Chapter 43 Preview: If Elohim (God) “travels in time” then certain occurrences in the Bible become easier for us, with our limited knowledge, to comprehend. If you believe that Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity essentially proves that “time travel” is possible, then you shouldn’t be surprised if it were to have a bearing on both history and prophecy. If you believe that Einstein was wrong and that even Yehovah (Jehovah) can’t traverse time, then please go back to another chapter. This chapter was written from the premise that the Creator of time has complete mastery of it, so if Einstein miscalculated—well then blame him for the deductions of this chapter. Nothing else in my books is dependent on time travel.
For at least the last one hundred years, the concept of time travel has tantalized the minds of many of us. I happen to easily fit into that category. A pbs.org article, for example, offers this enticement:
“Various researchers have proposed ways in which backward and forward time machines can be built that do not seem to violate any know laws of physics. Remember that the laws of physics tell us what is possible, not what is practical for humans at this point in time. The physics of time travel is still in its infancy. While all physicists today admit that time travel to the future is possible, many still believe time travel to the past will never be easily attainable. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that humans will never have efficient technology for backward and forward time travel. Accurately predicting future technology is nearly impossible, and history is filled with underestimates of technology:”
The following thought would aptly explain Yehovah’s statement that He “inhabits eternity”.
“Surprising as it may be to most non-scientists and even to some scientists, Albert Einstein concluded in his later years that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. In 1952, in his book Relativity, in discussing Minkowski’s Space World interpretation of his theory of relativity, Einstein writes:
“Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent ‘now’ objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.” (outside link)
So perhaps Yehovah doesn’t exactly travel in time anymore than we see the sun rise—since the earth is actually rising, but from our perspective the sun is rising. Another analogy is when a car approaches you on a highway—you only see where you are going while the approaching driver only sees where you have been. Time and space are a matter of perspective. Perhaps Yehovah travels to the location that He chooses to, and then chooses which vantage point, or points in “time” to view.
We’ve been designed to long for this “appropriate” perspective of “time” and “eternity”, but presently “people still can’t fathom” it.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds. But people still can’t fathom the work that Elohim has done from beginning to end. —The Gabriel Bible
Other mathematical geniuses have since expanded on Einstein’s realizations, but that is way beyond the scope of this chapter.
There are certainly times when true believers can disagree on whether or not a Bible verse should be taken literally. I don’t think that there should be many of these places, especially in regard to obedience. This has nothing to do with obedience, so I’m perfectly happy if you think that figurative explanations for some of the following passages were intended.
But just for fun let’s take some Scriptures literally that are traditionally taken to be anything but that.
The following verse is the first example of a verse that I take to be literal. It appears that Yehovah doesn’t actually “travel in time”—He INHABITS time! From wherever He is, He can exist in the past, the present and the future of that particular place, perhaps all at once!
Isaiah 57:15 The High and exalted One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Kadosh says: “I live in the the high and Kadosh Place, along with the One who is to be destroyed [root word crushed or broken] and humiliated in spirit, who will be returning to life the spirits of the crushed, and returning to life the consciousnesses of the crushed,
From the above verse we can see that:
The primary meaning of “revive” using the hiphil verb stem (8687) is “to preserve alive, let live”. So under Yehovah’s umbrella, certain humans can be preserved alive and at least on some level experience what Yehovah is experiencing.
Yet the Bible never says that Yehovah exists EVERYWHERE at the same time. The concept of “omnipresence” is of pagan origin.
So Yehovah actually “dwells” in eternity. The Hebrew word for “inhabits” above is the same word translated as “dwell” in the same sentence. Yehovah said that He lives in a specific “place”. So Yehovah “inhabits” one place at a “time”.
Here is a closer look at the word “inhabits” using the appropriate (Qal) verb stem from the Online Bible Hebrew Lexicon:
Furthermore, “eternity” in the Hebrew means past, present and future—just as it does in English.
Notice in the following statement from Yehovah Himself, for example, how He knows the future of the descendants of Abraham—an aspect of TIME, but when it comes to a location, a specific place in SPACE He must either rely on “reports” or “go ... and see” in Person!
