This prophecy led many of the Jews of later times to expect a return to earth of Elijah himself (see John 1:21). However, this is a prophecy of someone who was to come in “the spirit and power” of Elijah (Luke 1:17), that is, who would preach a message similar to that of Elijah. Before the first advent of Christ this work was done by John the Baptist (Matt. 17:12, 13; Luke 1:16, 17; see on Mal. 3:1), and before the second advent of Christ a similar work will be done by those who preach the three angels’ messages to the world. For further comment see on 1 Kings 18:19-44; Matt. 3:3, 4; 11:14.