Spiritually speaking we are in the wilderness today.
The Word of God is precise in every detail and we have seen the clear evidence in just the first two chapters of Matthew that our Father is in complete control of His plan, which always has and always will come to pass exactly as it is written and according to His time table! To that end, as we enter this third chapter of Matthew we are fast forwarded from the events surrounding the young child in chapter two, through the ministry of John the Baptist who would now be about 30 years old and six months Christ's senior, right up to the beginning and "Anointing by God" of Jesus Christ's ministry. That anointing of the "Prophet who would come" (Deut. 18:18) will render John the Baptist the last of the prophets and therefore the "one who would come before Him" preaching and preparing the way, fulfilling the scriptures declaring that it would be so.
Thus shall we enter a "new time", a new dispensation, as describe by Paul in the opening verses of the great Book of Hebrews:
Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is the one we are to hear (Mat. 17:5). With that serving as the introduction to today's study, let us ask for wisdom from above and read and understand the third chapter of Matthew.Hebrews 1:1-2
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;
"In those days" while Jesus was growing up, John the "baptizer" was doing his thing preaching and teaching God's Word in the countryside of Judea. In doing so, he was fulfilling the Word of God... that which was written in the prophets concerning the "voice" of one heralding in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."Matthew 3:1
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
Spiritually speaking we are in the wilderness today, the desert where the dry bones (Ezek. 37) abound because of the great spiritual famine which is so widespread throughout the land in these last days (Amos 8:11-13). You see, there was a spiritual famine at the time of John the Baptist as well for the great synagogue had come forth and the scribes and the Pharisees, the chief of whom were not of Judah nor even descendants of Abraham, i.e. they were kenites, now sat in the seat of Moses, which means they were in authority over the church. Jesus Christ pointed this out to His disciples in Matthew 23:2, "Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat."
So what was it John came preaching in preparing the way before Messiah? He preached "repentance" in a BOLD fashion and we are going to see an example of it in his discourse with some kenites a few verses hence.
True repentance is more than just an expression of remorse, although that can be a good starting point, for true repentance requires action which is a change of direction, a "turning around" from traveling down the wrong path. However, for a person to make such a change in direction he or she must first want to, desire to, which simply means there must first be a "change of heart". Pay attention to what John has to say beginning in verse seven and you will further understand the requirement of repentance. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
This was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in chapter "40". However, since only one verse is quoted here we need to do our due diligence and go to that section of scripture and study the context of what was spoken. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
"Comfort ye" is declared twice for emphasis. You see the truth of His Word is that which gives comfort and the truth of the matter is that there is good news for Jerusalem because Yeshua Messiah is coming soon to set things aright.Isaiah 40:1
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably, i.e. to the heart, and proclaim that her warfare will soon be over, for it is written. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.
This is the verse quoted in Matthew regarding the heralding, the crying in the wilderness, to make a straight path because the LORD shall soon be revealed and His justice executed throughout the earth. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Both the nations and individuals shall receive their just recompense at the return of Christ. Luke 14:11, "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." You see, His glory SHALL BE revealed, and ALL FLESH shall see it together, for IT IS WRITTEN! What path do you choose to follow? Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
When you hear the phrase, the straight path or the straight and narrow path, do not be misled or deceived by religious people who are placed in bondage by the traditions of men with their lists of do's and don'ts, etc. Christians can and should be free from "religion" and all that pious hypocrisy whereby church systems teach that you must walk some kind of tight rope to be accepted by God. You see, following God's ways, His paths, produces happiness and freedom... economic freedom and prosperity, political freedom, and freedom from fears and anxieties. So contrary to erroneous popular belief, it is not drudgery but rather pure pleasure and enjoyment to walk in His ways... unless of course you actually like misery and bondage and oppression and stress and anxiety! Of course, Satan also has a whole array of bottled spirits and mind altering drugs, both with and without a prescription, that you can always turn to help you deal with those things. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Moving right along... it is also written in Malachi, whose name means "My Messenger", that God will send Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the LORD, which is His second advent, not His first.
What shall that spirit of Elijah do before (lest) Christ smites the earth with a curse, i.e. the cursed one SatanMalachi 4:5-6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
That's easy, for it is written:
He shall turn the hearts of God's children to their fathers (plural), to their true heritage all the way back to their fathers the patriarchs (as being true Israel) and therefore the children of the Most High God, their heavenly Father. Yes, that spirit will also turn the hearts of the children of disobedience back to their fathers, the kenites, who are the children of the most low god, Satan himself. We will discuss more of Elijah when we get to the 11th chapter of Matthew where Christ said that John would have been accounted as Elijah IF they would have accepted Christ, i.e. as the King of kings. However, they not only did not accept John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, they murdered them both. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
This is significant in that John came dressed or clothed (think spiritually) in the "same raiment" of camel's hair in which Elijah came! Luke 1:17 "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."Matthew 3:4
And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
Here is how Elijah looked:
You can see old John did not dress like a pretty-boy preacher and he ate "locusts" alright! Just wait until you see how he handles and devours the locusts (kenites) in verses 7-12 and declares the "fire to come" (vs. 10, 12) which shall consume the unfruitful trees, the tares and the chaff! So don't think for one minute John was intimidated by man! He was not your typical piously-robed, sweet-talking, "neither hot nor cold" preacher who never says anything that might offend somebody! He "turned heads" when he spoke for he did so with the authority of the scriptures. That is why Christ said concerning his manner of teaching in Matthew 11:7 "And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?  But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses."2 Kings 1:8
And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
Jordon means the descender and it would be there that the Holy Spirit would descend upon Christ. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
Now here comes the self-righteous religious hypocrites and "spiritual" leaders! And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
John let them know that he had their number (Rev. 13:18) and that he knew they were the offspring (generation) of vipers, i.e. the children of that old serpent from the beginning, called the devil and Satan (Rev. 12:8). Christ also confronted and exposed them in John 8:44 when he said to them "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
The "kenites", the sons of Cain (Kayin in Hebrew), have infiltrated and usurped the tribe of our brother Judah and make the false claim that they are children of Abraham and therefore "God's chosen people"! Sadly, most churches and most Christians believe that LIE, for it is indeed a lie! In fact, only two out of the seven churches Christ addressed in Rev. 2 & 3, the church of Smyrna and Philadelphia, know "the scam", i.e. that these dudes are liars and not God's chosen people at all. They are of the synagogue of Satan. Here is what Christ says to the two churches "in the know", the church of Smyrna and Philadelphia respectively: Rev. 2:9 "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." Rev. 3:9 "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan,which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
The point is, they did not fool ol' John the Baptist and he "let them have it with both barrels", so to speak!
Don't give me flowery words and promises, give me action! Let the thoughts of your heart if they be true be made manifest, shown, demonstrated, by producing fruit in your life and the lives of others. And don't give me that "We're God's chosen people stuff!" It won't fly! Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
To this day, these impostors who are descendants of the Snake Numero Uno, claim to be God's chosen people, the people of the covenant made to Abraham. They use that "front" to rob and steal the wealth and heritage of true Israel. John knew who they were and so he gave them a little lesson in humility. However, don't miss the deeper truth here in that whosover will, even these "stones" of the little rock, could be raised up to be servants of God, if they repent and turn to Christ. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Next, John the Baptist lets them know that they "serve the same bad fruit" as the one who is at the head of their family tree, the tree of Gen. 3 and Ezek. 31, that tree of the knowledge of good and evil (i.e. Satan) who fed his poisonous fruit to mother Eve in the garden of God. That evil tree (Satan) has been sentenced to be hewn down and cast into the lake of fire at the end of the Millennium, along with every other corrupt tree bearing bad fruit.
Don't let people use claims that they are "God's chosen people" or even special sheep of His flock! You test their fruits according to the Word of God and let the results speak for themselves. Remember the simple adages, "Actions speak louder than words!" or "I can't hear what you are saying because of what you are doing!" And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.Matthew 7:15
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
If someone tries to tell you they are a good fruit tree and yet all you see on their branches are thorns and thistles, then don't believe their words for the evidence belies their testimony. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Again, it is real simple as Christ explains:
 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Here is the judgment that shall come to the "tares" (Mat. 13) and although these are the words of Christ, this is exactly what John said to Pharisees and Sadducees. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Remember, in Biblical symbolization - trees are people!
The "fire" spoken of is none other than our Father, who is a "consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29), who shall consume all evil and wickedness in that lake of fire which follows the great white throne judgment. In other words, as He spoke in the beginning and things came into being, so shall He speak at the end of the Millennium and all that is wicked and corrupt shall cease to exist. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Have you been baptized with His "fire"? You "see", the Holy spirit is liken unto "fire" which both purifies gold and warms the heart of His children while at the same time it consumes away that which is stubble, like thorns and thistles. So what John is telling the kenites to their face is that Jesus Christ is coming to execute justice and everyone shall receive his or her just recompense according to their works.Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
The "fan" spoken of here is a winnowing fan used to separate the wheat from the chaff. What John is saying is that "Harvest time" is soon coming! Judgment is coming! And there shall be a separation of the wheat from the chaff, the children of light from the children of darkness. Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
This must have been a real shock to John when you think about it. I mean, here comes the Messiah... Oh Wow.. the sinless Messiah Himself coming to "camel hair sinner John" and requesting of him to be baptized! Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
Here is John's humble reaction:
We ALL have need to be baptized by Jesus Christ, the Word of God. The word baptize (baptizo in Greek) means to be "totally wet" as in "totally immersed" and it can be applied to other subjects, which it even is in this chapter, i.e. to both water and spirit.However, there is only one baptism and that is the baptism John spoke of in Matthew 3:11, the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is to be initiated and totally immersed in His Spirit, the Word of God. In other words, one can be baptized in water but if that person is not then immersed in His Spirit, the Word of God, he or she is still in need of true "baptism"! To wit, denominations argue over the methodology of "water baptism" (again baptizmo by definition means to be made totally wet by immersion) while both they and their congregations remain Biblically illiterate, void of His Spirit, void of being immersed in the Word of God. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
That having been said, Jesus Christ was our example to follow and He was baptized in water.So when we rightly follow His example we do so as recognition and open acknowledgment of our initiation and public confession that we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and in His death, burial, and resurrection, and that we are asking the Holy Spirit to enter and guide our lives from this point on. Baptism therefore is a beautiful thing!
So John recognized that Christ must be baptized, for His time had come, but just imagine how awed John must have felt! And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
Did you know that "dove" is "Yonah" (Jonah) in Hebrew which means warmth as "cooing", i.e. the warmth of their mating. If you look up Jonah (dove) in your Strong's concordance you will find that it actually comes from the root "Yayin" which is "wine"! And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Nevertheless, John "saw" the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus Christ and to that end he both "witnessed" and "bare record" to the fact the Jesus Christ was INDEED the Messiah!
Again, John witnessed and bare record that Jesus Christ was truly the "Anointed One" of God. He both "Saw" (with his eyes) and he "Heard" (with his ears, next verse).John 1:32-34
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
The disciples Peter, James, and John will also hear these same words spoken on the mount of transfiguration, confirming from above that Jesus is the Christ. We will discuss this in more detail when we get to chapter 17.Matthew 3:17
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
In our next study, we will see the tempter, the old devil, misquote and misapply scripture right to the Messiah! Just imagine the audacity of this low life serpent!
To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits;
to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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