As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 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 17:9-13) (NIV).
What had triggered the discussion about Elijah had been the transfiguration, revealing Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus. (Matthew 17:1-8). A voice from heaven had come, stating that Jesus was the Beloved Son of God, to listen to. The significance is that Moses was a symbol of the Law, while Elijah symbolized Prophecy. Jesus came to represent God’s Kingdom. Bear in mind that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus had instructed them not to tell anyone about what they had observed, until after His resurrection. But those disciples used the opportunity to ask about Elijah—prophesied to come before the Day of the Lord. Those disciples had been aware of the last Scripture of the Old Testament in the Book of Malachi:
“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:3-6) (NIV).
The Law represents what sustains God’s Kingdom. Yet the Prophets served to warn the Israelites of the impending disaster, following their rebellion against the Most High. The Elijah in Malachi seeks to restore order, aiming at preventing the impending disaster, due to humanity’s decadence and rebellion against the Most High. The person to come in the Spirit of Elijah would serve to restore normalcy, in a world having become devastated with insanity.
In answer to the question posed by the three disciples, Jesus confirmed that, indeed, an Elijah would come and restore all things. This would happen before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. In Revelation, Chapters 7-19, is referred the tribulation to occur, just before the second coming of Christ. But we have to describe the nature of the Prophet Elijah, as compared with ordinary prophets.
The first Elijah was raised among those Israelites who rebelled against King Rehoboam—thereby becoming unable to worship in Jerusalem (1 Kings 17). The statutes had required all Israel to worship God in Jerusalem, where the Levites superintended over the ceremonial activities. Unlike the Jews who remained in Jerusalem, it had become impossible for those Israelites to worship in Jerusalem. Through the leadership of Jeroboam, the rebels could no longer offer sacrifices in Jerusalem. This exposed them to idolatry—leading to overt rebellion against God—setting their own worship pattern in Shechem. Under those circumstances, God raised Elijah to warn them against such rebellion. The story of Elijah is captured in Chapters 12 to 19 of 1 King. Later, Elisha took over Elijah’s responsibilities.
As Jesus confirmed it, another Elijah would come before the great day of the Lord. Yet John the Baptist had also come in the spirit of Elijah. In other words, the first coming of Jesus, had a forerunner, in the person of John the Baptist, who served to prepare the way for Christ’s ministry. John the Baptist, grew up in the wilderness, before fulfilling his duties, ending in prison, before being beheaded.
He was unique, as not associated with the religious establishment in Jerusalem. Yet his works made him the greatest prophet ever witnessed in those days. His mission prepared the way for Christ and not, necessarily, teaching or pre-empting the works of Christ. Later, without being prompted, Jesus revealed the significance of John the Baptist:
“Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:9-11) (NIV).
This is one of the Scriptures that have remained enigmatic—appearing as not understood by the students of the Bible. John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ. But he is not included among the disciples of Jesus, who described John as having been the greatest prophet of all time. Nevertheless, it is the last line that, particularly, leaves Theologians totally confused: “yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Verse 11).
This brings us to the point where it is necessary to identify the Elijah, in our time, as Christ’s second-coming is evidently imminent. This topic has been discussed, possibly, thousands of times, grandiosely describing some of the great preachers, appearing as bearing the end-time Elijah. I suppose the merciful God forgives people when attempting to apply prophecies, in accordance with God’s word?
Jesus told His disciples about the Elijah who must first come. He indicated that such an Elijah would not be readily acceptable, just as the first Elijah was rejected. The second Elijah, in the form of John the Baptist, was also rejected. It follows that the Elijah to come, just before the Great Day of the Lord, will also be rejected. The pattern remains the same.
We reveal the Elijah, right here, as being greater than any, ever having been born, in this world. The last portion of what Jesus said, appears as degrading that Elijah when compared with Christ’s followers? “Yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Verse 11). To discover who this Elijah could be, the two characteristics significantly typify him. 1) His works cannot be compared to any other person ever born in this world, in terms of educational magnitude. 2) That Elijah cannot be among the followers of Jesus.
