Approaching the Prophet Elijah means encountering an astonishing calling! The honorable title "Rock of the Prophets" resounds in the chants of the Orthodox Church. Who is this Elijah and what is his mission?


Testimony of Holy Scripture, Old Testament

The prophet Elijah leads God's people back to the acknowledgement of God, overcomes the rampant idolatry in Israel and exposes the false prophets. He does not shy away from rebuking the reigning king Ahab or his successor Ahaziah! Through his prayer, he "closes up heaven" and brings a youth back to life. Like all prophets, he suffers persecution. The "chariot and horseman of Israel" does not die a normal death, but - according to biblical account - is being translated. Upon request of his disciple and successor Elisha, a double portion of his spirit comes to rest upon Elisha (cf. 1 Kings 17, 18-19; 2 Kings 1-2).

Elisha's acts clearly reveal the continuing presence of the spirit of the great prophet Elijah. When Elisha dies, Joash, the king of Israel, addresses him in the same way Elisha once spoke to Elijah: "My father! My father! The chariot and horseman of Israel!" (2 Kings 13, 14)

Holy Scripture subsequently does not mention anyone else in succession, who receives the "spirit of Elijah and Elisha". Thus the biblical track of Elijah looses itself here at first...


Present-day expectations

Nevertheless, great expectations are connected with the person of Elijah until today. Not few among the people of believing Jews assume that Elijah will return and bring with him the long awaited Messiah. Even though expectations concerning the Messiah and the return of Elijah might have changed over time, there are still enough Jews, who hold fast to the original version: "Elijah will come and restore everything" and that Elijah "is ready at the appointed time to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob." (cf. Malachi 4.5 and Sirach 48.10)

How vivid this imagination is, shows the Jewish celebration of the Sabbath, which does not end without commemorating Elijah. A separate cup is even placed on the table for him. But Elijah is not only remembered during the Sabbath. I was privileged to experience a very vivid example of a current Elijah-expectation in Jerusalem. A few years ago, as I was looking on a Sabbath at the Wailing Wall from a higher location to experience the Jews in prayer, I heard two Israeli soldiers talking to each other. They were conversing about the yet unresolved political situation in the Holy Land, and I understood very clearly that the one soldier said to the other: "This will only change, when Elijah comes!"

I also will not forget the encounter with a Jewish business woman in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter. When I was introduced to her and she heard my name (Elija), she looked at me and merely said: "When Elijah returns, he needs great (infinite?) mercy."

In 1994, I visited a holy place near Damascus. It is believed to be the location, from which the prophet was translated into heaven. "You were translated in a chariot of fire and went up to heaven in a whirlwind" (2 Kings 2.11). I was shown the hoof prints of a horse in the rock.

Be that as it may! In any case, it is a place where Moslems and Christians come to pray. Without any doubt, the prophet Elijah is a person, who is highly honored by Jews, Moslems and Christians as well. Legends about the person of Elijah are being found in the Moslem tradition. He, the "Evergreen", sometimes appears unexpectedly, helps and disappears again!

In the Christian tradition, the veneration of the prophet Elijah is especially known in the Oriental Churches. Chants of the "rock of the prophets, the most holy Elijah" are being sung on his feast day (July 20 and other dates).

But he is also at home in the Roman-Catholic Church. The Carmelites, for example, view him as their spiritual father, and some anchorites saw in him an example to follow.

The more one comes in contact with the biblical Elijah, the more doors open.

Certainly, a lot more could be said about Elijah, and I refer to the extensive literature that can be found about this prophet.


New Testament

Looking at the New Testament, we meet with the mission of Elijah as well as the glorified person of the prophet.
The testimony of the new covenant makes us understand that the person of the prophet Elijah and his mission is not identical. In the Gospel of Luke we find the prophecy of the coming of John the Baptist in the 17th verse of the 1st chapter:
"And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous- to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Matthew 17, verses 10-13, give us the following reference:

"The disciples asked him, Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first? Jesus replied, To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Just before that, Peter, John and James were permitted to see Jesus in the Light of His Glory. Moses and Elijah appeared before their eyes and talked with Jesus. (cf. Matthew 17.1-9)

The statement of Jesus about John the Baptist is very clear. John the Baptist is not identical with the person of Elijah, who was translated to God and whom believing Jews during the time of Jesus expect to return at the end of days. The concept that exists in some esoteric circles, that the person of John the Baptist is Elijah, who returned to earth in a reincarnation, cannot stand. The idea of reincarnation is not found in monotheistic religions! It is understood though, that John the Baptist served the mission of Elijah, or, in other words: took part in this mission and continued it.

It becomes even more clear when we consider that Elijah's mission does not have its origin in the power of his own person. The true mission is always given by God and His presence in the being and acting of the prophet. Thus the prophet Elijah is a forerunner, preparing the way, and a sign of the coming of God in His Son Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and the nations. With the coming of John the Baptist, the mission of Elijah becomes more intense, because John is not only being entrusted with the task of preparing the coming of the Messiah, but with the immediate preparation of His arrival. He is permitted to see the Messiah and recognize and confess Him an such by the grace of God! (John 1.29-32)


Elements of Elijah's Mission

One important element of Elijah's mission was to guide the people back to God again and to call for a decision for God. The "restoring of everything" is thus being figuratively fulfilled already in the person and mission of Elijah (see above). In the just order of God alone, the people can walk the way of faith and reach their destiny. If the people practice idolatry and listen to the false prophets, they go the wrong way and loose their deepest identity. Elijah symbolically "restores the order" on Mount Horeb, and God confirms his mission.

