The Quest for Elijah

 

For over two thousand and four hundred years, God’s people have been earnestly looking for a prophet like Elijah to come and prepare the hearts of the people for the end of the world.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)

The fact is, there have been several prophets who have come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and each one did a work in their generation to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to their fathers, and each one came “before” the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

However, there is a second part to the prophecy, which is conditional, and was not fulfilled in any previous generation: the curse. God did not “smite the earth with a curse” in any previous generation, and the great and dreadful day of the Lord, which is linked to the curse of the destruction of the wicked world, did not come yet.

Why? Simply because in every generation, Elijah was sent to turn hearts, and hearts were turned. There was repentance, like there was when Jonah preached in Nineveh. Jesus would not destroy the earth as long as there are still souls to be saved, which means that the end cannot come until every last soul that could possibly repent, has done so, and there are no others left who can be saved. Only the very, very last generation would experience the end of the world, by definition.

That means the prophecy of the figurative coming of the Elijah prophet has a twofold purpose. First and foremost, an Elijah is sent to turn hearts, over and over again, in certain generations, to bring repentance as long as it is possible. The following sections will show how that was done in every era of Christian history. In every generation, however, there were also those who rejected the Elijah prophet of their day, and lost their way as a result.

The second purpose for the prophecy of Malachi is to show when the end has come: because no more hearts can be turned back to God. There had to be a final attempt that was so overwhelming that for a person to refuse it would mean they are beyond help—even beyond the help of God. It had to be more convincing than ever—even followed by signs and wonders. It had to be the full revelation of the character of Jesus Christ, revealed from heaven, which is to say that the very utmost has been done to save. When even coming face-to-face with the brilliance of His character, souls still refuse to repent, then no more can be done. That could only happen in the last, most depraved generation after every other effort to turn hearts to repentance had been exhausted. THEN, the end would come. THEN, the great and dreadful day of the Lord could come, and the earth could be destroyed with the curse.

That twofold meaning of the prophecy is essential to understanding the role and mission of those who were to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and you will see in the following pages how it applies in each case.

John the Baptist

In the time of the Pharisees, who lived four hundred years after Malachi’s prophecy was given, the coming of Elijah had become a recognized prerequisite to the end of the world. John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah. Many followed him, and then many went on to follow Jesus. Hearts were turned to the Savior, and the entire Christian world traces its history back to the change of heart experienced by that and following generations.

Sadly, not all accepted John the Baptist, and therefore they did not accept Jesus either. The Pharisees in particular were comfortable with their own status, and used the precondition of Elijah’s return as an effective tool to silence any “fearmongering” about the end of the world that might threaten their authority over the people. They tried to quiet the excitement that John the Baptist was arousing, challenging him on this very point:

And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias [Elijah]? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. (John 1:21)

They knew that the scriptures were so clear on this point, that if Elijah didn’t come, it couldn’t be the end of the world no matter how bad the national and societal conditions had become for God’s people.

After the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and departed again, Jesus spoke to the multitude about John in a way that included a subtle rebuke to the secrets of the Pharisaical heart. The Pharisees did not seek clarification of the prophecies for the sake of truth; their desire was for the world to continue on, because they were happy with their station in life and what it accorded to them. They sought clarification only to justify themselves in unbelief. Jesus said to all the people:

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. (Matthew 11:14)

He said “if ye will,” this is Elijah. There is an element of desire, a condition of the human heart, involved. Jesus was indicating that if the people would receive Him as the Messiah, then John would indeed be Elijah, for those who received Him. Jesus further clarified this condition when the disciples asked why the Pharisees rejected Him on the basis that Elijah had to come first.

And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:10-13)

In those words, Jesus explained that their rejection of John also meant their rejection of Him, and their treatment of John was a foreshadowing of their treatment of Him. John’s preaching in the wilderness could not turn all hearts.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:7-12)

For those whose hearts could not be softened and turned back to the faithfulness of their fathers, who would not bring forth the fruits of repentance, John the Baptist had only the message of the wrath to come.

