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Elias or Elijah?

D&C 110:12 claims a prophet named Elias committed to Joseph Smith the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham. Elias is the Greek transliteration of Elijah. Elias (New Testament translation) and Elijah (Old Testament translation) appear to be the same person and therefore would not have appeared as two separate beings to Joseph Smith. Only Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus on the high mountain:

Matthew 17:1-4
"AND after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias."

Elias is the Greek name used for Elijah: Helias {hay-lee'-as}, Greek: personal noun masculine. Possible Definition: Elijah meaning "my God is Jehovah", a prophet born at Thisbe, the unflinching champion of the theocracy in the reigns of the idolatrous kings Ahab and Ahaziah. He was taken up to heaven without dying, whence the Jews expected he would return just before the advent of the Messiah, whom he would prepare the minds of the Israelites to receive.

Hugh Nibley in writing on this subject said that it appears to some to be "gross ignorance" on the part of Joseph Smith depicting Elijah and Elias as two different persons. I would have to agree when in fact Elijah and Elias are only different forms, from different languages, of the same name. It was Elijah with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt 17:3, Mark 9:4, Luke 9:30) Joseph Smith clearly shows Elias as separate from Elijah in D&C 138:45 (Elias) and 138:46-47 (Elijah). Hugh Nibley does his best to hide the "gross ignorance" of Joseph Smith. I really thought he was being most intellectually misleading when he suggests a suspicious resemblance between the names of Elijah and Elisha. What does the resemblance between two different Hebrew names have to do with the comparison a Hebrew name and the Greek form of the same Hebrew name? Elijah and Elias are not two prophets but one prophet with one name from Hebrew and the other derived from Greek.

Now take a look at the recent talk by Elder Thomas S. Monson from the April 1997 Conference. I about fell off my seat when he made no reference to Elias, "In the course of his ministry he [Joseph Smith] was visited by John the Baptist, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John..." Notice the absence of "Elias". What happened to Elias? Of course he left out other visitors as well but Elias is left out even though he supposedly appeared at the same time and place as Moses and Elijah. Perhaps Elder Monson just forgot to mention him, but this is odd because he is just as prominent in D&C 138 as Moses and Elijah. I believe Elias was excluded because he really didn't exist as a person, only as another name (from Greek) for Elijah. I believe Elder Monson realizes this on a personal level as is evidenced from the exclusion of Elias from his talk. Challenged in public he would have to admit to Elias due to section 138.

Was Joseph Smith showing "gross ignorance" in not knowing that Elias and Elijah are different names for the same person?

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