The Wise of this World Awaited Elijah
By Wesley Muhammad, PhD. -Guest Columnist-
Updated Dec 10, 2012 - 11:26:31 AM
Justin Martyr, a Christian Apologist who lived approximately 100 CE, wrote a book entitled “The Dialogue with Trypho the Jew,” which is a record of a discussion between he and a Jewish rabbi. This dialogue begins with Justin telling the rabbi he believes Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. The rabbi responds in part:
“... But Christ - if he has indeed been born, and exists anywhere ... has no power until Elijah comes to anoint him, and make him manifest to all. And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake are inconsiderately perishing.”
The rabbi here reveals the reason Jews 2,000 years ago and today reject the historical Jesus as the prophesied Messiah: Elijah is expected to herald the Messiah and make his presence known to the people. Jews know 2,000 years ago Jesus was not made manifest to all by the work of Elijah (John the Baptist denied being Elijah, John 1:21, 25). Elijah’s appearance in the last days of the world is prophesied in the last book of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Malachi:
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Jews from ancient times till today therefore prayed for and awaited the arrival of Elijah. An ancient Jewish prayer recited during the New Year’s feast proclaimed: “May Elijah the prophet come to us soon; and king Messiah come forth in our days.” This anticipation of the coming of Elijah was high among the rabbis, the learned of the Jews. Indeed, many problems of Talmudic law over which rabbis debated were not to be resolved until Elijah made his End-Time appearance. We therefore find in Talmudic texts regarding legal issues for which the rabbis could find no answer to the explicit statements, “Let it be left until Elijah comes” and “Let no one touch them until Elijah comes.” These wise and learned Jews also knew that it is Elijah who would be the agent of the resurrection of the dead in the Last Days.
Because Jews understand that Jesus of 2,000 years ago could not have been the prophesied Messiah, they still await his appearance. This means that they also still await the coming of Elijah, the Messiah’s herald. This is nowhere more clearly displayed than in the Seder (Passover) Meal. During this meal, five cups are placed filled with wine. The fifth cup, the “Cup of Elijah,” is not drunk and the door of the home remains ajar so as to welcome Elijah in upon his coming.
But it is not just wise Jews who awaited Elijah’s coming into the world. Herbert Breger informs us:
“The advent of the modern age brought with it a widespread belief amongst physicians and chemists, particularly in Germany, that God in a not too distant future would send a person, capable of revealing all nature’s secrets to humanity, that person being Elias Artista. His disclosures were to coincide directly with the end of this iniquitous world and the beginning of a messianic age.”
Elias is the Latin transliteration of the Greek name Illias, itself the Hellenized form of the Hebrew “Elijah.” He is called Artista because his imminent appearance will signal the revelation of natural as well as spiritual secrets. In particular Elijah Artista is expected to bequeath to humanity a profound metallurgical and alchemical science like that which was operative in Ancient Egypt but lost.
This Elias Artista is the very same Elijah the Prophet, as Breger points out:
“The scientific Elias Artista tradition grew out of the sphere of ideas originating from the Jewish and Christian tradition of Elias … Among the astonishing miracles Elias is reported to have performed, his ascension in the fiery chariot has been given the most particular attention from the believers. Elias did not die, he was still alive when accepted into heaven and here lies the origin for the belief that Elias will one day return.”
It was those “wise” chemists and physicians who participated in the occult traditions that circulated in 16th-17th century Europe, more often than not some of the brightest minds on the continent, who awaited Elijah’s coming. The term Elias Artista in fact originated with Paracelsus (ca. 1493-1541), the most prominent physician, chemist and occultist of the 16th century. He prophesied Elijah’s coming and his revelation of strange but magnificent secrets to humanity. Despite Paracelsus’s towering learning and scholarship, there were heavy attempts to suppress his works: In 1530 the city of Nuremberg would not allow his works to be printed and by 1599 all of his written books were listed in the Catholic Church’s index of prohibited books. William Cooper, who compiled the first bibliography of alchemical, chemical and medical books in England in 1673, announced in his “Philosophicall Epitaph” that when Elijah comes he will not only reveal Mysteries, but he will be the agent which transforms humanity into the Image of Christ, with whom he will jointly rule in the Messianic Age.
