Physically, Elijah’s life ended when he was taken into heaven by the whirlwind. This happened at the period of the events recorded in the Old Testament book of 2nd Kings (2 Kings 2:1-12). However, several years after Elijah’s physical life so ended, prophecies were made in later books of the Bible about the coming of the saviour (Emmanuel) who is our Lord Jesus Christ. It was prophesied that the said Elijah (who was no more alive) must first come before the coming of our saviour (Jesus Christ) – Malachi 3:1-5 & Malachi 4:5-6.
In Luke chapter 1, the Bible gives an account of the birth of John the Baptist as the fore-runner of Jesus Christ. While prophesying about John the Baptist to Zechariah, the angel of God said as follows in Luke 1:13&16-17: “But the angel said to him, fear not Zechariah: for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elisabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall 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.” This goes to show that John the Baptist is the Elijah about whom the said prophecy in Malachi chapters 3&4 was made. For the sake of the incredulous, I will go further into the Bible to establish that John the Baptist is the same person as the Elijah whom the Bible prophecy stated that must come (again) before the birth of Jesus Christ. Elijah came back in the form of John the Baptist.
The sameness of Elijah and John the Baptist is corroborated by their lifestyle. In 2 Kings 1:7-8, it is recorded as follows: “The king asked. What was the man like who came to meet you saying these things? They answered, He was a hairy man with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.” (Amplified version).
Similarly, in Matthew 3:4, the following is said about John the Baptist: “This same John’s garments were made of camel’s hair, and he wore a leather girdle about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.” Also recorded in Mark 1:6.
In order to further satisfy the incredulous Christians, I will refer to the confirmation of Jesus Christ that Elijah (as John the Baptist) had actually come as prophesied in the Bible. In Matthew 11:13-14, Jesus Christ said this concerning John the Baptist and Elijah: “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you will receive it, this is Elijah, which was for to come.”
It has been stated above that Elijah did shed human blood. The consequence of that is that he too must be killed by another man. It has been established in the preceding paragraphs that Elijah who was physically taken into heaven, came back spiritually to this world and was born as John the Baptist, in fulfillment of the Bible prophecy that Elijah would be the forerunner of the saviour (Jesus Christ).
Matthew 14:1-12, contains the account of the death of John the Baptist. He was beheaded at the request of the daughter of Herodias who danced at Herod’s birthday party. It was no coincidence that this happened. Elijah came back in the form of John the Baptist and paid the supreme price for the bloodshed he committed. He had to be killed by another person to fulfill the word of God concerning the punishment that awaits murderers or killers of human beings.
Jesus Christ himself confirmed that Elijah had come as prophesied and he was killed (in the form of John the Baptist). In Matthew 17:10-13, it is recorded thus: “And His disciples asked Him, saying, why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? And Jesus answered and said to them, Elijah truly shall just come, and restore all things. But I say to you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not. but have done to him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist “ (Also recorded in Mark 9: 11-13).
Brethren, it is very tempting to follow the bandwagon of the unscrupulous people of the world who kill others in order to rise or gain materially. After all, people who are involved in such ugly act are today occupying some of the most influential/enviable political, social, public and chieftaincy positions in the society. They are well to do, honoured and live in affluence. However, the said punishment decreed by God for those who kill others awaits them. It is inescapable. It will befall them and their families sooner or later. So, brethren, do not imitate them. If sinners entice you, consent you not – Proverbs 1:10. In Ecclesiastes 8:11-13, God revealed the following truth: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before Him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he fears not before God. “
Therefore, we should be content with the little we have through righteous means. Godliness with contentment is a great gain (I Timothy 6:6). We should not be envious of the wealth or seeming success/glory of the wicked because at the end of it all, the result will be bad and unenviable. The reader is advised to read the following portions of the Bible:
There is thus a call for the repentance of those who, for whatever reasons, indulge in killing their fellow human beings, so that God may show them some mercy. In Isaiah 1:16-20, God gives this hope to the repentant: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,’ though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land: But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.”
Uwom wrote in from Port Harcourt.