“This is Elias, who was to come.”—Matt. 11:14.
“Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.”—John 1:21.
John the Baptist was not literally the person of Elias; and it was proper for him to say he was not, in order to correct the gross notions of the Jews on that subject. Had he answered in the affirmative, and had they believed him, he would have confirmed them in a gross falsehood.
Yet John the Baptist was that Elias of whom the prophet Malachi spoke (chap. 4:5); that is, as Luke expresses it, he came “in the spirit and power of Elias” (chap. 1:17); and so was, as it were, another Elias.
Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 667–684). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.