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Christ crucified, the Baptist beheaded. Is that significant?

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posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 09:53 AM
In the gospels, jesus is executed by being nailed to a cross. Some suggest that the device was a stake, rather than a cross. Other gods and goddesses are killed with similar associations. Osiris is killed, his remains get bound up within a growing tree, he becomes lord of the after life, he's ressurected, he's humiliated by loosing his penis, he is king. Inanna travels to the underworld, is humiliated along the way by being stripped, she is strung up on pole and dies, she becomes resurrected saving souls along the way, she's the queen. Jesus is beaten and humiliated, dies on the cross, becomes ressurected, saves souls, he's the king.

The romans also used crucifixtion as a specific sort of punishment. They were careful to tailor their execution methods to fit the crime. A person who killed his father (parricide), for example, was beleived to have commited to heinous a crime that they were thrown alive into a cloth bag, then a snake was tossed in, and then a wild babboon was thrown in, it was sew up, and the bag was tossed into the river of Rome (the tiber). So as you drown you're being torn apart by a crazed monkey and biten by a snake.

Crucifiction was good for mass executions. When the slave Spartacus rebelled, he and his army were crucified, lining the streets to Rome. So its a punishment reserved for criminals, slaves, revolters, the low. Even just look at the two other people crucified along with jesus, both theives and/or knifemen.
There is also an alternative take on this, that Jesus was crucified because he was revolting against the state, and that the two theives were also wild zealot radicals from the wilderness. Its easy to see that the metaphorical talk of a new kingdom, a new king, etc, can be taken as talk of a political revolution.

In the least, its intended as a humiliation, a way to say, 'whatever this guy was saying, it was bunk, look at him now'. Its not something that the romans would do to someone they considered a respected opponent. An enemy like that would be given the oppurtunity to off himself, or be quickly executed, possibly beheaded.

So that all makes sense, but what is going on with john the baptist? He's beheaded by the authorities, and jesus goes around saying that the baptist is the greatest of men, and gets baptised by him. If the authorities were worried about a revolt, wouldn't they've also crucified the baptist? True enough, the jewish political authorities were the ones that executed the baptist, but they were romanized. Whereas teh jewish reliigous authorities were the ones that brought jesus to the romans for punishment. But if jesus was such a threat, and the baptist was evangelizing long before him and was so popular that jesus went to him at the start of his ministry, then why wasn't the Baptist also handled the same way?
Why didn't they want to humiliate and repudiate him? Can it entirely be attributed to herod, who, agian, was a secularized romanized puppet?

Those are questions about the reality of the situation, as in what was going on politicaly in those times, given the gospels as a 'news report' type of account.

But whats happening in terms of the mythos? John the baptist isn't a minor character, is it significant that he's quickly beheaded? Or are there religious/mythical motiffs in that story that we are not understanding today?

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 11:12 AM
There's more to it.

First, if you're really interested in finding out if it was a stake or cross Christ was hung from, if it was for being a rebel or to pacify the masses, etc. I highly recommend The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell. It does a great job of addressing the documentary, archaeological, and historical evidence in addressing those questions and many, many more.

Is it theologically significant that Christ was hung from the cross while John the Baptist was beheaded? Yes, extremely so, though John's execution method is not very significant. Were Christ not hung from the cross, He would not be the Christ, not fulfilling all of the prophesies surrounding Him. The entire Old Testament points to that one moment, on the cross, and what took place shortly after (the resurrection).

What happened with John the Baptist was the fulfillment of a promise by a foolish tetrarch who made a promise to the daughter of Herodias after she did a dance he really appreciated. He told her she could have anything she wanted, and she asked for John the Baptist's head on a platter (See Matthew 14). Therefore, John the Baptist was beheaded.

Christ, on the other hand, had to take on all the iniquities of the world to save us. This included hanging from a tree. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 notes that this punishment is a heinous one, like burying a Muslim with pigs:

If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Hanging the body exhibited the person to public humiliation. The criminal was under the curse of God… the judgment that takes a person's life out of the covenant community as a perpetrator of the worst kind of sin and displays that judgment by the humiliation of hanging his body in public shows that that person is under God's curse. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Vol. 3, pp. 134-135)

Not only did Christ have to take on all of our sins as the ultimate sin sacrifice for humanity, the perfect lamb whose blood covered all iniquity and washed us all clean if we but look to Him (Numbers 21:8-9 was a precursor of this), but He had to take on the curse that befell Adam and Eve.


God is just. He, being the creator of the universe, is well within His right to dictate the rules by which it is governed. Humanity broke one of those rules in the garden when Adam and Eve took of the fruit by which God had forbidden them to eat. The wages of sin is death -- it was by mercy and mercy alone that He allowed Adam and Eve to live, and set into motion His ultimate plan for the redemption of humanity.

