Elijah Is Coming Soon (Revised & Expanded)

Image result for pictures of Elijah the prophet“SET A PLACE AT THE END OF THE TABLE FOR ELIJAH; LISTEN WELL TO HIM, FOR HE’S COMING SOON” ~ Feb. 26, 2003

This prophetic word was dropped into my spirit by the Lord, as I was waking up on my birthday, when He often gives me a prophetic word, scripture, or personal exhortation.

Elijah’s Mission —

1) To announce the immanent return of Jesus Christ, or Messiah to the Jews (though many still don’t recognize Him as their messiah).

Jewish Talmudic belief is that Elijah will announce the advent of the Messiah at the conclusion of Shabbat which is supposed to be a foretaste of the messianic age. [1]

His appearance and preaching will convince many Jews of the truth that Jesus, whom their forefathers rejected, is their true and returning Messiah!

2) To prepare a people to receive their God.

Didn’t Jesus tell his disciples that John the Baptist was Elijah?

Luk 1:17  And he (John the Baptist) shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, 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. 

Like Elijah, John the Baptist preached ‘repentance,’ the first step in preparing people to receive God. Isaiah prophesied that John the Baptist would “prepare the way of the Lord” – 

Mat 3:1  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, Mat 3:3  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 

People’s hearts have to be “prepared” – made ready, the hardness of them softened, which is done primarily through preaching. As we know, the Jewish leaders didn’t listen to John the Baptist and didn’t receive Jesus as their prophesied Messiah, but rejected and murdered them both! Obviously, their hearts remained hardened and unchanged. However, many of the Jewish people did believe the words of Christ, and did “receive” Him. Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…

3) To preach a message of REPENTANCE. 

Mat 3:2  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Elijah will preach to all men to “turn back” (Heb. ‘shoob’) to their Maker, Yahweh. To turn back means the same as to “return to” and “come back” to Him. Who needs to return, come back, or turn back to God? ALL who have backslidden or drifted away from Him, those in the Body of Christ who have become “lukewarm” and “carnal” who have neglected their spiritual walk, leading “worldly” lives nearly devoid of spiritual works and faith. Such give little acknowledgment or thought to God, whose lives are filled with worldly cares and pursuits. These need to “turn back” to God, like the ancient Israelites did, after backsliding and returning to Yahweh after He chastised them. God exhorts people to ‘turn back’ to Him that they might escape utter destruction. In turning back to God, one repents of his sinning and starts living a life pleasing to God, in accordance with His Word, the Bible.

4) To bring a message of RECONCILIATION.

Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 
Mal 4:6  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. 

To “turn the heart of the fathers to the children” and “the heart of the children to their fathers” – is that not a picture of reconciliation? This speaks primarily of men reconciling to God their Maker, but also may apply to brothers reconciling to each other, such as Christian and Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. This reconciling will be the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to “make of twain one new man.” Dogma will no longer cause separation and division among them, as both will come to realize they’re “one in Christ.” Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 

To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children. By a very expressive figure of speech, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the rest of the patriarchs, are represented here as having their hearts alienated from the Jews, their children, because of their unbelief and disobedience; but that the Baptist should so far succeed in converting them to the Lord their God, that these holy men should again look upon them with delight, and acknowledge them for their children. Some think that by the children, the Gentiles are meant, and by the fathers, the Jews. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary] 

fathers to the children — taken literally, this denotes the restoration of parental fidelity [Meyer and others], the decay of which is the beginning of religious and social corruption – one prominent feature of the coming revival being put for the whole. But what follows, explanatory of this, rather suggests a figurative sense. If “the disobedient” be “the children,” and to “the fathers” belongs “the wisdom of the just” [Bengel], the meaning will be, “he shall bring back the ancient spirit of the nation into their degenerate children” [Calvin, etc.]. So Elijah invoked “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,” when seeking to “turn their heart back again” (1Ki_18:36, 1Ki_18:37). [Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary] 

5) To bring a message of HOPE and RESTORATION.

Mat 17:1  And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 
Mat 17:2  And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 
Mat 17:3  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 
Mat 17:4  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 
Mat 17:5  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 
Mat 17:6  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 
Mat 17:7  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 
Mat 17:8  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 
Mat 17:9  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 
Mat 17:10  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 
Mat 17:11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 
Mat 17:12  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 
Mat 17:13  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (*Elias was the Greek rendering of the Hebrew name “Elijah.”)

