What About John 1:21?

Dear Father;

Just a few thoughts on the email from "Tony" (elijah.html), who challenged your assertion that St. John the Baptizer isn't Elijah.

In his email, Tony asked you to "Name the verse that says John was only like Elijah". I wonder whether he has ever read John 1:21, in which the priests and Levites from Jerusalem asked John, "Are you Elijah?" and he replied, "I am not". Here the word of God clearly denies that St. John the Baptizer is Elijah!

How does this jive with Jesus' statement that John "is Elijah to come"? He was obviously using a metaphor, and Tony takes it literally because Christ didn't use a simile ("he is *like* Elijah"). My high school English teacher used to love to cite, as an example of metaphor, a line from the poem "The Highwayman" which goes: "The moon was a ghostly galleon". If that line appeared in the Bible, Tony would probably insist that the moon is a literal ship!

Now, in Luke 1:17, St. Gabriel tells John's father, Zechariah, that his son will "go before him (the Messiah) in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."

Taking all these verses together, it is clear that John was not the historical Elijah, but a "latter Elijah", a prophet acting in the spirit of Elijah in preparing the people for the coming of Messiah. That is what Jesus meant in calling him "Elijah to come".

He accuses you of "adding to or taking away from Scripture", and tells you to just "accept the Bible as it is". Yet he surmises, without any Scriptural support, that Elijah must have died and God hid his body from Satan. Who's *really* adding to the Bible? :-)

Anyway, your observation that Elijah talked to Jesus at the Transfiguration is a great blow to his theory; I wonder if it had any effect, though. Some people are so convinced of their own beliefs that there's just no correcting them. God be with you.

Mystic Rose