20. Elijah Is Always Coming First
Elijah speaks what must be. Elijah calls those things that “be not” as though they are. Elijah presses everyone into the valley of decision. If the Lord Jesus Christ be God manifest in the flesh, then let God be manifest in MY flesh, and if the citadels of human reasoning and all the folly of the human upon this earth, dragging on “without end” be God, then let that “God” prove his claim, let him show himself to be “God.” Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision. At the age of 21, I departed from that valley and I have never returned since. If God speaks, He speaks true, and every man stands a liar.
20. Elijah Is Always Coming First
Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist. Matthew 17:11-13
People who do not understand God demand that the word which He speaks be fulfilled only in a one-time event or circumstance isolated from all others. They also imagine that time and eternality exist in opposition to each other and that, if you are in one, you cannot be in the other. Both of these contentions are impossible.
God is. There is no such thing as “God spoke.” Humans who heard God speak referred to the voice of God in that way because they did not know otherwise.
God said, “Let there be light,” not as some isolated event that happened long, long ago. God is always speaking, “Let there be light,” light is always issuing forth from the Father, light is always appearing to the entire universe.
If God said, “Elijah must first come,” through Malachi, then God is always saying, “Elijah must first come,” Elijah coming first is always issuing forth from the Father, and Elijah is always coming first into all of the human experience.
More than that, time is eternal. Picture a tornado, the cloud above, the dark funnel coming down, the point where the bottom of the tornado touches the earth. Picture the tornado as “eternal,” the point where the tornado (eternal) touches the earth is called “time.” The tornado is filled with energy; where it touches the earth is where that energy becomes visible, where it makes things happen.
Time is eternal touching the earth. The eternal is always showing up in the earth through time. If time were to “cease,” it would mean God would cease touching the physical part of His creation.
Thus to deny that Jesus Christ IS COME right now in the flesh is to deny God, it is anti-Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ is always coming in the flesh; Elijah is always coming first. The effort of the spirit of anti-Christ is always to separate Christ from the ongoing reality of human life, of our lives in this world.
Elijah is the Spirit of power. The overshadowing of that Spirit of power always precedes the birthing of the fullness of Christ.
And the power of the Holy Ghost shall overshadow you and that holy thing that shall be birthed of you shall be called the Son of God.
It was both Moses and Elijah who met with Jesus in His transfiguration. Moses is Word — Deuteronomy, read in the Spirit of Christ, is an incredibly profound word; reading it always lifts the top of my scalp right off in the glory of Christ and His revelation in His people. Elijah is Spirit, and Elisha after him. Everywhere Elijah went power happened.
The individual person, Elijah, is not the one of whom Malachi was speaking. Jesus made that clear when He named John the Baptist as the Elijah of that day.
Elijah is always coming first; however, we know that God always requires a fullness of times. Thus Jesus said, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.”
Yes, John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit of Elijah in Jesus day, but Jesus also speaks, not only of a continual fulfillment of the Word God speaks, but of a fulfillment in the fullness of times. Today is the fullness of Elijah – way, way beyond the original Elijah.
How do I know that? What evidence do I have to claim that this day is the fullness of times in the purposes of God?
People ask, “What makes you think God is doing these things in you today when He never did any of it all down through the centuries? All kinds of people in the past believed for what you are teaching, yet God never did what they thought. Who do you think you are?”
This question, hurled in accusation against God, goes to the heart of who and what Elijah is.
Elijah coming first is three things. Elijah is the Spirit of power overshadowing the birthing of Christ, he is the prophetic Word, calling forth what must be, and he is the dividing line in the sand, requiring a final decision from every man, woman, and child on this planet.
The prophet Joel said, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.”
Does God speak true? Do we believe what He says – all that He says – as He says it?
People say, “I believe this” and “I believe that,” or they say, “I just believe differently than what you are saying.” It does no one a hill of beans to “believe” anything. Believing will get no one anywhere.
We live by the faith of the Son of God living in our hearts. That One is every Word God speaks issuing forth from the Father. The One who lives in our hearts is always issuing forth from the Father as the Word He continually speaks.
Faith is specific to the Word God speaks. There is no separation between Faith and the Word. Though one is female and the other male, they must always be united for any life to be known.
God says, “That you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” God says, “For all creation is set free in the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” God says, “Rivers of living water flow out of your belly.”
