This week in our review of the Book of Mormon we’ll wrap-up with our look at chapter 21 of 3 Nephi when Yeshua prophesies of the Endtimes. The single most important event we see in Yeshua’s Endtime scenario is the arrival of His Servant. His arrival sets into motion a sequence of events that prepares this world for the return of the resurrected Messiah. Properly identifying this Servant then is paramount in our understanding of Endtime events. Central to understanding God’s Servant is the spirit and power of Elias/Elijah.
The Transitional Message of the Book of Mormon
When we look at the Book of Mormon as a whole, we see a transitional message that begins with the Book of Mormon testifying that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Savior of Humanity. From there, Yeshua commands the reader to study the words of Isaiah - 3 Nephi 23:1 - who then takes us to Yehovah’s Endtime Servant. So then the transitional message and our focus that we see in the Book of Mormon looks like this –
The transitional message that we see in the Book of Mormon doesn’t take us to a latter-day church, but to God’s Endtime Servant who then establishes the Church of the Lamb of God – 1 Nephi 14 and to the gathering of Israel.
Elijah to Return
At every Passover observance, Jews worldwide set a place for the return of Elijah to recognize Malachi’s prophecy –
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: - Malachi 4:5
One recurring pattern that we see in the scriptures is a person that God calls to prepare the people for the coming of God among men. Moses prepared Israel for Yehovah. John the Baptist prepared the Jews for Yeshua. So also will Elijah return during the Endtimes to prepare the people for the return of Yehovah/Yeshua.
This is really the best reference we can look at to identify who this Endtime Servant will be. Elijah who was taken to heaven who never died will return. When we look at other scriptures, this could mean that the Endtime Servant comes with the spirit and power of Elijah and not Elijah himself. So it is important to look at what Elijah did as an identifier of the Endtime Servant!
The Spirit and Power of Elias/Elijah
Under the kingships of Omri and Ahab, kings of Israel of the northern tribes, the worship of Baal was promoted in Canaan to achieve peace with the Phoenicians. Elijah enters the picture and prophesys of a drought and famine if Israel does not repent. After three years of drought, Elijah challenges the worship of Baal with a test before all Israel and the priests of Baal. The test required that the priests of Baal and Elijah offer sacrifice to their respected gods without fire – their gods would provide the fire so that the sacrifices were consumed to prove who was the true god. When the priests of Baal fail and Elijah succeeds, the priests of Baal are killed and Israel is turned back to the worship of Yehovah – their hearts were turned back to Him.
36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. 1 Kings 18:36,37
So Elijah turned the hearts of Israel back to the worship of the true god – Yehovah. This turning the hearts back to the worship and law to the true god will happen again at the Endtimes when Malachi prophesys –
6 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. Malachi 4:6
(Not sure how “restored” Christianity morphed this into doing genealogy.)
We also see this same message with John the Baptist turning the Jews back to the law through repenting and baptism.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He shall never take wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Many of the sons of Israel he will turn back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:13-17
The power then to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers refers to turning back God’s people to the worship and Law of Yehovah.
So the spirit and power of Elias/Elijah is this turning the hearts of God people back the worship and law of the true god - Yehovah, which will see occur with God’s Endtime Servant and Servants.
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