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Mustard Seed September/October 2013

Letter From the Editor

Jilted Lovers (Allies)

The Patience and Anger of God

Spiritual Growth

Just A Doorkeeper?


Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers Part 2


Questions & Answers Part II



What does it mean that John the Baptist came "in the spirit and power of Elijah?" (Luke 1:17)


About 450 years before Christ was on the earth, God spoke through the prophet Malachi:  "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." (Malachi4:5)


When the angel Gabriel described John the Baptist in Luke 1:17, he referred to this prophecy.  When we compare John the Baptist to Elijah, we gain insight into the meaning of Malachi's prophecy and the angel's statement.


Elijah's fascinating story is found in I Kings 17 through II Kings 2.  Elijah had lived for a time in the wilderness near the Jordan River.  Part of his mission was to lead a religious revival against mighty odds, the wicked King Ahab.


"Is that you, 0 troubler of Israel?" Ahab once shouted at Elijah.  Quick to respond, Elijah replied, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed the Baals."  (I Kings 18:17-18).


Elijah led a dynamic, powerful work; so did John the Baptist. John ate locusts and wild honey, wore a rough garment of camel's hair and, like Elijah, lived in the wilderness near the Jordan.  There he preached repentance and baptism in the river.  He prepared the people to receive Christ.


John also confronted the King.  He boldly warned Herod about his desire to have his brother's wife:  "it is not lawful for you to have her." (Matt. 14:4 ).  In temperament, devotion and zeal for God, Elijah and John were similar.  Even the Pharisees noticed the similarities enough to ask John if he were Elijah.


From the prophecy in Malachi, they knew to expect Elijah before the coming of the Messiah.  It seems, however, the Pharisees expected the literal, resurrected Elijah, not a symbolic one.


This would explain why, when the Pharisees asked John if he were Elijah, John replied, "I am not."  (John 1 :21)  John knew they meant the resurrected Elijah.  The Pharisees could not understand the prophecy metaphorically, as Jesus explained it.  (Matt 11 :13-14).  Notice that the phrase is:  "in the spirit and power of Elijah,"  This implies someone like Elijah, not Elijah himself.  This statement was clarified for the people of that day, that Malachi's prophecy was fulfilled by a symbolic Elijah, not the literal one.





Meeting Location:  
4923 Prospect NE, Albuquerque
(San Mateo @ I-40)
Mailing Address:
Church of God, New Mexico       
P.O. Box 35365,
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87176
Telephone: 505-889-2939
E-mail:  Church of God

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