In the Gospels, During the time Jesus asks "Who do men Say I Am" The replies he got shows that the People of Israel, expected Elijah Christ (Messiah) Jeremiah, or one of the Prophet The Prophet"

We glean this from Matthew and Johns account.

 Matt 16 :13  When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He questioned His disciples: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”   14  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets While they were Questioning John too the same thing is Highlighted

Joh 1:21 BSB “Then who are you?” they inquired. “Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”

My questions seem to be from this Verse

  1. Were the expectations of the Jews in these Various Persons, separate from their Expectation of the Kingdom?
  2. Who is "The Prophet" in Verse 21, since we know it is not Elijah
  3. If the Expectations of the Jews on these 3 Persons are connected together to their expectation of the Kingdom.
    Drawing from Moses and Isaiah Then we have, *The Prophet Like Unto Moses *Elijah *The one who prepares the Way and comes before the Day of the Lord *The one who comes into the temple Suddenly. *The Messiah

How does John and Jesus fulfill these Expectations?

  • 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45, ESV)
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 3, 2022 at 12:12
  • Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:45–47, ESV)
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 3, 2022 at 12:17
  • Considering John wrote his gospel after the others, the content of Johns's Gospel, and the length of the Gospels is about as long as practical/typical of papyrus scrolls, John expected his readers to be familiar with the content of the other Gospels and minimized repeating what was in them.
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 3, 2022 at 12:25

2 Answers 2


Let's start with question number 2, since it is the simplest to answer. "The Prophet" refers to the one that Moses predicted.

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet.

As for question number 1, the expectations of the Jews at the time of Jesus were as follows:

  • "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" means who do people think Jesus is. The title "Son of Man" refers to the terminology of Ezekiel and Daniel. But Jesus was actually asking, "who do people say I am?"

  • "Some say John the Baptist" refers to the rumor that Jesus, after John's death, was a kind of resurrected second coming of John, just as John was a second coming of Elijah. See Mark 6:14: 'Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.”'

  • "Elijah" refers to the prophecy of Malachi 4:5: "Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes." This was apparently a widespread expectation. Indeed, Jews still expect it today, and the hope that Elijah will come to precede the Messiah is part of the yearly Passover liturgy celebrated in Jewish homes.

  • "Jeremiah or one of the prophets" probably refers the similarity between Jesus' message and that of Jeremiah, who preached against the corruption of the Temple and promised a "new covenant" (Jeremiah 31:321) in which God would write his law on the hearts of his people.

Question number 3 is harder to explain. John the Baptist fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy of preparing a way in the wilderness, according the the Gospel of Matthew. However, in Isaiah 40:3, the way leads back from Babylon to Jerusalem: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." In context, the people are being invited to return from exile. In the Gospel, "the way of the Lord" refers to John's preaching of repentance in the wilderness. The Bible does not say whether the people saw John is fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy, only that many recognized him as a prophet, perhaps even the Messiah.

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah. (Luke 3:15)

John the Baptist unfortunately seems to have failed to affirm that he fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah's return, because he denied that he was acting in that capacity. Instead, he left it to Jesus to explain that John actually was Elijah, "if you are able to accept it." (Matthew 11:14) Jesus also did not fulfill the people's expectations. They hoped for a prophet, a Messiah "Son of David," who would restore God's sovereignty politically as well as spiritually. Even the disciples saw Jesus in this way, even after the Resurrection:

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6

To the extent that the people expected a "prophet like Moses," they may have hoped for a leader who would enable them to escape Roman rule (as Moses led Israel to escape Egypt) and give them military victories as Moses did over the various tribes who attacked Israel during the Exodus. Some may have expected a more spiritual Messiah, who would bring about Jeremiah's idea of a new covenant. Matthew presents him in this way - both as a new Moses and as a new-covenant preacher - in his presentation of the Sermon on the Mount. But when John denied his role as Elijah, Jesus' explanation that Elijah was actually John fell mostly on deaf ears.


I'd like to address question #2. I do not think this is about the prophet from Deuteronomy 18.

1 Maccabees chapter 4:36-51

36 Then said Judas and his brothers, “Behold, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.” 37 So all the army assembled and they went up to Mount Zion. 38 And they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. 39 Then they rent their clothes, and mourned with great lamentation, and sprinkled themselves with ashes. 40 They fell face down on the ground, and sounded the signal on the trumpets, and cried out to Heaven. 41 Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary.

