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"Let Your Name Be Sanctified"



Chapter 13

TURNING BACK HEARTS TO THE NAME

Malachi was the last of the inspired Hebrew prophets before our Common Era. In his name the final letter, "i," is understood to be an abbreviation for the divine name. Hence the name Malachi is understood to mean the same as Malachijah (Greek, Malachias), that is, "Messenger [or, Angel] of Jehovah." If his prophecy about the sending of Elijah the prophet was written about the year 442 B.C.E., then it was about 470 years till this prophecy began to be fulfilled. In the third chapter of his prophecy, evidently with reference to the same one to be sent, Malachi had written these words of Jehovah: " 'Look! I am sending my messenger, and he must clear up a way before me. And suddenly there will come to His temple the true Lord, whom you people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom you are delighting. Look! He will certainly come,' Jehovah of armies has said." (Malachi 3:1) That is why the scribes who made handwritten copies of the Hebrew Scriptures said that Elijah must come first before the promised Messiah, the Son of David who was to be king forever. — Matthew 17:10.


1. (a) What does Malachi's name mean, and what had he prophesied concerning Elijah? (b) How did he also prophesy evidently with reference to the same one, and who were expecting his prophecy to be fulfilled?
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2 Malachi, who foretold the coming of this Elijah the prophet, was merely by name "Messenger [or, Angel] of Jehovah." But an actual angel of Jehovah was the one who announced that Malachi's prophecy was about to be fulfilled. This angel's name was Gabriel, meaning "An Able-bodied One of God." This was in the spring of 3 B.C.E.

3 By this time great changes had taken place in the land of Palestine. The land was no longer divided up into the territories of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were no longer a ten-tribe kingdom of Israel and a kingdom of Judah. No longer was a king of the house of David reigning at Jerusalem. The land had now become a part of the Roman Empire, which at this time was ruled by Caesar Augustus of Rome. The land had been broken up into regions known as Judea and Samaria and Peraea and Galilee and other regions under King Herod the Great, with the Decapolis to the east.

4 Herod was a circumcised Idumaean or Edomite, a descendant of Esau (or Edom), the twin brother of the patriarch Jacob, and he was appointed by the Roman Senate to be king over the land. In the summer of 37 B.C.E. Herod took possession of Jerusalem by assault and seated himself as king over the Jews or Israelites. We now come to the thirty-fourth year of his reign since his capture of Jerusalem. Syria still lay to the north as an imperial province, and the Romans kept four legions of soldiers there to guard the frontier of the empire. That means forty thousand troops, with many centurions, each centurion being in charge of a hundred men.

5 The angel Gabriel was sent to Jerusalem to the temple. This was not the temple built by King


2. Who was sent to announce that fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy regarding Elijah was near, and when was this?
3. By this time what changes had taken place in the land of Palestine, and who was ruling regions of it?
4. Who was Herod the Great, and how did he become king at Jerusalem?
5. Where was the angel Gabriel sent, and where did the aged priest Zechariah behold him?
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Solomon. That temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 607 B.C.E., when Jerusalem was destroyed for the first time. This was the second temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem, which King Herod had begun to remodel and transform into a new temple in 17 B.C.E., really a glorious third temple. As an angel, Gabriel, in the spring of 3 B.C.E., entered invisibly into the Holy of the temple, where the golden altar of incense stood. It was the hour of prayer and offering the incense. The aged, childless priest named Zechariah left the praying people outside in the temple courtyard and came in to offer the incense. Then Zechariah's eyes beheld Gabriel standing at the right side of the incense altar.

6 The angel said: "Have no fear, Zechariah, because your supplication has been favorably heard, and your wife Elizabeth will become mother to a son to you, and you are to call his name John. And you will have joy and great gladness, and many will rejoice over his birth; for he will be great before Jehovah.* But he must drink no wine and strong drink at all, and he will be filled with holy spirit right from his mother's womb; and many of the sons of Israel will he turn back to Jehovah* their God. Also, he will go before him with Elijah's spirit and power, to turn back the hearts of fathers to children and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, to get ready for Jehovah* a prepared people."  — Luke 1:5-17.

7 Zechariah felt that he and his wife were too old for this. So the angel said: "I am Gabriel, who stands near before God, and I was sent forth


* Eleven published Hebrew translations of the book of Luke in the Christian Greek Scriptures read "Jehovah" (Tetragrammaton) here. See pages 22-26 of Chapter 2, "The Book of the Name," in this book.
6. What did Gabriel say to him, with mention of Elijah?
7. Why did Zechariah lose his power of speech for the time?
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to speak with you and declare the good news of these things to you. But, look! you will be silent and not able to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their appointed time." — Luke 1:18-20.

8 This angelic prophecy was to be fulfilled just as surely as Malachi's prophecy (4:5,6) was to be fulfilled. As soon as he was released from his duties at the temple at the end of the week, Zechariah went home to his wife in the mountainous country of Judea, probably to the city of Hebron, which used to be a priest city. In faith he had relations with his aged wife Elizabeth.  — Luke 1:21-25.

9 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy God's angel Gabriel was sent north to a city of Galilee named Nazareth. Here a relative of Elizabeth, a cousin, lived. She was a virgin girl of the tribe of Judah, whereas Elizabeth was of the priestly family of Aaron the Levite. Of her birth we know nothing from the inspired Scriptures. Her birth had not been foretold like the birth of Abraham's son Isaac, or like the birth of the strong man Samson or like the birth of King Josiah of Judah, or like John's birth or even like the birth of Jesus Christ. The virgin had been referred to namelessly in the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, in these words to King Ahaz of Judah: "Jehovah himself will give you men a sign: Look! The maiden herself will actually become pregnant, and she is giving birth to a son, and she will certainly call his name Immanuel." But there was nothing miraculous or immaculate about Mary's birth, for Luke 3:23 makes her out to be the daughter of Heli of the royal line of King David; and this Heli became the father-in-law of the car-


8. How did Zechariah act in faith after that?
9. To whom was Gabriel sent about six months later, and what was the relationship of this one to God's covenant with David for the kingdom?
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penter Joseph, who was also of the royal line of King David. By being the daughter of Heli, Mary was also of the royal household of David, and she could pass on to her first-born son the natural right to the throne of King David, in harmony with the covenant that Jehovah God made with David for an everlasting kingdom. — 2 Samuel 7:11-16.

