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The Days of Elijah, Part 2

September 5, 2012

“Second Coming of Christ”, Russian icon (c. 1500) (PD-Art l Old-70)

Christians in this day and age have cause for grief as well as joy, for fear as well as celebration. This Bible Study examines Scripture in light of the tumultuous times in which we live.

Still, we are the voice in the desert crying [1]

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God’ ”
(Isa. 40: 3).

Often, it feels as if we are the voice in the desert, the last remnant praising God.  We long for Jesus’ return in a dry and weary land (Ps. 63: 1).  When He comes again, the last shall be first, and the first last (Matt. 19: 30).  The rough places will be made smooth, and His glory will shine for all to see (Isa. 40: 4-5).

No one but the Father knows the day or the hour, when that will be (Matt. 24: 36).  Meanwhile, we cannot despair (2 Cor. 4: 8).  We are to “defend the poor and fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Ps. 8: 3) as long as God gives us strength.

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ ” (Matt. 3: 1-2).

John the Baptist was assigned the task of preparing the way for the Messiah. John was the final prophet to precede the Lord, baptizing Him in the Jordan.  Not long afterwards, John was martyred for his adherence to the truth (Mark 6: 18-19, 27-28).

Jesus said of John the Baptist that from among those born of women there was none greater (Matt. 11: 11).  The Lord added, however, that the least in the kingdom would be greater than John.  Astonishingly, that was a reference to us.  The Lord knew that faith would be a challenge in our day.

Some speculate that John the Baptist may be one of the two witnesses in Jerusalem at the end of days, and Elijah the other.  Whatever their identity, we are told the two witnesses – like Elijah earlier (1 Kings 17: 1) – will be given power “to shut heaven so that no rain falls” (Rev. 11: 6).

Behold He comes riding on the clouds

“ ‘…[H]ereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven’ ” (Matt. 26: 64).

Jesus made this reply, when asked by the high priest whether or not He was the Christ, the Son of the living God.  For these words He was condemned.  Yet we will see them fulfilled when He returns in glory.

Shining like the sun at the trumpet call

He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev 1: 16).

The trumpet call refers to the End of Days, when the dead shall rise and we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15: 52).

The image is a description of the Lord from the Book of Revelation. The seven stars represent the angels of the seven churches. (The churches are represented, in the full text, by seven golden lampstands.)  The two-edged sword is a reference to Scripture (Heb. 4: 12).

John fell at the Lord’s feet as if dead, at this vision. He was reassured by Christ, “ ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  Amen’ ” (Rev. 1: 17-18).

Lift your voice, it’s the year of Jubilee

And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants.  It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family” (Lev. 25: 10).

The Jubilee year was to occur every 50 years in Israel. During that year, land was to be returned to its original owner (or his heirs), and slaves were to be set free [2].

The Jubilee year, also, foreshadowed the reign of the Messiah.

The Jubilee year is no longer officially observed in Israel. However, translation by the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) of “jubilee” as “a trumpet blast of liberty” conveys some sense of the event. Christians can shout for joy that the law has been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, and look forward with anticipation to His return.

And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes

“ ‘Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion’
” (Ps. 2: 6).

This is a prophecy predicting the Messiah’s triumph and the establishment of His kingdom.  It is linked to another prophecy about the Messiah:

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem [Zion] on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two
…”(Zech. 14: 4).

Ultimately, all nations and all peoples will worship the Lord.  Hallelujah!

[1]  The lyrics of the popular hymn “Days of Elijah” by Robin Mark © 1997 Daybreak Music Ltd. are used as a jumping off point for this Bible study.  Complete lyrics may be found at

[2]  The law code found at Deuteronomy chapters 12-26 actually mandates that slaves be set free in the seventh year of their servitude.  This disparity suggests that the Jubilee year was intended to parallel the 50 days after Passover when Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah to Moses.


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