Revelations 7 The Angel Ascending From the East

Elijah is a key figure in the Book of Revelations. The Early Church understood how important his role would be in preparing the church before the times of the Antichrist. Elijah would be the one to restore the church to be able to endure the persecution. Elijah is understood to be the angel (messenger) ascending from the East bearing the seal of God. He’s come to seal the church.

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Rev_7:2 “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God”] He speaks of Elijah the prophet, who is the precursor of the times of Antichrist, for the restoration and establishment of the churches from the great and intolerable persecution. We read that these things are predicted in the opening of the Old and New Testament; for He says by Malachi: “Lo, I will send to you Elijah the Tishbite, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, according to the time of calling, to recall the Jews to the faith of the people that succeed them.” (Mal_4:5, Mal_4:6) And to that end He shows, as we have said, that the number of those that shall believe, of the Jews and of the nations, is a great multitude which no man was able to number. Moreover, we read in the Gospel that the prayers of the Church are sent from heaven by an angel, and that they are received against wrath, and that the kingdom of Antichrist is cast out and extinguished by holy angels; for He says: “Pray that ye enter not into temptation: for there shall be a great affliction, such as has not been from the beginning of the world; and except the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved.” (Mar_13:18-20) Therefore He shall send these seven great archangels to smite the kingdom of Antichrist; for He Himself also thus said: “Then the Son of man shall send His messengers; and they shall gather together His elect from the four corners of the wind, from the one end of heaven even to the other end thereof.” (Mar_13:27) For, moreover, He previously says by the prophet: “Then shall there be peace for our land, when there shall arise in it seven shepherds and eight attacks of men; and they shall encircle Assur,” that is, Antichrist, “in the trench of Nimrod,” (Mic_5:5, Mic_5:6) that is, in the nation of the devil, by the spirit of the Church. Similarly when the keepers of the house shall be moved. Moreover, the Lord Himself, in the parable to the apostles, when the laborer’s had come to Him and said, “Lord, did not we sow good seed in Thy field? whence, then, hath it tares? answered them, An enemy hath done this. And they said to Him, Lord, wilt Thou, then, that we go and root them up? And He said, Nay, but let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, that they gather the tares and make bundles of them, and burn them with fire everlasting, but that they gather the wheat into my barns.” (Mat_13:27-30) The Apocalypse here shows, therefore, that these reapers, and shepherds, and laborer’s, are the angels. And the trumpet is the word of power. And although the same thing recurs in the phials, still it is not said as if it occurred twice, but because what is decreed by the Lord to happen shall be once for all; for this cause it is said twice. What, therefore, He said too little in the trumpets, is here found in the vials. We must not regard the order of what is said, because frequently the Holy Spirit, when He has traversed even to the end of the last times, returns again to the same times, and fills up what He had before failed to say. Nor must we look for order in the Apocalypse; but we must follow the meaning of those things which are prophesied. Therefore in the trumpets and vials is signified either the desolation of the plagues that are sent upon the earth, or the madness of Antichrist himself, or the cutting off of the peoples, or the diversity of the plagues, or the hope in the kingdom of the saints, or the ruin of states, or the great overthrow of Babylon, that is, the Roman state.

~Victorinus- On the Apocalypse of John 1 Vol. 7

XLIX. — To Those Who Object That Elijah Has Not yet Come, He Replies That He Is the Precursor of the First Advent.

Elijah will come before the first and second coming of Christ. Elijah will be the precursor to the second coming of the glorious return of Jesus Christ.

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And Trypho said, “Those who affirm him to have been a man, and to have been anointed by election, and then to have become Christ, appear to me to speak more plausibly than you who hold those opinions which you express. For we all expect that Christ will be a man [born] of men, and that Elijah when he comes will anoint him. But if this man appears to be Christ, he must certainly be known as man [born] of men; but from the circumstance that Elijah has not yet come, I infer that this man is not He [the Christ].”

 

Then I inquired of him, “Does not Scripture, in the book of Zechariah, (Mal_4:5) say that Elijah shall come before the great and terrible day of the Lord?”

