According to Malachi 4:5, the great and
dreadful day of the Lord follows very soon
after the coming of Elijah.
The question before us is, “who is Elijah
who would come? Many recognize that
this mysterious prophet precedes the
coming of the day of the Lord.
As a child, I often heard stories that
Elijah Muhammad fulfilled this prophecy,
signaling that Armageddon was near.
Five possibilities exist for the identity of
the end time prophet Elijah.
- Elijah, of Old Testament prophecy
- John, the immerser
- Jesus Christ
- Elijah Muhammad of the NOI
- Some unknown figure yet to come
As a precursor of the coming of the Lord,
it is important that we seek to identify
this prophet. We are supposed to know
who he is.
Otherwise, how can we know the day of
the Lord is near? A sign is a visible marker
which points us to the object of its design.
It appears that the Jews understood this
prophecy to be figurative in meaning. The
questions they asked shows they did not
expect a literal reincarnation of Elijah.
Further, they were in expectation of Elijah
in the first century. This means they looked
for the Messiah and the age of righteousness
to be ushered in at his coming.
The Jews sent priests and Levites inquiring
of John, the immerser whether he was
Elijah. He denied the claim. (John 1:21)
Later, Jesus asked his disciples what
others were saying of him. Some claimed
he was Elijah. (Matt. 16:14) Denying this,
Jesus claimed to be the Messiah.
Next, Elijah appears at the transfiguration
scene with Moses and Jesus, speaking with
the latter about his “decease” which he
would accomplish at Jerusalem, (Luke 9:30, 31).
Believing this fulfilled the prophecy in Malachi,
they asked the Lord, why do the scribes
say that Elijah must come first?
From all the above, there appeared to be a
very high expectation that Elijah would come
in their lifetime.
Although John, the immerser denies that he
is Elijah, we must see that as a reference to
his being a literal reincarnation of Elijah. This
Yet, we find in the words of Christ, testimony
that John does indeed fulfill the prophetic
requirements of the Elijah who precedes the
end time day of the Lord.
Speaking to his disciples about John, Jesus said
“For all the prophets and the law prophesied
until John, And if you are willing to receive it,
he is Elijah who is to come. (Matt. 11:13, 14).
Therefore, in a figurative sense, John, the
immerser answers to the Elijah of Malachi’s
Additional testimony is found in the Matthew
17, at the Mt. Transfiguration scene. In reply
to the question noted above, “”Why then do
the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
Jesus answered and said to them, Indeed,
Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.
But I say to you that Elijah has come already,
and they did not know him but did to him
whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of
Man is also about to suffer at their hands.
Following this statement, the meaning was
clear to Jesus’ followers.
Then the disciples understood that He spoke
to them of John the Baptist. (17:11–13)
This accords with further details of Malachi’s
prophecy spoken at John’s birth that also
identify the nature of its fulfillment.
Of John, the Baptist, the angel spoke the
And he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will also go before Him in the spirit and
power of Elijah, 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.” (Lk. 1:16–17)
Compare Malachi 4:6, and the connection
is transparent. With John the immerser
identified as Elijah who would come, the end
time stage is set for the first century.
This of course rules out Elijah Muhammad
of the Nation of Islam. It likewise shows
the fallacy of the 10 future signs of the end
advocated by rapture ready enthusiasts.
We must look back in history for the signs
of the end, not forward.
Having identified John the Baptist, as the
prophet who would come, an imminent
end in the first century fits perfectly.
Join our newsletter by entering your name
and email address in the top right corner of
Your information will be held in strict confidence.
We do not sell rent or trade your information.