Those who received Jesus—the Christ that John the Baptist pointed to—escaped the destruction, but those who didn’t accept Him died a horrible death in the city. For the Christians, time went on and the kingdom of Christ expanded to the ends of the earth, but for the Jews who had rejected Christ, their world came to a terrible end. The destruction of Jerusalem stands as a type of the end of the world; so shall it be for the whole earth at the end of time. The faithful who accepted Christ as preached by the last Elijah movement will be taken safely to heaven, while the wicked who rejected Him will suffer and die on this prison planet.

John the Baptist fulfilled the Elijah prophecy in his generation, and through change of heart, that generation continued to spread the gospel and change hearts, and thus avoided the curse, the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” that we know as the end of the world. God would not end the world until every soul had had an opportunity to be saved.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)

On the one hand, Elijah represents those messengers like John the Baptist who turn the hearts of their generation back to God. On the other hand, Elijah also represents the last generation of God’s people who will ascend to heaven in a chariot of light[1] without ever tasting death.

Elijah, who had been translated to heaven without seeing death, represented those who will be living upon the earth at Christ’s second coming, and who will be “changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump;” when “this mortal must put on immortality,” and “this corruptible must put on incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. {DA 421.4}

Those two characteristics of Elijah are mutually exclusive in any single generation. If that generation repents, then time goes on and that generation’s Elijah goes to the grave without seeing Jesus come. In that sense, it is a sad and sacrificial role; John the Baptist gave his whole life to bring others to repentance and salvation, but he did not personally benefit from it in his life. He had announced the Savior’s arrival, but was ultimately imprisoned and later beheaded; he did not live to see the kingdom of heaven that was so near. Nevertheless, Jesus made it clear that John had done a good work.

This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:27-28)

The gospel of Jesus then went out to the world for almost two millennia, and those who stayed faithful to God had to suffer terrible persecution at the hand of wicked men until, as Protestants against the tyranny of Roman Catholicism, they finally fled to the New World.

History Repeats

That became the historical prelude to the great awakening of the 1800’s, which saw Protestants of all denominations coming back into the belief that Jesus was soon to return and cleanse the earth by fire, as preached by William Miller and others. Judgment Day was apparently imminent again, and there was another opportunity for Elijah to come.

At that time, Protestants still remembered that the union of church and state was a recipe for persecution as exemplified by the papacy. They were glad that the papal persecution had come to an end in 1798 when the pope was taken out of power, ending 1260 years of oppression in fulfillment of prophecy. What a stark contrast to how “Protestants” view the papacy today,[2] after the healing of its deadly wound!

With those things still fresh in the collective mind of Protestantism, and with contemporary signs in the heavens fulfilling the verses of Revelation, a strong case was made that the end of all things was at hand. Josiah Litch’s correct prediction of the day of the fall of the Ottoman empire in 1840 further bolstered the case, as it was seen that the Word of God was sure, and that what He said did indeed come to pass at the time appointed. Everything seemed to be coming together for the end of the world, which means that Elijah should have been on the scene.

Now remember the purpose for which God promised to send Elijah: to turn the hearts of the people, lest He smite the earth. By all rights, William Miller could be recognized as the Elijah of his generation. He indeed warned of the great and terrible day of the Lord by calculating the end of the 2300 days/years of Daniel 8:14 and showing that that day was in his generation. The prophecy extended from the command given in 457 BC to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, to the year 1844. The first 490-day/year segment of that timeframe had already been precisely confirmed by the ministry and death of Jesus Himself. The calculation was irrefutable.

William Miller’s message moved people to deep repentance, indeed turning the hearts in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy.