 

And he answered, “Certainly.”

 

“If therefore Scripture compels you to admit that two advents of Christ were predicted to take place, — one in which He would appear suffering, and dishonored, and without comeliness; but the other in which He would come glorious, and Judge of all, as has been made manifest in many of the fore cited passages,shall we not suppose that the word of God has proclaimed that Elijah shall be the precursor of the great and terrible day, that is, of His second advent?”

 

“Certainly,” he answered.

 

“And, accordingly, our Lord in His teaching,” I continued, “proclaimed that this very thing would take place, saying that Elijah would also come. And we know that this shall take place when our Lord Jesus Christ shall come in glory from heaven; whose first manifestation the Spirit of God who was in Elijah preceded as herald in [the person of] John, a prophet among your nation; after whom no other prophet appeared among you. He cried, as he sat by the river Jordan: ‘I baptize you with water to repentance; but He that is stronger than I shall come, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into the barn; but the chaff He will burn up with unquenchable fire.’ (Mat_3:11, Mat_3:12) And this very prophet your king Herod had shut up in prison; and when his birthday was celebrated, and the niece of the same Herod by her dancing had pleased him, he told her to ask whatever she pleased. Then the mother of the maiden instigated her to ask the head of John, who was in prison; and having asked it, [Herod] sent and ordered the head of John to be brought in on a charger. Wherefore also our Christ said, [when He was] on earth, to those who were affirming that Elijah must come before Christ: ‘Elijah shall come, and restore all things; but I say unto you, that Elijah has already come, and they knew him not, but have done to him whatsoever they chose.’ (Mat_17:12) And it is written, ‘then the disciples understood that He spoke to them about John the Baptist.’”

 

And Trypho said, “This statement also seems to me paradoxical; namely, that the prophetic Spirit of God, who was in Elijah, was also in John.”

 

To this I replied, “Do you not think that the same thing happened in the case of Joshua the son of Nave (Nun), who succeeded to the command of the people after Moses, when Moses was commanded to lay his hands on Joshua, and God said to him, I will take of the spirit which is in thee, and put it on him?’”

 

And he said, “Certainly.”

 

“As therefore,” I say, “while Moses was still among men, God took of the spirit which was in Moses and put it on Joshua, even so God was able to cause [the spirit] of Elijah to come upon John; in order that, as Christ at His first coming appeared inglorious, even so the first coming of the spirit, which remained always pure in Elijah like that of Christ, might be perceived to be inglorious. For the Lord said He would wage war against Amalek with concealed hand; and you will not deny that Amalek fell. But if it is said that only in the glorious advent of Christ war will be waged with Amalek, how great will the fulfilment of Scripture be which says, ‘God will wage war against Amalek with concealed hand!’ You can perceive that the concealed power of God was in Christ the crucified, before whom demons, and all the principalities and powers of the earth, tremble.”

~Justin Martyr- Dialogue of Justin with Trypho Vol.

Treatise on Christ and Antichrist. 43

The Early church understood Elijah is important for the end times because without him repentance cannot be preached and there will be no preparation.

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  1. With respect, then, to the particular judgment in the torments that are to come upon it in the last times by the hand of the tyrants who shall arise then, the clearest statement has been given in these passages. But it becomes us further diligently to examine and set forth the period at which these things shall come to pass, and how the little horn shall spring up in their midst. For when the legs of iron have issued in the feet and toes, according to the similitude of the image and that of the terrible beast, as has been shown in the above, (then shall be the time) when the iron and the clay shall be mingled together. Now Daniel will set forth this subject to us. For he says, “And one week will make a covenant with many, and it shall be that in the midst (half) of the week my sacrifice and oblation shall cease.” (Dan_9:27) By one week, therefore, he meant the last week which is to be at the end of the whole world of which week the two prophets Enoch and Elijah will take up the half. For they will preach 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth, proclaiming repentance to the people and to all the nations.

