Elijah & Messiah
What I am about to share is a summary of teachings I’ve learned from my esteemed and venerable teacher, Ariel Cohen Alloro of Jerusalem. Anything that is error is from me and anything that is praiseworthy, true is from Ariel and ultimately, the HOLY ONE, Blessed is HE.
Why does the New Testament and Judaism say that Eliyahu (Elijah) the Prophet must come before Messiah in order to herald his coming? From where does this doctrine come? We will look at its sources in the Bible and also ancient Jewish traditions that accompanied the written text.
‘Old Testament’ Malachi
First, there is a really interesting phenomenon that occurs in our Jewish and Christian Bibles, which highlights very important differences not just in the text, but between these two religions. Did you know that in the Christian Bible, the Book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament, but in the Jewish Hebrew Bible, the Book of Second Chronicles is the last book? The first difference between the religions is that they have a different order of the books of the Hebrew Bible. This means that the last verse of the Jewish Bible is this one,
“Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The L-RD, the G-D of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the L-RD his G-D be with him! Let him go up.”-2 Chronicles 36:23
So the last verse of the Jewish Bible is actually a quote from a G-D-fearing, Gentile king… Interesting! So what are the last verses of the Christian Old Testament?
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the L-RD comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”-Malachi 4:5-6
Here we see a promise of Elijah’s return, because Malachi was written long after Elijah the Prophet had ascended to Heaven (and since he had not died, his return was expected). The “great and dreadful day of the L-RD” is understood as the arrival of the Messiah and imminent judgement of the world. Here we see Biblical support for the idea that the Messiah’s coming would be preceded by Elijah’s return.
So again, the last words of the Christian Old Testament are, “else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” The last word is therefore, “curse.” In a way, this sums up how Christianity understands the Old Testament, as a curse. Essentially, Christian theology errantly claims that the Old Testament Law and history is what placed Israel and the world under a curse from which we needed Jesus and the New Testament to be saved. The Old Testament is therefore incorrectly seen as only a prologue or introduction to the more authoritative and paramount text – the New Testament.
In contrast to this view, Judaism not only doesn’t end its Hebrew Bible with these verses of the Book of Malachi, but it doesn’t even have the same ending of the Book of Malachi! How does it end then?
“Remember the Law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and terrible day of the L-RD comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction. See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and terrible day of the L-RD comes.”-Malachi 3:22-24
Here, we see that Judaism did not want to end any book of the Hebrew Bible with the word, “curse,” so they simply repeated the previous verse about the coming of Elijah at the end. So now, we have two verses about the coming of Elijah, instead of just one. Does that prophetically mean we will have two comings of Elijah and two comings of Messiah?
New Testament Elijah
In the New Testament, we are told that Elijah came before Yeshua’s first coming and Elijah will come again before Yeshua’s second coming. Just as Elisha was given the spirit of Elijah, we are told that John the Baptist was also given this spirit.
“With the spirit and power of Elijah he [John the Baptist] will go before him [Yeshua], to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the L-RD.”-Luke 1:17
Interestingly, this coming of Elijah is “to turn the hearts of parents to their children,” but not explicitly to, “turn the hearts of the children to their parents,” as its written in Malachi. Perhaps that is the job for Elijah’s second coming? I believe this is happening now as myriads of Jews and Gentiles are remembering the Law of G-D’s servant Moses and are turning their hearts to the biblical Forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Where do we see this second coming in the New Testament?
“And the disciples asked him [Yeshua], “Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things…”-Matthew 17:10-11
After John the Baptist is already killed in prison, Yeshua says that Elijah will come and restore all things. Where else do we see the restoration of all things?
“and that HE may send Yeshua the Messiah, who was ordained for you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which G-D has spoken by the mouth of all HIS holy prophets since the world began.”-Acts 3:20-21
Elijah “will restore all things” because the Messiah won’t come “until the times of the restoration of all things,” i.e., after Elijah comes.
Elijah Is Pinchas
Now that we see evidence for two comings of Elijah, both in the New Testament and in the Old, why does G-D say in Malachi that he will send a “curse,” if Elijah does not come?
First, we have to understand what is the original Hebrew word for this “curse.” Amazingly, it is actually not the usual word for ‘curse,’ but is actually the word, cherem (חרם), which means, a ‘ban’ or ‘prohibition.’ It is the same word used in Judaism for someone who is excommunicated from the community or what is given to the priests from the people of Israel (See “Jesus Is Not For Jews“). So what is being ‘banned’ or made ‘off-limits,’ if Elijah does not come? What else, but the Messiah?
