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Christ’s Forerunner, Elias (Elijah)
By Al Stoner

Behold, He (the Lord Jesus Christ) Shall Come!  But before He comes, He shall send His forerunner before His face to prepare His way before Him.  This was true regarding the Lord's first coming into the world, and it shall also be fulfilled just prior to His second (His final) coming at the end of the world.
With regard to the coming of the Lord, there are many things that we have been given to know of a surety.  “I will come again!

  1. “And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).
  2. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (I Jn. 3:2).
  3. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:27-28).
  4. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn. 14:1-3).

Two Distinct Messengers, John and Christ. “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” (Mal. 3:1).

  1. John the Baptist was God’s messenger in a preparatory sense.  It was fitting and necessary that the Lord be introduced to men by this messenger, and that His way would be prepared.
  2. Both John the Baptist and Elias (Elijah) have no significance or importance apart from their preparatory ministry for the coming of the Lord of Jesus Christ: John, before His first coming, and Elias, before His second (final) coming. 
  3. The appearance of Elias (Elijah) was regarded by the people, and rightly so, as the last thing on the Divine agenda prior to the coming of the Lord.  
  4. The Lord Jesus Christ was, and is, the Messenger of the Covenant.  It is fitting, and in accordance with the nature of the New Covenant that Christ, who is the Embodiment of the New Covenant (Isa. 42:6; 49:8) is also the Messenger of the Covenant.
  5. The New Covenant was not brought to us by angels, or by a man of God like Moses, but rather by the Man Christ Jesus, who is the Lord from Heaven.
John the Baptist, Coming in the Spirit and Power of Elias. “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he 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” (Lk. 1:15-17).
  1. Zachariah declared by the Holy Spirit that, among other things, John the Baptist would come in the spirit and power of Elias, thus fulfilling in part, at least, Malachi’s notable and noteworthy prophecy at the close of Moses and the Prophets.
  2. As we have said before, there was a consciousness and expectancy among the people, on all levels, of a work that God was about to do with regard to His purpose in salvation.  Men were thinking about the Christ.  They were talking about Messias.  And they were speaking about Elias because of his unique ministry before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord.
  3. The ministry of Elias was not to exhort everyone to get along with each other, but rather to apprise them of the truth that the Judge is standing at the door.  Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.
  4. It may be that Elijah’s ministry (as described in the closing words of Malachi the Prophet) will be much the same as that leading up to the midnight cry in the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
  5. The fact that John the Baptist was evidently a fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy, and not Elijah the Tishbite himself, should teach us to anticipate and look for a Divine working of this preparatory sort, and not necessarily for Elijah himself. When the Day of Pentecost was fully come (Acts 2:1) several utterances from the Psalms and Prophets were recognized and identified by Peter with the words, "This is that" (cf. Acts 2:16-28).   In much the same way let us saturate our hearts and minds with the words of the Scripture so that we are made similarly aware of God's working as we live day by day in anticipation of Christ's coming.
Before the Coming of the Great and Dreadful Day of the LORD. “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” (Mal 4:5-6).
 Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isa 40:3-5).
  1. It might be asked why Elijah would be the one sent to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc.  There does not seem to be any mention of him being particularly known for this in the record of First and Second Kings.  There his work does not seem to be of a conciliatory nature, at least, as we normally think of it. 
  2. That may be the very reason why he was chosen of God for this preparatory ministry preceding the coming the Lord. 
  3. Elijah’s uncompromising proclamation of the Word of God would be that which God would use to turn the hearts, and effect the reconciliation described in the Malachi 4 prophecy.

Matthew 11:7–15  (The Lord’s praising of His forerunner, John)

7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

  1. Wherever there is an abundance of this revelation regarding God’s eternal purpose in Christ, this kind of violence is the Divine expectancy.  This is not a violence that willfully inflicts harm on other men, but rather one that determines to be in conformity with the will and purpose of God, even if it runs roughshod over the feelings and purposes of fellow men and family.
  2. For men to be casual with regard to the embracement of God’s salvation is highly offensive to Him.

Matthew 16:13–20  (John’s mentioning in response to the Lord’s inquiry)

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 17:9–13 (The disciples inquiry regarding Elias)

9And 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. 10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12But 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. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Matthew 27:45–49 (This Man calleth for Elias)

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

Mark 6:14–29  (The mentioning of Elias in Herod’s court after John was beheaded by him)

14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. 16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. 17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. 18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. 19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and a holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. 21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; 22 and when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. 24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. 25And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. 26 And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oaths’ sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. 27And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. 29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.

Mark 8:27–38 (The Lord’s inquiring of His disciples)

27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Cesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? 28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. 29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. 30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Matthew 16:28–17:8 (The Mount of Transfiguration)

XVII. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, 2 and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 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. 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. 6And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8And when they had lift up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

Mark 9:2-8 (The Mount of Transfiguration)

2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

Luke 9:28–36 (The Mount of Transfiguration)

28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. 34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

Mark 9:9–13 (Why say the scribes that Elias must come first?)

