(The Epistle to Diognetus, .11)
For we who trust into the King Of Israel, YHVeH Messiah, Jesus the Christ who is called Yeshua HaMesshiach by Jewish believers, Christ Jesus is our ever cleansing ritual bath through faith in what He did at the Cross and the trusted into spoken and sometimes unspoken (except in the heart and mind) word of prayer washing away all sins, trespasses, mistakes, and transgressions of every type.
Shortly after the birth of Christ, in what would be reckoned as October of 5 B.C., shortly after this date the famous Jewish sage, Hillel, arrived from Babylonia. It was not until his arrival that Jews were reintroduced to the Hebrew Scriptures, after a large absence of over 200 years. Most of the Hebrew Torah scrolls that remained were disintegrating. In this time, Hillel brought fresh and well-maintained Hebrew copies of the Torah to Israel; and thus is credited with helping to save and preserve the Jewish identity of Israel. 25 years later, when Jesus began his ministry, the children of Israel, largely, were still memorizing Scriptures primarily out of the Greek Septuagint, called “the Egyptian text”. But the Hebrew Scriptures, as copies were slowly and meticulously were churned out, began to take hold among the people. This advent took place primarily in the region of Judea, the Galilean Disciples still being dependant upon the Greek Septuagint.
This region of the Middle East in and of and surrounding Israel, has throughout history, especially in the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D., seemingly has ALWAYS been torn: by famines, by drought, by pestilences, and by wars from without; by civil wars from within, by robber bands, and by mobs following false messiahs and crazy men; by foreign forces which swept back and forth across the Land, and by opinions and politics that was as attractive as a kazoo brass band. Exhaustingly, this strife was so annual that there hardly seemed to ever be a year or two together that could be called "peaceful". Except for a generation or two here and there, well for over 1500 years after the 1551 B.C. Exodus from Egypt and the 1511 B.C. entry into the Covenant to them by GOD land of Israel, something bad always seemed to be going on; and sadly, often enough, power seemed to go to those who had influence, affluence, knowledge, and the iron will. In the 1st Century A.D. period of New Testament history, we never really read or find that the “Land had rest”, as we might in the book of Judges. History then shows us, that these poor souls suffered from a form of emotional and spiritual burnout, in the years preceding the coming of the Messiah. The Christian will do well, to learn by their sufferings and example. We are to put our trust exclusively in Christ, both for our life in this world, and for the one in the world to come. We are to know that we can obtain the promises of the goodness of the after-life by trusting in His payment for our sins upon the Cross, and by the glorious power of His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven.
"And it shall come to pass in that day,
that I will call my servant Eliakim [the G-D who rises / resurrects]
the son of Hilkiah [YHVeH who is my protection / portion]:
And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
And I will fasten him as a nail [hang, such as the crucifixion] in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house."
The very use of Eliakim as the identity, more than just simply as the Name of the Messiah, teaches us that He is to be a GOD figure, who is the son of GOD the Father (of Him). Thus, Jesus concept of his being GOD from GOD is seen by just one of various examples through the prophets and various books through the entire Old Testament (with perhaps Esther being the exception). This lack of like translations of the meaning of Hebrew names into English, is perhaps a project which one day needs to be remedied.
There is some controversy among Dead Sea Scroll scholars and commentators as to whether or not John the Baptist was a Qumranian Essene. It appears to me that he was not likely to have been.
In the Dead Sea Manual of Discipline, 6:11-12 it reads:
"And in the Assembly of the [i.e., of the leaders of the] the Congregation, no man shall speak without the consenting of [the leaders of the] Congregation, nor indeed [without the consenting of] the Guardian of the Congregation."
In the role of a prophet, even if John were an Essene, John would not have needed this permission of the Guardian of the Congregation. And clearly, it does not appear as if HE were guardian over any group, other than his small band of disciples...which included Andrew, the later disciple of Christ and brother to Simon (later called Peter).
"...(leave) from the dwelling-place of the men of perversion, in order (that you may) go to the Wilderness to prepare the WAY of Him, as it is written:
'In the Wilderness, prepare the way of ****
[YHVeH is referenced here in the scroll by 4 dots],
make straight in the desert a mecillah for our GOD.
This is the search of the Law." (Manual of Discipline, 8:13-15).
In the ancient times, when the Jordan flooded from the rains, the Jordan swelled beyond its modern known width of 15-30 feet wide (like that of a creek today) at Bethabara/ Bethany, and gained a slow moving width in excess of 200 - 300 feet wide and more, perfectly suitable for baptisms, with a depth perhaps exceeding 12 feet in the middle of the stream. Clearly, John's disciples could have easily stood with the hundreds of thousands of Israel at its Western banks while John stood as a witness on its Eastern banks / shoreline, shouting from the wilderness.