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Matthew 3:1-17

Matthew 3:1-4:

3:1In those days John the baptizer arrives heralding-forth in the desert-place of Judea .2and saying, "You must repent, for the kingdom of the heavens came-near2" – .3for this is the (one) having been said by means of Isaiah the prophet saying, "A sound crying-aloud in the desert-place, you must prepare the way of (the) Lord, you must make his paths straight." .4John himself used-to have his clothing from hairs of a camel and a leather girdle around his loin, and his nourishment used-to-be locusts and wild honey.

During the days while Jesus was still in Nazareth of Galilee, John the baptizer (known by his occupation which was that he baptized others, the baptist) approached and came within Judea's desert-place (a desolate place, wilderness) proclaiming and saying to the people: you must repent (change your minds from bad to good regarding God and the things of God after re-thinking what God says), in truth the kingdom of the heavens has actively come near and is still near you.

The kingdom of the heavens = the kingdom of God / God's kingdom. The word "kingdom" refers to all that is contained within God's sovereignty, His kingly or royal dominion and government and rule and territory and power, etc.  The words "the heavens" literally refer to the areas above the earth, but figuratively refer to God's spirit realm. The usage of the plural form "heavens" gives great emphasis and expansive greatness to God's kingdom.

In truth, this is the one who was spoken about by definite words being uttered by means of Isaiah the prophet saying: a sound crying aloud (a voice bellowing) in the desert-place, you must prepare the way of the Lord (make ready the Lord's road – figuratively referring to the manner of action and method of proceeding to be taken by him), you must make his paths straight (make the worn/beaten paths straight, figuratively meaning to make his paths level in the correct direction for him to walk on in order to carry-out his assignment).

Some Greek texts omit the word "his" in the phrase "you must make his paths straight." A prophet is someone who speaks-forth God's words being revealed to him/her concerning the past, present and/or future to, before, in front of a person or people. The reference here is to what the Prophet Isaiah spoke and is recorded in the Book of Isaiah 40:3 prophesying about John.

John himself at that time had his clothing (what he put on himself to cover his body) from hairs of a camel and a leather girdle around his loin area (loins). A "girdle" was as a belt worn between the thighs and the ribs of the person, which usually had a hollow and it was used to carry things inside of it, and also used if the person needed to move quickly by tying it around the turned or pulled up garments. Male and female wore girdles. John's girdle was made of the skins of animals. His nourishment (sustenance from food) at that time was locusts and the natural honey he found in the open fields.

[Reference: Leviticus 11:22; II Kings 1:8; Malachi 4:5 and 6; Matthew 4:17, 11:12-15; Luke 1:76-80, 3:2-4; John 1:23. Note: verbs with a superscript 2 (2) immediately following them indicate the "perfect" tense - details are provided in the "Relevant Notes" link of this study.]

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