Why is the least in the kingdom of heaven greater than John the Baptist?

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    M esw1966 posted Sun, 22 Jul 2007 23:36:00 GMT(7/22/2007)

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    Matthew 11:11 - I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

    If all who hope in Christ go to heaven, what makes us better than John the Baptist?

    cabasilas posted Sun, 22 Jul 2007 23:41:00 GMT(7/22/2007)

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    My understanding is because Christians were being called to be part of Christ's Bride. John the Baptist was only the "friend of the groom." Notice, Jesus is using the present tense..."is." It's not talking about final destinies. It's contrasting the blessings Jesus' followers then had versus what the Old Covenant had.

    That Jesus believed the Old Testament servants of God were to receive a heavenly reward, see:

    http://www.catholic-forum.com/members/popestleo/otsaints.html

    M Narkissos posted Sun, 22 Jul 2007 23:49:00 GMT(7/22/2007)

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    http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/12/134334/2392080/post.ashx#2392080

    M esw1966 posted Sun, 22 Jul 2007 23:53:00 GMT(7/22/2007)

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    Helpful....

    So, there is the 'friend' of the bridegroom. And even though their destiny is the same they are different because of the time period they were living in? David will be in heaven, but his faith was in God and not specifically Jesus and so his calling is different in that his hope was well placed but not specific? He was thus a friend of the bridegroom because the bride hadn't been called up until this point?

    cabasilas posted Mon, 23 Jul 2007 00:01:00 GMT(7/23/2007)

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    I see it as Jesus saying something like this: "John was a great guy and no one is better than he! But, you guys are even more blessed than him because John was part of the Old Economy: the Law and the Prophets. You guys are the beginning of the New Economy I am inaugurating."

    At Matthew 11:11 Jesus is not talking about future rewards. When that time comes, everything is clear to all.

    emptywords posted Mon, 23 Jul 2007 00:55:00 GMT(7/23/2007)

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    Because no one can precede Christ, only those after him were to rule with him, John the baptist along with all the prophets and goodies will be the first of the righteous to be resurrected on the earth and be be princes along with all the elders, I guess that mean their wives will be princesses, class distinctions again. thats what the WT teaches.

    M JosephMalik posted Mon, 23 Jul 2007 09:02:00 GMT(7/23/2007)

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    Matthew 11:11 - I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

    If all who hope in Christ go to heaven, what makes us better than John the Baptist? esw1966, The verse says Kingdom of heaven not "go to heaven" Luke puts it this way: Lu 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Here we have Kingdom of God not "go to God." This will be God's kingdom or a heavenly kingdom true but it will be here on earth as promised. No one goes to a place unknown to us called heaven. This is why our Lord will return once again in the flesh as promised at Acts 1:11. What do we know about this kingdom? Everyone so chosen will be an immortal human being. Ro 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
    1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. They will be part of an administration at that time called a Kingdom of priests with real responsibilities over others 1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
    Re 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
    Re 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
    Re 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And of course they will be part of a New Covenant as already discussed in this thread. In such ways they will be greater than the John of Jesus day. But we also know that John will be there as well having obtained it by force. Joseph

    emptywords posted Mon, 23 Jul 2007 11:50:00 GMT(7/23/2007)

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    why do you believe that christ comes back in the flesh, he died, he is a spirit, doesnt' the word talk about a presence.

    M Honesty posted Mon, 23 Jul 2007 11:58:00 GMT(7/23/2007)

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    John was still alive when Jesus said this.

    M JosephMalik posted Mon, 23 Jul 2007 16:38:00 GMT(7/23/2007)

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    why do you believe that christ comes back in the flesh, he died, he is a spirit, doesnt' the word talk about a presence.

    emptywords,

    For one thing our Lord has a Kingdom to run. A Kingdom after the line of David. An earthly kingdom patterned after the one centered in Jerusalem. A Kingdom in which our Lord will eat and drink once again with His disciples. A Kingdom in which He will resurrect human beings to immortal human life. You should be able to find the verses yourself. Why do you think our Lord raised His own body and in such human nature taught them about the Kingdom for 40 more days? And why do you think Acts 1:11 teaches that He will return in the very same human nature. You say our Lord is a spirit. But the scriptures teach that our Lord's nature is much more complex than that. He also has a human nature which He was permitted to take back once again. In fact He was commanded to take it back again by His Father.