Genesis 18:17-21 Yehovah asked, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? 18 since Abraham will certainly become an important and populous nation, and every nation on earth will be blessed thru him? 19 I [the Son] have selected him to command his children and their families after him, to obey the way of Yehovah [the Father], by doing what is right and just, so that Yehovah will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him. 20 Yehovah said, “Because the outcries against Sodom and Gomorrah are so numerous, and because their sin is so very serious, 21 I’m going down now, and see if their behavior is as wicked as the reports that have come to Me. If not, I’ll know.
Note that the operative word in the following Scripture, “declaring” (Heb. nagad) is translated as “tell” 222 times in the KJV. So it is not saying that Yehovah is necessarily “causing” all of the events of eternity, rather His prophecies “tell” us the end results.
Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the events of antiquity, because I’m Elohim, and there is no other, I’m Elohim, and there’s no one like Me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that haven’t been done yet. I say that My purposes will be established, and I’ll do the things I delight in,
This is not to imply that Yehovah doesn’t intervene—eliminating certain outcomes that are not to His liking, as He did in Sodom and Gomorrah. Yehovah can do anything He wants to:
The best minds of science, beginning in 1905 with Albert Einstein, have concluded that “time travel” is not only possible—it is a mathematical certainty.
So if Yehovah can travel in time (from our perspective), then can Yehovah make people travel in time as well? Does the Bible ever address that?
Was the envoy (apostle) John hallucinating, as some believe? Was he dreaming? The Bible says that he was “in the Spirit on Yehovah’s (the Lord’s) day”. It was the real thing—he lived in the future. He literally experienced the events of “the Day of the Lord”! The entire book of Revelation is a first hand narrative. Unlike Daniel, he did not take this lying down. Seven times he said “I saw”: Revelation 1:12; 1:17; 4:4; 5:1; 5:2; 6:1; 6:9.
Revelation 1:9-19 I John, your Friend and your partner in the tribulation and suffering that are ours in Yeshua Messiah, was on the island called Patmos, because of the Word of Aloha and the Testimony of Yeshua Messiah. 10 I was in the spirit realm on YHVH’s Day, and I heard a loud voice behind me like a shofar that said, 11 “Write what you are seeing in a document and send it to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to look at the voice that spoke to me, and as I turned I saw the seven gold menorahs, 13 and among the menorahs, someone, ‘perhaps’ the Human Son, wearing a robe down to His feet, and wearing a gold sash around His chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes resembled flames of fire. 15 His feet were like refined brass, glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the waves on the sea. 16 He had seven stars in His right hand and a sharp two edged sword came from His mouth. His face was like the sun shining full strength.
17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as tho dead. He laid His right hand on me and said “Don’t be afraid, I am the First and the Last, 18 the living One. I was dead, but look, I’m alive forevermore! Aw-main. And I have the keys of death and Sheol.
19 So record what you have already seen, the things that presently are, and the things that are going to happen in the future.
Here John is actually told to measure the end time third Temple, just prior to the Two Witnesses commission (v.3). Measuring the temple is described 29 times in Ezekiel 40-42. This would explain the previous verse (10:11): “John, you must prophesy again before many nations, and peoples, and princes, and kings”. He is in the company of the two witnesses, just like Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6).
Revelation 11:1-3 Then I, John, was given a measuring reed like a staff, and the messenger stood and said, “Get up and measure the Temple of YHVH and the altar and those who worship there. 2 But don’t measure the courtyard outside of the Temple. Leave it out, because it has been given to the heathens, and they’ll trample the kadosh city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 I’ll commission My Two Witnesses. They’ll prophesy for 1,260 days, wearing sackcloth.
Revelation clearly says that:
My brother told me that according to a very old family copy of Fox’s Book of Martyrs (that I couldn’t stomach reading as a teen), that John was never martyred. Here is an excerpt from an online copy:
“The “beloved disciple,” was brother to James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira, were founded by him. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterward banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.”
But that does not square with what Yeshua said!