Faith is the equal of every word God speaks. No matter how large any Word from God is – and all that He speaks is infinite and eternal – faith is able to meet and match that word, the female to the male, eye to eye, heart to heart. That is the Faith who lives in our hearts.
Those who still cry, “I believe this,” and “I believe that,” are pressed into the valley of decision by Elijah always coming first.
I want to share again the questions of a brother. I do this, not to demean, but to get at the heart of this desperate need inside the church of Jesus Christ. This brother is a godly minister of Christ who loves the Lord; he is certainly part of that precious woman who fills the thoughts and heart of the Lord Jesus.
Did anyone actually live out (Paul’s) gospel during the first century? If so, can you give examples of what their life was like? Didn’t they all die? Why do you believe it is now the time for this transformation you speak of? Weren’t there others during the centuries that understood what you are trying to say? If so, why didn’t they manifest what you suggest should be manifested? What is so special about this time? Are there prophetic indicators in the Scriptures stating that THIS is the time? You know you aren’t the first person who has written things like what you write. There are several even in this century who voiced such things. Most are no longer on this side of the grave.
This is where all such “believing” comes from, approaching God and His word through human reasoning. “Who voiced such things?” Voiced what? Voiced what God Himself says.
“Why do you believe it is now the time for this transformation?”
The thing is, these questions are very familiar to us, they are the questions of human “believing.”
Here is what God says. For whom He foreknew them He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. — We are being transformed into that same image from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord. — Now is the day of salvation. — Today, if you will hear His voice.
What God says is straight, a clear trumpet call. I can believe what God says and speak the expectation of God – that He does in the present moment all that He says personally in me. Or I can play mental “believing” with ideas about God and about what He might or might not mean.
Elijah is bold. Elijah takes all that God says and makes it personal and right now. Elijah is always expecting God to do all that He says right now in us.
Here is the truth that stands at this dividing line.
For as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become the children of God.
I have received the Lord Jesus Christ; He lives in my heart. This “right” to become a fully manifest son of God bringing glorious liberty to all creation is not a “gift” in the way that we think of gifts, even though the word “gave” is used in this passage. This right is inherent inside of me. I possess it fully. Having that right, I do not, then, receive any part of it from outside myself.
A right is something a man possesses in himself. I do not “receive” my right to speak my mind freely as I wish from the government of the United States. I possess the right to speak my mind freely as I wish as one created in the image of God. The government can pretend to take away that right – and they will succeed with those who think of themselves as slaves. But a free man never surrenders any right – even if it means imprisonment or the death of the physical body.
The greatest right I possess is the right to be a manifest son of God, the right to see all creation set free by the rivers of living water pouring out of me.
And no man nor angel nor demon nor death nor life nor things present nor things to come can take that right from me or cause me to let go of it in timidity and fearfulness. “Maybe it’s not me; maybe it’s not now. Oh, despicable me!”
I stand before the throne of God; I seize hold of the cherubs of the Mercy Seat; I look God straight in the eye, face to face, heart to heart; and I possess my right.
My right to be His son. My right to be transformed into the image of Christ.
My right to set all creation free into glorious liberty. My right to see God in my flesh standing right here upon this earth.
And it is God, not me, who says that all of it is right now. “Today is The Day of Salvation!”
Elijah speaks what must be. Elijah calls those things that “be not” as though they are. Elijah presses everyone into the valley of decision.
If the Lord Jesus Christ be God manifest in the flesh, then let God be manifest in MY flesh, and if the citadels of human reasoning and all the folly of the human upon this earth, dragging on “without end” be God, then let that “God” prove his claim, let him show himself to be “God.”
Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision. At the age of 21, I departed from that valley and I have never returned since. If God speaks, He speaks true, and every man stands a liar.
This is Elijah, but Elijah is far more than that.
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
In the stories that define our world, Star Wars stands high. But as with all human literature, though it contains prophetic word and deep insight, it also contains much nonsense and outright deception. One of those is the defining of “Spirit” as “the Force.” This view of spirit is the basis of the new age movement and pantheism and much that is “mysticism.”
All things exist in and are sustained by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is not a “force.” The Holy Spirit is a PERSON. And as a Person, the Holy Spirit reveals Himself in and through persons. Yes, there is great similarity between the operations of the Holy Spirit and the “life force” of pantheism and mysticism. And indeed, those in that realm cannot be talking about anything except the Holy Spirit, for there is no other spirit. Even demons live and move and have their spirit in the Spirit of God. There is nowhere and nothing else.
