The disciples, undoubtedly still staggered by what they had just witnessed on the mount of transfiguration, posed a theological question which was based upon the prophecy by Malachi in the final chapter of the Old Testament, that Elijah would appear before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.  It is sad indeed that very many Christians, in spite of this passage, still expect an appearance of Elijah in the latter days.  Jesus’ answer could not be more plain: “Elias is come already.”  Why should we look for the fulfillment of a prophecy which has already been fulfilled?  Malachi’s word has come to pass, and Elijah has come.  Tragically, he was not received, at least not by the Jewish leadership and many of the people.  But, in the end, John was arrested by order of Herod, and ultimately beheaded.  We do not find it recorded that any great outcry was made against this by the Jewish leaders or people. 

“Likewise,” says Christ, “shall also the Son of man suffer of them.”  This cruelty and insensitivity towards these great fulfillers of prophecy can only be assigned to the hardness of heart which characterized that nation.  Let us take care that we do not emulate their stubbornness and unbelief.

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