Does that mean that Elijah will make permissible something that was previously forbidden? Fascinatingly, that would not be the only time that Elijah would do that, in the Bible or in Judaism…
In Judaism, Elijah is actually the reincarnation or has the same spirit as Pinchas (Phineas). It is said that Pinchas lost the High Priesthood, because he did not nullify the oath that Yiftach (Jephthah) made to sacrifice his only daughter. Only Pinchas the High Priest was allowed to lift the prohibition of breaking the oath that Yiftach had made to G-D, and he knowingly did not, which resulted in the murder of this innocent girl. Fascinatingly, this story marks the only time that the exact word, ‘yechidah’ (יחידה), is used in the entire Hebrew Bible, to describe this girl as Yiftach’s ‘only’ (‘yechidah’) daughter. In Kabbalah, this word is used to describe the highest level of the soul where complete unity with G-D is achieved. It is said that when Adam sinned, this Yechidah level of the soul left him and that is why his body died and disintegrated. So too, when Pinchas did not lift this prohibition, Yiftach lost the Yechidah and that’s why the story says he “was buried in the towns of Gilead,” implying that his body fell apart and was buried in multiple towns, as the rabbis retold.
Here we see that the spirit of Elijah in Pinchas failed to lift a ban and the consequence was tragic – an innocent Jew was killed and the Yechidah was lost. In Ordinal Gematria, the Hebrew word, ‘yechidah,’ has the same numerical value as, ‘Yeshu,’ which is how Judaism calls Yeshua (without the letter ayin; See “Enter the Gematrix”). Ariel Cohen Alloro says that the name, Yeshu, represents his first coming and the Yechidah level of the soul, which is above the duality of this world (the ‘third eye’ above the two eyes). That is why Yeshu appears to speak and act ‘above the Law,’ emphasizing unconditional love and unity with all people and G-D, rather than merely parsing minutiae ‘under the Law.’ The purpose of the Law (Torah) is to reconcile the duality within this world, not merely transcend it. With the death of John the Baptist, the Spirit of Elijah was lost and couldn’t complete its mission, therefore an innocent Jew (Yeshu) was murdered and the Yechidah was again lost with him.
Another place we see a hint of this lifting of a prohibition connected to Elijah is in the Book of Second Kings, chapter 16, the verse immediately before Elijah the Prophet is introduced for the first time in 2 Kings 17…
“In his [Ahab’s] days Hiel of Bethel (Beth HaAli) built Jericho; he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the L-RD, which he spoke by Joshua son of Nun. Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the L-RD the G-D of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”-1 Kings 16:34-17:1
The translations say that Hiel is of Bethel, but it is actually written, of Beth “HaAli” (האלי), which has the exact same Hebrew letters as, “Elijah” (אליה). Why does it say that Hiel’s firstborn and youngest died, according to the word of the L-RD? Because Joshua placed a prohibition and curse on anyone building the city of Jericho.
“Joshua then pronounced this oath, saying,
“Cursed before the L-RD be anyone who tries-Joshua 6:26
to build this city—this Jericho!
At the cost of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest he shall set up its gates!”
Was this curse proper, though? Isn’t all the Land of Israel holy and deserving to be built up? It seems that this prohibition needed to be lifted and Hiel, who represented Elijah, was the one to lift it, at the very introduction to Elijah’s biblical account.
No Rain, No Reign
Perhaps we can say that Elijah having the ability to shut up the Heavens from raining is also symbolic of him having the ability to release or hold back the Messiah’s coming. The Hebrew word for ‘teacher’ is also used for ‘rain’ (מורה). As it’s written by the Prophet Joel,
“Be glad then, you children of Zion,-Joel 2:23
And rejoice in the L-RD your G-D;
For HE has given you the teacher of righteousness,
And HE will cause the rain to come down for you—
The former rain,
And the latter rain in the first month.“
There’s another interesting difference between the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible, which sheds more light on this topic. In the Hebrew Bible, it does not say for how long rain was withheld from Israel by Elijah. However, twice the New Testament gives us the exact period of time and first by Yeshua himself…
“Then he [Yeshua] said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.”-Luke 4:24-26
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”-James (Jacob) 5:17-18
The period of drought being three and a half years is important enough in the New Testament to not only be mentioned two times, but mentioned even by Yeshua himself.