10 Mary the virgin Jewess had been born at Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. At this time she was living up north in Nazareth of Galilee, about thirty miles north of the city of Samaria. Here her father Heli engaged her to marry the carpenter Joseph, who also had been born at Bethlehem, more than sixty miles to the south. He had not yet taken Mary to his home as his wife.

11 The angel Gabriel now appeared to Mary the virgin, saying: "Good day, highly favored one, Jehovah is with you." Seeing that Mary was disturbed, Gabriel explained: "Have no fear, Mary, for you have found favor with God; and, look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom." — Luke 1:24-33.

12 Mary asked how this could be 'since she was having no intercourse' with a husband. Gabriel explained the coming miracle: "Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God's Son. And, look! Elizabeth your relative has also herself conceived a son, in


10. Where had Mary been born, find where had her fiancé been born?
11. What message with reference to the throne of David did Gabriel give to Mary?
12. How was Mary's motherhood to be brought about, and what was Mary's response to this arrangement?
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her old age, and this is the sixth month for her, the so-called barren woman; because with God no declaration will be an impossibility." Mary then exercised faith and said: "Look! Jehovah's slave girl. May it take place with me according to your declaration." At Mary's acceptance of God's will Gabriel left. — Luke 1:34-38.

13 Jehovah's active force went into operation toward Mary and his power overshadowed her, and Mary became miraculously pregnant. Then Mary went south to visit for a few months the prospective mother of John. The child in Elizabeth's womb was now about six months old. "As Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the infant in her womb leaped; and Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, and she called out with a loud cry and said: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! So how is it that this privilege is mine, to have the mother of my Lord come to me? For, look! as the sound of your greeting fell upon my ears, the infant in my womb leaped with great gladness. Happy too is she that believed, because there will be a complete performance of those things spoken to her from Jehovah.' " (Luke 1:39-45) God's spirit thus operated upon John even before he was born.

14 Then Mary herself gave way to an inspired expression, in which she again referred to herself as Jehovah's slave girl. She also referred to Jehovah's covenant with Abraham promising that his seed would take possession of the gate of his enemies and by means of his seed all the nations of the earth would bless themselves. (Genesis 22:15-18) Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and, shortly before Elizabeth was about to give birth, Mary went back to Nazareth. — Luke 1:46-56.


13. After that whom did Mary go to visit, and how did God's spirit then operate upon John even before he was born?
14. To what inspired expression did Mary herself then give way, and when did she leave Elizabeth?
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15 Shortly after Mary left, Elizabeth gave birth to her son. On the eighth day Jehovah God's law required the boy, not to be baptized in water, but to be circumcised. That was the time also to give him a name. Others wanted to name the boy after his father Zechariah, but Elizabeth insisted that he be called John, which means "Jehovah Has Been Gracious."* Zechariah could not talk, but he remembered angel Gabriel's command and so he wrote on a tablet: "John is its name." Instantly Zechariah's speech was restored.

16 Filled with holy spirit, Zechariah blessed Jehovah. He spoke as if already the promised Deliverer had been raised up, the "horn of salvation for us in the house of David his servant," in harmony with the covenant that Jehovah had made with Abraham concerning a Seed that would take possession of the gates of the enemies and be a means of blessing to all the nations of the earth. Then Zechariah turned his attention to his newly named son John and said: "But as for you, young child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go in advance before Jehovah to make his ways ready, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender compassion of our God. With this compassion a daybreak will visit us from on high, to give light to those sitting in darkness and death's shadow, to direct our feet prosperously in the way of peace." (Luke 1:57-79) Zechariah thus foretold that his son John was to be a forerunner of Jehovah's "messenger of the covenant," as foretold in Malachi 3:1.


* According to The American College Dictionary, page 659, column 1, under "John." Also, page 1431, column 2, under "Masculine Names." — 1948 edition.
15. What was done to Elizabeth's son on the eighth day, and what is the meaning of the name given to him?
16. How did Zechariah speak under inspiration, and how did he foretell that his son would take part in fulfilling Malachi 3:1?
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17 During the next six months events developed for Mary. Her fiance Joseph was horrified to learn that she had become pregnant! He was thinking of secretly divorcing her as an adulteress, when Jehovah's angel appeared in a dream, saying: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife home, for that which has been begotten in her is by holy spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you must call his name Jesus,* for he will save his people from their sins." In this way Joseph learned how the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 was to be fulfilled, namely: "Look! The virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and they will call his name Immanuel." When translated from Hebrew into English, this name means "With Us Is God."

18 On rising from his sleep Joseph did as directed and took Mary to his home as his wife. But in view of the coming miraculous birth of Mary's son Jesus, Joseph had no sex connections with her, that he might not appear to be the child's natural father. — Matthew 1:18-25.

19 At the temple of Herod in Jerusalem the chief priests and religious scribes expected their Messiah, whom the Greeks called Christ, to be born about six miles south of Jerusalem, in the Judean town of Bethlehem. As ground for their expectation they referred to the prophecy of Micah 5:2, which reads: "And you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, the one too little to get to be among the thousands of Judah, from you there will come out to me the


* Under "Jesus," The American College Dictionary, 1948 edition, page 656, says: "Taken from Greek: modification of Iesous, taken from Hebrew: modification of Yeshua', earlier Yehoshua', literally, Jehovah is salvation."
17, 18. (a) How was Mary's fiance restrained from divorcing her secretly as an adulteress? (b) After taking her to his home, why did Joseph then have no sex connections with Mary?
19. (a) According to prophecy, was Messiah Christ to be born up in Nazareth where Mary was, or where? (b) How did Mary's son come to be born in the predicted place?
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one who is to become ruler in Israel, whose origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite." (Matthew 2:3-6) But Mary was up in Nazareth of Galilee. Yet the prophecy could not fail. By a decree from the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, Joseph and Mary were obliged to go south to their native town of Bethlehem to be registered there. While there in the city of David's birth, her child came into this world. "She gave birth to her son, the first-born, and she bound him with cloth bands and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the lodging room." Micah's prophecy had been fulfilled! — Luke 2:1-7.

