Malachi 4:5 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."The destruction of Jerusalem was in 70 A.D., but much happened in between! Firstly, "Elijah" came:
Matthew 11:10 "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 (Elijah), which was for to come."Forthwith the return of Elijah, Malachi's prophecy is to come. Was John the Baptist Elijah? Certainly not! The Bible teaches "resurrection", not "reincarnation". There's a big difference! "Resurrection" is when the same body is restored to its original form. "Reincarnation" is the falsehood that the soul is "restored" in another body. As Jesus was resurrected (the same body even with the scars of death), we too will be resurrected. Our ashes will be gathered, as was Adam's, from the ground, and we'll be reassembled perfect, alive and with mind, body and spirit intact!
If we look further we find that John the Baptist was not Elijah!
John 1:19 "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 (Elijah)? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No."Since John himself confessed that he is not Elijah, then Elijah was certainly not reincarnated, but why did Matthew say that John is Elijah? "Pictures" are of extreme importance in the Bible! John the Baptist was a type of Elijah or looking at it from the other direction, Elijah was a picture of John the Baptist.
First off Elijah was described as such:
2 Kings 1: 8 "They answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle 2bound about his loins.” And he said, 'It is Elijah the Tishbite.'"And look at how John the Baptist was described:
Matthew 3:4 "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."The same reference is used to describe Elijah and John. Based on appearance, John was a type of Elijah. However, a stronger picture was that Elijah vanished in a whirlwind without dying as his ministry ended. His ministry was carried on by Elisha who was ordained by God and appointed by Elijah. Likewise, John the Baptist prophesied another one coming even more powerful than himself:
Luke 3:16 "John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier (Jesus) than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire..."After "Elijah" (John the Baptist) came, then came Jesus. The Temple of his body was destroyed yet he was resurrected. Likewise, the Romans destroyed the Herod's Temple in 70 A.D., but the remnant of Christ lived on! Christianity has spread to the entire world! Not only does Christ live on, but the Spirit of Christ flourishes to this day. However, just as the "the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" came with the destruction of Herod's Temple, then also Jesus second coming is the same "day of the Lord". Although some of the remnant will be saved (ala the destruction of Jerusalem) most will perish on "the day of the Lord". It will be a "dreadful day" for many when that time comes!
The ministry of Jesus is salvation so that those who believe are saved from that "dreadful day of the Lord". Jesus came not only to save, but to judge the wicked. He sends nobody to heaven, but by wrong choices most will choose eternal death. They shall perish of their own accord! That will certainly be a dreadful day! Malachi saw it coming! Do you? Malachi also calls it "coming of the great day of the Lord". How great it shall be for the redeemed when they are told "Well done good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:21) And what must we do to be called "good"?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."Those who choose to perish fail to accept this! The wise are saved and this they believe. A simple act of faith saves and eternity of punishment. Avoid that dreadful damning day of destruction. Just "believe"!