The spirit of disobedience, the spirit of the prince of the power of the air, is not an all-pervasive spirit in a similar way to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is One; demons are many, many – legion. Demons connect with each other as spirits, but there is no one “evil spirit.” Rather, there are billions of little ones, all moving in a similar desperation.
Therefore, even though the “life force” that all religious people of this world embrace cannot be anything other than the Holy Spirit, yet they utterly reject Him at the core of who and what He is – a Person, made personal and real inside of human persons.
It is a fascinating though terrible thing, that those Christian believers who refuse to enter the Holy Place, who remain in the outer court, that portion of God’s house that is NOT being measured right now with the measurement of Christ actually side with the New Agers against God’s sons. They also reject that the Holy Spirit, in all of His Power and Being, is made personal and real inside of and through human persons. They concede that the Holy Spirit is a Person and is real, but oppose His manifest presence in and through people. “I have Jesus, I do not need the Holy Spirit’s gifts.”
One group embraces the demonstration of the Spirit but rejects the PERSON. The other group embraces the Person but rejects the demonstration of the Spirit.
Elijah is the thunderbolt that turns everything inside out and upside down. Elijah is always coming first.
“Elijah” is the Holy Spirit made manifest and real through a people, individual human beings walking together in oneness of purpose and heart – and with the demonstration of power.
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
“To send out laborers” is the Greek word that is usually translated “apostles.”
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21-22
An apostle is one sent on a divine commission. There is no higher “sending” than the Father sending the Son. Jesus said, “I send you in the exact same way.”
An apostle is not an office, it is a mission. It is not a “hierarchy,” it is a sending. It is not found in a bunch of scattered individuals, each building his or her own network. It is the sending of a people, men and women, fathers and mothers, old folks and children, a people who are about their Father’s business.
However, even though it is a people who are sent to reveal all that Christ is in this world, because Christ is a Person, apostles are persons.
My life has been impacted – turned upside down and inside out – by two different individuals who moved in the power of the Holy Spirit in all that God means by “apostle,” Sam Fife and Jane Miller. By sharing about Jane Miller, I want to convey, somehow, what an apostle is and what an apostle does.
Jane Miller came to the Blueberry Christian community in Canada, where I lived and attended college, in late 1987. We were a community of about 150 people who had given their lives to the revelation of Jesus Christ in this world, including some 20-30 young people who had come for college.
We were a thirsty people, ready to respond to God at the drop of a hat, longing to know Him without limit. The services at Blueberry, which I share about in The Kingdom Rising, were always finely tuned by the immediate leadership of the Holy Spirit. The concept of “bulletin” did not exist, no one ever knew who would lead praise or who would speak or if we would actually do something entirely different. The Holy Spirit was free to do whatever He wanted; and though He is certain and true, a giver of peace and never confusion, yet He is spontaneous and new every morning. We never knew what to expect when we gathered for a service, except that whatever happened in the service, it would be current and real to the present hearts of those who had come.
Jane Miller had come to teach a “college course” on spiritual warfare. No one was fooled by that. Jane Miller’s passion for the revelation of Christ in His people and the anointing that rested upon her was well known; all other activity ceased, and for a week, the entire community gathered behind the “college students.”
Let me give the first definition of “apostle.” An apostle is one who is single-hearted, single-minded, filled with a burning, all-consuming passion for one thing alone: to see the revelation of Jesus Christ in and through His people in all fullness. For this cause, this Bride, this passion of the Heart of Jesus, an apostle gives himself utterly, pouring out all, sacrificing all, interested in nothing else.
Do not think of this as a “legalistic” definition, however. It is one definition of “apostle,” one of several. Here is another definition. “An apostle is one who is 100% real and satisfied that Christ lives fully as them as they are in the present moment, and who is happy and content with all who belong to Christ as they are in themselves in the present moment.”
Yet these two definitions go hand in hand, for we do not know who we are, nor have we considered the power and the might and the glory of the One who fills our hearts, whose Person we are.
After the first week of teaching, Jane Miller began to pray for people. Only this was different from any “prayer” time I had known before. She brought all of us into the equation; all of us became ministers of Christ. While some prayed for the person receiving deliverance and the ministration of the Spirit of Christ, others saw visions, and the rest of us sang songs of victory, filling the atmosphere with the Spirit of praise.
