John 1:29-34 — Jesus’s baptism as a coronation — LeGrand Baker

The events of Jesus’s baptism lend themselves to be interpreted as his coronation to become king. In which case, the events on the Mount of Transfiguration can be read to as his coronation to BE king. After his resurrection, Paul describes a third coronation that took place in his Father’s heavenly throne room.

The kings of ancient Israel were anointed twice. The first time was a preparatory anointing to become king. The second was a formal anointing when they were actually made king. The best example is the story of David. His first anointing took place when the Prophet Samuel visited David’s father.

11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah (1 Samuel 16:11 – 13).

Thereafter, David was anointed king of Judah by “the men of Judah,” (2 Samuel 2:4), and sometime after that, he was anointed king over all of Israel.

3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel.
4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah (2 Samuel 5:3-5).

The great biblical scholar, Geo Widengren, saw that story of David as the prototype of the Savior’s baptism. He wrote,

Jesus used to teach in the synagogue. The passage in Luke iv.16 ff. calls for notice in this connexion. In perfect agreement with the regular order of the worship of the synagogue, [he then quotes Luke].

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears (Luke 4:16-21).

Most of what the Savior read was a paraphrase of Isaiah 61:1; and the rest was from Isaiah 42.

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound (Isaiah 61:1).

6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
8 I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images (Isaiah 42:6 – 8)

Widengren, reasons that Isaiah 61:1 “is obviously an auto-proclamation originally belonging with exclusive right to the sacral king of Israel.” He then quotes, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me,” and concludes:

This saying alludes to the royal anointing, which gave to the Israelite ruler the spirit of Yahweh, as has been often stressed. [the parallelism between 1 Samuel 16:13 and Isaiah 61:1 is noted.] And here it is all important to note that Luke transmits to us this tradition of Jesus as the teacher in the synagogue immediately after his baptism and temptation. His appearance in the synagogue is thus his first public appearance. In the baptism Jesus had received the royal anointing with the Holy Spirit and been proclaimed the Son of God, thus elevated to the position of the Anointed of Yahweh, in accordance with his (alleged) Davidic lineage inheriting the old rights accorded by Yahweh to David and his descendants— in perfect agreement with the covenant concluded by God with David. {1}

Widengren’s ideas are also consistent with a larger view of the events of Jesus’s baptism. John the Beloved’s account of Jesus’s baptism as is read in the Prophet’s Inspired Version is slightly different from the one in the King James version (the italics show changes in JST). It reads,

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

JST —- The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and said; Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!

30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

JST —- And John bare record of him unto the people, saying, This is he of whom I said; After me cometh a man who is preferred before me; for he was before me,

31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

JST —- and I knew him, and that he should be made manifest to Israel; therefore am I come baptizing with water.

32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

JST —- And John bare record, saying; When he was baptized of me, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

JST —- And I knew him; for he who sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me; Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

JST —- And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

 (JST, John 1:29-34) {2}

Matthew gives the most complete account of Jesus’s baptism.

16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:16-17).

Mark and Luke are similar.

9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:9 – 11)

21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased (Luke 3:21 – 22).

John the apostle quotes John the Baptist’s testimony as, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” The other three give a similar account. Matthew reports, “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Those were the same words the Father used when he introduced the Savior to the Nephites (3 Nephi 11:7), and to the Prophet Joseph (JS-History 1:17). Mark and Luke each say the voice from heaven spoke to Jesus and said, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”

Each account affirms that the Father proclaimed Jesus’s royal Sonship. That also would have been a necessary part of the Savior’s coronation. The new king-name of the Israelite king was “son” of Jehovah, for Jehovah was the King of Israel, and no human could set upon his throne as king unless he were adopted by Jehovah as his son and heir. Otherwise the king would only be a usurper. {3}

The other necessary event to take place in a royal coronation was his anointing. Widengren observed that “In the baptism Jesus had received the royal anointing with the Holy Spirit and been proclaimed the Son of God, thus elevated to the position of the Anointed of Yahweh.”

Peter’s testimony was probably the source of Widengren’s assertion that the Savior was anointed “with the Holy Spirit.” Peter wrote,

37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (Acts 10:34-42).

The New Testament does not elaborate on Peter’s statement that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power,” but we get a sense of what that means by John’s testimony in D&C 93:

15 And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a , and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.
16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him (D&C 93:15-17).

There John said the “Spirit” “abode upon him,” and “remaining on him.” What John saw was clearly not a bird but something whose form resembled a descending white object with outstretched wings.

Ancient Jewish tradition says that before they ate the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were dressed in a garments of light. Psalm 104:1-2 says God also has a garment of light. If the white object seen at Jesus’s baptism had sleeves rather than wings, and was the royal garment of light that came down and remained upon the Savior, then that would have been one more characteristic of a royal coronation.

In which case the events were these: the Savior was washed, anointed, clothed, and given the royal king-name by his Father.

The Savior’s experience on the Mount of Transfiguration seems to have been an ordinance very much like his baptism. We have five accounts of the events on the Mount of Transfiguration: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter, and Joseph Smith’s inspired version. Each adds details the others do not. The following is a composite of those accounts using only the unique parts of each:

28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28).

2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light (Matthew 17:2).

9:3And his raiment became shining, exceeding white, as snow; so white as no fuller on earth could whiten them.
9:4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, or in other words, John the Baptist and Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. (JST Mark 9:3-4).

32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him (Luke 9:31-32).

5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee [Melchizedek Priesthood], and one for Moses [Aaronic Priesthood], and one for Elias [Elijah: sealing power] (Mark 9:4-5).

34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud [shechinah], and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud (Luke 9:34).

5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only (Matthew 17:5-8).

34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.(Luke 9:34-36).

9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead (Mark 9:9).

Peter’s personal account, which he wrote as his final testimony in anticipation of his own death, seems to confirm that the events were a coronation. Peter reports, we “were eyewitnesses of his majesty [kingship]. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Elsewhere in the scriptures the royal clothing is described as having two parts. The undergarment which represented his priesthood (often identified as “glory”), and outer robes representing his kingship (usually called “majesty”). {4}

Peter’s very powerful and personal testimony reads,

16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty [kingship].
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, [royal and priesthood clothing] when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts (2 Peter 1:12-19).

After the Savior’s resurrection there appears to have been another very formal coronation ceremony which took place in the “heavenly places” (the throne room, Holy of Holies, of the temple in Kolob). Paul described that in his epistle to the Ephesians. {5} Paul wrote,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his [the Father’s] power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he [the Father] wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his [the Father’s] own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:19 – 23).

Nephi’s final testimony at the conclusion 2 Nephi says we must be baptized as the Savior was. I wonder if he had more in mind than we often associate with those words.

————————————
FOOTNOTES

{1} Geo Widengren, “King and Covenant,” Journal of Semitic Studies 2: 1. (Jan. 1957): 1-32. Quotes are from pages 29-31

{2} John the Baptist’s mission was foretold by Isaiah. See elsewhere in this website, Isaiah 40:3-5 — John the Baptist

{3} See Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord for a discussion of the royal coronation and a of the royal new name in Psalm 2. First edition, 461-517; second (paperback) edition 336-78.

{4} For a discussion of the royal clothing and of “honor and glory” representing names of the garments of priesthood and kingship see Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord , first edition, 486-92; second (paperback), 349-58.

{5} The first chapter of Ephesians is discussed in each edition of Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord. However the more complete one is in the second (paperback) edition pages 550-55. That is the edition found in this website under “published books.” It is also available in print if you, like me, like to actually hold a real book in your hands.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

This entry was posted in John. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply