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John 1:21

And they asked him, What then? Are you Elijah? And he said, I am not. Are you that prophet? And he answered, No.
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Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
And they asked him, &c. When John denied that he was the Christ, the messengers asked him if he were Elias. For him God took away, that he might be the forerunner of Christ. And of him they were then in expectation, according to the words of Malachi ( Malachi 4:5), "Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord come," meaning the day of judgment, when Christ shall return to be the judge of all. But the Scribes did not understand this. They thought that there would be but one advent of Christ, and that a glorious one, the precursor of which would be Elias. Thus the Jews think even now that Christ has not yet come, but is about to come with Elias. And yet they ought to have known from the same Malachi ( Malachi 3:1) that there would be another precursor of Christ"s first coming in the flesh, even John the Baptist. "For I," saith the Lord, "do send My messenger, and he shall prepare My way before My face." Art thou that prophet? Greek, ÏŒ πζοφήÏ...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
Having said by way of explanation, he confessed, I am not the Christ; he tries to shew how or in what manner the confession was made; and he appears to me to wish thereby to lay bare the ill-instructedness of the Jews. For professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and puffed up at their knowledge of the Law, and ever putting forward the commandments of Moses and asserting that they were perfectly instructed in the words of the holy Prophets, by their foolish questions they are convicted of being wholly uninstructed. For the hierophant Moses saying that the Lord should be revealed as a Prophet foretold to the children of Israel, The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, unto Him shall ye hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb. The blessed Isaiah, introducing to us the forerunner and fore-messenger, says, The voice of one crying in the wilderness Prepare ye the way of the Lord, m...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
For they expected that Elias also would come, as Christ declares; for when His disciples enquired, How then do the scribes say that Elias must first come? Matthew 17:10 He replied, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. Then they ask, Are you that prophet? And he answered, No. Matthew 17:10 Yet surely he was a prophet. Wherefore then does he deny it? Because again he looks to the intention of his questioners. For they expected that some special prophet should come, because Moses said, The Lord your God will raise up unto you a Prophet of your brethren like me, unto Him shall you harken. Deuteronomy 18:15 Now this was Christ. Wherefore they do not say, Are you a prophet? meaning thereby one of the ordinary prophets; but the expression, Are you the prophet? with the addition of the article, means, Are you that Prophet who was foretold by Moses? and therefore he denied not that he was a prophet, but that he was that Prophet. ...

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
Well, then, was it really in a Pythagorean sense that the Jews approached John with the inquiry, "Art thou Elias? "

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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