Jesus the Christ, the one the law
and all the prophets said was to come.
When Jesus began preaching His gospel of the kingdom, his followers grew into multitudes, confounding the chief priests and scribes who feared the multitudes.Luke 20:19 When Jesus claimed to be God, His ministry came to and abrupt end, and many who flocked to hear Him were among the ones who were yelling "Crucify Him!" There was a conflict with Jesus’ claim and scripture. God had promised in scripture to reveal all He would do to the prophets, but, when they looked in scripture, they found only one coming of the Lord Himself, and that was for the day of the Lord,Zech 14 and that did not describe Jesus. They could find no other coming of the Lord, Himself, in scripture, so they didn't believe Him.
What they didn't realize was that they were the people of whom the Lord had foretold, the foolish people without understanding, which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.Jer 5:21 The Lord had revealed to the prophets that He would come twice, once before the day of the Lord and again for the day of the Lord, but seeing it, they didn't see it, and hearing it, they didn't hear it. The blindness, in part, of Israel had arrived,Rom 11:25 and it wouldn’t be revealed until the specified time.
At the transfiguration the disciples discovered that contrary to what they had been taught, the Prophet Elijah wouldn’t be returning to resume his ministry before the Lord returns. So, they ask Jesus Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? Matt 17:10 Note the Author’s choice of words. They didn’t ask why Malachi, a prophet, or prophets said Elijah must first come. The Author attributes the teaching to the scribes.
To understand how a difference could arise between what Malachi prophesied and what the scribes expected requires a little background information. First, the Hebrew alphabet includes no vowels, just consonants. There was no upper case and lower case letters. In English it would be as though there were no A, E, I, O, or U in our words, and “Remember the Alamo” would look like this: rmmbr th lmo. It was primarily a spoken language and every one knew what vowel sound to pronounce between the consonants as they spoke. Second, when Malachi’s prophesies were written, the style of writing was different than the style today. In Chuck Missler’s terms, they wrote the way we speak, one syllable after another with no spaces in between, and in English, “Remember the Alamo,” would now look like: rmmbrthlm. Both Testaments, the Old and the New, were written this way. The separation of the words with spaces between them and the vowel markings were later additions to the Hebrew scriptures. When we go to the Hebrew text of Malachi and remove the vowel markings and spaces, we can see what the scribes saw as they read the verseMal 4:5 (3,23 in the Tanakh):
Of interest to us are the four Hebrew letters in red, which can be one word: ELYH or can be divided into two words: EL YH]. Malachi’s prophecy could be read as two words to prophesy the coming of the Lord Himself, before the day of the Lord, or it could be read as one word to say that Elijah, whose name was formed to by combining the two words, would be coming. The scribes read it as one word and taught that Elijah would be coming before the day of the Lord. What the New Testament reveals is that Malachi prophesied the coming of LORD God, the first coming of the Lord, the coming before the day of the Lord. It was scribes who blinded Israel to the first coming of the Lord, for there is no other prophecy of the Lord coming before the day of the Lord, and the Lord had promised Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he reveals his secret to his servants the prophets.Amos 3:7 The Lord had revealed His first coming to Malachi, but when the scribes came to the coming of the LORD God they read and taught the return of Elijah.
This blindness of Israel is something, which would continue until the fullness of the time for the gentiles to enter the kingdom has passed: that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; Rom. 11:25 so, how does Jesus reply to his disciples without removing the blindness and closing the door of the kingdom to the gentiles? Replacing the Hebrew letters with letters of our Roman alphabet, EL YH is LORD God and ELYH is Elijah: Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? Matt 17:10 Jesus’ answered one thing and his disciples heard another. Jesus said EL YH truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That EL YH 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.Matt. 17:11-12 Jesus is the redeemer who restores all things, and who was suffering the rejection and abuse of the violent taking the kingdom by force and it continued until His death.
What his disciples heard was ELYH truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That ELYH 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. What is often missed here is that they discovered Elijah wasn’t coming, which prompted the question, and they missed that Jesus was speaking of the one who would restore all things so the disciples assumed [suniemi: put together] that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.Matt. 17:13
John the Baptist knew that he wasn’t the one of which Jesus spoke: And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah.John 1:19-23. John told the priests and Levites who he was. John wasn’t the Christ. John wasn’t Elijah. John wasn’t that prophet, the Elijah-like alternative, John was the one prophesied by Isaiah.
Over the years of the blindness we’ve interpreted scriptures as though John were Elijah, but we can see that he isn’t as we review our interpretations. For example, the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 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 EL YH, 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 LordLuke 1:13-17 In this case we’ve given the verse the reading of John the spirit of Elijah, not the spirit of LORD God with which he was filled from his mother’s womb.
Here we’ve ignored the transtion from Jesus speaking of John who was to go before Him to Jesus who was to come: Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you will receive it, this is El Yh, which was for to come. The one that has ears to hear, let him hear.Matt. 11:7-15 What the law and all the prophets until John had prophesied would come was the Christ. What the law prophesied is one of the subjects of the book of Hebrews, and the law prophesied the coming of the Christ, saying nothing of John. And this one is Jesus the Christ which was for to come.
Interestingly, in the Jewish Passover celebration of today a place is set for the one prophesied to come by Malachi, and the last course of the feast is the broken bread, which has replaced the lamb of the Passover of Moses. It is called the afikomen. The rabbis say it means dessert because it is eaten last, but it isn’t a Hebrew word. It is a Greek word, the aorist form of ikneomai, and it means he came.Zion’s Fire March/April 1996 Vol. 7 No. 2, p.10, Kevin L. Howard