In Christ dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. In Him we live and have our being today, and in Him is the glorious heritage promised unto us whereby we can become more than conquerors though Him who loved us.
We live in a day of restoration-a day of glorious things. There are two ways of looking at things today. One can look out and see destruction and inevitable judgment; but, at the same time, if the spiritual eye is open, the restoration of the LIVING GOD can be seen moving in the earth to restore that which was lost, to bring once again into the hearts of people, their heritage in Christ.
Matthew 17th chapter begins: “After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, brought them up on a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them-and behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘..let us build three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud saying: ‘This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased, hear Him.’” As they came down the mountain Jesus told them not to tell the vision to anyone until He had risen. When the disciples asked Him why the scribes said that Elijah must come first, He said, “Elijah truly 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.” Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
Here we see that in the midst of God’s people the Elijah ministry was a very important ministry, for it had been prophesied that this Elijah would come again. It was so important to them that many of them put out an extra chair for Elijah (symbolic of his coming again) when they sat down to their meals and when they partook of the Passover feast.
There was an expectancy within their midst that Elijah would return to the earth again. It’s possible that many of them were expecting the same flesh and blood Elijah that had walked in their midst hundreds of years before in a restoration ministry; that this same person, in the form of the same flesh, would come again. But the Bible tells us that John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah. In other words, before the fullness of the Christ was revealed, it was God’s high purpose to cause this Elijah ministry to appear once again in the earth.
History has a peculiar way of repeating itself. God, down through the generations, has caused a repetition of mighty ministries to come forth in the midst of His people. So we find that the very people who had been expecting Elijah to come, who had talked about him and spoken of him, did not recognize the ministry of Elijah when it came forth in the form of John the Baptist; did not realize that this ministry consummated itself in a full restoration in the terms of Jesus of Nazareth; for Jesus was not merely a good man, He was not merely a righteous man in the sense of men being righteous, but in Him was demonstrated the resurrection power of God-was demonstrated that God could produce on this earth, in the terms of flesh and blood and bones, the fullness of His Divine Person, in the Person of His Son.
When Jesus was born, He came not merely to be an example, but He came that there might be a demonstration of the fullness of God on earth, and His great forerunner was in the form of the ministry of Elijah.
It was after Jesus was transfigured and His disciples asked Him how it was that the scribes said that Elijah must first come, and that He had reminded them that Elias had already come and people did to him whatever they would, that Jesus said, “Elias truly will YET come and restore all things.”
Here Jesus was referring to something that was fulfilled in their day, and He was pointing down through the centuries to something that would be fulfilled in a future day, when there would be a repetition of this ministry of Elijah in the end time-in the hour of consummation. He was pointing to the time when once again the ministry of Elijah would come forth in the earth. The ministry of Elijah was a restoration ministry, and it had many peculiarities that were not peculiar to the other ministries that God had revealed. It had peculiarities that were not peculiar to Moses. It had peculiarities that were not peculiar to any other prophet, for we find that there is no record of Elijah’s parentage, of where he began-there is no record given in the Word of God, and this was a type of the thing that God would do in the end time. There would be no human record of it in the sense that it could be identified with any particular thing. It would not be specifically Protestant. It would not be specifically Catholic. It would not be specifically Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, or any other thing that could be identified with any earthly system, but it would be something that would come out of Heaven. It would be a voice of God speaking forth and thundering forth in the earth, and no man could put his finger on it. It would be a demonstration of resurrection power to unveil the glorious person of the Christ.
John the Baptist, in his restoration ministry, consummated that ministry when he declared these words, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” The purpose of his ministry had been accomplished. Now he would decrease that this Christ might increase.
The Elijah ministry, the restoration ministry, had another peculiarity. It was essentially prophetic. Elijah was a man who was moved by the prophetic Spirit. He was a man who stood before the Lord-a man who recognized God as supreme and declared, “I stand before the Lord.” He was essentially prophetic.
The prophet Joel, when he prophesied of the great and wonderful things that would take place upon the earth before that great and notable day of the Lord come, declared that this thing would be specifically prophetic when he declared, “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” In other words he was saying that there would be a repetition in the earth of this mighty prophetic ministry. It was to sum up all things accomplished in the prophets of old, revealing a fullness of God in a prophetic sense. The generation spoken of by Joel was to move into a prophetic state that had hitherto been unknown to it.
The wonderful thing to us is that we are seeing these things come to pass right now before our very eyes. This Elijah ministry is already being witnessed in the earth in the coming forth of prophetic song-in prophetic words-in the prophetic moving of God’s Spirit. The wonderful works of Christ are being uttered by the Holy Spirit as God moves upon weak man and empowers him to go forth in the mighty name of the Lord.
There is another thing particular to the Elijah ministry-he was an imparter of life. There was a time in his ministry when he stretched himself upon a dead child and imparted life to this dead child. That is something peculiar to this restoration ministry-it is a message of life, not a message of death. The world is filled with death. The world is filled with cursing. Every man has his own individual curse that he harps upon. But the message that God is bringing to the world today is a message of life-a message wherein there is no curse-a message wherein there is no middle wall of partition. A message wherein there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female-a message wherein God reveals that He shows no preference for men’s persons, but looks down upon redeemed humanity to merge it and bring it together into a glorious spiritual family, for Jesus prayed a prayer and said, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” In the dispensation of the fullness of time, God is gathering together in one all things in Christ, both things which are in Heaven and things on earth, even in Him.
An hour approaches when Heaven and earth shall become one-an hour when the Divine will shall predominate and when every man’s will shall become submissive to the divine will. When man’s systems and man’s way shall totally disintegrate, and a glorious new form of government will come upon the face of the earth. It is a new form of government because it begins with the heart-it cleanses the heart-it cleanses the mind-it goes to the place where men need to be cleansed-down in their hearts.
We can have our ideas. We can have our creeds. We can have our philosophies and talk in high-sounding religious phraseology; but, unless the heart has been touched by the power of God and there has been a release within-a spiritual experience that brings us into a KNOWLEDGE of the LIVING GOD so that we are known by our spirit and not by mere formality-we are not experiencing the restoration power of the Lord that is in the earth today, and is for all who will come to receive it.