Monday, October 26, 2015
John The Baptist’s Testimony
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:18)
John is quite definite in this statement, despite the claims of many to the contrary, and it is consistent with God’s statement to Moses in Exodus 33:18-20. “And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” God is a righteous God and sinful man would die. In scripture the references of seeing the Lord always present an indistinct description of a vision rather than of God himself, and without exception they resulted in the viewer filled with a sense of their own wickedness and unworthiness.
Many of the supposed visions of our day describe it as wonderful and resulting in a great sense of peace and confidence, leading me to suspect most are not visions of God at all. II Corinthians 11:14-15 warns not to be surprised that false teachers seem to be from God because “…Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” It is probable that many, if not most of the supposed visions of God are in fact visions of Satan instead.
At the same time it is important to understand that Hebrews 1: 3 describes Jesus Christas Follows: “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” John 14:9 tells us, “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” Jesus clearly manifested God to the world.
“And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias?
And he saith, I am not.
Art thou that prophet?
And he answered, No.
Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. “ (John 1:19-28)
This is the record of John’s response when the Priests and Pharisees sent investigators to find out who he was and to question why he was teaching what he taught. John was very clear that he was not the Messiah, the Christ. He also was Elijah or another of the Old Testament prophets that the Jews were expecting to come before Christ came. He was however the voice of one crying in the wilderness, partially fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3-5, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)
The next day, john the Baptist saw Jesus and introduced him as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world, describing how God had told him that he would know who he was when he saw the Holy Spirit coming down upon him. Here John states he had seen it happen. Matthew states what he saw in Matthew 3:16-17 describes the event. “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark got the same story by interviewing others who were there in Mark 1:10-11. “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Johns claim to have seen the Holy Spirit identify Jesus as the Messiah or Christ is supported by the testimony of Matthew and others who were present. Under Jewish, a claim was not to be considered valid unless there were two or more testifying to the same facts. Unfortunately that is a higher standard than our modern courts often maintain.