Watchtower 1997 September 15 pp.10-15 Will You Be Faithful Like Elijah?
10 Who, then, was this coming Elijah? His identity was revealed when Jesus Christ said: "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it. For all, the Prophets and the Law, prophesied until John; and if you want to accept it, He himself is 'Elijah who is destined to come.'" Yes, John the Baptizer was the foretold counterpart of Elijah. (Matthew 11:12-14; Mark 9:11-13) An angel had told John's father, Zechariah, that John would have "Elijah's spirit and power" and would "get ready for Jehovah a prepared people." (Luke 1:17) The baptism John performed was a public symbol of an individual's repentance over his sins against the Law, which was to lead the Jews to Christ. (Luke 3:3-6; Galatians 3:24) John's work thus 'got a prepared people ready for Jehovah.'
11 The work of John the Baptizer as "Elijah" showed that a "day of Jehovah" was near. The nearness of that day when God would act against his enemies and preserve his people was also indicated by the apostle Peter. He pointed out that the miraculous events that took place at Pentecost of 33 C.E. were a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy about the outpouring of God's spirit. Peter showed that this was to happen before "the great and illustrious day of Jehovah." (Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32) It was in 70 C.E. that Jehovah fulfilled his Word by causing the Roman armies to execute divine judgment upon the nation that rejected his Son.-Daniel 9:24-27; John 19:15.
12 However, there was more to come after 70 C.E. The apostle Paul associated a coming "day of Jehovah" with the presence of Jesus Christ. Moreover, the apostle Peter spoke of that day in connection with the yet future "new heavens and a new earth." (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2; 2 Peter 3:10-13) Bear in mind that John the Baptizer did an Elijahlike work before the "day of Jehovah" came in 70 C.E. All of this taken together indicated that something further would take place as represented by the work that Elijah had done. What is that?
Be Faithful Like Elijah
21 With zeal like that of Elijah, the small remnant of genuine anointed Christians have discharged their responsibility of caring for the earthly interests of the enthroned King, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 24:47) And for over 60 years now, God has been using these anointed ones to spearhead the work of making disciples of people to whom he has given the wonderful hope of life eternal on a paradise earth. (Matthew 28:19, 20) How grateful these millions can be that the relatively few remaining anointed ones are zealously and faithfully caring for their responsibilities!
22 This Kingdom-preaching work has been accomplished by imperfect humans and only in the strength that Jehovah gives those who prayerfully rely on him. "Elijah was a man with feelings like ours," said the disciple James when citing the prophet's example of praying in order to show the force of a righteous man's prayer. (James 5:16-18) Elijah was not always prophesying or performing miracles. He had the same human feelings and weaknesses that we do, but he served God faithfully. Since we too have God's help and he strengthens us, we can be faithful like Elijah.
23 We have good reason for faithfulness and optimism. Remember that John the Baptizer did an Elijahlike work before the "day of Jehovah" struck in 70 C.E. With Elijah's spirit and power, anointed Christians have done a similar God-given work throughout the earth. This clearly proves that the great "day of Jehovah" is near.