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by George A. Horton, 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 Abrahamto 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.
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Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Elias
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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