Questions About John the Baptist – Email Correspondence
Hi don my name is adam … I’m from Australia first thank you for all you do.
I have a question i hope you can shed some light on for me in regards to john the baptist.
When john said there is one coming who will baptize you in the holy spirit and “FIRE” this fire he prophesied was it in regards to the soon coming judgment?
And if yes can we see this backed up anywhere else in scripture?
Was jesus quoting john when calling the religious leaders of the day “brood of vipers”?
I understand your a busy man and i appreciate your time.
Would really like your thoughts on it and or maybe point me in the direction of some material.
Thank you Don
Adam …. From Australia
Oh yeah love the YouTube channel
G’day, Adam, it is great to hear from you! I appreciate your questions about John the Baptist. This happens to be one of my favorite subjects! See my responses below.
BTW, I have been to Australia three times and would love to make another trip there! There are some folks in Sydney and Brisbane that would like to make that happen, but, nothing so far.
Anyway, see below.
Response: There are several things that confirm that John the Baptist, when speaking of the coming “baptism of fire” he was referencing, not the baptism of the Spirit, but, the impending judgment on Jerusalem.
1. In the OT, the coming of a Day of fire is almost invariably a day of judgment. This language is seldom (perhaps in a few places, but these are exceptional) used in a “positive” manner.
2. John was Elijah, according to Jesus (Matthew 17:10-12). As Elijah, his mission was to proclaim the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord of Malachi. In Malachi 4, that Day was a day of fire that would burn up the wicked like stubble– which is the language of Matthew 3.
3. Likewise, in Isaiah 2-4, we find the prophecy of the last days, and the day of the Lord (2:2; v. 19f). That Day would be when the Lord would “purge the blood guilt of Jerusalem, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of fire” (4:4). This is the motif of the avenging of the blood of the Martyrs, and Jesus unequivocally posited that at the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Was Jesus quoting john when calling the religious leaders of the day “brood of vipers”?
Response: I believe so, and in addition to that, it hearkens back to Deuteronomy 32:33, where JHVH said that in Israel’s last days “their wine is the poison of serpents and the cruel venom of cobras.” It is very important to realize that the Song of Moses is paradigmatic for John’s ministry and that of Jesus as well.
If this “fire” is pointing to a then soon coming judgment, then why do people today pray for and chase the “fire” of god?
Response: The simple reason is that most people do not have a working knowledge of the OT and its influence on the NT writers and speakers. When modern Bible students approach the Bible from a Western, “Grecian” world view, and, that is coupled with an almost total lack of knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures, the result is that the key– the anchor- for understanding the Bible has been jettisoned. Every NT writer tells us, either explicitly or implicitly, that there eschatology was nothing but the expectation of the fulfillment of the OT prophecies made to Israel! In my upcoming debate, July 14-15, my opponent says that his eschatological hope is not based on or taken from God’s Old Covenant promises made to Israel. This is tragic, and totally misguided.
I have just introduced a brand new book on the subject of John the Baptizer, as Elijah, and his eschatological significance. It is entitled Elijah Has Come!: A Solution to Romans 11:25-27. You can find it here:
Thanks again for contacting me! Hope these few thoughts are helpful!
For His Truth, and In His Grace,