“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers,” Malachi 4:5-6a (NASB)
This prophecy of God was delivered to His people through Malachi, a prophet of God Almighty. About 430 years before the birth of Jesus, God promised to send Elijah the prophet back to Israel. While on Earth in his ministry of presenting Himself as Messiah and proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said, “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” Matthew 11:14. John the Baptizer was a fulfillment of the promise in Malachi because he fulfilled the function of the last Prophet of God and the one who introduced and proclaimed Jesus as Messiah. When John’s father was told that he would be the father of John and Barren Elizabeth would be John’s mother, he did not immediately believe. He doubted through questioning how it could be due to age. Zachariah was struck mute until John was born. But the angel Gabriel who would announce to Mary the miraculous conception of Jesus within her, used the same words Malachi used about Elijah/John. “And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children,” Luke 1:17.