G-d's intervention. People asked about John, " What then is this child going to be? For the Lord's hand was with him".
Interestingly, John's father sang a song but the first few verses were about the coming Savior then he sang about his son! He sang of the savior as the coming Messiah and a descendant of David. Then he sang of his own son In verse 76, "You my child, will be called a prophet...go before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation, through the forgiveness of sin..."
When Yeshua commenced His ministry we know that he also spoke of the importance of repentance from sin, he and his disciples baptised believers in water. But Yeshua went a step further and introduced us to the counsellor (the Holy Spirit) who baptises us in the spirit to complete our new birth.
Yeshua, as the sacrificial lamb became the atonement for our unintentional sins.
Matthew 11:11 "Among those born of women (human) there has not risen anyone greater than John The Baptist. But in heaven he is the least. From the days of John The Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it."
Matthew 11 V13 "For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come."
This verse tells the Jew not to expect Elijah to return as their Messiah, he has already been, they are to be ready for the true Messiah -Yeshua!
This is where Jews and Gentile believers meet when they await the same Messiah!