World Challenge Pulpit Series

The Elijah Company

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By David Wilkerson
June 22, 1987

The Old Testament closes with this amazing prophecy of Malachi: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 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" (Malachi 4:5,6).

This prophecy was in great measure fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist. An angel appeared to Zacharias and prophesied that his son John would turn many in Israel to the Lord and that "he shall go before him in the Spirit and power of Elias (Elijah), 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" (Luke 1:16,17).

Jesus, speaking to His disciples about John the Baptist, said: "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come" (Matthew 11:14). He added, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (v. 15). I believe Jesus was asking them to see the spiritual significance of John's coming, as prophesied, in the spirit and power of Elijah.

John himself emphatically denied that he was Elijah raised from the dead. When the Jews asked him pointedly, "Art thou Elias?" John answered, "I am not... I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias" (John 1:21-23). This is why Jesus told His disciples that only spiritual eyes and ears would understand - that John the Baptist was of the same ministry mold as Elijah the prophet. John was a preacher of righteousness, as was Elijah, sent to awaken a people to a straight and narrow way of holiness.

John, anointed with the same fearless Spirit and power which was upon Elijah, thundered against the sins of disobedient, greedy, pleasure-loving Jews. Christ was soon to appear and this mighty man of truth suddenly came on the scene top prepare a people for the Lord. This wilderness prophet was sent to turn the hearts of the people, which is the truest definition of repentance, John preached repentance, restitution, purity of heart, justice, and a practical walk of holiness to correspond with an open confession of sins.

An Elijah Company in These Last Days

I believe the prophet Malachi, as well as other Old Testament prophets, speaks of a company of holy people who will be raised up just prior Christ's second coming, who will also be in the same ministry mold of Elijah. That is, they will minister under the very same Spirit and power that rested upon Elijah and John the Baptist.

I believe the second coming of Christ is most certainly "the great and dreadful day of the Lord," which Malachi spoke of. Dreadful in regard to the wrath of God upon the wicked and disobedient. The Hebrew root word used here is YARE, meaning to frighten, to make afraid. There is truly coming a day when the ungodly will cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them, "to hide them from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (Revelation 6:16). But before that dreadful day comes, the Holy Spirit has a loud and clear voice throughout the earth - an Elijah company of holy, consecrated, discerning saints who fearlessly warn of sin, righteousness and impending judgment.

This last-day Elijah company of believers will heed the prophecy of Isaiah, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins" (Isaiah 58:1). These are the watchmen upon the walls, "which shall never hold peace day nor night... and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Isaiah 62:6,7).

The true Elijah company is not looking for an earthly kingdom, for they, like Abraham, are looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. They have been born into the heavenly Jerusalem which is the mother of all the truly redeemed. Zion is a holy people made ready as a bride adorned. "And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, sought out, a city not forsaken" (Isaiah 62:12).

How blind the religious scribes of our day have become, focusing on some kind of reconstructed Jewish temple. Our Lord has been building Zion, His true temple, ever since He came to earth as God incarnate. Even now the Holy City is nearly finished, and soon the gates will be closed. No more animal sacrifices, no more earthly temple made with hands, no kingdom that is of the world. The Elijah company is a holy people, seated right now with Christ in heavenly places. Right now Christ reigns over them as absolute sovereign and king. They are detached from this world and are wholly devoted to their Lord.

They Are a Wilderness People to Whom
The Word of the Lord Has Come.

I want to shout every time I read these words - "Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the Word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness" (Luke 3:2).

The Holy Spirit bypassed the entire religious systems, the rabbinical schools, the educated Pharisees and scribes, and even the highest officials of the church - and sent the true word to a man of God shut up in the wilderness. The word came to John, to a man outside every religious body of that day, to a man educated by the Holy Spirit alone. The religious big shots, those pious church officials, had not a single word from the Lord. They could drone on for hours, exhorting dead Scriptures - but they had nothing fresh and life-giving from the throne of God.

But John! He was non-materialistic, separated, God-consumed, and possessed by a single vision - the coming Christ! How his heart must have burned in the wilderness as he read of that Old Testament prophet Elijah. John was in the wilderness standing before the Lord, learning His righteous ways, preparing his heart to be unbending against a corrupt and godless society. John's ministry is proof that no one should claim to speak for God, or denounce sin, unless he truly has the word sent from God.

