Posted on

Extermination of the Jews Not Just A German Idea

The Jewish people have been harassed, exterminated and put into slavery since 600 B.C. One of the great exterminations happened in 135 AD during the rule of the Roman Empire which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline.

Here are the events leading up to that. The Jewish people were sent into exile around 600 B.C. when the Babylonians had conquered Judea and forced a great deal of its citizens to relocate to various parts of their empire. The Babylonians were conquered by the Persians, and the Jewish people served under them as well. God used the Persians to allow the Jewish people to return home and to rebuild their temple.

[This article continues after a message from the authors]
These Articles are Written by the Publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline
Quickly See 6000 Years of Bible and World History Togetherbible timeline

Unique Circular Format – see more in less space.
Learn facts that you can’t learn just from reading the Bible
Attractive design ideal for your home, office, church …

Limited Time Offer! Find out more now! >

Jews,Extermination_of_in_135_AD
Star of David

These events took place during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. When the Persian Empire fell to the Greeks, the Seleucid Empire dominated Judea. After the Seleucid’s were driven out of the land by the Maccabees, who established a dynasty that remained free for about 100 years. However, this all ended around 40 B.C. with the death of the last Hasmonean king of Judea. Herod the Great was backed by Rome and because of this Judea was considered a vassal state of the Roman Empire.

The First Rebellion

The Jewish people did not like this and wanted to be free from foreign rule. There were some anti-Jewish factions that formed throughout the land. They were hardliners who wanted to start an uprising against the pro-Roman Herod Dynasty and other Jewish sympathizers who were loyal to the Empire. They indiscriminately attacked Rome for many years and caused them problems. Eventually, all of this civil unrest came to boiling point around 70 B.C. when a group of Jewish people slaughtered Roman forces who witnessed the blasphemy committed against their religion. This event triggered the First Jewish-Roman War. General Titus of Rome ultimately defeated the Jewish people and deported many of them into other cities throughout the empire and sold much more into slavery. 66 – 73 A.D.

The Second Jewish War

Many Jews were deported to Cyrene, Libya, which is located in Africa. The Jews who were situated there rose up in rebellion against the Romans. Jews disliked the Romans and Greeks, and they eventually started to kill them. Meanwhile, trouble was occurring in Parthia and emperor Trajan had to get the situation under control. When Trajan forces were returning from their victory in Parthia, the Jewish rebels started to attack the garrisons that were placed in their territory. Many Jewish people all throughout the Empire got word of what had happened in Cyrene and decided to follow their lead. Soon many provinces had rebellious Jews attacking and killing Greek and Roman citizens. Cyrene, Libya was one of the worst places of the rebellion, so Trajan sent his forces to kill thousands upon thousands of people to get the situation under control. 115-117 A.D.

The Third and Final Jewish-Roman War

The Romans were sick of the Jews and by 132 A.D. they had passed a law forbidding the act of circumcision. Many fanatic Jews took this as an opportunity to rebel. Many Jews of the time believed that their Messiah had finally arrived, and his name was Bar Kokhba. They also believed that the end of the world was going to take place. So they decided to attack the Romans once again because this time around they believed they would overthrow them. At first the Jews were successful but they eventually started to lose many battles. The Romans were being defeated by the zealous Jews until they decided to enforce an annihilation campaign against the Jews. This strategy worked and hundreds of thousands of Jews all over the Roman Empire were slaughtered and killed during the process. Many Jews were forced to leave Palestine and sold into slavery. By 135 A.D., the Jews were scattered throughout the world and from this time up until 1949 they never had a country to call home.

Posted on

Diaspora of the Jews

After the third Jewish revolt occurred in 135 A.D. the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world by Emperor Hadrian. Since the time Rome had controlled Judea starting in 40 B.C., the Jews had been revolting and trying to gain their freedom. Rome had to suffer and put up with the Jews for almost 150 years before they finally decided to wipe them out and take their homeland from them. This is known as the Diaspora of the Jews and appears on the Biblical Timeline Poster in 135 AD.

