“ELIJAH THE TISHBITE”

One of the best known and admired prophets of the Old Testament after Moses is Elijah, a man whose faith was such that he is also known for a number of remarkable firsts.

Elijah was the first to raise the dead. The first to stop the heavens from sending rain and the first to command the heavens to rain again. He was also first to pray fire down from heaven in full view of a great crowd. Elijah was also the first to ascend bodily into heaven, again, in full view of others. Elijah, what a great servant of God.

Yet we know so little about Elijah’s background. The bible refers to him as Elijah the Tishbite who emerges from obscurity to tell Ahab the king and the nation as a whole that it will not rain again until he, Elijah, commands it to rain. No one took him serious and perhaps laughed at him. Time would vindicate the prophet for it did not rain again for three and a half years and only after he commanded it to.

Elisha, the successor to Elijah, was so impressed with Elijah whom he followed dutifully for a number of years, the exact number of years is not known, that he asked for a double portion of the spirit that was upon Elijah to be given to him. Elisha through perseverance and watchfulness received the double portion and he too did what Elijah accomplished but double.

Elijah was taken up into heaven in a such a spectacular way that some onlookers (sons of the prophets), insisted that Elisha sent a search party to go look for him for they could not accept that Elijah was taken up to heaven bodily.

Ever since, the figure of Elijah has been the subject of speculation, intrigue and sadly in modern times, cultish behaviour by some Christians. Songs have also been written about Elijah, the best known: ‘these are the days of Elijah’ are sung in churches around the world. The song might be catchy but it’s biblically incorrect, these are not the days of Elijah but they are the days of Jesus Christ. “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”. John 1:17).

Malachi the prophet declared that God would send a messenger to prepare the way of the Lord (Malachi 3:1) and later that God would “send Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”. (Malachi 4: 5).

Jesus would explain that John the Baptist was the Elijah mentioned in Malachi. Let’s be clear not the same person but rather the spirit of Elijah.

Sadly, there are too many who have interpreted the texts in Malachi in the first instance (Chapter 3), as appertaining to John the Baptist and the reference to Elijah in chapter 4, as appertaining to an end time Elijah. This interpretation has caused great anguish and led many astray. Men like John Alexander Dowie and William Branham to name the two best known figures, came to a sorry end because they thought they were Elijah.

I have read much on both men and also the great work they did but they were wrong in thinking they were Elijah. I believe they were called and anointed by God but I repeat they were wrong in thinking they were Elijah. It’s one thing to be impressed with Elijah or to respect him as a great prophet of God, and indeed he was; but to believe one is Elijah or even to believe Elijah must first come again is to err in scripture and in spirit.

I won’t at this time explain where I believe both men got it wrong I will leave it for my next blog. I would, however, ask the reader to consider the following.

The ministry of John the Baptist help to prepare the people for Messiah. Heaven was pleased with the job he did and so was Jesus. John said: “he (Jesus) must increase but I must decrease,” (John 3:30). A reference to the greater ministry of Jesus Christ over, beyond and above that of John the Baptist. Why then would God use a lesser ministry to close the dispensation of grace? This makes no sense for no one in scripture is more anointed than Jesus.

For Elijah to return to earth to persuade men and women and offer them salvation before the end comes would be a retrograde move by God. So great was the anointing upon Jesus Christ that it has been placed upon every child of God and yet it continues to be placed on them. Jesus is both the beginning and the ending as well as the Alpha and Omega or in English, the A to Z.

Let me end this blog with some verses from the letter to the Hebrews whom many believe to have been written by Apostle Paul and from his letter to the Ephesians.

Firstly, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds”. (Hebrews 1:1-2). 

Secondly, “Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”. (Ephesians 4: 8-13).

In the two texts we see the pre-eminence of the ministry of Christ in the dispensation of grace and the transference of the anointing of Christ upon his servants. There is no place for Elijah. On the mount of transfiguration both Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus and they discussed the death Jesus would accomplish not before long. The voice that spoke from heaven declared: “this is my beloved Son, hear ye him”. And then after the cloud was lifted the scripture says the three disciples that were there (Peter, James and John) saw Jesus only. (Luke 9:30-36).

Our platform is the world and our congregation the people.

The Lord’s servant 

Lloyd Denny

 

 

 

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