Elijah and John the baptist s relationship

OK so I am royally confused. Mal 4:5-6 speaks about how elijah will return and prepare the people for the missiah. A job that it seems like John the baptist did. Jesus does bring moses and elijah down to the mountain in Mark 9 but the verses at the end which say elijah has come and they did to him all they wanted to, suggest that this was not the coming of elijah scripture talks about. Secondly both jesus and elijah have translations which are Joshua. But I doubt jesus was to prepare the path for himself. Therefore I suspect John was the in carnet of Elijah? And if so is this an example of reincarnation? What does this mean?


Hello Michael, great question. I used to be confused about this as well. Let’s see what the Bible says about it :blush:

If you read Luke 1:17 or just the first entire chapter of Luke it brings a better understanding I think. Here’s what the passage states.

17 And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.”

In this passage the person speaking is the angel Gabriel speaking to John’s father. John the Baptist was considered Elijah because he had the spirit and power of Elijah. I don’t believe the Bible supports reincarnation anywhere but it does speak about anointing, spirit, and power. Just like how Elisha had a double amount of Elijah’s spirit (2 kings 2:15, 2 kings 2:9) so John the Baptist came with the same spirit and power of Elijah. Here are a couple links to read further into it if you’d like.


Hope this helps :blush:

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Sho thx for the help


@Michael_Ryan It is clear from Scripture that Jesus identified John the Baptist with the ‘Elijah who was to come’. I have added a note from the NET Bible below for additional clarity on this point.

Matthew 11:13-14 - For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

I will send you Elijah the prophet . In light of the ascension of Elijah to heaven without dying (2 Kgs 2:11), Judaism has always awaited his return as an aspect of the messianic age (see, e.g., John 1:19-28). Jesus identified John the Baptist as Elijah, because he came in the “spirit and power” of his prototype Elijah (Matt 11:14; 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36).

Not Reincarnation

It’s important to understand that John the Baptist was not literally Elijah - they were not the same person. Rather, John the Baptist came ‘in the spirit and power of Elijah’ - he was ‘like’ Elijah in the sense that he fulfilled a powerful prophetic ministry that was foretold by the Old Testament. I have linked an article that will hopefully help you.

The teaching of reincarnation is against the Old Testament. Therefore, Jesus was not teaching that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated. So, what did Jesus mean when He said that John the Baptist was Elijah? We see in Malachi 4:5 this prophecy, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” Jesus is referring to the prophecy concerning Elijah. We see that the coming of Elijah was in the spirit of Elijah, which is so stated in Luke 1:13-17.