THE ELIJAH MESSAGEThe closing words of Malachi are a prophecy regarding the work that should be done preparatory to the first and the second advent of Christ. This prophecy is introduced with the admonition, "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments."
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; 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."
This prophecy was fulfilled by John the Baptist; for the Saviour himself declared to his disciples, "Elias is come already." Upon hearing this, the disciples "understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."
In every stage of this earths history God has had his agencies to carry forward his work, which must be done in his appointed way. John the Baptist had a special work, for which he was born and to which he was appointed,---the work of preparing the way of the Lord.
The mission and the work of John the Baptist were specified by the angel of the Lord, as recorded by Luke: "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." The Holy Ghost was to be upon him.
The wilderness-ministry of John the Baptist was a most striking, literal fulfillment of prophecy. Isaiah had foretold his work as "the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
John, as a prophet, stood forth as Gods representative, to show the connection between the law and the prophets and the Christian dispensation. Like Malachi, he pleaded with the Jews: "Remember ye the law of Moses, . . . with all the statutes and judgments." His work and ministry pointed back to the law and the prophets, while he, at the same time, pointed the people forward to Christ as the Saviour of the world. He called upon them to "behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
The forerunner of Christ lifted up his voice in the wilderness of Judea, crying, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he which was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord." "Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. . . . O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! behold, the Lord will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom."
In the spirit, and with the power, of Elijah, John the Baptist denounced the corruptions of the Jews, and reproved their prevailing sins. His discourses were plain, pointed, and convincing. Many were brought to repentance, and, as evidence of their repentance, were baptized by him in Jordan. This was the work necessary in order to prepare the way for the earthly ministry of Christ.
The work of John the Baptist, and the work of those who in the last days go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to arouse the people from their apathy, are in many respects the same. His work is a type of the work that must be done in this age. Christ is to come the second time to judge the world in righteousness. The messengers of God who bear the last message of warning to be given to the world, are to prepare the way for Christs second advent, as John prepared the way for his first advent. In this preparatory work, "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain;" for history is to be repeated, and once again "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, God calls for men who will prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. Just such a work as that which John did, is to be carried on in these last days. The Lord is giving messages to his people, through the instruments he has chosen, and he would have all heed the admonitions and warnings he sends. The message preceding the public ministry of Christ was, Repent, publicans and sinners; repent, Pharisees and Sadducees; "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Our message is not to be one of peace and safety. As a people who believe in Christs soon appearing, we have a definite message to bear,---"Prepare to meet thy God."
Our message must be as direct as was that of John. He rebuked kings for their iniquity. Notwithstanding the peril his life was in, he never allowed truth to languish on his lips. Our work in this age must be as faithfully done.
Look at the picture that the world presents to-day. Dishonesty and fraud, violence and bloodshed, are seen on every hand. The widows and the fatherless are often robbed of their all. The theater, the race-track, and questionable amusements of every kind engage the attention of multitudes. In many churches sins have become fashionable. They are glossed over and excused. The right hand of fellowship is given to the very men who bring in false theories and sentiments. Right principles are no longer cherished. The conscience has become insensible to the counsel and reproofs that have been given. Messages calling for repentance are unheeded.
In this time of well-nigh universal apostasy, God calls upon his messengers to proclaim his law in the spirit and power of Elias. As John the Baptist, in preparing a people for Christs first advent, called their attention to the ten commandments, so we are to give, with no uncertain sound, the message: "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." With the earnestness that characterized Elijah the prophet and John the Baptist, we are to strive to prepare the way for Christs second advent. Resolution, self-denial, and consecrated effort are required of every laborer. Alertness and consecrated zeal must take the place of listless indifference. The prayerful, earnest appeals that come from a heart imbued with the spirit that actuated Elijah, will bring conviction to the honest in heart.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
"Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Source: Ellen G. White, SW, March 21, 1905.
IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH
"To prepare a people to stand in the day of God, a great work of reform was to be accomplished [by the Advent Movement]. God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity, and in His mercy He was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor and lead them to make ready for the coming of the Lord." Mar 173.
"Thousands were led to embrace the truth preached by William Miller, and servants of God were raised up in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the message." EW 233.
"Angels of God accompanied William Miller in his mission. He was firm and undaunted, fearlessly proclaiming the message committed to his trust. A world lying in wickedness and a cold, worldly church were enough to call into action all his energies and lead him willingly to endure toil, privation, and suffering. Although opposed by professed Christians and the world, and buffeted by Satan and his angels, he ceased not to preach the everlasting gospel to crowds wherever he was invited, sounding far and near the cry, `Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.' " EW 232.
"Like John, the forerunner of Jesus, those who preached this solemn message felt compelled to lay the ax at the root of the tree, and call upon men to bring forth fruits meet for repentance." EW 233.
"When God would have a special work done for the advancement of the truth, He will impress men to work in the mines of truth with prayerful earnestness to discover the precious ore. These men will have Christlike perseverance. They will not fail or be discouraged. They will sink self out of sight in Jesus. Men will go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way for the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is their work to make crooked things straight. Some things must be torn down, some things must be built up. The old treasures must be reset in a framework of truth. They are to preach Gods Word; their testimony must not be molded by the opinions and ideas that have been regarded as sound, but by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. They are to lift up Christ and call sinners to repentance. They are to practice the graces of Christ, to pursue a straightforward course, breaking down skepticism and urging upon all their personal responsibility to be kind and courteous, to do good and to win souls to Jesus." 1888, p. 169.
"The Lord is sending His angels, preparing the hearts of the people to receive the truth. And if we are only consecrated to His service, we shall be sent forth in the spirit and power of Elijah." 5MR 72.
"John the Baptist went forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way of the Lord and to turn the people to the wisdom of the just. He was a representative of those living in these last days to whom God has entrusted sacred truths to present before the people to prepare the way for the second appearing of Christ. . . ." Mar 118.
"There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of their heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their expectations and ideal, they will oppose the work. Why, they say, should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years? --- Because they did not respond to the warnings, the entreaties, of the messages of God, but persistently said, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. " 1888, p. 765.
"The Jews tried to stop the proclamation of the message that had been predicted in the Word of God; but prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says, Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Mal 4:5). Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say, You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message. " 1SM 412.
"Those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God will bring from the books of Daniel and Revelation truth that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. They will start into action forces that cannot be repressed. The lips of children will be opened to proclaim the mysteries that have been hidden from the minds of men." TM 116.
"Increased light will shine upon all the grand truths of prophecy, and they will be seen in freshness and brilliancy, because the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness will illuminate the whole." Ev 198.
"The question has been asked of me, Do you think that the Lord has any more light for us as a people? I answer that He has light that is new to us, and yet it is precious old light that is to shine forth from the Word of truth." 1SM 401.
"The Lord will put new, vital force into His work as human agencies obey the command to go forth and proclaim the truth. He who declared that His truth would shine forever will proclaim this truth through faithful messengers, who will give the trumpet a certain sound. The truth will be criticized, scorned, and derided; but the closer it is examined and tested, the brighter it will shine." 1SM 201.
"As a people, we are to stand
firm on the platform of eternal truth that has withstood test and trial. We are to hold to
the sure pillars of our faith. The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our
only true foundation. They have made us what we are. The lapse of time has not lessened
their value. It is the constant effort of the enemy to remove these truths from their
setting, and to put in their place spurious theories. He will bring in everything that he
possibly can to carry out his deceptive designs. But the Lord will raise up men of keen
perception, who will give these truths their proper place in the plan of God." 1SM