A colleague approached me a few days ago and he was very excited about a sermon that he heard in his Church and I suppose he felt compelled to tell me about it. (This was the same individual I mentioned in a previous post who felt that anyone who did not believe in Jesus was wrong. I attempted to show him his error in that it was not a matter of them being wrong, but a matter of them not knowing.)
Anyway, he said that he learned that John the Baptizer was the Prophet Elijah reincarnated. "Oh really," I was thinking. I kept silent and let him speak. After about ten minutes he said to me, "Do you believe this?" My answer was, no."
Puzzled, he looked at me as if I was crazy and said, "You should because it is in the Bible."
Then I do what I usually do, place the burden upon the person making such statements and put them to the test as directed at 1 John 4:1 . "Show me in the Bible where it says that John the Baptizer is Elijah?"
He fumbled around for quite some time and could not find anything but was 100% sure that it was there. I said, "Are you thinking about what is written at Mark Chapter 6?" No, he said.
"Remember, the last time we spoke you made the statement that anyone not believing in Jesus is wrong? Well, sometimes we believe things we think is written in the Bible or taught by Christ but it is not? Does that make us wrong or does it just mean that we do not know. We have no accurate knowledge about the matter."
He did not say anything.
"Let, me show you were it is written that John the Baptizer is not Elijah."
I referred him to the account found at John 1:6-19. He read it out loud. So he picked up very quickly the discussion in these passages was about John the Baptizer. Then came the question the Levites asked John the Baptizer at John 1:19-20:
Now this is the witness of John when the Jews sent forth priests and Levites from Jerusalem to him to ask him: “Who are you?” And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed: “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him: “What, then? Are you E·li′jah?” And he said: “I am not.” “Are you The Prophet?” And he answered: “No!
As my friend was reading these words he was struggling to find a Scripture that said differently. I asked him how could he read this and ignore it in preferrence of looking for another Scripture that said something different; a Scripture that is not there? "Why would you want John the Baptizer to be Elijah when John is clear in his response to the Levites that he was not?"
The religious organization that my friend belongs to teaches as a part of its doctrine that John the Baptizer is Elijah. Thus, my friends loyalty was to "The Organizations" teachings rather than to what Christ teaches. I remember when he had first involved himself with the religious organization I remember discussing with him and cautioning him to be careful that he does not get sucked into believing something Christ never taught and to be on his "Ps" and "Qs" about giving preference to the teachings of a religious organization rather than to what Christ taught.
Well, the conversation ended and he said that he would get back to me and show me where "The Bible" says John the Baptizer is Elijah.
I smiled because I knew he would not find anything and he has not gotten back to me. In fact, he now avoids me. Yet, I saw him in a crowd of about 7 or 8 people teaching them that John the Baptizer was the Prophet Elijah resurrected from the dead and he had their attention!
I did not want to steal his thunder and left him alone.
But something interesting happened.
One of the individuals who was in that crowd came to me almost at the end of the work day and asked me privately about John the Baptizer and if he was Elijah the Prophet resurrected? I simply gave him the Scripture at John 1:19-20 and ensured him that he was not and that the individual telling you that he is, is blowing hot air into you. I asked, "Did he show you any Scripture stating that John the Baptizer was Elijah?" No.
"Yet, you have right here John the Baptizers own words stating that he is not Elijah the Prophet. What and WHO are YOU going to believe?"
Then this individual said to me, "Why don't you speak to so-and-so and show him this?" I did, but apparently this is not what he wants to believe.
"I will no longer listen to him because he does not know what he is talking about," this individual said to me. "I will listen to you because you know what you are talking about."
My response to him after all of that was, "It is to my Master Christ that one should listen to and come to, not to me. I am nothing but his disciple. Nothing I have said concerning John the Baptizer came from me, it is something my Master stated. The individual who refuses to listen to what the Master has said about John the Baptizer is not rejecting me, he is rejecting the Master, Christ."
He thanked me and said that he would show everyone what I showed him at John 1-19-20 and then see how the person who told them that John the Baptizer was Elijah will react and see what he says then. He said he wanted this person to explain John 1-19-20.
Inside I am thinking, "Good for you."
Oftentimes religious organization mold persons into believing things never taught by Christ. These persons are so loyal to the religious organization they are willing to ignore the obvious to believe something not true. This is a widespread phenomenon. Christ never taught a Trinity, a Rapture, Hellfire, going to heaven, water baptism, John the Baptizer being Elijah. Never. Yet, these are a few of the things many within religious organization believe blindly.
And, like my friend who read for himself John 1-19-20 chose to look away from it and not mention it to the persons he was selling the idea to that John the Baptizer was Elijah resurrected.
Thus one sees the power and influence religious organizations (satan is behind them all) have over individuals. They are blinding influences. The Apostle Paul said it best at 2 Cor 4:3-4:
If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.