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John the Baptist - the Real Messiah? 

Jesus Christ, according to the gospels, claimed to be the Messiah. The Messiah, meaning anointed one, was believed to be the true king of the Jews. The Jewish Bible finished with a prophecy saying that Elijah is to come back before the great and terrible day of the Lord. Elijah was a prophet who was called up into Heaven and who ascended on a chariot of fire. The Jews believed he was to return. Jesus said that this prophecy was fulfilled in the coming of John the Baptist. Nothing in the Bible denies that this was a second incarnation of Elijah. It would be different from reincarnation where you die and return in another body but maybe Elijah was simply put back into embryonic state and implanted in the mother of John the Baptist. The Bible does speak of the birth of John as miraculous.
 
Unlike Jesus, we do have testimony outside the Bible that John the Baptist existed. John is talked about by the first century historian Josephus.
 
Incredibly the Bible Jesus himself says that John is the true Son of God. This contradicts the Christian lie that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah.
 
This is the evidence that John was the Messiah not Jesus who was a fake having leapt on to John’s bandwagon.
 
Anybody who was baptised by John the Baptist became John’s disciple.  John emphasised the rite too much for it to be anything other than an initiation rite.  Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan. So by accepting baptism, Jesus was declaring to John that he was learning from him and not vice versa. The Gospel of Mark says John baptised Jesus. So does the Gospel of Matthew. Luke merely says Jesus was baptised but doesn't say by whom. Also it seems from Luke 3:19-21 that John was already imprisoned so he couldn't have baptised Jesus. John refuses to state that John baptised Jesus. The later gospels seek to sever Jesus and John as much as they can. They want to engage in revisionism with regard to the first two gospels.
 
The prophecies that were thought to be about the Messiah in the Old Testament fit John better than Jesus. The Christians of course have to use contrived interpretations to be able to think they see predictions about Jesus in the Old Testament.
 
They say for example that the Old Testament predicted the birth of Jesus the Messiah at Bethlehem. John was not born at Bethlehem as far as we know though he might have been. Luke says John’s parents lived in the hill country of Judea but doesn’t say where John was born. Also, the Messiah coming from Bethlehem doesn’t mean he will be born there.
 
Micah 5:2. In Bethlehem of Judea, will come one who had his origin from of old. In The Case for Jesus the Messiah we learn that quedem or from old “literally means from ‘ancient time, aforetime’ (page 74)”. Or it can mean from eternity. Or it can refer to a character like Elijah who lived as a man and went to Heaven and was reborn as John the Baptist. You might argue that texts should be interpreted as naturally as possible. Positing that John was the reincarnation of Elijah would fit the text better for it has a very old man being reborn.
 
The prophecy says that when his mother gives birth to him the exiles of Israel will come back to it which did not happen when Jesus was born (v3). The verse says that when she who is in travail has given birth then the rest of his brothers will return to the people of Israel. If John was the Messiah then how do we explain that the exiles didn’t return when John was born? But John more than Jesus claimed to be the one who would do the gathering – he saw himself as calling the wayward sons of Israel back into the fold by bringing them to repentance.
 
The prophecy says only that the man will come from Bethlehem so he was not necessarily born there. The man will have existed before he was born perhaps as an angel or man or something. The man will lead Israel to war against its enemies. Though classed as messianic the prophecy isn’t necessarily so. But John didn’t lead his people to war.   Messiah meant king and was expected to be a warrior. If John was the Messiah then the time is yet to come when he will lead his people to war.
 
Zechariah 13:7 says, “Awake O sword against my shepherd. Awake against the man who is my associate, says the Lord of Hosts. Strike the shepherd that the sheep may be scattered. I will turn my hand against the little ones.”
 
It was John who gathered the people together as a shepherd would. Jesus just built on the work John did and may have stolen his sheep. Jesus even said that his own disciples were to preach to the lost sheep.
 
Jesus said this prophecy referred to his own arrest when the disciples were scattered. But Jesus was never struck by the sword and John was. He was beheaded by a sword on the orders of Herod Antipas. Also, no God is going to predict the scattering of Jesus’ disciples for we read that they soon got back together. When God predicts something it has to be a totally disastrous scattering otherwise the prophecy can mean anything. That is why it is totally credulous to say the prophecy just means that Jesus was arrested by men carrying swords for that was too easy to fulfil. God would predict better than that. In any case, what Jesus said shows the prophecy was believed to be messianic. The prophecy refers to the Baptist if it is a true prophecy.
 
