Messiah in Rosh HaShanah II & Chanukkah II Chapter 8

EPISODE ONE:  The Twelve Shlichim (sent ones) report on Herod Antipas’ beheading of the prophet Yochanan Ben Zechariah.

  1. The birth, life, arrest, and beheading of the Prophet Yochanan
  2. The first ‘Elijah to come’ was executed on Nisan 1
  3. The Prophet Yochanan Ben Zechariah Ben Aaron
  4. The failure of the priesthood
  5. The failure of the Prushim rabbinate
  6. The call for personal and national repentance
  7. The Messenger of the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1)
  8. Josephus speaks of the prophet Yochanan (cf. Antiquites 18.5.1-3)
  9. Chronology of events in Parallel Ministries of Yochanan and the Messiah
  10. When the headship of the Grace of Adonai is Remembered…
  11. In the near future the lifeless body of Messianic Judaism will spring back to life!

The birth, life, arrest, and beheading of the Prophet Yochanan:

Since we are presently studying all of the recorded events and teaching of the Messiah that directly relate to the calendar dates Nisan 1-7 and Nisan 8 (see previous chapters 6 and 7), we need to take a look at the life of the prophet Yochanan Ben Zechariah who was executed by beheading on Nisan 1. Therefore, it seems appropriate to begin our study of the “Five Barley Loaves and Two Fish and the Cleansing and Rededication of the Temple of Man by first reflecting on the birth (Nisan 14), life, and death (Nisan 1) of Yochanan (יוֹחָנָן-Grace of Adonai). After reviewing the life of the prophet Yochanan in this chapter 8, then we will resume our study in the next chapter 9 on the teaching of the Five Barley Loaves and Two Fish which the Messiah taught “just before Pesach” in the Nisan 1-7 window of time.

The first ‘Elijah to come’ was executed on Nisan 1:

As stated previously the prophet Yochanan, the forerunner of the Messiah, was executed by King (Tetrarch) Herod Antipas on the ruler’s regal birthday, Nisan 1. Therefore, this Nisan 1 date was not a celebration of the date when the ruler Herod Antipas was actually physically born. Nisan 1 is the date when Antipas annually celebrated the event of his installation as the ruler over Galilee and Perea (i.e. it was a celebration of his kingship). This festive date of Nisan 1 was not unique to Herod. As stated previously Nisan 1 has long been the Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, for (the ascension of) kings. It is the traditional time when the rulership of the kings of Israel is celebrated. In fact Nisan 1 is the date that Israel and the future International Commonwealth of Israel will celebrate the kingship of the Messiah King: the King of Israel (Melekh HaYisra’el); the King of the Gentiles (Melekh HaGoyim); the King of kings (Melekh HaMelakhim); and the Lord of lords (Adonei Ha-Adonim). Nisan 1 will also become the new permanent Rosh HaShanah (celebrated in the spring, not the fall) and it will become the time of an annual cleansing of the Temple that will occur at two different times. The 1st cleansing of the Temple will occur on Nisan 1. The 2nd cleansing of the Temple will occur on Nisan 7. (For comments regarding the original Dedication of this future messianic age Temple see chapters 3, 4 & 6).

The Prophet Yochanan Ben Zechariah Ben Aaron:

Yochanan was the son of a priest named Zechariah (זְכַרְיָה-Adonai Remembers). His mother was Elizabeth (אֱלִישֶׁבַע-Seven of G-d, i.e. Oath-Promise of the Almighty) who was also of priestly descent, a “daughter of Aaron” (the Light-bringer) and a relative of Miryam (מִרְיָם-lit. Bitterness) the Jewess mother of the Messiah, who was a descendant of King David. Yochanan, the forerunner of the Messiah, was born in the hill country of Judah. His birth was foretold by the angel Gabriel (גַּבְרִיאֵל-Man of Strength & Valor, Warrior). In this way his calling to be a prophet of the Most High (El-Elyon) preceded his conception and birth. Yochanan’s father was a priest of the course of Aviyah (אֲבִיָה-Adonai is My Father). The course of Aviyah was the eighth of twenty-four courses that were set-up by the prophet Samuel and King David to better organize the services of the priests at the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 24:10). Yochanan was born to his parents in their old age. The angel Gabriel announced his birth to his father while he stood at the altar offering incense. Gabriel told Zechariah that his son would be a Nazarite for life (nezir ‘olam). The prophet was filled with the life of the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. His calling was to prepare (clear) the way of the Messiah so that the children of Israel might do teshuvah (turn back to G-d) and return in full faith to Adonai. Gabriel also told the priest that his son was to be called Yochanan. The prophet came in the power of Elijah. Yochanan (the Grace of Adonai) came in the “spirit of Elijah” to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. This meant Yochanan was to call the people to repentance and return them to the biblical faith of our “fathers” (Malachi 4:6). Therefore,the prophet was called by the Spirit of the Holy One to return the people of Israel back to the faith of our fathers. We are to return back to the favored relationship that our fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph enjoyed (the patriarchs; cf. Messiah in Sukkot, Chapter 4).