God moved in power. People from other communities nearby came to join us. The prayer times went on for two more weeks, with the entire church fully involved. I received prayer early on, an occasion I share in my article, “Unquenchable Desire,” the first chapter in The Great Story of God. This experience that began at Blueberry, which I share also in The Kingdom Rising, “In the Womb of the Church,” with the entire church involved in the ministry of deliverance, went on to many other communities and churches throughout North America over the next several years. It was a river of life.
What I want to focus on here, though, is the role that an apostolic ministry played in my life and in the lives of so many other people.
All of my life and my own personal experience with God is divided into two parts. The first part is from the time I asked Jesus into my heart at age seven until this time of my life impacted by Christ through Jane Miller. The second part is from the time my life was impacted by Christ through Jane Miller in late 1987 until now.
The primary difference is my understanding of the spiritual realms. The heavens and spiritual warfare were just doctrinal ideas before. Since then, I know the power of heaven released in reality through me.
This is the definition and purpose of apostolic ministry.
We are yet in darkness. No matter how much we know of Christ, we still do not see or know what is real. It’s real easy to tell if that is so. Is all creation set free in the glorious liberty flowing out of us? If not, then we are yet in darkness.
We have some ideas about Christ and God and life living in us, yes, but we do not know the power of that life. A true apostolic ministry sent from Christ does not bless you with good word and ministry only. A true apostolic ministry sent from Christ so impacts your life that you are raised to an entirely new level of knowing Him and the reality of His life and power in you.
Most Christians think they have it all figured out. A true apostolic ministry sent from Christ blows that delusion right out of the water with the demonstration of the Spirit and power and with a word from the throne of God that leaves those who receive that ministry on a far higher plane of knowing God in life and power than they even knew existed.
At what point throughout all the ages to come will this kind of experience cease for us? At what point will we have God in the bag, having defined Him completely, knowing what He’s all about?
If a million years from now God will still blow our socks off with a new revelation of Himself in life and power, what makes us think we have Him figured out now?
We have many ideas about God that may be true, but we really have no idea what they mean in reality.
Before Jane Miller, I had an idea that demon spirits existed. But through her impact on my life, I saw them manifest openly in dear and gentle friends, and then I saw them flee in terror from the glory of Christ in the midst of His people. I saw the difference in the lives of people I knew very well, and they also in me. Spiritual warfare moved from being an idea to being an integral part of our continuing knowledge of God.
I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. 2 Corinthians 12:11-12
Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.Acts 14:3
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
A true apostolic ministry sent by Christ establishes your faith in the POWER of God revealed without limit in you, not in ideas about God.
Ministry in the body of Christ – spiritual authority – has absolutely nothing to do with “ruling over” people in any way, shape, or form. True spiritual authority is the power to join the Bride to the Lamb – who is already her life – in a reality she has never before known. Those who are true friends of the Bridegroom will always be letting go of her hand even as they are continually placing it in His.
Elijah will never turn the hearts of the Bride to himself. Only eunuchs need apply. The prophet Malachi said in chapter 4:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers…
Elijah is all about the turning of the heart. And this is the great mystery of God – that Christ lives in our hearts by faith.
All of creation groans in birth pangs right now longing and waiting for one thing and one thing alone, the glorious liberty flowing out of the bellies of the sons of God as God takes the cover off of Christ revealed in them.
But what is the most important thing birthed out of the impact of Elijah always coming first? Family. Fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, children and old folks, walking together as family.
What was the most important change that Jane Miller’s ministry brought to the Blueberry community? Family. A deeper, fuller sense of knowing one another as family.
What was birthed by the outpouring of life through the apostles on the Day of Pentecost? Family – Acts 2:41-47.
The essence and fullness of the revelation of Jesus Christ in the earth is found in family, in levels of life and power flowing from one to the other in a bond of love such as we have never known, such as we do not know now.
Deliverance will not come to this planet any other way. Christ is always coming in the flesh. Elijah is always coming first.
The kingdom of God, the reality of the shared life of Christ setting all creation free is the church, community, koinonia, life shared together. Yet the levels of truth and reality that must be present for the revelation of Jesus Christ to be known by community comes only out of the bellies of those who know Him in fullness and in authority. Those who are sent.
That is Elijah, always coming to prepare the way of Christ.