Christ now repeats the words of Malachi 4 to His audience. These are about what will happen before His Second Coming. The day will come that will burn the wicked as stubble, “that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” (1) But the reward for righteous will be great.
“But unto you that fear my name, shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall.” (2)
Jesus tells them that before He comes again, He will send Elijah the prophet to them.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord;
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.“3 Nephi 26:5-6 (see also Malachi 4)
This prophesy was fulfilled in 1836, when Elijah the prophet did indeed visit Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. After partaking of the sacrament with their brethren, the Twelve, those two went behind the veil of the temple and supplicated God in silent prayer. After rising from this prayer, a vision was opened to both of them, which is contained in Doctrine and Covenants 110.
They saw their Lord Jesus Christ, who “accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.” (7)
After this vision closed, another opened and Moses appeared before them, committing keys of the priesthood to them (keys of the gathering of Israel, specifically). (11) Then Elias appeared to give them the keys of the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham.
Another vision opened to them and Elijah appeared.
After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed unto your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.”Doctrine & Covenants 110:13-16
I can’t help but read this scripture and picture my ancestors looking down on me. I imagine them smiling and urging me to find ancestors that have been lost to my knowledge. I can picture those on the other side of the veil helping in ways that they can to inspire us here on Earth, in linking up the generations.
I don’t think they only care about fitting names on a genealogy chart though. I think they care about linking the living to them as well through strengthening their testimonies of Christ and having us partake of the ordinances available through the gospel. I think our ancestors are our biggest cheerleaders in life, if we take time to be still and listen.
Has your heart been turned to your fathers and mothers? If not, maybe try finding a more quiet place to think and ponder for a while. You may hear your quiet cheerleaders more loudly than you ever imagined.