When Elijah appears, how will we know truly that it is he and not just another impostor?
Scripture gives several guidelines to answer this question. First, the prophet Malachi states in chapter 4 that the prophet Elijah “shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (v. 6). From this statement it would seem definite that Elijah will have a dramatic–and worldwide–impact. He will not be just another evangelist, or another diviner, or another preacher. His message will do something–it will cause a mighty turning. So dramatic will be the result that it will rescue multitudes from an otherwise hopeless fate: “Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
When Elijah was on earth before, he demonstrated awesome power from God. He restored the widow’s son to life. He caused fire to come down from heaven and devour the altar which the prophets of Baal were powerless to do. Not once but twice he caused fire to destroy a company of fifty soldiers who were sent to arrest him. Another time he prayed to the Lord and it rained not “for the space of three years and six months.” Again he prayed and the heaven gave rain (James 5:17-18).
When he returns, he certainly will be able to prove his authority by spectacular feats, for in the words of Jesus he comes to “restore all things” (Matt. 17:11), and how could he do this without restoring the power of the Holy Spirit which he had formerly?
There is a vast difference between claiming Divine power and actually possessing that power. Elijah will leave no doubt as to his qualifications.