The scattering of John’s sheep is to be totally disastrous. This is true of John’s disciples. They never got back into becoming a Church and the followers of Jesus poached many of them away into apostasy.
 
In Zechariah 12 we read that somebody from the house of David was to be wounded or pierced and mourned over by his relatives who are of the house of David and the house of Levi. This also can be made to fit the Baptist. His father was a priest of Levi and his mother Elizabeth was said to have been related to Mary the mother of Jesus from the house of David. It fits the Baptist best because Jesus had no links with the Levitical priesthood.
 
It is not enough to say that Mary had some Levitical blood in her lineage. First of all, the records aren’t necessarily right. We can safely assume that any one of the people listed in her lineage listed as a father of so and so may not have been the father at all due to his wife’s discreet infidelity. Secondly the link with Levi is stronger with John whose father was a priest of Levi. Thirdly, we know that the Christians made stuff up to make the prophecies fit Jesus. They were less likely to do that with the Baptist for he was not their Messiah.
 
Was John really Jesus' cousin as specified in the gospel of Luke? If Jesus really had royal blood as the gospels say, then John had it too. He would have been eradicated before he got crowds to follow him as a possible threat to the fragile political cohesion. If John had royal blood, then nobody knew about it. Or maybe John was not related to Jesus at all.
 
Matthew includes Jechoniah or Coniah in his list of Joseph’s progenitors and accordingly as an ancestor of Jesus’. Matthew must have forgotten or not known that if Coniah was indeed a forefather of Jesus’ then Jesus was debarred from the throne of David, disqualified by divine edict from holding an authentic messianic office because of God’s everlasting curse on King Jechoniah’s blood line in Jeremiah 22:30. The record says then that Jesus was not the Messiah so the only alternative is to recognise John as the Messiah instead. John could only be Messiah if he were not related to Jesus assuming Jesus really was descended from Jechoniah.
 
The prophecy says its subject was mourned by his family. There is no record of Jesus having been mourned by his family. But the gospels say that John was mourned by Jesus his relative and his disciples. If God declares a prophecy God will make sure its fulfilment is recorded so clearly the pierced one was not Jesus.
 
Jesus said that when John was slain that John came to restore all things. That is he came to restore the true message of God and the correct understanding. He called him the Elijah and he said they did to him whatever they pleased as it has been written (Mark 9:13). So Jesus declared that the Old Testament scriptures predicted the execution of John. Jesus then at this time had taught that John was predicted in Zechariah 13 for there is nothing else that can be reasonably thought to be possibly referring to John’s fate. Here, Jesus declares John to be the Messiah. That John was restoring all things shows that John was the real Son of God and the supreme mouthpiece of God not Jesus.
 
When the gospel of John spends so much time in chapter 1 and 3 trying to make John say he came to prepare the way for Jesus when John no longer had any influence and his disciples gone it is clear that it was trying to fight the knowledge that John had been the real Son of God. The gospel says that John said he was predicted in Isaiah 40 that he was the messenger before the coming of God. It twists this to make him mean that he was to be the precursor of Jesus. There is no hint of this meaning in the text and the coming of God refers to the triumph of God over evil in the world and the salvation of Israel from its temporal enemies. John has the Baptist denying to the Jews that he was the Christ, the Prophet predicted by Moses and even that he was Elijah!
 
They asked him what he was baptising people for in water if he was not the Christ (John 1:25). He replies that one among them will baptise not with water but with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
 
So the Messiah was expected to be a baptiser and John agreed with that. The John gospel says that Jesus didn’t baptise (4:2). The spiritualising of the baptism Jesus does by the Baptist shows that the gospel is hiding something here. If John believed the Messiah baptises and the Messiah doesn’t baptise in water but gives a baptism nobody can see then anybody can be the Messiah! John would not have been that naïve.
 
When John believed in a baptising Messiah and Jesus didn’t baptise then John didn’t recognise him as the Messiah. John may have felt that he was the Messiah himself.
 
