Has Another Elijah Come?
Recently, I received a flier in my letterbox which, in bold letters, stated: Great Tribulation Is At Hand! In fact, there were five of the same flier, which indicated that someone either really wanted me to get the message or I was the last house on the route and they just wanted to lump me with all five instead of visiting four other houses.
The first page is full of Scripture and at first glance, it appears the author has done a good job of directing people’s attention to the impending Tribulation Period. The second page is similarly packed full of information we would expect to read of in a tract warning the nation of the impending judgements that will befall Earth after the rapture of the church. However, upon quoting a verse from Malachi, things go from the interesting to the heretical. Malachi 4:5-6 reads this:-
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 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.
Elijah, mentioned 28 times in the New Testament, was viewed as the preeminent prophet of repentance. In fact, Jewish tradition held that Moses and Elijah would appear before the Messiah. You will recall in Luke 9:29-31 that Moses and Elijah did in fact appear on the mountain of Jesus’ transfiguration to testify that Jesus is the Messiah. So, what are we to make of the Malachi passage? Well, the prophecy was provisionally fulfilled by John the Baptist (see Malachi 3:1-5; Matthew 11:13-14).
A brief look at the ministry of John the Baptist reveals many notable ways that he was “Elijah”. First, God predicted John’s work as being like that of Elijah (Luke 1:17). Second, he dressed like Elijah (2 Kings 1:8 and Matthew 3:4). Third, like Elijah, John the Baptist preached in the wilderness (Matthew 3:1). Fourth, both men preached a message of repentance. Fifth, both men withstood kings and had high-profile enemies (1 Kings 18:17 and Matthew 14:3).
However, the flier I received from Grace of Jesus Christ Crusade claims that the head of their church, Elijah Hong, is the Elijah spoken of in the Malachi passage. In fact, their website claims that Elijah Hong is indomitable, invincible and powerful. Furthermore, they believe that the true Mount Zion is not located in Israel, but in Taiwan, where their base of operations is located.
At this particular juncture, people need to hear the full and complete truth of God, including the fact that only Jesus is capable of saving them from their sins. The flier still directs people to seek Jesus and repent, but the fact that Elijah Hong wrongly characterises himself as the Biblical Elijah is not something we can endorse. Satan is the author of confusion and unfortunately, all this flier does is bring more confusion to an otherwise simple matter that unrepentant mankind will soon need to address: what think ye of Christ?