20 That same night Joseph and Mary were surprised to have shepherds from the nearby fields come to see the newborn Jesus. How did they know? While they were in the fields watching their flocks, "suddenly Jehovah's angel stood by them, and Jehovah's glory gleamed around them, and they became very fearful. But the angel said to them: 'Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in David's city. And this is a sign for you: you will find an infant bound in cloth bands and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there came to be with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: 'Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of good will.'" This is what the shepherds told Joseph and Mary. After that the shepherds bore witness to what they had seen and heard, but not to the Edomite King Herod at Jerusalem. — Luke 2:8-20.

21 On the eighth day afterward Joseph and Mary were still in Bethlehem. The time had come, no,


20. How did Joseph and Mary come to be visited that same night by shepherds, and to whom did these bear witness afterward?
21. On the eighth day where was Mary, what was done to her baby, and what name was he given?
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not to baptize Mary's baby in water, but to circumcise him as a Jew. "Now when eight days came to the full for circumcising him, his name was also called Jesus, the name called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." — Luke 2:21.

22 On the fortieth day from Jesus' birth Mary had to go up to Jerusalem, to Herod's temple, to purify herself according to the Jewish law through Moses, and also to present the babe Jesus to Jehovah, because he was her first-born son. "Also, when the days for purifying them according to the law of Moses came to the full, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to Jehovah, just as it is written in Jehovah's law." (Luke 2: 22-24) Thus from babyhood this miraculous child belonged to God. Jehovah God was really his father, but Joseph as Mary's husband adopted the child and was supposed to be its natural father. Thus by Joseph, Jesus had a legal tie-in with the house of King David; but by his earthly mother Mary he had a natural tie-in with that royal house. In a twofold way he was the Son of David. (Leviticus 12:1-8; Exodus 13:11-13) King Herod was evidently not aware that the babe Jesus was there in Herod's temple that day. If Herod did know, he knew nothing about that forty-day-old baby to frighten him as king.

23 In the second year after Jesus' birth King Herod the Great at Jerusalem heard through some magi or astrologers from the east that a future "king of the Jews" had been born in the land. He had not been born in Herod's household at that time, although Herod had had ten wives. The Jewish high priests and scribes quoted to Herod the prophecy of Micah 5:2 as locating the birthplace of the promised king at Bethlehem. Herod


22. (a) What was done with the baby Jesus on his fortieth day, and why? (b) What tie-in with the royal house of David did Jesus have, and why, therefore, did Herod not try then to kill him?
23. How did Herod come to be moved with the desire to kill Jesus, and what cruel attempt did Herod make to that end?
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the Great was near death and wanted the kingship to remain in his own family. Hence he secretly purposed to kill the recently born heir to the kingship of the Jews. Later, "Herod, seeing he had been outwitted by the astrologers, fell into a great rage, and he sent out and had all the boys in Bethlehem and in all its districts done away with, from two years of age and under, according to the time that he had carefully ascertained from the astrologers. Then that was fulfilled which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 'A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and much wailing; it was Rachel weeping for her children, and she was unwilling to take comfort, because they are no more.'" — Jeremiah 31:15.

24 However, Herod the Great was too late. Before he got his baby killers on the way to Bethlehem six miles south, where the young Jesus still was, "look! Jehovah's angel appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying: 'Get up, take the young child and its mother and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I give you word; for Herod is about to search for the young child to destroy it.' So he got up and took along the young child and its mother by night and withdrew into Egypt, and he stayed there until the decease of Herod, for that to be fulfilled which was spoken by Jehovah through his prophet, saying: 'Out of Egypt I called my son.' "  — Matthew 2:1-18; Hosea 11:1.

25 Herod the Great had a son named Archelaus, by his fourth wife named Malthace, who was a Samaritan. Archelaus was thus half Samaritan and half Idumaean (Edomite). Malthace had another son who was named Herod Antipas, who was also thus half Samaritan and half Idumaean. Archelaus and Herod Antipas were in this way full brothers. Their father, Herod the Great, had as


24. How was Herod's attempt on Jesus' life foiled, and to the fulfillment of what prophecy did this lead?
25. Who succeeded Herod the Great, and over what regions did he become ruler?
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his third wife a Jewess named Mariamne, daughter of High Priest Simon. By this Mariamne (II) Herod the Great had a son named Herod Philip (I). This Philip was thus a half Jew and half Idumaean. He was a half brother to Archelaus and Herod Antipas. Their father, Herod the Great, had as his second wife a Jewess named Mariamne (I) the granddaughter of High Priest Hyrcanus II of the Maccabees. By this Jewess Herod had two sons, Alexander (II) and Aristobulus (III). This half-Jew Aristobulus became the father of a daughter named Herodias. So Herodias was part Jewish, and Herod Philip I the half Jew and Herod Anti-pas the half Samaritan were her uncles. Her other uncle Archelaus the half Samaritan was the one who succeeded Herod the Great to the rulership over Judea, Samaria and northern Idumaea, but not Galilee.

26 "When Herod had deceased, look! Jehovah's angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said: 'Get up, take the young child and its mother and be on your way into the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the soul of the young child are dead.' So he got up and took the young child and its mother and entered into the land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus ruled as king of Judea instead of his father Herod, he became afraid to depart for there. Moreover, being given divine warning in a dream, he withdrew into the territory of Galilee, and came and dwelt in a city named Nazareth, that there might be fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets: 'He will be called a Nazarene.'" — Matthew 2:19-23.

27 Concerning Jesus the Son of God it is written: "And the young child continued growing and getting strong, being filled with wisdom, and God's favor continued upon him." — Luke 2:40.


26. When was Jesus brought out of Egypt, and where was he taken and brought up, to fulfill prophecy?
27. What brief record is there of Jesus' growing up?
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28 However, down south in Judea, Jesus' older second cousin, John the son of priest Zechariah, was also growing up, first under Herod Archelaus and then under Roman procurators. Of John it is written: "And the young child went on growing and getting strong in spirit, and he continued in the deserts until the day of showing himself openly to Israel." — Luke 1:80.

