Something has been nagging at me today, and I want to get it out there. There are common tendencies many have regarding prophecy in the bible. One of the articles on my to-do list has to do with learning prophecy appropriately, so I hope to share what I’ve learned so far about that. For now, there are certain prophecies that have become an annoyance, so I want to make my views on these clear.
First, some background of understanding we should apply.
In the Old Testament we see examples of exalted figures like Moses, Elijah, and others. There are some Old Testament prophesies that seem to speak of additional exalted figures that will make an appearance in the last days. There is some truth to this, but we need to understand something. We are not of the Old Covenant.
Within the New Covenant, we Christians are called “the body of Christ.” Who is the head? Jesus, of course. There can only be one head. If we have more than one head, then we are more like one of the beasts in Revelation. You know, the one with seven heads? That’s not us.
It is in man’s nature to desire leaders that we can see and hear in the flesh. Therefore, it is in our nature to look at certain prophecies and begin to wonder who might fit into these roles. We might come up with vain connections around ourselves or others, or we might create some kind of checklist of what we should look out for so that we can spot these figures when they come on the scene. There’s a lot of this today, especially online.
However, this is a faulty way of looking at things. Understandable, but very vain and needing to be repented of.
To give some examples, I want to briefly address some of the common prophesies that have many people all in a tizzy. As far as I can tell, they all have the same fulfillment — none of which exalt an individual other than Jesus Himself.
There is the Elijah figure we read about in Malachi 4. There is Zerubbabel in Zachariah 4. There are the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, and there is the woman and “man child” of Revelation 12. These are all the same, as far as I can tell at least.
Let me explain.
Let’s start with Zerubbabel. I’ve heard it told that this name means “born in Babylon.” What birth in end-times Babylon matters most? It is the “bringing forth of the man child” as we see in Revelation 12. What is this “man child” if not Jesus? For some time now, I’ve interpreted the Revelation 12 woman to be all sincere Christians. We labor and travail as Christ is formed in us, and we are to bring Him forth into this world as our natures are changed to His likeness. We come into His light, repent of sin, put on Christ, and the word of God kept by our brethren guides our path (sun and moon analogies).
In the last days, the time of the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon, Zerubbabel is a reference to the bringing forth of Jesus. This is something we should all strive in as Christians.
The Two Witnesses are mentioned in Zechariah 4 and Revelation 11. Christians in the last days who “bring forth fruit” are the two olive trees. The two lamp stands or two candlesticks are the two churches shown in Revelation 3 who were not rebuked: Smyrna and Philadelphia. These are many people, not two exalted figures. These will have the “seal of God” and act as a “signet” to the world of what is true: “the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
If you read the rest of the prophecy in Zechariah 4, this interpretation makes sense. We cannot “bring forth the man child” using our own ability or through legalism. It is by the Spirit of God that this is accomplished. “Not by power or might, but by my Spirit.” Also, when Jesus is brought forth in the final sense when He returns, all earthly powers (mountains) are cast down. “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”
So, you might see, all of this has to do with the faithful and fruitful body of Christ that exists in the final days–the days of the the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon. The only exalted one in this body is Jesus Christ, because He is the one who works all of these good things in us, and He is the one who will rule. “The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”
As for the “end-time Elijah,” I think of this in a very similar way. I think there will be multiple people who perform this task because it is more fitting with the way things work in the New Covenant with Christians as the body and Jesus as the head. This Elijah figure is particularly concerning because of something the false prophet does: he brings down fire from heaven, just like Elijah. Maybe he will claim to be the one fulfilling that role? I don’t know.
Take all of this for what it’s worth. I can’t say if the way I see all of this is accurate, but it makes the most sense to me. In any case, focusing on these prophecies can be a distraction that leads to all kinds of vanities and troubles, and what good comes from it? Will this prepare us for the time of trouble? No. Seeking Jesus is what prepares us anyway, and His testimony is the spirit of all prophecy.