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Chapter 5 - John the Baptist’s testimony of himself and the Lord
John 1,19. And this is the testimony which John gave to the Jews when they sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him: “who are you?”
5,1. This verse deals with a purely external fact and therefore has no deeper meaning. Just one thing can be plainly understood from this mission, that at this time the feeling of exaltation of the Jews began to sense already that the primordial light or the primordial life of God was beginning to draw close to men on Earth and would already have to be on Earth. And it presumed that this primordial life of all life might be dwelling within John and he be the promised Messiah.
5,2. That is why - due to the above mentioned assumption rather than John’s reputation as a preacher - they sent emissaries to ask him who he was, whether the Christ or Elijah or another prophet.
John 1,20. And he confessed, and did not deny it, saying: “I am not the Christ, the promised Messiah.”
John 1,21. But they went on asking: “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said: “I am not.” And they asked: “Are you a prophet?” He replied: “No.”
5,3. The reason why they asked John whether he was either Elijah or another new prophet was the fact that their prophetic Scriptures stated that Elijah would be the forerunner of the promised Messiah and prepare all Israel for the great advent of the Messiah. Besides, at that time also other prophets would be appearing who, too, would precede the Messiah as heralds. This was known to the emissaries from Jerusalem who were well versed in the Scriptures and so they asked John all these question, but he confessed that he was none of these.
John 1,22. Then they said to him: “Then who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say of yourself?”
5,4. Thus they had to continue asking him, who he actually was.
John 1,23. John said: “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Lord, as predicted by the Prophet Isaiah.”
5,5. Whereupon John confessed that he was but a crier in the wilderness preparing the way for the Lord, as predicted by Isaiah.
5,6. Here the question would be justified, why John had chosen the wilderness for this work where, one must assume, not many people would be dwelling, and that it would be more advisable to make a forerunner in more densely populated areas. What use could the most powerful crying be in the dead wilderness where the sound of the call would lose itself before it had reached any ear? Even if it did reach a human ear, that why that would be far from sufficient in a matter so vitally important for all men.
5,7. In answer to this question it must be pointed out that the term ‘wilderness’ did not so much refer to the small desert of Bethabara beyond the Jordan, but rather to the spiritual desert in the human hearts. The desert of Bethabara, where John actually lived, preached and baptized, had been chosen only to show man symbolically what it looked like in his heart, namely, quite as arid, empty and bare of noble fruits, but full of thorns and thistles, all kinds of weeds, vipers ad other vermin. And in such a human desert John appears like an awakened conscience, which spiritually he also represents, and preaches repentance for the remission of sins, thus preparing for the Lord the way to the hearts of people who have become arid like a desert.
5,8. Now there still remains the question why John denied being Elijah or a prophet since, according to My own testimony, he was one as well as the other, for I Myself told My apostles and also other listeners to My teaching quite plainly, John was the Elijah who was to come before Me, if you will accept this.
5,9. The reason for this denial was that John here describes himself only according to his active, new calling and not the previous one given his spirit within Elijah when he was living on Earth. Elijah had to punish and destroy the Moloch, whereas John had to call people to proper repentance, bestow the forgiveness of sins through baptism with water and prepare the way for Me. And in accordance with such activity he presented himself only as that which he now in fact was.
John 1,24. And the ones who had been sent were of the Pharisees.
John 1,25. And these continued to question him, saying: “If you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor a prophet, why then are you baptizing?”
5,10. Since he was baptizing, which was allowed only to the priests and the prophets proven to be called for this, the priests and Levites, who had been sent to him by the jealous Pharisees, asked him why then he baptized people if he was neither one nor the other.
John 1,26. John answered them saying: “I baptize only with water, He (the Christ about whom you are asking) is standing among you, but you do not know Him.”
5,11. But John said, ‘I baptize only with water, which means, I wash hearts that have become unclean for a worthy reception of the One who, as it were, has been in your midst already for quite some time, but whom you do not recognize because of your blindness.’
5,12. Here also all those who seek Me, the Lord, somewhere outside are represented by the emissaries who travel over lands and seas asking all the sages, ‘Where is Christ, when and where will He be coming?’ The true One who built a dwelling place for Himself in their hearts, and who can be found only there, (Oh, these deluded seekers.) Him they do not seek, at least not at the only place where He must be sought and can be found.
John 1,27. “He is the One who is to come after me, who was before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”
John 1,28. This took place at Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
5,13. What a most humble witness John bears before the priests and Levites, since he quite aware who had come to the Earth in Christ. But what is that to the so worldly wise priesthood. They ignored John’ truest testimony, for they did not care for a humble, poor and unpretentious Messiah, but wanted one to whom everyone would succumb in fear and terror.
