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Verse 14. If ye will receive it. This is a way of speaking implying that the doctrine which he was about to state was different from their common views; that he was about to state something which varied from the common expectation, and which, therefore, they might be disposed to reject.

This is Elias, etc. That is, Elijah. Elias is the Greek mode of writing the Hebrew word Elijah. An account of him is found in the first and second books of Kings. He was a distinguished prophet, and was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire, 2 Ki 2:11. The prophet Malachi, (Mal 4:5,6) predicted that Elijah should be sent before the coming of the Messiah, to prepare the way for him. By this was evidently meant, not that he should appear in person, but that one should appear with a striking resemblance to him; or, as Luke Lu 1:17 expresses it, "in the spirit and power of Elijah." But the Jews understood it differently. They expected that Elijah would appear in person. They also supposed that Jeremiah and some other of the prophets would appear also to usher in the promised Messiah, and to grace his advent. Mt 16:14; 17:10; Joh 1:21.

This expectation was the reason why he used the words, if ye will receive it, implying that the affirmation that John was the promised Elijah, was a doctrine contrary to their expectation.

{m} "which was for" Mal 4:5; Mt 17:12

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