John the Baptist denies being Elijah (John 1:21) in contradiction to Jesus

John 1:21, "And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he said, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No."

This verse completely contradicts the statement made in Matthew 11:13-14, according to which John is included in the list of prophets, and is held to be the last of them. The words used in that book, which we have had occasion to adduce, run as follows: "All the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if ye will receive it, this is Elias [Elijah], which was for to come." In Matthew 17:12-13, Jesus, in alluding to John, affirms that the forerunner of himself as a Messiah had come, although he had not been acknowledged as such. He says there, "Elias [Elijah], is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him what ever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake of John the Baptist."

Once, on representing this contradiction to a Christian, he evaded a direct answer by the retort, that Samuel likewise denied his true mission, for he told Saul that he was on his way to offer up sacrifices, while his real object was to anoint David as King of Israel.

The cogency of this reply is not apparent, for Samuel made no secret of his mission to David to whom he had to communicate the Divine will, but observed the necessary caution with Saul, to whom he had not been sent. Different, however, was the case with the pretended Elias.

If he [John}, had to bring the Jews the tidings of the advent of the Messiah, he very strangely performed his duty, by denying his character and concealing his message.

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