The trouble is, Bible prophecy can be misinterpreted. In fact, it almost always ismisinterpreted. Many people have made false predictions about the end of the world based on their misunderstanding of prophecy.
Yet when He was here in the flesh, Jesus Himself prophesied. And He also gave a number of signs to look for so that true Christians could know when these prophecies, these end-time prophecies, would occur.
Here we will look at one remarkable Bible prophecy that will give you a strong understanding of where we are in end-time events.
It is a plain, bold promise, directly from Jesus Christ Himself.
A Vision of Yashuas Return
During His ministry on Earth, Jesus took three of His disciples—Peter, James and John—up onto a high mountain. There, something extraordinary happened: He was “transfigured before them”: His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as light! (Matthew 17:1-2).
This was a vision of Jesus Christ glorified, revealing what He will look like at His Second Coming!
With Jesus appeared Moses and Elijah—two spiritual giants of the Old Testament who will be resurrected into the Kingdom of God when Jesus Christ returns. Then a bright cloud appeared overhead, out of which a voice said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” This experience was so vivid and awesome that the disciples fell on their faces in fear! Jesus told them not to fear, and when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and everything had returned to normal (verses 3-6).
This was a vision of the Second Coming—the greatest event in the history of the universe, the culmination of all end-time prophecy! The Bible describes this event as marking the end of this age of man and the beginning of the rule of God on Earth.
After the disciples saw this awesome vision, what was the first thing they asked Jesus about? They asked about a specific Old Testament prophecy in the book of Malachi.
“And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’” (verse 10; New King James Version).
Preparing for Yashuas Return
Malachi 4:5 reads, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
This is what the disciples thought of after seeing a vision of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. This prophecy forecast something specific that would occur just before the “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” The Day of the Lord includes terrifying, cataclysmic end-time events that will occur immediately before Christ returns. God prophesied that, before these events, He would send “Elijah the prophet.”
Once this man from God comes, the Day of the Lord is imminent—and then comes the return of Jesus Christ!
This is a very specific, important and powerful prophecy!
It is connected to another prophecy in Malachi: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me …” (Malachi 3:1). This too is talking about a human being whom God would use to prepare for Christ. In fact, it is the same man described in Malachi 4:5. It is an end-time type of Elijah, a man God promised to send just before the Day of the Lord and the return of Jesus Christ.
Malachi 3 continues: “and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap” (verses 1-2).
Verse 1 calls Christ “the messenger of the covenant.” At His first coming, He brought a message of God’s Kingdom. But He was a human being who was misunderstood
and crucified—not a Being whose face shone like the sun, whose clothes were white as light, whose appearance was like a scorching refiner’s fire! Verse 2 can only describe Christ’s Second Coming.
When Christ came 2,000 years ago, He brought advance news of God’s Kingdom. In the future, He will return in great power to establish that Kingdom.
And this prophecy describes another messenger—a human messenger—who would “prepare the way before” Christ’s return.
After the disciples saw a glorious vision of the Second Coming, it was this prophecy in Malachi that they thought about. They knew that it said a man like Elijah would come first, immediately before the Day of the Lord and the return of Jesus Christ.
How did Jesus Christ Himself answer their question? “[Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matthew 17:11).
He confirmed Malachi’s prophecy and added to it! Yes, a man like Elijah would definitelycome to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming. And exactly how would he prepare the way? He would “restore all things”!
This prophecy is critical. Jesus Christ Himself confirmed it and said that the key preparation for His Second Coming would be “restoring all things.”
What does “restore all things” mean?
When Christ returns, He will “restore all things” to the whole world! The Apostle Peter talked about this, saying, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).
Jesus Christ will restore all things to everyone on Earth: billions of people steeped in false religions and no religion who have not known the true doctrines of the true God. How, then, could this end-time Elijah “restore all things”? He comes before Christ, and he restores all things—not to the entire world, but to the true Church of God.
God has been preparing for a long time for Jesus Christ’s return and the restoration of all things to the whole world. He has laid groundwork, orchestrated details, called specific individuals to fulfill specific roles. Christ Himself did much of the preparation for this restoration at His first coming. At that time, He founded the Church of God, a group of people He would call out of this world to support the work of proclaiming His gospel.
