The prophet Elijah appears in the Old Testament as suddenly as a lightning bolt, effortlessly manifests one miracle after another, until in the final analysis he is caught up into the heavens without suffering death.
But it doesn’t end there for Elijah. Prophecy declares that Elijah revisits the earth both (1) before Christ’s first coming and (2) before Christ’s second coming.
We know that Elijah has already fulfilled (1) –he has already preceded Christ’s first coming–from our Lord’s own words:
“The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.” (Matthew 17: 10-13)
Of all the prophets known to us, Elijah stands out as conspicuously as his miracles are dramatic, and his influence continues to be felt throughout the centuries, leading into our own time.
Recent research has uncovered the fact of a letter that was written by Elijah outlining the various epochs of human history that lead straight into the final coming of Christ and the definitive establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth.
Dr Ken Johnson’s documentary reveals that Elijah spoke of a glorious thousand year reign of the Kingdom of God upon earth at the culmination of human history—something that is unequivocally corroborated in the Book of Revelation:
“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4-6).
Saint Paul also confirmed that “[Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For ‘God has put all things in subjection under his feet.’” (1 Corinthians 15:25-27) Clearly, this represents a real triumph on the part of Christ over all His enemies on every level, and the definitive establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Elijah’s letter, referred to above, seems to have been lost to posterity but, thanks to the providence of God, a commentary on his letter is extant in the Tanna Eliyahu.
Elijah was given to conquer the false prophets of his time, to stir the conscience of his nation, to restore the Covenant in Israel, and to know the future course of events.
It is clear, therefore, that Elijah has been given a pivotal role to play in ancient times as well as in the future, and to return towards the end of time to prepare for the final coming of the Messiah:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:5,6)
What will Elijah’s future coming to earth look like? This is not an easy question to answer–suffice it to say for the present that a deeper study of prophecy would yield (at least) certain glimpses into the answer.
God is preparing great things for those who love Him. The time of trials and troubles, we know very well from Scripture, is only temporary—it is a sort of stepping stone for spiritual victories and future glory, especially because trials really only help to transform the faithful soul into the precious jewel that the Lord already perceives in the soul’s “DNA” (so to speak), even as gold is purified in the fire (cf. 1 Peter 1:7).
We must tread the path set out for us by God through the ‘valley of tears’, sustained by the grace of God, encouraged by the example of the saints, strengthened by the sacraments of the Church, and, above all, nurtured and protected by the holy Mother of God and by the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)
Jesus will return and establish His Kingdom on earth in the fulness of time. That’s why He taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”