The Prophet Elijah , was a man of God, who had a prophetic call, this character was the protagonist used by God to bring drought to the regions of Israel because of the idolatry in which they were and was the one who was when God manifested by consummating the sacrifice offered by this man, defeating the 450 prophets of Baal. In the following article we will know everything about the life of this man according to what the word of God says through the Prophet Elijah.
The Prophet Elijah
Elijah in the Bible became a prophet of Hebrew origin who lived in the 9th century BC. C. His name is a Hellenized form that comes from the name in the Hebrew language “Ēliyahū” and which means “My God is Yahweh”. Elijah was a man from Tishbe, in the region of Gilead and east of the Jordan River. The Bible even refers to him in the book of 1 Kings 17:21 and 2 Kings 1:2.
Characteristics of the Prophet Elijah
The Prophet Elijah was a man who was subject to passions equal to those of any human being (as described in the book of James 5:17), after his victory, he flees for fear of the vengeance of Queen Jezebel and goes into the desert, wishing to die. However, after an angel sent by the Lord gave food and drink, he felt very comforted and walked to Mount Horeb, where he hides inside a cave.
In the midst of a depression, the prophet Elijah begins to pray to God and shows a kind of overzealousness in his mission. God appears to him and supports him, manifesting himself as a kind of calm and very soft voice after the winds, the tremors and a fire and gives him some new missions, and ends up pointing to a man named Eliseo as his successor.
Elijah’s prophetic ministry begins at the time of the reign of Ahab (the son of Omri), who came to rule the Kingdom of Israel between 874 BC and 853 BC The authors of the Books of Kings even cite as source of their stories another book which is now lost, which is better known as “the book of the chronicles of the Kings of Israel” (which you can see is mentioned in the book of 1 Kings 22:39 ).
Probably from such a source or another referring to the prophet Elijah arises what is the narrative about the confrontation between Elijah and King Ahab, “who did evil in the eyes of God, more than all those who had preceded him” and that in his He once “took a Canaanite woman, Jezebel, the daughter of Ithobaal, king of Sidon, and went after Baal and Asherah, served him, and prostrated himself before him . “
Not only did the heart of King Ahab deviate from the precepts of God, but in the same way all the people, which caused the execution of the great majority of the prophets of Israel and as a consequence of the iniquity that had in it, God caused a huge drought to come over the nation in the areas of Samaria and therefore, a great famine hit the region.
The First Mission
The Prophet Elijah appears surprisingly in the story announcing to King Ahab the presence of drought in the kingdom. Later, he hides in an oasis that is close to the Jordan and gets fed by ravens; then, by Yahweh’s command, he goes to Zarephath, a nearby town, to the house of a widowed woman, where the prophet arrives to multiply her food and resurrects her son. This is the first documented case of the resurrection of a dead person. Elijah confronts Queen Jezebel, who she had commanded to kill all of Jehovah’s prophets.
The Prophet Elijah challenges the 450 prophets of Baal to come to accept the challenge of the sacrifice of an ox on an altar that is prepared to be cremated. The Prophet Elijah makes an altar or rather rebuilds an altar of God that had been destroyed and apart from that he makes them throw 4 pitchers of water on it 4 times to fill a moat that he had made around the altar.
Jehovah accepts the sacrifice of the Prophet Elijah, to the confusion of all the prophets of Baal, and defeats them on Mount Carmel and orders these 450 to be slaughtered with the help of the people, after which the drought in the kingdom ends.
The Second Mission
The wickedness of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel faced by the Prophet Elijah was not limited to the worship of gods such as Baal and Asherah, but was projected on the dispossession of all his subjects. The episode of Naboth’s vineyard which you can see in the book of 1 Kings 21, is representative of the repeated history of the dispossession of all the lands of the peasants by the rulers and also by the great owners.
Other of the prophets came to refer to these situations: Among them Isaiah; Micah 2:2. The prophet Elijah comes to express the divine sentence against Queen Jezebel and against the descendants of King Ahab. Which was defeated and also died in combat with the troops of the king of Aram, despite having had good omens from the false prophets, so the same thing happened to his son Ahaziah, who walked the paths of his father and mother and caused the people of Israel to sin and soon died.