What is special about three and a half years? Well, it is nearly identical to another time period that is mentioned twice in the Book of Daniel.
He shall speak pompous words against the MOST HIGH,-Daniel 7:25
Shall persecute the saints of the MOST HIGH,
And shall intend to change times and the Law.
Then the saints shall be given into his hand
For a time and times and half a time.
Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by HIM who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the Holy People has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.-Daniel 12:7
We are told that there will be a period of three times and a half when the Holy People (Israel) will be in the hands of the Fourth Beast (Rome; See “Jesus Is the Antichrist“) until the resurrection of the dead. These three and a half times of shattering exile before the Messiah’s coming are parallel to the three and a half years of drought before rain. What do both depend on? The work of Elijah. The coming of Messiah depends on Elijah releasing what was once bound and prohibited.
What was Elijah doing during those three and a half years of the drought? He was helping a Gentile widow and resurrected her dead son. What is the purpose of this three and a half times of exile before the coming of the Messiah? To help Gentiles come to a knowledge of the true G-D and HIS power, as Paul wrote,
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,-Romans 11:25-26
And HE will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;”
As it’s written in the Talmud,
“And Rabbi Elazar said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, exiled Israel among the nations only so that converts would join them, as it is stated: “And I will sow her to Me in the land” (Hosea 2:25)…”-Pesachim 87b:14a, William Davidson Talmud
In the Talmud, there are several places where it says that Elijah has the ability to declare Temple offerings as ritually pure and fit for use, when previously their purity status was uncertain (Pesachim 15a, 20b, 34a, Berakhot 33b, 34a), and he also has the ability to declare whether someone is authentically Jewish or not.
”Abaye said: We too learn in the mishna (Eduyyot 8:7): There was a family known as Beit HaTzerifa in Transjordan, and a person called ben Tziyyon forcefully distanced it and proclaimed that its lineage was flawed, although its lineage was unflawed. There was another one that ben Tzion forcefully drew near, although its lineage was flawed. The mishna adds: Known families such as these, Elijah comes to declare impure and to declare pure, to distance and to draw near…”–Kiddushin 71a:8
In Judaism, it is said that pork will become kosher in Messianic times. This is because the word ‘pig’ in Hebrew (חזיר), has the same root meaning as, ‘to return’ (יחזר). The pig, which is a symbol of Esau and Christianity, will return, not because of a change in the Torah, G-D forbid, but because of a change in the pig. The pig, which has an outward show of purity (split-hooves), will change its inward nature to become pure. In the same way, Esau’s (Christianity’s) relationship to Yeshua, Torah, and the Jewish people must radically change in order to return to its destined role in G-D’s will. The historical truth of Yeshua’s Jewishness must be reclaimed and restored.
In summary, what is the prohibition that Elijah must lift in order to release the Messiah? It is the prohibition of Yeshua to the Jews. According to Torah and Jewish law, it is forbidden for Jews to receive Yeshua, who was sold and belongs to the Priests (Cohanim) and therefore, G-D, in Heaven (See “Jesus Is Not For Jews“). Just as Joseph was sold to the Nations, for their salvation, and under a ban (חרם) to speak to his brothers, Yeshua is under a ban to his brothers until the proper time when the spirit of Elijah will release that ban by declaring Yeshua kosher again. The cherem (חרמ; ‘ban’) will then be transformed into the rechem (רחמ; ‘womb’), which shall birth the Messianic age, and the chamor (חמר; ‘donkey’), an unclean animal which is redeemed in order to usher the Messiah.
In Judaism, they changed the ending of the Book of Malachi, so that it would not end with the word, cherem (חרם; ‘ban’). Instead, it now ends with the words, “the great and terrible day of the L-RD.” In Hebrew and unlike English, the adjectives come after their noun in a sentence. This means that the last words of the Jewish Book of Malachi are actually, “the great and terrible” (הַגָּד֖וֹל וְהַנּוֹרָֽא). This phrase in Gematria equals Yeshu (ישו; ‘Jesus’), exactly (316). When cherem was removed from the ending by adding Elijah’s second coming, we received Yeshu instead! When Yeshu is no longer cherem, by the working of Elijah’s spirit, the Jewish people will receive not only the Yechidah of unity and peace, but also the full, glorious Geulah (redemption)!
Please, support the work of Ariel Cohen Alloro and his incomparable, indispensable initiative, Facing Each Other, without whom none of this insight would have been available.
May Elijah the Prophet come to us quickly, with the Messiah, son of David!