[This article continues after a message from the authors]
These Articles are Written by the Publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline
Quickly See 6000 Years of Bible and World History Togetherbible timeline

Unique Circular Format – see more in less space.
Learn facts that you can’t learn just from reading the bible
Attractive design ideal for your home, office, church …

Limited Time Offer! Find out more now! >

A History of Jewish Exile

Diaspora_of_the_Jews
Roman Triumphal arch panel copy from Beth Hatefutsoth, showing spoils of Jerusalem temple.

Jewish people were constantly deported from their homeland starting first with the Babylonians, then the Persians, the Greeks and finally the Romans. They enjoyed a brief period of autonomous rule that lasted during the Hasmonean Dynasty. This ended in 40 B.C. when King Herod used the Roman Empire to gain control of Judea. Since that point, the Jews had been fighting hard against Roman domination.

Revolts and Rebellions

The next 150 years of Jewish history was marked by rebellion and revolts against Rome. The Jews were tired of the Romans and their lack of respect for Jewish life. They formed militant resistance groups that came and went over the years. The Zealots were probably the most famous resistance group during this era. Many of the people might not have liked the things that the Zealots had done, but most of them were allied to their cause. Eventually, the Zealots rebellion culminated in the first Jewish-Roman war where Jerusalem was taken and the Temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Romans once and for all. Many Jewish people were sold into slavery or resettled into other cities. These events happened in 70 A.D. About 45 years later in 115 A.D. a second Jewish revolt happened and shortly after this event (in 132 A.D.) the Jews revolted a third time under the rule of Hadrian. This was the final straw and after they were defeated Hadrian deported the Jews, sold them into slavery and renamed Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and the kingdom of Judea was now called Palestine, Syria. This event would mark a significant changing point in the history of the Jewish people.

The Jews in Other Territories

Many of the Jews were scattered across the empire and they never were able to regain their homeland. So they developed their own communities in the cultures where they lived. Jews were now living in various parts of Africa, Rome, Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and some had gone to India and even as far as China. In time, Jews migrated to Russia, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.

They concentrated on keeping their way of life and did not assimilate into the dominant cultures that surrounded them. They became powerful members of their society and many Jewish people were involved in banking and commerce. The Jews learned how to gain leadership positions and they pretty much kept to themselves in order to avoid as much conflict as possible. They were hard workers and a respectable people who did their best not to be a burden on the societies where they lived.

The events of World War II forced the Jews to once again back into their homeland. In 1949, the British took Palestine and gave it back to the Jewish people and all the Jews in the world now had a place to call home once again.

Posted on

Hadrian Rome and the Jews, Emperor

Around 118 A.D., the Jewish people were tired of their living conditions under the Roman rule. Many of them were driven out of their homeland and relocated to various areas within the Roman Empire. There were other Jews who became slaves and had to serve masters all over the world. The biggest blow to the Jewish people came in the form of religious persecution and not being able to worship God according to their belief system. Eventually, they rebelled against Rome from 132 to 135 AD that is where it appears on the Bible Timeline Poster with World history.

[This article continues after a message from the authors]
These Articles are Written by the Publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline
Quickly See 6000 Years of Bible and World History Togetherbible timeline

Unique Circular Format – see more in less space.
Learn facts that you can’t learn just from reading the Bible
Attractive design ideal for your home, office, church …

Limited Time Offer! Find out more now! >

Hadrian_Emporer_of_Rome_and_the_Jews
Emporer Hadrian

Emperor Hadrian and the Jews
Emperor Hadrian took power in 118 A.D. and when he came to power, he promised the Jews that they could rebuild their temple and return to their homeland in Jerusalem. Most of the Jews were previously dispelled from their home land in 70 A.D. So when Hadrian made this promise they got excited about the thought of returning home. However, Hadrian tricked the Jews and never had any intention of fulfilling his promise. He outraged them to the point of rebellion when he created a law that forbade them from performing circumcisions.

