The Ministry of John the Baptist.

In the writings of the Jews, there is a story of the prophet Elijah. He was a big burly man from the country. He was not a highly educated or sophisticated priest. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Elijah was a Prophet of the Lord. In these writings, two specific articles of clothing are spoken of, Elijah’s camel hair prayer shawl and his leather girdle. When Elisha had taken Elijah’s place, these two pieces were given to him by God. After Elisha’s death, the priest brought the camel hair prayer shawl and the leather girdle into the temple to ask God who was the next prophet. The Lord told them to place the prayer shawl and girdle at the Altar of Incense until He would show them the next prophet. In the economy of Israel, a man could be a priest and a prophet at the same time.  On the other hand, a prophet didn’t necessarily have to be a priest. Just before Jesus was born, Mary’s cousin husband, Zacharias was performing his duties as a priest. He was burning incense before the Lord, in the Temple. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to him in the Holy of Holies, and said to him that Elizabeth, his wife, would have a boy. He, John, would be a Prophet of the Most High God. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair and a leather girdle about his loins: and his meat was locust and wild honey.” Matt.3:1-4. Now you know why Jesus said this of John the Baptist, “But I say unto you, that Elias(Elijah) is come already, and they knew him not.” Luke 17:12. John came before Jesus preaching repentance for sins, preparing the coming of Jesus in his ministry. Mark 1:1-4; Luke 3:1-6; John 1:23; Mal.3:1; Isa.40:3-5. ff

Crain Blanchard.

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