One of God’s final acts of preparation would be sending Elijah to restore all the basic truths of God to His true Church, just before the great and dreadful Day of the Lord and the return of Jesus Christ. This would be a major step toward the truths of God being restored to the whole world.
This prophecy, directly from Jesus Christ, is a pivotal end-time prophecy. In fact, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has calls it “the most pivotal end-time prophecy.” He writes, “That vision given to Peter, John and James tied right in with the arrival of an Elijah in the end time, just before Christ returns! … This is a sign to the world that Jesus Christ’s return is imminent. When ‘all things’ are restored, that is the beginning of the end!” (The Epistles of Peter—A Living Hope).
What an invaluable sign. The whole world should be watching for the arrival of this end-time Elijah! When you recognize him, you will know just how little time is left before the dreadful Day of the Lord and the glorious return of Jesus Christ!
A First-Century Type
Matthew 17 contains another important detail. Christ then said, “‘But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist” (verses 12-13; nkjv).
So Christ confirmed what Malachi prophesied and the scribes and the disciples believed: A man like Elijah would prepare the way before the coming of the glorified Jesus Christ. But what they didn’t realize was that a man like Elijah had already come in their lifetimes, prior to Jesus’s ministry.
Before John was born, an angel revealed that he would come “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:13-17).
The Prophet Elijah lived over 800 years before Christ. He reproved the nation of Israel for its paganism and pointed people to the true God. Elijah’s name means “my God is God.” Later, in the first century, God used John the Baptist in a way that He compared to how He used Elijah. John exposed the falseness of the religions of his day in preparation for the first coming of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.
But Jesus promised, and prophecy repeatedly confirms, that He would come again—the second time in power.
And in this conversation with His disciples, Christ was saying that another man like Elijah “truly shall first come” before His Second Coming. What John the Baptist did in preparing for Christ’s first coming was only a type of the work to be done by this end-timeElijah in preparing for His Second Coming.
Herbert W. Armstrong spoke about this prophecy in a landmark sermon on Dec. 17, 1983. “As John the Baptist was the physical messenger in the physical wilderness of Jordan, so there would be a messenger with a message—with a voice crying out in the spiritual wilderness of the modern 20th century,” he said. “Preparing the way for … Jesus to come to His spiritual temple [speaking of the Church] … this time to set up the Kingdom of God and to rule.”
Christ said this Elijah would “restore all things.” Mr. Armstrong then noted, “Now John the Baptist didn’t restore anything. They already knew about the law, and he called them to repentance; but he didn’t have to give them sermons about what all the law is. They knew that. He just called them to repent and turn to another way, and baptized them.”
The “restore all things” part of Christ’s statement is at the heart of what makes this the most pivotal end-time prophecy.
There are many end-time prophecies, and people naturally tend to focus on the ones about wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and supernatural disasters. Some people focus on things like blood moons.
But this prophecy is what Jesus Christ focused on.
This prophecy is directly connected with His Second Coming: He said this man would restore all truth within the Church just before the Day of the Lord. This is a sign of the nearness of Jesus Christ’s return that you must not ignore!
And what makes this even more important is that this prophecy has already been fulfilled!
There was a man who fulfilled this preparatory role in the end time. A man who did “restore all things.”
That man was Herbert W. Armstrong.
Mr. Armstrong restored all the fundamental doctrines of God’s truth to the true Church of God over the course of his 57-year ministry. And in the last few years of his long life, he came to recognize, based on the fruits, that he had fulfilled this prophesied role.
“This Matthew 17 prophecy is the single-most pivotal prophecy in this end time. It is the major sign to the world that the Second Coming is almost here,” Mr. Flurry writes. “Christ wants that sign visible. He sent an important personality at a critical juncture in history—a man to restore all things. If you want to get ready for my Second Coming, Christ is saying, learn about those truths and go to where they are being taught and disseminated” (op cit).
God is preparing in a detailed way for this greatest event in history. And the most pivotal act of preparation is the restoration of truth within the true Church of God.
This is quite a claim to make. But how much do you know about this sign?
Look into this prophecy of Jesus Christ and prove it.
A Process of Restoration
What are the truths that the end-time Elijah restored?
