Sunday, 9 October 2016

ELIJAH COMES FIRST


Jesus is Coming but....
ELIJAH COMES FIRST

 The time is coming, and very soon, when this sin-spoiled Earth will be cleansed, restored, and filled with the Glory of God. In Acts 3:19–21, we read that the heavens must retain Jesus, until the time of the restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (emphasis added).

Some might say this means that when Jesus comes again He will restore all things. However, Jesus Himself said that the work of restoration involves the mysterious appearance of “Elijah.” The disciples Peter, James, and John had been on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus. They had seen Him talking to Moses and Elijah and heard the voice from Heaven. [Matthew 17:1-13].Their minds must have turned to the prophecy at the close of the Old Testament Scriptures:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord
And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:6)

This prophecy was kept before Israel at the annual Passover celebration when a cup of wine was placed on the table for Elijah in anticipation of his return. There were four cups of wine which were drunk in conjunction with four promises of deliverance. They were:

1. “I will take you out.”
2. “I will save you.”
3. “I will redeem you.”
4. “I will take you as a nation.”

There was a fifth promise, “I will take you into the Land,” and a fifth cup which is never drunk. This is the cup of Elijah. (Is this the ‘fruit of the vine’ which He will drink when the kingdom comes that He spoke of at the Last Supper? Luke 22:18)

Even though Israel eventually possessed the Promised Land, they look for a greater deliverance which is yet to come. Elijah will herald the coming of the Messiah and they will possess the Land in peace. It was the promise of a golden age when Messiah would sit on the throne in Jerusalem and rule the Earth. When Elijah comes, they believe, he will explain fully the meaning of the fifth cup.

Seeing Elijah on the mountaintop and remembering the prophecy, the disciples must have thought that the day of the Messiah had come. When Jesus instructed them not to tell of the vision until after the resurrection, they asked, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”

Jesus replied, “Elijah truly is coming first and will restore all things(Matthew 17:10, 11; emphasis added). He went on to say that Elijah had already come, referring to John the Baptist who came “in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

John’s appearance on the stage of history was a partial fulfillment of the prophecy. It was a sign that restoration had begun. The ministry of Elijah is not yet complete. At the time Jesus spoke, John was dead. Yet Jesus said that Elijah was still to come and would restore all things. Elijah was the great prophet of the Spirit in the Old Testament. By the anointing of the Spirit upon him, Elijah challenged the Prophets of Baal―satanic powers of darkness of the day―and turned the nation back to God. Jesus’ reference to Elijah here is not the literal return of the Old Testament Prophet but the Spirit coming on human flesh to restore all things and prepare the way for the Second Coming of the Lord. Elijah will turn the world back to God.

The restoration of all things has already been accomplished in seed form at the Cross.

For it pleased the Father that in Him [Jesus] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. (Colossians 1:19, 20; emphasis added)

When Jesus said “It is finished,” that work of reconciliation was completed. It is an accomplished fact in the realm of the Spirit. We can bind and loose on Earth that which is already bound and loosed in Heaven (or in the realm of the Spirit). Reconciliation becomes restoration in the Earth when it is claimed by faith, e.g., a sinner is born again by the Spirit of God when he believes that Jesus has died to reconcile him to God. That reconciliation was accomplished two thousand years ago but it has to be appropriated. So it is with all that was accomplished at the Cross.

God continues to bring restoration whenever and wherever faith is exercised. The greater the revelation of the reconciling work of the Cross that we have, the greater the measure of restoration will be. That’s why it is crucial to have an ongoing vision. The reconciliation of all things will be manifested as the restoration of all things when Elijah comes, Elijah being the Spirit of God coming in fullness upon the people of God in these last days. The Holy Spirit continues to lead and guide us into all truth and reveal things to come to all who are open to receive. When Elijah comes, the Church will enter into all that Jesus accomplished at His first coming. All things will be restored and Jesus will return to take up His throne on Earth. All of creation is waiting for that time.

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:19–21)

In Biblical history, we find that Creation reflects the spiritual state of man. The Fall corrupted all of nature. When wickedness increased on the Earth, it resulted in the Flood, which again radically changed the face of the Earth. It has been shown in the Transformations video series hosted by George Otis Jr. that when revival takes place, even the surrounding area is renewed, pollution and corruption recede and the Earth begins to flourish. The answer to the climate crisis the world faces is to change the spiritual climate of Planet Earth.

All of God’s dealings with Man have been toward the Restoration. It is the message “which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Restoration sometimes requires cleansing and chastening but the goal hasn’t changed. In the face of all the chaos on Earth caused by Man’s rebellion, God still wants the message of Restoration to be declared. In the following passage, we can sense something of the burden of God’s heart when His servants don’t deliver the message.

Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see.
Who is blind but My servant, or deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as he who is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant?
Seeing many things, but you do not observe; opening the ears, but he does not hear.”
The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake;
He will magnify the law and make it honourable
But this is a people robbed and plundered; all of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says “Restore!” (Isaiah 42:18–22; emphasis added)

We are living in a day in which, increasingly, the people are prey to all the snares and evil devices of our spiritual enemy. Captive of his deceit, plundered and robbed to build his anti-God kingdom, the world seems headed towards destruction. In the face of all this, God still wants the message of Restoration declared on Earth. The messengers see and hear many things, and there is much speculation, but there are not many saying “Restore.” Mostly the message is “Retreat” (or, “Rapture at any moment”). Most messengers are preparing to abandon the Earth to the ravages of the enemy.

God gave His beloved Son to the Earth to be the means of restoration. Speaking prophetically of the One Who was to come, God said “I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, To restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages” (Isaiah 49:8). (emphasis mine).

Jesus came to reconcile ALL things to God (Colossians 1:20). The full effects of the Cross are yet to be manifested in the Earth. The restoration of all things will come to pass. Meanwhile, wherever the people of God lay hold of the reconciling work of the Cross, the process of restoration continues: broken lives, broken families, even broken communities can experience restoration.

So according to the Scriptures, Jesus will not come again until the times of the restoration of all things, which God has spoken of since the world began. Since the Fall, this is what God has been working towards. Jesus said that this work of restoration is to be accomplished by ‘Elijah” who will come first.

Before the first coming of the Lord, the spirit and power of Elijah came upon John the Baptist to prepare the way: Before the Lord comes again, the Spirit will come upon the Church to bring restoration and to prepare the way for His coming again to reign over the Earth. This is ‘Elijah’ who is to come – the Spirit of God upon the Redeemed to bring into manifestation the work of reconciliation accomplished at the Cross.

Most Christians are waiting for Jesus to come back and do all the work; however his work is finished. He is seated at the right hand of God waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool. (Hebrews 10:12 -14) Christ in you is the hope of God’s glory filling the Earth. (Colossians 1: 27) In the coming great revival, ‘Elijah’ will stand up in the Earth and scatter the powers of darkness He will usher in the Age of the Kingdom and reign of the King. Amen. Come Lord Jesus.