Was John The Baptist Elijah – Bible Explanation


Elijah was a well known prophet of God and a healer who resided in the northern kingdom of Israel during King Ahab’s reign as stated in the account of Kings.

And In the early first century AD, John the Baptist was a Judaean mission preacher operating in the Jordan River area.

In Christianity, he is also known as John the Forerunner, John the Immerser in various Baptist Christian traditions, and Prophet Yahya in Islam. He is also known as John the Baptiser in some circles.

But when coming to think of: Elijah as john the Baptist, how and where in scripture do we have Elijah as John the Baptist?

Elijah as John the Baptist Bible Explanations

Jesus said of John the Baptist: “He is Elijah who is to come” (Matt 11:14 KJV);

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come”.

This seeming contradiction naturally puzzles Bible believers and gives Bible critics an opening to attack the Scriptures.

The Bible refers to John the Baptist as “the Elijah to come” because he came with Elijah’s spirit and strength. But in a strict sense, he was not Elijah.

Just as Elijah did in the Old Testament, John served as the forerunner in the New Testament who pointed the way for the coming of the Messiah.

John specifically rejected being Elijah in addition to denying that he was the Christ as seen the account of (John 1:19-21 KJV);

“And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?. And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

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

This Bible verses describes a conversation between John the Baptist, He says very plainly, “I am not”. This shows that he was not a reincarnate appearance.


Was Elijah reincarnated in John the Baptist? In addition the listed fact below shows that John the Baptist was not Elijah.

Point 1.

Jesus’ original audience (and Matthew’s original readers) would never have interpreted Jesus’ statements to mean reincarnation.

 Furthermore, Elijah did not die; he was carried to heaven in a whirlwind while riding in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11 KJV).

“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”.

Arguing for Elijah’s rebirth (or resurrection) misses the point entirely. If anything, Elijah’s “to come” prophecy would have been interpreted as Elijah’s actual return to earth from heaven.

Point 2.

The Bible is clear that John the Baptist is called “Elijah” because he arrived in the “spirit and power of Elijah” as seen in (Luke 1:17 KJV);

“And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord”.

John the Baptist is the New Testament forerunner who indicates the way to the Lord’s arrival, just as Elijah did in the Old Testament.

Point 3

After John the Baptist’s death, Elijah appears with Moses at Jesus‘ transfiguration. This would not have occurred if Elijah had assumed the identity of John.

 (Matthew 17:11–13 KJV) state that clearly; “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

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.

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

Point 4

John himself provides evidence that this John the Baptist was not Elijah reincarnated.

In the opening chapter of John the Baptist’s gospel, he identifies himself as the messenger of Isaiah 40:3, not as the Elijah of Malachi 3:1.

John the Baptist goes so far as to explicitly deny being Elijah (John 1:19–23).


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