In the days of John the Baptist, the priesthood and Temple service were corrupt. The law of Moses and the prophets fractured into divisions of Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Essenes and Zealots whose conflicting doctrines “made the Word of God on no effect to them”. (Matthew 15:9).
During his wilderness days, the Word of God came to John the Baptist. John exited the wilderness as the fullness of the law and the prophets in fleshly form. He would do what all of the Law and prophets were intended to do.
Only John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ’s first Coming, was inspired to fulfill the role of:
A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
Only John was ordained to identify the Lamb, point to him and signal the transition that God was now bringing into the earth. The obstacles of the Law/prophets were being removed and the straight Way of Life in Christ was being initiated. Shadows of the Old were being superseded by the substance of the New.
When giving John’s father, Zachariah, the news about John’s birth, the angel references Malachi’s prophecy:
“he will [himself] go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn back the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient and incredulous and unpersuadable to the wisdom of the upright [which is the knowledge and holy love of the will of God]—in order to make ready for the Lord a people [perfectly] prepared [in spirit, adjusted and disposed and placed in the right moral state].”
The main difference between Elijah’s ministry and John’s ministry is that while Elijah was a worker of miracles, John did no miracles. (John 10:41) The main similarity is that both Elijah and John were used by God to prepare a people to return to Him. Through Elijah’s miracles, the nation of Israel was brought to a point of decision, “If Baal be god; serve him. If God be God; serve him!” John came with a powerful message of repentance (changing of one’s mind) and Kingdom authority, all the while pointing to Messiah in the flesh who would bring redemption.
As a man, John the Baptist fulfills Malachi’s prophecy, just as Jesus as a man fulfilled the prophecies regarding the coming Messiah. The two, the Forerunner and the Christ, are inseparably linked. Jesus Himself said, “I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished.” (Matthew 17:12) John served completely as the forerunner to Christ. He was a man “sent from God” and “full of the Holy Spirit” from his mother’s womb and his one purpose was to represent the Old Order of things and do what the Law and prophets were always meant by God to do………point to Christ’s coming.
That work of that particular kind of Forerunner was completed in and through the man, John the Baptist. God does not intend nor require a Forerunner(s) to function according to John’s order. As a representative epitome of the Old Order, John’s message of repentance was indeed vital but it lacked the capability to truly bring God’s people to the place required.
…for the law made nothing perfect; but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:19)
The difference between what John represented and the “better hope” he was pointing to in Christ is monumental. It is the difference between being baptized by John’s water and Christ’s fire. It is the difference between “seeing” the Kingdom and “entering” the Kingdom. It is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. To continue to labor under the assumption that we are to be Forerunners according to the order of John the Baptist, is to work and labor under an Old Testament mentality.
While there are many valuable principles to glean from John’s life and function, God does not intend any New Testament believer to function according to John’s order/function of a Forerunner. Rather, He fully intends New Covenant believers to fully enter into that which John pointed…….into Christ. We partake NOW, not of the spirit of John the Baptist and/or Elijah. We are now, according to the New Covenant, declared to be “joint-heirs with Christ Jesus”, which means we share in his Spirit.
In the transition from the Old into the New, Jesus fulfilled and converted all that was contained in the Old. For example, prophetic function from the Old Testament was transitioned by Christ into a different type of function in the New. (you can listen to http://www.theforerunnerministry.net/majesty_of_prophetic_transition.html that further explains!) Christ transitioned the function of Priesthood from the Aaronic order (Old) to the Melchizedek order (New). He did the same thing with Kingship.
In the same manner, Jesus also transitioned the function of Forerunner from John the Baptist’s order (Old) into His own Forerunner order (New).
Next, we will look at the path of a New Covenant Forerunner!