Of particular interest in the latter days has been the the prophetic utterance of Malachi, placed strategically at the end of the Old Testament:
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord."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." (Mal. 4:5-6.)
Elijah ministered upon the earth at least twice following this prophecy. He appeared at the Mount to a transfigured Christ, and to Peter, James and John. (Matt. 17:3.)
He also appeared at the Kirtland Temple April 3, 1836.
In that vision, Elijah said, "The keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors." (D&C 110:16.)
"Elijah's latter-day return marked the climax of an unusually rich season of spiritual outpouring at the time the Kirtland Temple was completed," wrote Richard O. Cowan in a paper delivered at the 1986 Sperry Symposium at BYU.
"Just one week following the temple's dedication, the Savior Himself appeared and accepted His house. Moses, Elias, and Elijah . . . , now resurrected beings, also came and bestowed keys of authority, much as had been done on the Mount of Transfiguration."
Dr. Cowan further noted: "There is significance in the specific day when these messengers appeared. The third day of April in 1836 was Easter Sunday. . . . This same weekend was the Passover. For centuries, Jewish families had placed an empty chair at their Passover feasts, believing that Elijah's prophesied return would occur at that season."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by John L. Hart
Sources: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith; The Old Testament and the Latter-day Saints, Sperry Symposium paper, 1986; The Spirit of the Old Testament, Sidney B. Sperry; general conference report, April 1948.