December 21 – Day 21
Ornament – John the Baptist
Prophesied 700 years before his birth, John the Baptist was birthed into a season long prophetically silent. He came, called to prepare the way of the Lord.
His birth was meticulously recorded and his earth entrance marked by angelic proclamation and divine intervention. He, an echo of the Old Testament birth of Issac. John spanned the ages with one foot tethered in the Old Testament, the other, anchored in the New. His ministry marked the culmination of the law and prophets while heralding the breaking in of the Kingdom of God.
A voice of one calling: In the desert, prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3
Isaiah spoke these words of John the Baptist, who like him, would be a prophet, preaching repentance, posturing a people to live for God. He was called the Baptist because of his practice to baptize those who responded with sincerity to his sermons.
To those around him, John’s life seemed extreme, but it was seared with simplicity. He took a Nazarite vow and dwelt in a desert where he was sustained by a diet of locusts and honey. Though his wardrobe seemed strange to others, it was but the typical garb of a prophet.
He knew and understood Pappa’s call and pursued it with his whole heart and life. He was marked by his devotion and surrender to Christ and His Kingdom. John faced doubters and dissenters who didn’t share his enthusiasm for the coming Messiah. Yet, when he saw Jesus approach, could not be deterred from proclaiming,
Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John 1:29
Jesus spoke of him as a “first and last” for he was the greatest born among women, because he had the purpose of pointing to the Lamb of God (John 1:29-34) and as the last great prophet, he was least in the kingdom (Matthew 11:11).
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea. Matthew 3:1
The Hebrew word for wilderness is ‘bachuraba’ from the root ‘charav’ which is the word for “a plowed field or a field that will yield harvest.”
There were at least five cities in the wilderness of Judea. John was sent to the wilds where the law was revealed, tabernacle built, priesthood populated and the office of the Levites established. All the goodness God gave the Israelites was within this wilderness. He preached from a land ripe with and for harvest.
Though he was solely sent and utterly alone, he preached. In Hebrew this word is ’karaz’ which means “to preach, announce and proclaim”. This type of sermon is considered a “measuring container”. In this plowed place, John was being filled with the Spirit of God and measuring the Spirit in himself. Would he pour purely when he was called to prepare passage for Christ? John spent thirty years preparing for a few months.
The words he preached there were worship, as he learned to live a life of the Spirit, simply sustained by God alone.
Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Matthew 3:2
Because of his time in the wilderness, John ever feel the presence of God and His coming Kingdom. It was his tangible truth. His eyes were always open, seeking the results of repentance. He cared nothing for money, but reached for wealth. The wealth not of the world– where much is done for those who can’t repay, the rich are endowed for the poor and a Kingdom exists for the benefit of those who don’t yet believe. The benchmarks of biblical wealth.
I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold; they shall make a great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is come up before them; they have broken up and passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them. Micah 2:12-13
John came, was sent, to draw a people to another. To assemble a court that would follow a King and widen the way to the wonder of Him. John the Baptist was a breaker. For a breached boulder beckons.
A shepherd pens his sheep up for the night, building a barrier of rock against the side of the hill. To let the sheep out in the morning, he makes a hole or a break by moving a few stones aside. The sheep who have been in tight quarters all night, will push their way through in the morning and break the gate or widen it on their way to the shepherd. John revealed the narrow was and overturned obstruction so the way was opened. We widen the gate, every time we follow the King.
Mashiach is the Hebrew for Messiah meaning “the anointed one” or “the consecrated, set apart or chosen way.” Only One who was Prophet, Priest and King could fill this vat to overflowing.
The Greek equivalent is Christ.
In our culture, oil represents wealth. In ancient cultures, it was also a symbol of wealth, being used for lamplight, medicine and offering, specifically to Elohiym. Many miracles were opened with oil.
There are three Hebrew words for oil and each one connects to olive oil. Gethsemane, the garden in which Jesus prepared for cross and crown, means “olive press”.
‘Shemen’ means “to be fat” or “full of character”. A similar word is used in Latin for “seed”. The unfolding meaning of ‘shemen’ is “planting, birth and multiplication.” A dove brought an olive branch to the arked remnant as a sign of the re-seeding or re-multiplying to come from opened door and holy hearts.
‘Yitzhar’ means “anoint” and is used as a name “Shining One”.
‘Meshach’ is the word used for oil to light lamp, food and offerings to the Lord. It is used only twice in Scripture in reference to the second Temple. ‘Meshach’ shares a root so similar you can barely tell them apart, which is ‘mashach’. With one letter added, the word becomes ‘Mashiach’ or ‘Messiah’, the one anointed with oil. The added letter is yod which is the smallest letter of the alephbet and means “the hand or arm of God reached in humility.” The word ‘mashach’ is used only two times as well, in Daniel 9:25 & 9:26, referring to the yet unbuilt third temple.
Messiah is hidden in Hebrew, that we would seek the eternal flame, the light that burns throughout time and in His every Temple.
Oil is used to anoint a King and for one preparing to meet the King, the Groom.
I adore this name! It reminds me to adorn His heart. My heart in these days is to be so fat, so full of character, I can pour upon Him purely. To break open the identity I have, that I’ve held to till now, and exchange it for His extravagance. To diminish in the wilderness, the plowed place, the prepared purpose, He has until I only have room for Him. Pressed by love and longing. Marveled to multiply. Planted in praise!
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