According to what the book of 2 Kings 2:1-13 says after the death of King Ahaziah, (in the year 852 BC) God comes to transfer the office of prophet to Elisha, “a chariot of fire with horses of fire he separated the two; and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” (It is found in the book of 2 Kings 2:11) in the sight of Elisha himself. Elisha reaches out to grab Elijah’s mantle and it is in this way that he is recognized by God as his next prophet.
Elijah in the Jewish and Christian Traditions
The prophet Elijah, in Jewish tradition, is expected in Israelite homes during all the Passover festivities and a seat at the table is usually reserved for him. The Book of Malachi is the one that foretells that Elijah will return on Judgment Day, a prediction that gives it the sort of symbol status of the Messiah, giving it a very special importance in Jewish belief.
Many came to believe that John the Baptist became the Elijah who came to prepare the way of the Lord according to the book of Matthew 11:7-15 and Malachi 4:5. In fact, to reinforce this mission, John himself even dressed as the prophet Elijah, which you can see in the book of 2 Kings 1:8, 2 Kings 2:1-13.
The Synoptic Gospels, in the part of the Transfiguration passage, come to show Elijah and Moses talking to the Lord Jesus (you can see it in the book of Mark 9:4). The apocryphal Apocalypse of Elijah shows him at Enoch’s side fighting against the son of iniquity who came to kill them, after which they are resurrected, in a very similar way to what happens with the 2 witnesses who meet in the book of Revelation 11 in his confrontation with the beast.
The title or name of Elijah in the holy scriptures is also used in different ways, such as Elijah the Prophet (which is described above).
- The Forerunner: In this case the Prophet Elijah becomes a title that is usually given to one who becomes a forerunner, such as John the Baptist, who came to be sent to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus.
- The Restorer: It is also applied to people for reasons of the particular missions that they would have to fulfill, such as John the Revelator.
What events had marked Elijah’s life?
The Prophet Elijah runs in the rain as the sky turns black. He still has a long way to go to get to Jezreel. And although he is advanced in years, he advances tirelessly, because “the very hand of Jehovah” is on him. The force that comes to propel his body is unlike anything he has ever felt before. He Even he has come to outrun the horses that pull King Ahab’s chariot! (You may end up reading the book of 1 Kings 18:46.)
Now, the prophet goes alone and has a long way to go before him. Raindrops hit his face as he continues to run. Without a doubt, he has a lot to think about, since he has just experienced some exceptional events. He has come to witness a great victory for pure worship and for the true God of all.
The windy peaks of Mount Carmel, now that they are far away and hidden by the storm, were the scene where the Lord God himself used his prophet to deal a tremendous and also miraculous blow to the worship of the Baal gods.
Hundreds of the pagan priests went on to be justly executed after being exposed for all their vile deceptions. Then the Prophet Elijah prayed to his God to put an end to the drought that had come to punish the land for about 3 and a half lengths, and that’s when it started to rain (You can read the book of 1 Kings 18:18- Four. Five).
Why was Elijah likely waiting for things to get better?
While he travels approximately 30 kilometers under the intense rain, which is the same as the 19 miles that separate him from the Jezreel area, he surely gets excited thinking that things are finally going to get better. King Ahab will have to come to change! After everything that happened on Mount Carmel, he will have no choice but to abandon the worship of Baal, better control Jezebel, who was his wife, and stop persecuting all of Jehovah’s servants.
Elijah ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel
It is very normal that we have some illusions when everything seems to be going well. Perhaps some of us think that things will continue to improve, and even that our worst problems will finally be over. It would not be strange if the Prophet Elijah had come to feel that way, since he was a type of “man of similar feelings to ours” (James 5:17). However, his ordeals are far from over.
After a few hours the person will feel so much fear and a kind of discouragement that they will want to die. However, what happened? And what did Jehovah do to rekindle his faith and give him courage?
An unexpected turn
The life of the prophet Elijah came to take an unexpected turn according to the following:
King Ahab continued to disrespect Jehovah after the events on Mount Carmel
When King Ahab arrives at his palace in Jezreel, does he show any sign of having changed? The account says that: “Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and everything about how he had killed all the prophets with the sword” (Book of 1 Kings 19:1). He can see that the king does not even mention Jehovah in recounting all those events.
