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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