Home Group Notes – Elijah Pt 2

Published by Vision Editorial Team | vision.org.au

Elijah Part 2 (Ay-lay-yah or Ay-lay-yahu)

Last week we began looking at the life of the Prophet Elijah. Here’s a quick recap…(or see last week’s study notes)

Elijah’s story can be read in 1 Kings 17, 18, 19, 21 & 2 Kings 1, 2, & 2 Chronicles 21.

  • He was a simple yet rough kind of man who lived simply and according to the old ways, he ate simply, wore animal skins and had a leather belt around his waist.
  • His ministry life only spanned about twenty years.
  • He was seriously zealous for the Lord.
  • He lived during the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and after then Ahaziah.
  • He did some amazing things and his ministry was defined by eight major miracles and we looked at just two of them last week, raising from the dead the son of the widow of Zarephath and the contest on Mt Carmel between Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al and Asherah.

This is where we pick up the story.

Elijah was a lone voice when he called the king, his people and their false religious system to the challenge on Mt Carmel and for the most part, Elijah probably felt like he was the only one of his nation who still loved God, he was seriously outnumbered but he obeyed the call of God. He stood alone on that mountain before his nation knowing he could pay with his life but he exposed the falsehood of their false religion and God showed Himself to be the One True God. The people responded and revival came to the land. It was a short lived revival to be sure, but it was a revival none the less and one man instigated it at God’s direction. Ba’al worship returned, but we have no way of knowing just how many Israelites were permanently saved from deception simply because of Elijah’s obedience.

If you are called of God, don’t look at your situation and determine that your success or failure is dependent upon those around you or how many people you have on your side; your success or failure is determined by God alone. He’s the One you have to worry about. If you’ve never heard the story of Mr Genor on George Street in Sydney, can I encourage you to hear this story and be encouraged that whatever God has called you to do, your only responsibility is to obey God and leave the results to Him. Here’s the link…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew1srubCw_0

Elijah may have experienced some fear when he issued his challenge to the king, but the Scripture shows him being confident and even somewhat cheeky in how he related to the false prophets themselves. For all intents and purposes Elijah didn’t experience any fear during this challenge, so it’s really a surprise to see how Elijah reacted after this incredible display of God’s unmatched and unquestionable power. Queen Jezebel was so enraged over the slaughter of her false prophets that she sent a message to Elijah saying that within a 24 hour period, he would be as dead as all her prophets were.

Elijah more than anyone knew God was all-powerful and could deal with this wicked woman, but her reputation was so huge, that Elijah literally ran for his life all the way to Beersheva which is a distance of about 165km from Mount Carmel (I checked on Google Earth), he literally crossed the border into the Southern Kingdom of Judah where he couldn’t be followed and caught and he was in a terrible state.

He left his servant at Beersheva and went even further into the wilderness and finally sat under a juniper tree and begged God to kill him; he’d had enough and he wanted to die. He probably thought that after such a powerful display against the false prophets of Ba’al and Asherah, real change would come to the nation starting with the king and his household, but what Elijah got was a death threat from the deadliest woman who ever lived and Elijah simply gave up.

He slept for a while (sheer exhaustion and strain would have finally taken their toll on him) and then an angel came to look after him, gave him food and drink and he slept again; the angel came a second time with more food and drink and it strengthened him so much that it sustained him for 40 days and nights and he set out on another long distance trek, but he didn’t make his way back home to Israel, to the place God had called him to prophesy and speak His words to the people, instead he travelled to Mt Horeb. This mountain is in Arabia, and this was a further 283km distance. Elijah ended up nearly 550km from his home in Israel and he was hiding in a cave in the backside of the Arabian wilderness.

God spoke to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” You see God didn’t tell Elijah to run to this spot, it was all Elijah’s idea and this is where we come to see the flaws in Elijah’s character and he answered God this way…

1 Kings 19:10, ‘He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek my life to take it away.”’

God was very patient with Elijah and told Him to stand on the mountain and the Lord would pass by him. This is extraordinary. A whirlwind, something like a hurricane that was breaking rocks into pieces went by, then an earthquake went by and then a fire went by. Three ‘natural disasters’ sent by God Himself, back to back, passed by Elijah for him to see. Was Elijah afraid? Not that we’re told, he simply stood there and watched as these events took place. God wasn’t in these things, but God was controlling these things and sent these things for a reason; to show Elijah that God is the One who controls all things…even the natural elements of the world around us. When these things had passed by there was a very quiet, gentle blowing, like a really soft breath of wind and Elijah wrapped his cloak around himself and stood at the entrance of the cave to hear what this last phenomenon was. And God spoke to him again…do you know what He said to him? “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It was exactly the same message he’d received before.

What is the lesson here?

God had called Elijah to be His prophetic mouthpiece and Elijah was overcome with fear to the point of wanting to die. Elijah knew that God was the only True and Real God and Elijah had seen God’s power up close and personal, but Elijah had been completely sideswiped with the results that came against him after the contest on Mount Carmel. All Elijah could see was the terror and mayhem around him. When God sent the whirlwind, the earthquake and the fire, the noise and the chaos would have been phenominal and when that all stopped suddenly and there was barely a whisper of breeze, the quiet of the moment would have been ‘LOUD’…and he listened intently to hear God’s voice again very clearly ask, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God didn’t take Elijah out into the backside of a desert wilderness to teach him how to hear the voice of God; Elijah had been hearing the voice of God very clearly for years and years; God was teaching Elijah that he didn’t need to fear the chaos and disaster that was going on all around him or even the death threats of a wicked woman, God was entirely in control of all that was taking place. All Elijah had to do was trust Him. Running out into the wilderness was not where God wanted Elijah. Hiding in a cave listening to a still small voice is not where God wanted Elijah…that’s why God asked him, “What are you doing here?”

