In the Spirit of Elijah

In the Spirit of Elijah, Part I

In every period of history that precedes a major judgment by God there has been an opportunity for individuals to repent. Men are exhorted, and they are allowed the time to repent – to turn again from the ways of the world to serve the living God.

The apostle Peter tells us prophetically, that the same principle would be true in these last days. He was speaking about today!

  1. II Peter 3:7-13
  2. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
  3. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
  4. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
  5. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
  6. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
  7. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
  8. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Before we look further at conditions in our own day, let us first consider some of the lessons from the Word of God. We would like to begin our study of the "spirit of Elijah" by a review of the first century AD. It was during this period of time that John the baptist appeared with his call for repentance.

The iniquity of the Jewish nation (God's chosen people) had been filled up – they were now on the verge of committing their greatest offense; rejecting and crucifying their Messiah.

The judgment that they would bring upon them for these offenses was the subject of many of the parables of the Messiah during his own ministry. For example:

  1. Mark 12:1-9
  2. And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winevat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
  3. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
  4. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
  5. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
  6. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
  7. Having yet therefore one son, his well beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
  8. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.
  9. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
  10. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.

They were destined to be judged and scattered for their sins. History tells us that those judgments would climax in AD 70, but before the judgment on the fig tree nation the goodness of God would allow his people ample space to repent. To assist them in turning from their sins, he sent his messenger John the baptist, in the spirit and power of Elijah:

  1. Luke 1:17
  2. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, 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.
  1. Matthew 3:1-3
  2. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
  3. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
  4. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

John was the forerunner for Christ. It was his mission to introduce Christ (God's royal majesty). John dedicated his life to this task, spending his days in poverty while he was calling the Jewish people to repentance.

  1. Matthew 3:5-9
  2. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
  3. And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
  4. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
  5. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
  6. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

It is significant that even the Pharisees were given the opportunity to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. God is not willing that any should perish.

Note: John's ministry began in 29 or 30 AD, 40 years before the judgment in AD 70. They had plenty of warning about the coming affliction when they would "fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).

John ("in the spirit and power of Elijah") continued his exhortation in Matthew 3:

  1. Matthew 3:10-12
  2. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
  3. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
  4. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

(Article Continued)