The Jews Prepare for War
The Jews could no longer take being treated inhumanely, so they started to secretly prepare for war. They started to build, and stock hideouts in caves and they started to amass weapons in secrecy. This went on for five years. Word of this rebellion spread to different Jewish communities around the empire, and many Jews started to prepare in the same manner. They had a leader named Joshua ben Hananiah, who kept them from rebelling until the time was right. Another leader named Shimon Bar Kokhba then became the most important leader of the movement. He then started to send his forces around the empire to terrorize Roman forces. Hadrian stayed in Jerusalem for a short while because he wanted to turn the city into a new metropolis called Aelia. The Jews did not revolt while he was there but when he left they decided to start the war.

The Jews Rebel
Around 132 A.D., the Jews attacked the Romans after the emperor decided to harass the Jews even further. The Jews spread the word to rebel to other cities and the Jews all over the empire began to revolt. Cyrene Libya was one of the most active places where the Jews were attacking the Greeks and Romans. They were killing and massacring many people, and Hadrian had no choice but to send his forces to this area and in Alexandria, Egypt to stop them.

The Jews initially defeated the Romans in Syria and other key areas. They primarily took over fortresses and cities that would be their undoing in the end. The Romans were losing a lot of ground and could not contain the fury of the Jewish rebels so they decided to capture as many fortresses and cities as they could from the Jews. When they did, they ended up cutting off important supplies and food from the Jewish rebels.

The Jews slowly starved, and they could no longer continue to fight without food and supplies. They staged a final battle in Bethar near the headquarters of Bar Kokhba. The Romans surrounded the Jews in this area, and the final showdown began. Every Jew who was present at Bar Kokhba lost their life during this battle. The Romans suffered heavy casualties and were extremely angry about the situation. The remaining Jewish people could not bury their country men for at least 6 days after the conflict ended.

When the war was finished, Hadrian immediately set out to finish off any last resistance. He then exiled and deported Jews to different parts of the empire. He passed many anti-Jewish laws and changed the name of Judea to Syria-Palestine. Though Jerusalem is still remembered by its primary name, Hadrian changed its name to Aelia Capitolina. The few Jews that remained in the city were fortunate enough to still call this place home even though they could no longer worship or live as they pleased.

Posted on

Flavius Josephus Biography

Josephus was an ancient historian who handles recording a great deal of Jewish and Roman history. His works primarily explain Jewish history during the first century. Titus Flavius Josephus was the birth name of Josephus, and he came from a wealthy family. His father was a priest named Matthias, and his mother descended from royalty. Josephus was born around 37 A.D., which is where he appears on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History.

Josephus,Jewish_Historian
Josephus

Early Life, Since his father was a priest, Josephus was trained to become a priest as well. Eventually, he turned toward military action. Apparently, Josephus had become an exceptional priest who was trusted and respected enough to conduct political affairs for the Jewish people. Around 60 A.D., he was given the responsibility of negotiating the release of some Jewish prisoners with Rome. He managed to free the priests and when he returned the Jews decided to make him a commander of the Galilean forces.

Military Life Shortly after becoming a military commander, the Jews revolted against Rome. General Vespasian showed up with his son Titus and began to retake Judea. Josephus led one of the first forces that Vespasian would encounter in Galilee. Josephus knew he was not a match for the Roman army, and he had to hide out with his soldiers. While they were in hiding, they decided to kill themselves through a process that Josephus was the only surviving member. He surrendered to the Romans and became a negotiator for them to ensure peace. His military life was over, but his life as a member of Vespasian’s court had just begun.

Negotiator and Historian Titus had used him as a negotiator to get the people to surrender peacefully, but the Jews did not listen to him. Jews were ultimately defeated, but he remained in the care of the Jews. He eventually married a Greek woman and had children while in the service of Vespasian and then Titus. He changed his name to Flavius and served these emperors in Rome. Many Jewish people consider him a traitorous individual, and they did not respect his works. Josephus’ works survive to this day. His works primarily focus on the First Jewish War, Masada and various Roman emperors who lived in the first century. Josephus mentions Jesus and the start of Christianity and the early church. Josephus’ works were used to record Jewish theory and philosophy to the world. He compared Jewish thought with classical Greek wisdom and he also outlines the importance of Hebrew culture and why the Jews were so rebellious against the Romans.

