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What is Malachi 4:5-6 referring to?

Submitted: 2/17/2008
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Question: In Malachi it reads, 'Behold he will send Elijah the prophet before 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 the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.' Does this mean that relationships between parent and child will be healed and restored? Or does it mean that (like today) adults will carry on irresponsibly while children will try to grow up ahead of time (promiscuity, drinking etc)? Is Elijah literally coming?

Answer: We believe this verse is forecasting a time when the spirit and power of Elijah will be present in the earth, reconciling children with their fathers and fathers with their children. Many children today are growing up without the benefit of a father. So we believe that this is be a very positive development which will precede the coming of Jesus. Our observation is that the spirit of Elijah is beginning to move in this direction among God's people, but has not yet reached its fulness.