Elijah has already been here and they didn’t recognize him

Posté par diaconos le 12 décembre 2020

La colère de Dieu

 Elijah has already been here and they didn’t recognize him

# According to the tradition of the Catholic Church, the mountain of the place of the Transfiguration refers to Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai, two highly symbolic places in the Old Testament. The cloud from which the Father’s voice came echoed the cloud that enveloped the Hebrews during the Exodus and their crossing of the desert. Peter’s proposal to erect three tents referred to the tent of meeting in the Old Testament. This feast can be compared to that of the baptism of Christ, where the cloud that enveloped Jesus, the voice of the Father, is found in both. For the Church, the aim of the Transfiguration was to prepare the hearts of the disciples to overcome the scandal of the cross. This transfiguration was the announcement of the adoption that will make the believers sons of God. According to Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, when the disciples finally saw Jesus alone again, they knew what fullness of mystery was hidden in his face, because his relationship to the whole Old Covenant, his permanent relationship to the Father and the Spirit who, like a cloud, overshadowed the disciples representing the Church to come, all of this was included in him. His Transfiguration was not an anticipation of the Resurrection.

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew

When the followers came down from the mountain, they asked Jesus, « Why then do the scribes say that the prophet Elijah must come first ? « Jesus answered them, « Elijah is coming to put everything in its place. But I tell you, Elijah has already come; instead of recognizing him, they have done everything they wanted to him. And in the same way the Son of Man will suffer through them. « Then the followers understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.  (Mt 17:10-13)


# Elijah was a prophet and a miracle worker who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab (9th century BC). Elijah defended the worship of the Hebrew God over that of the Canaanite deity Baal. God also performed many miracles through Elijah, including resurrection, bringing fire down from the sky, and entering Heaven alive « by fire ». He is also portrayed as leading a school of prophets known as the sons of the prophets. Following his ascension, Elisha, his disciple and most devoted assistant, took over his role as leader of this school. References to Elijah appear in Ecclesiasticus, the New Testament, the Mishnah and Talmud, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Baháʼí writings. In Judaism, Elijah’s name is invoked at the weekly Havdalah rite that marks the end of Shabbat, and Elijah is invoked in other Jewish customs, among them the Passover Seder and the brit milah (ritual circumcision). The New Testament notes that some people thought that Jesus was, in some sense, Elijah but it also makes clear that John the Baptist is « the Elijah » who was promised to come in Malachi 3:1; 4:5 According to accounts in all three of the Synoptic Gospels, Elijah appeared with Moses during the Transfiguration of Jesus.

The coming of Elijah

The followers asked Jesus :  « Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first ?  »  What caused the followers to ask this question ? The prophecy : « Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. And it shall bring the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land of the tabernacle. « (Malachi 4:5-6), which foretold a second mission of Elijah before the appearance of the Messiah, was at that time the subject of universal attention ; the scribes based their descriptions of the coming of the Messiah on it, as the followers recalled.

Jesus himself had quoted it to the people, showing the fulfilment in the person of John the Baptist : « If you want to understand him, he is the Elijah who was to come » (Mt 11:14), which the disciples did not seem to have understood. On the Mount of Transfiguration, this Elijah appeared to them for a moment, and not only did he disappear, instead of remaining to fulfil his mission, but Jesus even forbade them to say that they saw him !

How can we reconcile this fleeting appearance and, above all, the defence of Jesus with prophecy? This seems to be the origin and the meaning of this question. The disciples recognised Jesus as the Messiah; they were astonished to see that Elijah’s appearance took place after and not before the coming of the Messiah. Both objections may have provoked the disciples’ question.

According to Scripture, Elijah came. But he returned as John the Baptist, and instead of recognising him, they treated him as they wished.  What do these words mean: he will restore all things?  This restoration, which in the eyes of the scribes was the restoration of their theocracy, and which in reality must have been a spiritual creation, was the work of Jesus himself and not of the forerunner.

However, Jesus was able to see the effects of John the Baptist’s preaching, repentance, the change in the dispositions of the people, in the sense that the angel had said of John : « He will bring back the hearts of the fathers to the children and the rebels to the wisdom of the righteous. « (Lk 1:17).  The fate of John the Baptist foreshadowed the fate that was reserved for Jesus.

But they did not recognise John and when he could not fulfil his mission to them, Jesus had to suffer on their behalf. This was the trial that the followers had to prepare themselves for after having enjoyed rest and glory on the mountain.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Never Thirsty True Prophet  What did Jesus mean when He said that Elijah hadalready returned ?

◊ Escape all these things  Why “Elijah Must Come First” & How To Identify A True Prophet ?

Hey People, The Third Elijah Has Already Come And Gone – You Missed Him

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