The Transfiguration (change, transfigure, transform) of Christ and the appearance of Moses and Elijah the prophets, was to give us mortal men who wait for the transformation of our mortal bodies into glorious, eternal ones, hope for the fulfillment of that promise. Moses and Elijah appeared to Christ to encourage and strengthen Him for the horrible ordeal of His trial and death. Jesus told his three disciples who were with Him, that Elijah had already come in SPIRIT in the person of John the Baptist, thus at least partially fulfilling the prophecy, Malachi 4:5 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. 

What we need to keep in mind about prophecy is that some prophecies have dual fulfillment, meaning they’ll be fulfilled more than once. Plus, it’s possible that this prophecy about Elijah coming before the return of Jesus Christ, may be meant in a spiritual sense as many in the Church now believe. However, that may or may not be the only possibility. I question this because Elijah along with Moses, were both seen ‘transfigured’ at the Mount AND because the prophecies in Revelation seem to suggest a PHYSICAL appearing of TWO PROPHETS who will preach in the streets of Jerusalem prior to the Second Coming of Christ – 

Rev 11:3  And I will give my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. 
Rev 11:4  These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 
Rev 11:5  And if anyone desires to hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and if anyone desires to hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 
Rev 11:6  These have power to shut the heaven, that it not rain in the days of their prophecy and have power over the waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 
Rev 11:7  And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them and shall overcome them and kill them. 
Rev 11:8  And their dead bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 
Rev 11:9  And those of the peoples and kindreds and tongues and Gentiles shall see their dead bodies three days and a half and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 
Rev 11:10  And those that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them and make merry and shall send gifts one to another because these two prophets tormented those that dwelt on the earth. 
Rev 11:11  And after three days and a half, the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon those who saw them. 
Rev 11:12  And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up here. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 

What causes me to question if there will be a physical appearance of Elijah and Moses, is that in this passage is a link to both prophets. Elijah did “shut up heaven so no rain fell” [1 Kings 17:1] causing a great famine in his time. Moses by the power of God, “turned the waters to blood” [Exodus 7:17-20] and smote the land with plagues. I’ve read several interpretations of this, one being that the two prophets (or witnesses), represent those believers who witness for Christ ‘in the spirit of Elijah’ and are killed in the Great Tribulation period just prior to Christ’s Second Advent. This interpretation may well be accurate. But what about Moses? How does he fit into this ancient prophecy? If all of God’s people represent the “two witnesses” or “two prophets” of Revelation, then it follows that they must also operate in the “spirit of Moses,” meaning that they would “have power over the waters to turn them into blood. To date, we haven’t seen God’s people literally shutting up the heavens or turning the waters to blood, but since Revelation contains mostly figurative language, perhaps this is to be interpreted spiritually.

Without question, Moses was the prophet of the Law (properly translated “Torah”) which is all the writings of the Old Testament including the Prophets, Psalms, and Proverbs. I believe that the Torah is what’s being referred to in the book of Jeremiah regarding the “ancient paths” – Jer 6:16  Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. For sure, there is a visible reformation happening in the Church in which believers are “turning back” to the ROOTS of their faith, to the FAITH OF THEIR FATHERS as taught by the Prophets in the ancient writings (paths) of the Torah! This fits the prophecy perfectly, that Elijah will “turn the hearts of the fathers toward the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” 

One other interpretation I wish to address is that these “two witnesses” are the Old and New Testaments, but how does written testimony “shut up the heavens so that no rain falls,” or turn water into blood?  Some say the two witnesses represent the Jews and the Christians. But how can that be when ALL who put their faith in Yeshua (Jesus), whether Jew or Gentile, are considered to be Abraham’s seed? Both Jesus and Paul taught this truth –

Joh 10:16  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd

Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. 

As you can see, God makes no distinction between a Jew or a Gentile who believes in Him. ALL who believe in Him are reckoned as “Abraham’s seed.” To strengthen this point Rom 11:17 says, And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; The ”olive tree” is Abraham’s PHYSICAL SEED. The “wild olive tree” is Abraham’s SPIRITUAL SEED, the Gentiles who put their faith in Christ. Both olive trees become ONE family through their faith in Yeshua the Messiah, Christ the Anointed One (Christ means ‘anointed’). 

The Jews always set a chair, a knife and fork for this prophet at their marriage-feast, whom they suppose to be invisibly present. For the Church to ”set a place at the table,” means to be in a state of expectation and readiness, watching for his coming. When Elijah comes (in whatever form), we can know that the return of our Savior is very near and our “blessed hope” is soon to be fulfilled, because Elijah’s mission is to “prepare a people for their God!” The “blessed hope” is the glorification of our earthly bodies into heavenly ones at Christ’s appearing!

Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ….
Php 3:20  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 
Php 3:21  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 

To ‘set a place for Elijah’ also means to ‘welcome’ him and treat him as an honored guest. When we sit at table we’re usually ready to eat. So should we be eager to partake of spiritual food from God’s Word and through his spokesmen, always ready to listen. The Jewish people venerate Elijah at their meals, marriage feasts, the end of Shabbat, circumcisions, and Passover seders. According to Jewish folklore, “Tishbi yetaretz kushiot v-abayot-the Tishbite [i.e., Elijah] will answer all unresolved questions.” In other words, after Elijah returns to the Jewish people to proclaim the advent of the messianic age, he will resolve questions of Jewish law that confounded the rabbis for centuries. [2]

Image result for pictures of a lamb lying down with a lionWhat message brings more hope than the soon return of Jesus the Messiah, and His thousand year reign on earth called the Millennium? The Millennium will be a time of great peace, rejoicing, and rest for the entire world – when all things will be ‘restored’ to their original order and perfection. Mat 17:11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. “restore” 1) restore to its former state, 2) to be in its former state. [Thayer’s Greek Definitions] Also read Isaiah 65:17-25. Obviously, Elijah didn’t restore all of Creation back to its original state. The ‘all things’ which Elijah is to restore are the teachings and doctrines of Yahweh which have been discarded, distorted, altered, or ignored over the centuries! 

There’s a strong exhortation in this prophecy to ”listen well to” the prophet Elijah. By this we know that what he says has great import for all of Abraham’s seed, therefore we would do well to receive his message. 

Perhaps very “soon” we’ll see Jesus coming with ten-thousands of His angels? Be ready, be watching, and be waiting!

Debra R. Stout © March 14, 2017

FOOTNOTES:
[1] http://www.reformjudaism.org/passover-mystery-fifth-cup (Section: Havdalah)
[2] http://www.reformjudaism.org/passover-mystery-fifth-cup  (Section: Passover Seder)

*All underlining, bold, and italics, are mine. 

THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD

God began to speak to my heart the evening of March 10, 2017, as I sat still and quiet in my recliner. He began to tell me why the ‘fiery trial’ had come to me (earlier in the day I had asked Him WHY so many things were going wrong in my life).

He began by telling me that this trial was sent to refine or purify my soul; as silver or gold is smelted, the junk rises to the surface where the Refiner can then skim it off, leaving pure metal in the pot. He told me that I have two choices, to embrace it and advance, or fight it and stay the same. If I embrace it, the process will be easier to go through, but if I fight it, the process will be harder, and need to be repeated in the future. He said He won’t allow junk (impurities) into His Kingdom. Then He mentioned my impurities and said that they must go! 

He then directed me to Hebrews 12:5, and after meditating on it, He showed me that my walk was uneven; one day walking in the Spirit, another day, in the flesh! He wants our walk to be even and level, living in the Spirit day by day. 

Fiery trials are sent to cleanse the heart and soul of impurities, like wrong thoughts, words, and actions. As metal is purified by fire, so is the heart and soul of a man. When gold or silver was refined in ancient times, it was heated to a very high temperature which caused the impurities (called dross) to rise to the surface. It then could be skimmed off the top of the liquid metal, leaving an unmarred surface that reflected the image of the refiner, a picture of Jesus as the Refiner’s Fire. This trial came to me so that my impurities (which lay hidden most of the time) would surface, so that I would see them, repent, and ask God to remove them. Sometimes these types of trials commence a ‘crisis of faith’ – something else the Lord pointed out to me twice on the same day several days before this trial arrived at my door. Not by accident, I found the phrase, ‘crisis of faith’ in a book title I wasn’t even searching for, and in a book [1] I had in my personal library at home about Moses when God commanded him to lead the Jews out of Egypt. Moses’ encounter with Yahweh brought him to a ‘crisis of faith’ in which he had to choose between believing God and moving forward, or letting his doubts rule and refusing God’s call. If Moses had done the latter, he would have forfeited God’s plan for his life, and God would have found someone else to free the Israelites. Moses would have lost out on his divine destiny. Fortunately, Moses chose to believe and obey God. In like manner, God told me that I could either stay where I was (stagnate), or embrace the purifying process and advance! He said that if I receive and embrace it, the process will be easier to endure, but if I fight against it, it will be harder. The purifying process, like the refiner’s smelting, will be repeated UNTIL all the impurities have surfaced and been removed! In other words, if I fight against the loving, fiery trials the Lord sends for my ultimate good, it will delay my reaching perfection and cause me more pain in the long run. It’s like when a child stubbornly refuses his parents discipline and suffers severer punishments, and or worse consequences further down the road as a result. It’s easier to just submit to God’s discipline when he sends it.