This becomes a superficial man who sees all those miracles from a merely human point of view and comes to refer to them as “what Elijah had done” . It is somewhat obvious that he has not learned to respect Jehovah. And how does his vindictive wife react?
What message did Jezebel send to Elijah, and what does it mean?
The queen gets all furious. Filled with great anger, so she sends Elijah a terrible death threat that says: “So do the gods, and so add to it, if tomorrow at this time I do not make your soul like the soul of each one of them! ” (You can see it in the book of 1 Kings 19:2). Jezebel is totally determined to kill him in order to avenge the death of all her 450 prophets of Baal.
So much so that she swears that if she does not kill him within a day, she must die herself. Imagine the kind of reaction of Prophet Elijah when he finds out about this. He is sleeping in a humble dwelling in Jezreel during that stormy night when, suddenly, he is abruptly awakened: and it is the queen’s messenger who has come to tell him of his dire threat. What does he feel when he gets to hear it?
Overcome by Fear and Discouragement
Due to such news about the death of the prophet, Elijah is surrounded by fear and discouragement when he learns that they want him dead.
How did Elijah feel about Jezebel’s threat, and what did he do?
If the prophet Elijah thought for a moment that the war against the worship of the pagan god Baal was about to end, his illusions came crashing down at this very moment. Jezebel is not giving up. He has already taken it upon himself to put to death many of Jehovah’s other faithful prophets, and apparently Elijah the prophet was going to be next.
What kind of effect did the queen’s threat have on him? The Bible goes so far as to state that she “frightened him” . They may have begun to think about what could happen to him and even visualized in his mind the terrible death that Queen Jezebel had prepared for him. If so, it is not surprising that fear invaded him. In any case, he “began to run away for his soul”: that’s right, he ran away in order to save his life! (You can see this in the book of 1 Kings 18:4 and 19:3.)
How was Peter’s reaction similar to Elijah’s?
The prophet Elijah was not the only man of great faith who gave in to fear. Something very similar had happened to the apostle Peter a few centuries later. On one occasion, when the Lord Jesus made him walk with him on the water, the apostle placed himself to “look at the windstorm” , with which he became frightened and began to sink (You can observe this story in the book of Matthew 14:30).
The examples of the Prophet Elijah and the Apostle Peter are the ones that teach us a very valuable lesson: in order to preserve our courage, it is not convenient for us to think too much about all the bad things that could happen to us. So we need to fix our attention on the Lord God, from whom comes our hope and power.
The Lord God speaks to the prophet with great authority to remove from him all kinds of fear and trepidation, so that he enters because in God we are more and we should not fear anything or anyone because greater is he who is in us than who is against us.
Escape trip undertaken by Elías and his state of mind.
Being Panicked, Elijah manages to cross about 150 kilometers in a southwesterly direction, until he reaches the region of Beer-sheba, a city located near the southern border of Judah. That is where he leaves his servant and goes into the desert alone. The story adds that this man walks the “road of a day”. As far as we can imagine that it begins at dawn, apparently without taking provisions with it. Being in a depressed mood, fueled by fear and the suffocating low heat, he struggles to make headway in this wild and barren territory. As the sun sets on the distant horizon and the sky turns reddish, Elijah eventually runs out of steam.
Completely exhausted, he sits down under a kind of broom, this bush being the closest thing to a kind of shelter that he could find in that arid place (Book of 1 Kings 19:4).
What did Elijah say to Jehovah in Prayer?
In his complete desperation, the prophet asks the Lord God to take his life. Elijah feels just as useless, so he goes so far as to ask Jehovah the question of what reason there is for continuing to live. Already without the strength to be able to fight anymore, so he implores: “Enough!”. Now after this we can see how the Lord comforted Elijah.
Jehovah Takes Care of His Prophet
At this moment we can observe how the Lord our eternal God takes care of each of his prophets and his children in the most difficult moments of our lives, when we find ourselves without the courage to continue or advance.
God showed kindness to his Prophet through an Angel
After Elijah falls asleep, Jehovah sends him an angel who, gently touching him to wake him up, tells him: “Get up, eat” . And so Elijah does, because the angel has kindly served him, according to what the word says, a simple meal: freshly baked bread and water.
