Part 3: The Third Elijah

In part 2 of the The Third Elijah series, I covered the clearing of the way for our Lord Jesus Christ by John the Baptist, the second [and last] Elijah.  Those who teach the third Elijah split what our Lord Jesus Christ was saying in Matthew 17:11 [Third Elijah] and Matthew 17:12 [Second Elijah]. Some Christians who teach the third Elijah used Malachi 4:5 rather that a prophesy for the second Elijah.

Why do Christians have different belief? I think because religious groups established their doctrines and they need the bible to support these doctrines. Why can’t we just believe our Lord Jesus Christ when He said “BUT I say to you that Elijah has come already”? The one argument they used is that John the Baptist did not restore any. I think it is very clear John’s role is baptism of repentance. The bible Mark 1:5 testifies “all the land of Judea” which describe people of the land of Judea came to John the Baptist for repentance. That is the work of restoration making people return to God. Let us compare the Old and New Testament

Malachi 4:5-6 (NKJV)
5
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers
,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Luke 1:16-17 (NKJV) – 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him 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.”

Read Luke from the beginning of chapter 1. It is about John the Baptist. Who is the “he” in Luke 1:16-17? It is John the Baptist. Malachi 4:5-6 is in total harmony of Luke 1:16-17 regarding the restoration role of Elijah. Matthew 1:16 clarifies this already: “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God”. That so clear in my opinion, that is the restoration role of John the Baptist, who has come in the spirit and power of Elijah.

Let us clarify all what we covered so far through Q&A.

Question: What is the role of John the Baptist?

Answer: To clear the way to our Lord Jesus Christ and turn the hears of many Jews to the Lord God.

Question: Why did John the Baptist says he is not a prophet and he is not Elijah?

Answer: John knows what is in the mind of the Pharisees and Seduces asking him the questions. The Pharisees and seduces were sent from Jerusalem Temple to investigate why is John doing baptism. The Jews did not have a prophet for 400 years and because they are familiar with the Tanakh (Old Testament), they expect the Prophet Elijah to come back but in physical nature. John was “politically correct” that he is not the prophet Elijah.

Question: Why did John the Baptist says he is the VOICE?

Answer: The VOICE is the role that he was performing in the wilderness clearing the way to our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 1:23 (NKJV)
23 He said: “I am
‘The VOICE of one crying in the wilderness:
Make straight the way of the Lord,

Isaiah 40:1-3 (NKJV)
1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
2
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
3
The VOICE of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God

Wilderness is a symbolic place for Israel. Moses led Israel from Egypt to the wilderness. It is also in the wilderness where the first Elijah appeared and assumed into heaven.

It is right after the baptism of our Lord Jesus that the Spirit of God proclaimed that Christ is His beloved Son.

Matthew 3:16 (NKJV) – 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

The TIMING of the coming of Elijah:

According to Malachi 4:5

  • Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

I think almost every Christian believe John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah. Whether he is the last Elijah or there is another after him that is a different story. We know that after Christ baptism, John’s role was to decrease and Christ role was to increase as John himself testifies.

John 3:26-30 (NASB) – 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” 27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

John was sent ahead of Jesus. This is still consistent before the day and dreadful day of the Lord. John’s followers who met Jesus started following Jesus

Luke 11:1 (NASB)- 11 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”

Other John followers who have not met Jesus will later follow Him through the preaching of Paul by being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Please read “Baptism By Water or By Holy Spirit?” if you have not done so.

The words “Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” is understood by many as the second coming of the Lord Jesus, the judgement day. I think this is again another argument why there is a third Elijah since the second Elijah [ John the Baptist ] appeared in the first century during Christ ministry, not before the dreadful day of the Lord. Technically John came before the dreadful day of the Lord, but I am sure most people think of the “day of the Lord is the judgement day.