His accounts of the conflicts and struggles of the Jewish people during the 1st century are also noted because he personally went through most of the historical events that he wrote about. His position as an adviser to Vespasian and Titus allowed him to witness the inner workings of Roman life from the highest level of its society. Many Roman citizens could not view the Rome from this perspective. Though many Jews believe that Josephus was a traitor to his people, his works continue to be used as a critical historical source that tells the tale of his people and their struggles during the first century.

Posted on

John Exiled to Patmos

John, the Disciple of Jesus, was banished to Patmos during the latter years of his life. When Rome had exiled John to Patmos, he was the last remaining member of the Twelve Disciples of Jesus Christ. John was born 6 A.D. His life appears on the Bible Timeline Chart between then and 100 AD.  He was a close follower of Christ who was also called the Disciple that Jesus loved.

[This article continues after a message from the authors]
These Articles are Written by the Publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline
Quickly See 6000 Years of Bible and World History Togetherbible timeline

Unique Circular Format – see more in less space.
Learn facts that you can’t learn just from reading the Bible
Attractive design ideal for your home, office, church …

Limited Time Offer! Find out more now! >

John_Exiled
“John the Apostle on Patmos”

His Service to Christ
Jesus first encountered John and his brother James on the shores of Galilee. He invited them to become his followers, and they complied. John then joined Jesus as he went about his public ministry. John traveled with Jesus during his ministry and was chosen to be in his inner circle as one the Twelve Disciples. This was a special privilege because Jesus had many followers. John was the only disciple that was present when Christ was crucified, and he also was extremely loyal to Jesus during his ministry in Jerusalem. Christ told him to watch over Mary his mother who was also present at the crucifixion.

The Early Church
When Jesus came back to life after his crucifix, he met John and Peter while they were fishing. Christ referred to him as the Disciple whom Jesus loved. John and Peter told the others what had happened, and they went back to Jerusalem until the arrival of the Holy Spirit. John was present with the believers in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit had arrived. He received power and played a critical role in the expansion of the early church.

In the book of Acts John helped Peter to heal people, spread the Gospel and he was imprisoned for preaching the message of Christ. He also cared for Mary, Jesus’ mother. Until the time she had died in 54 A.D.  King Herod Agrippa I attacked the Christians and caused them to scatter outside of Jerusalem (Acts 12: 1 -17). John ended up in Ephesus.

John Imprisoned
Some parts of John’s life are not clear and historical sources claim that he was a leader of the church at Ephesus. Eventually, he was captured in a persecution campaign by the Roman Emperor Domitian. John was ultimately sentenced to Patmos (Revelation 1:9). Patmos was a small, rocky and barren area where many criminals of Rome were sent to serve out their prison terms in harsh conditions. There were mines on the island that the criminals were forced to work. John was sent to the island for the same reasons because the early Christians were considered a strange cult group who were known for causing trouble within the Empire. After John had arrived, he began to have visions that were written into the Book of Revelation of the Bible.

Some historians and scholars claim that John died while on Patmos and others say that he was freed from the island before his death. No one is certain when or where he died, but many people do agree that he was not executed like the other apostles.

Biblical References:
Revelation 1: 9 John speaks about his banishment to the island of Patmos
Acts 12: 1 -17 King Herod Agrippa I attacked the Christians and caused them to scatter outside of Jerusalem.

References:
Picture By Jacopo Vignali – Giovanni Piccirillo (a cura di), La chiesa dei Santi Michele e Gaetano, Becocci Editore, Firenze 2006., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3098473
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_Patmos
http://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/why-was-john-on-patmos/
http://www.bibleprobe.com/revelation.htm
Posted on

Titus Destroyed Jerusalem

 Unrest for the Jewish People and Rome
The empire of Rome did not want to be bothered with Judea because they believed it was a worthless province that was only good for creating problems. Judea did offer some benefits since it connected the various parts of the Middle East and Asia together but they still did not think much of the territory. The Jewish people had a strange religion which only worshiped one god and they produced many religious teachers who caused disturbances among the people. A religious teacher named Jesus Christ was executed in Judea by the Roman governor Pilate and the Jewish people.

