"Was John the Baptist Elijah?" (Alleged Contradiction #E6871)
And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
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.
See also: Mark 9:13
John the Baptist was not literally Elijah. However, he was like Elijah symbolically, or as Luke 1:17 puts it, “he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias.” 1 This is why Jesus said, “if ye will receive it, this is Elias” (Matthew 11:13-14). If he had been Elijah literally, Jesus would not word it that way.
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