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Yes, I believe that in a way John was Elijah or at least had the essence or traits the God looks for in his Prophets. Elijah did very well in his time and some people read the bible as there being 3 comings of Elijah's spirit as Prophets (different men of course). The first being Elijah the man, the second being John the Baptist and the third an end-time Prophet to the Gentiles as described in Malachi 4:3-4:5 I believe. Others believe that Elisha was Elijah's second incarnation but of course Elisha was already living when Elijah was translated and taken up by the Lord, he did receive a double helping of the holy spirit but I do not count Elisha as another Elijah. To answer your question, I would say yes he was Elijah in spirit and traits. He was a man of the wilderness like Elijah, he lived off the land like Elijah and he was fervent like Elijah, he never doubted God and he knew his calling as a Prophet.
Of course John the Baptist was Elijah the prophet. Jesus Himself indicated so in 3 different passages of Scripture! “...he himself is Elijah, who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." From Mt 11:13-15 See also Mt 17:11-13; Mk 9:11-13! This is amazing, but do you know how many different episodes, or visits of Elijah we have recorded in the Scriptures? There are SEVEN different episodes of Elijah in the Bible! There are 2 main objections that I have seen regarding this. The 1st objection is about reincarnation. Heb 9:27 clearly states, "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment". Any violation of that sounds like "Reincarnation". First of all, let's consider all the people in the Bible other than Jesus who were dead, & then raised back into an earthly life, like Lazarus. They were in both the Old Testament, & the New. We must decide: either they only died physically only once, & are still alive to this day in their same earthly bodies, & are therefore around 2,000+ years old, or, they died physically a 2nd time. Of course they died physically a 2nd time! That doesn't negate Heb 9:27 either. "It is appointed" falls into the same category as when God "ordained" that the sun rule the day & the moon the night Gen 1:14-19. Joshua didn't override God's word in Josh 10:12,13! Heb 9:27 is NOT a "brick wall", it is standard operating procedure. A physical law. Many times exceptions to it have been permitted by God. Many people alive in America right now, have died on the operating table, & were later revived. Nevertheless, they still eventually die later. The 10 Commandments ARE a "Brick wall". They show a moral law. No exceptions are "ok". The concept of Reincarnation was not from God, but of course from Satan. But do you remember? Satan cannot create anything out of nothing. He is a thief, & he STOLE THE IDEA for reincarnation from what He saw God do with a few blessed people, who were dead & then brought back to life. Satan perverted to many what was true for a few. The 2nd most-common objection I run into is tied to a widely embraced misunderstanding among many believers: that we're not to expect a visit from Elijah himself, but from the SPIRIT of Elijah, which many believe can supposedly be poured out upon many believers at one time. This is not Biblical. Let's get this straight: Elijah is human. Humans are NOT God, nor do we ever become God or a god (Isa 43:10). Giving Elijah's spirit Divine attributes is idolatry; DE-IFYING Elijah. Becoming as God is a seduction from Satan. Only ONE personal Spirit can be poured out on many at one time, The (singular) Holy Divine Spirit I Cor 12:13; Eph 2:17,18; & 4:1-8. So we must keep a few other points straight as well: Every human has a spirit Ja 2:26. The spirit of Elijah belongs to Elijah, & he needs it! People who quickly refer to Lk 1:17 "the spirit and power of Elijah", need to read Mt 11:13-15 & 17:11! Many doctrinal errors come from an INCOMPLETE understanding of what the Bible teaches. Here are the 7 episodes of Elijah clearly recorded in the Word! I believe we are in the 5th visit right now! Ep#1 As Elijah the Tishbite I Ki 17:1-II Ki 2. He was born normally like the rest of us. Ep#2 Elijah's spirit rested upon Elisha during Elisha's ministry years. Elisha actually operated with 3 spirits during his ministry years: his own spirit, Elijah's spirit, & the Holy Spirit! This is what the Bible says I Ki 19 - II Kings 13. He did NOT receive a double portion of the Holy Spirit! II Ki 2:9-15. Ep#3 Elijah as John the Baptist. Ep#4 Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration Mk 9:2-13; Lk 9:28-36; Mt 17: 1-13 Ep#5 Elijah's 5th visit, which will manifest publically any time now. He is 1 of the 2 witnesses in Revelation Mt 17:11. This visit ends when the 2 witnesses die. Rev 11:3-13, esp v7 Ep#6 This is short! Rev 11:7-13 Ep#7 when we all return to earth!
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