Mark 10:35-39 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him and asked, “Master, we want You to grant us whatever request we ask of You.” 36 He asked them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They replied, “Allow one of us to sit on Your right side and the other on Your left side in Your splendor.” 38 But He told them, “You don’t know what you’re asking for. Are you able to drink from the same cup that I drink from and be immersed with the same immersion that I’m immersed with?” 39 They told Him, “We are able”. So Yeshua told them, “You will drink the from cup that I drink from and you will be immersed with the same kind of immersion that I’m immersed with.
Could it be, as my brother said in our discussion of this topic, that John “was” martyred during the coming Great Tribulation?
What about the use of the word “vision” in Revelation? Yes, the word “vision” appears once in Revelation:
Yet it could just as easily say:
The primary use of the word “vision” concerns the act of seeing in the sense of sight with the eyes!
At least one of Daniel’s visions appears to be much more than a simple dream because “the men who were with me ... ran away and hid themselves!”
Daniel 10:7 I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, because the men who were with me simply couldn’t see it. But they were overcome with trembling, and they ran away and hid themselves.
Occasionally “vision” does utilize the figurative usage, as is done in English. Here is an example:
Acts 12:9 He [Peter] followed him out of the prison, not realizing that what had been done by the spirit messenger was a reality. He thought he was seeing a vision.
“ELIJAH THE TISHBITE has been well entitled ‘the grandest and the most romantic character that Israel ever produced.’ Certainly there is no personage in the [Tanak] whose career is more vividly portrayed, or who exercises on us a more remarkable fascination. His rare, sudden, and brief appearances, his undaunted courage and fiery zeal, the brilliancy of his triumphs, the pathos of his despondency, the glory of his departure, and the calm beauty of his reappearance on the Mount of Transfiguration, throw such a halo of brightness around him as is equaled by none of his compeers in the sacred story. The ignorance in which we are left of the circumstances and antecedents of the man who did and who suffered so much, doubtless contributes to enhance our interest in the story and the character. ‘Elijah the Tishbite of the inhabitants of Gilead,’ is literally all that is given us to know of his parentage and locality. It is in remarkable contrast to the detail with which the genealogies of other prophets and leaders of Israel are stated. Where the place—if it was a place—lay, which gave him this appellation we know not, nor are we likely to know. It is not again found in the bible, nor has any name answering to it been discovered since.”
Elijah didn’t die and go to heaven in ancient Israel—he simply vanished into the sky! Could he have arrived just as suddenly?
2 Kings 2:11-12 As they were walking along and talking, ‘suddenly’ a fiery chariot with fiery horses appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up into the sky ♦ in a tornado! 12 Elisha saw it, and yelled, “My father, my father, the chariot and horsemen of Israel!” When he couldn’t see him anymore, he latched onto his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.
This “fiery” mode of transportation was not an isolated incident; in fact Yehovah has a fleet of such chariots:
But what happened to Elijah after his flight? Did Elijah go to pluck on harps in heaven, or does the Bible say that he was to appear in the future? I hope to show that he made four other appearances!
I believe that all of these Elijahs are the same person who lived/will live at different points in time. Put another way, if we believe the Bible literally, then we would have to look very hard NOT to believe that Elijah (known in the 1st century as John the Immerser) was:
Let’s check out #4 first because it is the most represented in the Bible:
There are three accounts of the “transfiguration”. This event was truly astonishing and should not be dismissed as a curiosity. In each account the “won’t experience death” comment is followed six days later by a metamorphosis comment. Despite the inconsistency of the person who inserted the chapter breaks, these two events are very connected.
This was no vision. In fact Peter plainly stated much later in reference to the transfiguration that they had not fallen for any “fables”. He said that the three of them “were eyewitnesses” and that they also “heard the same voice come out of heaven”—so they were also “earwitnesses”!
2 Peter 1:16-18 because we didn’t ‘create’ artfully framed fables when we told you about the power and arrival of our Master Yeshua Messiah—we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 When He received honor and praise from YHVH the Father, a voice came to Him from the splendid beauty of His Majesty that said, “This is the Son I love very much, I’m delighted with Him.” 18 We personally heard the same voice from Heaven as He heard it, while we were with Him on the kadosh mountain.