Yet, He still had in place the law. Now that sin had entered into the world, it was necessary to have a justice system by which to redeem humanity. Because the wages of sin is death, sin had to be paid for in blood -- the sacrifices explained through the Torah. While the animals sacrificed were considered clean by God, they only served to cover our actions against God's will, not to cleanse them. To cleanse them, it required perfect blood -- blood from someone who had the option to go against God, but chooses not to because of his love for the Creator. God also knew that man alone was not capable of this action. Instead, He sent His only son to take on the sin of the world, to be that sin sacrifice that would not only cover our inequities, but, in fact, would wash it clean.

Thus, Christ died on the cross for you, for me. No greater love is there than to die for your friends, and Christ counted us all friends. We simply have to accept His gift to us. Like the Israelis in Numbers 21, we have an option: we can look away from Christ, and choose to refuse His gift, or we can look to Him and be clean. Needless to say, He had to die hung from a tree of sorts, in that manner, or God's justice wouldn't be met and we who believe in Him would still be under the curse, and His perfect sacrifice would not have been so perfect.

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 11:37 AM
So you are saying that the cross represents humilation, not just amoung hte romans, but more importantly, amoung the jews, and especially important, for god himself?

I can understand that point, that it certifies the humiliation. But, jesus was under god's curse? Seems an odd phrasing.

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 11:49 AM
It was about taking on the iniquities of the world. Paul wrote in Galatians 3:13 that "
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'". The Jews who demanded He be put to death believed Him to be a blasphemer, and saw crucifixtion as akin to their hanging someone from a tree. Since the Jews were not permitted to perform executions under Roman law, they had to take their case to the Roman authorities.

So yes, humiliation was an element, because Christ was not only dying for our sins, but also bore our shame for going against the will of God.

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 11:59 AM
I just find the wording strange, because it seems to say that god cursed jesus. Whereas normally we view it as jesus chose to suffer, that god underwent the phsyical suffering and humiliation in the eyes of men, in order to bring about redemption for those who suffer (iow, all of us). But this is saying that god also viewed him as being cursed, being humiliated in the eyes of god and man.
ANd at the same time its saying that those old rules, the old law, are revoked by it all, yet they're the laws that give authority to the suffering and legitmacy to it.


And so you are saying that john the bapists execution is only significant in so far as he's simply not 'the christ'. Do you think things would be different if he was crucifed though? I mean, the theives were cruficied, but they're not christ either. Its also interesting that the baptist and jesus are related, and from the same lines, but meet alternate fates.
Do you think that we wouldnt' be able to choose between jesus or john if they were both crucified?

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 12:43 PM
I think there is a crucial aspect of this, although I myself have not yet had any 'eurekas' regarding it. The reason is this verse:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
~Revelation 20:4

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 01:16 PM
I'm looking for the prophesy that talks about the Messiah being hung as a curse, albeit half heartedly as I'm at work right now

Yes, John the Baptist and Jesus were second cousins...Why is it interesting they met different fates? It's not typical that second cousins all meet the same fate, and it's not typical that all prophets meet the same fate. Why should these two?

Things would not be different, though, if John the Baptist were crucified. All signs would still point to the Christ, and not the prophet heralding the Christ's coming, as being the Christ. John the Baptist said himself he was not the Christ, though he did point out that Jesus was the Christ. You might have some individuals believe he was the Christ, falsely, just as some believed Matthias was the Christ because he fulfilled Israel's expectation of what the Christ would be rather than scripture's account of what the Christ would be. However, no one who studied the scripture would believe the John the Baptist was the Christ.

There are over 300 prophesies dealing with the coming Messiah in the Old Testament. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 predicts He'll be of David's line, Isaiah 7:14 predicts He'll be born of a virgin, Micah 5:2 predicts He'll come from Bethlehem, Hosea 11:1 predicts He'll be in Egypt for a time, Isaiah 9:1-2 predicts He'd minister in Galilee and Nazareth (See Matthew 4:12-17), and Psalm 118:22 predicts that the ruling religious leaders at the time would reject Him.

John the Baptist, too, is predicted in Isaiah 40:3-5 and Malachi 3:1 as an Elijah-type herald of the coming Messiah.

As for Christ's manner of death, it was predicted He would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10), yet not a bone of His would be broken (Exodus 12:46, Psalm 34:20), that He would die among criminals (Isaiah 53:12), and that He would be buried by a rich man (Isaiah 53:9), just to name a few of the predictions concerning Christ and the preceding prophet (John the Baptist).

So no, I doubt there would be much confusion even if John the Baptist were to have been crucified as well.

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 01:28 PM
My Google Mojo is strong!

When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not defile the land that the LORD your God is giving you for possession. Deut 21:22-23, NRSV)

visit source for full article

I would add something witty or insightful to this article, but it would spoil it for every one. It's really good and addresses the initial question much better than I could have done. Although I did remember the Deut. passage as soon as I saw this thread, the intricacies are explained much better from someone else.

