And they asked Him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” Then He answered and told them, ” Indeed Elijah is coming first and restores all things…. But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him. Mark 9:11-13
Think carefully about Jesus’ words. Jesus says, “Elijah has already come.” Past tense. Elijah was sent as a prophet to bring the people back to God, which would be evidenced by them returning to the commandments of God. Now, Elijah wasn’t perfect. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, he had a wonderful ministry.
But Jesus wasn’t just talking about Elijah in the Old Testament. There was another Elijah who had already come: See Matt. 17:11-13.
Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist. Matt. 17:13
This was not some sort of reincarnation. Luke 1:17 makes it clear that John the Baptist had “the spirit and power of Elijah.” In other words, the ministry of Elijah was continuing through John the Baptist.
There are many parallels between these two prophets. Both had a message of repentance. A message for the people to return to the Lord, to come back and keep the commandments of God through His power. There are other parallels. They both dressed very simply. No extravagant robes for them! Both lived in the wilderness. Both had a simple diet. Neither was popular. And both reproved wrong. Two Elijahs, but one gospel.
But look again at Mark 9:12. Jesus also says, “Elijah is coming….” That is future tense. There’s an Elijah that will come before the Second Coming of Jesus. Elijah’s message will be carried on by an end-time people who have the “spirit and power of Elijah.”
Will God have a people who dress plainly? Who reject fancy robes or pompous display? Who have a simple diet? Who chose to live in the country? Who believe in calling people to repentance and to the beauty of God’s law (John 15:14)? Will God have a people with that message? Will YOU be that people?