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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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    Probably, but that's not a resolution to the question that Christians could get behind.
     
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  2. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    I don't mind that, because if I were to cross-examine them, their reasoning would not be solid.

    Consider what you have said above: "Once a student has learned enough, he goes out into the world."

    This is exactly the situation for John the Baptist. He was a student of Messiah (the light - John 1:4,7) - but he was not able to call himself the Messiah, because that title belongs only to Messiah (who is spirit: John 5:24) - rather John the Baptist did not claim to be Messiah incarnate, but to testify of Him (John 1:7).
    This is right (Proverbs 1:20). Jesus' strength of knowledge was due to His wisdom (Matthew 12:42, Luke 2:46-47) and it is because the fullness of the wisdom of God remained in Him (John 1:32) that He taught. But until you are able to understand that the spirit of Messiah is a Christian's personal companion and teacher wherever we go (Matthew 23:8-10), you will not be able to understand that John the Baptist was in fact following Messiah even though being physically separated from Jesus.
     
  3. Nihilist Virus

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    Give it a try then. Please do share it here.

    This is exactly not the situation for John the Baptist. He met Jesus, baptized him, and went his own way. Never learned a thing from him.

    Not relevant.
     
  4. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    Well, it hasn't happened has it? You are relying upon hypotheticals again!
    Can you support that assertion?
    The point I am making is that Jesus is an eternal spirit become flesh - to know Him in the spirit is to know Him in the flesh. Therefore all that John the Baptist taught was learned from the spirit of Messiah (AKA Jesus Christ). I have already shown you a few good reasons why he did not physically follow Jesus around:

    1. Not necessary - John 4:21-24.
    2. More to gain by teaching others - Matthew 9:37-38.
    3. Potentially distracting to Jesus' ministry - 1 Corinthians 3:3-4.
    You have made the wrong decision to say that.
     
  5. Nihilist Virus

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    You initially said,

    "I don't mind that, because if I were to cross-examine them, their reasoning would not be solid."

    That is a hypothetical.

    I replied,

    "Give it a try then. Please do share it here."

    This is absolutely not a hypothetical. This is the absolute opposite of a hypothetical. Yet, astonishingly, you replied,

    "Well, it hasn't happened has it? You are relying upon hypotheticals again!"


    Did I miss something? I know that I introduced a hypothetical with my question involving the TARDIS, but in what part of this exchange here did I use a hypothetical? And how is it that you did not?

    You said that John the Baptist was a student of Jesus Christ. This is totally false. Asking me to support this is akin to asking me to support the assertion that Jesus was crucified. This is beyond silly. It is a fact beyond dispute that John the Baptist was not a student of Jesus. For this discussion, that is considered common knowledge.

    In John 1:29-34, John the Baptist says he didn't know Jesus.

    Nothing you've referenced here is remotely relevant to John the Baptist.

    Why?
     
  6. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    It was you who introduced the hypothetical when you said: "I think the vast majority of Christians would disagree."

    I anticipated that I would be able to demonstrate that they are wrong to do so, but of course because it hasn't actually happened, then it remains hypothetical - I cannot yet demonstrate it as you have asked me to do.
    I actually said that he was following the spirit of Messiah. You need to invest more to understand what I am saying.
    When you speak of Jesus, you speak of the walking human who spoke the words of Messiah. When I say that John the Baptist followed the spirit of Messiah, I mean that he recognised Messiah in the spirit before Jesus took upon that role in the flesh - the "ben Elohim" - son of God.
    Who do you suppose is the "One" that he said has "sent him" in John 1:33?

    "the One who sent me to immerse in water said to me"
    I am sorry that you cannot see it.
    I need to clarify what you are asking for with this question - are you asking why you made the decision or why I have said that the decision is wrong?
     
  7. Nihilist Virus

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    OK, but how does that make it hypothetical of me to ask you to give it a try?

    The fact that it hasn't happened yet does not mean you cannot demonstrate it.

    You said there's no difference between knowing Jesus in the spirit or in the flesh. John said he didn't know Jesus.

    See above.

    It says,

    And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’

    Did Jesus send John to baptize, and then tell John, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit’?

    And literally right before that, John says he did not know Jesus. And you said that knowing Jesus in the flesh is the same as knowing him in spirit. And you said that John knew Jesus spiritually. Now please, square this circle.

    The latter.
     
  8. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    He was calling them to repentance. Here is Josephus on it:

    "For Herod had killed this good man, who had commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, righteousness towards one another and piety towards God. For only thus, in John's opinion, would the baptism he administered be acceptable to God, namely, if they used it to obtain not pardon for some sins but rather the cleansing of their bodies, inasmuch as it was taken for granted that their souls had already been purified by justice.

