When Yeshua described the identity and calling of John the Baptist, He gave us an important key to understanding biblical prophecy.
Matthew 11:14 – “… he is Elijah who is to come.”
Yeshua was referring to the prophecy at the end of Malachi which states that Elijah will come before the “great and terrible day of YHVH” – Malachi 4:5.
However John was NOT Elijah–we do not believe in reincarnation! John was a totally different person who came with a similar calling and anointing as Elijah. Luke 1:17 – “He will walk in the spirit and power of Elijah.”
So there is a “third” Elijah-type person who is yet to come before the “great and terrible day” of His judgment. He will be another totally different person, neither John or Elijah. However, he will have a similar spirit to them. He will have a prophetic authority to influence the events of the end times, leading up to the Second Coming of Yeshua.
There is a parallel “folklore” in both Christianity and Judaism that Elijah himself will return. However this view is deceptive and not according to the biblical pattern. Elijah finished his time on earth, and then delegated to Elisha to continue what was left undone. We are not to look for people to reappear from the past, but be actively involved in God’s plan for our generation (Acts 13:36). If we wait for old prophets to return, we will miss what God is calling us to do.
Yeshua’s teaching explains the pattern of “three-fold” fulfillment of biblical prophecy: 1) ancient Israel, 2) 1st coming, gospel period, and 3) 2nd Coming, end times. There was a real Elijah in ancient Israel. John came in a similar spirit during the gospel period, preparing the way for Yeshua’s 1st coming. Amidst end times’ tribulation, another prophetic figure (or multiple figures, as in Rev 11:3-6) will arise in the spirit and power of Elijah, “shutting up the sky, so that no rain will fall,” just as in the days of the first Elijah. The pattern of “three-fold” fulfillment is found in many prophecies as well concerning Israel, the nations and the end times.
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.