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Why did John the Baptist have a following?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Nihilist Virus, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    The fact that you maintain religious beliefs despite possessing knowledge of scripture means our methods of thinking are nothing alike.

    I didn't recall this immediately, but I heard in a college class that Jesus was an apocalyptic doomsayer. That was apparently a thing to do back in the day. John the Baptist was his predecessor and Jesus' following fractured off, though they remained sympathetic to one another.


    Like you said above, we both have our own standards of credulity. Given the Christian version of Jesus I'm familiar with, I find it difficult to accept that a righteous man would go his own way after meeting Jesus.
     
  2. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    Well, I would expect that there might be rare times when we are thinking alike, but the question is whether that is enough of an opportunity for the understanding to be sufficiently established for us to find permanent agreement as to being of like mind going forward. I saw a glimpse of that in the last two posts you made to me, but in this post I see that you've been solidified in an opposing thought pattern again.
    It's really important to understand the things they are saying. It is true that Jesus and John the Baptist foretold of a coming day of wrath - the "Day of Yahweh". It is shown in John 3:16 that "thus, indeed God so loved the world that He gave up His only-begotten son. God did not send His son to condemn the world, but that through Him it might be saved". An understanding of these things is beyond the knowledge of the majority of Christians, consequently you will never hear much of a convincing explanation, only rote recitals of shallow doctrine.
    Well, he wasn't going his own way of course, he was going the way that Adonai had prescribed for him. You'd need to really understand the Christian campaign to understand why that is. Jesus didn't want to be the one guy on top of the world, but His desire manifested in the sacrifice, was to empower everyone to become sons of God. John the Baptist didn't rely upon Jesus' teaching for that, as you see that Jesus already recognised that he had sufficient authority to baptise Him.
     
  3. Dirk1540

    Dirk1540 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A lot of times you must simply live with the answer that we are not told. So many things left wide open! I always used to think about the Magi visiting Bethlehem, talk about a story that’s not exhaustive.

    The question is...is that which we DO know enough to sway our inference to the best explanation that Christianity is true? If the answer to that is yes then it will definitely be accompanied by faith based incomplete information such as John gathering a following by confirming himself with miracles or not. I know that you personally don’t infer that Christianity is true, just saying...incomplete information comes with the territory with ancient documents.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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  4. Nihilist Virus

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    Wrong forum for that. Perhaps try the Exploring Christianity forum.
     
  5. Nihilist Virus

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    Ok, and what we do know is that John the Baptist was probably the first Christian on earth and yet seemingly gave no consideration of discipleship. We also know he had a following and was performing religious rituals (baptism) that were totally and completely lacking in context before the arrival of Jesus. Perhaps John just somehow "knew" to do this because he was chosen by God, but why did his followers also somehow "know" that baptism had symbolic significance?
     
  6. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    I would not be able to agree with this, according to my present understanding. Considering the likes of Matthew 21:34-37 and Matthew 20:12, as it goes with Hebrews 3:3, it shows that Christianity is the same Judaism that the OT prophets were campaigning for - despite their railing against the corrupted authorities (sinful religious leaders and false prophets - eg Jeremiah 28:15-17 etc) - just as we can see that even in the present days, there are many so-called Christians also being described as "sinful religious leaders" and "false prophets". IOW, I say that Christianity in my view is the name given to Messiah's campaign through the ages, whereas you have used it to describe a type of religion that has only existed for the last 2,000 years. I just thought it is worth mentioning this to you at this opportunity, as something to keep in mind (because God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow - only that every day brings new events that alter the course of history - that is, the basis upon which the present is formed).
     
  7. Nihilist Virus

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    Christianity has only existed 2000 years. It was a new religion that splintered off Judaism.
     
  8. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    Not really though, it is more about taking Judaism back from those who had coveted and distorted it (eg: Matthew 12:29, Matthew 21:35, Matthew 21:43, Mark 7:8-9) - the major difference for Christians being that through the opportunity of the crucifixion (Isaiah 53:4-5), Jesus has secured a permanent priesthood (Hebrews 7:23-25).
     
  9. Nihilist Virus

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    If this is the case then why didn't all of the priests, bishops, and etc come from the tribe of Levi?
     
  10. Dirk1540

    Dirk1540 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I wouldn't say lacking in context as opposed to, like you even suggested, chosen by God, and definitely able to introduce a new context if he were a prophet of God. If John was a prophet sent to pave the way for Jesus I don't see a problem with him paving the way for what was to be a part of Jesus' ministry, water baptism, it's only taking it one step further (pave the way for the man...pave the way for the man's practice). I wouldn't expect his followers to know, they would have been taught baptism by John. I never thought of this objection. But even when I was on the fence about Christianity I don't think that one would have bothered me.
    Even if you think Christianity is just a story, still, the hero of the story said that John had to pass off of the scene. Would be too much of a decoy perhaps.
     
  11. Serving Zion

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    They are to serve a different purpose than the Levitical Priesthood.
     
  12. Nihilist Virus

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    So in other words it is a new religion.
     
