Many people today are concerned about dramatic world events. They are even wondering if these developments are the same ones that the Bible states will happen in the “end time.” More people are becoming interested in biblical prophecy.
The trouble is, Bible prophecy can be misinterpreted. In fact, it almost always is misinterpreted. Many people have made false predictions about the end of the world based on their misunderstanding of prophecy.
When He was here in the flesh, Jesus Christ 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 show you where we are in end-time events.
It is a plain, bold promise, directly from Jesus Himself.
A Vision of Christ’s Return
During His earthly ministry, Jesus took three disciples—Peter, James and John—up 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).
With Jesus appeared Moses and Elijah—two spiritual giants of the Old Testament who will be resurrected into the Kingdom of God when 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!” The experience was so vivid, 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 3-8; New King James Version).
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 vision, what was the first thing they asked Jesus? They asked about a prophecy in the Old Testament book of Malachi.
“And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’” (verse 10; nkjv).
Preparing for Christ’s 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 Christ’s Second Coming. This prophecy forecast a specific event that would occur just before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” speaking of the 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 “Elijah” sent by 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 man whom God would use to prepare for Christ. In fact, it is the same man described in Malachi 4:5.
Seeing a glorious vision of the Second Coming brought this prophecy in Malachi to the disciples’ minds. They knew that it said a man like Elijah would come first, immediately before the Day of the Lord and Christ’s return.
How did Jesus Christ 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 definitely come to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming. And exactly how would he prepare the way? He would “restore all things”!
What does “restore all things” mean?
The Apostle Peter explained that when Christ returns, He will “restore all things”: “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 or 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, and 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. 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 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 that there is precious little time 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 for 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’s birth, an angel revealed that he would come “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:13-17; nkjv).
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 had 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 the end-time Elijah 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 a 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 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.
Obviously this is an extraordinary claim to make. But you can look into it and prove it for yourself.
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, though it has always been, as Christ said, not a large and powerful organization, but a “little flock” (Luke 12:32). 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 many 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 seventh-day Sabbath, 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.” Which biblical doctrines was he referring to?
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 to try 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). During this period, God revealed to Mr. Armstrong not only the truth about the Sabbath and evolution, but also many other pillar biblical truths.
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. And they were, Mr. Armstrong later realized, truths that God revealed specifically to fulfill Christ’s prophecy of an end-time Elijah restoring all things in preparation for His Second Coming!
What are the truths the end-time Elijah restored?
In His famous Olivet prophecy, Jesus Christ gave more specific signs of His Second Coming. One was this: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). Consider carefully: Christ said that preaching the true gospel around the world would be a sign of the end time. That means this message was not broadly preached for the 2,000 years since Christ spoke these words!
This tells you that, even as “Christianity” flourished in various ways throughout those centuries, it was not publicizing “the gospel of the kingdom” that Christ preached. There have been many counterfeit gospels preached.
But the true gospel message of Christ has been suppressed for most of that time.
However, in the 20th century, God did reveal the full truth about the true gospel so it could be preached in this end time, in fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy! The true gospel is the first and perhaps most important of the “restored truths” that Mr. Armstrong taught. He broadcast that gospel worldwide on the World Tomorrow television program, he published it in the Plain Truth magazine, he wrote books and booklets read by millions of people, and he made personal visits to leaders of countries all over the world. That gospel of the Kingdom was preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. This sign of the end has been fulfilled.
You can prove from your own Bible what that gospel is. Mr. Armstrong wrote an entire book about it, called The Incredible Human Potential, and we will gladly send you a free copy.
Other important biblical truths Mr. Armstrong restored include understanding about the nature of God, God’s purpose for human beings, His 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 truths the first Church era, founded by Jesus Christ, had—truths God inspired to be recorded in the Bible. Some are traceable through the subsequent eras of the Church before they were lost. But God used Mr. Armstrong to restore all of them.
These truths, as explained from the Bible, simply were not being taught. Most Christian churches don’t even consider, for example, God’s master plan for redeeming most of humanity, as Scripture plainly states is His purpose (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Many people think billions of souls are damned to hell; others think salvation can be had irrespective of religious belief. The full, inspiring scriptural truth on this point was restored by Mr. Armstrong; you can read it in his book Mystery of the Ages. Before Mr. Armstrong, a person could not find an explanation of the true spiritual meaning of the holy days and how they illuminate God’s plan and purpose. This truth was restored and is revealed in his booklet Pagan Holidays—or God’s Holy Days—Which? The same is true of doctrine after doctrine.
This man restored “all things”—all the pillar doctrines of the Bible. You can prove from your own Bible that Jesus taught every one of these truths. They represent extraordinary understanding and spiritual wealth. And there is still a group of people faithfully living by and proclaiming these truths.
“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 Christ’s return, the greatest event in history. And the most pivotal act of preparation is the restoration of truth within the true Church of God.
If you want more explanation of Christ’s prophecy and a more complete list of these restored truths, with scriptures and resources for further study to prove them, then read online or pre-order a free copy of our new booklet A Pivotal Sign of the End Time.
Study into this subject. Understand this most pivotal end-time prophecy. Prove beyond doubt that we are indeed living in the end time. A man like Elijah has come. He has restored all things to the Church. The dreadful Day of the Lord is near. And the glorified Jesus Christ is about to return!