What was Elijah’s response? It was the same as the first response…woe is me…everyone’s against me and I’m the only one left who loves You. Woe is me.

How did God respond to him this time? He gave Elijah what he wanted. He told Elijah to head up to Damascus, he was given a couple of final tasks one of which was to anoint Elisha to be his successor.

It wasn’t long after that, that God took Elijah up to heaven without tasting physical death and Elijah’s prophetic ministry was transferred to Elisha but Elijah hadn’t complete his mission.

This brings us to the doubly prophetic side of Elijah the prophet and his particular ministry…he is a forerunner of the Messiah. The Jews today set a place at every Passover table for Elijah, they have a cup of wine for Elijah and before the meal has finished, the youngest person at the table will open the front door in anticipation that Elijah just might be there. They believe from the Scriptures that before Messiah can come, Elijah must come first to prepare the way for him.

Now we know that John the Baptist was the forerunner for Messiah when He came the first time. John came in the spirit of Elijah and was the voice in the wilderness crying out for the people to get ready for the arrival of their Messiah.

John was a rough diamond like Elijah, he wore camel skins and a leather belt, he ate locusts and wild honey, he lived a simple life according to the ‘old ways’ just like Elijah did. He preached a message of repentance and for the people to turn from wickedness and return to the Lord just like Elijah did.

Unlike Elijah however, John completed his mission by pointing out the Messiah, calling Yeshua ‘The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’ in John 1:29. Not too long after Yeshua began His ministry, John’s ministry finished and he was executed. Mission complete.

We know that Messiah will come back a second time and before He does, Elijah will again be His forerunner.

Revelation 11:3-6, ‘”And I will grant authority to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.’

This is talking about two individuals who will be prophetic witnesses during the last of the last days, they will be based in Jerusalem and they will boldly preach the Gospel and during their three and a half years of ministry, and tragically they will be despised. Some will attempt to kill them but these two prophets will have power to destroy their enemies by fire proceeding from their own mouths.

Many but not all Bible scholars believe that these two men will be Moses and Elijah returned. Now Moses died on Mount Nebo but no one knew of his burial site so no ‘body’ was ever found. Elijah was taken up in a chariot and he never died. Moses’ mission to enter the promised land was cut short by his disobedience and Elijah’s mission was cut short by his self-pity.

What’s interesting about these two men possibly being the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11 who will return during the final days of the Great Tribulation period is the characteristic behaviours they will display.

They will destroy their enemies with fire.

  • Elijah called down fire from heaven to demonstrate that Yahweh was God and then destroyed 850 false prophets, he also called down fire on 102 men sent to capture him.

They will have power to shut the heavens so that no rain falls on the earth.

  • Elijah performed this miracle bringing a three year drought that almost destroyed Israel.

They will have power to turn the waters into blood

  • Moses was given this power when he turned all the water in Egypt into blood.

They will have power to unleash plagues on the earth.

  • Moses brought in plagues to crush the Egyptians to force Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go free.

In Rabbinical literature it’s believed that Elijah will play a vital role when the Messiah finally appears…“His real Messianic activity – in some passages he is even called ‘go’el’ which means ‘kinsmen-redeemer’ – will commence three days before the coming of Messiah. On the first day he will lament over the devastation of Israel, but will close with the words: ‘Peace will now come over the earth’; on the second and third days he will speak words of comfort. When the archangel Michael blows the trumpet, Elijah will appear with the Messiah, whom he will present to the Jews. They will ask of Elijah, as an attestation of his mission, that he raise the dead before their eyes and revive such of the dead as they personally knew.’ www.jewishencyclopedia.com

Non-Biblical and extra-Biblical literature is not inspired so we don’t base our theology on them, but what we learn from these additional sources show that the Scripture itself is the source of these teachings; they’re not made up out of thin air. Unlike most Jewish people today who don’t accept the New Testament as legitimate Scripture, believer’s in Yeshua have the benefit and wisdom from both the Old and New Testaments from which to base and build their theology with the Old and New reaffirming and confirming the other.

What is fascinating about this view for the Christian, is that we see this unfolding through both John the Baptist and Yeshua two thousand plus years ago. The Jews are living under judicial blindness at the moment, though there are currently more Jewish believers today than there was even at the birth of the church, and for those still living under this blindness, they wait with longing for the arrival of their Messiah and eagerly waiting for Elijah to come first. We however know that Messiah has already come and John the Baptist in the spirit or anointing of Elijah was the forerunner announcing Messiah’s imminent arrival.

Messiah is getting ready to return again, and if the scholars are correct in their interpretation, this time Elijah will again be the forerunner and this next time will see all of national Israel saved at the arrival of the Messiah for the second time.

Maranatha!!!

Zechariah 12:10, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

Shalom

Mandy

 

 

The Word for Today

 

It Isn’t How You Start, But How You Finish

Are you worried and discouraged today? Maybe in 2021 you had a major setback spiritually. Maybe you even failed in a significant way. Or maybe you find yourself discouraged or spiritually lethargic and you need a jump-start. The good news is, you can start afresh and finish well. Pastor Greg Laurie shares the secret to how.

True Value and Meaning of Our Lives

Does your life have value? Are you an accident or created on purpose and for a purpose? What is the meaning of life? Join Ken Legg as he explores these life-changing questions on this Set Free series.

 

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.