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Dear Gramps,

Can you help me get these two straight?  Elias, Elijah and the spirit of Elias/Elijah.  something with the Priesthood of Aaron and the spirit of Elias also.  I was reading the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and am still confused.  I need the remedial version.

Thanks, Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,

We do not know much about the individual Elias.  He lived at the time of Abraham, but we do not have any specific information concerning his mortal life or mission.  In the New Testament Elias is the Greek form for the name Elijah, which is Hebrew.

When used in scripture the name Elias is a title given which has two different meanings.  The first is that of forerunner or preparer.  John the Baptist has been given the title of Elias as he was a forerunner for Christ.  The second title is that of restorer.  Jesus Christ was given the title because he restored the Gospel and the Melchizedek Priesthood to the Jews in his day.  Elijah is also given this title as he was the one that restored the keys of the sealing power of the Priesthood to Peter, James and John as well s to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.  The title of Elias has also been given to John the Revelator, Noah and others.

Elijah was a prophet who lived in Gilead, the country east of Jordan.   This was part of the Northern Kingdom.  Through the influence of Ahab and Jezebel, the people had almost entirely forsaken the worship of Jehovah and turned to the worship of the Phoenician god Baal.  Elijah pronounced death on Ahab and Jezebel, which came to pass.  The Bible Dictionary states that Elijah was noted for:  “calling down fire from heaven; sealing the heavens with no rain for three and one-half years; blessing the widow’s meal and oil; and raising a boy from the dead.”  He did not die, but rather was translated and taken to heaven in a chariot of fire in a whirlwind.

Malachi prophesied of Elijah’s return.  This is recorded in Malachi 4:  “5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”  His return is recorded in D&C 110: “13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:  14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—”  Those of the Jewish faith are still waiting for the return of Elijah.  He is an invited guest at the passover and a vacant chair is reserved for him and the door is left opened.

The following explanation of Elijah’s mission is given in the Bible Dictionary: “We learn from latter-day revelation that Elijah held the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood and was the last prophet to do so before the time of Jesus Christ. He appeared on the Mount in company with Moses (also translated) and conferred the keys of the priesthood on Peter, James, and John (Matt. 17: 3). He appeared again, in company with Moses and others, on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland (Ohio) Temple and conferred the same keys upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.”

The power or spirit of Elijah is the sealing power of the priesthood, or the authority to seal on earth and in heaven.  It is also the power to loose on earth and in heaven.  Because of this sealing power, the hearts of the children are turned to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers are turned to the children.


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