Despite what the lying gospel of John says, John was not that confident that Jesus was the Messiah. John sent his disciples to Jesus to ask him if he was the Messiah (Matthew 11). John knew that if Jesus wasn’t telling people he was the Messiah openly it would be wrong and sinful to ask him. So there is no doubt that John did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
 
Jesus replied to that question that the disciples were to tell John about Jesus’ powers of healing and his preaching of the gospel. Then he added, that happy was the man who took no offence at him and found no stumbling block in him. Evidently he knew that the Baptist didn’t believe he was the Messiah.
 
John would have heard of the healings and the gospel. So why would Jesus send disciples to tell him things he already knew? Jesus didn’t really answer John’s question either. He was being vague. When Jesus couldn’t trust John to tell him that he was the Messiah then neither Jesus or John thought Jesus was the Messiah. Telling John about the healings and the gospel hints that Jesus was being sarcastic and looking to put John down for John never did miracles. Why else tell anybody what they know?
 
Then Jesus gets false. He starts saying, that “nobody born of woman was ever greater than John the Baptist and yet the least entered into the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Jesus says of John, “This is the one of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You” from Malachi 3:1. Jesus seems to contradict himself. This can be explained by bad editing of the text or story. The gospeller is trying to pervert the story to remove any trace of the original strata of data which says John was the Son of God, the man better even than Jesus.
 
If you read the verse from Malachi you can see that it was altered by Jesus in his speech. Malachi had it, “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of me, who shall make ready my way before me.” Jesus changed it to the me’s to you’s to make it seem that God was not promising to send a messenger to prepare for the day of the Lord when God judges and triumphs over evil and exercises political control over the world but promising to send a messenger before Jesus who was purporting to be the you in the verse. Jesus makes the verse stop saying that John was the only preparation for the day of the Lord for it would mean that John was the only saviour and messenger and Messiah and Jesus was a fake.
 
The Malachi passage was surmised without proof to be Messianic by the Jews. The gospel claim that Jesus made these alterations is a lie for that reason. Rather than make alterations he had to just go along with the Jewish understanding.
 
Also, saying the text referred to John the Baptist when people regarded the text as messianic would only encourage the Jews to consider John the Messiah especially when they would see Jesus changed the text to try and distort it to make it seem that John only came as his messenger. Jesus would have been unlikely to do that for for aren’t we after seeing his reluctance to tell even John that he was the Messiah?
 
All Malachi says is that the Lord will send his messenger to prepare for the coming of God himself. And then the angel or messenger of the covenant will suddenly come to the Temple. Nothing in the passage indicates that this poetry is referring to a messenger coming to prepare for ANOTHER one coming to the Temple. It could be the messenger comes to prepare for the Lord and then after a long space comes back to the Temple. This is poetry so we must not read too much into how its worded. It can look like two messengers are prophesied. But whatever it says, the supreme messenger of God must be the Baptist if the prophecy really was a prediction of the future given by God.
 
The bit about the least entered into the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is an insertion by somebody who didn’t like Jesus saying John was the top man with God instead of Jesus. We know that for Jesus said to people that they were not far from the kingdom of God and we can be sure he didn’t think they were better than the Baptist! And would Jesus really say John was the best man ever and then say that as if John was outside the kingdom? The passage is confused but it tells us that John was the true Christ and that he was outside Jesus’ kingdom.
 
We are told that John’s disciples buried John. We must remember that if Jesus could really raise people from the dead or was thought to have this power, John’s disciples would not have been given the body in case a resurrection hoax would be carried out - or even a real resurrection - which would start up the trouble that Herod hoped to avoid in jailing John in the first place. John back from the dead or being alleged to be would mean the king’s relationship with Herodias would be under the condescending spotlight again. The body of John would have been kept safe and produced if any rumours about a resurrection emerged. If John and his disciples had really recognised Jesus as anybody important then why didn’t John arrange for his body to be brought to Jesus so that he could raise him from the dead? Why didn't a delegation of followers of John go to Jesus and ask him to do it?
 
The prophecy of the suffering servant widely thought to refer to the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53 fits the Baptist better.
 
The growing up of the servant like a weed from desert ground fits the Baptist who lived in the desert.
 
Unlike Jesus who had a little pomp for he dressed as a rabbi, the Baptist went about in skins and rags which fits the verse saying the servant has nothing attractive about him in clothes or physically.
 
It says the servant was led like a lamb to the slaughter. Lambs die by getting their throats cut or heads cut off.
 
