“Elijah fed by ravens” by Mikael Toppelius, 1775
Some words seem to bring up controversy no matter what. I’m all for having a passion and a zeal about God’s business, but sometimes we attach our emotions to the wrong things.
Some of you will likely take exception when I say that I don’t believe HWA was the Elijah to Come that Jesus prophesied of. That’s OK. If you feel strongly that he was the Elijah to Come, then I doubt that there is much I can say or write about that will change your mind. I will remind you, however, that my baptism was in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19), not in the name of HWA or Elijah. If your baptism required someone else’s name, then might I suggest you search the Scriptures for precedents in doing so and ponder whether or not it was legitimate.
On 16 January, HWA will have been dead 25 years. Seems fairly unlikely that such a gap of time would come between the life of the End Time Elijah and the return of Christ. Joshua was appointed while Moses was alive. Elisha was anointed while Elijah was alive. Jesus started His ministry when John was still preaching.
Setting that to the side for a moment, does it make a difference whether or not HWA fulfilled the role of Elijah as to our day-to-day mission? Should that be what guides us or the words of Christ?
You see, some claim that Elijah already came, and so we now don’t have to preach anything. Not only is that about as un-Elijah like as I can think of, but it is downright wrong. Jesus said He would be with us up to the very end (Mt 28:20), which is right after He commanded the disciples to make more disciples in “all nations” (v 19). This aligns quite well with Mt 24:14, which states that the Gospel had to be preached “in all the world” at the end.
We need to get back to doing what we are supposed to be doing. We need to preach a message of repentance. We need to preach a message about forgiveness of sins once we submit to Jesus. We need to preach a message of a much better world to come. We need to give people hope that this world is not all that there is.
The prophets were not afraid of telling entire nations of their sins. They were unafraid of preaching about a God Who takes an interest in human affairs. They were unafraid of warning people of God’s judgment. Unlike Jonah, most preached their message in the hopes of repentance so that God would turn away His wrath and show mercy.
I believe in an Elijah to Come, but Elijah was only one prophet. There were many prophets before, during and after his time. They all had a work to do. We need to make sure we are part of God’s work.
If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, if our standing before God is as it should be, if we are daily studying, praying and begging God for strength and for mercy, then we will recognize the Elijah to Come when it is time. If we become complacent and lazy, however, chances are we will not. Instead, we may even reject him just as the Pharisees rejected Jesus because He did not conform to their ideas of what Messiah should be.
More importantly, though, are we looking forward to Jesus’ return rather than another man to lead us?