Walking In The Spirit Of Elijah

walking-down-country-road-to-cross-small“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” – Malachi 4:5-6

God just loves to talk in riddles that keep us digging and amazed by His simplicities and complexities all tied together in undeniable and miraculous ways. The above mentioned prophecy was one of the last prophecies given by the Old Testament prophets. Given 400 years before the birth of Christ, little more was spoken between the giving of this promise and the birth of the man who would fulfill it. Who was that man, and what does it mean that he would turn the hearts of the children back to the father?

“And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.” – Matthew 17:10-13

Jesus Himself identified John the Baptist as the fulfillment of this prophecy, but we know that John the Baptist was born of Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin) and Zacharias (a priest of the sons of Aaron). So could he really have been Elijah? This is greatly clarified in the Angels explanation to John’s father Zacharias, when he told him of the child that was coming to him.

“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 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.” – Luke 1:13-17

There is no doubt that this passage is proving John to be the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy. When we look at the two side by side it is undeniable:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” – Malachi 4:5-6

“And he shall go before him 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

However, the angel’s description serves to clear up one more important detail. It’s states that (as opposed to some literal reincarnation of the physical person of Elijah) John would walk in the spirit and power of Elijah. In other words, though he would be his own person, he would have the same character and mandate as did Elijah. Ephesians 4:23 talks about being renewed “in the spirit of your mind“, meaning “the character of it“. 1 Corinthians 4:21 talks about the “spirit of meekness“, or the “character of meekness“, and in 2 Kings 2:9 Elisha asked to be blessed with a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, or “his character“. So understanding this, John the Baptist was not physically the same man as Elijah, but rather walked in the same character, mandate, giftings, and power as Elijah. Therefore the promise that he would turn the hearts of the children back to their father was nothing less then the cry of John in the wilderness saying, “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand“. You see, the word “repent” that John so fervently and adamantly cried out before the people day and night, literally means “turn“, “turn your heart away from sin and back to your father.” Therefore, the Spirit of Elijaih is, at it’s core, the preaching of Repentance for the purpose of turning the hearts of the children back  to their Heavenly Father, or “reconciliation“.

“And they asked him (John the Baptist), What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” – John 1:21-23

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 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.” – Matthew 3:1-3

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5;18

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