The key to understanding what actually happened is that Yeshua was literally metamorphosed [Gr. metamorphoo]—“changed into another form”—and that form was light!
With that metamorphosis in mind let’s read the accounts:
Matthew 16:28-17:3 I am certain that some of you who are standing here won’t die until you have seen the Human Son coming with [or “in”] His Kingdom!” Chapter 17:1-3 Six days later, Yeshua (Jesus) took Cephas, James, and his brother John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 Yeshua underwent a supernatural metamorphosis [Gr. metamorphoo] in front of them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothing became as white as light. 3 Then Moses and Elijah just appeared and began talking with Yeshua!
Mark 9:1-4 He told them, “I am certain that there are some people standing here who won’t die until they see the Kingdom of YHVH arrive with immense power.” 2 Six days later, Yeshua took Cephas and James and John and led them to a high mountain where He underwent a metamorphosis [Gr. metamorphoo] right in front of them! 3 His clothes glistened and became dazzling white, like snow, whiter than people on earth could ever make them! 4 Then Moses and Elijah showed up and we could see them talking with Yeshua!
Luke 9:27-33 I tell you with absolute certainty that some of you standing here won’t experience death until you see the Kingdom of YHVH with your own eyes. 28 About eight days after these discourses, Yeshua took Simon and James and John, and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 While He prayed, the appearance of His face was changed, and His clothing became white and radiant. 30 Suddenly there were two men talking with Him. They were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in an exalted state. They were talking about His departure that was to take place in Jerusalem. 32 Simon and those with him were overcome with drowsiness and barely awake when they saw His splendor, and the two men who stood with Him. 33 As they were about to leave Him, Simon said to Yeshua, “Master, it is delightful for us to be here. Let’s make three booths here, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he wasn’t aware of what he was saying [because he was “barely awake”].
Are there some very old people who never experienced death? Are there some men who actually saw “the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom”. None of these accounts indicate that the “transfiguration” was a “vision”. All represent the information as factual—so why the unbelief? “Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Yeshua”. This was no parlor trick! Notice that they were “awake” when they saw Yeshua in His spirit form, as well as when they saw “Moses and Elijah”. Luke’s account might seemingly indicate that Peter was a bit “rattled” after the event, by his tabernacles comment, but perhaps Peter perceived a Feast of Tabernacles connection to this occurrence, but let’s go on.
This astonishing experience alone might have lead “Peter, John, and James” to assume that the New Covenant with Israel would be accomplished in their life times. With the advantage of 20/20 hindsight we need to understand what really happened—that both Moses and Elijah had traveled in time to meet with Yeshua! Yet as exciting as this meeting was, they still did not see “the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom”.
Under normal chronology, the “transfiguration” is the fourth coming of Elijah, as I hope to show. We just read that some of those standing with Yeshua would actually live to see “the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom”. Yet that time will be of far more consequence than was the “transfiguration”—it will involve all of the kadishea (saints) and even “the world”:
Mark 13:26-27 Then they’ll see the Human Son coming in the clouds [Daniel 7] with great power and splendor. 27 Then He’ll send out His spirit messengers to gather His select people from the four winds [north, south, east and west], from the furthermost bounds of the land to the furthermost bounds of the sky.
Luke 21:25-28 There will be supernatural signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and there will be great stress on earth among the nations—shock and trembling due to the roaring waves [hurricanes] at sea. 26 People will have anxious expectations and fear because of what is coming to the earth, because the powers of the universe will be shaken. 27 Then they’ll see the Human Son coming in the clouds with power and with great splendor. 28 When these things begin to happen, take courage and ‘look up’ because you are about to be delivered!”
Lets go back to the statement: “the form of His face took on a different appearance, and His clothing became white and radiant”. Here is the answer to the mystery. Yeshua was transformed into something like solid light!
The nature of light is the backbone of Einstein’s revolutionary theory of relativity:
“What is light? How does it travel, and how fast can it go? Even as a teenager, Einstein was fascinated by the nature of light. When he was just 16 years old, Einstein tried to imagine what it would be like to ride on a beam of light. Could he travel as fast as light? Could he travel faster?”