The failure of the priesthood:

Zachariah Ben Aaron, the father of the forerunner of the Messiah, for hesitating to believe in the message of Adonai that was delivered by the Angel Gabriel, was struck dumb. He remained unable to speak throughout the forty week pregnancy of his wife. This imposed silence due to unbelief was a prophetic role-play. Without faith it is impossible to please Adonai. Therefore, due to unbelief there had been no prophet in Israel for four hundred years. For four hundred years the voice of prophecy in Israel had been silenced due to the unbelief of the religious bureaucracy. The mouth of the priest Zachariah was opened again only after the birth of his son, when his given name became ‘Yochanan,’ the Grace of Adonai. Finally, once again a prophet had been born in Israel! This prophet was the Elijah to come (the first of two; there is another). He was the first forerunner of Ha-Mashiach (there are Three Elijahs in the Order of Eternity). Therefore, when the boy’s mother (the ‘Promise of G-d’) verbally assigned her infant a new name at his circumcision that no person in the priest’s family lineage had ever been given before and his father (‘Adonai Remembered’) agreed to the verbal assignment in writing, then the mouth of the priest was opened. The name given to the boy was the Grace of Adonai (חָנַן-graciousness and favor of Adonai), “Yochanan” This too was prophetic. The assigned names of Zechariah, Elizabeth and their son Yochanan was a Divine testimony to the coming of the Messiah:

Meaning of name #1.  Zechariah=Adonai Remembers
Meaning of name #2.  Elizabeth=Promise of Elohim (Oath of the Almighty One)
Meaning of name #3.  Yochanan=Grace of Adonai

After the little prophet was born (Nisan 14) and circumcised (Nisan 21) and named the Grace of Adonai—six months before the birth (Tishri 15) and circumcision of the Messiah (Tishri 22)—his father Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit. Zachariah blessed the Most High (El-Elyon) for the redemption of his people, Israel and praised G-d for His deliverance of the people from the hand of their enemies (those ‘who hate us’). This being accomplished through the House of David. Zechariah also prophesied that the child Yochanan should be called the Prophet of El-Elyon (the Almighty, the Highest). The prophet would grow up and show how remission (forgiveness) of sins could be obtained by exercising faith in the Messiah; so that through Him a light from on high could be brought to those that live in darkness. The prophet Yochanan spent his early years living in the wilderness of Judea. His public ministry began fifteen years after the emperor Tiberius informally ascended to power (Coleague Imperii, Colleague in the Empire, 12 CE). Tiberius was the successor to Augustus, Emperor of Rome. [The formal installation of Tiberius, the Colleague in the Empire (Co-Regent), came two years later at the death of Augustus in 14 CE (cf. writings of Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus).] It has long been believed that the prophet Yochanan was influenced in the early stages of his life by the Essenes. [The four dominant sects of Judaism at the beginning of the first century were the Prushim (Pharisees, rabbinical), Sadducees (priestly), Herodians (loyalists to the royal family of Herod), and Essenes (ascetic)] This belief in Yochanan’s early association with the Essenes has been given greater possibility by the recognized affinities between Yochanan and the Dead Sea Scroll (Qumran) sect, an Essenic community that lived on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. Yochanan and the Qumran community both resided in the wilderness of Judea. Both the prophet and the community was of a priestly character. Both assigned special emphasis to a ritual cleansing by immersion in water as a sign of inward spiritual cleansing. Both were ascetic. Both the prophet and the community thought in terms of imminent judgment. Together the prophet and the Essenes invoked the words of Isaiah 40:3 as their central focus for their mission in life:

 “A voice is calling,
‘Clear the way for Adonai in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for Eloheinu.’”

