Birth of John the Baptist
The Birth of John the Baptist as told in the Book of
Luke in comparison to Mandaean Literature
RESEARCH DONE BY AJAE
COPYRIGHT 2000
The name  Zechariah in the Book of Luke is Zacharias (Strong # 2197) which is is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Zechariah (Strong # 02148).  The word as a personal name appears to be used many times in the Old Testament and even can be found in the name of an Old Testament book. Zacharia is listed as member of the priesthood and a division of Abijah.  Abijah is one of the family names that are recorded as having returned from Babylon. 

What is interesting is that Zechariah is the name of a prophet in the Old Testament.  Luke also describes Zechariah as giving a prophecy and thus must have also been a prophet:
Introduction

Names of Zechariah and Elizabeth

His parent were older and had no children

His birth was the result of a heavenly interception


The Vision and Angel Gabriel

His name will be


John the Baptist’s birth is threatened

John the Baptist is taken away
Names of Zechariah and Elizabeth
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.” (Luke 1:5)
Zechariah
Here we have both prophets and Nazarites as being somehow connected.  We read further in Amos:
In the Mandaean texts we read:
“Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy...”  (Luke 1:67)
Here we have Zechariah portrayed as of the race of prophets who were known for having children late in life. This is typical of the Nazarite births, of which John the Baptist is one.  In the Old Testament we read that
“We will enlighten thee as to thy race and thy fathers, from whom thou hast come forth... Yet in their old age each of them had a son.  They had sons, and they were prophets in Jerusalem. If now out of thee as well a prophet comes forth, thou dost then revive this race again.” 
“And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites.”    (Amos 2:11)
The Nazarites were defiled by the certain elements of the Jewish hierarchy in order to destroy them. They were also order not to prophesy. It appears that the Nazarites who are holy only onto God and in many respects were even above the Jewish priesthood have now been degraded.  This could be a power struggle by the Levites in order to sure up the priesthood after the return from Babylon.  By eliminating the Nazarites there could be no one who would be higher or closer to God than those of the priesthood.
“But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.”   (Amos 2:12)
Their (the Nazarites) once “white” appearance has now become “blacken” in the eyes of Jerusalem.  It is John the Baptist, who as both as a  “prophet of Jerusalem” and Nazarite, will revive the Nazarite religion, renew the religion, and will prophesy.
“Her (Jerusalem) Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: Their visage is blacker  than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick” (Lamentations 4:7-8)
Elizabeth
The name of Elizabeth for the mother of John the Baptist is also interesting.  The word Elizabeth (Strong #1665) is the Greek version of the Hebrew word Eliysheba (Strong #0472).  The word only appears one other time in the Bible as the wife of Aaron.  Remember that in Luke’s story Elizabeth is of the “daughters of Aaron”.  While it was not unusual to see the wording “daughter of Aaron” it is the term Elizabeth that is unique.  Could the name Elizabeth been used to indicate a line of priests instead of a personal name, much like that of Miriai?

Hippolytus (in Nicephor., II, iii) writes that the mother of Elizabeth is Soba:
When Hippolytus (c. 150 to 235 AD) wrote this he was well aware of a variation of the word Sabian – Sobiai- in his account of Elchasaites.  It is not too far to venture a guess that the “mother’s” name Soba actually referred to the Sobiai or Sabians (Mandaeans). In Hebrew the word Soba (#07648) means satiety, abundance, or fullness.  Soba is from the root Saba` (#07646).  Both variations apparently do not appear as a common personal name.   Could Elizabeth be of the Sabians (Soba or Sobiai) and somehow this information was turned to mean Soba the mother of Elizabeth?

In Mandaean literature the name is Enishbai.  It is believed that Enishbai is a variation of the Hebrew word Eliysheba.  But what if Enishbai was an original Mandaic word that when heard spoken in Aramaic was so close to the old Hebrew form that the writer of Luke concluded that this was the same name as Aaron’s wife?
The names of Zechariah and Elizabeth were probably Mandaic in the origin of the story. Zechariah was given as the name of the father of the John the Baptist as a reminder to the Jewish priesthood of the prophets.  The name Zechariah was well known to the writers of the Gospels for it is in the book Zechariah during a prophecy that the following is written:








This prophecy is used by Christian theologians to support the passages in the New Testament that are concerned with the pierces of Jesus’ side while on the cross.  Luke picking up on the name Zechariah gives him a tribal affiliation thus sealing his ties to Judaism.  But note there is no “son of” for Zechariah – this is unusual for most names in the Bible are followed by a “son of” in the description of the person.  Why is there none for the parentage of John the Baptist?

In the case of Elizabeth we have a name for a mother, Soba, which is very close to the Sabians i.e. the Mandaeans.  Elizabeth, if not an original Mandaic word, could be play on words to indicate the Aaronic priesthood.  From the union of the
“prophets who will again prophesy” and the “Aaronic priesthood” we have the Nazarite—John the Baptist.  Luke would have heard this story circulating about and picked up on the names and giving them Jewish connections.  Thus Zechariah becomes of “division of Abijah” and loses the idea of a prophet or from the race of prophets  while Elizabeth becomes a “daughters of Aaron” instead a representation of that priest line.
“Mathan had three daughters: Mary, Soba, and Ann. Mary, the oldest, married a man of Bethlehem and was the mother of Salome; Soba married at Bethlehem also, but a "son of Levi", by whom she had Elizabeth; Ann wedded a Galilean (Joachim) and bore Mary, the Mother of God.” 
(Nicephor., II, iii)
MY  THOUGHTS
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“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”  Zechariah 12:10
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