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John the Baptist

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John the Baptist

Saint John the Baptist by Titian
Forerunner, Precursor, Baptist, Martyr
Born Born::5 BC, Judea
Died Died::30 AD, Perea
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Major shrine Church of St. John the Baptist, Jerusalem
Feast June 24 (Nativity)
August 29 (Beheading)
Attributes Cross, lamb, camel-skin robe
Patronage Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem, Florence, and Genoa, Italy

John the Baptist (Hebrew: יוחנן המטביל, Yōkhānān HaMātbil; Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Βαπτιστής, Iōannēs ho Baptistēs; Arabic: يوحنا المعمدان, Yūḥanna al-Mamadan) (Born::5 BCDied::30 AD) was a prophet whose coming was foretold by the prophets Isaiah and Malachi, miraculously conceived by God through human parents (his mother, Elizabeth, was barren and post-menopausal) to "prepare the way" for the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.


The excavated remains of the site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus in "Bethany beyond the Jordan".

His father, Zechariah, was a priest of the line of Abijah (1_Chronicles 24:10 ), and his mother, Elizabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5 ) and a maternal cousin (or relative) of the virgin Mary, thus also making both John and Jesus cousins. John was a fiery preacher for the Lord who spoke of the coming of the Messiah. Many came to listen to him and would be baptized by him. In Matthew 3 it speaks about how John was preparing the way for Jesus. John was letting people know that he was coming and that he was the messiah. Later John baptizes Jesus and when Jesus rose up out of the water the heavens split and the spirit of God came down upon Jesus like a dove.

As an adult, he lived an ascetic lifestyle, preaching a doctrine of repentance and the imminent arrival of the Messiah, and baptizing believers in the Jordan river. At the start of his adult ministry, Jesus came to John to be baptized.

Since both of his parents were of the tribe of Levi, it can be argued that John was the final authorized Aaronic priest. The Book of Hebrews explains that Jesus became an eternal priest of the Melchizedek priesthood to overcome and end the Aaronic line.

Beheading of John

John's unflinching condemnation of the adulterous marriage of Herod Antipas resulted in his imprisonment, and eventual death by beheading.

In Matthew 14:3-12 it talks about the beheading of John. "Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, for John had been saying to him: "It is not lawful for you to have her." Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet.

On Herod's birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus." - Matthew 14:3-12

Cave of John the Baptist

Main Article Cave of John the Baptist

Two and a half years ago, Biblical Archaeology Review found what they believe to be the cave of John the Baptist. It all started when Reuven Kalifon, an immigrant from Cleveland who teaches Hebrew at the kibbutz, took some of his students spelunking back when it was still filled with mud and sediment. Kalifon asked Shimon Gibson, who was a friend of his, to take a better look at it. Gibson crawled into the hole and moved a few boulders near the walls to uncover a carving of a head. After seeing this, he organized a full-scale excavation.

During the next five years, the team of excavators cleared out layers of soil and the remenants of 250,000 broken jugs that were supposedly used in purification rituals. They also uncovered an oval shaped stone with a carved out indent in the shape of a right foot. Above the indent on the rock is another indent with a channel connecting the two. This is believed to be a foot baptismal where the oil goes into the indent above the foot and someone sticks their foot into the foot shaped indent while the oil runs over it. This could represent the time when Jesus washed the disciples feet before the passover meal (John 13).

The cave is located on the communal farm of Kibbutz Tzuba. Kibbutz Tzuba is 2.5 miles away from Ein Kerem; the home village of John the Baptist. The cave was carved into the limestone hill that it resides in by the Israelites during the Iron Age, which was sometime between 800 B.C. and 500 B.C. The cave's dimensions are 72 feet long, 12 feet deep, and 12 feet wide.[1]

You can view pictures taken of the cave here.


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