42 He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, 43 and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. 44 They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been profaned. 45 And they thought it best to tear it down, lest it bring reproach upon them, for the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, 46 and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until there should come a prophet to tell what to do with them. 47 Then they took unhewn[d] stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. 48 They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. 49 They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. 50 Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. 51 They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.

This is the institution of chanukah and may be all, or part, of the reference in John 10 when at the temple for chanukah the Pharisees ask Yeshua why he keeps them in suspense.

Getting to the scribes and Pharisees asking John if he was the prophet comes in 1 Maccabees 14:41-49

41 And[m] the Jews and their priests decided that Simon should be their leader and high priest for ever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise, 42 and that he should be governor over them and that he should take charge of the sanctuary and appoint men over its tasks and over the country and the weapons and the strongholds, and that he should take charge of the sanctuary, 43 and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all contracts in the country should be written in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple and wear gold.

44 “And none of the people or priests shall be permitted to nullify any of these decisions or to oppose what he says, or to convene an assembly in the country without his permission, or to be clothed in purple or put on a gold buckle. 45 Whoever acts contrary to these decisions or nullifies any of them shall be liable to punishment.”

46 And all the people agreed to grant Simon the right to act in accord with these decisions. 47 So Simon accepted and agreed to be high priest, to be commander and ethnarch of the Jews and priests, and to be protector of them all.[n] 48 And they gave orders to inscribe this decree upon bronze tablets, to put them up in a conspicuous place in the precincts of the sanctuary, 49 and to deposit copies of them in the treasury, so that Simon and his sons might have them."

I'm assuming this is expecting the same prophet. Why this one is important to the Pharisees has to do with the fact that this is when Sadducees came into power. The prophet essentially boots them out of the picture.

To address question #3 in part. There was division in Judaism as to exactly what to expect from the messiah. There was division as to his role and whether because of this there were two messiahs in scripture. (This is evidenced in two places, in my opinion, through Caiphus and both sides used by John to indicate they were one and the same). There were also issues as to his nature as being purely human or divine in origin. This doesn't get mentioned, but the 4 gospels address these 4 issues. Matthew has emphasis on his Davidic kingship. Mark on him being the suffering servant. Luke's emphasis is on his humanity, and John hammers his divinity. Yeshua addresses this too in the response back to Peter, whose question you posted.

I don't have enough reputation to comment, only answer. I'd like to add this to the Elijah explanation you received.

From Matthew 16:11, 12

11 And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; 12 I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”

John did not fulfill Elijah's role. If you pay attention to the narrative, immediately after Yeshua's baptism he began performing miracles that Elijah performed.

John told Jesus when he came to be baptized that it should be the other way around. Jesus said, "permit it at this time". To me, it appears Jesus stripped that role from him and took it upon himself. We then as believers take on the role of Elisha. In Matthew 17's comment by Jesus that now he is going to suffer also may be in connection with the curse of Malachi 4 which was a conditional prophecy based upon the response of Israel.

  • Great. You can do well to cite sources for your answer. Dec 3, 2022 at 20:58
  • I'm not using a specific source. The majority of my answer was letting the bible be it's own commentary. If you're referring to the comments on channakuh that should be easily searched for on Google. If it's relating to the sadducees and pharisees that insight was gained from several books on second temple Judaism, but I'm not quoting. I'm simply sharing in my own words what scholarship has recognized. If you'll be specific I'll try to point you in the right direction for further study if that's what you're interested in. Dec 3, 2022 at 21:41
  • Welcome to the sit @Garland_Jones. I agree with you that John did not fulfill Elijah's role and also that Jesus seems to have taken it on, acting as his own forerunner. This is probably one of the reasons for the 'messianic secret.' More practically, Please note that when you are writing/editing you can set off long quotations in block quotes (highlight the text and click on the quotes button (""). This will make it easier to read your answer. Dec 4, 2022 at 0:55
  • Thanks for the recommendation, Dan. I've been struggling with the site since joining. Not only have I been using it through my cell, but the site layout is different from any I've used prior. Dec 4, 2022 at 1:04

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