When Christ founded His Church at His first coming, He promised that the gates of the grave would never prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). God has kept that promise: His Church has survived through the 2,000 years since. However, after the first century, fierce opposition hindered the Church from preaching the true gospel to the world. A counterfeit “Christian” church arose and grew in power and in hostility toward the true Church. Over time, hounded and weakened by persecution, God’s Church lost certain points of truth and doctrine.
Revelation 2 and 3 prophesy of the New Testament Church passing through seven eras over the 2,000 years between its founding and the present day. God called Mr. Armstrong at the end of the fifth era, called the Sardis era (Revelation 3:1-6). This Church had lost much of the truth. Christ said of it: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die …. [H]old fast, and repent.”
In his Dec. 17, 1983, sermon, Mr. Armstrong noted that true Christians in the Sardis era obeyed God’s Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath commandment and they followed the truth of first tithe. “God’s true Church has believed those three things through most of the time,” he said. “But many of these other things had to be restored to the Church, which had been lost.”
In the fall of 1926, Mr. Armstrong’s wife, Loma, challenged her husband by telling him that the Bible commanded keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, which sounded like fanaticism to him. At the same time, his sister-in-law confronted him regarding the theory of evolution, saying he was ignorant if he didn’t believe it. These challenges provoked Mr. Armstrong to undertake an intensive study trying to prove them both wrong.
This study lasted six months, and it led to an outcome Mr. Armstrong did not expect.
Here is how he explained it: “The important thing is that in this study Jesus Christ, through His written word, opened my mind to the prime basic truths He wanted me to have in starting me out as His servant” (Good News, April 1980).
These “prime basic truths” were the foundation of what would become the next prophesied era of God’s Church described in Revelation 3:7-13: the Philadelphia era.
During this period, God revealed to Mr. Armstrong not only the truth about the Sabbath and evolution, but also many other amazing truths. “In this conversion process, Jesus put me through the wringer. He squeezed out—cleared my mind—swept it clean of earlier false assumptions—such as going to heaven or hell—immortality of the soul—the false ‘trinity’ doctrine” (ibid).
Here is what else God revealed during his six-month study: “I was started out knowing who and what God is—what, and why man is—the truth about Israel—what isChrist’s true gospel—the coming Kingdom of God.” God began revealing these astounding truths right from the moment He called Mr. Armstrong in 1926!
After that six-month study, God revealed more and more to Mr. Armstrong over time. Yet only late in his life did Mr. Armstrong realize that God had fulfilled the prophecy of Matthew 17:11—through him.
In that 1980 Good News article, Mr. Armstrong gave a brief history of the New Testament Church of God. He then described how God had used him in the modern era: “God’s timehad come! His time for one, of whom John the Baptist was a type and forerunner, to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming.”
This indirect reference appears to have been the first time Mr. Armstrong publicly alluded to himself being the end-time Elijah. In the last few years of his life, however, he returned to this subject repeatedly, and became much more bold and direct about it.
In his Dec. 17, 1983 sermon, after reviewing the prophecies of Malachi 3 and 4 and Matthew 17, Mr. Armstrong began talking about these “restored truths.” He directly linked the truths he had been teaching throughout his ministry with this “most pivotal end-time prophecy.”
In the last 16 minutes of his sermon, he gave a brief verbal summary of the truths God had restored to the Church through him from a list he had written down (which he said weren’t “in any special order”). He revisited this list and lightly amended it in subsequent messages.
Then on Jan. 16, 1986, after having fulfilled this pivotal prophesied role, Mr. Armstrong died.
This man restored “all things”—all the pillar doctrines of the Bible! And there is still a group of people faithfully living by and proclaiming these truths. They represent extraordinary understanding and spiritual wealth. They include understanding of the true gospel message proclaimed by Jesus Christ, truth about God’s form of government, the nature of God, the purpose for human beings, God’s inspiring plan for non-Christians, the meaning behind holy day observances, the key to understanding biblical prophecy, the resurrection, and many, many others. These were the truths the first era, founded by Jesus Christ, had—truths that God inspired to be recorded in the Bible. Some of them are traceable through the subsequent eras of the Church before they were lost. But God used Mr. Armstrong to restore all of them.
You can prove from your own Bible that Jesus Christ taught and teaches every single one of these truths.
The restoration of these truths to the Church fulfilled by Yashuas prophecy.