Yet scientists are now just beginning to describe the kind of solid appearing light that is commonly used in descriptions of Yehovah.
“A ‘new theory’, predicts that light could be made to exhibit properties similar to those of matter, although photons don’t normally interact with one other, unlike for instance electrons used by computer circuitry.
“A team of scientists made a breakthrough in the field of solid light using only tools that are usually employed to study matter, rather than energy.”
Ordinary light somewhat inhabits eternity, in that it does not experience time. It is almost eternal when we consider the star light that we see came our direction aeons ago.
Both Moses and Elijah spoke with Yehovah on Mount Sinai during antiquity. In Exodus 18:1-3), when Moses visited Yehovah, the mountain was covered with a cloud (19:16). The same thing happened at the transfiguration. Perhaps during the transfiguration, Yehovah moved both Moses and Elijah to Galilee where the three disciples were.
Is there a clear precedent for that? Yes, during Ezekiel’s “vision” he saw Yehovah moving from “within the city” “on the mountain!”:
Ezekiel 11:1, 22-25 The spirit lifted me up, and she brought me to the eastern gate of Yehovah’s Temple, that faces east. Twenty-five men were at the entrance of the gateway, and I saw that Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, leaders of the people were among them. ... 22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, while the splendor of the Elohim of Israel hovered above them. 23 The splendor of Yehovah went up from within the city, and paused on the mountain on the east side of the city. 24 The spirit lifted me up, and she brought me in a vision by the spirit of Elohim into Chaldea, to the exiles. So the vision that I had seen ascended from me.
How often do you wake up from a “dream” in the very place that you were dreaming about, and then tell people about the dream?
Next we see two accounts of Ezekiel traveling both in time and in space:
Ezekiel 8:1-3 During the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, the hand of the Sovereign Yehovah came to me quickly. 2 Then as I looked on, I saw something that looked like a man. From his waist down he looked like fire, and from his waist up was brilliant, like glowing metal. 3 He stretched out what appeared to be a hand, and took me by a lock of my head, and the spirit lifted me up between earth and the sky, and she brought me as a mode of revelation from Elohim to Jerusalem, to the door of the gate of the inner courtyard that faces toward the north, where there was the seat of the image of Jealousy [the Queen of Heaven], that provokes to jealousy.
Ezekiel 43:4-7 The splendor of Yehovah came into the Temple thru the gate facing east. 5 The spirit lifted me up, and she brought me into the inner courtyard, and I saw, the splendor of Yehovah filling the Temple.
6 I heard someone speaking to me from inside the Temple, while the man was standing beside me. 7 He said, “Human son, this is the place where My throne is and the place for the soles of My feet, where I will live among the Israelites forever. The nation of Israel will no longer defile My kadosh name, neither they, or their kings, by their prostitution, or with the dead bodies of their kings in their high places of worship,
Moses also had a mountain top experience with the “Great Light”:
Exodus 34:29 Then when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses’ hand. When he came down from the mountain, Moses didn’t know that the skin of his face shone because he had spoken with Him.
This event corresponds with Luke 9:31; telling us that during the transfiguration Moses “appeared in splendor”.
During the transfiguration, the past, the present and the future all exist in the same location. Under Yehovah’s “umbrella” Moses and Elijah from their “times” appear with the disciples in their “time” while Yeshua appears in His futuristic resurrected state!
So why do I call this the fourth coming? Let me attempt to show you the other four comings!
The first Biblical reference to Elijah informs us that he was from an unknown location. There is no known place called Tishbite. People assume that He was from Tishbe or Tishbi or Tesheb, but the word could simply mean a stranger (search word: stranger) or “visitor”! He was a man who seemingly made an abrupt appearance out of nowhere—and perhaps he did!
1 Kings 17:1-4 Elijah the Tishbite [foreigner], one of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, lives, whom I ‘serve’, there will be no dew or rain in the years ahead, unless I give the word!”
2 The Word of Yehovah came to him and said: 3 “Leave here and travel eastward. Hide out beside the Wadi Cherith where it ‘enters’ the Jordan. 4 You can drink from the wadi. I’ve commanded the ravens to provide for you there.”
