The Forerunner

by George Feldman (originally published September 1964)
     Many Bible story illustrations show John the Baptist baptizing Israelites individually in the Jordan. It would have been literally impossible for him to have sprinkled or immersed individually the many thousands who came to him. It seems plausible, as illustrated above, that as the people padded by in some orderly fashion, he took a bundle of hyssop and sprayed them with water from the river. But more important than mode or method used by John is to realize that all this is rooted in OT prophecy. This brings us to our first consideration:
     (1) OT prophecy anticipated the ministry of John the Baptist. The prophets Isaiah and Malachi refer to him as the messenger and the one who would prepare the way for Messiah. John came preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, that the kingdom of heaven was AT HAND. There is no church composed of a joint-body of Jew and Gentile in view here, or of the one body with Christ as Head as revealed in the prison epistles. John was not the forerunner of any church. Prophetically, this advent of Christ anticipated only the Messianic promises of His people Israel, and that is why John preached that the kingdom of heaven was AT HAND. This means that there was a bona-fide possibility of such promises being fulfilled at that time if Israel repented. Ro 15:8 tells us that Christ came TO CONFIRM THE PROMISES MADE UNTO THE FATHERS. One of these promises is the topic of the next sub-heading:
     (2) The ministry of John the Baptist anticipated the kingdom of priests promise. The priesthood of believers is a term commonly used of all living believers today. However, this is a misplacement and misapplication of Scripture. The promise in regards to a Kingdom of priests is restricted in the Scriptures entirely to the nation of Israel. The Lord has no priests on earth today. The prayers of intercession made by believers does not constitute a priesthood in any sense of the word. In fact, Heb 8:4 says that if Christ were on earth today He would not be a priest.
    In Re 1:6 John saw this promise realized for the nation Israel in prophetic anticipation. The promise will be fulfilled at the second advent of Christ. It is connected with the great commission of Mt 18:19 and the 1,000 years