And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, 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 (Luke 1:17 KJV)
Angel Gabriel told Zacharias his son John the Baptist would go before the Messiah in the spirit and power of Elijah. He quoted Malachi 4:5-6 prophesied about 400 years prior, in which the LORD promised to send Elijah before the Messiah. Based on this prophecy, the Jews expected Elijah, who did not die, to re-appear. However, Jesus clearly stated in Matt. 11:14 that John the Baptist was Elijah who was to come. So what is the meaning of “in the spirit and power of Elijah”?
The expression spirit and power is a figure of speech called hendiadys, where two words describe one thing. It means manner or way. In 2 Corinthians 12:18, Paul describes walking in the same spirit as walking in the same steps or attitude. Therefore, John the Baptist was not Elijah in person but lived and operated like him. John was like Elijah in the way or manner in which he lived and ministered.
What comes to your mind when you think of the spirit and power of Elijah? I think of miracles! However, John did no miracle ( John 10:41). Therefore, the spirit and power of Elijah was the power of Elijah to “turn the hearts” of the people in tough times. Think of what happened on Mt Carmel when Jezebel had polluted Israel with idolatry(1 Kings 18:21-40).
In these troublesome times, in the world and the Church, we need the spirit and power of Elijah to transform people’s hearts as the Spirit prepares the Church for the Lord’s coming.
What is the spirit and power of Elijah? What are the two misinterpretations of this phrase mentioned in the devotional above?
Apply the Word
We need bold ministers with power, not just for miracles, but to transform people’s hearts. Pray for such ministers. Ask the Lord to make you one of them. Also, prepare your own heart for the Lord.
Ask for an outpouring of the spirit and power of Elijah upon God’s servants in these days.