Right away he was performing miracles. But “after many days” (18:1) Yehovah put him to work single-handedly attacking the wicked king Ahab of Israel.
1 Kings 18:1 Some time later, in the third year of the drought, the Word of Yehovah came to Elijah, and said, “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I’ll send rain on the surface of the land.”
Our first contact with Elijah explains that he was a wanted man—dead or alive. This would be his “first coming”.
Years after his fiery departure on a blazingly lit up chariot he came back at least long enough to pronounce a curse on another royal administration:
2 Chronicles 21:12-15 Then a letter came to him from the prophet Elijah. It read, “This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of David your father said, ‘Because you haven’t followed in the paths of Jehoshaphat your father and of King Asa of Judah, 13 but have followed the paths of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves like the house of Ahab prostituted itself, and you killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you, 14 Yehovah will strike your people, your sons, your wives and all your possessions with a ‘horrible’ affliction. 15 You will personally suffer from a chronic intestinal disease that will get worse every day until your bowels fall out.”
From our perspective this was Elijah’s “second coming”.
The Bible and other historic records repeatedly indicate that the Jews were expecting Elijah and some of the other prophets to reappear!
Matthew 16:13-17 When Yeshua came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Human Son is?” 14 They answered, “Some say that You are John the Immerser, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 Then He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Cephas answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living Aloha.” 17 Yeshua replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonas, because no ‘mortal being’ has revealed this to you, but My Father in the Heavens has.
This would have been Yeshua’s perfect time to say: “thus saith the Lord, ‘you guys are crazy! Elijah is quite dead’”. But on the contrary, Yeshua confirmed the astonishing truth! See for yourself:
Matthew 11:12-14 From the time of John the Immerser until now, the Kingdom of the Heavens has been attacked by force, and violent people continue attacking it. 13 All of the Prophets and the Torah prophesied until the time of John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who was prophesied to come.
So Yeshua said of John the Immerser: “this is Elijah, who is to come”. From our perspective this would be his third coming. Another clue is that no one else in the Bible is described as wearing this distinctive attire:
2 Kings 1:8 They replied, “He was a man wearing clothing made of hair with a leather belt around his waist.” ‘The king’ said, “It’s Elijah the Tishbite.”
Matthew 3:4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and he lived on locusts and wild honey.
Of course John the Immerser was no more likely to spend his youth calling himself “the Elijah to come” than Yeshua would have gone around saying that he was the Messiah—before the time was right.
But there is a problem: John did not fulfill the prophecy concerning the Elijah “who is to come” of Malachi 4! In fact he denied that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy!
A point that I have made before is that it wasn’t predestined that the Jews would forsake their Messiah; they had a legitimate opportunity to accept Him. The prophecies would have to have occurred later, as happened with Jonah, or even failed (1 Corinthians 13:8). The Seventy Weeks Prophecy was meant to end on or about 31 AD. John the Immerser was scheduled to be the Elijah to come, but the Bridegroom was delayed for 2000 years, because of the carnality of His countrymen!
Elijah will return just prior to “the great and dreadful Day of Yehovah”, to prevent Yehovah from needing to strike “the earth with utter destruction” (a ‘curse’)!
Before John was even born a spirit messenger made the same claim:
Luke 1:11-17 Then one of YHVH’s messengers appeared to Zechariah, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was overcome with anxiety and terror. 13 YHVH’s Messenger told him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elisabeth will give you a son, and you’ll name him John. 14 You’ll have joy and happiness, and many others will celebrate at his birth. 15 He will be great in YHVH’s presence. He’ll never drink wine or other fermented drinks. He’ll be filled with the kadosh spirit, even before his birth. 16 He’ll bring back many of the descendants of Israel to YHVH their Aloha. 17 He’ll precede Him [Messiah], in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet, and he’ll turn the sentiments of the fathers to the children, and turn the disobedient to a knowledge of righteousness, and prepare a perfect people for YHVH.”
OK, here is why my wife says this is sci-fi. If John was really Elijah then he would have spent his youth with Yeshua AND THEN WOULD HAVE “GONE BACK IN TIME” TO CHANGE HISTORY!
