The Voice Crying in the Wilderness
Our last article discussed the significance of the First Day of the First Month and how it marked the day of Jesus’ baptism and served as a precursor to what Christ would later fulfill throughout the Passovers of His Ministry. This First Day of the First Month also served as the birth date of John the Baptist, who was the precursor to Christ, whom John recognized and proclaimed as the Passover Lamb of God.
Luke 1 introduces John’s parents, his father Zechariah, a priest of the division of Abijah, and his wife Elizabeth, who was also a descendant of Aaron. They are “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”
When Zechariah’s division was on duty, he was chosen by lot to burn incense in the Temple, where he was confronted by the archangel Gabriel, who informed him that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son and that they were required to name him John, whose role would be “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (ref. Luke 1:17).
Priests didn’t serve continuously in the Temple but ministered for two separate week-long periods in a rotating system, in addition to being present for the three feasts (Passover, Feast of Weeks, and Feast of Tabernacles) that all males were required to attend in Jerusalem. Since it was Zechariah’s division serving, rather than all the priests, we know that this event didn’t occur during one of the three feasts. This rotating system is kept consistent, since there were twenty-four priestly divisions which served two separate weeks, totaling forty-eight weeks, plus three mandatory festivals, equaling the fifty-one week Hebrew calendar. Since this system would have started on the first day of the first month and readjusted itself systematically, we can track when Zechariah first met Archangel Gabriel.
Zechariah’s priestly division of Abijah was the eighth in the series, so his service most likely occurred during the ninth week of the year, since Passover was mandatory of all the priests to attend and pushed the date a week ahead. After ministering, Zechariah would not have been able to have gone home yet, since right after his service on the ninth week, he would have to participate in the Feast of Weeks during the tenth week. During the 11th week of the year, Zechariah would have returned home to impregnate Elizabeth who would have given birth 40 weeks later on the First Day of the First Month.
Zechariah’s interaction with Archangel Gabriel could have happened during his series’ second rotation in the Fall, but Luke’s narrative leaves two distinct clues that inform us of the Spring dating. Gabriel explains that John will “be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb”. Because of his and his wife’s advanced ages, Zechariah was doubtful and questioned how they can have a child, requesting a sign from Gabriel, who makes him mute for his unbelief.
The Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost, occurring the following week, would be the next major holiday after Zechariah’s encounter. Pentecost would later be celebrated as the day Christ’s Followers”were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (ref. Acts 2:4) after His Ascension. It’s not coincidental that John’s father Zechariah lost his ability to speak due to his unbelief and that John the Baptist would be “filled with the Holy Ghost while still in his mother’s womb”.
The first day of the first month set a precedent for what Christ would accomplish during his Ministry Passovers, starting with righteous King Hezekiah cleansing the Temple, foreshadowing Jesus clearing the Temple of the money changers; Ezra beginning to teach in the Temple which was fulfilled by Jesus teaching them directly from God; and the rebuilding of the Temple starting the countdown to the death of the Messiah. In like manner, John the Baptist, born on the first day of the first month, laid the groundwork for what Jesus would accomplish later.
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”-
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.'”
It was believed that Elijah would return to announce the coming Messiah and the Archangel Gabriel confirmed this, explaining that John would “turn the Children of Israel back to the Lord their God” going “before Him in the Spirit and power of Elijah”. John fulfills this when he declared:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit, before being born on the First Day of the First Month, which was the date the Holy Spirit filled the Tabernacle and the same day Jesus was Baptized and the Spirit came upon Christ like a dove. John baptized Jesus with water, on the First Day of the First Month, to prepare the hearts of Israel for “He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit”.
The First Day of the First Month marked the counting of days towards the events of the Spring Feasts and forecasted the prophecies that Christ would fulfill. John was born on this day to announce the Passover Lamb and baptized Jesus with water on this day in preparation for us to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
John was filled with the Holy Spirit and was ready to fulfill his role in God’s Kingdom.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator
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