John the Baptist was a prophet whom God chose to prepare the way for coming Messiah. He guided the people back in the way of righteousness in order to prepare their hearts for the coming fulfillment of the gospel promise in Christ. He is called “The Baptist” because he not only baptized Jesus, but through him God introduced a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. In a prophecy concerning his coming, he is also referred to as “Elijah,” an Old Testament prophet whose dress and courage in confronting sin were similar to John’s. John’s boldness in confronting the sins of the people eventually made him the enemy of the local ruler, King Herod, who was having an adulterous relationship with his own brother’s wife. Herod eventually had John beheaded at the scheming request of his brother’s wife (Matthew 14:1-12).
1st century A.D.