«ELIJAH By Frank Borg ELIJAH FIRST EDITION, April 2010 COPYRIGHT 2010 Faithful Church of God in Laodicea This booklet is not to ...»
By Frank Borg
FIRST EDITION, April 2010
Faithful Church of God in Laodicea
This booklet is not to be sold.
It is a free educational service
in the public interest, published by the
Faithful Church of God in Laodicea.
Faithful Church of God in Laodicea
All Rights Reserved
B ehold, 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 (Mal.
“Elias truly shall first come and restore all things” (Matt. 17:11).
In Old and New Testament prophecies, God promises that an Elijah will come on the scene in this ‘end-time’ to restore all things and prepare the way.
Has the Elijah come? Is he among us today? Or is he yet to appear? Get ready for deeper understanding on this most important and pivotal subject.
Table of contents Chapter 1 Elijah the Tishbite Pg. 5 Chapter 2 The role of John the Baptist Pg. 19 Chapter 3 The identity of the ‘end-time’ Elijah Pg. 30 Chapter 1 Elijah the Tishbite T he subject to be covered in this booklet is that of the identity of the ‘end-time’ Elijah. While focusing our attention on this individual, we first of all need to study details and events in the life of the original Elijah (the Tishbite) discussed in the Old Testament. To understand the ‘latter’ Elijah we must understand the life of the ‘former’ Elijah. We will also take this opportunity to discuss John the Baptist and his role in the plan of God.
The Elijah of the Old Testament was certainly a man of God. He was a man through whom God accomplished great things. He was a man who rebuked a nation which was almost totally given over to idolatry. From the passages we shall cover in this chapter, it will be evident that Elijah the Tishbite was one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament through whom many miracles were performed. His greatness, of course, came from God.
We shall study a number of Bible verses, sometimes lengthy portions of scripture, but please take the time to go through each one of them carefully. We must do this to clearly understand what the Word of God is communicating, and ensure we come to the conclusions to which God is leading us.
Israelites turn to false gods Let us begin with a section of text in 1 Kings 12. We will break into the story where Jeroboam, an evil king in Old Testament Israel, was responsible for devising immorality by turning his heart and the hearts of most Israelites away from
God over to false gods. Notice:
“And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense” (1 Kings 12:26-33).
Here we see that Jeroboam turned to idolatry and, shamefully, the people of Israel followed. This demonstrates how easily people can turn away from God unless they have an intimate relationship with Him, are doing His will and are completely under His authority. Jeroboam’s (and Israel’s) idolatry and blasphemy deeply insulted God. It was an act of betrayal. As a result, God directed one of His prophets, Ahijah,
to deliver a message to Jeroboam. Notice 1 Kings 14:
“Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back: Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone” (1 Kings 14:7-10).
Scripture shows that God was provoked to anger because of the evil done against Him. The events which were taking place in Israel at that time, the worshipping of the false gods and so much more wickedness done by the Israelites, were abominable in the sight of God. As a result, He directed Ahijah to deliver a message to Jeroboam, promising God’s correction upon the people because of their actions against their Maker.
History shows that there were a number of kings who reigned after Jeroboam; these kings turned out to be even more evil than Jeroboam! This meant that sin, idolatry and apostasy continued to worsen in the nation. Eventually, an individual by the name of Ahab became king; it turned out that from all his immediate predecessors he was the worst leader for God’s
people. He sold himself to wickedness! Notice:
“But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 21:25-26).
Power and spirit of Elijah Evidently, things in Israel had degenerated and become extremely evil. They had deteriorated to such an extent that God saw fit to bring someone on the scene who would straighten things out. God sought an individual who hated the evil that was going on in Israel. A young man by the name of Elijah feared and obeyed God. He was a man who knew God and had an intimate relationship with Him through prayer. He knew that it was only a matter of time that God would unleash His anger toward Israel for all the evil that was being committed.
Elijah was aware of what was written in Leviticus 26:
“And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I
will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits” (Lev. 26:18-20).
Elijah knew that God would correct the Israelites because of their abhorrent, evil, wicked ways! He knew that God blesses for obedience, but punishes for disobedience. Notice what Elijah told King Ahab further along in the account found
in the book of Kings:
“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1).
This was a bold prophecy and warning which was communicated to the king by Elijah! Here was a young man (Elijah), who went to the king and prophesied with authority that God would not give the king (or the nation) any rain or dew unless there was repentance toward God! Elijah knew he had the backing of Almighty God! Because there was no repentance on the part of King Ahab or the Israelites, Elijah prayed to God. He desparately wanted God’s people to return
to Him. This pivotal prayer is recorded in James 5:17-18:
“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (Jas. 5:17).
Elijah the Tishbite had a close relationship with His Father and could communicate intimately with Him! Elijah had absolute faith in God and that He would respond. On this occasion we see that Elijah prayed to God to shut up the heavens for three years and six months so that it would not rain on the land as a punishment on the people for the evil going on in Israel. Elijah wanted the people to return to God. God responded to Elijah’s prayer and sent a drought on the land.
Understand the tremendous miraculous power being exhibited through Elijah! He went to God and asked Him to shut the heavens and his prayer was answered with power! Miracles, signs and wonders were exhibited through Elijah! And because of his obedience and complete reliance in God, He offered Elijah protection and food during the three years and six month
drought which befell the nation of Israel:
“And the word of the LORD came unto him [Elijah], saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land” (1 Kings 17:2-7).
The rest of the account continues to demonstrate how Elijah had absolute and unwavering faith in God. Even though the brook dried up because of the drought, he knew that God would intervene and give him ‘a way of escape’. Please read 1 Kings 17:8-16 to see and understand the evidence that food did not ‘dry up’ for Elijah throughout the duration of the drought!
Further along in the account, we see another example of a tremendous miracle, sign and wonder being performed through
And it came to pass after these things that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived” (1 Kgs. 17:18-22).
A miracle was performed through Elijah – that of raising this woman’s son from the dead! Elijah prayed and God responded immediately. Meditate on the great power which God manifested through His servant Elijah. Elijah was given the power to raise an individual from the dead!
More miracles - end of the famine Towards the end of the three years and six months drought and famine, God sent Elijah to King Ahab with another
message. Let us follow the account in 1 Kings 18:1:
“And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria” (1 kings 18:1-2).
As the famine got worse, the Israelites wanted to kill Elijah! In their minds, he was the individual who ‘sowed discord’ and stirred up all the problems for the nation, so they blamed him. They held him responsible for what was happening; they knew he had prophesied of the events which they were experiencing. They blamed him and his God for the many thousands who had died in the three years and six months of drought and famine.
When King Ahab found out that Elijah wanted to speak to him, the king presumably saw this as an opportunity to capture him as punishment for the ‘curses’ which he had called upon the Israelites. This didn’t happen. Notice what is stated in
verses 17 and 18:
“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim”.
Elijah, a young man and prophet of God, went before the king and delivered the bold words recorded in verse 18. He told the king that it was by his actions and the actions of the Israelites that the curses were brought upon them. The Bible is replete with examples of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. God is not mocked – when there is disobedience there will be curses to follow. King Ahab and the Israelites were reaping the consequences for their evil actions!
As you follow the interaction between Elijah and Ahab, it becomes evident that the king knew there was something special about Elijah which made him know best not to capture (and kill) him. Once again, Elijah took command of the
situation and made a demand of King Ahab: