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How was the prophecy regarding return of Elijah fulfilled?

Haitians hold their hands up to pray to the crucifix after Sunday Mass outside the ruins of the National Cathedral. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Haitians hold their hands up to pray to the crucifix after Sunday Mass outside the ruins
of the National Cathedral. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

This is the third piece in this series of Qustion and Answers relating to Christianity with James Leasure, Richmond Evangelical Examiner.

Shahzad asks:

"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and... all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch... And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do [this], saith the LORD of hosts.... Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" -Malachi 4:1-5

‘How was the prophecy of Elijah descending from heaven on the chariot of fire fulfilled?

Answer: Shahzad references Malachi 4:1-5 (I added verse 6) with a question.

There is a lot to discuss in the five verses Shahzad referenced from Malachi 4:1-5.  Some of the text here refers back to earlier verses in Malachi.  But, we will focus on answering Shahzad’s question, specifically;

“How was the prophecy of Elijah, descending from Heaven on the Chariot of Fire fulfilled?”

The first thought in mind is of what the Baptists teach regarding John the Baptist. 

Malachi speaks of sending Elijah. The reason for sending Elijah is for preparation. We see this in Malachi 4:6,

‘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.’

John the Baptist came to prepare the hearts of men to receive the Messiah (John 1:23).   In recognition of Malachi 4:6, people considered John the Baptist to be Elijah. 

In part, I can see how one may think John the Baptist was Elijah.  Malachi 3:1 says God is going to send his messenger to “clear the way” before me (Him). People were accusing John the Baptist of being Elijah, but he flatly denied being Elijah (John 1:21). He did, however claim to be sent to “prepare the way” (John 1:23).  This was the first advent in which John the Baptist does announce an impending judgment.   For, after the first Advent of the Messiah, the Second Advent will be to pronounce judgment.

Because, the prophecy in Malachi 4:1-5 is of judgment (the element of fire indicates judgment, this is a prophecy concerning the Second Advent.

The use of the ‘Sun’ (not in Shahzad’s question, however, the word ‘Sun’ is used in the passage) is present to indicate the ‘judgment’ will be obvious when you see it. 

The world has seen many atrocities and natural disasters.  However, we continue to live with evil.  There has not been enough destruction on the earth to take hold of the conscience of mankind, to the point of utter distraction and inability to focus on anything else.  God’s judgment will make that kind of statement. His judgment will impact the entire earth and it will be obvious as to what trauma the Earth and its inhabitants are suffering.

Previous posts in this exchange:

How can the United States enlist Muslims if Jihad is a call to Muslims to defend Islam?
What is Jihad?
Do Muslims tolerate other religions?
What percentage of Muslims around the world believes in Radical Militant Islam?

How will those before Jesus' advent find salvation?
Why no prohibitions in Christianity?


  • Patricia Atlanta Astrology Examiner 5 years ago

    I often use these as an argument when I am told that the Bible make no reference to reincarnation...see my article on Past Life Regression...

    But the angel said to him "do not be afraid, Zechariah; your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John…And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah…to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Luke 1:13,17

    "But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him
    everything they wished, just as it is written about him." Mark 9:13

    "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come." Matt 11:13-14

    "But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not
    recognize him…" Then the disciples understood that he was
    talking to them about John the Baptist. Matt 17:12-13

    A bit inconsistent with John 1:21...perhaps John did not recognize himself as being Elijah either? Any thoughts?

  • Jim-Richmond Evangelical Examiner 5 years ago

    The Bible is fully replete with types and anti-types. What you are saying is what others have done. That is, people avoid the fact that the Elijah prophecy in Malachi requires a judgement. John is a type, carrying a message of advent. Upon the second advent, there will be a judgement of both doom and glory.

    Types are images or likenesses of the anti-type (the real thing)

  • Qasim - Chicago Islam Examiner 5 years ago

    Great question and great answer. I would only add that we hope mankind realizes the reality and beauty of God without the need for a worldwide destruction. As the people of Prophet Jonah (as) were spared at the last moment, we hope and pray we too are so fortunate.

    Thank you for posting this!

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