9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. 10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. 11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

Mark 15:33–36 (The Crucifixion)

33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.

Luke 1:5–25  (John, coming in the spirit and power of Elias)

15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he 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. 18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20 And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23 And it came to pass that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

Luke 4:14–32 (The Synagogue at Nazareth)

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. 22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? 23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. 24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. 28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way, 31 and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

Luke 9:7–9   (Herod’s query regarding Jesus)

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; 8 and of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. 9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

Luke 9:18–27  (The Lord’s Enquiry of His Disciples)

18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? 19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 22 saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:51–56  (Wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from Heaven?)

51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
John 1:19–28  (Art thou Elias?)
19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Romans 10:21–11:10  (Elias’ intercession)
XI. I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded, 8 (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 10 let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
James 5:7–18 (Elias, a man of like passions)
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. 12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. 13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

  1. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, James declares, lest any get the notion that he was some extra-ordinary man.  He was extraordinary, but not astonishingly so.  He was unique, but not so unique that we are not able to readily identify with him.
  2. The Lord Jesus Christ, on the other hand, was not a man subject to like passions, as Elias was described to be, but rather a Man “tempted in all points, like as we are, yet without sin”.


Christ’s Forerunner, Elias (Elijah), Part 2
By Al Stoner

“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” (Mal 4:5-6).

  1. These closing words of Moses and the Prophets became rooted in the consciousness of men in the time leading up to, and during our Lord’s earthly ministry.  The common people were aware of them, scribe and Pharisees spoke of them, and Christ’s own Apostles queried about them.
  2. Turning the heart of the fathers to the children, and children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.  It seems that the preparatory work, of both John and Elijah, includes effecting, in some manner, an agreement between all seemingly unreconciled issues that had arisen over the course of time.  This can be seen in the following words spoken by Isaiah.
  3. “Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale” (Isa. 29:22).
  4. “Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting” (Isa. 63:12).
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isa 40:3-5).
  1. John the Baptist was aware of his own fulfilling of this prophecy in Isaiah, but in John 1 he seems to be unaware of his connection with the Malachi prophecy.
  2. John, making the crooked ways straight, and the rough place plain, can be seen in his declaration that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.  Heaven’s King was about to appear. 
  3. Also those who came to John’s baptism were exhorted to mend their wicked ways in preparation for the coming King.
  4. “And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages” (Lk. 3:10-14)
  5. But the Lord, when asked by His disciples, makes a definite connection between John and the Malachi prophecy.
  6. The Isaiah 40 text and the Malachi 4 text, when considered together, seem to heralding two different comings of the Lord, the one which has already occurred, and a final one at the end of the world.
  7. The commonality of both cases is that God will not send His Son into the world where there has not been adequate preparation for Him; that is, adequate from God’s perspective.  Let men beware of setting up criteria in their minds that must be met, before Jesus can come again.  "The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night" (II Pet. 3:10; I Th. 5:2).  It will come when those who are not living by faith are least expecting it.  "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh shall He find faith on the earth?" (Lk. 18:8).  The purpose of God is right on schedule, and when all things are fulfilled,  according to the Divine reckoning, the Father will give the command for His Son to return with power and great glory.
  8. The fall of spiritual Babylon and the conversion of the Jews are matters on the Divine agenda that God is able to bring about in a very short time. "For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth" (Rom. 9:28). 
  9. There is also a marked distinction between the two comings.  In the first coming, Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, and to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He came not to judge the world, but to save it.
  10. In the second coming He will appear unto those who are looking for Him.  To such ones He will come without sin unto salvation.  He will come to separate the tares from the wheat, the goats from the sheep, the bad fish from the good fish.  He will at that time come to judge the world, and not to save it.

Matthew 11:7–15  (The Lord’s praising of His forerunner, John)
7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Matthew 16:13–20  (John’s mentioning in response to the Lord’s inquiry)
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
Matthew 16:28–17:8 (The Mount of Transfiguration)
XVII. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, 2 and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 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. 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. 6And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8And when they had lift up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

  1. Both Moses and Elias were noted for making intercession: the one, for the people of God (Exod. 32), and the other against the people.  But in the case of Elias (Elijah), God gently corrected him as he was unaware of the 7000 men who had not bowed their knee to Baal (I Kgs. 19:13-18).
  2. But Christ’s intercession for the people of God is never-ending because of who and where He now is. And its effectual because the One making the intercession has invested Himself in the ones for whom He is making intercession and bringing unto glory.
  3. And with regard to Christ’s intercession, the interceding is on the basis of the awful price that He Himself made by the putting away of sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  Christ's intercession is effectual because He is the One who suffered for those for whom He makes intercession.  It is also effectual because of the covenant made between the Father and Christ before the foundation of the world (Isa. 42:6; 49:8; Rev. 13:8).