John the Baptist 2
February 25, 2019
by Barry Fike
(Most of this material is from a lecture by Dr. Roy Blizzard that I transcribed in the late 1980’s)
To begin with, when you do research into the scriptures it’s always good to look at all available material that is extant so that you get as many viewpoints as possible and look at the text, culture and context of the passage under consideration.
The text under consideration is found in Matthew’s rendition of a commentary that Jesus made on John the Baptist in Matt. 11:11, 12: “Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And form the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and man of violence take it by force.” Unfortunately too many have taken this scripture, wrested it out of its original setting, and made a heretical doctrine demanding that “men of violence”, members of the body of Christ, have a divine mandate to pick up arms and demand a reckoning of our government in both the local, state and national levels. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is for this reason that this blog was begun to get the body of Christ back into the mindset of God and the teaching of our Lord and Savior to keep it from sliding further and further into the denominational abyss that we’ve created for over 2000 years. It’s time to do Bible things, in Bible ways to get Bible results. The only way we can do that is to expand our knowledge, and the only way to do that is to study to show ourselves approved unto God.
Here is a commentary that was written on July 19, 1676. The dedicatory page says, “To the right Reverend Father and God saith, the Lord Bishop of Seran (this was the guy who was the benefactor, who put up the money for him to write the book). All of this in old English. He says, “and thirdly, the need of patronage and protection that this Work hath, in regard that there is in it much stress laid on such part of Learning, (the Orient part I mean,) which of late, if not all along, hath had that unhappiness as to be scarce able to keep itself, not only from neglect, but contempt, as needless; at least of no great use or necessity.” Even here in the 17th century when he writes, he says that the stress laid on the Hebrew is already going out of style. In the preface he says, “I have labored as far as I could to find out the truth among them, by examining as I have occasion to take notice of by the Original Hebrew, which is the standing rule which was at first given by the goodness of God for such delivered to us by the Prophets and godly men divinely inspired, and hath ever since, by his wonderful Providence, been preferred in corrupt and sincere.” What he’s saying is that I’m going to try, in this commentary, to utilize the Hebrew text commentary and whatever materials use whatever is possible. Now when we come to this particular passage in Micah 2:13 he says, “To him that was promised to be as such and was exhibited as such, and hath made good in himself what was promised, well may the title Haporetz, in this or indeed in both senses agreed. But if any think that by Haporetz, the breaker, and Malcam, their king, should be meant two distinct parties, let him hear, what the Ancient Jews (as cited by the Modern) say, for explanation of this passage. Haporetz, the Breaker, that is Elijah, and Malcam, their King that is the branch, the Son of David, and then observe, what our Savior himself hath taught that john the Baptist was that Elijah which was to come, Matt. 11:14; 17:12.” Where he quotes these guys in the original text, Pocock makes his point.
When we come to the passage in Micah 2:12, 13 notice that this has been in print 600 to 700 years before Pocock. The unfortunate thing is that this stuff has been in print over a thousand years. If anyone took the time to look it up it’s been there.
So, what does this passage mean? “From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom has been breaking forth.” John was the breaker. He was the one who broke down the wall to the sheep fold. Now, Jesus says, “I, the son of David, the King, that was to come, am leading my sheep (i.e. kingdom) into pasture.” This is all a very beautiful image that he’s painting here that has to do with who John was, who he is, and the nature of the kingdom. It has nothing to do with violence. That’s the reason why he goes on to say, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John, and if you will receive it this was Elijah who was to come.” He says that John was the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1, Elijah was supposed to come before the Messiah came. But John the Baptist came in the spirit and anointing of Elijah and was the fulfillment of that prophecy. That goes along the line with contemporary Jewish thinking in Jesus’ day that the breaker was Elijah and that the King was the son of David. Now he’s making that specific indication of himself and of John the Baptist—he’s the one who broke down the wall and now he, the son of David, is leading his kingdom out into pasture. This is the reason why he said, “Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist, but he that is least in my movement is greater than he.” Why? Because John’s commission was to prepare the way for the coming of YHVH.
“From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven has been spreading forth in strength and the strong ones are seizing or laying hold onto it.” In Hebrew it says “to spread or to be expanded”, “strength”, and the strong ones are seizing or grasping it. It’s probably strength where they are getting all of this violence. But it has nothing to do with that. It’s expanding…John was the breaker who breaks the wall down and now the kingdom is expanding and the people of strength are seizing it and laying hold of it.
Next week we’ll look at one of the most mistranslated verses in the Bible that has everything to do with John the Baptist and the Essene community and the very reason for their existence.