Thousands were led to embrace the truth preached by William Miller, and servants of God were raised up in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the message. Like John, the forerunner of Jesus, those who preached this solemn message felt compelled to lay the ax at the root of the tree, and call upon men to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Their testimony was calculated to arouse and powerfully affect the churches and manifest their real character. And as the solemn warning to flee from the wrath to come was sounded, many who were united with the churches received the healing message; they saw their backslidings, and with bitter tears of repentance and deep agony of soul, humbled themselves before God. And as the Spirit of God rested upon them, they helped to sound the cry, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” {EW 233.1}

Again, following the example of Nineveh, repentance in the time of the Millerite movement meant that the end of all things could not yet come; there were still souls to be reached. Nevertheless, there was great opposition again, as in the time of the Jews.

The preaching of definite time called forth great opposition from all classes, from the minister in the pulpit down to the most reckless, heaven-daring sinner. “No man knoweth the day nor the hour,” was heard from the hypocritical minister and the bold scoffer. Neither would be instructed and corrected by those who were pointing to the year when they believed the prophetic periods would run out, and to the signs which showed Christ near, even at the doors. Many shepherds of the flock, who professed to love Jesus, said that they had no opposition to the preaching of Christ’s coming, but they objected to the definite time. God’s all-seeing eye read their hearts. They did not love Jesus near. They knew that their unchristian lives would not stand the test, for they were not walking in the humble path marked out by Him. These false shepherds stood in the way of the work of God... {EW 233.2}

The Protestant churches shut their doors to the truth, and the way of salvation disappeared from them. Slowly but steadily, they slid back into the arms of the Mother Church of Rome, which they had once fled from.

Like John the Baptist, William Miller worked for the salvation of others, but in the end he did not get to see the second coming of Jesus for himself. New fields had opened up for expanding the kingdom of God, and new truths were yet to be discovered. William Miller had a divinely inspired dream that showed that fact. In his dream, he received a wonderful chest full of precious treasures, which he put on display for the world. That represents his findings in the Word of God. Then, something terrible happened:

[W]hen the spectators increased, everyone would begin to trouble the jewels, taking them out of the casket and scattering them on the table. {EW 82.1}

The ungrateful spectators then mixed the jewels with counterfeits and covered the precious jewels in all kinds of rubbish, symbolizing what happened in the ensuing years to the precious truths he had discovered in the Bible. After trying desperately to prevent them from doing so, he said:

I became wholly discouraged and disheartened, and sat down and wept. {EW 82.4}

While I was thus weeping and mourning for my great loss and accountability, I remembered God, and earnestly prayed that He would send me help. {EW 83.1}

Immediately the door opened, and a man entered the room, when the people all left it; and he, having a dirt brush in his hand, opened the windows, and began to brush the dirt and rubbish from the room. {EW 83.2}

Then, while he brushed the dirt and rubbish, false jewels and counterfeit coin, all rose and went out of the window like a cloud, and the wind carried them away. In the bustle I closed my eyes for a moment; when I opened them, the rubbish was all gone… {EW 83.5}

William Miller’s dream shows that another man would come after him, and that man would bring a larger and more beautiful treasure chest to restore all the scattered jewels.

He then placed on the table a casket, much larger and more beautiful than the former, and gathered up the jewels, the diamonds, the coins, by the handful, and cast them into the casket, till not one was left, although some of the diamonds were not bigger than the point of a pin. {EW 83.6}

…They shone with ten times their former glory… {EW 83.8}

Like John the Baptist, William Miller also closed his eyes in the sleep of death. He had done at least part of the work of Elijah to turn the hearts of his generation back to God, and as such, he added to the overall description of how future messengers might fulfill the role of Elijah: he preached “definite time,” which not only called forth great opposition, but also gave great power to convince and arouse the people:

The truth spoken in its convincing power aroused the people, and like the jailer, they began to inquire, “What must I do to be saved?” But these shepherds stepped in between the truth and the people, and preached smooth things to lead them from the truth. They united with Satan and his angels, crying, “Peace, peace,” when there was no peace. Those who loved their ease and were content with their distance from God would not be aroused from their carnal security. I saw that angels of God marked it all; the garments of those unconsecrated shepherds were covered with the blood of souls. {EW 233.2}

It was shown that when ordered by God, the preaching of time is a valid and effective tool in the hand of God’s servants.

