by Wayne Blank
After the original Elijah, Elias/Elijah became a generic term for key prophets who were, and will be, an "opening act" for the coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist was the "Elias to come" of Christ's first coming (see The Elijah To Come):
"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. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." (Matthew 11:11-14 KJV)
Many people knew that there was something very special about Jesus Christ, that was undeniable. But only those with "the eyes to see" recognized Him as the long-awaited Messiah (the purpose of those who didn't see was to get Him killed; if all recognized and accepted Him then, He would not have been crucified, and the world would still be without a Savior - see also Hate Jews?)
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"
Elias appeared with Moses in the Transfiguration, a vision of the future Kingdom of God on earth (see also The Throne Of God, From Heaven To Earth); Moses represented the Law, Elias the prophets - all of which the Messiah came, not to abolish, but to fulfill:
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother [see also The Inner Circle], and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him." (Matthew 17:1-3 KJV)
Again, the religious authorities knew that both an Elias and the Messiah were coming, but not only did they not recognize them, they killed them. And yet again to emphasize the "eyes to see" aspect, among those who didn't recognize either John the Baptist or Jesus Christ for what they truly were was a Pharisee named Saul - a deadly persecutor of Christians, but who later became, after his eyes were "opened" On The Road To Damascus, one of the greatest Christians that the world would ever know, a man who later, after his conversion, wrote much of what is today the New Testament - the apostle Paul (see also Paul's Ministry):
"And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead."
As He was about to die on the cross, the Messiah had a terrifying surprise. Some thought that He was cryng out to Elias (which shows how little they understood, the original Elijah and John the Baptist were both dead by then - see What Happens When You Die?), but He was actually crying out to God, not in Greek, but in Aramaic, because at that moment, for the first and last time ever, God left His Son (see Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?):
"And about the ninth hour [see Hours Of The Day] Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?
Fact Finder: "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months" (James 5:17 KJV). If Elias/Elijah was just an ordinary man, how was he able to do such powerful miracles, including healing the sick and raising the dead?