The Voice in Speech and Song


John the Baptist

Pure, Native Eloquence—The voice of John was lifted up like a trumpet. His commission was, “Show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1. He had obtained no human scholarship. God and nature had been his teachers. But one was needed to prepare the way before Christ who was bold enough to make his voice heard like the prophets of old, summoning the degenerate nation to repentance. VSS 357.2

And all went forth into the wilderness to hear him. Unlearned fishermen and peasants came from the surrounding countries and from regions nigh and afar off. The Roman soldiers from the barracks of Herod came to hear. Chieftains came with their swords girded by their sides, to put down anything that savored of riot or rebellion. The avaricious tax gatherers came from the regions round about; and from the Sanhedrin came forth the phylacteried priests. All listened as if spellbound; and all came away, even the Pharisee, the Sadducee, and the cold, unimpressionable scoffer of the age, with the sneer gone, and cut to the heart with a sense of their sin. There were no long arguments, no finely cut theories, elaborately delivered in their “firstly,” “secondly,” and “thirdly.” But pure native eloquence was revealed in the short sentences, every word carrying with it the certainty and truth of the weighty warnings given.... VSS 357.3

John the Baptist met sin with open rebuke in men of humble occupation and in men of high degree. He declared the truth to kings and nobles, whether they would hear or reject it.—Selected Messages 2:148, 149. VSS 358.1

The Power of His Words—It was the purpose of John to startle and arouse the people, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. In simplicity and plainness, he pointed out the errors and crimes of men. A power attended his words, and, reluctant as the people were to hear the denunciation of their unholy lives, they could not resist his words. He flattered none; neither would he receive flattery of any. The people, as if with common consent, came to him repenting, and confessing their sins, and were baptized of him in Jordan. VSS 358.2

Kings and rulers came to the wilderness to hear the prophet, and were interested and deeply convicted as he fearlessly pointed out their particular sins. His discernment of character and spiritual sight read the purposes and hearts of those who came to him, and he fearlessly told both rich and poor, the honorable and the lowly, that without repentance of their sins and a thorough conversion, although they might claim to be righteous, they could not enjoy the favor of God and have part in the kingdom of the Messiah, whose coming he announced. VSS 359.1

In the spirit and with the power of Elijah, John denounced the corruptions of the Jews, and raised his voice in reproving their prevailing sins. His discourses were plain, pointed, and convincing.—The Review and Herald, January 7, 1873. VSS 359.2

Voice Startling and Stern—With no elaborate arguments or fine-spun theories did John declare his message. Startling and stern, yet full of hope, his voice was heard from the wilderness: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2. With a new, strange power it moved the people. The whole nation was stirred. Multitudes flocked to the wilderness.—Testimonies for the Church 8:332. VSS 359.3

Burden of His Mission—With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the lifework before him—The Desire of Ages, 102. VSS 359.4

Trumpet Tones—John had preached the coming of the Messiah. In trumpet tones the words of the forerunner of Christ had rung in their ears.—The Review and Herald, February 13, 1900. VSS 360.1

One of the Greatest of Prophets—Christ declared John the Baptist to be one of the greatest of the prophets, and He showed His hearers that they had had sufficient evidence that John was a messenger from God. The words of the preacher in the wilderness were with power. He bore his message unflinchingly, rebuking the sins of priests and rulers, and enjoining upon them the works of the kingdom of heaven.—Christ's Object Lessons, 278. VSS 360.2