Sunday, June 16, 2013

"In the Spirit and Power of Elijah"

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, June 16, 2013:  I Kings 15:25-17:24

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”  I Kings 17:1 (NKJV)

Elijah is one of the most powerful, dynamic figures in all of Scripture.  Even though he did not write a book as did Isaiah or Jeremiah, yet he stands as perhaps the paramount prophetic figure of the Old Testament.  Not only did he declare the word of God, he enforced it!  Kings rose or fell at his words.  Famine or draught or deluge followed his prayer life.  

When Jesus was transfigured before his disciples in Matthew 17, He met with two Old Testament saints:  Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:3).  Most biblical scholars agree that these two represent the Law and the Prophets -- the sum of Old Testament revelation and demonstration.  

Elijah is the prophetic voice of God bringing warning to the world and preparation for God's people.  Elijah was a man, but he is also more than a historic personality.  Elijah represents the prophetic voice of God "preparing the way."  Throughout history God has sent individuals "in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17) to prepare the way for for revival and restoration.  John the Baptist was the greatest of these men who stand in this "Elijah ministry."

Scripture predicts that before the end of this age, there will yet again be a fulfillment of the Word of the Lord:  "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." (Mal. 4:5)  What does this mean?  What might we expect?  As history proceeds toward the Second Coming of Christ, are we to expect another "John the Baptist-type" individual to rise up preparing the way for Christ's return?

We need not expect ONE INDIVIDUAL who will come proclaiming himself to be Elijah.  In fact, many fakes and frauds have tried to do this.  There will not be ONE INDIVIDUAL who fulfills this end time prophetic ministry.  Rather, God is raising up an ELIJAH GENERATION.  There will be once again a powerful prophetic voice that will go across the land bring warning to the world and preparation for God's people.   It will not be one person but many operating "in the spirit and power of Elijah."  

Elijah's first two major miracles set a pattern for this powerful ministry.  Interestingly, both miracles took place with a Gentile woman -- the widow of Zarephath.  The first miracle was one of PROVISION.  During a God-caused famine (read "recession" here), God made a way for the widow and her son to have endless supply!

The second miracle was of RESURRECTION.  The disease and devastation of the day was killing off the youth.  The widow's son died.  By a full-bodied commitment, Elijah brought back a lost generation.  

This "Elijah ministry" does many important things.  It calls for reconciliation between fathers and sons, between fractured generational divides.  It calls for pure-hearted devotion to God.  It stands against the compromise and sin that fills our land with the idolatries of materialism and self-infatuation.

This is not legalistic austerity.  It is liberation to be ready the the greatest party the universe has ever seen: the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  And that's worth looking forward to.  That's worth preparing for.  Come, Lord Jesus.  

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