THE MYSTERY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
AND HIS RETURN AS
ELIJAH AT THE END OF TIME
Religious scientists and historians call John the
Baptist the "most mysterious figure of the New Testament".
His whole life and work are veiled in mystery, indeed. Beginning with the
miracle of his birth and ending with his seizure and decapitation, the
extraordinary and the mysterious seem to follow one another.
In 8-6 BC a boy is born in Jerusalem. The father, a
prophet and priest, stems from the line of Zadok which had held the privilege
of office of high priest since the time of David. The mother’s line traces back
to Aaron. She is Mary's - the mother of Christ's - cousin. Mother and child
hide in the stone desert of Judea. The father is killed on account of his son
by Herod. Why?
Out of the blue this John seems to appear as a
powerful preacher and reformer some 30 years later. Thousands upon thousands
take hikes of several days upon themselves to hear him preach. The Roman
historiographer Josephus Flavius calls him a popular hero "by whose
words everyone is guided". What did he preach?
At first the Jews take him to be the return of Elijah,
later on to be the messiah. He always answers in the negative, but, beyond
this, hardly informs about himself. Eventually he leaves Judea for good, and
leaves for the east bank of the Border-River Jordan to Perea, which today is
part of the state of Jordan. Why?
There he commences with his uncompromising sermons and
with the baptism "into the Jordan". Especially with the rite
of baptism John does invalidate the rules of the Jewish Church, yes, even the
Mosaic Laws and the worship by sacrifice in the Temple. Why? As a consequence
of his actions and instructions the country is standing before its financial
and religious ruin all of a sudden. Why? The neutral historiographer Josephus
Flavius reports that all over the country a veritable "fever-of-John"
breaks out. At the height of his renown and veneration John
eventually baptizes Jesus before a huge public and hands the closest circle of
his disciples over to him. What were his reasons for this?
What, finally, is the true cause for John's seizure
and decapitation by Herod Antipas? What was Salome’s part in this?
Approximately six months after the beheading of the
Baptist, Jesus suffers death by crucifixion. John being born six months before
Jesus, as authenticated, both reached the same age. Maybe even to the day. Is
there a deeper significance behind this?
Furthermore, there are manifold parallels between the
two, like the same way, the same aim, the same fate, including the unjust
death-sentence. To understand them separately from one another is a difficult
task, practicable only for the one naively devout. Why was the large circle of
disciples of John interdicted the right of speech by Herod Antipas, and
eventually even forced into banishment?
Was Jesus a member of the Baptis's circle of Nazirs? And
lastly, why was Jesus only persecuted by the Jewish priesthood and the
authorities of the state after the death of the Baptist?
The peculiar and extraordinary of John the Baptist
even reaches beyond his biblical death, for there exists an abundance of
presumptions, circumstantial proofs, and riddles concerning the whereabouts of
his remains. The head is an exception to
this. It is the most significant sanctum of one of the most majestic buildings
of Islamic architecture, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. It arrived there at
the end of an odyssey in 379 AD, for the head had been stolen and re-found
thrice. As a sign of gratitude for its recovery, Theodosius I built a Church of
John as shrine for the relic. More than 300 years later this church was turned
into a mosque.
The history relating the "relic of the right
arm" is even more hazardous. At the crowning ceremony of the Byzantine
Emperor this relic was part of the imperial investiture. It later came into the
possession of the Turks, however. In 1480 the "Knights of the Order of
St. John at Rhodos and Malta" (from these stem the present
"Sovereign Order of Malta" and "Johanniter Orders")
successfully defended the Isle of Rhodos against the Islamic Turks and forced
the Sultan to hand over the arm relic. In 1799 Malta fell, however. In a secret
mission the Knights brought their sanctum to St. Petersburg to the Winter
Palace. The Czar Family seemed to be the most secure protectorate for the arm
relic. After the outbreak of the October Revolution, an Orthodox priest was
ordered by the Czar to secretively deliver the relic to the Danish Royal Family
to, in this way, protect it from destruction by the Bolsheviks. In 1931, King
George II of Greece eventually mentions in an official statement concerning the
abode of the arm relic that it "Is kept in the chapel of the King of
Yugoslavia in utmost precautionary circumstances". Ever since the
disorders of WW II and of the Yugoslavian government by Tito the whereabouts of
this arm relic is officially unknown. Insiders presume the hiding place to be
on an island off the Dalmatian shore, stored in the ground of a church consecrated
to another John, the writer of the Apocalypse. This John and presumed later
Apostle of Jesus, furthermore is said to have been a disciple of John the
But also other relics of the Baptist have an
adventurous history. Splinters of bones and tooth relics can be found in many
churches in Europe. The cloth of decapitation was part of the personal treasure
of Charles the Great. The legendary camel coat and the goblet of the Baptist
are kept in the Church San Giovanni Laterano in Rome. All these relics came to Europe through the
In the 3rd and 4th ct AD a
veritable rush on relics of the Baptist broke out among Christians, since
manifold miracles were connected with them. Eventually the Roman Emperor Julian
ordered the remains to be burnt. Whatever still exists today was rescued from
destruction by monks in adventurous modes.
