Blog Elijah and the Coming Revival

Elijah and the Coming Revival

Of all Biblical topics I have researched, none -not a single one- inspires such stark and clashing interpretations as the second coming of Elijah.

And yes, that is a thing.

Elijah was a crucially important Old Testament prophet, appearing out of nowhere in 1 Kings chapter 17 to make a one-man stand for God at one of the darkest and most depraved periods in Israel's history. After his heroic, miraculous and at times brilliantly funny quests were completed, he was taken to heaven on a flaming chariot, making him one of only two people in the entire Bible never to experience physical death.

At the very end of the Old Testament, in Malachi 4:5-6, God states,


Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.


Now I have read so many differing opinions on exactly what this means that I don't think I could organize them into a coherent elaboration. Some believe that the second Elijah was John the Baptist, and there is Biblical evidence to support this. Others refute this, saying John the Baptist merely came in the spirit of Elijah. There is Biblical evidence to support this too. For what it's worth, the Chosen pretty clearly takes this second stance.

Many scholars believe this prophecy refers to the end times, with Elijah being one of the two prophets (or witnesses) in Revelation 11, the other usually believed to be either Moses or Enoch. However, others hold to the idea that Elijah is not one of the two prophets, with the identity of those men being as yet unknown.

I have also heard the theory that Elijah will be a missionary sent specifically to Israel, who will compel the Jews to at last embrace Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

And of course, there are plenty of cult-leaders and other fiends making up unbiblical claptrap about this crucial topic, or even claiming to be Elijah himself. And google being the rotten snake pit it is, these are among the top search results you will find there.

So all in all, it's quite a load of questions and theories to make sense of. And yep, I'm gonna add to that load and give you my viewpoint.

However, I must add a disclaimer: like pretty much everything I address in this book, do not stop at this blurb. There is a wealth of information which I will not have time to address here, and it should be investigated by you personally. To get the big picture of what I am discussing, ask your local pastor, check out trustworthy websites, and above all, read your Bible.

The first thing I will do is make my position clear on the first argument I have mentioned: I firmly reject the theory that John the Baptist was the literal second appearance of Elijah, and the fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy.

There are numerous reasons why I feel this way, but the most practical place to start is with John himself:


And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.”

John 1:21


John himself denies identification as Elijah. And although Jesus later makes claims about John which seem to contradict this statement, 'No' never means 'Yes' from a man of God. And when those who support John the Baptist as Elijah are confronted with this dilemma, they claim that John was so humble that he falsely denied the fact. Choosing my words carefully, this sounds pretty silly.

Furthermore, we can look at Malachi's prophecy directly, and find very little evidence to support this idea. Elijah comes before the great and terrible day of the Lord, and this can in no way be proven to be during the time of the Gospels. Elijah's mission is to restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, and this a flimsy description of the life and ministry of John the Baptist.

Finally, the John-as-Elijah theory begs one glaring question: why is Malachi's prophecy not once referenced in any of the Gospels? The absolute prophetic focus of John the Baptist is his role as the 'voice crying in the wilderness' from Isaiah 40:3. Why would God not quell any confusion by making even one direct reference to this crucial prophetic fulfillment we are discussing?

The answer must lie elsewhere.

I am not going to labour the point of explaining my disagreements with all other theories, and will now delve into my own without further delay.

Here it is in a nutshell:

I believe that Elijah will return shortly before the events of Revelation, and spearhead a historic final revival of the western Church. And I believe that this will happen very soon.

Now as I have stated elsewhere, no theology is to be trusted if it cannot be supported by the Bible, and so I will begin by doing precisely that.

Most every theory I have heard on when Elijah returns places him either as John the Baptist in the 1st century, or as one of the prophets of the future tribulation of Revelation. However, my view of Elijah as pre-Revelation comes from a simple and literal interpretation of Malachi 4:5:

Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet BEFORE the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. [emphasis added]

I strongly agree with the interpretation of this 'great and terrible day of the Lord' as being the cataclysmic events of the end times. But all I have to do is interpret this verse literally, and I see Elijah coming before this.

