Absolutely John the Baptist was preaching the arrival of the new covenant. It is important to realize that the quote: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness..." is actually supposed to be a reference to an entire section in Isaiah, not just the soundbyte mentioned in the gospel. In those days if there had been chapter & verse numbers then the gospel authors could have given a verse range. There was not, so the method of reference was to give just enough of the passage for readers to find it in an Isaiah scroll. So we know that when Matthew records that John says he is the Voice calling in the wilderness, that he is referring not just to Isaiah 40:3 but to Isaiah 40:1-5 and possibly more of Isaiah as well as the section around Malachi 3:1. These sections talk about straightening the path and flattening the rough places. That means removing the obstacles to spiritual progress. I think one implication is that John opposed the temple's priests who had became a high place in the spiritual path. They were a bump in the road. This sounds very similar to the Qumran folks and their disagreement with Simon the Usurper.Ahanu said:Hey, Dream, if you have the time, read the response to the second question in the link below, and then tell me what you think. After all, Jesus did see John as more than a prophet, and, if you continue to read what the student says in that link, he says that it is John that brings a new covenant. That one makes sense to me.
Essays on John the Baptizer
The way these Essenes wrote, it is like they knew John the Baptist personally. Their star and scepter language affects not just Numbers 24:17 but has implications about the scepter and the lawgiver from Genesis 49:10. You and I as well as this student are missing in-depth understanding of the associated texts. We can only go part-way.
Moses and Aaron were a lawgiver and a staff bearer, because Moses who could not speak well received the Law and Aaron whom the people rejected was chosen by God as priest through the budding of his staff. I don't know why in the story Aaron's staff budded instead of Judah's, or how to read Genesis 49. I do know that king David (2nd King if Israel) of the tribe of Judah somehow took on some priestly duties (scepter) as well as the crown (law), and God partly accepted him in both roles! Show me in the Law where a non-Levite is supposed to do that. Show me how or why this is? The Qumran sect was working with this imagery when they talked about the star & scepter in their 10th column.