The evidence is that John the Baptist was a strong candidate for being Messiah and it turns out he fits Bible predictions better than Jesus!

The gospels portray John as the prophet paving the way for Jesus.  People were expecting John to be the Messiah.  John did not fit the bill as a warrior king so you can wonder if he claimed to be Messiah? 
The prophecies that were thought to be about the Messiah in the Old Testament fit John better than Jesus. The Christians of course have to use contrived interpretations to be able to think they see predictions about Jesus in the Old Testament.
They say for example that the Old Testament predicted the birth of Jesus the Messiah at Bethlehem. John was not born at Bethlehem as far as we know though he might have been. Luke says John’s parents lived in the hill country of Judea but doesn’t say where John was born. Also, the Messiah coming from Bethlehem doesn’t mean he will be born there.
Micah 5:2. In Bethlehem of Judea, will come one who had his origin from of old. In The Case for Jesus the Messiah we learn that quedem or from old “literally means from ‘ancient time, aforetime’ (page 74)”. Or it can mean from eternity. Or it can refer to a character like Elijah who lived as a man and went to Heaven and was reborn as John the Baptist. You might argue that texts should be interpreted as naturally as possible. Positing that John was the reincarnation of Elijah would fit the text better for it has a very old man being reborn.
The prophecy says that when his mother gives birth to him the exiles of Israel will come back to it which did not happen when Jesus was born (v3). The verse says that when she who is in travail has given birth then the rest of his brothers will return to the people of Israel. If John was the Messiah then how do we explain that the exiles didn’t return when John was born? But John more than Jesus claimed to be the one who would do the gathering – he saw himself as calling the wayward sons of Israel back into the fold by bringing them to repentance.
The prophecy says only that the man will come from Bethlehem so he was not necessarily born there. The man will have existed before he was born perhaps as an angel or man or something. The man will lead Israel to war against its enemies. Though classed as messianic the prophecy isn’t necessarily so. But John didn’t lead his people to war.   Messiah meant king and was expected to be a warrior. If John was the Messiah then the time is yet to come when he will lead his people to war.
Zechariah 13:7 says, “Awake O sword against my shepherd. Awake against the man who is my associate, says the Lord of Hosts. Strike the shepherd that the sheep may be scattered. I will turn my hand against the little ones.”
It was John who gathered the people together as a shepherd would. Jesus just built on the work John did and may have stolen his sheep. Jesus even said that his own disciples were to preach to the lost sheep.
Jesus said this prophecy referred to his own arrest when the disciples were scattered. But Jesus was never struck by the sword and John was. He was beheaded by a sword on the orders of Herod Antipas. Also, no God is going to predict the scattering of Jesus’ disciples for we read that they soon got back together. When God predicts something it has to be a totally disastrous scattering otherwise the prophecy can mean anything. That is why it is totally credulous to say the prophecy just means that Jesus was arrested by men carrying swords for that was too easy to fulfil. God would predict better than that. In any case, what Jesus said shows the prophecy was believed to be messianic. The prophecy refers to the Baptist if it is a true prophecy.
The scattering of John’s sheep is to be totally disastrous. This is true of John’s disciples. They never got back into becoming a Church and the followers of Jesus poached many of them away into apostasy.
In Zechariah 12 we read that somebody from the house of David was to be wounded or pierced and mourned over by his relatives who are of the house of David and the house of Levi. This also can be made to fit the Baptist. His father was a priest of Levi and his mother Elizabeth was said to have been related to Mary the mother of Jesus from the house of David. It fits the Baptist best because Jesus had no links with the Levitical priesthood.
It is not enough to say that Mary had some Levitical blood in her lineage. First of all, the records aren’t necessarily right. We can safely assume that any one of the people listed in her lineage listed as a father of so and so may not have been the father at all due to his wife’s discreet infidelity. Secondly the link with Levi is stronger with John whose father was a priest of Levi. Thirdly, we know that the Christians made stuff up to make the prophecies fit Jesus. They were less likely to do that with the Baptist for he was not their Messiah.
Was John really Jesus' cousin as specified in the gospel of Luke? If Jesus really had royal blood as the gospels say, then John had it too. He would have been eradicated before he got crowds to follow him as a possible threat to the fragile political cohesion. If John had royal blood, then nobody knew about it. Or maybe John was not related to Jesus at all.
Matthew includes Jechoniah or Coniah in his list of Joseph’s progenitors and accordingly as an ancestor of Jesus’. Matthew must have forgotten or not known that if Coniah was indeed a forefather of Jesus’ then Jesus was debarred from the throne of David, disqualified by divine edict from holding an authentic messianic office because of God’s everlasting curse on King Jechoniah’s blood line in Jeremiah 22:30. The record says then that Jesus was not the Messiah so the only alternative is to recognise John as the Messiah instead. John could only be Messiah if he were not related to Jesus assuming Jesus really was descended from Jechoniah.
The prophecy says its subject was mourned by his family. There is no record of Jesus having been mourned by his family. But the gospels say that John was mourned by Jesus his relative and his disciples. If God declares a prophecy God will make sure its fulfilment is recorded so clearly the pierced one was not Jesus.
Jesus said that when John was slain that John came to restore all things. That is he came to restore the true message of God and the correct understanding. He called him the Elijah and he said they did to him whatever they pleased as it has been written (Mark 9:13). So Jesus declared that the Old Testament scriptures predicted the execution of John. Jesus then at this time had taught that John was predicted in Zechariah 13 for there is nothing else that can be reasonably thought to be possibly referring to John’s fate. Here, Jesus declares John to be the Messiah. That John was restoring all things shows that John was the real Son of God and the supreme mouthpiece of God not Jesus.
When the gospel of John spends so much time in chapter 1 and 3 trying to make John say he came to prepare the way for Jesus when John no longer had any influence and his disciples gone it is clear that it was trying to fight the knowledge that John had been the real Son of God. The gospel says that John said he was predicted in Isaiah 40 that he was the messenger before the coming of God. It twists this to make him mean that he was to be the precursor of Jesus. There is no hint of this meaning in the text and the coming of God refers to the triumph of God over evil in the world and the salvation of Israel from its temporal enemies. John has the Baptist denying to the Jews that he was the Christ, the Prophet predicted by Moses and even that he was Elijah!