~Hippolytus- Fragments 2.1 Vol. 5

XXI Enoch, Elijah, and John the Divine

The Early church understood Elijah would bring teachings that incite shame, repentance and manifest the power of Yah but also warning of the coming of Antichrist and preparing the church at the same time. John the Apostle is presented to be here at the end of the age as well, according to the John 21:22 “Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remains till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’”

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For through the Scriptures we are instructed in two advents of the Christ and Savior. And the first after the flesh was in humiliation, because He was manifested in lowly estate. So then His second advent is declared to be in glory; for He comes from heaven with power, and angels, and the glory of His Father. His first advent had John the Baptist as its forerunner; and His second, in which He is to come in glory, will exhibit Enoch, and Elijah, and John the Divine. Behold, too, the Lord’s kindness to man; how even in the last times He shows His care for mortals, and pities them. For He will not leave us even then without prophets, but will send them to us for our instruction and assurance, and to make us give heed to the advent of the adversary, as He intimated also of old in this Daniel. For he says, “I shall make a covenant of one week, and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and libation will be removed.” For by one week he indicates the showing forth of the seven years which shall be in the last times. (Dan_2:27) And the half of the week the two prophets, along with John, will take for the purpose of proclaiming to all the world the advent of Antichrist, that is to say, for a “thousand two hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth;” (Rev_11:3) and they will work signs and wonders with the object of making men ashamed and repentant, even by these means, on account of their surpassing lawlessness and impiety. “And if any man will hurt them, fire will proceed out of their mouth, and devour their enemies. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of the advent of Antichrist, and to turn waters into blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will.” (Rev_11:6; [1Ki_17:1; Sirach 48:3]) And when they have proclaimed all these things they will fall on the sword, cut off by the accuser. And they will fulfill their testimony, as Daniel also says; for he foresaw that the beast that came up out of the abyss would make war with them, namely with Enoch, Elijah, and John, and would overcome them, and kill them, because of their refusal to give glory to the accuser, that is the little horn that sprang up. And he, being lifted up in heart, begins in the end to, exalt himself and glorify himself as God, persecuting the saints and blaspheming Christ.

~Hippolytus- Appendix Vol. 5

“The Spirit and Power of Elijah” - Not the Soul - Were in the Baptist.

The church was against the idea John the Baptist being the reincarnation of Elijah. This was disputed by the very scriptures that people have taken out of context. They understood that the purpose of the Spirit of Elijah returning was to prepare a people through the process of restoration so that they may be able to receive the glory of Christ and appear in a people. Elijah is to prepare a people who can endure the glory of God, without Elijah teaching us, we will not be able to endure the glory.

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I have thought it necessary to dwell some time on the examination of the doctrine of transmigration, because of the suspicion of some who suppose that the soul under consideration was the same in Elijah and in John, being called in the former case Elijah, and in the second case John; and that, not apart from God, had he been called John, as is plain from the saying of the angel who appeared to Zacharias, “Fear not, Zacharias, for thy supplication is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John;” (Luk_1:33) and from the fact that Zacharias regained his speech after he had written in the tablet, that he who had been born should be called John. (Luk_1:63) But if it were the soul of Elijah, then, when he was begotten a second time, he should have been called Elijah; or for the change of name some reason should have been assigned, as in the case of Abram and Abraham, Sarah and Sarrah, Jacob and Israel, Simon and Peter. And yet not even thus would their argument in the case be tenable; for, in the case of the aforesaid, the changes of name took place in one and the same life. But someone might ask, if the soul of Elijah was not first in the Tishbite and secondly in John, what might that be in both which the Savior called Elijah? And I say that Gabriel in his words to Zacharias suggested what the substance was in Elijah and John that was the same; for he says, “Many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God; and he shall go before his face in the spirit and power of Elijah.” (Luk_1:16, Luk_1:17) For, observe, he did not say in the “soul” of Elijah, in which case the doctrine of transmigration might have some ground, but “in the spirit and power of Elijah.” For the Scripture well knows the distinction between spirit and soul, as, “May God sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (1Th_5:23) and the passage, “Bless the Lord, ye spirits and souls of the righteous” (Daniel 3:86; Song of the Three Children 64) as it stands in the book of Daniel, according to the Septuagint, represents the difference between spirit and soul. Elijah, therefore, was not called John because of the soul, but because of the spirit and the power, which in no way conflicts with the teaching of the church, though they were formerly in Elijah, and afterwards in John; and “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets,” (1Co_14:32) but the souls of the prophets are not subject to the prophets, and “the spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha.” (2Ki_2:15) But we ought to inquire whether the spirit of Elijah is the same as the spirit of God in Elijah, or whether they are different from each other, and whether the spirit of Elijah which was in him was something supernatural, different from the spirit of each man which is in him; for the Apostle clearly indicates that the Spirit of God, though it be in us, is different from the spirit of each man which is in Him, when he says somewhere, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God;” (Rom_8:16) and elsewhere, “No one of men knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of the man which is in him; even so the things of God none knoweth save the Spirit of God.” (1Co_2:11) But do not marvel in regard to what is said about Elijah, if, just as something strange happened to him different from all the saints who are recorded, in respect of his having been caught up by a whirlwind into heaven,

