Hello again! I pray you are all well and I hope you enjoy today’s blog. I decided to talk about Elijah because of a twitter comment I recently read. The person talked about the great event about to happen – the coming of Elijah. My mind started whirling and communing with the Holy Spirit about creating a blog about Elijah. It was a very interesting topic to research because there are many different ways of looking at the details surrounding his “return.” It is so important to cover several text throughout the Bible, and ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, to get a clear picture. Before we get into what the Bible has to say, let’s pray.
Dear Father God, what a blessing it is to call You Father and to send our humble praises Heaven bound. May the Holy Spirit translate our praise into the glorious language of Heaven. We ask for forgiveness of our sins and the robe of Christ’s righteousness to cover our sinful natures. May we surrender to Your will, be guided by the Holy Spirit, and be emptied of self so that Jesus may work more effectively through us. Give us your power to bring the Elijah message to a dying world. Thank you for hearing our prayers and answering our requests, in Jesus precious name we pray, Amen!
First, I agree with the person tweeting about Elijah in all aspects but one. I do not find evidence in the Bible that Elijah will come down from Heaven in person, but instead, the Bible speaks clearly about an Elijah message.
Until my recent research, I considered John the Baptist to be the first on the scene with the Elijah message, but I was wrong. So I would like to start back in Elijah’s time, and look at 2 Kings 2:9,10. (paraphrasing) Elijah told Elisha, his servant, that God told him he would be going to Heaven. So Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah told him he was asking for a hard thing, so he told Elisha, that if he saw Elijah going to Heaven, his request would be answered, but if he didn’t see the event, than his request would be denied. Outcome – Elisha did witness Elijah go to Heaven in a fiery chariot and was “baptized” with a double portion of the Holy Spirit. In Jericho, Elisha was viewed by others as having the spirit of Elijah – thus the first person to receive the Elijah message. (2 Kings 2:15) Elisha did not become Elijah, but shared a united message to the world, given them by the Holy Spirit.
So, what is the Elijah message, given to him by the Holy Spirit? “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and awesome day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (Malachi 4:5,6) Now we see that the Elijah message is one of healing – healing the family unit and bringing them back together in love for one another. His message of family unity is a spiritual renewal – a coming together with Jesus in the center of daily life. It is a message much needed in our time, when the family unit is under continual attack and a frequent topic of discussions. But is that the extent of his message?
NOTE : With the text in Malachi, it is easy to understand why many believe Elijah will come in the flesh. But let’s delve deeper and see what else the Bible and other sources have to say.
In his article, The Last Elijah Message, Pastor Doug Batchelor, shares 12 characteristics of the Elijah message, as seen in Elijah and John the Baptist:
- They were bold & fearless in preaching, even before kings. 1Kings 18:18, Mark 6:18
- They had a simple diet and lifestyle. 1 Kings 17:11, Mark 1:6
- They dressed in modest, simple clothing. 2 Kings 1:8, Mark 1:6
- They believed in discipling others. 1 Kings 19:19, Luke 7:18
- They preached a baptism of repentance & death to self. 2 Kings 2:6, Matthew 3:5,6
- They both manifested humility. 1 Kings 18:42, Matthew 3:11
- They both endured religious persecution. 1 Kings 19:2, Mark 6:24
- They both ran before the king. 1 Kings 18:46, Luke 3:4
- They were both supremely interested in glorifying God. 1 Kings 18:37, John 3:30
- They repaired the altar of God. 1 Kings 18:30, Matthew 3:1, 2
- Their message sparked revival and reformation. 1Kings 18, 19, Mark 1: 4, 5
- The Elijah message will point people to Christ. 1 Kings 18:36, John 1:29
This is a very impressive list and I think number 12 sums it up beautifully. In fact, I believe the list builds upon itself to come to the true center of the Elijah message – Jesus Christ.
Starting with Luke 1:13 we read the story of Gabriel visiting Zechariah, a high priest, telling him that his wife, of advanced years, would have a son. Gabriel goes on the convey the requirements of John’s upbringing and the purpose of his ministry. “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17) Like Elijah, John called for repentance and revival – he was a forerunner for Jesus’ first coming – a voice in the wilderness making way for the Messiah. Their ministries paralleled each other’s, as noted in Pastor Batchelor’s list. When reading these texts we see that Gabriel is very clear about the Elijah message. John received the spiritual message of Elijah, but was not Elijah in the flesh. The prophecy in Malachi was fulfilled in John. Will it be fulfilled again? Let’s keep studying.
Before we explore the last Elijah message event, I want to discuss the state of apostasy, upheaval, and crisis at the times the message was called forth. The Book of 1 Kings tells us that Elijah was called by God at a time of great apostasy. The Jewish nation had turned from God to the point that their altars lay in ruin. They had forsaken God to worship a false god, Baal. His ministry was to lead the people to revival and repentance, to restore the family unit with God at the center, and rebuke idolatry.
At the time of Jesus’ first coming, again the Jewish nation was in apostasy – the leaders legalistically enforcing the letter of the law, distorting true worship, and leading the people away from God and toward themselves. The Jewish leaders argued over who Jesus was – He couldn’t be the Messiah because Elijah had to come first. (Matthew 17:10-13) They did not have the Holy Spirit so they were blind to the events taking place around them and rejected Jesus. However, as is typical during times of upheaval and crisis, many of the people were looking for a better life, a light of hope in their dark existence, and they were open to the Holy Spirit, recognized the power of Jesus, and rejoiced. In the midst of these event, the Elijah message was evidenced in the life of John the Baptist.
We are all witnesses to the apostasy, upheaval, and crisis happening around the world today. Nothing is “normal,” nothing is secure, nothing seems safe – who is lying, who is telling the truth? Therefore the Elijah message – bringing us back, centered on the saving grace of Jesus – is needed all the more. We are clearly in need of a revival, reformation, and healing. Right now, Jesus is our only safety net, our only shelter in this great spiritual battle between God and Satan. The victory against Satan has already been won through Jesus Christ our Lord, but Satan is still battling to destroy as many souls as he can before he and his minions are cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14, 15)
Keep in mind that John, with the spirit of Elijah, was the forerunner of Jesus’ first coming so it would be reasonable to think that we would have evidence of an Elijah message before Jesus’ 2nd coming. When we look again at Malachi 4, we are told that God will send Elijah again “before that great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” There will be an Elijah message in the last days of earth’s history. As you know, if you have been reading my blogs, I believe that we are in that time, time for the return of Elijah’s message, time for the 2nd Coming of Jesus, time to devote our lives to following Jesus. Especially time to carry forth the spirit of Elijah in our message to a dying world.
This great leaders from God – Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist – for all intent and purposes, seemed to stand alone. But, each of them knew, as you will know, that themselves and God were more than a match to defeat the enemy. Go forth in courage and faith, God is with you always.
Until next time, May God be with you even unto the ends of the age. (Matthew 28:20)