Elijah and the Witness

Many times the people of the Old Testament had forsaken the true God for false Gods.  Leaving God to proclaim through a messenger.

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.”
– Malachi 4:5

Elijah was a powerful prophet of the Old Testament whom God was to use to bring his people back from the practice of idolatry.  Through Elijah God caused a drought and famine to fall upon the people, but still they would not repent of their wrong.  Consequently Elijah challenged the false prophets of idol worship to a test of their Gods.  Each was to build a wood altar with an Ox as the offering, and was to call upon their God to light the fire.  All day long the false prophets danced, chanted, and cut themselves to no avail.  Elijah mocked the false prophets and built his altar upon twelve stones, and commanded that water be poured over the wood and offering three times, soaking it completely.  Then Elijah called upon the true and only God to prove he was God, and to change the hearts of the people.  Hence a great fire fell from Heaven to the Altar consuming all of it.  All the people fell down and worshipped God, and Elijah had the false prophets destroyed.  Therefore, God sent rain to the land ending the drought and famine.

Inasmuch as the Ox on the wood altar symbolized for the atonement of sins for Elijah, Jesus on the wooden cross is our atonement.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
– 2 Corinthians 5:21

In the same manner Elijah came to bring the people to a repentance of heart for the Heavenly Father.  A witness in the spirit of Elijah was to come for the Son of God to prepare the people for the forgiveness of their sins.  He was to be called John the Baptist, and Jesus had this to say about him;

“For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.  And if you care to accept it, he himself is Elijah, who was to come.”
– Matthew 11:13, 14