29 On August 19, A.D. 14, when John was fifteen years old, the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus died, and Tiberius Caesar became ruler of the Roman Empire, including Palestine. Fourteen years passed, and after that the spring of A.D. 29 came. "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod [Antipas, the half Samaritan, son of Herod the Great] was district ruler of Galilee [including Nazareth], but Philip his [half brother, the half-Jewish son of Herod the Great] was district ruler of the country of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was district ruler of Abilene [near Damascus of Syria], in the days of chief priest Annas and of Caiaphas, God's declaration came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness."

30 John was by now thirty years old and of age to undertake the full duties of a priest in Herod's temple at Jerusalem. — Luke 3:1,2.

31 John got a disciple named John the son of Zebedee, and this disciple John wrote of his master: "There arose a man that was sent forth as a representative of God: his name was John. This man came for a witness, in order to bear witness about the light, that people of all sorts might believe through him. He was not that light,


28. Meantime, where was John growing up, and finally in what place did he take up living?
29. (a) How old was John when Emperor Caesar Augustus died? (b) In what year of his successor did God's word come to John?
30. How old was John then, and for what duties was he of age?
31. How is John stated to be one of Jehovah's witnesses by John the son of Zebedee?
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but he was meant to bear witness about that light. The true light that gives light to every sort of man was about to come into the world." Thus John was one of Jehovah's witnesses. — John 1:6-9.

32 Why was John the son of Zechariah out in the wilderness instead of at the temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem? It was in order to fulfill prophecy. Up to this time John had never drunk wine or any strong drink at all, like a Nazirite. The angel Gabriel had forbidden that. (Luke 1:15; Numbers 6:1-4; Matthew 11:18,19) "But this very John had his clothing of camel's hair and a leather girdle around his loins; his food too was insect locusts [Greek, akrídes] and wild honey." — Matthew 3:4; Leviticus 11:21, 22.

33 "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying: 'Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.' This, in fact, is the one spoken of through Isaiah the prophet in these words: 'Listen! Someone is crying out in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of Jehovah, you people! Make his roads straight." ' " (Matthew 3:1-3) As God's Sent One, John appeared in the wilderness to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3-5: "Listen! Someone is calling out in the wilderness: 'Clear up the way of Jehovah, you people! Make the highway for our God through the desert plain straight. Let every valley be raised up, and every mountain and hill be made low. And the knobby ground must become level land, and the rugged ground a valley plain. And the glory of Jehovah will certainly be revealed, and all flesh must see it together, for the very mouth of Jehovah has spoken it.'"

34 The angel Gabriel had told priest Zechariah that John would turn many of the sons of Israel


32, 33. (a) What did John eat and drink out in the wilderness? (b) Why was John there and not in the temple as a priest?
34. (a) According to the angel Gabriel's prophecy to John's father, what was John to do, and how did he fulfill that prophecy? (b) What did the Israelites need to do, in harmony with Malachi's words just before prophesying of Elijah's coming?
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back to Jehovah their God and that he would go before Jehovah with Elijah's spirit and power, "to turn back the hearts of fathers to children and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, to get ready for Jehovah a prepared people." (Luke 1:16, 17; Malachi 4:5, 6) How did John fulfill that prophecy? By preaching that the Israelites should repent of their sins against Jehovah God, with whom their forefathers had made a national covenant through the prophet Moses at Mount Sinai in Arabia. As sons of their forefathers, their hearts had to be turned back to a condition like that of their forefathers when they said: "All that Jehovah has spoken we are willing to do and be obedient." (Exodus 24:1-7) In this connection it is enlightening to note that, just before the prophet Malachi foretells the sending of Elijah the prophet to transform hearts, God says: "Remember, you people, the law of Moses my servant with which I commanded him in Horeb concerning all Israel, even regulations and judicial decisions." (Malachi 4:4-6) The Israelites now needed to repent, because they had followed the traditions of men, their religious leaders, which really transgressed God's laws. — Matthew 15:1-9.

35 Hence the Israelites really needed God's forgiveness of their sins. And at John's circumcision his father had said about him: "You will go in advance before Jehovah to make his ways ready, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender compassion of our God." (Luke 1:76-78) True to prediction, then, "John the baptizer turned up in the wilderness, preaching baptism in symbol of repentance for forgiveness of sins. Consequently all the territory of Judea and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem made their way out to him, and they


35. (a) In harmony with the words of John's father, of what were the Israelites in need? (b) What kind of baptism did John preach, and in symbol of what were the Israelites baptized?
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were baptized by him in the Jordan River, openly confessing their sins." (Mark 1:1-5; Luke 3:3-6) Their baptism was a symbol of their repentance.

36 The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two main religious sects among the Israelites at that time, and they misled the people by human traditions and otherwise. When John saw any of these come to be baptized, he remembered that he had been sent in advance of a great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah, at which time the earth, or its inhabitants, would be devoted to destruction. "When he caught sight of many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the baptism, he said to them: 'You offspring of vipers, who has shown you how to flee from the coming wrath? So then produce fruit that befits repentance; and do not presume to say to yourselves, "As a father we have Abraham." For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Already the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree, then, that does not produce fine fruit is to be cut down and thrown into the fire. I, for my part, baptize you with water because of your repentance; but the one coming after me is stronger than I am, whose sandals I am not fit to take off. That one will baptize you people with holy spirit and with fire. His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will completely clean up his threshing floor, and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.' " — Matthew 3:7-12.

37 Thus the One coming would bless some and destroy others. The symbolic trees producing fine fruit that befitted their repentance symbolized by water baptism would be blessed and would be baptized with holy spirit. The symbolic trees that produced no such fruit were to be cut down and


36. On seeing Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized, of what was John reminded, and so what did he say in warning?
37. According to John's symbolic language, how was the One coming to bless some and destroy others?
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thrown into a destruction as if by fire. Whereas the fruitful class, like wheat, were to be gathered safely into the symbolic storehouse, the unfruitful class, like chaff, were to be winnowed out and baptized with destruction as if by fire.