Jesus was not led like a lamb to the slaughter. The Baptist was. Jesus was crucified not slaughtered and the Baptist had had his head cut off. He was slaughtered. Christians will say it is only an expression not to be taken too literally. You could describe children going to face their fathers after a day’s vandalism as lambs for the slaughter.   Also the next verse says that he was like a sheep before its shearers that is dumb which seems to show that the slaughter reference is metaphorical. But metaphorical or not, you would be more likely to describe the Baptist as being a lamb led to the slaughter than Jesus. Also, Jesus wasn’t dumb but was deliberately provocative when he opened his mouth during his trial for his life.
 
A grave with the wicked and the rich was assigned to him but its not said that he used it. The burial place of John is unknown so he might have been buried with the rich and the wicked. This was definitely not so of Jesus of whom no indication is given that he was buried anywhere but alone in a new tomb. So John could be a better fit here and Jesus doesn’t suit the situation at all. Jesus was not buried with the rich but buried only in a rich man’s tomb.
 
John did no violence (as in 53:9) and Jesus did by rioting in the Temple. It is said that the Temple was ripping off the poor by over-inflating charges for this and that and sacrificial animals and that Jesus' behaviour there was not intended to incite a riot but to symbolically show that the overthrow of the corrupt Temple system was at hand. That is a lie because we read that Jesus forbade people to carry anything through the Temple (Mark 11:16). He didn't need to go that far to make his point. It was a riot.
 
 John never deceived to our knowledge and was highly regarded even by the secular historical Josephus. Jesus did deceive for he gave the Jews who didn’t believe in the afterlife a piece of evidence that didn’t work. He told them that when God told Moses he was the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob he was declaring these men alive. Nothing in the text indicates any such thing. The prophecy says the servant didn’t do any violence and was totally honest. It was his honesty he died for. He condemned the adulterous relationship between Herodias and Herod. John died because he was true to his beliefs. Jesus died because he rode into Jerusalem as king and rioted in the Temple and showed a wish to die by refusing to try and escape from the arrest that led to his death. Jesus’ death was more of a suicide than a noble death.
 
Isaiah 53 says that the servant made his grave with the rich. Christians adopt the strained interpretation that this is referring to Jesus being buried in a rich man's empty tomb. We don't know where John is buried but it could be with the rich. The gospels say John was taken and buried by his own disciples. This seems to have been in a secret place. And perhaps John was dumped in a common grave with the rich before his disciples took the body away. He would have died with rich prisoners in Macherus.
 
Christians will say that John was not the Son of God or Messiah for he failed to rise again from the dead. That John didn’t rise again yet, doesn’t prove a thing for the Bible never predicts that the Messiah will rise from the dead at any time different to anybody else. It actually proves he was a better candidate for being the prophet than Jesus ever was. A prophet who dies and doesn’t rise is more of a martyr than one that does both.
 
Matthew says that the righteous dead rose at the time Jesus rose and appeared to many. Jesus was thought to be John the Baptist raised up from the dead. Do these reflect a tradition that John rose again after his death? Was the apparition of John the Baptist mistaken for an apparition of Jesus? Did John appear to Jesus’ disciples and did they lie saying it was Jesus they saw? Though I dismiss the Christian claim that the disciples must really have seen a resurrected being when they died for their faith, lets pretend for a moment it is as simple as that. They might have seen a resurrected being but might have lied that it was Jesus Christ they saw. Then they would still die for their faith in the resurrection believing that death was not the end. John appealed to Bible prophecy so his disciples when he died would have looked for evidence in it that John was to die. It is impossible to believe that some of them didn’t come to think that John’s death was somehow for our salvation. They would then have called him Saviour and the name Jesus means Saviour. Are the stories about Jesus often reminisces about John the Saviour incubated in oral tradition?
 
Jesus was never anointed with oil to become the anointed one or Messiah. John may have been anointed as priest’s son. There is a cave, the Suba cave, that seems to be linked with him at which anointings as well as baptisms took place.
 
Finally, we are more sure John existed than Jesus so Jesus even on that score alone must not be considered to be the subject of these Bible prophecies. The epistles of the New Testament give clear proof that the Jesus story as reported by the gospels never happened.
 
