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Is Elijah going to come back and save the Jews?

 

The Old Testament ends with these words that have often been misunderstood: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)

This is probably where people get the idea that Elijah will come back near the end of time to live again on earth, but what is this verse really saying? Will this well known prophet of old literally reappear? Did you know that Rev. Sun Myung Moon, an auto manufacturer from Korea, claims that he is Elijah? You may have seen some of his followers selling flowers at airports, but is that what the Bible said would happen? If we take a look into the Scriptures, we find that the answer is no.

Even back in the time of Jesus, many people taught and believed that Elijah would come down from heaven or be reincarnated, and some even thought that Christ was Elijah: "And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, Who do the crowds say that I am? So they answered and said, John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again." (Luke 9:18-19)

 Did you know that the prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6 has in fact already been fulfilled? Take a look at Matthew 17:10-13, "And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? Jesus answered and said to them, Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist." (See also Matthew 11:13-14 and Mark 9:11-13)

Here we find Jesus teaching that the ministry of John the Baptist was directly linked to the coming of Elijah spoken of in Malachi 4:5-6, but was John the Baptist literally Elijah? Notice what John 1:19-23 tells us: "Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who are you? He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Are you Elijah? He said, I am not. Are you the Prophet? And he answered, No. Then they said to him, Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself? He said: I am The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said."

John clearly said that he was not actually Elijah in person. In Luke 1:17, the angel Gabriel explains that John would come "in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." So now we see that it was the ministry and message of John the Baptist, in the "spirit and power of Elijah", that fulfilled this prophecy. His job was to prepare the way for the Lord's 1st coming and to get the people ready to receive Christ as the Messiah.

But a careful reading of Malachi 4:5-6 indicates that this prophecy also relates to the end of time, since it refers to "the great and dreadful day of the Lord" or the second coming of Christ, which will be a "dreadful" day for those who aren't ready for it (Matthew 24:30 & Revelation 6:12-17). This is a prophecy that applies to both the 1st and 2nd comings of Christ, but just as it was the message of John that prepared the way for Jesus to appear 2000 years ago, so it will be a message of revival in these last days that will prepare the world for the final return of Jesus Christ.

What will the "spirit and power of Elijah" accomplish? As Malachi 4:5-6 says, "He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." The Bible tells us the true revival that will take place before Jesus comes back will begin with our families. If we want to bring the Gospel of Christ to the whole entire world (Matthew 28:19-20), it has to be alive in our own homes first. From there, it will branch out into our church, then into our community, and finally, to the rest of the world. This Elijah message will also reunite the hearts of God's wayward children to their Father in Heaven and "make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1:17)

This will be a call for a complete devotion to God and a forsaking of sin and compromise, as this was the message of Elijah and John the Baptist (1 Kings 18:21 & Matthew 3:2).

But this message of restoration and repentance will be for everyone, not just the Jews as some believe. The New Testament teaches that the "Israel" of today are Christians that have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord. (See Galatians 3:26-29, Romans 2:28-29, Matthew 3:9-10, Matthew 21:43, Romans 9:7-8)

During the time of Elijah, the people had turned away from the Lord, choosing instead to embrace paganism and a worldly lifestyle (1 Kings 19:14). Now in our day, it seems like the Christian church is headed down a similar route. It was the role of Elijah on Mount Carmel to lead the people back to God (1 Kings 18:37-39) and then God ended the drought that had been plaguing the land (1 Kings 18:43-45). In the same way, John pointed the people to repent and accept Jesus as "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world" (John 1:29) and then, later on, they received the rain of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). This is the message "in the spirit and power of Elijah" that will "make ready a people prepared" for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

 

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