Lately scripture verses about Elijah and his end time role before the great and terrible day of YHVH, have been ‘showing up’ time and again. I can still remember, at one of the first MIA (Messianic Israel Alliance, in the beginning of this millennium) conferences, when Eddie Chumney introduced the song “These Are the Days of Elijah” to about 1100 Ephraimites sitting in attendance. The atmosphere became electrified with the melody and lyrics, while Eddie was spinning around in jubilation like a ballet dancer. The song was played over and over, and the excitement grew. I wonder if now we still have a sense of the ‘spirit of Elijah’, which is not only to herald the coming Messiah, but is actually to prepare His way. It is also the compass that keeps us pointed in the right direction.
In one way, the very fact that we have our Israelite identity which means that we have turned our hearts to our forefathers, and that a substantial number of the house of Judah are back in the land, are in themselves signs that we are living in “the days of Elijah” as prophesied: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHVH. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:5-6). “For YHVH of hosts will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His royal horse in the battle… They shall be like mighty men, who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because YHVH is with them… I will strengthen the house of Judah… (Zechariah 10:3, 5-6).
In last week’s letter “Everlasting Covenant” I mentioned the following verse: “The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the Torah, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5). We determined that the everlasting covenant mentioned here is the Abrahamic covenant and its promises. In what way did “they” transgress that covenant and its promises? One word describes it all - “unbelief”. YHVH redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt in order to fulfill that covenant, but this redemption was met with disobedience and rebellion. “Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways…Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living Elohim; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:9-10, 12-13 emphasis added). If we do not know His ways we will be like our forefathers and thus unable to fulfill the Elijah mandate to “prepare the way” for the Messiah.
The opposite example is Avraham; “He did not waver at the promise of Elohim through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to Elohim, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness’" (Romans 4:20-22). We are reckoned righteous through faith manifested in obedience. The spirit of Elijah, therefore, is a call for repentance/return/restoration/reconciliation.
In the previous letter I did not include the stated consequence of the disobedience, which ties in with the last verse of Malachi: “Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left” (Isaiah 24:6). Please read the rest of the chapter.
A similar picture, pointing to the curse, is found in the lyrics of the above- mentioned song: “And though these are days of great trial, of famine and darkness and sword”… But the next line “still, we are the voice in the desert crying, ‘prepare ye the way of the Lord,” takes us right to Isaiah chapter 40:3 with its declaration: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of YHVH; Make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim;”. That highway is the high-way of holiness, righteousness, peace, and joy through faith, hope and love which are embodied our redeemer Messiah Yeshua. “A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness” (Isaiah 35:8).
In Matthew 11:10 and 14 Yeshua says of Yochanan the Immerser: “For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You… And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” In evoking Elijah, Yeshua, who was referencing Malachi 4:4, pointed to the anointing to preach repentance/teshuva. Obviously Yeshua has not yet returned, thus we are in the “days of preparing His way”. So we have to ask ourselves: Who is the voice in the desert today? If it is the “dry bones being restored”, if it is us from both houses of Israel, then we must shake off the dust of the flesh with its religious and political systems and be about our Father’s business and that is “to prepare the way”.
“Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples! Indeed YHVH has proclaimed to the end of the world: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.' " And they shall call them The Holy People, the Redeemed of ; And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken” (Isaiah 62:10-12).