And in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Yehudah, and Herodes district ruler of Galil, and his brother Philip district ruler of Yetur and the country of Trachonitis, and Lusanias district ruler of Avilene, Chanan and Qayapha being high priests, the word of Elohim came to Yochanan the son of Zekaryah in the wilderness.
And he went into all the neighbourhood of the Yarden, proclaiming an immersion of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and saying, “Repent, for the reign of the shamayim has come near!”
As it has been written in the Prophets, “See, I am sending My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the Master you are seeking comes to His Hekal, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. See, He is coming,” said Yahweh of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Yeshayahu, saying, ” The voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of Yahweh; make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohiym.
“Let every valley be raised, and every mountain and hill made low. And the steep ground shall become level, and the rough places smooth. “And the esteem of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see it. For the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.” (Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 40:3-5)
And Yochanan had a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist. And his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Yerushalayim, and all Yehudah, and all the country around the Yarden went out to him, and they were immersed by him in the Yarden, confessing their sins. And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his immersion, he said to them, “Brood of adders, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Avraham as our father.’
“For I say to you that Elohim is able to raise up children to Avraham from these stones. And even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
And the crowds asked him, saying, “What, then, shall we do?”
And answering He said to them, “Let him who has two undergarments share with him who has none, and let him who has food do likewise.”
And tax collectors also came to be immersed, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
And soldiers also asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”
And he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be satisfied with your pay.”
But as the people were in expectation, and all were reasoning in their hearts about Yochanan, whether he was the Messiah or not, Yochanan answered, saying to them all, “I indeed immerse you in water, but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal straps I am not worthy to loosen. He shall immerse you in the Set-apart Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He shall thoroughly cleanse His threshing-floor, and gather the wheat into His storehouse, but the chaff He shall burn with unquenchable fire.”
And urging with many other words, he brought the Good News to the people.
Then Yahushua came from Natsareth of Galil to Yochanan at the Yarden to be immersed by him. But Yochanan was hindering Him, saying, “I need to be immersed by You, and You come to me?”
But Yahushua answering, said to him, “Permit it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fill all righteousness.”
Then he permitted Him. And having been immersed, Yahushua went up immediately from the water, and see, the shamayim were opened, and He saw the Spirit of Elohim descending like a dove in bodily form and coming upon Him, and see, a voice out of the shamayim, saying, “You are My Son, the Beloved, in You I did delight.”
The scriptures in The Good News Series here are from the Book of Mattityahu (Gospel of Matthew) chapter 3 verses 1-17 & the Book of Luços (Luke) Chapter 3 verses 1-18.
What is necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? – Love Yahweh your Elohim with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Yahushua tells us that these premises are the fulfillment of the Torah! That is a very accurate statement, the Torah of Yahweh was meant to be loving instructions for life, from which could be derived great blessings through obedience unto righteousness. Unfortunately today, “religion” teaches us that Yahweh’s laws, ordinances, and statutes were a burden, something that no one was able to accomplish because it was yoke from an unjust Creator focused on wrath and vengeance. Yet the commands that Messiah preached, the one he says in Matthew 11:28-30 –
Mattiyahu (Matthew) 11:28-30:
(28) Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
(30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The Yoke and Burden that he speaks about is the same Torah of Yahweh. Deuteronomy 13 tells us that if he comes and preaches something to take the people away from Yahweh’s Torah, that he is a false prophet – thus disqualifying Yahushua as Messiah! He was preaching the same message, treat you neighbors as you wish to be treated, with fairness, kindness, and compassion.
The principle/exposition of the tree bearing fruit is not a new concept either, he has used that parable repeatedly – good trees bear good fruit, evil trees bear evil fruit, trees that do not good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire. Which tree are you? (see the The Tree that was Cursed study for more information)
Regarding the end of this portion, check out the study on Adoption and Inheritance for more information on the importance of the last paragraph!