38 All sorts of Israelites came to John to be baptized: harlots or prostitutes, tax collectors, soldiers and religious sectarians. It was a time to produce the fruitage of repentance in the form of unselfishness and generosity and laying off from oppression. Accordingly when the listening crowds would ask: "What, then, shall we do?" John would say: "Let the man that has two undergarments share with the man that has none, and let him that has things to eat do the same." When tax collectors asked: "Teacher, what shall we do?" John said: "Do not demand anything more than the tax rate."

39 At that time the Israelites were under their law covenant with Jehovah God. This covenant allowed for them to be soldiers and engage in carnal warfare, as the Maccabees had done. So John did not tell soldiers to quit the army. "Those in military service would ask him: 'What shall we also do?' And he said to them: 'Do not harass anybody or accuse anybody falsely, but be satisfied with your provisions.' " (Luke 3:10-14) John also taught his baptized followers to fast aside from the national fast days and also to pray to God with whom they were in covenant relationship. The record says: "The disciples of John fast frequently and offer supplications." His teaching to pray was recalled in this request: "Lord, teach us how to pray, just as John also taught his disciples." (Luke 5:33; 11:1) His baptism was called "John's baptism." — Acts 19:3.


38. The fruitage of repentance was to take what form, according to what John told the inquiring crowds, including tax collectors?
39. (a) What did John tell men in military service, and why? (b) What practices did John also teach his disciples to carry on?
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40 Just what place John the Baptist filled in the purpose of God the people were not able to make sure. "Now as the people were in expectation and all were reasoning in their hearts about John: 'May he perhaps be the Christ?' John gave the answer." He showed that he was not the Messiah or Christ. "Therefore he also gave many other exhortations and continued declaring good news to the people." (Luke 3:15, 16, 18) The Jewish scribes said that Elijah must come first before the Messiah. The religious leaders were also expecting the promised prophet who was to be like Moses. John did not pretend to be that promised prophet, nor to be Elijah reincarnated or resurrected from the dead. John was a faithful witness.

41 "Now this is the witness of John when the Jews sent forth priests and Levites from Jerusalem to him to ask him: 'Who are you?' And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed: 'I am not the Christ.' And they asked him: 'What, then? Are you Elijah?' And he said: 'I am not.' 'Are you The Prophet?' And he answered: 'No!' Therefore they said to him: 'Who are you? that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?' He said: 'I am a voice of someone crying out in the wilderness, "Make the way of Jehovah straight," just as Isaiah the prophet said.'

42 "Now those sent forth were from the Pharisees. So they questioned him and said to him: 'Why, then, do you baptize if you yourself are not the Christ or Elijah or The Prophet?' John answered them, saying: 'I baptize in water. In the midst of you one is standing whom you do not know, the one coming behind me, but the lace of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.' These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing." — John 1:19-28.


40. What expectations were general at that time, and how did John prove to be a faithful witness with regard to these?
41. What questions did priests and Levites from Jerusalem ask John, and how did he identify himself to them?
42. What did John tell them as to why he baptized?
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43 John stated the reason for the urgency of repentance. He said: "Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near." That is, the kingdom of God, the expression "the heavens" being used sometimes for God, who thrones in the heavens. (Daniel 4:25, 26) John was careful to identify the kingdom that he preached as not being a restoration of the kingdom of the Maccabees, which the Roman government overturned in 63 B.C. by General Pompey. John was not stirring up revolt against the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem nor against the Roman representative, Herod Antipas, the district ruler of Galilee. John preached God's kingdom and was merely announcing the coming of God's royal representative. He was sent to baptize that one. John's baptism was from heaven — a fact that Jewish leaders would not acknowledge. — Matthew 21:23-27.

44 It got to be in the sixth month of John's work of baptizing, toward the middle of the seventh Jewish month Tishri or Ethanim, about our October 1, A.D. 29. John's second cousin, Jesus, was carpentering up in Nazareth in Galilee under the jurisdiction of district ruler Herod Antipas and was now becoming thirty years old.

45 "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, in order to be baptized by him. But the latter tried to prevent him, saying: 'I am the one needing to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?' In reply Jesus said to him: 'Let it be. this time, for in that way it is suitable for us to carry out all that is righteous.' Then he quit preventing him. After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God's spirit coming upon him. Look! Also, there


43. (a) According to John, why was there urgency to repent? (b) What kind of kingdom did John preach, and hence from what source was his baptism?
44. Into what month of John's work of baptizing did Jesus keep on carpentering, and so how old was Jesus getting to be?
45. How does Matthew describe the event of Jesus' being baptized?
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was a voice from the heavens that said: 'This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.'"  — Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9, 11.

46 Jesus was praying, but not confessing sins, when John dipped him under the waters. "Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized and, as he was praying, the heaven was opened up and the holy spirit in bodily shape like a dove came down upon him, and a voice came out of heaven: 'You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.' Furthermore, Jesus himself, when he commenced his work, was about thirty years old, being the son, as the opinion was, of Joseph, the [son-in-law] of Heli." — Luke 3:21-23.

47 By his baptism in water Jesus had not become another one of John's disciples. Instead, now to his disciples John could point out Jesus to be the Son of God. This opportunity came to John some forty days later. Although John taught his disciples to fast, he himself never fasted forty days in a stretch, as the prophets Moses and Elijah had done. However, the baptized Jesus did so immediately after John baptized him, for God's spirit upon Jesus drove him into the wilderness, where he fasted forty days and was tempted by Satan the Devil, the Tempter. (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1-13) When John baptized Jesus, no other human was present. But John had been sent to "get ready for Jehovah a prepared people," and by now John had quite a number of disciples from the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." These had been gathered into Jehovah's fold on earth, and John the Baptist was acting as a doorkeeper of the fold, waiting to turn these sheep over, not to Jehovah God himself, but to Jehovah's representative, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. To this effect we read:


46. What shows the seriousness of Jesus at the time that he was baptized, and how old was he, and whose son was he?
47. (a) Did Jesus fast as a disciple of John, or under what other circumstances? (b) Whom had John been sent to get ready, and how was he like the doorkeeper of a sheepfold?
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"He that enters through the door is shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens to this one, and the sheep listen to his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." (John 10:2, 3; Matthew 10:6) Among John's disciples, these sheep in the fold, were John ben Zebedee and Andrew the brother of Peter.

