Will Elijah Come Again? No, Elijah has already come.

This is written to counter a recent article circulating the net claiming the people of God should expect Elijah to come back to earth before the Return of Christ. It is not the first time I have heard this teaching, and it is false! Realize, it is important to challenge such teaching, for if we are not grounded in truth, we make ourselves vulnerable to deception in the end times.

Here is the background. At the beginning of Matthew 17, Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John. They witnessed Him transform into His true, glorious form, where Scripture tells us ‘His face shone like the sun and His clothing became white as light’.

Appearing alongside Jesus were the spirits of Moses and Elijah. Peter in his enthusiasm offered to make booths for each of them, momentarily failing to realize Who should have been his only priority. God’s voice came from heaven in response, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

So often, just like Peter, we slide off point in attempting to interpret the will of God and His Word. The focal point, the bullseye if you will, is always Messiah. Any movement, however slight, off center of Him misses the mark.

You see, Moses and Elijah appeared along with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration to make a point. The most revered prophets of Judaism were with Jesus! Then God made sure everyone present understood which of them was solely Lord and Master: His Son!

The circulating article I mentioned at the start, conjectured that when Elijah returns in the end times, He will likely ‘restore’ traditions of Judaism before the return of Christ. Oops, he missed the mark and the priority, that being Christ, not Judaism!

Now, I love teaching that helps us understand our Hebraic roots and connects Old and New Testaments. It helps us put all the pieces of the Scriptural puzzle together, and when it is done right, it points us to our Savior again and again. This is already happening through great scholars today like Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, for one.

But, any teaching that the people of God must return to traditions or especially laws of Judaism is strictly false and mis-leading. The New Testament declared the law obsolete. Paul explained it once served as a ‘nanny’ to the ancient people of God, and was retired at the cross. We now have our Bridegroom and His Spirit to guide us. To crawl back to the nanny is absurd and offensive to Him!

Back to Elijah. Should we expect him to come again, to restore Judaism and usher in the end times before Christ returns? No. Jesus, in Matthew 17, makes it very plain that Elijah already came a second time, and His mission was none other than to point the way to Christ.

Listen in to His conversation with the disciples:

MATTHEW 17:10-13

His disciples asked him, ‘Why do the scribes say Elijah must come first?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Elijah certainly comes first, and restores all things. But I say to you, Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, and have done to him what they wished. Likewise also the Son of man shall suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.

Friends, I do not pretend to fully understand how John the Baptist was Elijah. Was he a literal reincarnation of the ancient prophet? Or, did he possess a symbolic spirit of Elijah, bring back the same message as Elijah? I cannot say, and have heard it taught different ways.

But, the core message is clear. Jesus informed us no matter how you look at it, Elijah’s message did echo on earth a second time through John the Baptist before the ministry of Christ began.

This leaves us with a solid conclusion: Elijah is not coming yet another time. For, the focal point in time for which the prophet Elijah and John the Baptist were prepping us was Jesus’ ministry/death/resurrection, not His end-time return.

The time of the cross was the most important moment in human history! Within that pivotal event lies the identity of our Savior, that He gave everything for us, and that He became the only way through Whom we can be restored to the Father.

Once more, hear the words of God the Father, and then listen to those of His Son, as He instructed!

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him! (God, the Father; Matt 17:5)

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Jesus; John 14:6)

Before closing, let’s reflect once more on the message of John the Baptist, for it is most certainly needed today!

MATTHEW 3:1-3

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him’.”

John did what was prophesied and prepared the way for Jesus to be received by His people. And Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to earth, as John declared.

Will you recognize the focal point of the entire Bible, and of history: Jesus our Redeemer and Messiah, and know and trust Him today?

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Takeaways from National Day of Prayer

For all who prayed for our country yesterday, and for those who fasted, we pray you had a blessed and meaningful day!

Something interesting happened during the day, for me in particular. It was right after I’d spent some time agonizing in prayer. By the way, that happens sometimes when you really pour your heart into it. I wonder if that is why we more often find reasons not to talk to God, so we don’t have to feel the pain we hide from ourselves, the pain He readily sees and longs to comfort, if only we will open up.

Anyway, back to the story. I’d just spent some time praying and crying out to God over the increasingly secular state of my nation, asking Him to reverse our course. After this, I had the distinct, albeit brief, vision of the children of God in our nation being lifted up, almost like a giant cloud, above the fray of everyday life in America. There was a slight shaking involved in the lifting, like the kind you give an object left on the porch too long, to get the dust off.

I remembered last year hearing Jonathan Cahn, prophet, rabbi and author I respect very much, speak of a ‘shaking’ coming to America. As I reflected upon his prophetic words and my odd vision, I felt comforted that even if God chooses not to reverse the ‘secular’ course of our nation, He can be counted on to remain focused on the needs of His children. He loves us, treasures us, calls each of us by name. And He will refine and strengthen us no matter what is going on in Washington, D.C., or the culture around us!

With a fully surrendered, pure and impassioned family of faith, what could He accomplish in our nation, in our world, through us? I wonder if we can even consider that God may be more interested in the purity of His children than in the perfection of our nation? Probably.

Ninevah Fasted and God Spared Disaster

Most of us are familiar with the story of Jonah and the whale. You remember, how Jonah didn’t want to do what God asked of him, so God sent along a large fish to swallow Jonah and carry him to the very place he didn’t want to go. Of course, he spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish where he got his heart right first.

That’s the story most of us were taught as children in Sunday School. But there is another miracle in the story we probably don’t remember as easily, maybe an even bigger one than a large fish swallowing a human who lived to tell the tale!

It is the miracle of fasting, accompanied by prayer and repentance. And how this powerful combination of sincere spiritual submission changed God’s mind!

Recall, the reason God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah in the first place was to warn them His judgment was coming. He had gotten sick of their rebellious ways and was giving them, well, 40 days by the time Jonah finally got there. Only 40 days till disaster.

When Ninevah got this warning from Jonah, the second miracle happened. They believed him. And they repented, began fasting and praying! All the way up to the King, all the way down to the least of the kingdom believed and repented, fasted and prayed!

Then there was a third miracle: God changed His mind! He spared them and did not bring the disaster to their shores.

Friends, the power of getting right with God is huge. There is nothing like total submission and letting God know you are serious, that you will even deny yourself pleasure and risk a little discomfort to seek Him, to be right with Him.

Let’s learn from the story, the whole story of Jonah and Ninevah. American children of God, we’ve been warned by precious saints like Rabbi Jonathan Cahn in his profound book, The Harbinger. A time of judgment is headed our way. Surely it is already touching our shores as the edge of a hurricane.

It is not too late. But, the time is now to repent, fast and pray for our nation.

Please join us on May 5th, 2016, fasting 24 hours and praying for our nation, in conjunction with National Day of Prayer. Check previous posts (and future ones) for details.

God bless you!

Jonah Warns Nineveh of God’s Judgment

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

The People of Nineveh Repent and FAST

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

God Changes His Mind

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

Jonah 3  English Standard Version (ESV)