Denis Hart (5 Apr 2020)
"The Coming of Elijah and the Pre-tribulation Rapture"


The Coming of Elijah and the Pre-tribulation Rapture

 

Re posted on Sunday 5 April 2020  In expectation of Passover 2020!

 and the days, weeks and months that follow!!

 

Denis Hart (19 March 2012)
"The Coming of Elijah and the Pre-tribulation Rapture"


The Coming of Elijah (Elias) and the Pre-tribulation Rapture

And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was (Israel) preserved (Hosea 12:13 Amplified)

Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes (Malachi 4:3)

In a letter on Friday 16 March 2012 , Bruce Barber put forward some food for thought (text below) about Elijah the Prophet, asking: Will Elijah come at Passover for the seder meal? More to the point, and at the very heart of the matter, is will the Messiah come this Passover?  Malachi said that Elijah would precede the coming of the Messiah.   

Elijah comes during Passover (Bruce Barber) blue text

Will Elijah come at Passover for the seder meal?  That's what many Jews and Bible believing Christians believe.  Passover and the eating of the Seder meal is nearly upon us.  Will Elijah come?  More to the point and at the very heart of the matter is will the Messiah come this Passover?

Malachi said that Elijah would precede the coming of the Messiah.  We have other prophecies in the Bible (see Revelations 11:3-12) that help us see Elijah in his prophetic role for three and a half years during the seven year tribulation.

The return of Elijah as stated by the prophet Malachi is perhaps the most interesting part of Passover.  It has been a long-standing tradition to set an extra place at the table in anticipation of his return.  Even the wine is poured for him as the celebrants fill their own cups for the third cup of wine. Practising Jews believe that Elijah will come on the eve of Passover as a forerunner to the Messiah.

It is a custom to have the young children to open the door for Elijah during the meal while everyone watches his cup of wine to see if it diminishes in the least bit as a sign that he has come.

The belief is that Elijah will return on Passover and will precede the coming of the Messiah. The reading on the ďGreat SabbathĒ (the Sabbath preceding Passover), is Malachiís final words. ďBehold, 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.Ē

I would like to share some thoughts on this elusive but very important question, namely should we be on the lookout for Elijah the Prophet (Elias in the New Testament, at least in the KJV)?  If so, is he one of two witnesses in the first half of Danielís final week, or will he appear before the Rapture and, as Malachi 4:5 says, before the great and terrible Day of the Lord.  Many agree that Elijah is one of the two witnesses - this seems likely, but  there are difficulties with this view. 

First, how can the coming of one man (Elijah) be the same as the coming of two witnesses.  Secondly, we read in Revelation 11:3, I will grant the power of prophecy to my two witnesses for 1260 days (42 months), dressed in sackcloth.  The word for witnesses here is derived from the Greek martus (martyr) - not Greek prophetus (prophet).  Although they are given the power of prophecy, the main role of the two witnesses is to show the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the world (the sign of Jonah)!

There are many aspects to Elijah, his ministry and that wonderful chariot of fire/ whirlwind  that caught him up to heaven, but I can only cover a few threads here.  The focus is on Malachi 4:5, but I have copied at the end of the letter some of the key features of Elijahís rain/revival from 1 Kings 18.

2 Kings 2:11  behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

What did John the Baptist say about Elijah?  John 1:21-23 (Amplified)

21They asked him, What then? Are you Elijah? And he said, I am not! Are you the Prophet? And he answered, No!  22Then they said to him, Who are you? 23He said, I am the voice of one crying aloud in the wilderness Prepare the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.

John the Baptist made it very clear that he was not Elijah.  Interestingly, he was put in gaol and then beheaded by Herod, the symbol of Rome (or the world system), and not by the Jews.  Although not the Elijah of Malachi, John the Baptistís ministry is, however, likely to foreshadow that of an end-time Elijah: coming out of obscurity, fearless preaching and, most important of all, pointing the hearers to the Lamb of God!  His willingness to fade to allow Jesus to become prominent is captured poignantly in John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease!    

What did Jesus say about Elijah?  Elijah will Restore All Things!

If you are willing to receive it, John himself is Elijah who was to come (Matthew11:14).  He (Jesus) replied, Elijah does (will) come and will get everything restored and ready (Matthew 17:11).  Put simply, and clearly speaking of the future, Jesus saidElias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  John the Baptistís ministry wasnít received, and this explains the seemingly contradictory statements of Jesus about Elijah.

Would we Recognise Elijah as a Prophet Sent by God?

But Elijah has come already, and they did not recognise him, but did to him as they liked.  So also is the Son of Man going to be treated and suffer at their hands (Matthew 17:12).

37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you!  (Matthew 23:37)

We often think that we would readily recognise an end-time Elijah if he came and ministered amongst us.  However, true prophets can come from obscurity (without the sought after theological credentials) and at times can be non conventional.  John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, and preaching in the desert is one example!  We know very little about the lineage of Elijah (the Tishbite), in contrast to say Moses or David.

 Another example that makes this point quite strongly is Isaiah:  we read in Isaiah 20:3  And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia.  The Amplified says comparatively naked, but just imagine Isaiah turning up at the door of a church today!  Yet, through this prophet Isaiah we have arguably the most poignant/painful chapter in the Bible (Isaiah 53). 