However, although the prophet may have been influenced and related to the Essenes in the early stages of his life, his later ministry was far greater than that of the sect. Yochanan’s role was to issue a national call to repentance in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The Essenes anticipated the coming of Messiah. Yochanan actually was privileged to introduce the Mashiach to the people of Israel. The appearance of Yochanan prophesying in the desert was the fulfillment of the Elijah expectation. Both the announcing angel (Gabriel) and the Messiah expressly taught this. The prophet’s manner of clothing, a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather belt around his waist, was like the dress of Elijah (2 Kings 1:8). Yochanan was the first of two Elijahs to come. He was the herald of Messiah Ben Joseph’s appearance on earth (the Suffering Messiah). There will be yet one more “Elijah to come.” He will act as the herald of the Messiah Ben David (the Conquering Messiah). Yochanan is the “voice of one crying in the wilderness.” Isaiah spoke of him. The herald of the Messiah Ben Joseph came in the “spirit and power” of Elijah (Isaiah):

A voice is calling out,
“Clear the way for Adonai in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for Eloheinu.
“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
In order that the glory of Adonai will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of Adonai has spoken.”

The prophet Yochanan’s message had a twofold emphasis: the imminent appearance of the Messiah; and the urgent need for repentance among the people of Israel to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. The prophet expected the people to practice charity and consideration for others. Self-love and covetousness (practiced as substitutes for loving Adonai) were the prevalent sins that the prophet preached against. To the public officials and business leaders he cautioned against extortion, to the soldiers against using excessive force and abusing their power to take from the citizenry more than they were entitled to. The prophet’s ascetic manner of life and fiery manner of speech caused the people from all parts of Israel to come to the place where he was, on the banks of the Jordan. There he immersed (as a mikvah, mikveh for purification, cleansing) countless thousands of his fellow Jews in an attitude of national repentance.

The failure of the Prushim rabbinate:

Yochanan’s message was a controversial one. The Prushim rabbinate expected the “day of the Lord” to be an easy path to happiness for all Israel. Yochanan proclaimed that the coming of the kingdom of Adonai would only come after a time of national repentance. The rule of the kingdom of Adonai is a rule of righteousness, inherited only by those who exhibit righteousness by their faith in the Messiah. The prophet’s message of repentance was directed particularly to the religious leaders for Adonai was going to purge the religious leadership of Israel first, even before He purged the common people and the Gentile world. Therefore, when Yochanan Ben Zechariah saw many of the rabbinical Prushim (holy ones, Pharisees) and priestly Tzaddikim (righteous ones, Sadducees) coming for ritual cleansing (mikveh, baptism), he said to them: “You brood of poisonous snakes, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’ (i.e. being born a Jew will save you) for I say to you that from these stones Adonai is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. As for me, I tevilah you in the mikveh (I immerse you in the cleansing water) for repentance (teshuvah), but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals. He will Tevilah (immerse) you with the Spirit of Holiness and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He (Ha-Mashiach) will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” When the Messiah Ben Joseph appeared on the scene the prophet’s role as a forerunner was completed by his personal testimony to Rabbi Yeshua’s messiahship.

The call for personal and national repentance:

The mikveh of the immersion of Yochanan in the river Jordan was accompanied by repentance. This immersion in the cleansing waters of the Jordan complemented the prophet’s task of preparing the Jewish people for the coming of Messiah. In its basic sense it was a symbol of the cleansing of sin (of the Temple of Humankind) that was required before the people of Israel could be immersed in the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of Holiness. In its fullest sense, therefore, this was an act of preparation for admission into the immersion of the Presence of the Spirit of Holiness, which was a preparation for admission into the messianic kingdom. When the Prushim (Pharisees) and Tzaddikim (Sadducees) came for baptism, Yochanan Ben Zechariah said, “Who warned you to flee form the wrath to come?” The historical background to the prophet’s mikveh (baptism) is spiritual cleansing. This emphasis on immersion (tevilah) of the cleansing waters was especially important to do just before the three royal festivals of Pesach and Shavuot and Sukkot. The prophet’s public rebuke of Herod Antipas for his marriage to his sister-in-law Herodias was the ultimate reason for his unjustly being arrested and executed by beheading. The historian Josephus tells us that this took place at the fortress of Machaerus, a fortress located nine miles east of the Dead Sea. It was at this prison that the prophet was executed.

