Elijah, Daniel, and Miracles

Malachi ends his book with the pronouncement that Elijah the prophet would come before the great and terrible day of the Lord (Mal 4:5-6). This prophecy stumped the disciples of Jesus who were at the transfiguration. They saw Jesus in blazing white, flanked by Moses and Elijah (Mat 17:1-12). Afterward, they were puzzled at the appearance of Elijah, realizing that he was prophesied to return. They had just seen him, but then he had disappeared again, and Jesus begun to talk of his own death.

The Transfiguration of Jesus, by Carl Bloch

The angel who announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias quoted from Malachi when he stated that John would be a forerunner “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). Jesus also hinted that John the Baptist was, in some way, an appearance of Elijah (Matt 11:14). Why was it Elijah that was foretold by Malachi, and not some other prophet?

There are numerous miracles described in the Old Testament, but they are not evenly spread throughout history. Most of them are to be found either during the days of Moses and Joshua or during the days of Elijah and Elisha.

List of miracles in the Old Testament

It does not seem coincidental that the two men most associated with miraculous events in the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah, were with Jesus at his transfiguration. Of course, there may have been other miracles of God that were not recorded in Scripture, but without a record of them we have no way of knowing. The fact that many of the prophets of the OT did not record any miracles at all during their ministries probably indicates that none occurred.

It may be worth noting too that the last miracles recorded in the Old Testament appear in  the book of Daniel. Like many of the miracles that took place during the life of Moses, they also occurred in a foreign land, and were a witness to the fact that God was at work through His servants. Like the miracles of Jesus and the early church, they authenticated the words of His messengers and confirmed that God was at work.

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