So what, exactly, is he sent here to do? God tells us plainly in chapter 4 verse 6:

He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

Here is where my own interpretation comes into play. Take it as you will.

Let's divide this statement into two parts: Elijah's mission, and his objective.

Elijah's mission is absurdly simple and profoundly beautiful: generational reconciliation. He comes to heal wounds, bridge divides and create harmony between old and young.

It seems to me obvious that this is precisely what needs to happen in order for a revival of the Church to occur today.

The generation-gap in our western society is historic, ferocious, and heartbreaking. And sadly, inevitable.

There are still people alive today who were alive during World War One. Those blessed men and women have seen more change in their lifetimes than any before them in history. They lived it up in the Roaring Twenties. They groaned under the weight of the Great Depression. They stood fearful but stoic in the Second World War and witnessed the coming of the Atomic Age and the reformation of Israel. They felt the cold fear of the communist scare. They struggled to make sense of the emergence of youth culture and rock'n'roll and television. They chose sides during the Civil Rights movement. They quaked in terror during the Cuban Missle Crisis. Watergate. The Space Race. Secularism. Drug culture. The feminist movement. Assassinations. The digital age. September 11th. Trump. Gay pride.

And now, in the last few years of their extraordinary lives, we have young people, born at the very tail end (and as the end result) of this barrage of earth shattering events. Born at the most confusing and Godless period in western history, struggling to figure out the tattered and exhausted society in which they have been charged with growing up.

These two groups are separated by a massive chasm of time and change and emotional and cultural makeup, each of them incapable of explaining their experience to the other.

This sounds like a pretty appropriate moment for God's generational reconciliation to me.

So this is Elijah's mission. What is his objective?

His objective is to stay God's wrath:

…so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

Yet more reason to believe that Elijah's return is imminent.

You reading this - Christian or not- you must see it by now: the western world is on the absolute cusp of a destruction the like of which has never been seen on this earth. And the secular world has long since run out of ideas on how to stop it. We are at God's mercy.

And Elijah's ministry, and the historic revival it triggers, will be a demonstration of that divine mercy.

God is extremely angry at our western world. But he still loves us. And I do not believe that he would not take his Church and the Holy Spirit away, and allow the world to reap its apocalyptic harvest, without displaying the power of that Joyous love.

One last time.

Finally, you may very justifiably ask why I have focused so exclusively on the western Church. I can give you two reasons:

One, is that the West and particularly America remains the economic powerhouse of our planet. For now. And if we collapse at this point, as we are so close to doing, it will send a shockwave 'round the globe that would make the Crash of '29 seem like a local strawberry shortage.

Two, is that we in the west are those in most desperate NEED of a revival.

I will reiterate what I have said elsewhere: All over the world, Jesus is saving souls at astronomical rates. Not here. The western Church is starving, corrupted, and under attack from every conceivable angle. And we as Christ's body are grievously responsible for the work we have failed to do. Only something big - really big - could possibly save this deformed and panting hemisphere from spiritual oblivion.

I'm sure I don't have to say this, but this involves stepping on some toes. Some very big, already-ticked off toes. But in case you didn't know it, that was Elijah's specialty. We are soldiers commissioned to duty, and when this great event arrives, it will be time - our last chance - to decide upon our loyalties. To obey the Great Commission of Christ, however terrible the cost, and receive our great reward, or to cling to selfish cowardice, and know forever that at one of the most crucial points in the history of the Church, we did nothing.

The choice is entirely yours.

I believe Elijah is coming soon. I believe that Malachi 4:5-6 is a call from God - almost two and a half millennia from the past - to us. It is God's way of telling us that it is time to shake off the dust of fear and apathy, and prepare our hearts, minds and spirits for the great purpose of our time:

REVIVAL.
 
Jul 15, 2016
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we have young people, born at the very tail end (and as the end result) of this barrage of earth shattering events. Born at the most confusing and Godless period in western history, struggling to figure out the tattered and exhausted society in which they have been charged with growing up.

Matt, I have to disagree with this, there were far worst times of persecution of the church and godless times, but a very thought provoking piece of writing. Congratulations.
 

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