Only few Christians know that the bowl on which the
head of the Baptist was handed over to Herodias and Salome is part of the Holy
Grail, together with the chalice of blood of Jesus Christ.
But why is there so much ado about the “relic of
the right arm”? While the mystic significance of the HOLY GRAIL is recorded
in manifold writings and epics, there are hardly any documents on the
importance of the arm relic. Only in the course of my research, especially in
Orthodox churches of the southeast and east of Europe did I several times
encounter mysterious traditions, respectively legends: “The right arm of
John the Baptist is the terrestrial symbol of God’s admonishing hand and of the
double-edged sword in one, that will separate light from darkness in the hour
x. Before this, Satan will still be given the power to hide this terrestrial
exhorting sign of God from men. When the arm will be rediscovered, Satan’s
might over earth and man is broken, however. The sword of God will then be
placed in this arm to conclusively make even the way for Christ.”
This right arm, of course, has deep mystical, yes,
biblical significance. Especially so in the Orthodox Church. All attributes
like chalice (symbol for the sacrifice of Christ), the staff with the cross
(crosier of the herald of God, reference to Christ's death on the cross), the
scroll (sign of the prophet), the book (closed, yet, opened on the day of
judgement), as well as the banner with the bible verse ("ecce agnus
dei"), etc., are mostly described and depicted in connection with his
In Byzantine and Orthodox iconography the veneration
of Ioannis Prodromos (John the Precursor) is predominant. These icons depict
John the Baptist almost exclusively with wings, holding the pastoral stick with
the cross, and quite frequently also with the two-edged sword. And, always, his
cut-off head on the bowl is portrayed. The wings thereby refer to the
prediction of Malachi: "I am sending my messenger to prepare the way
before me ... the messanger of my covenant in whom you delight ..." (Malachi
3:1). At the same time they are an allusion to the final judgement: "Lo,
I will send you the Prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the
Lord comes" (Malachi 4:5).
The constant reference to the identity with Elijah
the, on the one hand, first prophet of God and, on the other hand, last
messenger before the great judgement most certainly is part of the mystery
continuously surrounding John the Baptist. Wherefrom does the assumption stem
that John the Baptist is verily identical with Elijah?
It begins with his birth. An angel heralds it to the
parents. It rather seems like a derision, since the mother chosen (Elizabeth)
is barren and, additionally, by that time beyond the age in which conception is
possible. The father (Zechariah) is an old man, angry at the angel as well as
at God for mocking him. Yet, the angel remains unperturbed and reveals that
this child will be a "prophet of the Most High". Additionally
the spirit of Elijah shall be in him. This, at least, is the biblical report in
Luke 1:68-79. This evangelical message could of course have been interpreted
christologically by the Early Church. Yet, there are certified pre-Christian
sources, aside from the New Testament, in which the extraordinary birth and
significance of John the Baptist are described in detail, like, for example, in
"The Mandaean Book of John". This text originated decades
before the gospels, and has been preserved undamaged for almost two-thousand
The biblically clearest reference to the identity of
John and Elijah is given to us by Jesus himself. According to the Evangelist
Matthew (Mt 11:13-15), Jesus says about John: "For all the prophets and
the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is
Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!". This statement
is of great importance. For one, there is already the reference that all the
prophets and the law prophesied towards him. And then the absolute assertion
that John is the Elijah who is to come. This passage is very
revealing, for, in the same context, Jesus speaks of John in the past tense:
"For John came neither eating and drinking ..." (Mt 11:18).