    Now many people came in crowds to him, for they were greatly moved by his words. Herod, who feared that the great influence John had over the masses might put them into his power and enable him to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise), thought it best to put him to death. In this way, he might prevent any mischief John might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late."



    Clearly he was in the character of Mattatias who provoked the Maccabean revolt, or the Rabbis that opposed Herod the Great's Golden Eagle over the Temple.
    So that he had a following seems perfectly in keeping with the times, as other examples can be mentioned. Even the Essenic sects appear similar.
    It was perhaps due to the friction that Hellenisation brought and the perceived moral decline from the days of the Hassidim, the pure ones after Esra.
     
  9. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    Hi Sir,
    Preparing the Way for the Messiah was enacting a great call to repentance. This is a theme that repeats itself through the OT. The fact that John did this in the wilderness and attracted great crowds does point to the prophesy of Isaiah and Malachi. I'm sure we would not say Billy Grahams ministry which called for both repentance and a surrendering to Christ was weak, so why choose to label John the Baptist's ministry in fulfillment of the prophecy as weak. People of that day were looking for the coming of the Messiah with great anticipation and here came one calling for repentance and drawing mass crowds into the wilderness for a baptism of repentance that fit Isaiah and Malachi's description. We have no record of any other prophet doing this so I disagree it is weak. Are God's prophesies sometimes subtle? Yes, but never weak, as they are meant for those who search His Word, just as Jesus told the parable of the lost coin.

    I'd have to take a look at it, since I've been overseas on the Lord's harvest field.

    Agreed

    I disagree. He had great impact in his ministry. Herod himself seemed to fear him and the religious leaders of the day feared losing control of their flocks to him; for they were flocking out to the wilderness to hear him and be baptized. Moreover there is evidence that some of Jesus' disciples had been disciples or followers of John prior to this. So he did prepare the way in calling for repentance and calling Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is not difficult at all to explain from a Christian worldview. The rest of what you say seems rather based on speculative conspiracy theory (i.e. those nasty apostles who were out to deceive the world seems to be a recurrent theme these days despite that the evidence shows the apostles impacted the culture for the good and were willing to lay down their lives in order to bring the truth and light of Christ into it. Since then the apostle's teachings on Christ have circumnavigated the globe and in our day the Gospel of grace is making great inroads even against strongholds of deception and persecution. The Great commission, also a prophecy, shall be fulfilled - perhaps even in our lifetime.

    I think I just did but further review of his impact might bring you to Apollos, a follower or adherent to the teachings of John the Baptist.
    Ministry of Apollos Acts 18:24-28; 19:1-10
    • Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
    • And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all. And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
    In Christ, John 17:20
     
  10. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Roman oppression set messianic hope pretty high, John was preaching that the Messiah was soon to come--that message resonated with people feeling oppressed and looking for hope and redemption. John chastised religious hypocrisy, and condemned the complicit and wicked powers in charge and in league with Rome (i.e. Herod).

    Speaking truth to power and preaching hope in the midst of oppression is the sort of thing that lots of people are going to listen to.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  11. Nihilist Virus

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    Thanks, this is a great answer. Best so far. But I am also interested in how they knew he wasn't a false prophet.
     
  12. Nihilist Virus

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    When I used the term "weak" I meant that "a voice crying in the wilderness" and "preparing the way for the Lord" is a weak prophecy because it does not specify time or location. I don't see how anyone couldn't just "fulfill" this prophecy.

    And this does not even account for the problem raised about Deuteronomy 18, so until you're able to get around to that I cannot give consideration to these prophecies.



    This is telling me that John the Baptist had a following. That's not a point in question. I'm asking why this was so.



    John the Baptist was performing a religious ritual (baptism) for which there was no context. In John 1:29-34, we learn that John was doing this because of a revelation from God. But his followers presumably did not have the same revelation. And there is nothing in the scriptures to indicate anything about baptism. So why did the followers of John find this practice to be legitimate?




    Conspiracy theory? You mean about details of the gospels being edited or fabricated? It's virtually undisputed even among the Christian community that the ending of Mark is a forgery. The story of the adulterous woman in John is also widely known to be a forgery.



    The evidence shows that? I'd like to see it. Even if we accept the book of Acts as 100% fact, all we know for sure is that James was killed. I don't see where he willfully laid down his life. Acts 12:1-2 says,

    About that time, King Herod reached out to inflict harm on some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.

    I don't see where there is any implication that James was given the option to save his skin by renouncing Jesus. If you think the implication is there, let me know what you're seeing.