[This article continues after a message from the authors]
These Articles are Written by the Publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline
Quickly See 6000 Years of Bible and World History Togetherbible timeline

Unique Circular Format – see more in less space.
Learn facts that you can’t learn just from reading the Bible
Attractive design ideal for your home, office, church …

Limited Time Offer! Find out more now! >

Jerusalem,Destroyed_by_Titus_70_AD
Jerusalem, Destroyed

After his death a new sect of Judaism known as Christianity emerged shortly after his death. Jesus prophesied that the Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed and his words came true about forty years after his death. Since the time of Jesus’ death many Zealots were becoming bold with their attacks against Rome. In 66 A.D. they managed to stir up the people and lead them into revolt against Rome.

The Roman emperor of the time of this revolt was Nero and he had encountered the Christians since the time that Paul had arrived in Rome to plead his case before Caligula or Claudius. Nero did not like the Christians and he liked the Jews even less so he sent Nero sent Titus’ father Vespasian to quell the revolt. Nero died at the time the Romans were retaking Judea. Vespasian became embroiled in the intrigues of who was to be emperor – known as “The Year of the Four Emperors.” He would entrust the continuation of the Judean campaign to his son Titus.

Titus Starts to Gain Control

Titus arrived in Judea with his father Vespasian who was a leading general in the Roman Empire. Once he arrived in Jerusalem he began to make his way toward Jerusalem. He conquered many rebellious Jewish sects along the way. He managed to capture the northern half of Judea and forced many Jewish people to surrender without a fight. Vespasian had to return home to Rome after Nero committed suicide and left his son Titus in control.

Many Jewish people fled to Jerusalem and when they did they had started to fight among themselves. The Zealots and other notorious Jewish factions began to kill any Jewish person who wanted to surrender. They managed to take over the city and they fortified the area. They fought a Civil War against themselves. Titus waited for the outcome of this situation before he acted. Titus then moved his forces against Jerusalem and the defenders who were fighting a desperate battle. The rebel Jewish factions were forcing many people to fight even when it would have made more sense to surrender.

They ended up burning the city’s food supplies to force the people to fight on and they cut off all trade and commerce into the city. Many Jewish people were starving during the siege and many were also being killed from the Roman legions. Titus lay siege for  years until the city finally collapsed in 70 A.D. which is when this event is found on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History. The temple at Jerusalem was destroyed during the siege and those who were able to escape fled to a Jewish fortress called Masada or they escaped the country.

Masada fell some time later in 73 A.D. and with its fall the Jewish rebellion came to an end. The remaining Jewish people were allowed to live in Judea but many of them were scattered across the world. Some were forced into slavery and others were forced to live in other parts of the Roman Empire. Titus had returned to Rome in 70 A.D. after he conquered Jerusalem. He was given a triumph or military celebration for his victory and was considered a great Roman general. Titus eventually became an emperor of Rome.

Posted on

Christs Birth

Prophecies

The Old Testament books of the Bible contain many prophecies that speak of the coming Messiah or savior of the world. Originally the Old Testament books were written for the Hebrew or Jewish people. They claimed that a Messiah would be born who would ultimately come into the world and save the Jewish people from their enemies while establishing a new era of greatness for the Jewish people.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, Judea was under the control of Rome and many people expected the Messiah to return to liberate them from their tyranny. There are some key Old Testament prophecies such Genesis and Isaiah. In Genesis, God says that the serpent will bruise the heel of a child and that the child would crush his head. The prophet Isaiah states for unto us a child is born a savior is given. These are primary examples of the many Old Testament prophecies that foreshadowed the coming of Christ.