    Joh 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

    What amazes me is the ones that teach that our Lord cannot do that because it would invalidate His sacrifice somehow. But they never tell you how that changes this history or where in scripture it is not permitted. And since our Lord actually did it they make up stories like it was a materialization and not really His executed human body. So they make our Lord out to be a deceiver because:

    20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
    Joh 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

    So even the apostles and disciples denied it for a while but changed their minds. This would continue to be a difficulty for the faith so John finally wrote that to teach otherwise would be Antichrist. John said: 1Jo 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 2Jo 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. This we know was not a problem until AFTER His resurrection. Today many still deny this simple truth.

    Presence is also translated coming and in regard to our Lord the verses are mostly anticipation and prophecy since this is still future even in this century. This does not mean that the Presence or coming will not be human, visible and in the flesh? World affairs will be such that we can expect it anytime we see them and we should look forward to it? And when it does happen we learn:

    1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: And the nature of such descent will be human and in the flesh as promised: Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. John knew for he saw our Lord in the flesh and learned all this from Him. John also knew that many would deny such a coming and presence. That is why He called them the Antichrist.

    Joseph

    choosing life posted Mon, 23 Jul 2007 17:14:00 GMT(7/23/2007)

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    In that verse John was still a human. All that Jesus said was John, as he was now on earth, was less than one who was least in the kingdom of the heavens. That could easily mean that humans are made "a little lower than the angels". So, when John was a human, he was less than one who was the least in the kingdom of the heavens.

    In Phil. 2:5-9, it is said that Christ "emptied himself and took a slave's form and came to be in the likeness of men." At that point, he was lower than the angels also, but was later crowned with glory on his return to heaven. So this verse could easily be a comparison to the glory of humans as compared to the glory of spirit creatures. Reading further after this verse, seems to indicate the shift towards the goal of the kingdom of the heavens and the possibility that humans could reach that goal.

    The 2nd chapter of Hebrews is a good reference to read also when dealing with this subject.

    M JosephMalik posted Mon, 23 Jul 2007 20:15:00 GMT(7/23/2007)

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    In that verse John was still a human. All that Jesus said was John, as he was now on earth, was less than one who was least in the kingdom of the heavens. That could easily mean that humans are made "a little lower than the angels". So, when John was a human, he was less than one who was the least in the kingdom of the heavens.

    Choosing life,

    The fact that John was human is not a factor and does not help you. The verses you refer to are these and the expression angels that was used by Jews to refer to the prophets of old and was a sacred term for them. Hebrews after all deals with their symbols of spirituality. Spirit beings are not under discussion when it says:

    Heb 2:7 Thou madest him a

    littlelower than the angels ; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

    Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a

    littlelower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

    One needs only to read Hebrews 1 where the context is first established which reads:

    1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; It is such fathers the prophets of times past that the Son now superceeded. It is such fathers the prophets that Hebrews knew very well that are now respectfully called angels: 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. And just who were they? Moses, Abraham, David and the like. Hebrew history and spirituality is what Hebrews was all about and redemption was also to be by a Hebrew human being. Spirit creatures called angels did not create the earth. God did that alone. And the Son created humanity not angels as if many were involved so the verses to not apply that way. It is of such Hebrews angel prophets that the Hebrews looked towards for salvation that the verse says: 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And it was of such Hebrew angels that the verse teaches: 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And it now asks this of us as well. And of the Hebrew angels who we still highly respect he said, 7 Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But while still on the subject of such human beings the verse says this of the Human Son: 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. O God. Our God and our King and savior as well as theirs, yes, this is the way the Jews spoke and the way they used words. The word angels simply means messengers which such prophets of old were and could have been translated as such. Yes, such angels were Hebrews to which this letter was written. That is why the next verse says: 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Spirit beings? No, a fellow human being the Christ a member of the Hebrew race is now under discussion. Now what about the next verse you used?

    In Phil. 2:5-9, it is said that Christ "emptied himself and took a slave's form and came to be in the likeness of men." At that point, he was lower than the angels also, but was later crowned with glory on his return to heaven.

    But here the verse does not say "he was lower than the angels" You did that yourself! It simply says he took a slave's form and came to be in the likeness of men. Why? So that Christ could be higher than spirit beings? So that spirit creatures can bow to Him? No! The scriptures clearly teach us that: 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Humans all. Are Spirit beings under the earth? No! Are not the rulers of the earth spoken of as things in Heaven? Yes! See Col 1:15. The verses deal with humanity in all its forms living and dead. It deals with our Salvation not spirit creatures.

    Choosing life then said: So this verse could easily be a comparison to the glory of humans as compared to the glory of spirit creatures.

    No they cannot. Spirit creatures do not gain Salvation as described and the verses do not apply to them. The earth is the domain of Man and this is where this will all take place. No one goes to a place called heaven, Besides being another way to identify God for Jews (kingdom of the heavens, or kingdom of God means the same thing) the word heaven also is used for authority, power human or otherwise as well as God's home.

    Joseph

    JCanon posted Wed, 01 Aug 2007 21:47:00 GMT(8/1/2007)

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    ESW1996: So, there is the 'friend' of the bridegroom. And even though their destiny is the same they are different because of the time period they were living in? David will be in heaven, but his faith was in God and not specifically Jesus and so his calling is different in that his hope was well placed but not specific? He was thus a friend of the bridegroom because the bride hadn't been called up until this point?

    And

    EMPYWORDS: Because no one can precede Christ, only those after him were to rule with him, John the baptist along with all the prophets and goodies will be the first of the righteous to be resurrected on the earth and be be princes along with all the elders, I guess that mean their wives will be princesses, class distinctions again. thats what the WT teaches.

    It is understandable we come to these conclusions based upon Jesus' words, but the KEY text to modify this understanding is found at Luke 13:28. But note primary what we all feel here. That is, how can John be so great and not be included in the kingdom? That basically means its a timing thing entirely. If you were unlucky enough not to be born before Christ then you don't get into the kingdom. That means Moses, Noah, Abraham... they don't get to be in the kingdom? Not SO!

    LUKE 13: 28 There is where [ YOUR ] weeping and the gnashing of [ YOUR ] teeth will be, when YOU see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown outside. 29 Furthermore, people will come from eastern parts and western, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.

    Okay, so here we clearly see that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are going to be in the kingdom. If John the Baptist is greater than all of these, then what gives? How do we harmonize?

    We harmonize by considering precisely the contrast Jesus wants to make in relation to pre and post death and holy spirit, but not exclude that those who had died before Jesus died would not later be included in the kingdom. But until that time the contrast between those who actually get "anointed" by holy spirit makes them greater in comparison so all the prophets of old, including John the Baptist who died before Jesus did. So the contrast is for those anointed into the kingdom after Jesus death attain a greatest in the eyes of heaven than those who had died previously.
    But let's be real! Jehovah isn't going to forego the company of his favorites from Enoch to John the Baptist. Thus there is an arrangement for them to get into the kingdom as well! How? They will be resurrected back into the flesh first, that's how.
    THE TECHNICAL DETAILS: Remember when Christ died and there was an earthquake and some of Christ's followers then were resurrected and came into the town?

    Matt. 27: 51 And, look! the curtain of the sanctuary was rent in two, from top to bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rock-masses were split. 52 And the memorial tombs were opened and many bodies of the holy ones that had fallen asleep were raised up, 53 (and persons, coming out from among the memorial tombs after his being raised up, entered into the holy city,) and they became visible to many people.

    This is the simple essence of understanding how John and the others get to be in the kingdom later, though all the glory they had before did not match the glory of those being anointed now into the kingdom. That is why those alive in Jesus' time were pressing as much as possible to be alive when he died for this new situation that would change things after his death. Thus those who had died just before Jesus did, missed out! They could not be anointed by holy spirit. But look what happened! Many of them who had just died, apparently who were followers of Jesus because they are called the "holy ones" were resurrected at the time of Jesus death and went into the town. Now that these are alive again, they could receive holy spirit and get anointed into the kingdom. So the only requirement for getting anointed into the kingdom was to be alive in the flesh sometime after Christ's death. John the Baptist was not baptized by Jesus so I won't include him as one of the potential "holy ones". But think about Lazarus. Lazarus had died. That means he would miss out on getting anointed by holy spirit. But once Jesus brought him back to life in the flesh, he had that opportunity.