God disciplines those He loves –

Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 
Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 
Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 
Heb 12:12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 
Heb 12:13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 

And make straight paths for your feet,…. By “feet” are meant the walk and conversation of the saints, both in the church, and in the world, Son_7:1 and there are paths made ready for these feet to walk in; as the good old paths of truth, of the word and worship of God, of faith and holiness: and to make these paths “straight”, is to make the word of God the rule of walking; to avoid carefully joining anything with it as a rule; to attend constantly on the ordinances of Christ; to go on evenly in a way of believing on him; to walk in some measure worthy of the calling wherewith we are called, and by way of example to others.

Lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; a lame member, as the Syriac version, a lame member of the body of Christ, the church; or a lame person, as the Arabic version, a weak believer; one that is ready to halt, either through the corruption of nature, or through the weakness of grace, or through want of light and judgment, and through instability and inconstancy; lest such an one should, through the irregular walk and conversation of others, be stumbled and offended, and go out of the way, and leave the paths of righteousness and truth. God takes care of, and has a regard to such, and he would have others also, Mic_4:6. The Ethiopic version reads, “that your halting may be healed, and not offended”: that you yourselves may not halt and stumble.

But let it rather be healed; the fallen believer be restored, the weak brother be confirmed, the halting professor be strengthened, and everyone be built up and established upon the most holy faith, and in the pure ways of the Gospel. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” – Prov 3:6

The word ‘acknowledge’ is ‘yada’ – to ‘know, regard, recognize, perceive, experience, observe, be aware, comprehend, understand, learn, be instructed, and more. See Strong’s H2045

In all thy ways acknowledge him,…. Or “know him” (l); the Lord: set him before thee; have him always in view; consider him as ever present with thee, observing every step thou takest; and take not one step without his leave, and without his advice; ask wisdom of him who gives liberally; consult his word, and make the Scriptures thy counsellors, or the men of thy counsel, as in Psa_119:24; take him as your guide; observe the footsteps of his providence; follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes; walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; when things go cross and adverse, and not to your mind, submit to his sovereignty; and be still and know that he is God, that does all things right, for his own glory and his people’s good, Psa_46:10; and when things succeed, give him the glory of all; own his hand in it, and the bounty of it; acknowledge that all you have, in providence and grace, come from him;

and he shall direct thy paths; man cannot direct his own; no, not a man: this is a blessing from the Lord; who steps of his people, keeps the feet of his saints, and directs them aright in things temporal and spiritual, Jer_10:23. (l) דעהו “scito eum”, Pagninus, Montanus. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105
Pro 4:24  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 
Pro 4:25  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 
Pro 4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 
Pro 4:27  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. 

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left – Avoid all crooked ways. Be an upright, downright, and straight-forward man. Avoid tricks, wiles, and deceptions of this kind. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible]

Ponder the path of thy feet,…. Consider well what path it is, whether right or wrong; or weigh it in the balances of thought, as Aben Ezra; or rather in the balances of the word, and see whether it agrees with that or not. The Septuagint version is, “make straight paths for thy feet”; to which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews seems to have respect, Heb_12:13;

and let all thy walls be established; so as to walk on steadily, constantly, uniformly, and not be easily moved out of the ways of religion and truth. Or, “let all thy ways be prepared”, or “directed”, or “disposed” (c); according to the rule of the divine word. Some render it as a promise, “and all thy ways shall be established” (d); when care is taken to look well into them; see 2Ch_20:20. (c) יכנו “dirigantur”, Tigurine version, Mercerus; “recte apparentur aut disponantur”, Vatablus. (d) “Stabilientur”, V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; “constabilientur”, Schultens. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

Ponder the path, etc., Pro_4:26. “Weigh carefully.” Act in haste and repent at leisure! Ask God to keep you back from presumptuous sins; and bear in mind the wise exhortation of Ecc_5:2. [Through the Bible Day by Day, F.B. Meyer]

In other words, consider well the course of your life, or the course of action you’re about to take (ponder the path of your feet). Let all your thoughts, words, and actions (ways) be prepared, directed, and ordered (established), by the Word of God. Ignoring it will yield negative consequences, and could result in ruin. May God’s sons escape such a fate.

May they all make their paths straight, and not despise the chastening of the Lord!

Debra R. Stout © March 11, 2017

Footnotes:

[1] “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby & Claude B. King, Chapter 3