So it was with Elijah. He suddenly appeared on the scene in the midst of Israel's darkest hour of wickedness and debauchery. Ahab not only took the wicked Jezebel to be his wife, he also "provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger more than all the kings of Israel that were before him" (1 Kings 16:33).

Out of the wilderness of Gilead came Elijah the Tishbite to confront wicked Ahab and backslidden Israel. What a powerful word from God this prophet had received. He thundered, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, BEFORE WHOM I STAND, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word... and the word of the Lord came to him" (1 Kings 17:1,2).

This is the ministry mold of the Elijah company - The Lord liveth - before whom I stand! This speaks of a people shut up with God in the school of Christ - a body of awakened saints who refuse to be tainted and warped by the teachings and traditions of unspiritual and self-centered teachers and egocentric shepherds. These have mostly given up trying to receive a true word from the religious hierarchy who are bound by narrow denominational doctrines. They found themselves in a wilderness of confusion, hungry for a soul-satisfying word that would witness in the inner man that it was sent from God. So they went directly to God's Holy Scripture to seek the truth. What sweet relief to turn off all the tapes for a season, lay aside all the books and literature and be shut up in the Scriptures. They wept, they sought for truth as if looking for a priceless pearl. They heard the awesome woes of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and all the other prophets - and God's wrath against sin and apostasy was revealed to them. They learned something of the character of God - His mercy for the repentant and obedient and His indignation against hypocrisy and mixture with the world. And because they stand before God, away from all other clamoring voices, the word of the Lord has come to them with force and consuming fire.

Jeremiah belonged to the Elijah company who stood before the Lord to receive the true word. God said to him, "If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth... and I will make thee unto this people a fenced brass wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail... for I am with thee to save thee and deliver thee, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 15:19,20).

Discernment - precious, needful discernment - that is what God pours out upon His Elijah company as they stand before Him - outside the camp - showing God's people the difference between the precious and the vile. The righteous are not proud or arrogant - but simply bold as a lion. They are not indulging in secret sin, and there is no hidden dark part in them - and they walk in the fear of God with the spiritual authority of Elijah. They come from the presence of the Lord to declare the righteous judgments of a holy God upon the sins of leaders and of the idolaters who are at ease in Zion. They have acquired a history with the Lord, having an exercised spiritual mind, able to discern what is of God and what is of flesh.

They Are Called "Troublemakers."

They are troublers who infuriate backslidden religious leaders and corrupt Christians. They are hated as was Jesus when he testified against them that "their deeds were evil" (John 7:7).

Ahab went out to meet Elijah at an appointed time and sneeringly asked, "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" (1 Kings 18:17). Imagine this corrupted mate of Jezebel accusing this holy prophet of causing division, trouble and strife among God's people. He was too blinded by his sins to recognize the prophetic voice of God - to him Elijah was nothing more than a troublemaker.

Elijah would not cower before this spirit of rebellion and stubbornness. He boldly looked Ahab in the eye and answered, "I have not troubled Israel: but thou... in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou has followed Baalim" (1 Kings 18:18).

Who are the real troublemakers, the real division mongers in the house of God today? It is not the Elijah company who sigh and cry over the abominations of the church. It is not those who expose sin and testify against the wicked deeds of religious leaders and those at ease in Zion. All division is caused by compromise! All trouble in God's house is the result of apostasy and the forsaking of the Lord's commandments. "For where envying and strife is, there is disorder and every evil work" (James 3:16).

Paul warns the brethren to "mark them which cause divisions... and avoid them" (Romans 16:17). But who were these who "caused offenses contrary to the doctrine taught?" They were none other that a self-centered, backslidden group among them who "served their own belly" (v.18). This proves that division is caused by the proud, arrogant catering to self-interests. Paul said, "By their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting" (v. 18 NAS). Those preachers who are soft on sin, overlooking the evil deeds in God's house and crying unity, are the real divisionists. They are leading many into a false love trap. The true body of Christ has never been nor ever will be divided. Those in holy union with Christ are already united to each other. Sin is the divider!

