The Elijah Prophecy

The last two verses of the  Old Testament concern a prophecy about the prophet Elijah; whom God  would send before the great and terrible Day of the LORD. In other  words, before the Time of Trouble, Elijah would come.
Here is the prophecy.

Malachi 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the  great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6: And he shall turn the heart of  the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their  fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Elijah's Characteristics:
Fit/Hardy: 1 Kings 18: 46 He ran some 20 miles
Short Tempered: 2 Kings 1:9-12
Humorous: 1 Kings 18:26-29
Obedient/Courageous/Faithful: 1 Kings 19: 10-14 Elijah was capable of taking Yahweh's message to Israel in a time of literal and spiritual drought.
He was tireless, hardy and extremely obedient.
He is a lesson to all believers, especially preachers. Perhaps there are times when you feel: 'I, only I, am left.'

Was "John the Baptist" Elijah returned?
Jesus testified that John was Elijah. Did he mean John was the reincarnation of Elijah?
Matt.17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11: And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.12:  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not,  but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the  Son of man suffer of them.
13: Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Was John, perhaps, a reincarnation of the prophet Elijah and didn't even know it?

John's testimony was: No he was not Elijah.
He was a Voice, (a Message) crying in the Wilderness.
John 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20: And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21:  And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not.  Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who  art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest  thou of thyself? 23: He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

Both John and Jesus were correct.
John was NOT the literal Elijah. Nor was he a reincarnation of Elijah.
Reincarnation is a pagan teaching.
It has no scriptural support whatsoever.
When Jesus said that John was Elijah he meant that John was presenting the Elijah Message.
Both Elijah and John presented the same message, the Elijah Message!
The question is: What is the Elijah Message?
The answer is: The Elijah Message is a call to obedience; a call to forsake paganism.
*Fear Yahweh (God) and keep His commandments... (Ecc.12:13)

*Break  off illegal associations with Baalim. The word Baalim is the Hebrew  plural for BAAL, the pagan god of nature and fertility. I quote from the  Westminster Dictionary of the Bible article 'BAAL' (emphasis mine)  "...Baal worship apparently had its origin in the belief that every  tract of ground owed its productivity to a supernatural being, or baal,  that dwelt there. The farmers probably thought that from the Baalim, or  fertility gods, of various regions came the increase of crops, fruit and  cattle... The worship of Baal was accompanied with lascivious rites (1 Kings 14:24), the sacrifice of children in the fire by parents (Jer.19:5), and kissing the image (1 Kings 19:18; Hos 13:2). Baal was often associated with the goddess Astoreth (Judg.2:13), and in the vicinity of his altar there was often an Asherah (Judg.6:30; 1 Kings 16:32-33)" Of the goddess ASTORETH the same dictionary says:"...She was the goddess  of sexual love, maternity and fertility. Prostitution as a religious  rite in the service of this goddess under various names is widely  attested. The identification of 'Ashtart with Aphrodite is evidence of  her sexual character." 

"Ashtaroth (plural of Astoreth) 

In  connection with the plural of Baal, a general designation for the female  divinities of the Canaanites..." ."Asherah refers to a wooden pole or  mast which stood at Canaanite places of worship (Exo.34:13);  originally it was, perhaps, the trunk of a tree with branches chopped  off, and was regarded as the wooden symbol of the goddess Asherah, who  like Ashtoreth, was a type of fertility ... It was erected beside the  altar of Baal. (See Judges 6:25, 28)"
In New Testament terms, Baal worship is described as the 'works of the flesh.'
This  means, sinful sexual and mental activity expressly forbidden in  Yahweh's law: Adultery, Fornication, Homosexuality, Incest etc. Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20: Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21:  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which  I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they  which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. How long halt  ye between two opinions? (1 Kings 18:21)
In other words, 'How long will you remain undecided about this matter of which God to worship and which commandments to keep?'

If Yahweh is God, obey Him, follow Him, keep His commandments, His Feasts.

If Baal (sensual activity and the worship of Nature) is God, then go ahead and keep Baal's festivals.

You cannot keep both. Make up your mind.

The Elijah Message demands a response. It cannot be ignored. You have to make a decision, one way or the other.

Another  aspect of the Elijah Message is the call to Yahweh's children to be  reconciled to their parents and a call to parents to be reconciled and  look to the welfare of their offspring.
'And he shall turn the  heart of the fathers to the children,and the heart of the children to  their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.'
Wherever  the Elijah Message is preached and acted upon it will manifest itself  in happy homes and obedient families. Sad to say in this evil world this  call is a voice in the wilderness and it meets with open ridicule,  stony silence or fearsome opposition.
For fearlessly proclaiming the Elijah Message John was beheaded.
Matt. 14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2:  And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from  the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 3: For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. 4:  For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5: And  when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because  they counted him as a prophet. 6: But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. 7: Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. 8: And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. 9:  And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them  which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. 10: And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 11: And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.  

What  of the great and dreadful Day of the LORD? That day is even at the  doors! And once again the Elijah Message is going forth. As in the case  of John, those who preach the Elijah Message are not reincarnations of  the literal Elijah. They are, however, people with similar spiritual  characteristics that Elijah and John the Baptist possessed: spiritual  hardiness, faithfulness, obedience and perseverance. They will be  preachers who will break with paganism and the festivals that glorify  illicit sex. Alas! many of them will be beheaded by the Antichrist, as  John the Baptist was beheaded by king Herod. Others will be caught up by  the angels as Elijah was; caught up - without seeing death - at the  Saviour's return Rev.20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and  judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were  beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which  had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received  his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and  reigned with Christ a thousand years.