The Great Day of Atonement

The morning after the great disappointment of October 22, 1844, when Jesus didn’t come at the end of the 2300 days as the Millerites had taught, Hiram Edson saw a vision of Him standing in the Most Holy place. The faithful people of God quickly recognized that Judgment Day—the great antitypical Day of Atonement—had indeed come, and the Law of God was about to be opened for mankind to be judged by it. Within two years, God’s people saw the truth about the seventh-day Sabbath and its counterfeit, Sunday, and began to preach about it, eventually even in their very name as Seventh-day Adventists. The Law of God had been opened, and the judgment was underway. Not only was the papacy understood to be the enemy of God, but now Sunday worship was understood as his mark of authority. The third angel was delivering his message:

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:9-12)

Thus the third angel’s message, which is a warning about God’s impending wrath, became the signature message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, making it another candidate for fulfilling the role of the Elijah of Malachi’s prophecy.

To guide His flock, the Lord bestowed the gift of prophecy upon Ellen G. White. Her visions and dreams served to confirm the church’s understanding of the truths of God’s Word and to provide direct counsel when and where it was needed. Thus the time-message power that had accompanied the Millerite movement like the spirit and power of Elijah went on in the form of the living testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of prophecy. Without the one, the other was needed—or in other words, the same Holy Spirit that guided William Miller now guided the flock through Ellen White’s gift of prophecy. The Guide who never lost His way was still leading the church heavenward.

If the title of Elijah had to be applied to one person in the Seventh-day Adventist movement, it would have to be applied to the prophetess herself, Ellen G. White, since Elijah was a prophet. However, that was not a title that Ellen White approved of for herself. She explains why:

Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?—Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word “prophet” signifies. {1SM 32.4}

Ellen White, while not directly admitting that she was a prophet, indicates that her work was greater than the work of a mere prophet. Even though she did not confess to be Elijah per se, she did the great work of continually laboring to keep the hearts of her generation in tune with God and His leading, indeed her work was not less than that of a prophet. Since there were clearly no other prophets of God that could have competed with her for the title of Elijah at that time, her words above emphasize that Elijah’s work has a vast scope.

However, there came a turning point that brought untold grief to Ellen White and made her realize that she, too, would not live to see the coming of Jesus. It was the church’s rejection of the Holy Spirit in the Minneapolis General Conference of 1888. She knew it was the light of the Fourth Angel, the angel of Revelation 18:1, that had begun to shine through the message of righteousness by faith.

[T]he loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. {RH November 22, 1892, par. 7}

In the wake of the conference, Ellen White worked very hard to bring the church back in harmony with God, and to bring the message of righteousness by faith to the people. Towards the end of her life, she expressed confidence in the leading brethren and indicated that she did not expect to have any further testimonies from God to them. She turned the hearts back to the faithfulness of their fathers.

However, that incident made her realize that the church would have to symbolically go through the 40-year wilderness wandering again, and she then knew she would not live long enough to see the heavenly Canaan before her death. Like the others, she had labored for the salvation of others without seeing the coming of Jesus, which she had so much cherished.

Lamenting the lack of fervor among God’s people in the wake of 1888, she said:

The Lord has sent his people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. O, how much good would be accomplished if the books containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the principles they contain! There would be a thousandfold greater vigilance, a thousandfold more self-denial and resolute effort. And many more would now be rejoicing in the light of present truth. {RH January 20, 1903, Art. B, par. 9}

She clearly referred to the Bible as the greater light, but many wrongly assume that she was pointing backwards to the existing Bible when in fact she was pointing forwards to a new and brighter and more glorious light that would make the Bible shine as it had never shone before. Thus she echoed the dream of William Miller, which indicated that someone else (Elijah) would one day come and put the old light in new settings, and she confessed in those words that she would also go the way of John the Baptist:

The prophet John was the connecting link between the two dispensations. As God’s representative he stood forth to show the relation of the law and the prophets to the Christian dispensation. He was the lesser light, which was to be followed by a greater. The mind of John was illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that he might shed light upon his people; but no other light ever has shone or ever will shine so clearly upon fallen man as that which emanated from the teaching and example of Jesus. Christ and His mission had been but dimly understood as typified in the shadowy sacrifices. Even John had not fully comprehended the future, immortal life through the Saviour. {DA 220.2}

Ellen White caught only a glimpse of the beginning of that greater light, which she described as precious gems of truth in new settings, that were unfortunately not received:

In Minneapolis God gave precious gems of truth to His people in new settings. This light from heaven by some was rejected with all the stubbornness the Jews manifested in rejecting Christ, and there was much talk about standing by the old landmarks. But there was evidence they knew not what the old landmarks were. There was evidence and there was reasoning from the word that commended itself to the conscience; but the minds of men were fixed, sealed against the entrance of light, because they had decided it was a dangerous error removing the “old landmarks” when it was not moving a peg of the old landmarks, but they had perverted ideas of what constituted the old landmarks. {1888 518.1}

Those were the first gems that were to go in the new treasure chest of William Miller’s successor.

Even though the prophetess died, the Seventh-day Adventists Church still viewed itself, and continues to view itself, as the Elijah movement.[3] Yet again, however, the sad reality of history shows that Jesus was still not received. There was a conflict of desire, as you see from the above quote. In their hearts, the leaders of God’s people did not want the end to come. They were too content with the positions of esteem to which they had attained, and at that infamous General Conference, the Seventh-day Adventist Church rebelled directly against the leading of the Holy Spirit, who had come to them through the presentations of A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner. The leaders who rejected the message and prevented it from thriving did not immediately repent in the correct way, and Jesus could not come in that generation.

Even though Ellen White had been successful in getting the church back on track in her generation, the damage that had been done by the rejection of the light of the Fourth Angel was never fully overcome. Wolves entered the church, and began to compromise the purity of the faith. From that point forward, things went downhill for the spirituality of the church until they reached the abysmal condition seen today.

Soon, another voice rose in pursuit of the church’s calling and in the hope of bringing it back to its senses. M.L. Andreasen clarified the meaning of Jesus’ intercession in relation to righteousness by faith, showing that the purpose of His atoning work is to bring His people into obedience to the law of God, and that His return depended upon it. In the penultimate chapter of his book The Sanctuary Service, he explains that God’s purpose for the last generation is to show that under the worst possible circumstances, His people will obey His law through faith without reference to reward, thus vindicating God of the accusations of Satan against His character.

Do you realize that Jesus has a purpose for you, and that He needs you? Righteousness by faith means more than just believing that Jesus died for your sins! Andreasen added Last Generation Theology to the understanding of righteousness by faith by showing that Jesus’ coming depends on the faith of the last generation to vindicate God in the great controversy over God’s character. Unfortunately, his heroic struggle against the spiritual corruption in the church was not successful in changing its perilous course, but he contributed a valuable part of the understanding of the mission of those who would fulfill the final mission of Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. He also died—brokenhearted—without seeing the fruit of his labor.

Some worked hard to bring the church ship back on course. In the 1950’s, Robert Wieland and Donald Short investigated what happened in 1888 and presented evidence that corporate repentance was needed to save the church vessel from its wandering in vain in search of the heavenly harbor. As Andreasen added to the understanding of righteousness by faith by showing that Jesus’ return depended on the sanctification and obedience of the last generation, Wieland and Short added to it by showing that corporate repentance was needed for the rejection of the message in 1888.

Sadly, the church leadership responded unfavorably to them and accused them of slander. The church denied that it rejected the message of righteousness by faith, since there was “no action taken to reject it,”[4] and contrary to scripture, they denied that it was necessary to repent for the sins of our forefathers.[5] Thankfully, in the wake of this, the reports escaped from the confines of church administration, and laymen of the church then became aware of both the need for corporate repentance and the refusal of the church leadership to even contemplate it. In the process of dealing with the issue, Wieland and Short were pressured into silence, adding insult to injury by stifling liberty of thought within the church, an approach used by the Jewish leaders in the disciples’ day as well.

Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. (Acts 5:28)

The matter of 1888 was clearly still not resolved in Wieland’s and Short’s generation, but their work also contributed to the understanding of what went wrong in 1888 and brought it back to the forefront. Furthermore, it was increasingly clear that the church was in terrible disunity, and could not in that condition go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah. The light of the Fourth Angel had been put out again.

Now, the warnings have entirely ceased from the church’s lips about the impending wrath of God against those who imbibe Babylonian wine, which intoxicates a person and diminishes their spiritual discernment and inhibitions against breaking the law of God. To the contrary, the church publications now dispense the Babylonian wine freely on tap, and the lay members guzzle it down, believing it is the water of life. No, the Adventist Church as a whole doesn’t have the spirit of Elijah, even though they could have, if they had heeded the voices in the wilderness and brought forth fruits corresponding to repentance.

Modern Candidates

Remember, there is a condition to the prophecy of Malachi that gives rise to two different cases. Either Elijah will come and turn hearts back to God, or else—if nobody else will repent—then the Lord will end the world with a curse, and the great and dreadful day of the Lord will come. Which case is applicable to the present generation?

That question will be answered more fully later, but it is important to keep both cases in mind. As it was in the time of Jesus, recognizing the Elijah prophet is an individual thing; most people will not accept the Lord who Elijah points to, but those who do will be saved. In the last generation, everyone will come to the decision point—the light will reach the whole world—and the end will come.

If you will find a present-day Elijah, one thing must be understood: God does not make mistakes. It is men who go astray, when they deviate from God’s revealed will. For that reason, everyone who comes in the spirit and power of Elijah must be someone who walks in all of the truth that God has revealed to His people in all ages. Can Elijah be a Jew who never accepted Christ? Absolutely not—John the Baptist set the precedent. Can Elijah be a Catholic, who rejects the reforms of the Reformation? No. Can he be a Protestant who rejects the truths preached by William Miller about the cleansing of the sanctuary at the end of the 2300 days? Still no. Can Elijah be an “Adventist” who has denied the distinctive teachings that the church was founded on, and refrains from preaching the third angel’s message, for example? Again, no. All of the light that God has given through the Holy Spirit down through the centuries was true and correct, and every Elijah must gather it up and put it back in a beautiful and harmonious arrangement.

That is not to take away hope from those who have strayed from the truth or never knew the truth to begin with, but to emphasize that it is men who go astray, not God. We must discern God’s leading and be careful not to go aside from it. And if we haply find ourselves far from where the light of God is shining, we must do like Abraham did when he found himself in transgression against the innocent Pharaoh of Egypt, and he realized that he had not been trusting in God. He went back to where God had been with him:

And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. (Genesis 13:3-4)

We must also go back to the last place were God was still with us, and follow His light from that point forward. If a Jew does that, he will become a Christian. If a Catholic does that, he will become a Protestant. If a Protestant does that, he will become an Adventist. If an Adventist does that, he will pick up the scattered rays of the light of the Fourth Angel from Jones and Waggoner, Andreasen, and Wieland and Short, and he will recognize that in this generation, Jesus could come again. That is the platform of truth that Elijah must build upon.

Yes, he must build upon that foundation, bringing to the table new and greater discoveries in the Word of God, inasmuch as every candidate before had prophesied. He must restore the jewels of William Miller tenfold brighter in a larger and more beautiful treasure chest. He must be a prophet, and must bring the greater light that the lesser light spoke of. He must meet every specification of Elijah.

On the other hand, it must be clear that only the remnant of the remnant will recognize him as such. Those who have no love for the truth—the vast majority—will refuse him just as they refused John the Baptist and all the others. And the twofold message of Malachi’s prophecy means that the very last person to come in the spirit and power of Elijah will exhaust all possibilities to turn the hearts back to God. Everyone will make up their mind and nobody will change anymore, no matter how great his message and how fervent his labor—for if they would change, the gospel would go out again and time would continue for more souls to be won for the kingdom of God.