Did Jesus speak about the beheaded John here, and did he prophesy his return as
"the Elijah who will come"? Even if Jesus should have spoken
about the imprisoned, that is, the still living John, the question remains:
what was it that made Jesus call John the Elijah-to-come, while the latter,
always answered the question, if he were Elijah with "I am not"
Is this an error, a contradiction of the evangelists
or is there a deeper meaning which we should understand? Can it be that John
the Baptist has to fulfil two missions? Then the first mission would have been
fulfilled by him approximately 2000 years ago: "See, I am sending my
messenger to prepare the way before me", like the Prophet Malachi had
heralded. The second mission, however, "Lo, I will send you the Prophet
Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes", then is
still ahead of us. Also the question remains unanswered, if the prediction of
Isaiah "one will come who will make even all ways", refers to
the time 2000 years ago or to the time ahead of us.
Studying biblical and non-biblical texts and documents
in the course of my research of life and work of John the Baptist, the return
of John the Baptist seemed logical to me. The seeming contradictions of the
gospels easily dissolve through the comparison of a historically retraceable
Jochanan ben Zechariah (John the Baptist) with the texts of the New Testament. The
Roman historiographer Josephus Flavius, as a witness of this time, lastly
reveals more about the precursor of Christ than the Bible itself. On the other
hand we know that all the texts about the Baptist in the New Testament were
revised by early-Christian writers. The allocation of the rank of John the
Baptist as sole precursor of Jesus was the theological problem of the early
fathers of the Church. With this the unity of both heralds of God was not done
Altogether the Christian Church made mistakes beyond
repair by reducing John the Baptist to the mere forerunning of Jesus 2000 years
ago. What, then, does the Vatican do with some of the probably most significant
combatants of its Church, like with the canonized Hildegard of Bingen
(1098-1179) or Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)?
The precision and clarity with which a return of the
Baptist at the end of times is predicted make one shudder.
Hildegard describes customs and conditions of the
final time in detail in her main oeuvre. The rising of the antichrist with all
his miraculous deeds and works for the world, and, at the same time the great
decline of faith and the turn to other religions, up to a uniform
reorganization of the world, promising peace and wealth. Baptism and cross, the
adoration of Christ are interdicted with the threat of punishment, etc.. Eventually
Elijah appears, at first urged and persecuted, finally, however, as the
powerful messenger of God who opposes the antichrist. This event will be
accompanied by signs and catastrophes. At another place Hildegard describes a
vision, in which she sees the returning John as the appearance of an enormously
big star, spreading wonderful splendour and as swift as lightning turning
towards the flame of Christ. "In faithful deed he blazes up in his
miracles and shows the true word ."
It is interesting that only few visionaries and
preachers were treated with such esteem and veneration by the Church as she
was. Especially recently she has been re-discovered – unfortunately, however,
predominantly through her gardening- and cookbooks, which make use of her name,
rather than through her principal work on the return of Elijah.
The prophesy of Pope John XXIII is more concise,
"Michael and John will step down onto the earth
"Half-moon, star and cross will collide.
There will be someone holding up the black cross.
From the valley of the prince the blind horsemen will
After them the ravens of hunger, of misery, of plague.
Whereto can you still flee, after you have destroyed
the Church and killed the last Father?"
Do expect the sign of John.
"The lamb is
hearts to the Lily.
The voice announced by the trumpets will be mighty.
Light from the west, the last
light before the eternal unknown light."
"The screams are
swelling, the barriers of discord.
The beast is already emerging
from the waters.
Famine stops the armies. Men are expecting death.
God has unchained the war of
nature, to prevent the war of men … .
The daughter of Cain has descended in the North to
preach. Seven years of luxury in the new Babylon. In the seventh year the seventh
veil of Salome will fall, but there is no Emperor, there is nobody who could
lift up the sword and cut off the head of John.
The time is nigh."
