DAILY DEVOTION, February 25, 2022
And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come (Matthew 11:14).
Jesus is speaking of John the Baptist. Some have concluded that the Bible teaches reincarnation. John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated. When reading the Bible, we need to distinguish the literal from the figurative and also look at the full context. For example, Psalm 50:10 tells us that the cattle on a thousand hills belong to God. What about hill 1001? What about the cattle in the valleys? Psalm 50:10 is telling us in figurative language that all the cattle (and sheep, and dogs etc.) belong to God.
In John 1:21, the Jews asked John if he were Elijah. He responded, “I am not.” Luke 1:17 says that John came “in the spirit and power of Elijah.” Thus, John is “Elijah” only in a figurative sense. The Bible does not teach reincarnation.
The Bible uses figurative language as well as straightforward literal language. We need to read carefully in order to understand the Bible. A basic question to ask is this: is this passage speaking literally or figuratively? Christians do not always agree in answering that question. The main thing is to trust Jesus (literally!) and do your best to understand the Bible and be kind to those who disagree with you as to how a particular passage is to be understood.
Father, thank You for the Bible. It is a large book with many language styles. Help me to read carefully and prayerfully. I want to understand Your message to the human race, and I do not wish to twist or distort Your Word. Thank You for stating the main message that Jesus is the Savior is clear language over and over. May His name be glorified, Amen.