Jesus says, that “nobody born of woman was ever greater than John the Baptist and yet the least entered into the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Jesus says of John, “This is the one of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You” from Malachi 3:1. Jesus seems to contradict himself. This can be explained by bad editing of the text or story. The gospeller is trying to pervert the story to remove any trace of the original strata of data which says John was the Son of God, the man better even than Jesus.
If you read the verse from Malachi you can see that it was altered by Jesus in his speech. Malachi had it, “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of me, who shall make ready my way before me.” Jesus changed the me’s to you’s to make it seem that God was not promising to send a messenger to prepare for the day of the Lord when God judges and triumphs over evil and exercises political control over the world but promising to send a messenger before Jesus who was purporting to be the you in the verse. Jesus makes the verse stop saying that John was the only preparation for the day of the Lord for it would mean that John was the only saviour and messenger and Messiah and Jesus was a fake.
The Malachi passage was surmised without proof to be Messianic by the Jews. The gospel claim that Jesus made these alterations is a lie for that reason. Rather than make alterations he had to just go along with the Jewish understanding.
Also, saying the text referred to John the Baptist when people regarded the text as messianic would only encourage the Jews to consider John the Messiah especially when they would see Jesus changed the text to try and distort it to make it seem that John only came as his messenger. Jesus would have been unlikely to do that for for aren’t we after seeing his reluctance to tell even John that he was the Messiah?
All Malachi says is that the Lord will send his messenger to prepare for the coming of God himself. And then the angel or messenger of the covenant will suddenly come to the Temple. Nothing in the passage indicates that this poetry is referring to a messenger coming to prepare for ANOTHER one coming to the Temple. It could be the messenger comes to prepare for the Lord and then after a long space comes back to the Temple. This is poetry so we must not read too much into how it is worded. It can look like two messengers are prophesied. But whatever it says, the supreme messenger of God must be the Baptist if the prophecy really was a prediction of the future given by God.
The bit about the least entered into the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is an insertion by somebody who didn’t like Jesus saying John was the top man with God instead of Jesus. We know that for Jesus said to people that they were not far from the kingdom of God and we can be sure he didn’t think they were better than the Baptist! And would Jesus really say John was the best man ever and then say that as if John was outside the kingdom? The passage is confused but it tells us that John was the true Christ and that he was outside Jesus’ kingdom.

The prophecy of the suffering servant widely thought to refer to the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53 fits the Baptist better.
The growing up of the servant like a weed from desert ground fits the Baptist who lived in the desert.
Unlike Jesus who had a little pomp for he dressed as a rabbi, the Baptist went about in skins and rags which fits the verse saying the servant has nothing attractive about him in clothes or physically.
It says the servant was led like a lamb to the slaughter. Lambs die by getting their throats cut or heads cut off.
Jesus was not led like a lamb to the slaughter. The Baptist was. Jesus was crucified not slaughtered and the Baptist had had his head cut off. He was slaughtered. Christians will say it is only an expression not to be taken too literally. You could describe children going to face their fathers after a day’s vandalism as lambs for the slaughter.   Also the next verse says that he was like a sheep before its shearers that is dumb which seems to show that the slaughter reference is metaphorical. But metaphorical or not, you would be more likely to describe the Baptist as being a lamb led to the slaughter than Jesus. Also, Jesus wasn’t dumb but was deliberately provocative when he opened his mouth during his trial for his life.
A grave with the wicked and the rich was assigned to him but it's not said that he used it. The burial place of John is unknown so he might have been buried with the rich and the wicked. This was definitely not so of Jesus of whom no indication is given that he was buried anywhere but alone in a new tomb. So John could be a better fit here and Jesus doesn’t suit the situation at all. Jesus was not buried with the rich but buried only in a rich man’s tomb.
John did no violence (as in 53:9) and Jesus did by rioting in the Temple. It is said that the Temple was ripping off the poor by over-inflating charges for this and that and sacrificial animals and that Jesus' behaviour there was not intended to incite a riot but to symbolically show that the overthrow of the corrupt Temple system was at hand. That is a lie because we read that Jesus forbade people to carry anything through the Temple (Mark 11:16). He didn't need to go that far to make his point. It was a riot.

John never deceived to our knowledge and was highly regarded even by the secular historical Josephus. Jesus did deceive for he gave the Jews who didn’t believe in the afterlife a piece of evidence that didn’t work. He told them that when God told Moses he was the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob he was declaring these men alive. Nothing in the text indicates any such thing. The prophecy says the servant didn’t do any violence and was totally honest. It was his honesty he died for. He condemned the adulterous relationship between Herodias and Herod. John died because he was true to his beliefs. Jesus died because he rode into Jerusalem as king and rioted in the Temple and showed a wish to die by refusing to try and escape from the arrest that led to his death. Jesus’ death was more of a suicide than a noble death.
Isaiah 53 says that the servant made his grave with the rich. Christians adopt the strained interpretation that this is referring to Jesus being buried in a rich man's empty tomb. We don't know where John is buried but it could be with the rich. The gospels say John was taken and buried by his own disciples. This seems to have been in a secret place. And perhaps John was dumped in a common grave with the rich before his disciples took the body away. He would have died with rich prisoners in Macherus.


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