The importance of this expectation of the coming of Elijah for European occult tradition is illustrated with the Order of the Rosy Cross, also known as the Rosicrucians, that most important of secret societies founded in Germany in the 17th century. The Oxford scholar Richard Burton (d. 1640), in his “Anatomy of Melancholy,” mentions the Rosicrucians of his day and documents that the early circle expected the coming of Elijah who was considered by some to be “the renewer of all arts and sciences,” “reformer of the world,” “a most divine man,” and the “quintessence of wisdom.”
A key Rosicrucian figure in this regard is Raphael Eglin (1559-1622), alchemist, theologian, and biblical scholar. Eglin was one of the most important figures in the Swiss-Italian and German circulation of occult traditions in the 16th-17th centuries. He was a professor of New Testament and Deacon of the Cathedral at Zürich. Due to his occult affiliations he was removed from his position and kicked out of Zürich, ending up at the court of the German Prince Moritz of Hessen (1572-1632). Prince Moritz was himself “one of the most active patrons of alchemy and occult philosophy in the early seventeenth century,” and this worked out well for Eglin who was appointed by the Prince to the faculty of theology at the University in Marburg. With the patronage of the German Prince, Eglin was able to pursue his occult interests, particularly his interest in the prophesies of Elijah’s coming. Not surprisingly, the first books written with Elias Artista in the title were authored by Eglin. In his “Disquisitio de Helia Artista” (1606) this Rosicrucian announced Elijah’s coming.
According to the occult tradition of Europe, Elijah will appear at a time when humanity has degenerated to a never-before-seen low, the result of the planet suffering under the rule of a “beastial state,” i.e. a rule of unenlightened humans who are driven by animal lusts and desires. Elijah comes to overthrow this “beastial state” and usher in a Golden, Messianic Age. He will rule this Age co-jointly with the Messiah. This Elijah is expected to reveal secrets of the universe that will sound strange to people, including the science of the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. This only means that he will reveal the secret science on human transformation into divine beings (Gods, the “Image of Christ”). This era of human transformation is described in occult language as “the resurrection of the dead,” and Elijah is expected by the Wise to be the agent of this process in the Last Days. The Elijah expected by the Wise is a Servant of God and a Scientist who left the earth but did not die! Rather, on a fiery chariot he ascended to God. The Wise of this world await his final and triumphant return.
There can be no doubt that the Elijah whom the Wise of Europe awaited has indeed appeared, but he did not appear there or in the Middle East. Rather, he appeared in the West among Black people in America, and the Wise of this land were in fact looking for him here. This is why FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (d. 1972), a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner, used government resources through the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to “prevent the rise of a ‘Messiah’” among Black Nationalist groups. The United States government spent decades and dollars to positively identify and locate this Messiah - Master Fard Muhammad – and worked to neutralize that Messiah’s herald, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Ultimately, the wickedly Wise thought they successfully killed the herald in 1975, but the wiser ones knew that Elijah “did not die, he was still alive when accepted into heaven”. Thus, when the Honorable Brother Minister Farrakhan announced in 1981 that Elijah Muhammad had not died but escaped a death plot and is alive, the truly Wise knew the truth of what he spoke.
(Dr. Wesley Muhammad is an Historian of Religion who earned a Bachelor’s degree (1994) in Religious Studies from Morehouse College and a Master’s degree (2003) and Doctorate (2008) in Islamic Studies from the University of Michigan. He has authored several scholarly studies on the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, including “The Truth of God: The Bible, The Qur’an and the Secret of the Black God” as well as “Black Arabia and the African Origin of Islam.” His sources for this article include S.M. Segal, “Elijah: A Study in Jewish Folklore” (New York: Behrman, 1935). Herbert Breger, Elias Artista – A Precursor of the Messiah in Natural Science, in “Nineteen Eighty-Four: Science Between Utopia and Dystopia,” (ed.) Everett Mendelsohn and Helga Nowotny (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1984).)