major religious figure
John the Baptist (late 1st century BC – AD 28–36) was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early 1st century AD. Other titles for John include John the Forerunner in Eastern Christianity, John the Immerser in some Baptist traditions, and the prophet John (Yaḥyā) in Islam. He is sometimes alternatively called John the Baptizer.John the Baptist is mentioned by the Hebrew historian Josephus and revered as a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and Mandaeism. He is called a prophet by all of these faiths, and is honored as a saint in many Christian traditions. According to the New Testament, John anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself, and the Gospels portray John as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John announces Jesus' coming and prepares the people for Jesus' ministry. Jesus himself identifies John as "Elijah who is to come", which is a direct reference to the prophecy of Malachi 4:5–6, that has been confirmed by the angel who announced John's birth to his father Zecharia. According to the New Testament, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth were relatives.Some scholars maintain that John belonged to the Essenes, a semi-ascetic Judaic sect who expected a Hebrew messiah and who practiced ritual baptism.
John used baptism as the central symbol or sacrament of his pre-messianic movement. Most scholars agree that John baptized Jesus, and several New Testament accounts report that some of Jesus' early followers had previously been followers of John.According to the New Testament John was sentenced to death and subsequently beheaded by Herod Antipas sometime between AD 28 and 36 after John rebuked him for divorcing his wife, Phasaelis, and then unlawfully wedding Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I.
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