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Publication TypeEncyclopedia Entry
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsHorton, Jr., George A.
Secondary AuthorsLudlow, Daniel H.
Secondary TitleEncyclopedia of Mormonism
Place PublishedNew York
KeywordsElias (Prophet); Forerunner; Spirit of Elias
Citation Key9460

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Author: Horton, George A., Jr.

Elias is both a name and a title and has four meanings: (1) Elias was a man, presumably of Abraham's time, who "committed the dispensation of Abraham"-which included the blessings of God's covenant with Abraham-to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple (D&C 110:12); nothing more is known about this man. (2) "Elias" appears in the New Testament as the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Elijah (e.g., Matt. 17:3; James 5:17-18)(3) A forerunner in building God's kingdom is called "an Elias" (TPJS, pp. 335-36). (4) A prophet who helps restore something of particular importance is also referred to as an "Elias" (cf. JST Matt. 17:13-14). In scripture, therefore, the name Elias may refer to a preparer, a forerunner, a restorer, to Elias himself, or to Elijah.

Individuals who have acted as forerunners or restorers include Jesus Christ (JST John 1:21-28); Noah as Gabriel (D&C 27:6-7; TPJS, p. 157); John the Baptist (Luke 1:17); John the Revelator (D&C 77:9, 14); Adam as Michael, Moroni 2, and Peter, James, and John (D&C 27:5-13;128:20-21); and Joseph Smith (D&C 1:17-18; TPJS, p. 335). Each of these may be considered an Elias.

Preparatory work in the Church is primarily associated with the Aaronic Priesthood; but when performed by the Melchizedek Priesthood, it is done under the spirit and power of Elijah (TPJS, pp. 336-37). In this connection, the keys given by Elias in the Kirtland Temple (D&C 110:12) were specifically for the Abrahamic Covenant.