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Bible verses about Elijah, Types of
(From Forerunner Commentary)

1 Kings 18:36-38

To his audience, this was the equivalent of a nuclear explosion. Not only did the sacrifice completely burn up, but the altar burned as well. The fire came out of heaven, and "Vhoom!" everything was gone. Even the water in the trenches was gone—there was just a black spot on the earth, a charred hole in the ground. Did God answer Elijah's prayer to reveal who the true God was and who His true servant was? Most spectacularly! God left no doubt in the people's minds who was who, what was what, and how wrong they had been.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 6)


 

Malachi 4:5

Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: This phrase lures people into interpreting this as occurring just before Christ's second coming. However, the verse does not say "immediately before"—that is an assumption—it only says "before." The apostle John writes that the world was passing away in his day 2,000 years ago (I John 2:17)! In terms of time, verse 18 is even more incredible because John says that by biblical reckoning it was already the last hour (Romans 13:11-12; I Peter 4:7)! It is imperative we learn to consider time as God does rather than men.

The last days began with the arrival of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist, the prophesied Elijah, appeared as one epoch ended and the next began. He was the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets, his preaching turned the hearts of the fathers to the children, and he prepared the way for the Messiah. He most certainly came before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Elijah and John the Baptist


 

Matthew 11:11-14

Verse 14 is an interesting statement all by itself. Is there another Elijah to come? What He says very clear, and there is no greater authority than Jesus Christ, who said, "This [John the Baptist] is Elijah."

But did John the Baptist restore all things? Did John turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers? It is an interesting puzzle. Nevertheless, we cannot gainsay what Jesus says: "This is Elijah!"

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


 

Matthew 16:18

Does this say the church will never die out? Yes, but only indirectly.

The translation of one word, "prevail," alters the focus of what Jesus says. It could also be rendered "stand." By choosing to translate the word as "prevail," it changes the church from being on the offensive against the kingdom of Satan, represented by the word "Hades," to being on the defensive, as continually under attack.

Jesus is promising that He would enable His church to be on the offensive and triumphant against Satan and death. Is the church constantly under attack? Of course it is, and there have been several times that, as far as we know, it has almost died out, but it has always emerged triumphant and continued on.

How was this accomplished? Jesus Christ would raise up a man to preach the gospel once again. Peter Waldo is one of the clearer examples. In the process, he became the one God used to call others into His truth, and around him, He formed a continuation of the church of God. Using this interpretation, even the first-century apostles, as they took the gospel into new areas, became weak types of Elijah—as did all the men God used down through the ages, like Peter Waldo.

Each of them, in type, had to reestablish things and preach repentance in preparation for the receiving of the gospel and the Messiah. But not a single one of them was the Elijah to come because that office and prophecy—by Jesus' own words—has already been fulfilled, and there is no higher authority.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Elijah and John the Baptist


 

Matthew 17:10

Jesus says that John the Baptist was Elijah (see verses 12-13).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


 

Matthew 17:10

The question, asked by the disciples, is about what the scribes were saying: that the actual prophet Elijah—not the Elijah—must first come. What the scribes believed was in question, not the truth regarding Malachi 4:5-6.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 3)


 

Matthew 17:11

Jesus responds to the disciples' question essentially by saying He agrees that the scribes are correct in saying, "Elijah must come before the Messiah appears and before that great and dreadful day."

The word "truly" is important to understanding His agreement with the scribes. He is saying they have correctly understood Malachi 4:5-6 to this pointthat "Elijah must come first." He does not say He agrees with them totally, nor is He indicating that another Elijah will come in the future. Jesus says verse 13 in the future tense, because it is the tense in which Malachi 4:5-6 is written, which is a promise to be fulfilled at some later point in time.

He adds a quotation from the prophecy given about John in Luke 1:17. He wants to turn our attention away from Elijah to John.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 3)


 

John 1:19-21

When John the Baptist replied, he knew in advance what they were thinking because he knew what the Jews believed in regard to Elijah. This is why he answered, "I am not Elijah." In other words, since he was preaching and doing certain things, they expected that he was Elijah. The definite article is left out: "No. I am not Elijah."

