SMITE THE EARTH
Malachi 4:4 ¶ Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Take note that the Lord says to “Remember” the law of Moses, but he states we should “Behold” this matter of Elijah. For he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Yet in the issue of Elijah’s coming, it is a matter most serious. And it is a matter most needful of prayerful “beholding.” For without the accomplishment of this, the entire world would have been cursed, instead of receiving the great day of gospel peace! But there is darkness prevailing upon the face of this issue and its deep matters. For there is much confusion and resulting error concerning these verses remaining in our religious realms today. And the errors concerning this matter of Elijah has brought vast amounts of false doctrine concerning both our Lord’s first and second comings. But as the darkness was dispelled in the Creation by the word of God, so it shall be here. Let us see what we can learn by the Holy Spirit’s aid.
Our text is the last words from God to the world for 400 years. And that last word of these final scriptures was “curse.” What a dreadful note to end that present revelation! The next word to come from heaven to mankind were then, most certainly, words of comfort and assurance. For the next time the Lord God conveys his mind to mankind, the first two words after that 400 year silence were, “Fear not.” What a joyful sound that must have been! Here is the occasion. Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. So, not only “fear not,” but a promise of “joy and gladness.”
And, of course, that was spoken to the, soon to be father of John the Baptist as he ministered in the sanctuary in his course as priest.
Now let us first behold that the Lord God had previously smitten the earth with a curse. Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
And previous to this there was another curse concerning the dust of the earth. It was to the serpent for allowing Satan to use him in the deception of Eve. Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Let us pause a moment and carefully consider this matter. The stated pattern in our Malachi passage reveals that in order for the curse of the earth to be avoided one must come to turn the hearts of the peoples back to God. There was to be a forerunner to come in “the spirit and power of Elijah.” Luke 1:17 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.
But the voice which Adam harkened unto was not a voice to turn his heart towards the Lord, but that of his wife to steer his heart away from God’s command. Therefore, as the Lord states in our Malachi passage, a curse was issued. We are most blessed to have been turned to God from idols! 1Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
Then there is the difference in Cain and Abel, wherein another curse was issued. Genesis 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
And therefore the curse followed. Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
But what was the voice that turned Abel’s heart in order to prevent the curse? It was the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. For he instinctively knew to only approach the Lord God with a blood sacrifice. Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Therefore we can see that the preventative for the curse to come on the earth was said to be the coming of Elijah to turn hearts back to the ancient and holy ways of the Lord God’s peoples! Therefore we must see what the Lord states concerning this actually happening. He made it very clear.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Matthew 17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
And we must take note that not only did John the Baptist fulfill the prophecy of Elijah’s coming, but that he also accomplished the work of Elijah in preparing and turning the hearts of the New Testament “children” (those born again), back to the holiness and belief’s of the ancient church fathers. Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 17 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.
And one of the last things that our Lord did on earth, even as he hung on the cross, was to restructure his own natural family! John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. The Virgin Mary was given to the Apostle John for his mother, and he for her son! They were not ‘blood kin.’ But God made them to be a family! John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
And our Lord is still doing so with us today! Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
Now let us see just how the ministry of John the Baptist brought forth the reform necessary to turn hearts, and therefore avoid the world-wide curse from happening. First of all we must see that his ministry was so attended by the Holy Spirit that awareness of the horrors of impending wrath were exacted upon that generation! His ‘gospel’ set forth the urgency of ‘fleeting from the wrath to come!’ Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
And this fear was so instilled in the minds of the population, that they were like the jailer in Philippi, who is said to have come trembling and crying out, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And John the Baptist, like the imprisoned apostles did not say, “There’s nothing you can do!” For continuing in such unbelief assures that continued wrath of God! John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. It is only those who believe on Christ that receive everlasting life! John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Here are the accounts given of the various segments of the population under John’s ministry: Luke 3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And in every case, without exception, John gave them a work that would be worthy of repentance.
Religious ‘faith’ without heart-felt works is nothing more than demon faith! James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. All the Devil’s crowd ‘believe’ in God! But there is no accompanying work of repentance and reformation to accompany that understanding!
James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Abraham’s works were but the outward manifestation of the inner workings of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He revealed his inner faith by his outward works.
And here is the gospel instruction set forth by the Holy Spirit through that John-the-Baptist-Elijah in order to avert the impending curse. Luke 3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. 15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
And this turning of the hearts did avoid the coming of the Lord God to smite the earth with a curse. For we read his glorious words as recorded in John 3:17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. What a joyful sound! All glory to our merciful God!
God’s love of the world was allowed to purchase his longsuffering for even the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction. Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
We must temper that love spoken of in John 3:16 with the Mediator’s prayer to the Father in John 17:9. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
For what kind of love is it that will not pray for all the individuals in the world? Without those prayers there would be no mediation for them. He then would not stand between God and all men as Mediator. And his prayer is essential for their perseverance in faith! Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:
And then he warns his people against their inordinate love of the world. 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Therefore his love of the world cannot but be the standard of this command to His people concerning theirs!
What shall we do then? – “Believe!”
Pastor Gene Breed
May 27, 2020