“And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” Mar 9:1
Then the vs. 2-7 describes the Transfiguration. The vision of the transfiguration is the vision of the kingdom of God present with power. In the vision, Jesus’ appearance becomes shining with white light, i.e., His glory as Messiah, as the Living Word, becames outwardly evident. Moses and Elijah appear with Him. Moses represents the Torah, the Word, and Elijah the Spirit. Moses represents the Judah, and Elijah represents Ephraim. Moses represents Jews and Elijah Christians. When the two are united in Israel’s Messiah, then the kingdom of God will be present with power.
Elijah coming first is a reference to the belief among the Jews that Elijah, who was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot and did not taste death, will return and precede the coming of Messiah. Jesus said that Elijah had already come – Elijah preceded the first coming of the Messiah. When the angel announced the birth of John of Baptist, he said:
“But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘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 Lord.” Luk 1:13-17
We have just read about the importance of turning a few chapters ago in Mark 4! The ministry of Elijah the prophet in the Old Testament, we can see (1 Kin 17-21 and 2 Kin 1-2), was to turn idolatrous Israel, the northern kingdom, back to the worship of YHVH, the one true God. And we see that this was the same ministry which was foretold for John even before he was conceived.
Jesus not only said that Elijah has come, in the person of John the Baptist, to prepare the way before the first coming of Messiah, but that Elijah will come. The spirit and power of Elijah will be poured out to prepare the way before the second coming of Messiah. The purpose of the ministry will be the same: to turn hearts back toward the Lord God. To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children; i.e., to restore homes with fathers in them who are fulfilling their designated role as the priest of their home!
This is why I believe a massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which will manifest as true repentance and restoration to the Lord our God, with revival worldwide, and signs and wonders following, will precede the second coming of the Lord Jesus. I guess I don’t believe that Elijah will come this time as a single man. But as it is prophesied in Joel,
“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.” Joe 2:28-31
Joel chapter 2 is fascinating, for it describes the events that will precede the great and terrible day of the Lord. Vs. 1-11 describe a terrible army which is coming upon Israel. Vs. 12-17 describe the weeping and mourning which will take place in Israel because of this army. It is a call to turn!
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joe 2:12
Vs. 18-27 describe the great deliverance the Lord will execute on behalf of Israel, and the great prosperity and blessing which will follow Israel’s deliverance from all her enemies. Then comes vs. 28-32, and the great outpouring of the Spirit in signs and wonders. This whole chapter describes the coming of Elijah who will precede the coming the Lord Jesus, for the ministry of turning, of repentance, and the outpouring of the Spirit in power, are the characteristics of Elijah’s ministry!
Now Peter quoted this same passage in Joel on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, when the Spirit fell upon the gathering of the believers, saying that that event fulfilled this prophecy (Act 2:14-21). In fact, it has been “those days” for the past 2000 years, and the work of the Spirit in the world, between the ascension of Jesus and His return, has been to testify of Jesus, to turn all flesh toward the Lord our God, and to prepare the earth for the coming of Messiah in power and glory. But as the time draws near, so will the ministry of the Spirit in repentance and power increase.
For further reading:
mark 9, the causes of sin (2009)