In Part 1, we took note of the ministry of John the Baptist, who had the responsibility of preparing the Way of the Lord for His 1st Coming. There are many lessons to learn from John the Baptist in preparing for the Lord’s anticipated return. The above verse is referring to the 2nd Coming of the Lord, but we see the name of Elijah being referenced. Do you find this a bit confusing?
Let’s take note of what Jesus shared with His disciples after the event of His Transfiguration.
And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” (Matthew 17:10-12)
Jesus uses this opportunity to reveal an important end-time truth. He does this by referencing Elijah who will come again to restore all things (v 11) in the lead-up to His 2nd Coming. He then mentions that Elijah has already come but was not recognized. This statement refers to John the Baptist. He came with a message of preparing the Way of the Lord for His 1st appearing. John was then put to death over the matter of Herod’s brother’s wife (Mark 6:17-18). Jesus goes on to say that He (meaning Himself) will suffer a similar fate (v 12).
Jesus is drawing attention to the finished ministry of John the Baptist so that perspective can be gained in understanding end-time truths. The end-time message of Preparing the Way of the Lord will be accomplished by Elijah. The prophet Malachi makes this abundantly clear in his closing statements. Malachi also mentions that Moses will have a prominent role in preparing the way of the Lord’s return.
Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. (Malachi 4:4)
The Two End-Time Witnesses
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. (Revelation 11:6)
Elijah was the one who was able to shut the heaven during the reign of King Ahab (1 Kings 17:1). Moses was used by God to turn water into blood during the time of the Exodus (Exodus 7:17).
At the time of the Transfiguration, it was Peter, James, and John who were with Jesus. There were two notable visitors who also attended.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. (Matthew 17:3)
Moses and Elijah came alongside Jesus to help prepare and strengthen Him for what was to come. Is it possible that their respective ministries will have a role in preparing the church for the last day events? There are some interesting parallels that we can note:
Elijah shut the heavens for a period of 3 ½ years (James 5:17).
The ministry of the Two Witnesses will last for 3 ½ years (Revelation 11:3).
Jesus was in the lower parts of the earth for 3 ½ days after his death (Matthew 12:40).
Moses and Elijah will be dead for 3 ½ days in Jerusalem (Revelation 11:9).
It was the ministry of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the 3 ½ years ministry of the Lord. It was at this time when John decreased so that the Lord could increase as He entered into the fullness of his earthly ministry (John 3:30). Admittedly, there is much to ponder over in this devotional.
We in the church are all looking forward to the impending return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Is it possible that the Two Witnesses of Moses and Elijah provide us the type and picture of a modern-day John the Baptist ministry? A ministry that helps in preparing the end-time church in its mandate to prepare the Way of the Lord? In the next instalment of our series on “Prepare the Way of the Lord”, we will focus on the ministry of Moses as one of the Two Witnesses. May we all be prepared as we look forward to His return.
Monday: Matthew 11:11
Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Tuesday: Isaiah 52:1
Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you.
Wednesday: Luke 1:13
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
Thursday: Deuteronomy 34:10
But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
Friday: Matthew 3:1-3
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’ ”
Saturday: Mark 6:20
For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
Sunday: Matthew 24:44
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
All scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV).
By Pastor Tim O’Connell