We still lack
understanding of some of the figures of speech. Others seem easy to understand,
"Half-moon, star, and cross" refer to the Islamic, Jewish, and the Christian
peoples. At the latest through September 11, 2001 and the world-wide acts of
terrorism, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we know about this meaning. The "black cross" symbolizes the forces of evil, the power
and weapon of the antichrist. Headed for world-dominion, yet, pretending to act in
the name of Christ. "From the valley of the prince" is a hint
at Satan, the prince of this world. His forces unleash through the power and wealth of his
followers and combatants, these "blind horsemen", pretending
to act by command of God, in truth, however, serving his counter-part. Famine, misery, and epidemics follow. The churches no longer have any
significance, the last pope apparently will be murdered. Only then, as relief, the sign of John will appear, followed by his
powerful word. He is called the last light, before the end of the
previous world, and a new unknown light (Christ). Yet, only then the
great and relentless settlement between the followers of the True Cross of
Christ and those of the black cross will ensue. This will be
followed by wars and natural catastrophes of unknown measure. The "new Babylon" can be a reference to cities, countries,
or even cultures. John the Baptist will be persecuted. They will want to kill him, symbolized by the fall of the "seventh
veil of Salome", but they will not succeed. "The Lamb is
prepared" and "the time is nigh" are historically
certified quotations of the Baptist, heralding the coming of Christ. Especially in this prophesy it has an intended significance and symbolizes
hope and fulfilment.
There still exist a series of
prophesies on the return of John the Baptist at the end of time. Especially renowned are the prophesies of Bertha Dudde
(1891-1965) as well as those of the visionary and mystic Jakob Lorber
(1800-1864). Also the already
mentioned oral traditions and statements by orthodox monks on the return of the
Baptists, and the omens thereof, are of special importance. A detailed
reproduction of these would be outside the scope of this essay.
Summed up it does become
The signs are the Bogomiles” (= Gnostics of the Early Middle Ages, persecuted by
the Vatican. Their graves are memorials in Bosnia.) = Civil war among the
Balkan states, especially Bosnia
· “The Bear will famish in the snow, but then will
harass to death those who had intended to divide up his fur among themselves” = Decline of Russia and her unexpected revival
· “The half-moon will shine as a whole one over the
earth” = The combat
“The last Babylon neither has wall surrounding it nor a gate that can be
locked. Yet, no Babylon was inhabited by fewer generations than this one before it
dies.” = Ruin of a
western, relatively young world metropolis?
And the beginning of the end
· “The beheaded one will come with his head erect. Yet, before this will happen his right arm will show
itself with the sword. It will take a long time before people will recognize
that this is not a sword, but the sign of the crucified one with which darkness
will be banned.”
= The return of John the Baptist as the renewed
precursor of Christ and forerunner of the Last Judgement.
But I also have recent predictions on this theme
before me. The texts are concrete and full of verbal power. The source is
reliable, and has to be taken serious. A partial publication already took
prophesies on the return of John, the following predominant criteria become
· The return is connected with the end of the previous
world, which does not refer to a destruction of the planet, but describes a
painful process of purification.
· The majority of the people and the predominant powers
oppose John, and by doing so Christ himself, because they wish to preserve the
existing values and principles of the material world.
· Wars and natural catastrophes will unsettle
world and man on a large scale. The living will envy the dead. There will be a
state as prophesied by Christ in the Gospel of Luke in chapter 21.
· The majority of men will mistake the antichrist for
God, because he pleads for the preservation of the previous world and mankind. In his promise of successful fight against the plagues of man, like wars,
religious differences, hunger and sickness, they will mistake him to be the
messiah. Additionally he has the power to work miracles, which they will consider proof of his “divinity”.
· In his renewed mission John the Baptist will again
suffer martyrdom through persecution and threat of murder. His words and messages will be rejected. With his feigned love for man and
world, Satan will be mistaken for God. The prophesied Christ, together with the
one proclaiming him, will be declared to be foe of earth and mankind.
· Only as a result of the powerful and unexpected
intervention of God will light and darkness be separated. Those having understood that the realm of Christ is not of this world,
understand the redeeming deed. Those adoring the world and the transient body will –
biblically spoken – be effaced.
To solve the whole mystery of John the Baptist, of his
life, and of his return, a review of the biblical and historical “Jochanan
ben Zechariah” is necessary.
The already mentioned Mandaeans are known to us from
pre-Christian sources. They were part of a considerable Jewish movement
identifying John with the expected messiah. This up to now
existing, honourable sect emerged from the general fever-of-John of that
historical movement, and was forcefully expelled by Herod Antipas in 32 AD. Today they exist in Iraq and Iran. Through them the access to the oldest pre-Christian
written notes is possible for us, and “The Book of John of the Manadeans”
is preserved. By the way, the position of the Mandaenans to consider John the Baptist the
true messiah, was and is the same today. In that book the
wonderful birth of the Baptist, the star shining over his birth, the visit of
the three magi, the persecution, and the intended murder of the boy, and the
command of an angel to flee from Herod are mentioned.
Therefore religious scientist presume that the
birth-story of John was at least partially transferred on Jesus by the
Evangelists Matthew and Luke. As a result of intensive personal research I
found out, however, that the major part is true for both birth stories.
The mother Elizabeth fled with her new-born boy to the
caves of the Judean Desert, to thus protect John from persecution. The father
was questioned by soldiers of Herod on the whereabouts of his son, but did not
answer. Consequently Herod ordered the murder of Zechariah as well as his
expropriation (stately vineyards near Jerusalem).
Shortly afterwards Elizabeth and John were directed to
Egypt, while Mary, with Jesus, was guided on the direct route to Egypt, to the
Therapists, an Essene brotherhood.
In truth the flight of both is more than a legend and
has a decisive reason: Herod the Great neither was Jew nor of Jewish faith, and
held the throne merely by the grace of the Romans. Also the spiritual
head of the Jews, the High Priest, held this office unlawfully. For, according to Jewish conviction the messiah and true king of Israel had
to stem from the House of David, and, parallel to this, the high priest had to
stem from the Family of Zadok.
With John the descent from Zadok was undoubted. Yet, it is also historically proved that Jesus’ grandfather from the line of his father was called Eli “the Davidian”. Eli’s descent from Nathan, a son of King David, was also undisputed.
At the birth of both, additionally, an astronomic sign
appeared on heaven, the Star of Bethlehem. Considering the
voluminous scientific literature on this theme, a serious interpretation by
present-day science crystallizes: according to current opinion, “the Star of the
Magi” was the threefold meeting of the Planets Jupiter and Saturn in the
Constellation of Pisces in the year 7 BC (is this Constellation of Pisces the
origin for the fish-symbol of the early Christians?). This recognition
coincides exactly with the historic date of birth of John and Jesus in 8-6 BC.
From these few facts is becomes clear, why neither
Herod nor the High Priest were neutral towards the two boys. For experience of the birth of both, of the external signs in connection
with the attitude of expectation of the Jewish people thus openly interwoven,
could not be pushed aside as coincidence any longer.
Therefore the three magi were also led to Herod and to
the High Priest. In a sly manner, which to explain would be an extra
story, the magi deceived the two by one to two years concerning the birth, in
order to organize the flight undisturbed. But in the second
year the astronomers of the court made Herod conscious of this deceptive
manoeuvre. This is the true background, why Herod had boys up to the age of two from
the families of Zadok and David searched for only later, but did not persecute
children from other families. The biblically mentioned killing of children therefore is exaggerated and historically not proved. Herod’s rigorous way of action to upkeep his own power was so extreme,
however, that he even had some of his own children killed to secure his own
This detailed description of birth, descent, and
persecution is essential to understand the later veneration of John and Jesus
by the Jewish people, and is substantial to understand the true reason for the
rejection and murder of both through priesthood and government power. At the time of John and Jesus many self-appointed Elijahs and Messiahs
appeared publicly, but they neither found respect nor were they exposed to
persecution. Their appearance was not in accordance with the scriptures, their descent
insignificant, and big words alone did not persuade.