    As far as Peter goes, i
    t's undisputed history that Peter was martyred. But if you have evidence that he willfully laid down his life for the gospel, then, again, I'd like to see it. You don't know it wasn't something along the lines of, "You were preaching the gospel, weren't you? Admit it and you'll die quickly." Instead Christians assume it went something like, "Deny Christ and you go free." I see no evidence for that assertion. So there's no evidence for your claim that the disciples willingly gave their lives for the gospel.

    The only source for the martyrdom of the other disciples is apparently heretical "gospels" that were rejected from canon. Catholics discarded the heretical works, but not before cherry picking the martyrs out of them; similarly, the protestants rejected Catholic tradition, but not before cherry picking the martyrs out of it.

    Polycarp, as far as I know, was given the choice of "recant or die." And he chose to die instead of renounce Christ. The only problem is that he was not an eyewitness of the resurrection, so the "Why die for a lie?" argument doesn't apply by definition.

    There is actually no person to whom the "Why die for a lie?" argument applies.




    The great commission was a forgery.

    Thanks for the research, but again, this only establishes that John the Baptist had a following; it's not telling me why he had a following.
     
  13. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    Hi Sir,
    Again, I will restate the prophesy was subtle but certainly not weak. It was strong enough for those looking forward to the promise of the Messiah/Christ to make his entrance into the world according to Scripture and that reference was both in Isaiah and Malachi. The humble would flock towards that hope and create a great movement. In contrast at the outset the proud and arrogant would thumb their noses at them until it became big enough they fear losing control of the masses. Most of the prophecies given did not specify a worldly time because we are on God's time.
    • Galatians 4:4
      But
      when the fullness of the time had come
      , God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law
    This has been understood by the Hebrews as well as the Christians since the very beginning. Take the prophecies in Revelation about the coming of the antichrist. There is not enough there to specifically identify a person of that ilk specifically in our time or in the past, although there have been prototypes just as there had been for Christ, however when the fullness of time comes only those in severe unbelief will have any doubt. We do not know the day nor the hour but we are called to be vigilant and watchful of the times, not act like a bunch of foolish bridesmaids who missed the wedding.

    As far as Deuteronomy 18 goes you're a bit all over the map in your unbelief so I'll tackle that in the separate thread and not here.



    Zecharias was the aged father of John the Baptist who was struck dumb for a time because of his unbelief about the birth of his son given in an angelic appearance. Now he was of the division of Abijah see 1 Chronicles 23-24. Upon John's birth he prophesied:

    • You, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God… (Luke 1:76–77)
    The theme of John's life was to participate in God's forgiveness of the people and to bring knowledge of their Salvation, which he did by pointing the way. This again is subtle but their are many inferences to God's washing of His people with water that are symbolic to their sins being washed away. One such example I included below:

    • Ezekiel 36:25-28 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
    So no one was Biblically shocked to see John's baptism they knew it was tied to the promised Messiah and the preparation of the Way of the Lord! These were people who had a prototype of Baptism in the Red Sea crossing 1400 years earlier when by Moses they passed through to the other side while Pharaoh's Army was crushed by the returning mass of water which fell on them. The weight of sin and rebellion against God is a fearful thing at the close of life which God has given us. Those flocking to John knew they needed God's forgiveness for their sins and found the one the Scriptures pointed them to.
    Yes, we Christians have a great and absolute hope in Christ and I rest my anchor to the rock of the glorious truth of God's promise. I do so even when there are rising tides that swell against Him and malign Him. The enemy is not flesh and blood but still is the father of lies, which rails against the Truth of God. Even in times of sickness and near death God upholds my soul in every battle. It is by His grace and His presence within me that I will always be unbreakably linked to my Savior and Lord. Having just come through quite a physical ordeal I dedicate this song to Him who preserves my life.


    Maybe more later
    In Christ, Patrick
     
  14. Nihilist Virus

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    Thanks for this. But I don't see where you addressed my concern:

    "I don't see how anyone couldn't just 'fulfill' this prophecy."



    Thank you for that OT reference. It is at least remotely relevant. I can't really give you much more than that.

    To my knowledge, the ritual of baptism symbolizes death, burial, and resurrection. While many people sprinkle water as a form of baptism, that's not what the ritual truly calls for. It is not about cleansing. It is certainly not about cleansing with regards to idols. Also you omitted the previous verse, which indicates that Ezekiel was referring to Jews in captivity. Ezekiel wrote during the period of Judah's exile, which was well after Israel's exile as well, which means that all of his people were scattered. So the prophecy cannot be taken to be exclusively about Jesus. What you really have is remote relevance only after yanking the partial sentence out of context.

    If I'm wrong about the significance of baptism, please let me know.


    Not relevant.
     
