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The Coming Days of Elijah


HighBeamMinistry.com

“Look, I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.” (Malachi 4:5)

 

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!’” (John 3:1-2)

 

One of my favorite Bible people is Elijah. What a gunslinger of a prophet!

 

The northern kingdom of Israel had been led astray into idolatry by King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel. Like King Solomon, King Ahab married a “foreign woman” who led him away from Yehovah and into idolatry. Jezebel was from Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon) and brought Baal and Ashtoreth worship with her. Baal was presumed to be the supreme god in charge of storms (because rain was critical for human survival in that region), and Ashtoreth was Baal’s consort. Ashtoreth was the fertility goddess of the area and just another rendition of the Babylonian Ishtar, Syrian Asherah, and the future Greek empire’s Aphrodite goddess.

 

This idolatrous betrayal was a slap in the face to Yehovah since He was the only God who controlled the rains and blessed Israel with all kinds of fertility as long as they stayed faithful to Him (Leviticus 6:3-5).

 

How bad did Ahab and Jezebel’s idolatry get? “But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight more than all who were before him. Then, as if following the sin of Jeroboam son of Nebat were not enough, he married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and then proceeded to serve Baal and bow in worship to him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he had built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole. Ahab did more to anger the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:30-33).

 

Yeah, Baal and Ashtoreth’s worship was a hot mess for Israel.

 

Yehovah was to be Israel’s one and only God. “Hey, Ahab! Remember ‘Do not have other gods besides me,’ and ‘Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you’ (Deuteronomy 5:7, 6:14)?” I guess not.

 

Yehovah finally had it up to here (author motioning with his hand at his neck) with this rampant and unrepentant idolatry. So, Yehovah sent His prophet, Elijah, to call His people back to Him. Elijah’s ministry was laser-focused on repentance, returning the Israelites to the God they once served wholeheartedly.

 

After the battle of Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18), a great revival broke out in the northern kingdom as Yehovah began to reclaim His people’s hearts. When God’s fire fell, the mass of people repented, claiming, “The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!” (1 Kings 18:39), while they dispatched the prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth.

 

Elijah’s repentance ministry began a movement that continued even after he was taken to heaven physically by God in a chariot of fire. Just before Elijah left, he appointed Elisha to step into his place as Israel’s lead prophet (2 Kings 2). God used the prophet Elisha, an Israelite commander, Jehu, and a foreign king, Hazael, to grind Baal worship into the dust. Finally, “Jehu eliminated Baal worship from Israel” (2 Kings 10:28).

 

Whew! I’m glad that’s over. Thank God nothing will ever lead His people away from Him ever again.

 

I wish that were true. Despite Baal and Ashtoreth worship being wiped out in King Jehu’s day, the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah had already been infected with idolatry.

 

It’s simple, really. Idolatry is a religious manifestation of “I want to live life my way and not God’s way. I’ll look to myself or whatever I create to take care of me rather than God.”

 

We constantly need spiritual situational awareness because we’re all tempted to trust in ourselves rather than God. Are we living with God or without Him? Do we trust Him or not? Are we being faithful to Him? Do we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5)?

 

If our answer to these questions is no, we must admit we’ve strayed from our commitment to our Heavenly Father. But we can’t stop there. We must also recommit ourselves to our relationship with Him.

 

Fast forward to the prophet Malachi (ca. 400 B.C.), who lived about 260 years after Elijah. He was given a fascinating prophecy. “Look, I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.” (Malachi 4:5). This can get a little confusing, so let me explain a few things.

 

First, the Day of the Lord is “a period of time or a special day that will occur when God’s will and purpose for His world and for mankind will be fulfilled” (gotquestions.org). More specifically, the Day of the Lord often refers to the End Times when Jesus returns to fulfill His Father’s promises to restore the kingdom of Israel on earth, and there’s global peace during His reign.

 

Second, Elijah, or someone just like him, will act as a herald to announce that the Day of the Lord has come. Since names denote a person’s nature or function, the “Elijah who is to come” must act similarly to the original Elijah. We would expect that Elijah-like person also to have a ministry of repentance, calling the Lord’s people to turn back to Him in preparation for something He’s about to do.

 

Fast forward about four hundred years to John the Baptist’s conception (ca. 4 B.C.). While John’s elderly father, Zechariah, the priest, was burning the morning incense in the Temple, Gabriel popped in with a message for the old guy. “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people” (Luke 1:13-17). In other words, Gabriel told John’s father that his son would be the Elijah of Malachi’s prophecy, the Messiah’s herald, to prepare God’s people to receive Him.

