Who Was John The Baptist?

Clay's picture

Malachi 4:5&6

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

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."

John 1:21
"And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No."

Matthew 11:11&14
" Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist....

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come."

I don't know what to make of all this. The prophet Malachi said that Elijah, who never died, would be sent to prepare the way for the Lord. John, when questioned, said that he was not Elijah. Jesus, however, said that if you could accept it....that He was indeed Elijah.

Who was John The Baptist???? Does anyone have some insight on this?


Clay's picture

The Son of a Priest

Hello Maria,

I've missed you guys; I've been very busy lately and am still busy so I may take another leave. It's just that John The Baptist has caught my eye lately and I was curious as to the possibility of him actually being Elijah.

What started me on this line of thought was the words of Jesus when he said that there has been no greater born of woman before or after. I don't want to make light of John because he was a great prophet. I don't know how much training he had but I do know that he was raised in the zealous house of a priest who spoke with angels. John was truly a prophet from conception because before he had any training at all he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah from his mother's womb when he leapt at the sound of Mary's voice. Nevertheless, it seems to me that there were some great prophets before him who slew hundreds, called fire from heaven, raised the dead, parted rivers of water and etc...

So what is it about John that would make our Lord esteem him so highly?


I guess I was assuming that Elijah never died and I don't know really how I arrived at that assumption. So I did a little digging and seems that my assumption is pretty common.

I went to Matthew Henry and this is what I found:
I." That God had determined to take him up into heaven by a whirlwind, v. 1. He would do it, and it is probable let him know of his purpose some time before, that he would shortly take him from the world, not by death, but translate him body and soul to heaven, as Enoch was,....

Elijah had once, in a passion, wished he might die; yet God was so gracious to him as not only not to take him at his word then, but to honour him with this singular privilege, that he should never see death; and by this instance, and that of Enoch, (1.) God showed how men should have left the world if they had not sinned, not by death, but by a translation"


So then let's say for the sake of argument that the common assumption that Elijah did not die is accurate. All men must die, correct? Even Enoch?
Then isn't it possible that John the Baptist is not just a prototype of Elias....but is actually Elias?

The challenge for me accepting this is John's own denial of being that prophet and then Jesus using the phrase he did when introducing John as Elias. How do I reconcile these?