"THE SENDING OF ELIJAH"
The Sending of Elijah is recorded in Malachi 4:5,6: "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 the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Just as John the Baptist was the first Elijah-like person heralding the Lord's first coming, Jesus said 'Elijah truly shall first come' (Matthew 17:11) indicating there will be a second Elijah-like person sent by God to herald His second coming at the end of the age. The appearance of this Elijah-like prophet will be one of the early signals to the discerning child of God that the Day of the Lord and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is on the doorstep of God’s plan for the end of the age.
His identity might not be openly evident in the beginning of his ministry, for then, he will likely minister in a manner similar to John the Baptist not unlike a revivalist/evangelist. This portion of his ministry could well occur before and during the first 3-1/2 years of Daniel's Seventieth Week, for we believe this same man will later be recognized as one of the 'two witnesses' of Revelation 11. Their ministry of judgment will be 3-1/2 years long, beginning at the mid-point of Daniel's 70th Week (Revelation 11:3-13).
During this time period, this Elijah-like prophet's ministry will be one of powerful, judgment like, miracle working and warfare 'with the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit' as described in Revelation 11:5,6 as he ministers judgment with his partner as one of the two witnesses, two prophets who are also designated “two olive trees” in Zechariah 4:3.
These 'two witnesses' are characterized as an inseparable pair, a two man team if you will, during this time of fierce and intensive Spiritual warfare with the Satanically energized beast, there again indicating that this Elijah-like individual's revivalist/evangelist ministry to the believers will most likely take place during the first half of Daniel's 70th Week.
Although the specific time frame for his ministry as described in Malachi 4:5,6 is not mentioned, it is likely this type of ministry to God's people would not fit into the surroundings of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21) when believers are scattered, being warned by the Lord Jesus to "flee into the mountains"(Matthew 24:16) during the escalating persecution of the Antichrist when “Satan’s great wrath” (Revelation 12:12) is poured out against God’s people.
Elijah’s ministry to 'restore all things' (Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12) fits into Malachi's more specific description of turning hearts in the same manner that John the Baptist called Israel to repentance. John the Baptist's ministry recorded in Matthew 3:1-12 is one we should familiarize ourselves with as it will be the model for the second Elijah and is definitely the perfect example for aspiring preachers of righteousness. There are twelve significant characteristics of his ministry:
1. He stood in a difficult place and time (v.1)
2. He preached an unpopular message (v.2)
3. He stood alone (v.3)
4. He was a Biblical separatist/non-conformist (v.4)
5. He had God-given magnetism (v.5)
6. He got results in his ministry (v.6)
7. He spoke out against God's enemies (v.7)
8. He was confident in his life changing message (v.8)
9. He denounced religious tradition (v.9)
10. He proclaimed God's judgment (v.10)
11. He announced the coming of Christ (v.11)
12. He described the ministry of Christ (v.12)
It could well be that this next Elijah-like person will come to again perform a similar ministry, turning the hearts of God's people to the Lord, restoring all things, during the first half of Daniel's Seventieth Week. At this time the church will still be gathered, providing opportunity for him to proclaim his much needed, reviving, prophetic message.
Although, the timing of his arrival is not clearly spelled out, nor is it really essential or crucial to know at this time, but, God will send him (and he will be recognized at the mid-point of Daniel's Seventieth Week) 'before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord' which is the wrath of God. Praise the Lord the born-again Bible believers will be miraculously delivered from this time of horrendous judgment by the Rapture (I Thessalonians 5:9)!!
There will also be many other events before the coming of the great and terrible Day of the Lord. The Awareness of the Believer as described by Paul: 'But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." (I Thessalonians 5:4, 5). The Lord Jesus underscores this truth in Matthew 24:33 "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near (His Coming & Day of the Lord) even at the doors."
Another event that will occur before the Day of the Lord is the Falling Away of Israel according to Paul in II Thessalonians 2:2 "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first" which is also recorded by Daniel when the Jews turn their allegiance to the Antichrist and “have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant“ (Daniel 11:30) The nation of Israel will abandon the God of their fathers and instead follow the leadership of the Antichrist.
Paul also in the same passage of Scripture gives still another event that will occur before the Day of the Lord: "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (I Thessalonians 2:2).
Here Paul underlines the truth that Daniel and Jesus earlier prophesied. The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet and later the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:15 when the Antichrist reveals his true identity and purpose. This event which occurs in the middle of Daniel's 70th Week will occur before the Day of the Lord begins!
The Heavenly Wonders spoken of in earlier chapters are the most significant event that will happen before the Day of the Lord. God mentions them numerous times in both the Old and New Testament showing their importance as the major signal/sign indicating the closeness of the Lord's Coming and the beginning of the Day of the Lord!! Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zephaniah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts and Revelation all mention this most significant event which will be seen worldwide just prior to the Rapture of the Church.
The last event just before the Lord's Coming to Rapture the church will be the Last Trump. 'Behold I show you a mystery, We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.' (I Corinthians 15:51, 52). This sounding of the trump of God is also mentioned in I Thessalonians 4:16; Matthew 24:31; Joel 2:1 and Zephaniah 1:14-18. This will be the last trumpet heard by the born again believers as it will be almost simultaneous with the delivering Rapture of the Church!!
Chaplain LEWolfe www.btmi.org I-85 Exit 35 SC McPilot Stop in, and please pray for our ministry!