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Whom Did the Baptist Prepare the Way For?

More Proof from John’s Gospel that Jesus is Jehovah Incarnate

There’s another way that John’s Gospel identifies Jesus as Jehovah God Incarnate, one that is often overlooked.

According to the baptist, he is the emissary that the prophet Isaiah announced would be sent ahead of Jehovah to prepare for his coming:

“John said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” just as the prophet Isaiah said.’… John answered them, ‘I baptize with water, but One stands among you, whom you do not know. This is He who comes after me, who is preferred before me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.’” John 1:23, 26-27 Modern English Version (MEV)

Here is the prophecy in question:

“The voice of one who calls out, ‘Prepare the way of Yahweh in the wilderness! Make a level highway in the desert for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain. Yahweh’s glory shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it.’” Isaiah 40:3-5 World English Bible (WEB)

Isaiah prophesied that a voice would cry out, informing people that Israel’s God is coming in the wilderness and that all flesh will see his glory.

What makes this prophecy so remarkable is that the Baptist emphatically testified that he had been sent to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus Christ!

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.” I did not know Him, but for this reason I came baptizing with water: so that He might be revealed to Israel.’ Then John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “The One on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” I have seen and have borne witness that He is the Son of God.’ Again, the next day John was standing with two of his disciples. Looking upon Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’” John 1:29-36 MEV

This isn’t the only place in the Gospel where John affirms that he came to herald the coming of Christ:

“After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea. He remained with them there and baptized. John also was baptizing in Aenon toward Salim, because much water was there. And people came and were baptized. For John had not yet been put in prison. Then a dispute arose between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about ceremonial cleansing. They came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, look, He is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him.’ John answered, ‘A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear witness of me, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom. But the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.’” John 3:22-31 MEV

What this shows is that Jesus is the Jehovah God whom the Baptist was sent to prepare for according to the prophecy of Isaiah!

I will break this down step by step in order to help the readers see the implications of the Baptist’s fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah:

Isaiah prophesied a herald of Jehovah would be sent to announce to Israel the coming of Jehovah their God.

John’s Gospel testifies that John the Baptist was that herald, which explains why the Baptist began his ministry in the wilderness in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

The Baptist claims to have been sent to prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus.

Jesus, therefore, is none other than Jehovah God in the flesh.

This is further confirmed by the Baptist’s ascribing a function to the Lord Jesus that the Hebrew Bible attributes to Jehovah alone, namely, baptizing believers with/in the Holy Spirit:

“Yet listen now, Jacob my servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what Yahweh who made you, and formed you from the womb, who will help you says: ‘Don’t be afraid, Jacob my servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and streams on the dry ground. I will pour my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring:” Isaiah 44:1-3 WEB

“You will know that I am among Israel, and that I am Yahweh, your God, and there is no one else; and my people will never again be disappointed.It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. And also on the servants and on the handmaids in those days, I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:27-29 WEB

What makes this all the more remarkable is that Christ claims to be the One who grants living waters to all who turn to him, with the living waters being interpreted as the Holy Spirit. Hence, the living waters which Christ gives are actually the Holy Spirit whom those who believe in Jesus receive because of him!

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’… Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.’” John 4:10, 13-14 MEV

“On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ By this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believe in Him would receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39 MEV

In fact, the risen Christ even breathed out the Holy Spirit upon his followers in the very same chapter where Thomas, an Israelite, confesses him to be his very Lord and God:

“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said TO HIM, ‘My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 20:21-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus carries out another function that Isaiah stated Jehovah would perform when he comes to save his people:

“You who tell good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who tell good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength! Lift it up! Don’t be afraid! Say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold, your God!’ Behold, the Lord Yahweh will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom. He will gently lead those who have their young.” Isaiah 40:9-11 WEB

Contrast this with the words of Christ:

“‘Truly, truly I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. When he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them. And the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him. For they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what He was telling them. Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. But he who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and runs away. So the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because he is a hired hand and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and am known by My own. Even as the Father knows Me, so I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep who are not of this fold. I must also bring them, and they will hear My voice. There will be one flock and one shepherd.’” John 10:1-16 MEV

Anti-trinitarians are now faced with a dilemma. The fact that the Baptist is identified as Jehovah’s agent, the one whom Jehovah sends to prepare for Jehovah’s appearance among his people, refutes any attempt of appealing to the concept of agency to explain away Jesus’ identification as Jehovah.

Jesus isn’t being identified as Jehovah simply because he is Jehovah’s agent authorized to speak on behalf of Jehovah since that is the role assigned to the Baptist. It is the Baptist, not Jesus, who is Jehovah’s agent, and therefore if agency allows for the agent to be identified as the one whom he represents, then we would expect that the Baptist would be called Jehovah. And yet nowhere does the God-breathed Scriptures refer to the Baptist as Jehovah, since agency does not allow for God’s agent to be called Jehovah God.

Therefore, Jesus isn’t being called Jehovah because he is God’s agent since, a) it is John the Baptist who is Jehovah’s agent, not Jesus. And, b) even though the Baptist is the envoy of Jehovah he is never identified as Jehovah, nor calls himself Jehovah.

The reason why Christ is called Jehovah is because that is who he truly is, namely, Jehovah God Incarnate, the unique divine Son of God who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in essence.

What About the Synoptic Gospels?

What is amazing is that all of the Gospels identify John the Baptist as well fulfilling the prophecy from Isaiah 40:

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: ‘Look, I am sending My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’ ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”’ John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. The whole region of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist. And he ate locusts and wild honey. He preached saying, ‘After me is coming One mightier than I, the straps of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I indeed have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’” Mark 1:1-8

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.”’… ‘I indeed baptize you with water to repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean His floor and gather His wheat into the granary, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.’ The Baptism of Jesus 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. But John prohibited Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him.Matthew 3:1-3, 11-15 MEV

“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Caesar Tiberius, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip was tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Traconitis, and Lysanias was the tetrarch of Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He came into the region surrounding the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”’… As the people were in expectation, and everyone reflected in their hearts upon John, whether he might be the Christ or not, John answered them all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water. But One mightier than I is coming, the strings of whose shoes I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing floor, and will gather the wheat into His granary. But He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.’” Luke 3:1-6, 15-17 MEV

“Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Christ Jesus.’” Acts 19:4 MEV

Therefore, since the Baptist was the herald sent to prepare for the coming of Jehovah, and since the One whom the Baptist prepared for was the Lord Jesus, this means that all four Gospels are portraying Christ as the Jehovah God whose glory Isaiah prophesied would be seen by all flesh!

In other words, it isn’t merely John’s Gospel that describes Jesus as Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh, since the Synoptic Gospels do so as well.

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