Video transcript below:
In the last video, we looked at how Malachi in chapter 4:5 had prophesied that God would send “Elijah the prophet BEFORE the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” This video explores how John the baptizer historically fulfilled that role. If he was to come before that great and dreadful day, then that day must have been near to the time of his ministry, not some time far off in the future somewhere.
Some people say that John could not be the prophesied Elijah because, when asked of the priests and Levites, “Art thou Elijah?” (John 1:21), he denied that he was. However, the Jews expected the reappearance of the literal, fire-out-of-heaven Elijah, and John’s reply was an answer to THAT misunderstanding. Clearly, he was not ACTUALLY Elijah reincarnated, and he knew it.
However, Scripture does designate him as coming in the same MANNER as Elijah in several places. To his father Zechariah, it was said,
And he [John] shall go before him [Messiah] 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.
The declarations of Y’shua himself confirm this understanding:
“For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive [it], this is Elijah, which was to come.” ‘
“But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not…” Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
Therefore, if we are to continue to suggest some sort of “Elijah of the future,” we are essentially undermining the clear statements of the word of God, and Y’shua. That concept has no basis in Scripture at all.
A TWOFOLD MINISTRY
Isaiah and Malachi allude to a dual ministry of this second Elijah. In one way, he was to be the herald of the coming savior; in the other, he was to be the forerunner of the coming Judge. Isaiah represents him as the savior’s herald; Malachi presents him as the forerunner of the Judge.
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.”
In the New Testament or Believers’ writings, we also see him represented as a proclaimer of salvation. His father Zacharias is recorded as saying,
“And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God…”
A similar gracious aspect is related in the opening verses of John’s gospel :
There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe.
These passages imply a mission of mercy, declaring a coming salvation and broadened spiritual understanding. But the other aspect of his mission is as a forerunner of the coming Judge. Malachi represents John this way:
“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. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap…
This implies a visitation of the Lord as a judge coming suddenly, in swift judgment, to his temple. Continuing this theme of judgment, it is related of John’s ministry:
But when he [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:”
“The wrath to come” is not the most accurate rendering in English. It would be better stated as “the coming wrath”; that is, not merely something that is future, but literally impending. “The wrath to come” may be indefinitely distant, but “the COMING wrath” is immediate and imminent.
With continuing urgency, He also tells them that:
“And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire: Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.“
Every indication is of the swift approach of destruction. ‘Already the axe was lying at the root of the trees.’ (3:10) The ‘fan’ or winnowing fork was actually in the hands of the reaper (3:12); the sifting process was about to begin.
Russell writes the following:
“These warnings of John the Baptist are not the vague and indefinite exhortations to repentance, addressed to men in all ages, which they are sometimes assumed to be ; they are urgent, burning words, having a specific and present bearing upon the then existing generation, the living men to whom he brought the message of God.”JS Russell, The Parousia, 1878, p.15.
It is clear that the catastrophe to which John alludes is specific, national, local, and imminent. History, as we shall see, tells us that within the period of the generation that listened to his warning cry, “the wrath came upon them to the uttermost,” 1 Thess. 2:16.
I hope this video provided some understanding about John’s ministry and prophesied role as the “second Elijah.” Thanks so much for watching, and be sure to check out messiahbeliever.com and Facebook (@messiahbeliever) for more information.You can also subscribe below to see when new videos are posted.
Thanks, we’ll see you next time.