[This article continues after a message from the authors]
These Articles are Written by the Publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline
Quickly See 6000 Years of Bible and World History Togetherbible timeline

Unique Circular Format – see more in less space.
Learn facts that you can’t learn just from reading the bible
Attractive design ideal for your home, office, church …

Limited Time Offer! Find out more now! >

Importance of Genealogies

At the beginning of the New Testament Books Matthew and Luke, there is a series of genealogies that outline the family line of Jesus. The genealogy lists show that Jesus‘ parents Joseph and Mary were descendants of Abraham and Adam and that he had a legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. The list also shows that he has a spiritual and legal claim as well. Jesus was able to lay claim to the throne of David by the adoption of Joseph as a son.

God had cursed a former Jewish king named Jeconiah and told him that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of Israel again but he also told King David that his royal line would forever rule on the throne of Israel. God remedied this problem through Christ. Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph which would mean that he would gain his legal right to the throne by being adopted and when he was adopted he could then legally claim to be king.

Romans states that for by one man sin has entered into the world but all are made righteous through Christ. The genealogies also point out how Christ birth has ushered in a new era of salvation that would break the power of sin. The hereditary lists also point out that Jesus was the expected Messiah.

Christ's_Birth_Mary

The Virgin Birth An angel appears to a virgin woman named Mary who was engaged to married to a man named Joseph. The angel tells Mary that she was going to have a son that was to be born from the Holy Spirit. Her son would be the chosen Messiah of the world. Mary has a hard time accepting this message and she eventually finds out that cousin Elizabeth has a son named John who was also born under supernatural circumstances. After her visit with Elizabeth, she is convinced about what the angel is saying and returns home. Joseph was going to cancel his engagement to her, but an angel appeared to him and told him to follow through the wedding. Joseph listened to the angel and Christ became his legal son.

Christ's_Birth_magi
The Magi Journeying

Herod and the Magi

King Herod was in charge of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth. He had close ties to Rome and as long as he paid tribute to the empire they allowed him to govern as he pleased. Rome had also sent a governor to Judea at the time to ensure that the people would constantly be reminded of their presence.

During the reign of King Herod, there were Magi who came from the east after seeing the Star of David appear in the sky over Jerusalem. These men were ancient astronomers who knew of the ancient Jewish prophecies of the coming Messiah. After seeing the star, they gathered gifts and traveled to Jerusalem.

When they arrived they visited King Herod before finding Jesus. They told Herod that the Messiah would be born and that he was going to be a king. Herod pretended to like their good news, but he really wanted to know where the child was located so he could kill it. The Wise Men said that they would return, but they were warned by an angel not to go back to the palace of Herod. After they found Christ in Bethlehem they presented Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus with the gifts.

Christ's_Birth_Newborn

The Slaughtering of the Innocents

Herod was outraged that the Wise Men had left the country without telling him where the child was located. So he decided to kill all of the male children that were 2 years old and younger. Many historians claim that there was not any historical record to validate this act, but no one can prove with clarity that this act did not happen. Joseph was warned by an angel to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt and hide out there until King Herod had passed away.

After the king had died, Joseph and his family returned how to Jerusalem. These facts about Jesus’ birth are very fascinating and the early days of Christ’s life is an epic tale full of drama and adventure. Jesus’ impact on the world is so significant because each generation that is born into the world has to decide if he is the savior of all people or just a madman who made some pretty far-fetched claims during his lifetime.

Biblical References:

  • Genesis 3:15 God foretells the prophecy about Christ and how he is going to defeat the serpent (the Devil).
  • Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah prophesies about the birth of Jesus and his ministry in the world.
  • Matthew 1: 1 – 16 The genealogy of Christ from Mary’s side of the family.
  • Luke 3: 23 – 38 The genealogy of Christ from Joseph’s side of the family.
  • Luke 1: 39 – 45 Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and her supernatural birth of Jesus is confirmed.
  • Matthew 1: 18 – 25 The Virgin Birth
  • Matthew 2: 1 – 12 The Magi and Jesus Christ
  • Matthew 2: 13 – 23 Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt after being warned by an angel to go there in order to avoid the slaughter of children enacted by King Herod.
Posted on

John the Baptist in the Bible, Biography

John the Baptist was the last prophet in the Bible who spoke about the coming Messiah. He was also a preacher who baptized people and denounced their sins. Jesus Christ was John’s cousin, and John had been born some years before he was conceived.

