Coming in His Kingdom
Arlen L. Chitwood
Moses and Elijah in That Day (1)
Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded 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 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 4:4-6)
Different, though similar, expressions are used in Scripture to depict the whole of Scripture — e.g., “To the law, and to the testimony” (Isaiah 8:20); “Moses and all the Prophets,” “the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:27, 44); or “Moses and the prophets” (Luke 16:29, 31).
By placing Moses and Elijah together in the last three verses in the Old Testament, the whole of Scripture is once again in view. The Law was given through Moses, and Elijah was one of the prophets.
The same thing is seen through Moses and Elijah’s appearance together in Matthew 17:1-5 and Acts 1:9-11; also, because of that which is involved, evidently the two unidentified men at the empty tomb in Luke 24:4-7 were also Moses and Elijah.
(For information on the preceding, refer to Appendix 1 in this book.)
Then there are a series of events of equal significance concerning these two men that will occur yet future, at two different periods of time.
One has to do with a manifestation of signs by two prophets (the two witnesses) during the Tribulation, along with an evident counter manifestation of signs by the false prophet (Revelation 11, 13). And, comparing Scripture with Scripture, these two prophets could only be identified as Moses and Elijah.
(These two prophets are “the two anointed ones” in Zechariah’s fifth vision [Zechariah 4:1-14].
Because of the importance of Elijah’s future ministry to Israel, as seen in Malachi 4:5, 6, it would appear strange indeed if he were not mentioned someplace in Revelation 6-19a [that section of the book covering the Tribulation]. And, in the light of other Scripture, it would appear equally strange if Elijah appeared unaccompanied by Moses.
And Revelation 11:3-12 is the only place throughout these fourteen chapters of the book where we have two men of this nature appearing to Israel during this time. Also, signs associated with their ministry reflect back on signs performed by Moses and Elijah [v. 6].)
Then, following the Tribulation when these two men return with Christ — i.e., when these two men, depicting the complete written Word [which is living], return with this Word manifested in the form of flesh [again, the living Word] — according to biblical typology, there will be a continuation and conclusion to their preceding ministry during the Tribulation (Exodus 5:1ff; 1 Kings 17:25ff). That which is stated concerning Elijah’s ministry in relation to the Jewish people and the theocracy, seen in Isaiah 40:1-5 and Malachi 3:1-4; 4:5, 6, must be brought to pass.
Also, inseparably connected with the preceding and inseparably connecting these two men for all time in relation to Israel and the theocracy, there are only two instances in all of the Old Testament (in Moses and the Prophets) where God empowered individuals to perform supernatural “signs.” The first occurred under Moses and his successor Joshua, and the second occurred under Elijah and his successor Elisha.
The first occurred in connection with the Jewish people and the theocracy — the Jewish people leaving Egypt with a view to realizing an inheritance in a theocracy in another land. Thus, a first-mention principle was established at this point in Scripture regarding signs, which can never change.
Accordingly, any future manifestation of signs, by and through individuals empowered to perform these signs, could only have to do with the Jewish people, with the theocracy in view.
Remove either (the Jewish people or the theocracy), and signs of the nature seen in Scripture cannot exist. Both Israel and the kingdom must be in view together for these supernatural signs to exist.
This is why the exact same thing is seen by and through a manifestation of signs during Elijah’s and Elisha’s ministries. This was one of the darkest days in Israeli history. Ahab and his wife Jezebel had led the people completely away from God, into Baal worship. The theocracy was in existence, though in a divided kingdom. And the manifested signs had to do with Israel and the kingdom (a call for the people to return to the God of their fathers).
The same thing was seen in the gospel accounts and the book of Acts during the offer and reoffer of the kingdom to Israel — an unparalleled manifestation of signs.
And the same thing will again be seen during the first half of the Tribulation, by and through the ministry of the two witnesses, the ministry of Moses and Elijah to Israel during this period.
And the signs will, they must, have to do with Israel and the kingdom during this future time. The kingdom will be in the offing. The time will be at hand when the kingdom will be restored to a repentant and converted nation.
(For additional information on “signs” in the preceding respect, refer to the author’s three pamphlets, “Signs, Wonders, Miracles.”)
John and Elijah
Many Bible students have trouble understanding that John (John the Baptist) only came “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17) and did not fulfill any of the Old Testament prophecies pertaining to Elijah.
John clearly stated that he wasn’t Elijah (John 1:21). Jesus, on the other hand, said that he was Elijah (Matthew 11:10-14; 17:10-13). But there was an “if” in connection with John being identified as Elijah by Christ in Matthew 11:14 — “if you are willing to receive . . . .”
Elijah is to be Christ’s forerunner at the time Israel receives her Messiah. God, in His foreknowledge, knew what the nation would do at Christ’s first coming. Thus, John was sent “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” but not in fulfillment of any prophecies about Elijah.
(Scripture sometimes has near and far fulfillments of events in the preceding respect. Note Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 2:15 for example — “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” The prophecy in Hosea is clearly about Israel, God’s firstborn son, at the time of the Exodus. In Matthew though, the prophecy was fulfilled by God’s other firstborn Son, at the time He was removed from Egypt as a child.)
