Summary: The substitution of John for Elijah teaches us much about God’s ways and his dealings with mankind.
The Elijah Factor
1. The world has been going through a chaotic time. Islamic terrorists have been cruelly killing anyone unlike them.
2. Scotland almost voted for independence but decided to stay with the UK.
3. Vladamir Putin talks about starting World War III; Gay Marriage bans are breaking down in the courts.
4. Franklin Graham has publically wondered whether we are near the end times.
5. One individual associated with the end times is the prophet Elijah. You might recall that Elijah was taken up to heaven alive in a chariot of fire. Malachi predicted that he will return near the end times and have a ministry of repentance.
6. So when Peter, James, and John witnessed the transfiguration with Elijah and Moses present for a very short time, they were confused. Elijah appeared, but did not stay to have a ministry of reconciliation. And his is where we pick up.
7. Today’s sermon is not technically an expository sermon, as I typically preach; a hybrid; it deals with a text like an expository sermon might, but it also digresses
Main Idea: The substitution of John for Elijah teaches us much about God’s ways and his dealings with mankind.
I. God Works in PATTERNS (Mark 9:9-13)
A. Why the SECRECY?
• people wanted crown before the cross, the Millennium not crucifixion
• How things might have happened, in theory, had people been receptive
• Disciples confused about taking things more or less literally
B. God Often Works in Repeated PATTERNS
• Temple destroyed twice, same day of the year (9th of Av) 586 BC, 70 AD
• Number 40: rains 40 days, Jesus tempted 40 days; children of Israel sentence of 40 years to wander, God gives Israel 40 to decide
• Elijah multiplies loaves and fishes, Jesus multiplies loaves and fishes.
C. Usually a LESS literal fulfillment first, then the MORE literal
Because Something is Fulfilled Less Literally Does Not Mean It Will Not Also Be Fulfilled more Literally
1. Virgin Birth of Isaiah 7
2. Jesus Kingdom
3. Redemption: souls now, bodies later
4. Joy of the Lord at times now, full joy forever in heaven
II. God Foreknows All, and Makes Appropriate SUBSTITUTIONS (Malachi 4:5-6)
“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]
A. Subject matter: END time fulfillment
• “Elijah comes first,” not “Elijah will come first.” A pattern, a principle.
• John the Baptist Less-literal fulfillment, but Elijah Will Literally Fulfill It
• Even today, the Jewish people leave an empty seat / open door at the Passover table in case Elijah shows up…
1. Elijah, not JOHN, at the Transfiguration
2. JOHN himself denied being Elijah
John 1:21, “And they asked him [John], ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’”