Paul and Silas were brought before the magistrates of the city of Philippi, having been accused with "exceedingly troubling" their city (Acts 16:20). They were beaten and cast into prison as a result of the TROUBLE they had caused. What was this exceeding great trouble? Paul and Silas had cast a fortune-telling spirit out of a damsel who had "brought her masters much gain by soothsaying... and when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they caught Paul and Silas" (Acts 16:16-19).

When self-interest is threatened in any way, the cry goes up, "TROUBLEMAKERS! DIVISION! THREAT TO UNITY!" Paul and Silas had uncovered a religious con game - a demonic deception under the guise of religion. It was a very profitable scheme for a select few who knew how to manipulate undiscerning crowds. What raised the cry, "Division"? It was a revival of cleansing. Those who accused Paul and Silas with causing dissension had ulterior motives and they refused the call to repent and walk in holiness.

God, give us more troublers of Israel who are not afraid to stand up against religious hypocrisy and disobedience! The Elijah company has nothing to lose because they have already "taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods." It is a despised way - a path of rejection, loneliness and deep godly sorrow. Day by day the Holy Spirit reveals more and more of God's heartbreak over the sins of His people. It seems as if Christ Himself weeps through your eyes over the lack of holiness, truth and discernment in the church. And the more time that is spent standing before the Lord, the clearer the word that comes, until it is a fire burning in your spiritual bones and "woe is me if I keep silent."

A Word of Caution

The true Elijah company is not a wrecking crew going about cursing and threatening those who do not measure up to their concept of holiness and purity. Much damage is being done in churches today by pseudo-prophets who go about castigating and lecturing ministers and laymen over what is called "a revelation from God about something in your life." I am deluged at times with such revelations and prophecies. One such "prophetess" warned that my life was in danger if I went to New York City to minister. I kindly told her that I was already dead to this world, and that it would be an honor if it should be so. I have been cursed, threatened, corrected and judged by many sincere, over-zealous self-acclaimed prophets and prophetesses. I receive reams of prophecies - all of them beginning with "Thus saith the Lord." Some of them witness to my heart that God has truly spoken, but much of it is meaningless.

Elijah's hatred for the sins of Israel sprang out of his very strong love for God's people. He was not a people-hater - only a sin-hater. He was not a man of revenge, but rather a man whose heart yearned for Israel's return to the Lord. To understand the Spirit and power that was upon Elijah, you must hear his heartbroken cry on Mount Carmel, "Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again... Then the fire fell,... and when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces..." (1 Kings 18:37-39).

Elijah was not at all interested in being validated as a prophet. He wanted only to see the honor of God restored and the backslidden in heart "returned to the Lord." True prophets, though they may sound so hard against sin, are at heart merciful, kind and patient. And when they see real biblical repentance, they are builders and restorers of breaches.

I want to go on record that I believe there exists today an Elijah company of true shepherds. Not all preachers are backslidden or self-serving. I am hearing from a growing number of holy shepherds who have been wounded and rejected by uncaring sheep. Some are being literally driven out of their churches for preaching holy standards. But cruelest of all are the so-called prophecies and denunciations from harsh "prophetic voices" that have no mercy or redemptive quality to them.

If you should ever hear a "prophet" pronouncing curses on anyone - you can be sure he is not walking in the Spirit of Christ. He is often a proud, self-proclaimed Elijah, full of arrogance and lust. The Word says clearly, "Bless, and curse not" (Romans 12:14). Those who go about speaking of cursing ought to shudder at these warnings: "As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing like as with a garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones" (Psalm 109:17,18).

In light of this, if one who considers himself to be a prophet tries to curse you, do as Jesus commanded and "bless them that curse you" (Matthew 5:44). Smile and go your way without fear, because their curses are harmless but to themselves.

The Elijah company is a weeping people - and any prophetic word that comes forth from their lips is bathed in tears. They have caught a glimpse of the awesome holiness of Christ and their own past sins have crushed them. Now, in brokenness and godly sorrow, they walk in repentance - they preach it and will never back away from showing God's people their backslidings. They refuse to wink at sin and they fear no man or devil when it comes to standing up for the honor of Christ.

The Word That Comes To the Elijah Company Is Christ-Centered!

Jesus took Peter, James and John up to a high mountain and was transfigured before them. Suddenly Elijah and Moses appeared and they were "talking with Jesus" (Mark 9:2-4). Luke tells us they "spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:31).

