John the Baptist is mentioned by the Roman Jewish historian Josephus and revered as a major religious figure in Christianity. He is considered a prophet by many 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 Zechariah. According to the New Testament, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth were relatives.
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