The Messenger of the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1):

Yochanan came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For he was the one referred to by Isaiah when he said, A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for Adonai in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for Eloheinu.’’ “Behold, I am going to send My messenger (melakhi), and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord (ha-Adon), whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the Messenger of the Covenant (oomelekh haberit), in whom you delight (asher-atem chafetzim), behold, He is coming,” says Adonai of Hosts (Tzevaot). And Yochanan’s father Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Adonai Elohim of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant–As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old–Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES,
To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
‘And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of Eloheinu,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.’”

The fame of the prophet Yochanan reached the ears of his cousin Rabbi Yeshua in Nazareth. The Messiah came from his home in Galilee to the Jordan to be immersed in the waters of the mikveh of Yochanan. Although the Messiah our Tzaddik (Righteous One) was sinless He submitted to the mikveh to identify Himself with our people. The immersion was a symbol of Messiah’s plan that the people of Israel would die to sin (be cleansed of sin through His atoning death), be raised to new life in the righteousness of Adonai by His resurrection and thereafter receive the gift of the Spirit of Holiness (to fulfill all righteousness). For this purpose, to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, the prophet-priest Yochanan Ben Zechariah came preaching in the desert of Judea. He was the last representative of the law of Moses and the prophets of Israel. He introduced the Messiah to our people as being the final Deliverer-Prophet-Priest and King of Israel and of the entire world.

Josephus speaks of the prophet Yochanan (cf. Antiquites 18.5.1-3):

“He was a good man who admonished the Jews to practice virtue, lead a life of righteousness toward one another and of piety of devotion toward Adonai, and then join him in the rite of immersion in water (mikveh of the cleansing waters of repentance); for he said the immersion in water would be acceptable to Adonai if one would use it not simply for the putting away of certain sins or in the case of proselytes, but for the sanctification of the body after the soul had beforehand been thoroughly purified by righteousness. The people gathered in crowds to him, being inspired by his preaching. King Herod Antipas, fearing the great influence Yochanan had over the people that he might use it to raise a rebellion, sent him to the fortress of Macherus as a prisoner, where (he eventually) had him put to death… Later a great destruction came over the army of Herod Antipas. This was considered by the people to be a Divine punishment for Herod’s grossly unjust treatment of Yochanan.”

When the headship of the Grace of Adonai is Remembered…

Yochanan Ben Zechariah Ben Aaron was regarded by the Jewish people of the first century (CE) to be a prophet like Elijah. His powerful appeal and his whole appearance reminded the people forcibly of Elijah the prophet. Yochanan wore raiment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey. He stationed himself near the Jordan to immerse the people in the mikveh ritual of water cleansing. This he did while he preached his besorah of good tidings (good news) to the people that the redemption of Israel was close at hand. The forerunner of Ha-Mashiach made his disciples prepare for the coming redemption of the Messiah by fasting. The prayer Yochanan taught his talmidim to pray was likely very similar to the Lord’s Prayer that no doubt originated from the prayer of King David found in 1 Chronicles 29:10-12. The prophet provoked the wrath of the Ruler (Tetarch) Herod Antipas because in his preaching he ‘reproached’ Herod Antipas for sinfully having married Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evil things he had done. Herod therefore sent for him and put him in prison. It was while in prison that the prophet heard of the work of the miraculous healing being done by Messiah throughout all of the land of Israel. Yochanan was executed because of a rash and foolish promise made by the ruler Herod Antipas. Herod did not want to put the prophet to death. He was afraid of the deep affection and loyalty the Jewish people felt toward the prophet. It was Herod’s evil wife Herodias who wanted the prophet killed. She is the one who used her own daughter to seduce the foolish ruler into consenting to the death of the great prophet.