Well, go read the article.

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 08:31 PM

Originally posted by Nygdan
So that all makes sense, but what is going on with john the baptist?

I never really thought about it before, but this is the first thing that jumped out at me. John pointed people to Jesus as the Savior. In the future, during the tribulation period, people will once again be beheaded for believing that Jesus is the Savior. Besides showing how evil a person can be(by ordering a person to lose his head), I think it has prophetic undertones to it.

posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 12:24 PM

and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus

I'd suspect that that more likely refers to the saints and martyrs, especially since there was a persecution going on in John the Divine's time (assuming of course John the Divine wasn't also John the Apostle).

It's not typical that second cousins all meet the same fate, and it's not typical that all prophets meet the same fate. Why should these two?

Indeed, why should they? They're relatives, from the same family line, and that is part of the messiah claim too.

I wonder if, and this isn't what I was thinking at the start, if say, as some suggest, the original gospel doesn't have christ being ressurected, but says that he will be ressurected at the end of the world/time of the messiah (which, it should perhaps be noted, is what the lubavitcher hasidics think will happen with their previous grande rebbe, who they think is the messiah, he will rise from his grave to restore them to the kingdom of israel)? Is it possible that they story make special emphasis that john the baptist, a great and admired religious leader, died differently than jesus, to distinguish the two as personages in the mythos?
And recall of course that the early 'gospels', the tellings of what happened with jesus and what was going on in the levant at that time, would've been the apostles actually talking to people, and them telling others, etc.
So perhaps the mythos grew to have the beheading idea attached to john the baptist, a strong 'archetype' to illustrate the myth.
And of course, I know that people beleive in these things as literal truth (gospel truth, as the saying goes). So I am merely trying to understand these things in both ways, both as actual events that have been orchestrated from heaven, and as myths told by people, a 'literary' anaylsis, so to speak.

So no, I doubt there would be much confusion even if John the Baptist were to have been crucified as well.

Well but waitaminute, people that support christ as the messiah foretold in prophecy can site biblical prophecy, but people that reject his as messiah, like the jews, can site prophecy also, and also some people can site others as being messiah. The bible isn't crystal clear on it. It doesn't say that the messiah will be the son of god, it says his name will be emmanuel, not jesus, it doesn't say that he will die and be resurrected, and it says he will restore israel, which jesus didn't do.
I mean, I don't think we can suggest that the jews at the time didn't recognize jesus as messiah because they were ignorant of the torah, at least.
the Essene community who composed the Dead Sea Scrolls, reads,

If a man informs against his people, delivers his people up to a foreign nation and betrays his people, you shall hang him on a tree so that he dies

Fascinating, as some people suggest that Jesus was an essene, or that the jesus movement and the baptist movement came from them or was strongle associated with them, and that Judas, in one tradition I beleive, is hung from a tree.
That also seems to be a problem, though, for the jesus movement being part of the essenes, if they hated people that were crucified, then it doesn't make sense to glorify a crucified person.

In other words, crucifixion was a punishment for slaves and traitors.

Also intersting in that we see here, I just realize now, that being strung up in a tree is used by the romans and jews in the same way, to punish slaves and traitors.

Those who deserved the curse ("all who do not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them", Galatians 3:10) are spared because the Messiah, God's representative, has taken the curse on himself.

Interesting, and I think this is in line with JJ's statements, no? This does seem in keeping with the idea that jesus aligns himself with the sufferes, the lepers, hookers, etc.

When it is found that a suicide by hanging has taken place, the body must quickly be identified. The relatives who have been informed do not remove the body, but hire strangers who are unrelated to take the body down. These people are provided with a sheep to be used in a sacrificial ritual of cleansing from any evil influence. The intestines of the slaughtered sheep would be smeared on any who make contact with the body, as well as on the desecrated area. The disposal of the body is performed without honour. Mourning is not expected. Normal funeral rituals are prohibited.

This is talking about a tribe in africa, but perhaps there is some commonality in these practices. Judas in some traditions dies and his intestines are spilled out, like the sheep/lamb in the above.
Also, are the apostles in mourning when jesus resurrects? I don't recall there being anythihng specifically indicating that (though some suggest that lent, with its period of 40 days and the smearing of ashes/dirt on the face, is a carry over from mourning practices of the jewish apostles, misunderstood by the gentile converts over the years).

I think it has prophetic undertones to it.

It does seem like it deserves more attention than we usually give to it, irrepsective of how a person is approaching the stories. In fact, the more a person beleives in it all, and the more import one gives to the stories all together, the more the baptist being beheaded seems to stand up. Why wasn't he hung from a tree? Why wasn't he crucified? Why specifically having his head cut off? Is this important character, and his death (imagine if it had't happened, if John the Baptist was evangelizing to the gentiles, or the other jews, after the ressurection), merely an unimportant detail, or is it pointing us torwards something, was it in the gospels for a reason?

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