Before venturing into my analysis, I would like to categorically state a disclaimer: This is my opinion, based on my observation, as compared with Scriptural references. This is not an official statement by those concerned. Currently, there are unmatched activities and developments, through the works of L. Ron Hubbard of the Church of Scientology. I am aware that there are those totally opposed to the suggestions advanced in this dissertation.
Obviously, such opposition might come from those without knowledge of what is currently happening in Scientology. But, having been exposed to the works of L. Ron Hubbard, I state with certainty, that there has not been anyone greater, in terms of knowledge and wisdom, revealed by L Ron Hubbard. The obvious question is: Why do Christians appear as not fascinated by Scientology? The Church of Scientology and its activities are known worldwide. According to my observation, the following shows how Christianity is impacted by Scientology:
1) Those dismissing Scientology as the work of Satanism. Such people are ignorant, as failing to confront the organizations that advance Satanism, in the first place. Christians were given the power to cast out demons in Christ’s name (Mark 16:17). If Scientology is Satanist, why can’t those Christians confront it? Christians are instructed to pray for their enemies and bless those who persecute them. They are not instructed to persecute their enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).
2) The second group comprises former Christians, having comfortably become bonafide Scientologists. Because of their superficial grounding in Christianity, they now disown Christianity, due to the workability of Scientology. They have become antipathetic of Christianity, assuming that the Bible is full of deceptions.
3) The third group comprises Christians who desire to serve the community, synergizing with Scientology. They muster the courage, when associating with an organization that is strongly vilified by most Christians. The majority of them wonder how an organization not associated with Christianity could display such wisdom and understanding. Nevertheless, there are Christians who courageously associate with Scientology, under heavy criticism from Orthodox Christianity.
(4 The last group among those Christians are convinced of the workability of Scientology, taking responsibility in its activities. Such Christians know that there is nothing special about being Christian, when unable to recognize the workable activities, advanced by the Church of Scientology. Being a Christian myself, I am, probably, among this category, as not ashamed of being associated with Scientology.
Of course, I would not be truthful, if stating that withstanding the cynical Christians is easy. Such cynics assume that being Christian makes one better than other fellow humans. As probably representing the third group, I had to confront the question of whether there can be anything good, without God’s involvement. Indeed, it cannot be possible to oppose what is good and not be the enemy of God. We have to be reminded that Christianity, itself, faced stern opposition from the established religion:
“When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed them: ‘Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore in the present case, I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose of activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God’” (Acts 5:33-39) (NIV).
Indeed, Christianity still stands, even today, which confirms that what Gamaliel said was, actually, true. L Ron Hubbard died, way back in 1986. But the Scientology organization that he established still stands and is getting stronger each day. In the words of Gamaliel: “But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Certainly, no Christian worth his salt would like to fight against God. One of the greatest attributes of Scientology is that anything becomes true, only when you yourself, confirm it to be true. In other words, truth is what you yourself establish as truth, without involving others.
This is just as being told how an elephant looks like, is different from going to the zoo to see the elephant, for yourself. Scientology is the greatest miracle this world has ever had, in terms of acquisition of knowledge. It has, actually, become quite clear to me that those riling against Scientology, are basically, people who have got something to hide. Such people are the ones going about spreading false information about Scientology.
True Christians could actually become more effective when using Scientology to understand Jesus. The study technology that is provided in Scientology is not against Christianity. It is sad to note that most Christians find fault with Scientology, without having taken time to check its workability. Yet Christianity is supposed to lead the way, in terms of exercising love, as demonstrated by Jesus. Nevertheless, while Scientology appears as leading in terms of knowledge and providing the best of what improves humanity, the least among the followers of Jesus would be greater.
According to Jesus, the least among Christ’s followers is greater than the end-time Elijah, because the followers of Christ are led by the Holy Spirit. While the term Christian, is applied to whoever chooses to identify him/herself as Christian, it truly refers to those with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-10). The works of L Ron Hubbard shows that he was greater than any man who ever lived on this planet, except Jesus. But the true followers of Christ are greater than L Ron Hubbard because Jesus Christ spiritually dwells in such true followers of Christ.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
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