  15. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    Hi Sir,
    I’m sure, there were hundreds who were able to live in the wilderness. Maybe even a dozen that preached to some that were traveling enroute. Maybe there were even some that gathered a following and split off as a faction group; perhaps that is what happened at Qumran where they were awaiting the Day of the Lord that Joel had prophesied about. However, none of inter-testament Israeli history we know of suggest tht there were others proclaiming the message; "Prepare Ye the Way of the Coming Lord and make straight His paths" by calling for repentance and attracting Hebrews from Galilee and Judea. That message was the heart of John’s mission and prophesy with one major exception. His ministry was to ignite the heart of the people and John did that but the prophesy also implies the Lord will come forth to His people . The prophesy's fulfillment would lead to the identification of the Messiah. We specifically know John identified Him as the Christ, the Sacrificial Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world by overcoming both sin and death. So Subtle yes but specific also yes. God doesn't play dice - so this is no random pick.

    We may as well make the comparison to there could be many iterant preachers of the gospel after World War II but only one who consistently filled sport and venue stadiums all over the world. That would be Billy Graham who fulfilled that calling. In the same manner God then uniquely used John to fulfill His message of the coming Savior and Lord. God doesn’t use pomp and fanfare. He uses the weak things of the world to shame the strong and the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, proud and arrogant.

    • 1Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;


    Yes, baptism does symbolize that. Some early Christians used the destruction of the Egyptian army at the Red Sea as an analogy; for as the Children of Israel passed through the waters they were in a sense a prototype for Baptism - leaving the kingdom of darkness for the kingdom of light. As far as immersion or sprinkling goes that depends on your denomination, as you rightly allude to above. However rather than get caught up in methodology it is more important on what is being said. John’s baptism was one of repentance and was symbolic of the baptism of Christ, which supersedes it. This is because we are actually baptized into Christ as an outward expression of having been conceived in Him as a son and daughter of God, which is what we call the regeneration of our heart and soul – born again! We are already His by the Holy Spirit and now we profess that both symbolically and physically. This fits the new heart part of Ezekiel's prophesy.
    In Christ, Patrick
     
  16. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Look at the daily news, or perhaps a newsletter you are interested in that contains news over a wide local area.

    If it was reported by what you believe are reliable sources, proven sources,
    that
    someone who spoke the words of the Creator was at a river proclaiming His Word, "preparing" the grandest event - God Himself Visiting! ,

    and people were leaving their homes and their jobs for a day or more, flocking to see him, and they believed him,

    and everything he spoke was true.....

    would you ask why people went to see him, and why some followed him?
     
  17. Nihilist Virus

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    You are explaining that while several people did what John did, we don't know of anyone who said the same things. Thanks, but I asked something else:

    "I don't see how anyone couldn't just 'fulfill' this prophecy."

    I don't see what precluded someone else from doing and saying the same thing. Lots of things have been lost to history, so saying that no one else is recorded as having said the same things doesn't advance the conversation.

    Alexander the Great conquered the known world, and not many in recorded history have done that. That's quite a bit more of a feat than living in the wilderness and saying a couple vague sayings. The former feat can be done once or twice a millennium, while the latter can literally be done by any person at any place at any time.

    So again, I don't see how anyone couldn't just 'fulfill' this prophecy.

    Blatantly ignoring everything I said about Ezekiel, then reusing the Ezekiel reference like nothing happened. I feel like you do a lot more talking than listening. This conversation is not very thrilling to me.
     
  18. Nihilist Virus

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    Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here; believe it not.

    Matthew 24:23
     
  19. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    I didn't ask about a false preacher.

    I asked about a true preacher.

    I think you asked about Yochanan the immerser, didn't you ?

    Why did people follow him ?

    Because he was true, and sent by Yahweh, as Yahweh Says, as Yahweh's Word Says.

    And Yahweh Says , to those who believe in Him, who trust and rely on Him, who are seeking the Truth and seeking His Governing , His Kingdom,
    to
    seek out those who are true in faith, and remain with them,
    and not to remain with nor seek out those who are false.

    If you were seeking the Truth, as the people were who sought out Yochanan the immerser, and if you keep seeking the Truth, and not
    to justify your own sinful life,
    God's Promise , should you decide to believe Him, is that you will know the Truth, no longer reject the Truth, and the Truth will set you free, you will no longer be under the power of the devil nor of the flesh nor of the world.
     
  20. Nihilist Virus

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    Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here; believe it not.

    Is there a particular reason you have to talk like it's the year 1200?

    If he preached about the atom, he would've been correct. But I wouldn't expect that to get him a following.

    "Believe in true things and not in false things" is not the most enlightening advice. It doesn't provide a method for determining truth.

    Not relevant.
     
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