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Insight #56 — John the Bulldozer

January 13, 2001.

His clothing was made of camel’s hair. He ate locusts. He got his head chopped off for condemning the king’s illegal marriage. He is known as the baptizer. He could also be called John the bulldozer.

Here is the work Isaiah pictured for him:
“Prepare you the way of the Lord,
Make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
And every mountain and hill shall be brought low;
And the crooked shall be made straight,
And the rough ways shall be made smooth;
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:4-6).

Level the mountains; fill the valleys; straighten the winding roads. Smooth out the entire terrain. The work of a bulldozer. It should be obvious to anyone that spiritual work was envisioned, not physical. The section begins with “Prepare you the way of the Lord,” and ends with “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Malachi spoke more directly when he prophesied of John, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6). John smoothed the way. He worked on crooked hearts. He brought low the conceited. He removed spiritual obstacles. He called all Israel to repentance, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2). John paved the road for Jesus to start His ministry.

Keep this obvious interpretation in mind the next time someone tells you that prophecies of Israel and the kingdom must be fulfilled literally/physically. John’s work was certainly not to be a literal/physical bulldozer. Who could believe it? His work was to spiritually prepare Israel for a spiritual King of a spiritual kingdom.