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Editorial Introduction

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Mal. 4:5.

The central truth of the New Testament message is the justification and acceptance of sinful man by the saving activity of the Triune God. God the Father saves the sinner by His grace through the gift of His beloved Son. God the Son saves him by His life that was poured out through the shedding of His precious blood. And God the Holy Spirit makes it all effectual by giving men faith and repentance through the hearing of the gospel. As Paul tells us, "I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:20-21

This glorious New Testament light was obscured and almost lost in the ages that succeeded the apostles. Then, in the great Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, the truth about man's justification and acceptance with God through faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ was rekindled from the writings of St. Paul. It blazed its way through Western civilization with such tempestuous fury that it changed the course of history.

In the more than four hundred years that have passed since the birth of the Reformation, forces have been at work to dilute the power of the mighty Reformation truth. Protestant liberalism has turned poor, sinful man back upon the resources of his own puny wisdom. Evangelical radicalism has turned a multitude after seeking satisfaction in pious religious experience.

Pentecostalism and the so-called Charismatic Movement are leaving their millions to wallow in the delusive frenzy of spiritual subjectivism.

The Renaissance has probably been the biggest Pied Piper of all, leading a vast horde of humanity down the road toward the mirage of a scientific utopia. And religious conservatives and "fundamentalists" have often been so engrossed in daubing the monuments of their hoary creeds that they have forgotten to keep alive that Reformation spirit which constantly engaged itself in distinguishing between tradition and truth.

Thus this age of boasted "enlightenment" has turned man back to depend on his own resources just as effectively as did past ages of darkness and superstition. Just as those times of ignorance were favorable to the development of the papacy, so this age of knowledge is proving favorable to the rapid spread of papal principles. Protestantism in general has lost her identity. As she falters in her path and scans her uncertain future, she favorably casts her eyes back to Rome from whence she came.

In words of great certainty and clarity, the ancient prophet declared that God would send Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5). And Jesus said, "Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things." Matt. 17:11. Although this prophecy met its initial fulfillment in John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus' first advent, it is clear that an Elijah message must precede the second advent of Jesus Christ. What is the nature of this "Elijah" movement "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord"? It is to restore all things. The faith and purity of apostolic Christianity is to be restored. Then Jesus Himself shall come, not as a Lamb to bear the sins of many, but as King to bring salvation unto them that earnestly look for His coming (Heb. 9:28).

Such a message and movement, sent of God to restore all things in readiness for the coming of Jesus, is clearly brought to view in the fourteenth chapter of the Revelation. It is represented by the flying apocalyptic angel:

"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. ... And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle." Rev. 14:6, 7, 14.

Here is no sectarian invention, but a divine retention. This is no denominational innovation, but an Elijah restoration. The gospel, once delivered to the saints, is again redefined and given with distinct utterance. Then the Eternal shall roll up the scroll of time and summon men before His throne to give account of their response to the gospel of His grace.

The Word of God mentions many signs of Jesus' coming and the end of the world (see Matt. 24 for instance). Most of these signs have already been fulfilled. Yet the greatest sign is the restoration of the pure message of the New Testament. This restoration will carry the glorious work so nobly begun by the Reformers, to its final consummation. The world is ripe for this final restatement of the everlasting gospel. Once again everything is ready to hear the declaration of God's righteousness, "that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Rom. 3:26. The sword of truth, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, will cut its way through the vanity of all human dependencies and once again confront man with the reality of God's saving activity in Jesus Christ.

The publishers and sponsors of this magazine are committed to the vision of a full restoration of New Testament Christianity. Nothing more is needed. Nothing less will do. They have nothing left in this world aside from this hope, and nothing worthwhile to do outside the context of this commission.

And now, dear reader, we salute you with the words of the king of Israel: "Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?”. . .If it be, give me thine hand." 2 Kings 10:15.