2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Every new Bible version with the exception of the NKJV has a glaring and deliberate error here. Go ahead, look at your copy. This is a quote of Malachi not Isaiah.
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
The error in the modern Bibles comes from the early church “father”, Origen, who may have had a problem with the deity of Christ, where this would make Jesus Christ to be Jehovah God of the Old Testament. For those who don’t believe that He is then they have to explain this problem.
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
2Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2Peter 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Now, look at Isaiah 40 where Jehovah God is speaking.
1 ¶ But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 8 ¶ Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
If there is one God, Jehovah, and there is no saviour besides Him and Jesus Christ is the saviour, then who is He?
John the Baptist is that “messenger”. He is also an Old Testament prophet.
Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Jesus declares that John is Elijah.
Matthew 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Elias is the New Testament translation of Elijah in the Old. John was prophesied before his birth to come in the spirit and power of Elijah.
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.
In spite of the fact that John didn’t know it.
John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
In the same way, when we get to the gospel of John the Apostle we’ll see that Judas didn’t know he was a devil. Elijah will show up at the triumphant return of Christ.
Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.17:1 ¶ And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Then, going on toward the end of the great tribulation.
Revelation 11:3 ¶ And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Here is the quote from Isaiah to whom the newer versions of the Bible falsely attributed the previous quote.
Isaiah 40:3 ¶ 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.
You’ll find this in Matthew 3:3, Luke 3:4, and John 1:23, as well.
John’s ministry is to plow and to make the way clear for Christ. His preaching is very, very hard, much harder than most Americans can handle. The people’s hearts are very hard because they have a long religious tradition and are very self righteous.
We are to also prepare the way for Christ’s return with our preaching. But, the Christian’s preaching is to have a different tack to it although the flesh might hunger for John’s methods. But, you aren’t John the Baptist, a unique individual in history. You are a Christian, probably a Gentile, and not a Jewish prophet calling on a nation that belonged to God to turn back to God. You are trying draw lost sinners individually out of a lost world to the light of Christ.
2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
It may not appeal to you. You might find the flesh more liking screaming and shouting anger and paranoia, imagining you are doing the work of a latter day John the Baptist. But, consider what God says in His word, not what your favorite pulpiteer wants you to emulate.
Furthermore, the way the Bible applies Old Testament verses to Christ is our key in understanding Old Testament verses. Examine closely the context and see how individual statements are found inside of a larger context which refer not only to the situation in which the verse is located but also to a later time and a different subject. This is tough, I know, as it creates an air of subjectivity in interpreting the Bible.
However, the key issue in Bible interpretation is not the salary or education of the preacher and scholar or that of the Bible reader but their spiritual condition. You will get truth from the Bible the closer you are and the more submitted you are to Christ and His words. You will get falsehood from the same text and even heresy the less submitted you are to Christ and His words. If you come to the Bible with an agenda; patriotism over loyalty to God’s teachings, a lust for power and control over others, or seek to justify the way you were raised or your own cultural world view then you will get from the Bible what you bring to it.
Proponents of slavery used the Bible to justify slavery. Warmongers use the Bible to justify military adventure. Those possessed by a lust for money use the Bible to justify extreme notions of capitalism. Men who want to beat their wives will use the Bible as an additional weapon.
Come to God’s word expecting God to give you something from it, not wanting an excuse, or to apply your experience to your interpretation. Pray about what you receive. Compare it to other verses. Don’t come to a conclusion based on one verse’s incomplete statement on a subject like marriage and divorce but on all the verses on a subject within the dispensational framework of what is written to you specifically as a Christian. Remember, your religion is how you express your faith. Do not apply your idea of religion to the Bible to justify your practice but apply the Bible to change your idea of what your religion should be. Finally, look for Christ in every chapter, in every verse, and in every word.