THE FOURTH WEEK IN ADVENT – TUESDAY
LESSON: MALACHI 4:1-6
And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, I am not.” John 1:21
In the question whether John was Elijah, the Jews were evidently referring to the prophecy of Malachi. I am of the opinion that Malachi had in mind no other Elijah but John, and that there are no grounds for assuming that there would be a return of Elijah the Tishbite who ascended into heaven in a flaming chariot (2 Kings 2:11).
The words of the angel Gabriel spoken to Zechariah, John’s father, also support this opinion: “He will 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.” Luke 1:17. In these words one sees that the angel Gabriel is referring to the prophecy of Malachi and quotes the same words of the prophet who also says that Elijah will “turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.” Malachi 4:6. Had Malachi prophesied a different Elijah, the angel would certainly not have applied his words to John.
He followed the same course with the Virgin Mary when he applied Isaiah’s words to her: “Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son.” Isaiah 7:14. These words Gabriel applied to Mary when he said: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son.” Luke 1:31.
In his work as the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist would be a real Elijah preaching repentance to prepare men for Christ.
PRAYER: Thanks and praise be to you, O God, for the great cloud of witnesses who have witnessed to your Son and the salvation you have prepared for us in Him. Amen.