THE ELIJAH MESSAGE, JOHN THE BAPTIST
It is apparent from the words of Christ that He considered John the Baptist to be a fulfillment of the Elijah
Message.  

"And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias (New Testament spelling of
Elijah) must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore
all things. But 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. Then the disciples understood
that He spake unto them of John the Baptist." (Matt. 17:10-13).

The prophecy of John made to his father Zacharias also indicated that he would come as an Elijah
messenger.

"But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear
thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall
rejoice at his birth. 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 (bring them back to God's Law). And he shall go before Him
(Christ) in the spirit and power of Elias (New Testament spelling of Elijah), to turn the hearts of the
fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just (Christ); to make ready a people
prepared for the Lord (Christ)
." (Luke 1:13-17).

The underlined verses refer directly to the prophecy of Malachi 4.

"
Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the
statutes and judgments. 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. 4:4-6).

In Christ's day, men put away faithful wives for frivolous reasons. The men kept their children, so the
putting away of wives deprived the children of their mothers. In mercy to their children, men should
become polygamists (which is legal under Bible Law, see Ex. 21:10 and "In Defense Of Polygamy"), rather
than break marriages.

{God speaks against the practice of putting away wives in the Book of Malachi. "Because the Lord hath
been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is
she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant... Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal
treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting
away... " (Mal. 2:14-16).

Christ also spoke against putting away wives. "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let
him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving
for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is
divorced committeth adultery." (Matt. 5:31,32). Christ also said: "And He saith unto them, Whosoever shall
put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her
husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." (Mark 10:11,12). These verses are
harmonized by defining adultery as the breaking of the covenant of marriage.}

John also fulfilled the following prophecy of Isaiah, as is revealed in the Book of Matthew. "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 (Christ) shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Is. 40:3-5).

"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for
the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias (New
Testament spelling of Isaiah), saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the
Lord, make His paths straight." (Matt. 3:1-3).

Christ has testified to John's power. "And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to
speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken
with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are
gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. But what went ye out for to see? A
prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I
send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.
For I say unto you, Among
those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist
: but he that is least in
the kingdom of God is greater than he (John)." (Luke 7:24-28).

Note that when Christ said that no previous prophet had been greater than John, He was referring to
John's message of the return to the Law of God (the putting away of sin), the kingdom of heaven and the
first advent of Christ. John's message was both more concise and more powerful that the messages of
the prophets before him. And, unlike the prophets before him, John's message was not veiled in
language that made it extremely hard to understand.

First, John preached the Kingdom of God. "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the
wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:1).

Then John taught that baptism was a fitting symbol of the washing away of past sins that comes with
sincere repentance. "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the
remission of sins." (Mark 1:4).

Many came to be baptised by John and to listen to him preach, among them the religious leaders of the
day. "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were
baptized of him (immersed) in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he 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 (the coming destruction of Jerusalem)? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for
repentance (preserve the souls of the people in your flocks): and think not to say within yourselves, We
have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto
Abraham (do not rely on God's covenant with Abraham for your salvation, because the covenant belongs
to the saints, which God can find anywhere on earth, stones like the apostle Peter - see John 1:42). And
now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees (men are symbolized as trees - see Is. 61:3, the judgment
on the men of Judah is about to begin): therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn
down, and cast into the fire (the job of the priesthood is to produce good fruit, holy people, and the
priesthood is to be judged by how well they do the job)." (Matt. 3:5-10).

John also prophesied the advent of Christ. "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that
cometh after me (Christ) is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear (being only human): He
shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost (the Word of God), and with fire (purification in adversity)): whose
fan is in His hand (to separate the chaff from the wheat), and He will throughly purge His floor (remove
everything but the wheat from His threshing floor), and gather His wheat into the garner (barn storage
area); but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (destroy those who are superfluous in God's
eyes)." (Matt. 3:11,12).

To summarize John's message: he taught baptism, repentance from sin, the coming of the Kingdom of
God, the judgment of unrepentant sinners, and the immediate advent of Christ. Coming after John, Christ
preached most of the same things in much more detail, and He overshadowed John's message. But John
still has relevance to us today. John's message is the New Testament pattern for the end time Elijah
message.

There are a number of reasons that we should expect an Elijah message to come in the end time to
restore Bible truth. First, only Judah and Jerusalem were judged in Christ's time. The Bible predicts a
world wide judgment in many different scriptures. The great and dreadful day of the Lord falls on the
whole earth.

Also, the tribes of Israel have become even more estranged from the Law of God than the men of Judah
were in Christ's time. Those in the Christian church worship on the wrong Sabbath and keep the wrong
feast days. As Christ pointed out, Elijah must come and restore all things. "And Jesus answered and said
unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." (Matt. 17:11).

Finally, in our day divorce is rampant and generally the mothers keep the children, so estrangement
between fathers and children is still common. It is time for a repeat of the Elijah message.

"
Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the
statutes and judgments. 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. 4:4-6).

I have not explained the remainder of Christ's statement about John. "Among those that are born of
women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but
he that is least in the kingdom of God is
greater than he (John)
." (Luke 7:27,28).

John had more knowledge and a greater, more understandable message that any prophet before him,
but those in the Kingdom of God will have the whole message of Christ and a complete understanding of
the prophetic scriptures.

The seven thunders will have uttered their voices again (and this time their message will be written
down). "And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice
from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them
not." (Rev. 10:4).

The seventh trumpet will sound shortly after the seven thunders utter their voices. It will announce that
the Kingdom of God is among the nations and some Christian nations have become part of it. "And the
seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are
become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." (Rev. 11:15).

As the seventh trumpet begins to sound, the mysterious words God spoke to the prophets through the
Holy Ghost will be understood. "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to
sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets." (Rev.
10:7).

All of this knowledge is the reason that every person in the Kingdom of God is greater than John the
Baptist. "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the
sea." (Hab. 2:14).

Next week, God willing, there will be a discussion of the end time Elijah message.

Amo Paul Bishop Roden
JOHN BAPTIZING CHRIST