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1) The Coming of Elijah
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THE COMING OF ELIJAH - MALACHI 4:5,6
 
I.  The day of the Lord is the day that the Messiah will come and make things right.  God's people are exalted and the wicked judged.  The New Testament interprets the "day of the Lord" as the glorious return of Jesus.  (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10)

     Elijah returns before the day of the Lord and brings a message of reconciliation and restoration.  Jewish leaders and rabbis believed the literal person of Elijah would come before the Messiah.  Matthew 17:10; John 1:19-23; Luke 1:15-17  The prophecy of Malachi 4 is about a message like that of Elijah, not the person.

II. John the Baptist's message was to prepare people for the first advent of Christ.  Does it not make sense that God would send another message in the "spirit and power of Elijah" to prepare people for the second advent of Christ?  The prophecy of Malachi has a dual application known as inaugurated and consummated eschatology.

III. The ministry of Elijah in a time of apostasy reveals the background of the Elijah message.  1 Kings 16:30-33; 1 Kings 17:1; Deuteronomy 11:13-17; 1 Kings 18:18
      A) Mixture of truth with error
      B) True worship mixed with false worship
      C) There is a lack of the fear of the Lord
      D) A combination of church and state
      E) There is a forsaking of the commandments of God


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