5,14. At his first appearance – naturally nowhere else but in Jerusalem – descending visibly from Heaven shining more brilliantly than the sun, accompanied by myriads of angels and taking residence only in the temple, the Messiah would have to immediately abolish and destroy all the then existing potentates, also promptly render the Jews completely immortal, provide them with all the money on Earth and fling at least some hundreds of apparently superfluous mountains with thunderous noise into the sea, at the same time also executing the poor, dirty rabble. Then they would have believed in Him and said: ‘Lord, you are so terribly strong and mighty. All have to bow deeply before you and throw themselves into the dust, and the high priest is not worthy to unloose your shoe’s latchets.’
5,15. But Christ came to Earth quite poor, insignificant apparently weak, did not work any sign before the eyes of the prominent for almost 30 years. He worked hard as a carpenter with Joseph and frequented the company of the lower classes. How could, in the eyes of the proud and so very wise Jews, that be the so long awaited Messiah? Away with such a blasphemer, such a magician who accomplishes his feats with the help of the chief devil. Such an uncouth and vulgar carpenter who somewhere with the help of Satan has learnt to practice magic, who walks about barefoot, is a friend to the lowest rabble and walks around with them, accepts harlots and eats and drinks in the company of publicly known sinners thereby plainly opposing the law, - how could he possibly be the Christ, the promised Messiah?
5,16. This was the opinion of the eminent and wise Jews about Me during My full presence in the flesh on Earth. And exactly the same view is still today held concerning Me by millions, who will on no account even hear of a meek, condescending God who keeps His word.
5,17. Firstly, their God has to dwell high above the firmament and because of His infinite sublimity hardly exists. He is not expected to create lesser things than suns if He wants to be a worthy God. Secondly, He may not dare to assume any form, least of all a human form, but has to be some incomprehensible absurdity.
5,18. Thirdly, if Christ could possibly be God, He may make Himself known through the inner, living word only to members of the profession, to certain societies, councils, extraordinary pietists, zealots surrounded by a so-called halo and models of virtue, promptly endowing such a blessed one with the power to move mountains. Otherwise there cannot be any divine messages and revelations by Christ.
5,19. The Lord Jesus may never make Himself known to a layman or even a sinner, for in such a case the revelation is already under suspicion and is not accepted, just as I Myself was not accepted by the eminent Jews, because in their proud and ambitious eyes My appearing was by far not sufficiently divine and noble. However, that does not matter. What matters is only John’s testimony.
5,20. The world does not change and continues to be the desert of Bethabara where John bore witness. -But I, too, do not change and keep coming to men to suppress their pride and enliven true humility and love in the same way as when I came to the Jews. Blessed are those who recognize and accept Me as did John according to his testimony about Me before the eyes and ears of the proud priests and Levites greatly annoying them.
5,21. The next day John sees Jesus coming towards him, and says, ‘Look, that is the Lamb of God, which carries the sin of the world.’
5,22. The next day, with these emissaries still at Bethabara, there to find out what this John was doing and what he was mainly preaching about, John again bears witness to Me, and that on the known occasion of My coming to him from the desert asking him to baptize Me with the water of the river.
5,23. Already as I am approaching him, he draws the attention of the leader of these emissaries, who during the night had pondered on what he had heard from John, to Me, saying, ‘Look, the one approaching is the Lamb of God who has taken all men’s weaknesses upon His shoulders, so that all men who accept Him will receive a new life from Him and have the power within them, because of such a new life, to be called children of God. For Jehovah does not come in the storm or the fire, but He comes only in the gentlest rustle.’
5,24. ‘This is He of whom I (yesterday) said, after me a man is coming who has been before me, for Hew was there before I was.’
5,25. Here John repeats once more what he had said to the emissaries about Me the previous day. On the one hand, he testifies of Me that I come to men, as it were, as a mirror of man’s true and indispensable humility proving by such humility that I come to help men in their weakness and not in their presumed strength, which they do not possess at all. On the other hand, John also testifies that the one he calls the Lamb of God is still He who preceded all existence, for the expression, ‘He was before me’ means that John - for a moment recognizing the high spirit entity within him - intimates to the emissaries that, although the same primordial spirit of the same nature dwelt within him, yet he was brought into a free and completely independent existence solely by the power of the First Cause - the original Source and Creator - dwelling in this Lamb and not by his own power. With such a bringing into independent existence - a true act of the First Cause - also the first cycle had begun, prior to which there had not been anything in the whole of infinity, except the First Cause Jehovah and, in fact, exactly the Same as now visibly before their eyes in this Lamb of God wishing to be baptized by him (John).
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