Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord
There are so many theories about the second coming of Messiah. The church, mainly since the turn of the 20th century, has taught that the church is going to be raptured. This recent teaching, in comparison to the foundational teachings, has caused many people to not even think about Yeshua (Jesus) coming back, let alone to prepare for it. Only Evangelicals believe in the actual earthly kingdom of Yeshua, and yet they often do not make the connection of being caught up in the clouds and setting up His kingdom as one act. We want to take a look at what it means to prepare oneself for the coming of Messiah and whether we need to do this in our lifetime.
Mark 1:3 says, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.'" This voice was the voice of John the Baptist. John went about crying out to a people who should have been waiting for their coming Messiah. Though the common-folk were waiting eagerly and hoping for the Messiah, those who taught them and those who led them were not. They were quite comfortable in their positions which gave them great authority over the people. So although the people waited for the Messiah, they did not quite understand Messiah's role. Back then, the common people did not have the Scriptures at their disposal. They knew the Torah and the keeping of the Law, but the deeper thinking was left to the Scribes.
From John we know that to make the path straight and to prepare for the Messiah, one needed to start by repenting. Matthew 3:1-2 says, "Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" Yeshua tells His disciples that John was the fulfilment of the promised coming of the Elijah that was to come: "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord" (Malachi 4:5). Now, Yeshua tells His disciples that John was the Elijah that was to come, but listen to how He says that to them: "And if you care to accept it, he himself (John) is Elijah who was to come" (Matthew 11:14). And verse 15 says, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Yeshua went on in verse 17 comparing the generation to children calling to other children, "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn."
So what does this obscured message mean? It means that John came in the spirit of Elijah to turn the people back to God, but they did not listen, they did not repent. Now, I am not saying that none of the people repented, but because of the leadership of the people who did not repent, Yeshua could not totally fulfill His mission. If the nation of Israel as a whole would have repented, He would have risen from the dead and set up His kingdom. In the prophecy of Malachi, we see that Elijah will come back again before the great and terrible day of the Lord.
This tells us that when Yeshua comes back, the people will repent. In Malachi 4:6 we see this: "Elijah will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse." Now, I don't think that there was rebellion or division in the family in the time of John, so I am more inclined to say that this is what is going on right now in our families.
Isaiah 40:3 is the first reference to one calling out in the wilderness and clearing the way for the Lord, and the chapter continues in verses 4-5, "Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." The reference is saying the same thing as in Matthew 3:3, about making the paths straight.
We see a similar passage from Paul in Hebrews 12:12-13: "Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." Paul is not an Orthopedic doctor, but he was giving a prescription for peace. But if you look at verses 4-11, it talks about a father's discipline. Is this not what the prophecy concerning the coming of Elijah was about, to reconcile the father with children? Paul was telling us to make straight paths for our feet and to put the limb that is out of joint back in place so that it can be healed. To be prepared for Messiah's coming, we must be reconciled in our families, and to do this we must repent and pursue peace.
Verse 15 tells us that we must see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled. We cannot be like Esau who sold his birthright and then could not find repentance in his heart. We all must have an Elijah Spirit and repent and reconcile our differences and come together, whether it be in our physical families or in the family of God, our community family, or our country. We must repent or the day of the Lord will come and we will experience that terrible day which will cause us to repent.
Let us be like the bride waiting for her husband and prepare by making our garments white without spot or wrinkle. Let us be washed and cleaned by the blood of the Lamb and let us walk by Spirit that leads us in all truth and harmony.