The fulfillment of that which is seen in Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; 4:5, 6 can only occur at a time when the Jewish people receive their Messiah. Note the context of Isaiah 40:3; it is millennial. Also, note that which Elijah will do in Malachi 4:6, which John didn’t do in his ministry.
Elijah, exactly as he did with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18:25ff, will turn “the heart” of the Jewish people back to their fathers (back to believing the prophets), and “the heart” of their fathers (the prophets) back to the Jewish people. Note the direct statement regarding this in the historical account following the fire falling from heaven on Mount Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 18:37-39; Malachi 4:5, 6).
John, as Christ’s forerunner at His first coming, aside from a near fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3, failed to fulfill any of the prophecies pertaining to Elijah. Thus, through any sound system of biblical interpretation, John cannot possibly be seen fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies concerning Elijah.
Elijah will come yet future, fulfilling Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; 4:5, 6. And, once again, he will be instrumental in turning the people from unbelief to belief in Israel, possibly in a similar manner to the way he accomplished this on Mount Carmel over 2,800 years ago (1 Kings 18:25-39).
Moses and Elijah, During the Tribulation
When Elijah returns to minister to the Jewish people before “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” he will be accompanied by Moses, both during the Tribulation and with Christ following the Tribulation. And his fulfilling the passages in Isaiah and Malachi may very well occur both during and following the Tribulation when both he and Moses return with Christ, for events throughout this period will occur prior to “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”
(For information concerning when the Day of the Lord begins, which will follow the Tribulation and Christ’s return, refer to Chapters 4, 5 in the author’s book, The Time of the End.
“The great and dreadful day of the Lord” would refer more specifically to that time when Gentile world power is destroyed following Christ’s return [Joel 2:1-11, 30-32; 3:1-16].)
During the Tribulation (first half), Moses and Elijah will minister to Israel. They will evidently be instrumental in the conversion of the 144,000 Jews who are to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the Gentiles worldwide during the last half of the Tribulation (Revelation 7, 12, 14). As well, they will evidently confront Antichrist and his false prophet, through supernatural powers, signs (cf. Revelation 11:3-6; 13:13-15).
But the entire nation being brought to the place which Elijah brought them in history on Mount Carmel will await Moses and Elijah’s return with Christ at the end of the Tribulation.
(At the end of their ministry during the Tribulation, Moses and Elijah will be slain. And this may very well be the time when Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel and turns against the Jewish people in all his fury, as seen in Matthew 24:15ff [cf. Revelation 11:13]. Three and one-half days following their death, Moses and Elijah will be raised from the dead and will be removed into the heavens, awaiting Christ’s return three and one-half years later.)
Biblical prophecy places Israel’s repentance near the end of the Tribulation and the birth of a nation following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation.
Moses and Elijah’s ministry to Israel during the first half of the Tribulation may very well be of such a nature that over three years following their ministry, near the end of the Tribulation, in Israel’s darkest hour, their prior ministry will play a part in the entire nation turning to and calling upon the God of their fathers (exactly as seen in the type in Exodus 2:23). And, exactly as seen in the type, when the Jewish people do this, God will hear, remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and send the One greater than Moses back to His people (Exodus 2:24ff; cf. Zechariah 12:10ff).
Moses and Elijah, When Christ Returns
When Christ returns, accompanied by Moses, Elijah, and the armies in heaven (angels), He will return to the Mount of Olives. But this will not be the time when the Mount splits, as seen in Zechariah 14:4. Numerous events must occur first.
The antitype of the confrontation with the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt during Moses’ day (typified by the ten plagues) will occur at this time. And God will probably use Moses, exactly as in the type in Exodus, to bring this to pass.
Elijah, on the other hand, can only be seen turning his attention to Israel during this time, bringing about and fulfilling that which is seen in Malachi 4:5, 6.
Christ and Moses (as Moses and Aaron in the type) will evidently appear to the Assyrian of that day with the same message that God instructed Moses to take to the Assyrian of his day —“Israel is My son, My firstborn . . . let My son go that he may serve Me . . .” (Exodus 4:22, 23). And judgments will follow when the Assyrian refuses, exactly as in the type.
Elijah, on the other hand, can only be ministering to a scattered Jewish people at this time. He will be ministering to the nation in line with Malachi 4:5, 6, readying the nation for Christ’s appearance to them, when they look upon the pierced One, resulting in a nation being born in a day (cf. Isaiah 66:8; Zechariah 12:10-14).
(For additional information on Moses and Elijah, When Christ Returns, refer to Chapter 4 in this book.)
The tenth and last plague in the type was the death of the firstborn, the Passover. This is where Israel’s national conversion occurred/will occur in the order of events. And, with God’s firstborn son on the scene in this manner, this is where the death in relation to Gentile regality in Egypt did/will occur as well, with Gentile power subsequently destroyed. Then, the remaining six festivals outline a sequence of events relative to Israel, leading into the Messianic Era.
(Refer to Appendix 2 in this book for a brief outline of these events, which, as all other events between Christ’s return and the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom will evidently occur during the seventy-five-day period mentioned at the end of the book of Daniel.)