The Second Coming of Elijah

(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.
(Malachi 4:5 KJV) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind but he is coming back. There will be a second coming of Elijah.

Elijah and John the Baptist are connected in the scripture:

(Luke 1:13-17 KJV) But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. {14} And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. {15} For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. {16} And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. {17} 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.

An angel tells Zacharias about his son, that he will go forth in the spirit and power of Elias (Elijah), to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

(Mark 1:1-3 KJV) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; {2} As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. {3} The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Mark quotes two prophets, Malachi and Isaiah:

(Malachi 3:1 KJV) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
(Isaiah 40:3 KJV) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Malachi also states that Elijah will be sent before the coming of the Messiah.

(Malachi 4:5 KJV) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Was John the Baptist Elijah?

(2 Kings 1:8 KJV) And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
(Matthew 3:1-4 KJV) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, {2} And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. {3} For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. {4} And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

John's physical appearance is described to be exactly as Elijah in 2 Kings: a hairy man girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. Does this mean John is Elijah? He could have been, but he was not.

What does John say about himself?

(John 1:19-23 KJV) And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? {20} And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. {21} And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. {22} Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? {23} He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

John says that he is not Elijah but he is the one spoken by Isaiah as the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

John's ministry blends the 1stand 2nd coming of Christ. If Israel would have responded positively to John and received the kingdom then John would have been Elijah.

(Matthew 11:7-14 KJV) And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? {8} But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. {9} But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. {10} For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. {11} Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. {12} And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. {13} For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. {14} And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

God in His foreknowledge knew Israel would not receive the kingdom so He sent John as a type of Elijah to let Israel know that everything was finally ready for that kingdom to be set up. How did Israel respond?

(Matthew 17:12-13 KJV) 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. {13} Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

With John's ministry, all that the prophets spoke of could be fulfilled. Everything was ready. Everything about John's ministry could have been the fulfillment of prophecy. However, Israel has a history of killing the prophets (see Acts 7:51-51) and Jesus is saying that He too will suffer of them.

Three People

(Malachi 4:1-5 KJV) For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. {2} But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. {3} And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. {4} Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. {5} Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

There are three people mentioned in this verse: the LORD, Moses and Elijah. These are the same three that Peter, John and James saw on the mountain.

(Luke 9:28-30 KJV) And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. {29} And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. {30} And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:

What was the significance of this vision? These are the three people Israel was expecting before the kingdom would be set up. In John 1:19-23, the priests and Levites asked John if he was these same three people: Christ, Moses or Elijah. Israel knew that when Elijah shows up the next thing to happen is that great and terrible day of the LORD (see Malachi 4:5 and Joel 2:31), which is a day of judgment.

That Great and Terrible Day of The Lord

(Revelation 11:1-12 KJV) And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. {2} But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. {3} And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. {4} These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. {5} And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. {6} These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. {7} And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. {8} And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. {9} And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. {10} And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. {11} And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. {12} And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

In this passage, verse 6, we see that Elijah and Moses shall return. Which prophet prayed and it did not rain? Elijah. Which prophet had water turned into blood and smote the earth with plagues? Moses. Moses and Elijah are the two prophets that come during the first half of Daniel's 70th week. They are killed and after three and half days they rise and are ascended into heaven. Then comes that great and dreadful day of the LORD.

(Revelation 19:11-21 KJV) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. {12} His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. {13} And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. {14} And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. {15} And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. {16} And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. {17} And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; {18} That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. {19} And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. {20} And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. {21} And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Elijah will come before the Lord Jesus Christ comes back on the white horse and makes war with all the earth.

John the Baptist was not Elijah but he could have been. How thankful we ought to be that we live in a time where our Apostle Paul begins each one of his epistles with "grace and peace".