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The Five Witnesses (1) – the Messenger

While he was working through his earthly ministry, Jesus said that there were present witnesses as to his identity. He had intimated that the evidence itself was enough for anyone including his disciples to sort out who he was and where he had come from (Matthew 16: 13-20). But as if that was not sufficient he listed more and offered infallible logic to proof text his remarks.

The Apostle John recorded that there were other witnesses. In John five Jesus was quoted, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.” And then The Christ listed three persons and two things that bore witness of his nature and identity. The first of these was the prophet who the Apostle John always identified as the messenger, or witness (John: 1: 6-8, 19, 32-34, etc. etc.) exactly as it was recorded by Malachi. That Messenger is known to us commonly (and incorrectly) as John the Baptist, or (more precisely) John the Baptizer.

There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.” (John 5: 32-35)

This first witness, the baptizer John had said plainly and clearly that he was not the Messiah, but that “one would come whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” John came – as was given through the words of God by Malachi, and which were written in order to establish the two identities: “‘Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His Temple, even the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight. Behold, he is coming,’ says the Lord of Hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)

No part of that had by the time of the Apostle’s record remained unfulfilled. And the record of Malachi, to which John the Immerser had been keen to fulfill, had found completion through that single person — John the messenger, as the first witness, in his preparation for the coming of Jesus the Christ, who was called “the messenger of the covenant.” So the record of the first witness, the Messenger, is accurate and holds sure.

We would do well to pay attention.

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