The reason he answers this way is because he probably did not know at this time that he was the Elijah of Malachi 4:5, so he answered honestly the only way he could: "No, I am not the resurrected Elijah."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 3)


 

Revelation 11:3

"Clothed in sackcloth." II Kings 1:8 is the response of some people who reported what they had seen to the king, Ahaziah: "So they answered him, 'A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.' And he said, 'It is Elijah the Tishbite." Matthew 3:4 describes John the Baptist: "Now John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locust and wild honey." So Elijah and John the Baptist both wore sackcloth. In a way, they are types of these Two Witnesses.

Being clothed in sackcloth has several meanings in the Bible. They are all somewhat similar, but they have nuances that we need to consider.

Sackcloth was worn by those who were in mourning. Recall in Ezekiel 9 that the angel was supposed to mark all those who sighed and cried for all the troubles of Jerusalem. That is a sign of woe, of mourning, or of being sorry for the fall of this once great nation or for their sins.

Sackcloth also can mean repentance, as an outward sign of the inner repentance of a person. Therefore it also has another meaning of being humble. A repentant person should be a humble person. He has seen his sins and turned from them.

Another meaning is austerity. This is one that the world often sees in John the Baptist and Elijah, that they were "poor" men. However, that is not necessarily the case. Austerity does not necessarily mean that one is poor. It can mean though that a person leads a simple lifestyle, and that he has removed the frills that complicate his life. Wearing sackcloth, then, could mean a person has stripped down to the simplest essentials of his physical life.

Of course, the one that goes with this would then be poverty, yet not necessarily physical poverty (a lack of money) but spiritual poverty (poor in spirit). This is a fine way of looking at the wearing of sackcloth in the case of the Two Witnesses—and frankly, of Elijah and John the Baptist. They were ready to be filled and given the riches of God because they had considered themselves lowly and needy. They knew they needed what only God could give. They were poor in spirit.

However, all of these meanings could apply to the Two Witnesses: They mourn for the troubles this world is going through; they are repentant and humble; they are austere, not having any of the frills and complications that clutter other people's lives—they have stripped themselves of the things that would weigh them down so that they can run (Hebrews 12:1); and they are certainly poor in spirit.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 3)


 

Revelation 11:6

Like the last two verses, this one has obvious references to the Old Testament. The first miracle—no rain falling in the days of their prophecy—refers specifically to Elijah's 3½ year drought (I Kings 17-18). The second—waters turning to blood—is an obvious reference to the first plague that Moses brought upon Egypt (Exodus 7:14-25). This seems to be a return to the way God's servants worked before Jesus Christ came—specifically focusing on Elijah's and Moses' works.

The word "power" appears again. When somebody says, "These have power," we think in terms of energy or force or strength to do something. However, the implication of "power" here is authority. God gives them the authority, or the right, to cause these things to happen. In a way, they are given carte blanche to do what needs to be done.

In studying the lives of Elijah, Moses, and others of the prophets, we do not often see them going to God and saying, "Now, what should I do at this point? God, you know our enemies are coming, and I'm not sure what I should do." No, they just do whatever needs to be done. In II Kings 1, when the groups of fifty men and their captains come upon Elijah, the prophet was not sitting there and praying at the top of a hill, saying, "Oh, they're getting close. God, tell me what to do." He just called for fire from heaven and destroyed them. So, the Two Witnesses are given much the same authority at the time of the end. These two will have been trained and prepared by God to such an extent that they will know what to do. They will call upon God, and He will answer with power.

We do not find Jesus, for that matter, beseeching God for instruction about what to do. If someone came to Him for healing, He healed him. If someone needed a demon cast out, He cast out the demon. Once one has God's Spirit—and is in line with God's will—then these decisions are easier to make because, as Paul says in I Corinthians 2:16, "We have the mind of Christ." As we grow, we develop more of that mind of Christ, and we should be able to make decisions as Christ would make them.

So these Two Witnesses will be very much like Christ. They are witnesses of Him, as it says in the literal translation of verse 3. They are, in a way, some of the best representatives of Jesus Christ and His character that will have ever walked this earth. They will act like Christ as much as any two men can, and people in the world will see these two people as like Christ—and eventually treat them as they treated Christ.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 6)


 

 




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