  13. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    It is only semantics, but names don't matter. It's the same campaign in a different stage. The bishops and priests (if we assume that they are sanctified so as to be truly representing Jesus Christ - and not of the antichrist spirit, because this is the spiritual reality of Christianity), then the proper way to recognise them, is parts of the whole body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-20). Just as Christ was one man 2,000 years ago, and He was not of the Levitical Priesthood (eg: Luke 5:13-14), so it is in the post-resurrection era, where His body is made up of individuals distributed. The function of Jesus Christ is more accurately described as the reign of the throne of David than the Levitical Administration of the temple.
     
  14. Nihilist Virus

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    I guess a question to get us back on track would be something like this:

    Suppose you boarded the TARDIS, a fictional vessel that can not only travel through time and space but also two-way translate any language in real time after you disembark it (and even if you're far away). If, after disembarking it, you found yourself in the presence of Jesus Christ, would you be interested in following him? Even I would, and I'm an atheist.

    And yet John the Baptist - if not the first Christian of all time, he nevertheless was a Christian before it was cool - seemingly did not indicate any interest in this.

    Maybe this whole issue seems unimportant, but I've seen enough mysteries resolved by seemingly unimportant details to know it shouldn't be ignored.
     
  15. Serving Zion

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    The thing is that Messiah is a spirit (Deuteronomy 23:14), and it is because fallen humans have a notorious struggle to come back into that reality (Isaiah 59:1-2, Matthew 18:10), as evidenced in that Matthew 21 parable where they kept rejecting His prophets, it became necessary for Him to come in first-person so that we could recognise Him (John 15:22, John 1:11-12).

    We who know the spirit of Messiah are able to recognise Him wherever He appears, whomever He appears through, and even to recognise whenever He speaks through us! .. so it was for the faithful ones in the OT, we can reasonably expect that John the Baptist knew Him that way too.

    What you are describing is not so unusual, but rather fairly typical of the world's way of regarding celebrities. It's inferior for people of the Jewish faith to regard celebrities that way though, because we do not show favouritism - men are only men, and a man is either right or wrong at any time. When you look at the stories of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego with King Nebuchadnezzar, Mordechai with Haman, even with Jesus and the Roman Centurion whom He commended for having greater faith than any He had found in Israel.. it's just not like us to grovel that way. Even Jesus kept telling people to keep His miracles secret, and He kept escaping the crowds to be alone, because it's just not a very nice way to be treated. Celebrities can tell you that too.

    So John the Baptist already had his relationship with Messiah in the spirit, and there wasn't really anything that he needed to follow Jesus in order to gain, but he still had an opportunity to keep preaching The Way to those who hadn't yet found it, and as Adonai's servant, that was his priority.

    .. plus, when you mentioned seemingly unimportant details, there's a big void of information in the bible about how the time became ripe for Messiah's appearance in the flesh - though it was big enough news for Herod to kill the babies, we aren't told much of the political and religious climate of the time. I only said this because where you have suggested "nevertheless was a Christian before it was cool", it seems to suggest that you think being Christian is something that became cool after the resurrection .. whereas what Christianity is from the POV of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, is the bringing of the real kingdom of God against the crony establishments that were exploiting God's name, and I'd suggest that reading the scriptures in context of the fact that the crony religious leaders of the time had become so unable to withstand the Romans and were even paying tax to them, had created an environment conducive to the rise of "renegade preachers" that could easily out-speak the religious leaders (as it is in the present age of Christianity, the "a marvel and a wonder - so the wisdom of their wise will perish" Isaiah 29:14).
     
  16. Serving Zion

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    .. also, think about the situation if there were to be two heavyweights, there'd be problems like the crowds being conflicted and not giving full undivided attention to Jesus.
     
  17. Nihilist Virus

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    Jesus had 12 disciples. I don't see why there wasn't room for another. Jesus managed to have time to himself just fine with the 12 so I don't see how adding another person would ruin that.

    Yeah, this is probably close to the secular reasoning on the matter.
     
  18. Serving Zion

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    Jesus had more than twelve disciples (John 6:66), but the twelve were picked by Him for special training - to become His initial post-resurrection representatives (Acts of the Apostles 1:7-8).
    No, what you had said was more of a fan mentality toward a celebrity, whereas I explained that John the Baptist was not like a fan or a disciple, was an anointed one - more of a leader like Jesus was (Matthew 11:2-3). He had his own disciples and like 1 John 2:27 shows, the anointed ones have no need for anyone to teach them (John 4:14).
    Yes, even despite the popularity of the folklore and the superstition of the time causing the majority of the culture to be religious minded, they were still of the [secular/carnal] mindset that venerates celebrities. The majority of believers today are of that same sort of nature (remember how the lady who received healing trembled in Mark 5:33). It is a natural tendency of people who are like that, to make comparisons between leaders and that would be distracting.
     
  19. Nihilist Virus

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    So John the Baptist had nothing to learn from Jesus. Hmmmm. I think your position is becoming increasingly bizarre.

    That's not what I was referring to. I meant that the secular position, holding that Jesus was originally a disciple of John, was what caused them to go their separate ways. Once a student has learned enough, he goes out into the world.

    Your explanation for this is that John had nothing to learn from Jesus, and I think the vast majority of Christians would disagree. A random guy you meet on the street will know a lot of things you don't know.
     
  20. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    I think basically John the Baptist was telling the Jewish poor people exactly what they wanted to here - that God was going to restore Jewish sovereignty in the Promised Land and reward the righteous and punish the wicked Jewish elites and blah blah blah.
     
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