 

Lo and behold, just before Jesus began His ministry, John appeared right on schedule in the Jordan River valley, east of Jerusalem, shouting, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15), and “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” (Matthew 3:2). Luke says John “went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3). See? Cut from the same ministry cloth as Elijah.

 

Here’s a wild thing: not only was John the Baptist doing Elijah’s ministry of repentance, but he dressed like Elijah in a camel-hair garment and a leather belt (2 Kings 1:8, Matthew 3:4). Jesus also affirmed that John the Baptist was indeed the one Malachi prophesied about. “And if you’re willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:14).

 

So, what do we have so far?


·         Elijah’s ministry called God’s people to return to Him (repentance).

 

·         Malachi said God would send Elijah, or someone like him, before the great and dreadful Day of the Lord.

 

·         John’s Elijah-like repentance ministry prepared many of his fellow Jews to receive Israel’s Messiah, whom he announced and the Father revealed at Jesus’ baptism.

Therefore, Jesus’ arrival on the scene was a forerunner of the Day of the Lord, spoken of by Malachi. A down payment, so to speak, of “a period of time or a special day that will occur when God’s will and purpose for His world and for mankind will be fulfilled.” In Jesus’ case, he fulfilled His Father’s will and purpose to create a way of salvation.

 

But that wasn’t the quintessential End Time Day of the Lord. That final Day of the Lord is when Jesus returns and begins His kingdom on earth.

 

But that got me thinking. Could Malachi’s Elijah prophecy have two fulfillments? After all, many prophecies in the Bible have double, even triple, fulfillment.

 

Could it be that another Elijah-like person will appear as humanity enters the End Times?

 

Or will the Holy Spirit release a wave of repentance with many Elijah-like ministries calling for the global population to turn from their false religions and embrace the One True God?

 

Or will the repentance wave be focused on Christians who have lost their first love (Revelation 2:4) and gone astray as the people of Israel did in Ahab and Jezebel’s day?

 

I’m not sure how it will happen, but I’m convinced of and anticipating a mighty move of repentance during a time of great trouble (the Tribulation) to prepare the world to receive Jesus.

 

Isn’t it interesting that 2023 saw so many waves of revival and repentance on college campuses (renewaljournal.com)? There have been thousands of baptisms, many worship services extending into the wee hours and lasting for weeks, and a bunch of spontaneous prayer meetings.

 

How about this report? “As revival and mass baptisms have hit every generation this year, in many ways Gen Z has been leading the way. This year served as a spotlight on the increasing hunger among young people for God. A recent Pew Research study claims that Gen Z is losing their religion, but in reality, there is a spiritual awakening that is happening among that generation. Thousands are hearing the gospel message, making professions of faith in Jesus Christ, and answering the call to ministry” (Ibid.).

 

You’d think the national press would be all over this remarkable revival of repentance. But no, because the press isn’t interested in godly things, for the most part. But sure as shootin’, they are really fired up about the pro-Hamas, pro-terrorist, anti-Israel, anti-capitalist, pro-evil college campus protests. There are reports that some of the students are even converting to Islam in solidarity with the Palestinian people. “American students bow down to ISLAM. Hundreds of University of Southern California students have converted to Islam, with female students now wearing HIJABS. Students across the country are converting to the religion en masse to show solidarity with Palestine” (twitter.com).

 

I think this dual movement of turning/returning to God and rejecting Him is a huge indicator that we’re approaching the Day of the Lord. To be sure, we’ve seen these societal upheavals and revivals throughout history to some degree. But this time, it’s very pro-God/anti-God, focusing on Israel’s elimination and Jewish genocide on a global scale, not just confined to the German-controlled nations in WWII. Since Israel and the Jewish people are still critical to our Heavenly Father’s End Time plan, it seems like God’s enemy is taking a bigger run at derailing it.

 

People are watching for all sorts of prophetic markers and signs in our turbulent times. But I believe a sweep of the Holy Spirit across the globe, bringing many to repentance and commitment to the Lord, is one of the most significant biblical signs to anticipate.

 

It will signal the Days of Elijah and Messiah’s footsteps.

 

Keep watch!

 

Sources:

What is the day of the Lord? gotquestions.org/day-of-the-Lord.html

Shining the Light of God’s Truth on the Road Ahead

 

Pastor Jay Christianson

The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts

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