Elijah (like John the Baptist) must Decrease!  Malachi 4:6

6And he shall turn and reconcile the hearts of the [estranged] fathers to the [ungodly] children, and the hearts of the [rebellious] children to [the piety of] their fathers [a reconciliation produced by repentance of the ungodly], lest I come and smite the land with a curse and a ban of utter destruction.

There are many voices in the world including some declaring that they are Elijah or the Messiah.  We need to be careful what voices we are listening to, as the spirit of antichrist is very deceptive.  Just a few aspects:  Elijah would point hearers to the imminent Return of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God and the One Who baptises with the Holy Spirit and with fire;  he would be passionate about the Crossempowered by the Holy Spirit he would speak boldly and guide into all Truth.  He would not seek his own prominence, even though his ministry would be followed by supernatural signs.  In time, he would be rejected (as are all true prophets) and would allow his own ministry to decrease/fade so that the focus would be on the Coming of Jesus Christ (the Rapture).   

Elijah Comes Before the Day of the Lord - When is the Day of the Lord?

8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). 

The Day of the Lord is widely used throughout the prophets, including as a day of clouds and thick darkness.  Most of us would agree that the climax of the Day of the Lord is when He returns to the Mount of Olives and destroys all His enemies with the brightness of His Coming.  But is the Day of the Lord a period of time leading up to this climax, including Danielís final week for Israel and, perhaps, some of the end of the church age that began on the Day of Pentecost?

Pastor Riley has written some excellent articles, including one on the Day of the Lord.  In response to a question about the meaning of the Day of the Lord, he commented  ďI have looked up every single reference to "the day of the Lord" in God's Word, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Therefore, I can tell you that the normal meaning of this expression refers to the entire seven year Tribulation period. But not always!  The expression is also found with various nuances. It is sometimes stated as "the great and terrible day of the Lord," or, "the great and dreadful day of the Lord," or, "the great day of the Lord," or, "that dreadful day of the Lord," or, "the fearful day of the Lord."

From this study, we can infer that the Day of the Lord could in many instances refer to Danielís final week for his people (Israel).  But what about just before this, the end of the church age.  This is best looked at from the Book of Revelation.  In Revelation 1:10 we read that John was in the Spirit on the Lordís Day.  Most good commentaries would point out that this means the Day of the Lord (not Sunday - the first day of the week in the early church).  In Revelation 1:19  John is told to write the things he sees (happening) and what is to take place hereafter.  In other words, John is taken by the Spirit into the Day of the Lord, and the first thing he sees/witnesses to is the Spirit speaking to the churches (Revelation 2 and 3)!  This, I believe, speaks of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Then he witnesses the rest of the Revelation, including the imputed disappearance of the church (the Rapture!).         

Elijah and the Pre-tribulation Rapture (Restore All Things!)

In summary, Malachi and the words of Jesus indicate that there could be an end-time Elijah who could come at any time!  He comes before the (Great and Terrible) Day of the Lord, and possibly at the end of the church age as a catalyst to refine and prepare the church for the Rapture.  The end of the church age is imminent, but may well be included in the Day of the Lord spoken of by the prophets.  The church will not experience the wrath of God in the final seven years, but as it is said in 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV)  17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The ministry of John the Baptist was for Israel and the church, and the same can be expected of an end-time Elijah;  His prophetic words/voice would encourage the Jews to return to their own land, and in time their spiritual restoration (the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on their sons and daughters).  The ministry of Elijah may extend to being one of the witnesses - Godís ways are higher than our ways - but the key point of this letter is that in the many voices in the world we should open our ears not just to a literal Elijah, but also to the many true prophetic voices that are in the Earth today (many of whom have suffered with their calling of prophets).     

Elijahís Coming - Summary

I know this is a long letter, so I could attempt to wrap it up by saying these are just some of my thoughts.  The coming of an end-time Elijah is perfectly consistent with a Pre-tribulation view of the Rapture (and this is my own view).  In fact, the emergence of this Elijah prophetic ministry would be another strong confirmation of the imminence of the return of Jesus Christ!  At present we are witnessing the parallel restoration of Israel and the Church, and this will accelerate shortly - we may be on the very threshold of the Day of the Lord, a Day that arguably embraces a time of revival/regeneration/refining of the church as well as Israelís final week. 

Maranatha!  Denis in Canberra     

Elijahís rain/revival (1 Kings 18)

Foreshadowed by fire coming down from Heaven onto the altar

Came out of prayer - Elijah as a representative of the 7000 who hadnít bowed to Baal

The cloud like a manís hand became visible in Godís perfect time - the seventh time

The cloud came out of the sea (of humanity) - not a darkening cloud on a mountain!

Cloud came out of nowhere - from nowhere to NOW HERE

Size of a manís hand - then rapidly filled the sky (the Earth)

Thunderstorm - Elijah heard the sound of abundance of rain - distant thunder!

Black clouds, swept by the wind - and a great rain!

Elijah supernaturally ran before the storm

Even though Elijahís prayer broke the drought - his life was in danger from Jezebel!