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Home Controversial beliefs Elija or John?

Elija or John?

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(C) Copyright 2000 by Massimo Franceschini

Another very important difference in a doctrine with all the other denominations is the doctrine of Elias, a forerunner, and Elija, a restorer. According to all the other denominations John the Baptist was Elija prophesied by Malachi. Very weird if you think that Malachi was speaking about one person and they claim that another one fulfilled the prophecy. We will try to understand why we have this problem. Who was Elija? Why he should come ? Was he dead? Why they are mixing him up? What the Jews were thinking about this topic? What Jesus maintained about this? These are the questions that arise spontaneusly regarding this. What Joseph Smith taught about it? Let's start from the last question and after we will try to give answers to the others. Like always we will use the Biblical text in order that the doctrine could be understood. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught the John the Baptist was a "forerunner" or "Elias" or better a person chosen to open a new dispensation, or even better to prepare the way to the first coming of the Messiah. If that was the case, Joseph Smith himself was an "Elias" or "forerunner" in fact he opened a new dispensation and prepared the way for the second coming of the Lord. The problem came out, probably, because the name or title "Elias" is very close to the name "Elija". This doctrine was well known from the Jews. This is evident from the questions they made to John the Baptist. John the Baptist knew the doctrine because he answered to them in a perfect way and he declared who he was in reality, it is in the scriptures. John 1:19-26

And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

23 He said, I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

Is Elias mentioned in the old testament? No all the Bible dictionary   at this name write: see Elija. There are several uses of this name "Elias" in the scriptures. It is the N.T. (Greek) form of Elija (Hebrew), as in Luke 4:25-26, James 5:17, and Matthew 17:1-4. Elias in these instances can only be the ancient prophet Elija whose ministry is recorded in 1 and 2 Kings.
From this passage we are sure that the Jews were awaiting the coming of  Elija, like we are well aware from the same passage that John the Baptist explained to them clearly that he was not Elija. So at this  point you could ask why the other denominations maintain that John the Baptist was Elija? This came out from a declaration of the Lord Himself, surely misunderstood and now we are going to see why. Matthew 17:10-13

And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

It is very strange for me that this clear declaration  generated so many problems. To the question he answered clearly :" Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." So he gave the right answer and was speaking to the future and speaking about a restoration implied an apostasy, or not? After he went ahead and speaking regarding John the Baptist explained to them his mission, as an Elias. If this was not the case Jesus would have given 2 different answers to the same question, is that possible? No! anyway we have the key to solve this problem. Elija, the High priest, holding the power to close the heaven for several months, to resurrect a person and many other powerful miracles, never died He was translated by the Lord for a right purpose.2 King 2:10-12

And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: [nevertheless], if thou see me [when I am] taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be [so].

11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

12 And Elisha saw [it], and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.

John the Baptist was already dead at that time, when Moses (another translated person you could take a look at Moses did die or...) and Elija appeared to the mount.  Matthew 17:1-4

AND after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

From these verse is clear that the disciples were well aware that Moses and Elija had their bodies, otherwise why they asked to make tabernacles for them? See the scriptures don't leave anything to the chance, like when Jesus ate the fish after His resurrection, it was to be a proof that he resurrected with his personal body. Anyway there is another proof stronger to make sure that Elija was really Elija and not John the Baptist: The resurrection! At that point nobody was resurrected, Jesus was the first one and nobody could escape from the jail before than, because Jesus opened that door, after his resurrection!!!!!

Isaiah 61:1

THE Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

There is no choice. John the Baptist was not there. Moses and Elija being translated people could be there in person, that is why Peter was asking to make tabernacles. Anyway The disciples of Jesus were the disciples of John the Baptist, several of them, If John was there they should be stupefied, instead they didn't mention him, their question was regarding the person they understood was Elija and they were asking about him, Jesus mentioned John the Baptist not them. I am sure that Jesus clarified this point when declared:"Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." He said that because otherwise people could say that the prophecy of Malachi was fulfilled at that particular moment, instead Jesus made sure that Elija should come to restore everything. At this point we have to take a closer look to that prophecy Malachi 4:5-6

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.

I don't want to go on regarding this, I am pretty confident that I will have the time to discuss this topic in another article.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 10:31  

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