48 The day after the priests and Levites from Jerusalem had visited him, John the Baptist "beheld Jesus coming toward him, and he said: 'See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said, Behind me there comes a man who has advanced in front of me, because he existed before me. Even I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing in water was that he might be made manifest to Israel.' John also bore witness, saying: 'I viewed the spirit coming down as a dove out of heaven, and it remained upon him. Even I did not know him, but the very One who sent me to baptize in water said to me, "Whoever it is upon whom you see the spirit coming down and remaining, this is the one that baptizes in holy spirit." And I have seen it, and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.' " — John 1:29-34.

49 John bore witness, not that Jesus was Jehovah God himself, but that Jesus was the Lamb of God, the Son of Jehovah God. And John's own disciple, namely, John the son of Zebedee, said: "No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him." — John 1:18.

50 After John the Baptist had for the first time proclaimed Jesus to be God's Son, "the next day John was standing with two of his disciples [Andrew and John ben Zebedee], and as he looked at


48, 49. (a) Who had sent John to baptize, and for what outstanding reason? (b) To what facts about Jesus' relationship did John bear witness?
50. To what two disciples did John introduce Jesus as God's Son, and what action did these immediately take on this fact?
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Jesus walking he said: 'See, the Lamb of God!' And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned and, getting a view of them following, he said to them: 'What are you looking for?' They said to him: 'Rabbi, (which means, when translated, Teacher,) where are you staying?' He said to them: 'Come, and you will see.' Accordingly they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day; it was about the tenth hour. Andrew the brother of Simon Peter was one of the two that heard what John said and followed Jesus." — John 1:35-40.

51 John thus began turning his disciples to the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the representative of Jehovah God, because they were a "prepared people" who had been got "ready for Jehovah." The passover of A.D. 30 went by. (John 2:12-23) After that Jesus enlarged the work of John the Baptist. How? The account answers: "After these things Jesus and his disciples went into Judean country, and there he spent some time with them and did baptizing. But John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim [up the Jordan toward Galilee], because there was a great quantity of water there, and people kept coming and being baptized; for John had not yet been thrown into prison." (John 3:22-24) It was John's baptism that was performed, for Jesus was not baptizing in his own name. "Indeed, Jesus himself did no baptizing but his disciples did." A number of Jesus' disciples had been personal disciples of John the Baptist. "Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John." — John 4:1, 2.

52 Those baptized by Jesus' disciples as well as those baptized by John were baptized in the name of Jehovah God, for He had sent John to baptize.


51. (a) Thus what did John begin doing in fulfillment of his commission? (b) How did Jesus enlarge the work of John, and with what results?
52. In whose name were all those repentant ones baptized, and by what miracle was their baptism not followed because of being John's baptism?
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It was a baptism of Israelites in symbol of repentance for forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3) However, after baptizing the repentant Israelites, Jesus' disciples did not lay their hands on them and impart to them any gifts of the holy spirit. Such spiritual gifts did not accompany John's baptism. — Acts 19:1-7.

53 Certain disciples, at least new ones whom John had not been able to introduce to Jesus, were still found with John. "Therefore a dispute arose on the part of the disciples of John with a Jew concerning purification. So they came to John and said to him: 'Rabbi, the man that was with you across the Jordan, to whom you have borne witness, see, this one is baptizing and all are going to him.' In answer John said: 'A man cannot receive a single thing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, 'I am not the Christ, but, I have been sent forth in advance of that one. He that has the bride is the bridegroom. However, the friend of the bridegroom, when he stands and hears him, has a great deal of joy on account of the voice of the bridegroom. Therefore this joy of mine has been made full. That one must go on increasing, but I must go on decreasing.' " — John 3:25-30.

54 John was getting a "prepared people" ready for Jehovah's representative, whom John now spoke of as the Bridegroom. He knew that this "bride" class, this prepared people, had to be turned over to the Bridegroom, Jesus, whom Jehovah had anointed. John did not put himself in this "bride" class that was to be married in due time to the Bridegroom, Jesus, but he was happy to serve as the "friend of the bridegroom" to present the "bride" class to the Bridegroom. When, after his


53. What comment did John make on the fact that Jesus was having baptism performed and all apparently were going to him instead of to John?
54. Thus into what class did John not put himself, and in performing what service in that connection did John have his joy made full?
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own efforts, he heard Bridegroom Jesus speaking to the first members of the "bride" class, John found his anticipated joy to be full. He was not jealous, but he rejoiced at accomplishing his mission from Jehovah God.

55 When Jesus heard that the religious Pharisees learned that he was baptizing more disciples than John the Baptist, Jesus left Judea and departed for Galilee, making his way there through Samaria. (John 4:1-54) It was at this time that John the Baptist, after less than two years of active ministry, was forcibly taken out of the field, leaving Jesus and his disciples to carry on the work. Matthew 4:12 locates the time, saying: "Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee." Who had arrested John, and why? The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus of the first century, assigns a political reason for arresting John.* However, the Holy Scriptures, in


* In Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 5, paragraph 2, Josephus said: "Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God: and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, who was called the Baptist. For Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue; both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God; and so to come to baptism. . . . Now when many others came in crowds about him; for they were greatly moved, or pleased, by hearing his words; Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion; (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise;) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause; and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus; the castle I before mentioned; and was there put to death.† . . . . ' [Footnote†: About February, A.D. 32] — As translated by Wm. Whiston, M.A., in 1849 edition published by Samuel Walker, Boston, Mass.
55. When did Jesus leave Judea for Galilee, and how was John taken out of his field of activity, and for what kind of reason?
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accounts by three of Jesus' disciples, assign a moral question, a violation of God's law, as the leading reason.

