When Jesus said that Elijah “already came” and “is coming” (Matthew 17:11), that was dual fulfillment of prophecy. In the same way that John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ first coming (Matthew 17:13; 11:14), the Church exists on earth today to prepare the way for Jesus’ second coming.
The Church’s calling, then, as the “Elijah” of today is:
1. Discerning the True Jesus
There were other religious leaders in Jesus’ time who taught many good things (Acts 5:36-37). So, it was critical that John the Baptist know exactly who was the true Messiah, in order to point the disciples to Him. He received this by personal revelation from God (John 1:29-34). God has placed the Church on earth, likewise, to identify the true Jesus from all the false Christs that exist in the world today (II Corinthians 11:2-4; Matthew 24:4-5,23-26; I John 2:18). One of the primary marks that the true Jesus has been revealed to us is a passion to decrease so that Christ may increase (John 3:27-30).
2. The Ministry of Restoration
God promised that the Church would be involved in reconciling people to God (II Corinthians 5:14-21) and restoring God-ordained relationships (Malachi 4:5).
3. Confronting the Spirit of Babylon
The Church will also call people out of a life of “limping on two divided opinions” (I Kings 18:21), to choosing God over Mammon.