The Jews of Yeshua’s day were looking for Elijah to come again and fulfill Malachi’s prophecy. Let’s consider the Elijah “who is to come”. Here are the very last words from most versions of the Hebrew Scriptures:
Malachi 4:5-6 I’m going to send the prophet Elijah to you before the intensely terrifying Day of Yehovah comes! 6 He’ll turn the sentiments of the fathers to the children, and the sentiments of the children to their fathers, otherwise I’ll have to come and strike the earth with utter destruction.
Malachi didn’t say that Yehovah was going to send someone kind-a-sort-a-like Elijah. Yehovah said that He was going to eventually send Elijah back to perform an amazing job “before the intensely terrifying Day of Yehovah comes”. That would be his fifth appearance. Once his 21st century work “was” over, the only thing he had left to do was to return to the first century and die at the hands of king Herod.
Why had people come to John the Immerser for immersion? First notice that it was not for receiving the kadosh spirit!
Acts 19:1-6 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled thru the upper regions to Ephesus. He asked the disciples who he found there, 2 “Did you receive the kadosh spirit when you believed?” They replied, “We haven’t heard anything about a kadosh spirit.” 3 So he asked them, “Then what were you immersed into?” They replied, “John’s immersion.” 4 Paul told them, “John immersed people with an immersion for changing minds—he told them to believe in the One who was to come after him, namely, in Yeshua Messiah.” 5 After they heard this, they were immersed in the name of our Master Yeshua Messiah. 6 Paul laid his hand on them, and the kadosh spirit came on them, and they began speaking in different languages and prophesying.
These people had to be told long after John immersed them what John’s immersion was about, and that his immersion was insufficient for salvation:
So why were “Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his immersion”? The answer to that is that they believed that he was the Elijah to come, and that they wanted to be spared “from the wrath to come”! That is a clear reference to Malachi’s prediction: “lest I come and strike the earth with a curse”!
John also believed that Yehovah’s devastating wrath was about to be unleashed on the earth:
The third and final reference to “the wrath to come” is definitely about surviving the Day of Yehovah, because the Messiah “delivers us from the wrath to come” when He returns:
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 They talk about how you welcomed us, and how you turned to YHVH from the worship of idols to worshiping the living and true Aloha, 10 awaiting His Son from Heaven, Yeshua Himself, who He raised from the dead, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
Yet even John the Immerser didn’t seem to know for certain until quite late in the scheme of things that his cousin Yeshua was the Messiah!
Luke 7:18-20 John’s disciples told him about all these things. 19 John called two of his disciples and sent them to Yeshua to ask, “Are You the One who is to come, or should we look for someone else?” 20 They came to Yeshua and told Him, “John the Immerser has sent us to You and asks, ‘Are You the One who is to come, or should we look for someone else?’”
Before John was imprisoned, he was able to tell two of his disciples who the Messiah was (John 1:29-36). So even tho John wasn’t positive who the Messiah was, he did understand that he had been endeavoring to prepare His way.
John 1:19-27 This was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He openly admitted without hesitation, “I’m not the Messiah”. 21 They asked him again, “Who then? Are you Elijah?” He replied, “I’m not”. “Are you the Prophet”? [mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15] And he replied, “No”. 22 So they asked him, “Who are you? Tell us so that we can answer those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I’m the voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Make the highway for the Master smooth’, as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 Those who were sent were Pharisees. 25 Again they asked him, “Then why do you immerse if you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” 26 John told them, “I immerse with water, but there is Someone standing among you who you don’t recognize. 27 He is coming after me and existed before me. I’m not even worthy to unfasten His sandal straps.”
I believe that John, in what would have appeared to be but a mere moment, perhaps while he was in prison, lived out the rest of his life in the past and the future—fulfilling all five of the Elijah prophecies!
Many of us will live to see Elijah’s final mission:I’ll be sending you Elijah the prophet before the intensely terrifying Day of Yehovah comes!
Perhaps people who believe that “time is flat” will some day be in the same category as the one dimensional “earth is flat” crowd.