There exist no historical sources on childhood and
youth, neither for John nor for Jesus. Circumstantial proofs point to an extended sojourn of
the adolescent John with the Essenes, yet, at closer scrutiny cannot be upheld. Other evidence, however, points to an extended stay of the young John in
parts of India, Persia, and Tibet. Despite intensive research I could not find a decisive
proof thereof. The same applies to Jesus’ childhood and youth. Also the childhood-stories of both in the Apocrypha rather serve effulgence
than the finding of truth. A sojourn of many years of John in the Judean desert
is certified. Contemporaries called him the
“Hermit of Engedi”, which points to his secluded existence in the area
of the Dead Sea. His first sermons took place in Jerusalem. They already had an admonishing character. He accused
priesthood and governmental powers of double-moral. His reproaches
culminated in the accusation that they impoverished the people financially and
spiritually. He condemned the victim-cult in the Temple of Jerusalem and called the
priests “brood of vipers”, because they imposed unacceptable
propitiatory sacrifices in the name of God on the people. The adherence to the laws not only was tedious, but also expensive. The number of impure ones and sinners naturally was very large. So, for
example, women were already considered impure during their menses, and the days
thereafter. Even family members who merely touched a woman during her menses or
who sat down on the same chair, were impure. Clearance by a temple priest not
only required the purchase of a victim (e.g. a dove), but also the respective
payment to a priest. On this background it becomes understandable that
merchants of victims of all kinds had their business right at the Temple. For this they again had to pay booth fees and turnover provisions. So the Temple rather resembled a market-hall, a money- or stock exchange
than a religious centre.
This subjection of body, spirit, and soul was loudly
and angrily pilloried by John. Especially women who, in Jewish understanding, were
merely second-ranking in God’s plan, and additionally regularly impure,
experienced a visible liberation and revaluation by the sermons of this “Hermit
It is proved that the Baptist already drew large
crowds and experienced veneration at that time. He withdrew from the masses, however,
and vehemently refused any veneration. The regular disappearance after every speech had a
reason: he was searched after for violation of the law and blasphemy. Together with his closest circle of disciples, among whom were the later
apostles Peter, Andrew, and Thomas, he looked for a place at which the Jewish
people could still reach him, yet, that was beyond the reach of the Judean
government. This site was “yonder Jordan”, opposite Jericho, and was
part of the State of Perea under Herod Antipas. At that place an
old and very busy trade route crossed the Jordan River. Additionally this site
had a two-fold, biblical significance: here the Jewish people had entered the promised land
after the exodus from Egypt, and here Elijah had ascended to heaven.
In addition to his sermons John introduced a religious
novelty: the baptism. There were no biblical roots for this at all, and, by
the way, also no connection with the Essene emersions. This baptism of
John was, so to speak, the breach of all rules. With a one-time
immersion into the River of Jordan, he forgave men the sins for which they had
had to sacrifice in the Temple before. He vindicated them from “being impure” for
From all sides and parts of the country people
streamed to the baptism site, now, “since everyone felt elated through the baptism and
speech of John”, as the
historiographer Josephus Flavius reports. But he also writes
that the re-newer and preacher John aroused such strong popular movement and
veneration, that an uproar against the governmental authority and a collapse of
the system was feared. This seems logical, for who of the Jews would still go
to the Temple to over and again make propitiatory sacrifices for his “becoming
pure”? Who would still listen to the priests and magistrates, when, in the eyes of
the people, Elijah or even the Messiah was present?
This Jochanan ben Zechariah, whose large number of
disciples were called the Nazirs (= preservers), now, all of a sudden, became
the decisive figure for later Christianity, but also for Islam, where he is
considered the forerunner of Muhammad. At the height of his veneration, he took a surprising
action, however: before a great crowd he baptized someone until then
publicly unknown: Jesus, whose designation “the Nazir” points to
membership of John’s closest circle (later, by mistake, Nazir was transformed
into “from Nazareth”). He informs the dazzled crowd that this Jesus is
the prophesied Messiah the way of whom he is preparing. At the same time
he authorized Jesus, as the only one, to baptize.
Only two to three months after the baptism of Jesus,
the seizure of the Baptist occurs. This was preceded by several attempts to lay hold of
the popular idol of the Jews. The reason for the imprisonment and later
decapitation is described differently by bible and historiography. The Evangelist
Luke imputes an act of revenge to Herodias, since the Baptist pilloried her
unlawful marriage with Antipas. Josephus Flavius, however, explains this decisive
event with the fear that John could have caused a revolution with one word,
which would have overthrown priesthood and governmental power in one. Research rather is in favour of the historian than of the evangelist.