The followers of Christ were the ones that murdered John. Somehow they got to him and cut off his head. Herod of course was thought by everyone to have sent his executioner. Why else would the gospels tell a far fetched story to explain how Herod came to be forced to kill John? They said that Herod promised the daughter of Herodias half his kingdom if she would dance for him and when she went for her prize she asked for the head of the Baptist because her mother urged her to. The girl would not have done that. She would have taken half the kingdom despite her mother. Or she would have taken the part of the kingdom where John was imprisoned. The mother would have had the commonsense to urge her to do the latter. Then John could be destroyed as she pleased.  The gospels lied absurdly and outrageously about the circumstances of John’s death. They knew their Jesus wanted rid of him. That they made up the story shows that they were under suspicion. I believe that it was apparitions of the “risen” Jesus that started the Christian faith off. There is no reason to believe these visions only started when the gospels say. If Jesus was unknown as a man and rose after being three days dead centuries before he could appear whenever he wanted.
 
John had to be destroyed for being a rival Messiah to Jesus. Since the Jesus of the apparitions and the gospels agree that the prophecy of Daniel that the Messiah was here had fulfilled itself they must have thought this Messiah was John.
 
Josephus has John the Baptist dying about 36 AD. The huge problem with this is that it flatly and completely contradicts the gospels. The gospels have Jesus being crucified about 33 AD. And they say John died before 33 AD. Herod Antipas married the wife of his brother Herod Philip after the death of this brother in 34 AD. The gospels say that John the Baptist condemned Herod Antipas for this marriage so this detail from the gospels backs up the year of John’s death given by Josephus. John did not die before Jesus.
 
Christians however prefer to say Josephus was the one that was wrong and the gospels were right. They have no evidence for this but they just assume it for they don’t want to admit their religion can be wrong. Josephus should be regarded as more reliable firstly because he was a professional historian and the gospellers didn’t claim to be professional historians. Josephus used records and we know he knew Jewish history well. We can’t say these things about the gospellers.
 
When the gospels lied that Jesus was alive when John died perhaps they lied about his entire connection to John. John may never have heard of him. They lied either because Jesus never existed and they wanted it to look like he did or because they wanted to take the crown of Messiah ship from the Baptist and give it to Jesus instead. They wanted to fake evidence that John looked up to Jesus and approved his mission. So a reason for the lie could have been the need to make it look like Jesus lived. “This man never lived but we have to make sure it looks as if he did for its over for us if people realise he was a fiction. So we will pin a murder on him for nobody would believe that we would do that to somebody we were making up. We won’t pin it on him too blatantly for we can ‘t make it too obvious.”
 
Have we lost John’s teaching? If you study the gospels, you will see that John’s teaching was in similar tone to the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus. At that time Jesus was not long baptised and at the early stage in the public teaching was teaching what John taught and was a follower of John.
 
In Luke 11 we get Jesus teaching a version of the Lord’s Prayer that is shorter than the accepted version. The disciples get Jesus to show them how to pray as John’s disciples do. Then he teaches them the prayer. John the Baptist made the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus then teaches the Sermon on the Mount. Luke’s version must then be considered to be closer to the original teaching of the Baptist. That the disciples of Jesus had to be taught to pray like John’s disciples shows that there wasn’t a lot of interaction between John and Jesus’ disciples but still that the disciples regarded John as a reliable teacher and prophet.
 
It is my belief that the teachings of Jesus in the gospels were stolen from the Baptist. A lot of the events described in the gospels were about the Baptist and reedited to make them into stories about Jesus.
 
The faith of the Baptist can be restored today. Based on the Sermon on the Mount and emphasising forgiveness above all things as expressed by baptisms it is a lot better than anything Christianity had to offer. The ideal of giving up worldly delights for peace of heart and so that the poor may have the blessings instead of yourself is a noble one. Where Christianity has done this, it has failed to merit praise because those who live this way still accepted those who didn’t. The Baptist avoided hypocrisy by being consistent.
 
A sect to this day called the Mandeans, honours John the Baptist as the true Messiah. They may have taken much rubbish into their theology but they reflect and came from the belief of John’s disciples that the murdered prophet really was the true Messiah.
 
It is possible that John was not the Messiah but the saviour. This idea does not contradict the Old Testament.
 
Read:
 
The Jesus Dynasty, James D Tabor, Harper-Element, London, 2006