    So we need only apply that to anybody else who dies before Jesus, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and, yes, even John the Baptist. Everybody in the first resurrection comes back in the flesh to be with Jesus to rule for 1000 years, which is quite practical and Scriptural. It is clear from other verses that indeed these ancient ones of old would be resurrected and become "princes" in God's kingdom. That is just a general reference that they would be ruling along with Christ, and in actuality will be kings as well. But having noted that, once they are back in the flesh, there is nothing preventing them now from becoming anointed by holy spirit like anyone else who had died previously but was brought back! Thus once they are brought back and then get anointed by holy spirit, they will attain a greater greatness than what they had before, just as prophets of YHWH.
    This also solves our perception of fairness and continuity as far as humankind goes and the kingdom. That those faithful ones of old would not be excluded, but God had made an arrangement for them to be in the kingdom as well. So Jesus merely telling those that they would be greater than even John the Baptist was a reference to the greatest achieved by those who had died before becoming anointed. But that statement did not exclude that if they were brought back into the flesh and then anointed, that they would thus attain the same glory. Thus Jesus was not excluding John or the other prophets from later attaining the kingdom, which is apparent. Only noting that being an anointed holy one was a greatness greater than those like John who died before Jesus had achieved during their lives at the time of their death. Thus those who are anointed into the kingdom surpass in greatness even John the Baptist, however, later when John is resurrected and anointed himself, he will have attained that same glory. Thus in several scriptures it is clear these men of faith from olden times are going to be part of the kingdom of the heavens. (Hebrews 11) Or Daniel is spoken of standing up for his reward during the last days and no one is resurrected during the millennium and the first resurrection only occurs at the end times. The second general resurrection occurs after the 1000 years. Daniel would be a "prince in the earth" and thus part of the Bride Class, so that means he'd have to be part of the first resurrection:

    Daniel 12: 13 “And as for you yourself, go toward the end; and you will rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.”

    Incredibly, because the WTS is now in spiritual darkness, this is not understood by them. They can't figure out how come John the Baptist isn't in the kingdom but Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are who are lesser in greatness. But this makes so much sense and harmony. It means that every single potential human could have attained to the kingdom. Now there are many righteous persons who are written into the book of life who are not part of the kingdom! They don't come to life until after the 1000 years. So the 1000-year rule and the first resurrection is extremely special! It is limited to just a few!

    Thus we find in Hebrews when it says God in his anger swore that none of those Jews who left out of Egypt having seeing all those great wonders but still murmured would "enter into my rest", that is what he is talking about! Nobody is resurrected during the rest of the 1000 years. Those in ancient times who might have entered into this "rest" must be resurrected first in the first resurrection. So what Jehovah was saying is that none of these would qualify for the first resurrection. Does that mean they would not be resurrected later during Judgment Day? No! Both the righteous and the unrighteous come back at that time, and that would include that generation that left Egypt who would be judged as well. JWs are confused about this as well since they think the second resurrection occurs during the 1000 years, which it does not. So per their doctrine, even though those in Sodom and Gomorrah come back, they think those from that generation of the Exodus won't even be resurrected!
    This is one reason I just can't go to the Kingdom Hall anymore. I thought I could and would just ignore chronology issues. But there is SO MUCH that is wrong, wrong, wrong it is impossible not to be insulted by all the incorrect teachings there are so many now.
    SUMMARY: At any rate, in conclusion, though John's status at his death was one lesser than that that would be attained for those holy ones anointed into the kingdom, that would not mean that John himself wouldn't later be included in the kingdom, which only required him being resurrected back into the flesh.
    JCanon

    M jwfacts posted Wed, 01 Aug 2007 22:46:00 GMT(8/1/2007)

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    The verse says Kingdom of heaven not "go to heaven"

    Amazing how the brainwashed JW mind works. I always read it as 'go to heaven'. A number of different theological options have been suggested in this thread, however one thing is clear, this scripture does not preclude JtB from heaven.

    (Matthew 11:11-15) . . .Truly I say to YOU people, Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is. 12But from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it. 13 For all, the Prophets and the Law, prophesied until John; 14 and if YOU want to accept it, He himself is ‘E·li´jah who is destined to come.’ 15 Let him that has ears listen.

    The entire scripture shows that those prior to Jesus also were looking to the kingdom of heaven.

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