I have always been fascinated with the life of John the Baptist. After all, one of my Bible heroes was Elijah, and since John was a “type” of Elijah before the first advent of Christ, and there is to be raised another “type” of Elijah, a “last-day John the Baptist”, if you will, I want to make sure I am able to identify who and what they are and hopefully be accounted as one. I like the following quotation:
“John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, received his early training from his parents. The greater portion of his life was spent in the wilderness, that he might not be influenced by beholding the lax piety of the priests and rabbis or by learning their maxims and traditions, through which right principles were perverted and belittled. The religious teachers of the day had become so blind spiritually that they could hardly recognize the virtues of heavenly origin. So long had they cherished pride, envy, and jealousy that they interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures in such a manner as to destroy their true meaning. It was John’s choice to forgo the enjoyments and luxuries of city life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From his childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from the society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation and shrank from constant contact with sin lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.
“But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men, and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the Divine Spirit, he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven.” Testimonies to the Church, Volume 8, page 221
When you study John’s life there are certain characteristics which will be found in the lives of Elijah, and the future Elijah’s, or John’s for these last days. They will have been separated from the normal din of society for their protection and growth so they could be of help to those they will eventually confront and offer truth.
Another characteristic was their diet. The adage is true, we “are” what we “eat”. You cannot expect junk or improper food to produce optimum performance. You cannot put sub-premium gas in your premium car and expect premium performance. The same goes for our body. What we eat affects our blood, which affects our breathing and cellular system. Our brain becomes affected, which in turn will affect our thinking, praying and communicating. Our lifestyle will not be optimum and if we surrender ourselves to taste, our tastes for other areas in life will become tainted and substandard and we cannot be all we were meant to be for the service of God. He, who designed us, knows what is best for us. You cannot beat the benefits of a plant-based diet. Fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts is what we were made for. Everything else will diminish our performance ability and in some cases will destroy us albeit slowly.
The second aspect of their lives were their calling. Each was called to give the “strait” (straight) testimony regarding God. So much convoluted and conflicting views regarding God was present and God needed to send men, and women, who would give man the truth despite all the differences and conflicting testimony of Himself. These men offended many who considered themselves “God’s people”, and as a result sought to destroy them but it did not keep them from telling the truth regardless of how others were affected or felt about them. The same will be for the endtime John’s before Christ’s Second Advent.
Modern day John & Elijah’s will have the same characteristics as their predecessors. The Bible tells us it will be so. These who are called for these times will be conscientious regarding their diet and will give the straight testimony regarding God and His worship. They will also be hated and scoffed at by their fellow Christians and many will hear but not adhere to the truth, going about living their continuing diminishing lives until they cannot hear the “present truth” and will lose their salvation because of it. Living in the last days, as God’s true witness, will not be easy, both in the world as well as in the church!
While God is not calling us to be odd, the world makes us odd. God is not calling us to be isolative but the world will want nothing to do with us. God is not calling us to demonstrate to man their error, but because of their error our living truth makes us targets for discussion and criticism. But despite all of this, as Elijah had his Ahab, as John the Baptist had his Herod, we will have our criticizers, but we must not bend from the truth, no matter the persecution. Jesus bore witness of that, too.
My friends, take heed to these words. If God is calling you, then you need to rethink your position and become the man, or woman, He’s calling you to be and become like Elijah and John to serve in these last days as ministers for Him.
May 16, 2016