Jesus said that John is the fulfillment of the Elijah prophecy, but most Christians even Bible scholars today don’t believe Him. Why do people can’t just believe Jesus when he said “Elijah has come;”? I think because immediately we conclude Elijah will come just before the “day of the Lord”, the judgement day. Compare these verses:


Malachi 4:5-6 (NKJV)
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

Joel 2:30-31 (NKJV) –
30
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
31
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

Acts 2:19-20 (NKJV)
19
I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

Zechariah 14:1-2 (NKJV)
14 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
2
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Exodus 14:30 (NKJV) – That day the Lord saved Israel from the power of Egypt. The Israelites saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore.

The “day of the Lord” will be discussed in details in future articles because this is a lengthy topic. For now I will quickly conclude that indeed John the Baptist prepare the way before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. The “day of the Lord” is a judgement of God, the question is which judgement? God judged the world before in time f Noah. God also judged nations like the nation of Egyptians under the rule of Pharaoh, the Babylonians under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. In those cases the event was called as “day of the Lord” in the Old Testament. In both cases their world has ended but not the entire planet earth. I think John the Baptist indeed came just before the judgement of the Lord not to the world, but to the age, the old covenant age, the Israel age. This is the reason why Jerusalem Temple was turned into rubble, as prophesied by Christ in Matthew 24:2, Mark 13:2, Luke 21:16.

Matthew 24:2 (NKJV) – “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Mark 13:2 (NKJV) – “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Luke 21:6 (NKJV – “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

Christ said

Luke 21:20-24 (NKJV) – 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

History confirms Jerusalem was destroyed from 67 to 70 A.D., in a very horrific way, “the dreadful day of the Lord“. The Jews who repented and baptized by John the Baptist eventually became followers of Jesus. People who listened to Jesus instructions “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies” they are saved. Many Jews who did not repent, who did not believe Jesus Christ stays in Jerusalem. In fact according to historian, Jews outside Jerusalem who did not believe Christ came to to the City to help fight the Romans. All of them died like what Christ said “time of punishment in fulfillment of all that is written [in the Tanakh]”. Fulfillment “ALL THAT IS WRITTEN” means all prophesies in the Old Testament are to be fulfilled when Jerusalem destruction will occur. There are no more Old Testament prophesies that are to be fulfilled after Jerusalem destruction how much so 2000 years later?  All has been fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem Temple. Why people can’t we just believe what our Lord Jesus Christ is saying?

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(AD_70)

If you give yourself time to watch the video “Rome and Jerusalem at War (66 – 70 AD)”, you can imagine how Jerusalem is like the end of the world, but it was their world, not the entire planet earth. This event in Jerusalem is no doubt a judgement of the Lord to the nation of Israel that is if you are willing to believe what Christ said in Luke 21:20-24.

Here is another good documentation

 

Conclusion

Simply there is no third Elijah. Jesus testified of John the Baptist is the greatest man born of a woman except not greater than He. John the Baptist is no ordinary man and no ordinary prophet, he is the greatest person on earth if we exclude our Lord Jesus Christ. Period. That is HUGE! Most Christians failed to recognize this even it was spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

I think most Christians interpret the bible to align what we believe based on what we learned from our traditions, our society and Church doctrines. For example the bible talk about the “end of the age” not the end of the world but people interpret it as end of the planet earth because that is what we learned from our traditions, perhaps in movies as well. The bible teach “resurrection of the dead” not the resurrection of the body. Do you know that Adam and Eve died after they ate the prohibited fruit? God said if you eat you will “surely die” so they died [in spirit, their relationship to God ends] . Did they actually died physically? They did not. I believe they continue to lived for 800 years. The point is the “dead” in the bible does not necessarily mean physical death, it is spiritual death, the deadness in relationship to God. If that is so, what is really meant by “resurrection of the dead“?

I think we should learn the bible in its context, audience relevance, language usage and historical chronology of events because the time the words are spoken are also significant. Interpret scriptures with scriptures but no one verse contradict one another, otherwise it is no longer inspired by God. If we find something that do not align to our belief and faith, we have to change and adopt to the scriptures rather than interpreting the scriptures in such a way to satisfies our belief.

-Cornelius