56 More than nine hundred years previously the prophet Elijah had incurred the hatred of a woman, Queen Jezebel. John the Baptist, the man who came with Elijah's spirit and power, likewise incurred the hatred of a woman, the wife of the district ruler of Galilee, Herod Antipas the half-Samaritan son of King Herod the Great. The woman, however, had been the wife of her half uncle, the half brother of Herod Antipas, namely, Herod Philip the half-Jew son of King Herod the Great. Both Herod Philip and his half-brother Herod Antipas were circumcised proselytes to the Jews' religion and were therefore under God's law through Moses. Moreover, the woman in this picture was the granddaughter of King Herod the Great and, on her grandmother's side, she was the great-great-granddaughter of the Jewish High Priest Hyrcanus II. Being thus part Jew as well as part Idumaean, this woman, Herodias by name, was likewise under God's law through Moses. In Leviticus 18:16 this law forbade such an incestuous marriage, saying: "The nakedness of your brother's wife you must not lay bare. It is your brother's nakedness." Both Herod Antipas and Herodias were violators of God's law, back to which John the Baptist was directing the Jews and Jewish proselytes.

57 Mark 6:17-20 says: "Herod himself had sent out and arrested John and bound him in prison on account of Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, because he had married her. For John had repeatedly said to Herod: 'It is not lawful for you to be having the wife of your brother.' But Herodias was nursing a grudge against him and was want-


56. The hatred of what woman did John incur, and under whose law was she religiously, and how had she violated this?
57. Who arrested John, and why?
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ing to kill him, but could not. For Herod stood in fear of John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man; and he was keeping him safe. And after hearing him he was at a great loss what to do, yet he continued to hear him gladly." Luke 3:18-20 says concerning John: "He also gave many other exhortations and continued declaring good news to the people. But Herod the district ruler, for being reproved by him concerning Herodias the wife of his brother and concerning all the wicked deeds that Herod did, added also this to all those deeds: he locked John up in prison."

58 The Jewish historian Josephus says that Herod Antipas locked up John in the prison at Machaerus fortress, which overlooks the northeastern shores of the Dead Sea. However, today it is held unlikely that John was imprisoned there, near the southern tip of Herod Antipas' territory of Peraea (now Jordan), so far from Jerusalem. As for Jesus, "when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. Further, after leaving Nazareth, he came and took up residence in Capernaum beside the sea [of Galilee] . . . From that time on Jesus commenced preaching and saying: 'Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.' " "Then he went around throughout the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and curing every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity among the people." (Matthew 4:12-17, 23; Mark 1:14, 15) Yet John the Baptist stayed bound in prison.

59 "Now John's disciples reported to him about all these things. So John summoned a certain two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to say: 'Are you the Coming One or are we to expect a


58. Where was John imprisoned, and what message did Jesus commence preaching after John's imprisonment?
59. What inquiry did John in prison make of Jesus, and what impressive but safe answer did Jesus give there in the territory of Herod Antipas?
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different one?' When they came up to him the men said: 'John the Baptist dispatched us to you to say, 'Are you the Coming One or are we to expect another?' In that hour [Jesus] cured many of sicknesses and grievous diseases and wicked spirits, and granted many blind persons the favor of seeing. Hence in answer he said to the two: 'Go your way, report to John what you saw and heard: the blind are receiving sight, the lame are walking, the lepers are being cleansed and the deaf are hearing, the dead are being raised up, the poor are being told the good news. And happy is he who has not stumbled over me.'" (Luke 7:18-23) Thus Jesus did not say publicly, there in Herod Antipas' territory, that he was the Messiah or Christ who was to come. He did not give the people or the ruler the mistaken idea that he was about to restore the earthly kingdom of David over all Israel. On a later occasion the Pharisees told Jesus: "Get out and be on your way from here, because Herod wants to kill you." Jesus said: "Go and tell that fox, 'Look! I am casting out demons and accomplishing healings today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be finished.'" — Luke 13:31, 32.

60 After John's two messengers left to tell him what they had seen and heard in answer to his question, Jesus said to the crowds respecting John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed being tossed by a wind? What, then, did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft garments? Why, those wearing soft garments are in the houses of kings. Really, then, why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and far more than a prophet. This is he concerning whom it is written, 'Look! I myself am sending forth my messenger before your face, who will prepare


60. After John's messengers left, what measure of greatness did Jesus say that John had, and what prophecies did he say John fulfilled?
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your way ahead of you!' Truly I say to you people, Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is. But from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it. For all, the Prophets and the Law, prophesied until John; and if you want to accept it, This is 'Elijah who is destined to come.' " — Matthew 11:7-15.

61 According to these words, neither the prophet Moses nor the original prophet Elijah was greater than John the Baptist. Yet for all John's greatness he will not equal one of the "prepared people" got ready for Jehovah, one of the "bride" class, who will be with the Bridegroom Jesus Christ in the kingdom of the heavens, in the invisible heavens of the spirit realm. John began a fulfillment of the books of the Law and of the Prophets; for Jesus said that John was the "messenger" of Jehovah foretold in Malachi 3:1 and was also the prophet Elijah foretold in Malachi 4:5, 6. This was what made John the Baptist the equal of any prophet before him.

62 Jesus defended John as being filled with God's "holy spirit right from his mother's womb" rather than as being in the service of Baal-zebub the "ruler of the demons." Jesus said: "With whom shall I compare this generation? It is like young children sitting in the market places who cry out to their playmates, saying, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance; we wailed, but you did not beat yourselves in grief.' Correspondingly, John came neither eating nor drinking, yet people


61. Why was John not equal to a lesser one In the kingdom of the heavens, but what made him the equal of any prophet prior to him?
62. How did Jesus show that that generation was inconsistent in claiming that John had a demon and was in the service of Baal-zebub?
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say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of man did come eating and drinking, still people say, 'Look! A man gluttonous and given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' All the same, wisdom is proved righteous by its works." — Matthew 11: 16-19; 12:24-28; Luke 7:24-35; 2 Kings 1:2-6.

