Elijah was well-known for one of the God’s great prophets in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab. His name, ‘אֱלִיָּהוּ’ in Hebrew, accounts for “My God is Yahu/Jehovah“, Who was the savior in the Old Testament.
According to the Bible, the book of Malachi, Elijah was to come as a messenger and prepare the way before the Lord. Why did he have to come first before Jesus? For what did Jesus need Elijah? If Elijah hadn’t come, could Jesus not have testified to Himself? Nonsense! Absolutely, Jesus could testify to Himself by using the Bible.
Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets (the Bible), he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.
♣ John the Baptist
John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and baptism alongside the Jordan River. He also preached that the Messiah was coming. All of the prophecy had been done and reminded of the image of Elijah to the audience, Jews, who were listening to him. It made it clear that John the Baptist was the spiritual successor to Elijah, in other words, he was a prophetical Elijah. Furthermore, Gabriel appeared to John’s father and told him that John the Baptist would turn many of Israelites to the Lord their God.
2Kings 1:8 They replied, “He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah.”
Mark 1:6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.
Luke 1:16~17He will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
♣ The Return of Elijah
But then, what was the reason for Elijah to come first? In the Book of Malachi, Elijah’s return is prophesied ‘before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD”, making him a preparation for the Messiah.
Malachi 3:1 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.
Malachi 4:5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes”
As prophesied, John the Baptist came before Jesus and testified about Him as the savior Who was going to come after John. It is because John was regarded as a prophetical Elijah. Also Jesus approved of John the Baptist a prophetical Elijah.
John 1:30~34 “This is the one I meant when I said; ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me. I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
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