The book ends with the prophecyProphecy is the gift, inspired by God, of speaking and interpreting the divine will. Prophets such as Amos, Isaiah, and Ezekiel spoke words of judgment and comfort to the people of Israel on behalf of God. More that God will send ElijahA miracle working Israelite prophet who opposed worship of Baal. More “before the great and terrible day of the LORDThe Day of the Lord, in prophetic writing, is the day of judgment when God will intervene directly in world affairs. As described in Zephaniah, for instance, God will sweep everything away. In Matthew's gospel God is described as gathering the elect on the day... More comes,” who will bring harmony between parents and children so that the Lord will not come to curse the land.
The return of Elijah as a forerunner to the MessiahThe Messiah was the one who, it was believed, would come to free the people of Israel from bondage and exile. In Jewish thought the Messiah is the anticipated one who will come, as prophesied by Isaiah. In Christian thought Jesus of Nazareth is identified... More was commonly believed in Jesus’ time. When JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” all three Synoptic GospelsThe Synoptic Gospels are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They are called Synoptics because they view the gospel story from a similar point of view; they also share large blocks of narrative material in common. More report that the disciples mention Elijah as one of the answers they have heard (MatthewA tax collector who became one of Jesus' 12 disciples More 16:14; Mark 8:28; LukeThe "beloved physician" and companion of Paul More 9:18-19).
In the Gospel of John, John the BaptistJohn the Baptizer was the forerunner of Jesus the Messiah, preaching a gospel of repentance and preparing the way of the Lord More denies being Elijah (1:21), but in Matthew, after John the Baptist has been killed, Jesus clearly identifies Elijah with John (17:10-13; compare the parallel account, Mark 9:11-13).
The widely held speculation about Elijah’s return is also reflected following the death of John the Baptist. When reports of Jesus’ miraculous cures became known following John’s death, some thought Jesus himself was John the Baptist or Elijah returning (Mark 6:14-16).
Malachi writes that when Elijah returns, “he will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents” (Malachi 4:6). At the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, the angel cites this verse to describe to Zechariah that his son John will fulfill Elijah’s task: “With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him [the Lord], to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdomWisdom encompasses the qualities of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. The Old Testament book of Proverbs, which sometimes invokes a Woman as the personification of Wisdom, is a collection of aphorisms and moral teachings. Along with other biblical passages, it teaches, "The fear of the... More of the righteousA righteous person is one who is ethical and faithful to God's covenant. Righteousness in the Old Testament is an attitude of God; in the New Testament it is a gift of God through grace. In the New Testament righteousness is a relationship with God... More, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
With these verses about Elijah’s return occurring both at the conclusion of the Old Testament and at the beginning of the Gospels, the figure of Elijah becomes a clear link between the Old and New Testaments.