The Coming Of Elijah The Prophet

In Malachi 4:5-6, we read of Malachi’s prophecy regarding the coming of Elijah the prophet: “Behold, I will 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.

The “Elijah” that Malachi refers to, was not the Elijah of the Old Testament (John 1:21), but rather the one who would come “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (possess similar character traits of Elijah — Luke 1:17), referring to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:12-14). John was simply the forerunner whose purpose and responsibility was to “Prepare the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight” (Matthew 3:3; cf. Isaiah 40:3).

He was the one responsible for proclaiming God’s impending judgment upon the nation of Israel by the Roman army (cf. Matthew 24:1-34) and asking them to repent in order to be prepared for entrance into the spiritual “kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 3:2; cf. Matthew 4:17; Matthew 10:7; Luke 9:2) — referring to the Lord’s church (note the word “kingdom” and “church” being used interchangeably in Matthew 16:18-19; Hebrews 12:23; Hebrews 12:28).

Thus the “kingdom” or “church” is that spiritual institution (cf. John 18:36; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14) referred to in the New Testament as the “one body” (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:4). Those who desire to enter into the kingdom or church must be immersed or baptized into it (Acts 2:38; Acts 2:47; cf. Galations 3:26-27). Thus all who enter this kingdom must be “born again” by being “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:3; John 3:5).

The Lord’s church is thus the “kingdom” that John the Baptist and the Lord preached was “at hand” (Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17). Those who are obedient and faithful followers of Christ are presently in the “kingdom” (Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 12:28; 2 Peter 1:11).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets