Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Mal 4:5-6 NKJ)
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, `to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luk 1:15-17 NKJ)
John came in the spirit and power of Elijah, but he wasn’t Elijah. Malachi’s prophecy talks about sending Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. The time period places this prophecy before the second coming of Christ. So is Elijah coming again—not in the flesh, but I do believe that the Church is meant to be the fulfillment of this prophecy, in the spirit and power of Elijah.
Elijah presented a counter-culture; hence Ahab called him a ‘troubler of Israel.’ The Church then should pick up Elijah’s mantle, and make a difference in the world, ushering in the Kingdom of God.