However, Luke also portrayed aspects of truth, so, for example, when he reports
of the high esteem, yes, even friendly affection of Herod towards the Baptist.
In my research I encountered a third cause, which is
described and proved in detail in my book on John the Baptist :
Herodias, grand-daughter of Herod the Great,
unscrupulously pursued the aim of restoration of the Jewish realm, like it had
been under her grand-father. Essential parts, however, like Judea were incorporated
into the Roman realm. Strategically unimportant regions, like Perea, for
example, remained under the rule of Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. Herodias left her first husband and father of her daughter Salome, and
married her uncle Antipas in 28 AD. From this position she agitated against Roman
supremacy in Palestine. Under the cover name “Fig Tree” a wide-branched
conspiracy against Rome was organized. The overall power-political structure
was not in favour of her aims, however. Additionally, a
religious movement that considered more dangers to have their origin in the
Jewish priesthood and in the magistrate than in the occupation force existed in
Palestine. This movement was even known in Rome by the name of “Vineyard”.
(Please take note of the many figures of speech of Jesus designing the “Fig
Tree” as something negative, and the “Vineyard” as positive.) As a consequence of the strong popular movement caused
by John, that gave rise to the fear of an overthrow, the plans of
Herodias/Antipas seemed ultimately doomed. For the royal family there was a
necessity to, within short range, win the people for themselves. What would have been a better suggestion than to unite the popular hero of
noble descent with oneself, founded on the promise to in the long run install
him as the religious head of the united Israel. A unison of the
Baptist with Salome could eliminate all interior political problems.
In point of fact this conclusion suggests itself, when
one reads the report on the banquet of Herod in connection with the veil-dance
( = the oriental bride dance) of Salome, and all the minor relating phrases.
John apparently brusquely refused this request. The honour of queen-mother and –daughter was most vehemently violated. He
was beheaded, and his cut-off head was offered on a platter, also an oriental
custom of that time.
This thesis is not provable historically, yet. But many side-details corroborate it, like a deep stab in the head of John. It is handed on that Salome, full of wrath of slandered honour, stabbed
into the cut-off head. What else could have done so much damage to her honour
that she would have lost her temper before the highly decorated guests? The news of the death of John spread like wildfire among the Jewish people. It is reported that death-lights burnt all over the country for tree days
Something interesting, by the way: Antipas’ nephew, and successor to the throne, King Herod Agrippa I was an
ardent admirer of John the Baptist. Upon the news of his decapitation, he is said to have
attempted suicide. As a consequence he became Antipas’ rival and unveiled
the conspiracy in Rome. As a member of the “Vineyard”, Agrippa I was held in
high esteem in Rome. In 39 AD Antipas and Herodias were banned to Gallia by
Emperor Caligula. Two years before the Nabateans humiliated both through
a devastating campaign against Perea. On this the historiographer reports
pithily: “the People of the Jews considered this a punishment by God for the
murder of John”.
That parts of the Herodian Royal Family had sympathies
for the Baptist is also supported by the assumption that Thomas, the apostle of
John, and later on of Jesus, was a son of Herod the Great.
What happened to the Movement of John after the death
of the Baptist? Herod Antipas inflicted an interdiction of speech and assembly
upon all apostles of John. The danger of revolution was still not banned, yet.
Rather it was increased through the murder of the Baptist. A majority was driven into exile.
The rest assembled under the leadership of Jesus, yet,
was persecuted as long as they lived. For a long time Herod Antipas took Jesus to be John
resurrected from the dead.
Reading the Baptist’s true biography, many sermons,
actions, and events in Jesus’ life become truly understandable. Even though the way had been prepared, Jesus had to take it, exposed to
utmost danger, and bring it to fulfilment. A mission beyond
comparison in the history of mankind.
The world is full of prophesies and visions of dread. The biblical ones are only a small portion, and hardly paid heed to. The
truth is, however, that especially the words of the Biblical prophets fulfilled
themselves to the jot. The return of John at the end of days will be no
 Altinger, Hans Bernd: Johannes der Täufer Sein wahres Leben und Wirken Seine Wiederkehr, Drei Ulmen Verlag – München, ISBN 3-926087-20-X, Marketing: POSS Verlag
© Hans Bernd
Reproduction only with written permission by POSS Verlag