[This article continues after a message from the authors]
These Articles are Written by the Publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline
Quickly See 6000 Years of Bible and World History Togetherbible timeline

Unique Circular Format – see more in less space.
Learn facts that you can’t learn just from reading the Bible
Attractive design ideal for your home, office, church …

Limited Time Offer! Find out more now! >

Elizabeth and Zechariah, Parents of John the Baptist

According to the Bible, the birth of John the Baptist happened about six months before Jesus was born which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline online. He was born to a temple priest named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth. Both of them were descendants from the priestly line of Aaron. Elizabeth had been barren for many years and one day while Zechariah was performing his temple duties the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that he was going to have a son named John. Gabriel also told Zechariah that John was going to be filled with the Holy Spirit and that he was going to turn many people from sin by pronouncing the coming Messiah.

Zechariah then questioned Gabriel about what he said because Elizabeth and he were old. Gabriel then took away his ability to speak and told him that he would be able to talk again after John was born. During Elizabeth’s pregnancy Mary (Elizabeth’s cousin) the mother of Jesus had visited her after Gabriel told her that she was going to give a supernatural birth to Jesus. She realized that she was going to birth Jesus sometime after John was born.

John_the_Baptist_Wilderness
‘John the Baptist, by Andrea del Sarto, 1528.’

Background of John the Baptist 

Once John was born, he was raised under the teachings of his father Zechariah. He learned about the Torah, Talmud and other important Jewish Holy Books and scripture. John was probably being groomed for the priesthood like his father, but the Spirit of God had led John out into the wilderness to live as a wild man who learned how to eat off of the land. The Bible claims that he had eaten locust and wild honey as a part of his daily diet and that his clothing was manufactured from camel hair. John’s life is characterized as a life of a rugged individual who lived in the wilderness preaching the word of God.

Preaching in the Wilderness

John the Baptist earned his name by baptizing many people from their sins. He also preached the concept of repentance or turning away from their evil deeds. John’s fame went out far and wide, and many people came to hear his message and to be baptized. When a person is baptized, they are submerged underneath a body of water and then taken back out as part of a symbolic process that shows a person has received new life in Jesus Christ. John’s fame also caused some of the local people within Judea to follow him as disciples. Jesus made an appearance before John and was baptized by him though John had initially refused. John was telling the people about Jesus because he knew that he was the Son of God. John had also confronted many of the Jewish religious leaders who were Pharisees and Sadducees. King Herod (the ruling Judean monarch of the time) visited John one day and was denounced by him for marrying his brother’s wife. King Herod ultimately had John imprisoned for speaking out against him in public.

john_the_Baptist
‘Puvis de Chavannes, The Beheading of St John the Baptist, c. 1869’

Speaking out Against Herod John the Baptist eventually met his death while in prison. King Herod was having a birthday party and during this event his daughter had danced for the guests and it pleased everyone in attendance. King Herod told her that she could have anything that she desired because she danced so well. The young lady told the king that she wanted the head of John the Baptist on a platter after she listened to the advice of her mother. King Herod was upset because he liked to listen to John preach, and he knew that John’s death could cause serious problems with the people of Judea. However, he didn’t want to go back on his word in front of his guests and ended up killing John.

His Death

John’s disciples had taken away his body after he had died and Jesus was informed. During John’s incarceration he had his disciples go to Jesus to make sure that he was the chosen Messiah. John was only human and at times doubted, especially when he was imprisoned for his beliefs. Even though this was the case John ultimately knew that Jesus was the son of God and the chosen Messiah.
John died around four years before Christ.

Biblical References:

Luke 1: 1 – 79 The story about how Zechariah and Elizabeth give birth to John the Baptist.

Matthew 4: 13 – 17 Jesus is baptized by John.

Mark 6: 14 – 29 John the Baptist confronts King Herod about his unlawful marriage and ends up dying in prison.

Matthew 14: 1 – 12 John the Baptist is killed in prison by King Herod.