 

(2Ki_2:11) so his spirit had something of choice excellence, so that not only did it rest on Elisha, but also descended along with John at his birth; and that John, separately, “was filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb,” and separately, “came before Christ in the spirit and power of Elijah.” (Luk_1:15, Luk_1:17) For it is possible for several spirits not only worse, but also better, to be in the same man. David accordingly asks to be established by a free spirit, (Psa_51:12) and that a right spirit be renewed in his inward parts. (Psa_51:10) But if, in order that the Savior may impart to us of “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and reverence,” (Isa_11:2) he was filled also with the spirit of the fear of the Lord; it is possible also that these several good spirits may be conceived as being in the same person. And this also we have brought forward, because of John having come before Christ “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” (Luk_1:17) in order that the saying. “Elijah has already come,” (Mat_17:12) may be referred to the spirit of Elijah that was in John; as also the three disciples who had gone up with Him understood that He spoke to them about John the Baptist. (Mat_17:13) Upon Elisha, then, only the spirit of Elijah rested, but John came before, (Luk_1:17) not only in the spirit, but also in the power of Elijah. Wherefore, also, Elisha could not have been called Elijah, but John was Elijah himself. But if it be necessary to adduce the Scripture from which the scribes said that Elijah must first come, listen to Malachi who says, “And behold I will send to you Elijah the Tishbite,” etc., down to the words, “Lest I come and smite the earth utterly.” (Mal_4:5, Mal_4:6) And it seems to be indicated by these words, that Elijah was to prepare for the glorious coming of Christ by certain holy words and dispositions in their souls, those who had been made fittest for this, which those upon earth could not have endured, because of the excellency of the glory, unless they had been prepared beforehand by Elijah. And likewise, by Elijah, in this place, I do not understand the soul of that prophet but his spirit and his power; for these it is by which all things shall be restored, (Mat_17:11) so that when they have been restored, and, as a result of that restoration, become capable of receiving the glory of Christ, the Son of God who shall appear in glory may sojourn with them. But if also Elijah be in some sort a word inferior to “the Word who was in the beginning with God, God the Word,” (Joh_1:1) this word also might come as a preparatory discipline to the people prepared by it, that they might be trained to the reception of the perfect Word. But someone may raise the question whether the spirit and power of Elijah, suffered what was suffered in John, according to the words, “They did in him whatsoever they listed.” (Mat_17:12) And to this it will be said on the one hand, in simpler fashion that there is nothing strange in the thought, that the things which assist do, because of love, suffer along with those that are assisted; and Jesus indeed says. “Because of the weak I was weak, and I hungered because of the hungry, and I thirsted because of the thirsty,” (Mat_25:35) and, on the other hand, in a deeper sense that the words are not, “But they did unto him whatsoever they listed in him,” for the things which suffered leaned upon the spirit and the power of Elijah, the soul of John being in no wise Elijah; and probably also the body leaned upon them. For in one fashion is the soul in the body, and the spirit, and the power; and in another fashion is the body of the righteous man in these better parts, as leaning upon them, and clinging to them; but “they who are in the flesh cannot please God; but ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if the Spirit of God dwell in you;” (Rom_8:8-9) for the soul of the sinner is in the flesh, but of the righteous man in spirit. And likewise, further, this might be inquired into, to whom refer the words, “But they did in him whatsoever they listed.” (Mat_17:12) Was it to the scribes in regard to whom the disciples inquired and said, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must first come?” (Mat_17:10) But it is not at all evident that John suffered anything at the hands of the scribes, except, indeed, that they did not believe him; or, as we said also before, that they were accomplices in the wrongs which Herod dared to inflict on him. But another might say that the words, “But they did in him whatsoever they listed,” refer not to the scribes but to Herodias and her daughter, and Herod, who did in him whatsoever they listed. And that which follows, “So shall the Son of man suffer from them,” (Mat_17:12) might be referred to the scribes, if the former were referred to them; but, if the former refers to Herod and Herodias and her daughter, the second passage will also refer to them; for Herod also seems to have joined in the vote that Jesus should die, perhaps his wife also taking part with him in the plot against Him.

