Elijah the Prophet


What does God promise concerning Elijah?


“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.” Malachi 4:5. 


What will this prophet do when he comes?


He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Verse 6.


John the Baptist and Elijah


Whom did Christ indicate as fulfilling this prophecy?


Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah as already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way The Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.” Matthew 17:11-13.


When asked if he were Elijah, what did John say?


“They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” John 1:21. “John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet. “I am a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” Verse 23. 


In what sense was John the Baptist Elijah?


“Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make a people ready for the Lord.” Luke 1:16,17.


Note – John went forth ‘in the spirit and power of Elijah,” and in preparing a people for Christ’s first coming did a work similar to that done by Elijah the prophet in Israel centuries before. (See 1 Kings 17 and 18.) In this sense, and this one sense only, he was the Elijah of Malachi 4:5.


How did Elijah answer King Ahab’s accusation?   


“When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed after the Baals.” 1 Kings 18:17,18.  


Note – Israel had forsaken God and gone off into idolatry. Jezebel, Ahab’s wicked and idolatrous wife, who supported the prophets of Baal, had “cut off the prophets of the Lord” (verse 4), and was seeking to slay Elijah, Elijah called for a famine on the land, and said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before I stand, there will not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1. This interview came near the end of the famine. Elijah’s message was a call to repentance and obedience to God’s commandments.


What plain proposition did he submit to all Israel?


“Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” 1 kings 18:29.


Note – As a result of the test by fire that followed on Mount Carmel there was a great turning to God, the people saying, “The Lord, he is the God.” Verse 39.


What was the burden of the message of John the Baptist?


“And saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”  Matthew 3:2,8.


What was the result of this message?


“People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” Verse 5,6.


Note – There was a genuine work of repentance and reform. John was not satisfied with a mere profession of religion. He told the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to his baptism, to ‘bring forth fruits” answerable to an “amendment of life.” He wished to see religion in the life, the heart, and the home. Thus he prepared a people for Christ’s first coming. 


The Elijah Message Today


When did the prophecy say Elijah was to come?


“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.” Malachi 4:5.


How is this great and dreadful day described?


“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.” Verse 1.


Note – This day is yet future. Therefore, the work done by John the Baptist at Christ’s first advent cannot be all that was contemplated in the prophecy concerning the sending of Elijah the prophet. There is another and greater fulfillment of it, to precede Christ’s second advent, and to prepare, or “make ready,” a people for that great event.


What is the threefold message of Revelation 14:6-10? 


“Fear God and given him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.” Revelation 14:6-10.


Note – The messages of Elijah and John, this is a call to repentance and reform – to forsake false idolatrous worship, and to turn to God and worship Him alone. The first part of this threefold message points out the true God, the Creator, in language similar to that in the fourth, or Sabbath, commandment. This message now due the world, is today being proclaimed to the world. The 144,000 servant prophets when selected and sealed during the Great Tribulation will be preaching the four angels messages as Elijah spoke of the end of the world and John the Baptist did at the time of Christ’s first coming.


The People of the Message


How are the people described who are developed by the threefold message here referred to?


“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Verse 12.


Note – There will be two groups of people living at the end that will be ready to meet Jesus when He comes:


The righteous dead – those people who have lived by faith in God and submitted to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.


The righteous living – those people who are alive during the Great Tribulation and have passed the testing time and are sealed with God in righteousness for eternity. 


These will be the ones who will be ready to meet Jesus when he comes. They have heeded the Elijah call to repentance and reform. They have become concerned, not only for their own salvation, but for the conversion of their friends and relatives. By this message the hearts of the fathers are turned toward the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, each burdened for the conversion and salvation of the other. There can be little religion in the heart of one who cares not for the eternal interests of his loved ones.      


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