After Yochanan had been in jail for about six months, Herod threw a big party to celebrate the day (Nisan 1) that had been set aside for kings to remember the time (number of years) that had elapsed since they first began to rule over the people. At the feast Herodias’ niece and step-daughter ingratiated herself in his favor by her seductively dancing before him and his drunken guests. Immediately, at the conclusion of his step-daughter’s dancing, Herod was inspired to rashly promise to her whatever she desired, up to half of his kingdom. At the insistence of her vengeful mother, the daughter asked that the head of Yochanan be given to her; and so he was executed by beheading and just as was promised, the head of the prophet of the “Grace of Adonai” (Yochanan) was given to the daughter of Herodias on a tray. The vengeful Herodias was gifted the head by her daughter and she kept it as a trophy. In this way the grieving disciples of Yochanan were only allowed to take custody of and bury his body. Therefore, the body of the prophet was buried without his head. For the head of Yochanan remained in the custody of the wicked one, the wife of Herod Antipas.

Chronology of events in Parallel Ministries of Yochanan and the Messiah:

Jewish Calendar Adar 3786-Nisan 3789 (26-29 CE)








Adar 3786

Yochanan Ben Zechariah begins his ministry.






Elul 1 3787

Mikveh of Messiah witnessed by Yochanan.






Elul 1- Tishri 10

Forty days of testing in the wilderness.







Yochanan introduces the Messiah to Israel.






First two disciples are called






Adar 3787 (CE27)

Wedding at Cana, then to Capernaum.






Nisan 1-7

First Cleansing of the Temple.






Nisan 14-21

First Pesach of forty-two month ministry.






Messiah teaches Sanhedrin (Nicodemus).







Preaches throughout Judea.







Leaves Judea for Galilee.






First tour of Galilee.







Moves to Capernaum.







Call of four fishermen.







Day of miracles.







Second tour of Galilee.







At Capernaum leper is healed.







Paralytic is forgiven & healed.






Nisan 3788

Matthew (Levi) called; Second Pesach.






Nisan 18 (CE 28)

Controversy on Shabbat of Yom HaBikkurim







Healing and preaching in Galilee.







Twelve disciples are chosen.







Sermon on the Mount.







Centurion’s servant healed; widow’s son raised






Tishri 1-2

Man lame thirty-eight years is healed.






Tishri 3789

Yochanan is arrested by Herod.







Yochanan’s prison message to the Messiah.







Sinful woman anoints Messiah.







Third tour of Galilee.







Tests disciples and casts out demons.







More miracles; little girl is brought back to life.







Teaching at Synagogue in Nazareth.







Fourth tour of Galilee; Twlelve sent out.






1 Nisan     (CE 29)

Yochanan is executed by beheading.






Nisan   3789

Messiah notified of the prophet’s death.










In the near future the lifeless body of Messianic Judaism will spring back to life!

The “Grace of Adonai Remembered, the Light-bringer” (Yochanan Ben Zechariah Ben Aaron) was executed by beheading! The Grace of Adonai was violently removed from the body of the prophets of Israel. This prophetic role-play of evil was a symbol of the reality that priestly and rabbinic Judaism without the headship of the Testimony of the Messiah Yeshua (the Salvation of Adonai) and the Holy Spirit to guide it would become a lifeless corpse. Therefore, we must understand this:

Judaism will not remain lifeless much longer.

For as soon as the prophecy of the Grace of Adonai (Yochanan) is returned to its rightful place at the head of all biblical prophecy, then immediately will the Spirit of the Holy One revive Judaism from a dead, lifeless national and international corpse to the central living-Messianic-faith of all the nations, peoples, and families of the world!

There is now hope and expectancy of a great and wondrous future for Israel! For we know for a certainty that soon the messianic faith of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will quickly spring back to life. Then will the dead, dry, lifeless body of Judaism regenerate, resurrect and arise in new life. Then will our Messiah return from heaven to appear to us a second time.


Messiah in Rosh HaShanah II and Chanukkah II Chapter 9 >>