Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
Introduction to the book of Revelation
When is the Day of the Lord?
In Part III, I took you to the book of Malachi in order to answer this question.
Let’s take the time to review because this is how we learn.
Please open your Bibles and turn to the book of Malachi in the Old Testament.
Remember, locate the book of Matthew, flip back a page, and you’re there.
In the following Bible passage, the writer of this small but important Old Testament book gives those who are interested an overview of what the day of the LORD will be like; and one important SIGN that will trigger the event. After the appearance of Elijah, one day future, the day of the LORD will commence.
5: “Behold, I am going to send you (Who?) Elijah the prophet (This is the same prophet who did not experience death but was caught up to heaven in a whirlwind; he is to be a “sign” and when is this going to happen) before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.”
So, we know, because God said so, that He is going to send Elijah before the great and terrible day of the LORD. And this would be a sign to the nation of Israel.
How do we know this sign is meant for the Jews?
We know this because the writer, Malachi, was God’s messenger to the nation of Israel.
1: The oracle (somebody or something considered to be a source of knowledge, wisdom, or prophecy) of the word of (Who?) the LORD (to whom?) to Israel through Malachi.
That’s as plain as daylight.
Malachi was God’s prophet and His message was directed to the Jews.
Why did God promise to send the Hebrews a SIGN?
The Israelites were accustomed to and often requested a SIGN from God before they would act and more importantly before they would BELIEVE God. I’ll show you a couple examples. But the Bible has many others.
12: And this is the (What’s the next word) sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.
3: As He (Jesus) was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately (They wanted Jesus all to themselves), saying, “Tell us when these things happen (We’re no different. We want to know the exact time and day.), and what will be the (What’s the next word?) sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?”
From the call of Abram, and certainly after Israel became a nation, the Israelites witnessed multiple Supernatural occurrences (relating to or attributed to phenomena that cannot be explained by natural laws). They lived in a time when the Supernatural was familiar.
The use of “SIGNS” was God’s will and by His design.
God, in working with this young nation, went to great lengths to prove to the Jews that He is the One and the only Living God. Remember, after spending over four hundred years, and not as guests, in Egypt, these Israelites were steeped in idolatry.
Egypt worshipped many gods. Some major and some minor.
The Jews were more than just acquainted with them.
You see they worshipped the same false gods.
You have to remember that God was silent while the Jews were enslaved in Egypt.
There was a period of four hundred plus years of silence from Jehovah.
Four generations had passed before God would once again make Himself known to His elect.
The arrival of Moses ended God’s silence.
After God sent the prophet Malachi, to the Hebrews, and God’s message to the Israelites had been delivered, God was silent once again. The book of Malachi was written around 440BC.
This period of silence lasted another four hundred years or so.
God’s silent period was interrupted with the arrival of John the Baptist the prophet.
Jesus said no prophet was greater than John.
28: I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there is none greater than John:
Why – because he was chosen to announce the arrival of Israel’s Messiah; and the promised Kingdom of God. The nation of Israel has been awaiting this event since the call of Abram.
John’s mission was to “turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people (the Jews) prepared for the Lord.”
17: “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
We know from our study of God’s Word that He will send the nation of Israel a sign. This sign will be the prophet Elijah; and he will come before, not during, not after, the day of the Lord. This will significantly help us to determine when the day of the Lord will be. Now we are not going to come up with a date or a time but we will have a chronology of events.
5: Behold, I will send you (Israel) Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come.
In verse five, we are given a time period. It isn’t as exact as we would like it to be.
But it is significant as far as future events are concerned.
The primary event here is “the day of the LORD, “which is the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; and not the arrival of Elijah.
From my understanding of Scripture, I think this “sign” will actually be Elijah himself.
I believe this because of what the Lord Jesus Christ said, “I will send the prophet Elijah…”
Jesus did not say I will send someone who is like Elijah.
Now you need to know that Elijah made an appearance during Jesus’ earthly ministry and this is recorded for us in both Matthew and Mark.
1: Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. (The other disciples were not present.)
2: And He (Jesus) was transfigured (to transform the appearance of somebody or something, revealing great beauty, spirituality, or magnificence) before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
3: And behold, Moses and (Who?) Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him (Jesus).
This was not the “sign” Jesus spoke of because Elijah did not come to the nation of Israel but only to Peter, James, and John. Later Jesus told them not to reveal what happened until after “the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”
I only work with the information Scripture provides. I pray you do the same.
There are some who believe the book of Revelation is a complete and utter fabrication of the truth, and therefore, so is the day of the Lord. These lack faith.
There are those who teach the day of the Lord begins promptly after the Rapture and then runs its course on through the Tribulation period. However, Elijah is missing from their presentation. He’s not in the picture and he has to be according to Scripture.
The Lord Jesus Christ stated He would send the prophet Elijah before the day of the Lord, therefore, I believe this event will be recorded for us somewhere in the Scriptures. Think. It’s is a sign…a sign is visible and in this case probably audible!
Put your detective hats on and then we’ll search the Scriptures together.
We’ll find what is revealed concerning this prophet of God’s called Elijah.
As we gather details about the man, his mission statement, and the powers God gave to him, I believe this will assist us in our search for truth.
Once we locate Elijah, the man, the prophet, in this book future, then we’ll have a better idea about when the Day of the Lord will occur.
(To be continued)
By: Gary Heitzman
In His Service