63 Sometime after that the opportunity arrived for Herodias the wife of Herod Antipas to have her revenge on John. "A convenient day came along when Herod spread an evening meal on his birthday [contrary to the then Jewish custom] for his top-ranking men and the military commanders and the foremost ones of Galilee. And the daughter of this very Herodias came in and danced and pleased Herod and those reclining with him. The king said to the maiden: 'Ask me for whatever you want, and I will give it to you.' Yes, he swore to her: 'Whatever you ask me for, I will give it to you, up to half my kingdom.' And she went out and said to her mother: 'What should I ask for?' She said: 'The head of John the baptizer.' Immediately she went in with haste to the king and made her request, saying: 'I want you to give me right away on a platter the head of John the Baptist.' Although he became deeply grieved, yet the king did not want to disregard her, in view of the oaths and those reclining at the table. So the king immediately dispatched a body guardsman and commanded him to bring his head. And he went off and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter, and he gave it to the maiden, and the maiden gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it they came and took up the corpse and laid it in a memorial tomb." (Mark 6:21-29) They also reported it to Jesus. Jesus then looked for an isolated place, going away by boat. — Matthew 14:1-13.


63. How did Herodias have and take advantage of an opportunity to have her revenge on John the Baptist, and how did this affect Jesus?
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64 Jesus resumed his public activities. At the report of his miracles the guilty conscience of Herod Antipas revealed itself. "Now it got to the ears of King Herod, for the name of Jesus became public, and people were saying: 'John the baptizer has been raised from the dead, and on that account the powerful works are operating in him.' But others were saying: 'It is Elijah.' Still others were saying: 'It is a prophet like one of the prophets.' But when Herod heard it he began to say: 'The John that I beheaded, this one has been raised up.'" (Mark 6:14-16) Not being too sure of his conclusion, Herod wanted to see Jesus. (Luke 9: 7-9) He did get to see Jesus, but then under arrest. Disappointed at Jesus, Herod, whose father had tried to kill Jesus as a baby, made fun of Jesus and returned him to Governor Pontius Pilate to put him to death. (Luke 23:6-12) Later Herodias tried to gain royal honor from the Roman Emperor Caligula for her husband Herod Antipas, but in vain. A.D. 39 he was deprived of his dominions and banished to Lugdúnum (Lyons, France). Of her own accord Herodias shared exile with him.

65 Thus John the Baptist did not have any glorious exit from his earthly activity as Elijah had. John performed no miracles, whereas Elijah has eight recorded to his credit. When Jesus went across the Jordan River to the place where John did his first baptizing, many persons who came to Jesus said: "John, indeed, did not perform a single sign, but as many things as John said about this man were all true." (John 10:40,41) John, however, was honored with baptizing Jesus in water in symbol of Jesus' dedication of himself to the foretold service of Jehovah God. John did not ordain Jesus to become Jehovah's minister. But


64. When Herod Antipas heard of Jesus' miracles, what did his guilty conscience lead him to say, and when did he get his desire fulfilled to see this miracle worker?
65. How did John and Elijah compare as to miracles, and what special honors did John enjoy?
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John did witness the ordination of Jesus by Jehovah by the anointing with the holy spirit, so that Jesus became the Messiah or Christ, the Anointed One. John also foretold the baptism with the holy spirit that God was to perform through Jesus Christ. John saw such a baptism with holy spirit performed upon Jesus at the Jordan River.

66 John did fulfill his commission from heaven, as foretold. As Jehovah's messenger, he did go before Jesus and prepare the way before Jesus according to Jehovah's instructions. He did go in advance before Jesus Christ as Jehovah's "messenger of the covenant" came to Jehovah's temple in Jerusalem and cleansed it of commercialism. (Luke 7:27; Malachi 3:1) John did get ready for Jehovah a prepared people, and these he introduced and turned over to Jesus Christ as Jehovah's visible representative.

67 As the Elijah foretold in Malachi 4:5, 6, John did turn the hearts of a remnant of Israelite fathers back toward sons, that is, toward becoming the sons of God, these also becoming like young children in their religious attitude. (Matthew 18:1-3) John turned their hearts back to the name of Jehovah God. (John 1:23) He also turned a remnant of the sons of Israel back to their faithful forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with whom Jehovah God had established the covenant for a seed by means of whom all the nations (not merely natural Jews) would bless themselves; and this remnant of believers thus became, each of them, in fact a "son of Abraham" by the exercise of faith like that of Abraham. (Luke 19:9) John was also sent to Israel before the "coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah." This day came


66. How did John the Baptist fulfill his commission from heaven according to the prophecies?
67. (a) How, then, did John turn hearts of fathers back toward sons and the hearts of sons back toward their fathers? (b) Before what "great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah" had John been sent?
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about thirty-nine years after John's beheading, namely, A.D. 70, when the baptism of fire came upon the unbelieving Jews in Judea as foretold by John himself. Then Jerusalem and her glorious temple built by King Herod the Great were destroyed by the Roman legions. Like chaff, like a fruitless tree, the faithless Jews were burned up.  — Luke 19:41-44; 21:5, 6, 20-24.

68 Nonetheless, the prophetic Scriptures speak of a still greater "fear-inspiring day of Jehovah." The "day" that came upon the Jews A.D. 70 was preceded by a forerunner, namely, John the Baptist. How much more would a greater and more fear-inspiring day of Jehovah deserve to be announced and preceded by a forerunner! Those upon whom the "day of Jehovah" came nineteen hundred years ago were only a nation, a small one. The yet future "great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah" is to come on the nations of Christendom and all the nations tied in with Christendom; that day will bring the striking of the whole earth, not just the land of Judea, but the whole inhabited earth with a "devoting of it to destruction." The social, political, commercial, religious structure of earth's inhabitants will be destroyed to make way for something better. In view of that, what? It is only reasonable, as well as Scriptural, to expect a still larger and final fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the coming of Elijah the prophet. John the Baptist lived out merely a miniature fulfillment of this prophecy of Malachi 4:5, 6. But in himself John served to be a living prophecy of this Greater Elijah the prophet, and John's own work foreshadowed a similar work by this greater one. This we shall see.


68. Why is it reasonable and Scriptural to expect a still larger fulfillment of Malachi 4:5, 6, and what did John and his work in themselves serve as?


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