Peter, just awakened from sleep and "not knowing what he said," blurted out, "Master, let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias" (Luke 9:33). And even while he spoke these words they were overshadowed by a cloud, causing them to tremble. "And there came a voice out of the cloud saying, This is my beloved Son; hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone..." (Luke 9:35,36).

God made a statement to His church which must not be misinterpreted. He was saying to Peter and to all who have ears to hear, "No more Jewish temple with its walls of partition, no more distinction between Jew and Gentile, no more shedding of the blood of bulls and goats - it is all of Christ now! No more going back to types and shadows; Christ the reality has come! No more buildings made with hands, no more of an earthly kingdom and an earthly Jerusalem, no more building upon Moses - the house now belongs to Christ! No more of futurism - the kingdom is now - not some Jewish millennial age, but now Christ is King. Now He rules and reigns in the hearts of His bondservants. Elijah's prophecies have been fulfilled; My Son is the builder of the house of David that has fallen down. The kingdom has come; Christ Jesus is the temple; He is even now building His holy city - hear Him!"

What a picture! Moses and Elijah disappear and there stands Jesus alone! And God's mandate was ringing in their ears, "Hear Him!" What does that mean to the Elijah company of these last days?

I believe this is the distinguishing mark of the Elijah company today: They have eyes to see - ears to hear - and a pure heart to obey all that the Lord has spoken. There is a holy people arising now who are hearing the claims of Christ, they are laying hold of His precious commandments, and their delight is in the Law of the Lord.

All the prophets saw this day and prophesied of the gathering of a separated holy people who would have great understanding in the Word of the Lord. Daniel heard great things from God but "understood not" (Daniel 12:8). But he saw a day coming when a purified, tried and tested remnant would understand. It is a last-day company who has wisdom and discernment in the things of God. "Many shall be purified and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Daniel 12:10).

Isaiah deplored the spiritual blindness of backslidden Israel. He said, "...they are out of the way... they err in vision, they stumble in judgment" (Isaiah 28:7). What little discernment they once had was destroyed by their lusts. But Isaiah prophesied of a day in which "the deaf shall hear the words... the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness... they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob (Christ), and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that rebelled shall learn doctrine" (Isaiah 29:18-24).

I believe the last-day revival so many preach about is a revival of cleansing. If the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment - then it is certain that in a great Holy Ghost outpouring upon mankind there will be powerful waves of conviction and a careless, indulgent church will be shaken and forced to face her sins.

While multitudes of Christians chase after signs and miracles - and heap to themselves teachers of success and prosperityn - and others flock to hear the soothing sermons of the crowd pleasers - God has been calling out a "wilderness people" who have come out of Babylon and are consumed with hunger for more of Christ. They can no longer walk with the uncommitted, the pleasure-loving and the slumbering. While the blind lead the blind, these have a single eye focused on Christ and their whole body is full of light - which is Holy Ghost discernment.

Oh yes - there is right now a glorious Elijah company coming forth in the land! I hear from many of them daily - and how they bless my heart. One day God just began to stir their hearts. They became disillusioned with all the hypocrisy and shame. They got into the Word of God and saw for themselves what His ultimate purposes are, they quit their idolatry and half-heartedness, they crucified the deeds of the flesh. They put on Christ's robe of righteousness by faith, they submitted to the claims of Christ, they decided to walk alone if necessary to be wholly obedient to Him. They became loathers of sin and full of the Lord's zeal against wickedness. They set themselves to hear and understand what the Lord's will is. They began to see things in the Spirit and were made to understand that the end of all things is at hand. To these, the Word of the Lord has come!

And that word is being proclaimed loud and clear - "Christ is coming! Christ must have a pure and spotless bride, prepared and adorned! Repent, for the day of the Lord is near! Lay aside every besetting sin and set your affection on things above! Flee from Babylon! Come out from among the compromisers - have no part with them. Don't support the towers of Babel! Don't be partakers in the empires and dreams of men. Forsake it all and go out to meet Him. It's midnight - behold He cometh!"

The Elijah company will go forth with sufficient oil - the oil of devotion to Christ! Their lamps will be brightly burning, lighting their way and exposing all that hinders.

Used with permission granted by World Challenge, P. O. Box 260, Lindale, TX 75771 USA.

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