"The Sending of Elijah"
The Lord has promised to ‘Give power unto My two witnesses…the two olive trees…the two candlesticks…the two prophets’ (Revelation 11:3,4,10) who are also identified by the prophet Zechariah as ‘two olive trees…two olive branches…two anointed ones’ (Zechariah 4:3,11,12,14). Although there are many opinions as to who these two men actually are, it is likely the Lord will continue His practice of selecting men and maturing them for His service just as He has down through the ages, for these two are not heralded as anyone of former Biblical greatness, but the Lord, first of all, simply calls them ‘witnesses’ showing that anybody, who will obey God and do what the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us all to do, can qualify if they will surrender their heart and soul to do His will and witness for Him, and...just allow Him to do the rest!
However, according to Revelation 11:6 these two men will be able to accomplish Elijah-like works: ‘These will have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy...’ and Moses-like miracles: ‘...and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will’ but that does not require a reappearance of these two men on earth. These two men have a ministry that spans at least the second half of the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Revelation 11:6) which causes them to be present on earth through the vicious persecution of Antichrist, the rapture of the saints, and the Day of the Lord thereby setting a remarkable precedent for they will not be raptured although they are believing servants of God.
The difference in these two men is that they will not possess the indwelling Holy Spirit, but instead will be redeemed as Abraham was by ‘believing God’ during Daniel’s Seventieth Week the last seven years of the Old Covenant period the same as their fellow believers of that period, the 144 thousand Jews who are selected and sealed from the twelve tribes of Israel. (Revelation 7:3) and ‘the woman’ [faithful Israel]. Yes, God will send Elijah as 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 Wrath of God and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is drawing near. His identity as ‘Elijah’ 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 as he will ‘restore all things’(Matthew 17:11). This portion of his ministry will occur just before or during the first 3-1/2 years of Daniel's Seventieth Week, for this same man will later be recognized as one of the 'two witnesses' of Revelation 11. Their appearance will occur at the mid-point of Daniel's Seventieth Week (Revelation 11:3) at the mid-point of Daniel’s Seventieth Week.
During this time period, the last 3-1/2 years of Daniel's Seventieth Week, 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. 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 Seventieth 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 last half of the Seventieth Week of Daniel when the believers are scattered, being warned by the Lord Jesus to "flee into the mountains"(Matthew 24:16) during the horrendous persecution of the Antichrist.
His 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 is the model for this second Elijah-like prophet and it definitely is the perfect example for any other aspiring preacher 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)
This next Elijah-like prophet will come to again demonstrate a similar ministry, turning the hearts of God's people to the Lord, restoring all things, before and or 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 determine at this time, we do know that 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 we, the born-again Bible believers, will be miraculously delivered by the Rapture of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our Blessed Hope, before ‘The Wrath of the Lamb’(Revelations 6:17) comes upon all the earth!!
Chaplain LEWolfe www.btmi.org I-85 Exit 35 SC McPilot Stop in, and please pray for our ministry!