Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The last promise God made in the Old Testament was to send "Elijah the prophet" just before "the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (the second coming of Christ, Mal. 4:5). Elijah is one of a special club of three in which membership is unique. The first is Enoch, who "was translated so that he did not see death, ... 'because God had translated him': for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Heb. 11:5).
The second is Moses who had to come under the dominion of death, but was granted a special resurrection (Jude 9). And Elijah was the third, also translated without dying. So these three humans dwell somewhere in the vast universe as special guests of heaven. (The vast numbers of those who have "died in Christ" sleep until the resurrection.)
Elijah and Moses share the immense honor of being sent by the Father on a special mission for interview with the Lord Jesus shortly before He had to face the horror of His cross (Matt. 17:1-5). Moses and Elijah shared something in common with Jesus--both surrendered their souls to self being "crucified with Christ." Moses loved backsliding Israel so intently that he asked (seriously!) to have his name blotted out of God's Book of Life if God would not or could not save Israel (cf. Ex. 32:30-33).
Elijah knew the indescribable thrill of confronting apostate Israel on Mount Carmel and praying for fire to fall and consume his sacrifice. From that stratospheric moment of exaltation, he descended to pray a prayer like that of Moses: "He prayed that he might die, and said, 'It is enough! Now Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'" (1 Kings 19:4). Utter despair akin to that of Christ as He hung on His cross in darkness of soul!
This was not Elijah's selfish desire to sleep until the resurrection; as with Moses, it was love for sinful Israel that constrained him, like Jesus to "pour out his soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12) in prayer for God's people--the real thing, the second death. The two alone could understandably encourage the Savior on the Mount of Transfiguration to face that same death in His sacrifice of Himself for us. We thank our Lord for His giving Himself for us; thank you, Moses and Elijah, for encouraging Him!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 22, 2006.
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