In 2010, the Seventh-day Adventist church elected a new conference president, Ted N.C. Wilson, still incumbent. He projects a conservative persona and confesses, at least publicly, to support the last generation theology and to eschew the spiritualism that is prevalent in all the churches of the world, including his own. He has high-powered preachers supporting him, who teach last generation theology and defend him staunchly. He has led numerous giant evangelistic events around the world. Could Ted Wilson be Elijah?

Simply check the criteria. What new light has Ted Wilson brought to the table? None. Has he cleaned up the errors in the church like the man with the dirt brush in William Miller’s dream? Nope. On the contrary, he further obscured the truth by pushing The Great Hope, which is a content-free “book” to eclipse the truths contained in The Great Controversy by Ellen White. That was her most important work—so important that Satan even tried to kill her to stop it. That shows just whose side Ted Wilson is working on! He covers the truth instead of making it shine!

Has he worked a reform in the church with all his revival and reformation programs? On the one hand, he is correctly accused of exercising “kingly power” over the church, but on the other hand, he enables women to be ordained and the gamut of LGBT-identified persons to take individual congregations on their colorful rollercoaster to perdition. Yes, he has programs and programs on the topic of revival and reformation, but he is a man who says one thing and does another. He does not command his household aright.

Has Ted Wilson preached the third angel’s message? The third angel’s message warns not to compromise with the churches of the world or the powers of state, because that will lead to accepting the mark of the beast. To the contrary, he betrayed the third angel’s message completely by allying the church with the God-hating[6] United Nations! Every good thing he purports to stand for, he has indeed worked against.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Matthew 7:16)

No, Ted Wilson does not bear the fruits of Elijah, despite his whitewashed exterior appearance.

The Seventh-day Adventist people of God who were given the responsibility to preach about the judgment at the end of the world, as Malachi indicated, have fallen into the same condition as the Pharisees, and no matter how bad the conditions get, no matter how blatantly the papal (Roman) agenda is pushed in the church, no matter how abominably the human rights (specifically women’s and LGBT rights) movement warps their thinking and desecrates their sanctuaries—no matter how bad it gets, the Pharisees of today are quick to silence any would-be Elijah by pointing out the fact that the Sunday Law, their favorite prerequisite for the end of the world, has not come yet.[7]

Now we are really running out of options for who the last Elijah could be. We would not even consider the nominal Adventist Ben Carson, who ignored Ellen White’s admonition regarding political involvement,[8] betrayed God’s design for marriage during his run for the presidency,[9] broke the Sabbath for the sake of his campaign,[10] and when he lost the race, ultimately took the initiative[11] to unite the whole evangelical world behind Donald Trump to get him elected to the presidency.[12] In return for the favor, Trump promised to remove the barrier between church and state by repealing the Johnson Amendment so the churches can have their voice in politics, and he is following through on that promise.[13] That kickback to the churches will restore the image of the beast in America, the image of the Roman Catholic system of church-state unity, which will result in the very mark of the beast that the third angel’s message warns against. No, Ben Carson is definitely not Elijah either, but his high treason against God makes it ever more clear that the last Elijah must be here somewhere, because according to Ellen White—who really did do the work of Elijah—it means that the end is near:

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}

In the vernacular of the United States, a decree is called an executive order. By issuing this executive order, President Trump has issued the decree, and the decree is specifically targeted at matters of enforcement:

The order will direct the IRS to exercise "maximum enforcement discretion" over the Johnson Amendment, which prevents churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

The executive order tells the authorities not to enforce the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment is to ensure the separation of church and state. Therefore, not enforcing the Johnson Amendment is equivalent to enforcing church-state collaboration (the papal institution), since the powerful churches are already chomping at the bit to have their say in politics.

