The story of Elijah contains an important phenomenon: the manifestation of God. God manifests himself to Moses, to Isaiah, and to Ezekiel. But his manifestation to Elijah is a unique one, it prepares Elijah to become the herald of the Messianic Era.
Christians are awaiting the second coming, even though there is no valid historical proof for it, nor is there a valid way to predict it. In fact, both Jews and Christians have no need for such proof because their belief is rooted in faith. Their faith is the proof.
When the Quranic text tells the story of Elijah (Illias), it does so in ten verses only, where it states that he was among the messengers. But in Sura 18, we are told that Moses meets a mysterious man (Khidhr) or as some suggest, Elijah, who is having a higher position because he knows the hidden or the inner significance of events yet to come. This is the higher level of spiritual understanding that Moses is unable to achieve.
About the authors:
Mishael M. Caspi (BA, MA, Ph.D.), is professor of Religion at Bates College. He is the author of 26 books and numerous articles.
Gerda M. Neu-Sokol (BA, MS), is professor of German at Bates College. She is the author of one book, and a translator of literature and poetry from both German and English.