The restoration of God's order and the reconciliation with God is also what we recognize in the mission of John the Baptist. He preaches repentance and baptizes for the forgiveness of sins, so that the Jews will be reconciled again with God. Nothing separates man as much from God as sin, and every true reconciliation must begin with the realization of truth and forgiveness. Being the immediate forerunner, John knew that the true and lasting "restoration" will come by God Himself and His Messiah. All, who worked in the "power of Elijah" prepared the coming of the Lord. All their acts and words, their entire life pointed to a still hidden presence of the Messiah, Who, after the coming of John the Baptist, now enters into the light of history. It is now the Messiah, the Son of God Himself, Who, through His death on the Cross and His Resurrection reconciles humanity with God and "restores everything". This we know through the proclamation of the Church and the testimony of Holy Scripture.


The Mission of Elijah today

Has the mission of Elijah thus ended? Is there still room for Elijah's mission or is it entirely covered by the Church, whose desire it is to lead the people to faith, according to the command of God?

Let us look at the coming of Jesus at the end of times. Jesus prophesied it Himself and the Church holds fast to it, as for example in the daily prayer during Holy Mass: "Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again!" A present-day mission of Elijah can therefore not go back behind the coming of the Messiah, which has already taken place. Even the "second forerunner of the coming of Christ" - John the Baptist - has recognized and confessed the Messiah in Jesus Christ. Thus, in Elijah's mission, this reality of the coming of the Son of God and the Son of Man, which has already taken place, can never be denied in its universal dimension. Therefore, no other Messiah can be proclaimed than Jesus Christ. The reality of the Church, which is the living Body of Christ and the beginning of the Kingdom of God, can also not be ignored by a present-day mission of Elijah.

What then can the present "mission of Elijah" be, and in what context does it stand to the proclamation of the Church?

The mission of Elijah today stands in immediate connection with the closer preparation of the coming of Christ and will entail a "healing unrest". Confiding in the infinite Goodness of the Heavenly Father and pervaded by deep Love for Him, the mission of Elijah will ask about the relationship of Christians to God and the state of the world. Are the faithful prepared for the second coming of Christ? How deep is their faith? Have the nations already accepted salvation in Christ? What hinders them, what are the great sins of humanity? How can the nations be helped to find Christ and deepen their faith? What are the wounds to be healed and what blindness needs to be removed? The present-day mission of Elijah will be of universal character, extending to all nations while also not losing sight of "God's first Love", His people Israel. All elements of Elijah's mission, as we have come to know them, will become important and extend to the whole world. Resistance against "today's kings", if they violate the commandments of God and act unjustly against the people, is as necessary as during the times of Elijah, Elisha or John the Baptist. Modern idols must be exposed in the light of "discernment of Spirits". The mission of Elijah will especially focus on the working and identification of the Antichrist and the "antichristian spirit", who, according to the New Testament, will precede the second coming of Christ.

The mission of Elijah belongs intrinsically to the Church while confronting it at the same time, because of its prophetic dimension. This could be expressed as follows:
The truth of the ecclesiastical-biblical doctrine is found at the center of the proclamation, for the "prophetic dimension" cannot stand in principal opposition to the "hierarchical dimension" of the Church. At the same time, the mission is one entrusted directly by God, addressing the Church and humanity! Maybe a comparison is helpful here: Looking at true apparitions of the Blessed Mother, we recognize this prophetical element. Nothing is taught, given and asked for, what stands in opposition to the teaching of the Church. She fulfills her mission according to the direct command of God, addressing herself as "Mother of the Church" to the Church and humanity.
The mission of Elijah at the end of times can be understood in the same way, save that it does not involve an apparition, but weak and fallible human beings, who are the bearers of such a mission. A new realization and intensification of Elijah's mission draws attention in the Church and in the world to the second coming of Christ, and receives its dynamics from there.


Service in the Mission of Elijah

What connection do I see for myself with the mission of Elijah?

Since 1985 I bear the name of Elijah, and since then I am also concerned with the person and mission of Elijah. I discovered the wonderful guidance of God in my life, especially since my conversion in 1977. Ever since that time, the Lord is guiding me on an intensive way. This way included the foundation of the spiritual community Agnus Dei (1980, Germany), which is active today in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Especially noteworthy is the intense spiritual way of the community with the contemplation that appertains to it. A fruitful apostolate and the service to the poor also found their way into the community. Another foundation, the "Jemaelwork" (1994, Switzerland), a network for the support of a "culture of Love", permits people to come together in a larger spiritual family, which is open for God and desires to perform works of Love. "Balta-Lelija", a mental and spiritual initiative to resist the growing "antichristian spirit", who threatens the faithful and humanity, came into existence in 2008.

Looking at the working of God and my service in an intense proclamation and deepening of the faith, I discover in my life - despite all weaknesses and limitations - elements of this mission of Elijah, especially with regard to the second coming of the Lord! The judgment of how strong these are and how they will develop in the future, I leave up to God and His guidance. In any case, I feel called to serve this mission of Elijah!


Website "Elijamission"

Thus I decided to open this website, so that other people may share in the way God is leading me, for the works of God shall not remain hidden. For quite some time, I feel I should keep a spiritual-apostolic diary, but have only done so quite irregularly. This new site stands in connection with the other websites about the community Agnus Dei, the Jemaelwork and Balta-Lelija, as well as with the Audio-section and short video-conferences at www.youtube.com, keyword: jemaelvoice. This site will have a personal character. I hope to open this site soon in English as well, so that more people can share in this way!

With this, I entrust this undertaking to God, our Father, and to the intercession of Mary, for all this shall serve His Glorification and be useful to man. I ask the readers of my reports and reflections, and all, who take part in this mission, for their prayers, and I will also include everyone in my prayers.

Elija

Lithuania, March 25, 2009 - Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

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