It should also be noted that those churches already have a high regard for Pope Francis, due in part to their meetings with him in 2014 at the initiative of (the late) Tony Palmer. Furthermore, the influential church leaders now have direct access to Donald Trump through his faith advisory council.[14] Thus, this executive order in effect gives Pope Francis very direct influence over the United States through the evangelical churches. If they actually sign the Declaration of Faith in Unity for Mission that Tony Palmer drafted for them,[15] the pope’s influence will even become formal. Regardless of that, Trump is already exerting control in parts of the world, as the mercenary arm of the papacy.

All of this goes to show that, as Ellen White said, the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan Francis and “the end is near.”

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8)

…because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. (Revelation 12:12)

These are serious times. Do you realize how important it is for you, personally, to find out who Elijah is today? God sends Elijah to help you, so that you will not fall in the time of trouble, and so you will not be smitten with the “curse” that Malachi mentioned.

…lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)

You will not have the luxury of following a crowd, as in the time of John the Baptist. In this last generation, there aren’t many hearts that can be turned back to God anymore. Elijah is only Elijah for those who receive the One Elijah points to. Jesus said, “If ye will receive it,” this is Elijah, and you will go on to flourish in the kingdom of heaven when Jesus returns, but those who do not receive Jesus will have their part in the curse.

The last Elijah must also fulfill the criteria laid out in all of the other prophecies and expounded by all of the faithful Elijahs that have gone before.

Elijah must be a country man, like John the Baptist, preaching from the wilderness.

Elijah must complete the work of William Miller, and:

  • harmonize the Scriptures again, restore William Miller’s findings, and make them shine ten times brighter,

  • bring forth new light and old light in new settings,

  • sweep away the rubbish of false doctrines,

  • preach a message that includes the date of the day of the Lord and that of His coming,

  • and have the Word of God in a form larger than William Miller had.

Elijah must complete the work of Ellen White, and:

  • bring the greater light that Ellen White, the lesser light, pointed to,

  • and do a work greater in scope than a mere prophet, and even greater than what Ellen White did.

Elijah must complete the message of righteousness by faith, the message of the Fourth Angel of Revelation 18, the Holy Spirit, to equip the 144,000 with the testimony of Jesus.

We could go on and on—for example, Elijah must bring the people to a decision point, like his namesake did—but we already have enough to give pause for serious thought. Where else can we look for the last Elijah? If we turn our search to the various supporting ministries or independent ministries of the greater Adventist community, we can eliminate virtually all of them because they do not meet all of the criteria that has been set forth before. At best, they preach the old messages and point out the errors that have entered the churches, but have very little to bring to the table in terms of new light or new settings for old light. And we can’t look among those who don’t have the truth.

Don’t despair! Give praise and honor and glory to God for fulfilling His promise to send Elijah once again. In the next article, you will get to know the one man who by faith has come forward in the spirit and power of Elijah, and the one ministry that fits every description of it.

1.
The chariot is described in {EW 287.2
3.
Ellen G. White Estate – The Elijah Prophecy 
5.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; (Leviticus 26:40) 
6.
See the section on Secular “Morality” in Babylon Is Fallen! – Part II 
7.
They forgot that Ellen White said the Sunday Law would be the “last act in the drama.” {LDE 135.5
8.
The Lord would have His people bury political questions. On these themes silence is eloquence. Christ calls upon His followers to come into unity on the pure gospel principles which are plainly revealed in the word of God. We cannot with safety vote for political parties; for we do not know whom we are voting for. We cannot with safety take part in any political schemes. We cannot labor to please men who will use their influence to repress religious liberty, and to set in operation oppressive measures to lead or compel their fellow men to keep Sunday as the Sabbath. The first day of the week is not a day to be reverenced. It is a spurious sabbath, and the members of the Lord’s family cannot participate with the men who exalt this day, and violate the law of God by trampling upon His Sabbath. The people of God are not to vote to place such men in office; for when they do this, they are partakers with them of the sins which they commit while in office. {FE 475.2} 
10.
For examples, see the chronicle of his Sabbath-breaking political events on the 4President blog. 
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