~Origen- Gospel of Matthew Book XIII Part 1 Vol.

XXIX Elijah Warning About the Rapture

Elijah will come to teach the saints that will warn of the coming of the Antichrist and how he’ll come. The way the “rapture theology” is taught today is exactly how the church will be deceived to believe that Christ will come in this way when it is the Antichrist coming to “rapture” those who are deceived. These demons will come as angels of light and with the sounds of trumpets will descend from heaven.

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Of such kind, in the time of that hater of all good, will be the seal, the tenor of which will be this: I deny the Maker of heaven and earth, I deny the baptism, I deny my (former) service, and attach myself to thee, and I believe in thee. For this is what the prophets Enoch and Elijah will preach: Believe not the enemy who is to come and be seen; for he is an adversary and corrupter and son of perdition, and deceives you; and for this reason he will kill you, and smite them with the sword. Behold the deceit of the enemy, know the machinations of the beguiler, how he seeks to darken the mind of men utterly. For he will show forth his demons brilliant like angels, and he will bring in hosts of the incorporeal without number. And in the presence of all he exhibits himself as taken up into heaven with trumpets and sounds, and the mighty shouting of those who hail him with indescribable hymns; the heir of darkness himself shining like light, and at one time soaring to the heavens, and at another descending to the earth with great glory, and again charging the demons, like angels, to execute his behests with much fear and trembling. Then will he send the cohorts of the demons among mountains and caves and dens of the earth, to track out those who have been concealed from his eyes, and to bring them forward to worship him. And those who yield to him he will seal with his seal; but those who refuse to submit to him he will consume with incomparable pains and bitterest torments and machinations, such as never have been, nor have reached the ear of man, nor have been seen by the eye of mortals.

~Hippolytus- Appendix Vol. 5

Treatise on Christ and Antichrist 46.

The prophecy of Malachi is speaking of the spirit of Elijah coming back to proclaim the manifestation of Christ, who will operate in signs and wonders and will put people to shame by his preaching to lead them to repentance.

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  1. But since the Savior was the beginning of the resurrection of all men, it was meet that the Lord alone should rise from the dead, by whom too the judgment is to enter for the whole world, that they who have wrestled worthily may be also crowned worthily by Him, by the illustrious Arbiter, to wit, who Himself first accomplished the course, and was received into the heavens, and was set down on the right hand of God the Father, and is to be manifested again at the end of the world as Judge. It is a matter of course that His forerunners must appear first, as He says by Malachi and the angel, “I will send to you Elias the Tishbite before the day of the Lord, the great and notable day, comes; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, lest I come and smite the earth utterly.” (Mal_4:5, Mal_4:6) These, then, shall come and proclaim the manifestation of Christ that is to be from heaven; and they shall also perform signs and wonders, in order that men may be put to shame and turned to repentance for their surpassing wickedness and impiety.

~Hippolytus- Fragments 2.1 Vol. 5