The account goes on to say that the prophet then eats and drinks, and then goes back to sleep. He doesn’t even mention that he thanks the angel. In any case, the angel wakes him up a second time, perhaps at dawn, to be able to tell him: “Get up, eat” . And he adds these words: “Because the journey is too much for you” (You can see it in the book of 1 Kings 19:5-7).
The Food That Strengthened Elijah
So the prophet got up and ate and drank, and kept going by the power of that food that had been given him for the course of 40 days and 40 nights to the mountain of the true God, called Horeb (1 Kings 19 :8). Like Moses some 600 years earlier and Jesus almost 1,000 years later, Elijah fasted for about 40 days and 40 nights (see Exodus 34:28 and Luke 4:1).
Where did Elijah go?
Elijah walked for about 200 miles until he finally reached Mount Horeb or also known as Mount Sinai. This place was loaded with meaning. It was in that place where, many years before, Jehovah had come to appear through an angel to Moses in the burning bush, and it was also in that same place that God established the covenant of the Law with the nation of Israel . And now it is in this very place that Elijah arrives in search of a refuge in a cave.
Jehovah Comforts and Strengthens his Prophet
In times of great difficulty, God comes at the right time and offers comfort and strength to his prophets and sons. At this moment, while Elijah is in the cave, God appears to comfort him and strengthen his faith.
The Angel’s Question to Elijah
On Mount Horeb, “the word” that Jehovah comes to address to the prophet Elijah, which consists of a simple question. He wants to know what it is because Elijah is in that place to which God says: What are you doing here, Elijah? he must have gotten to ask him very kindly, because the prophet feels invited to have to express his feelings.
In this way he vents without fear to which the prophet replies: “I have felt a lively zeal for Jehovah God of armies; because the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, they have pulled down your altars, and have killed your prophets with the sword; and only I am left, and they are looking for me to take my life” . (1 Kings 19:9). His words go on to reveal at least 3 reasons why he is so down.
In the first place, he believes that his work has not come to serve for anything. Despite having become an “absolutely zealous” man in his service to Jehovah over the course of many years and having placed the holy name of the Lord God and his worship above all else, he sees that the situation goes from bad to worse. Your people remain the same, rebellious and faithless, and false religion spreads like a plague.
The second reason becomes the strong loneliness that overwhelms him. “Only I remain” , for which he laments, for he feels that he becomes the only one in the entire nation who still serves Jehovah. Third, he is afraid. Many of the other prophets have already been killed, and he finds himself convinced that he is going to be next. He may not have had an easy time expressing these feelings, however, he doesn’t let pride or embarrassment stop him.
What the Prophet lived in the Cave
In response the Lord tells the prophet to walk out of the cave to the entrance. He obeys without knowing what is going to happen. Suddenly, a strong gale is unleashed. The gusts must emit a deafening noise, because they are so strong that they can tear the mountains and break the rocks. Then he has to fight to stay on his feet, because the ground begins to move. An earthquake is shaking the region! Then, when he has come to recover, a gigantic flame forces him to have to cover himself very well because of the intense heat of it (Book of 1 Kings 19: 11-12.)
Jehovah Used His Amazing Power to Comfort and Encourage Elijah
As the word of God says, Jehovah was not found in any of those spectacular natural forces. Since the prophet Elijah knows that Jehovah does not consist of a mythological god of nature like Baal was, whom all the deluded worshipers of him hail as if he was “the rider of the clouds” , the god who could bring the rains.
Jehovah is the true Source of all natural forces in an incredible way and is infinitely superior to all his creations, there is nothing above Him. In fact, not even the physical heavens can contain him (This is said in the same book of 1 Kings 8:27). However, how does all this help the prophet? Let us remember that fear had come to paralyze him. Now, knowing that he has God Almighty on his side, there is no longer any reason to fear King Ahab and Queen Jezebel!
God introduces himself to his prophet
After the fire, everything is completely silent. Then the Prophet Elijah hears “a calm and low voice” that comes to urge him to vent again, in such a way that he expresses his concerns for a second time. Although the prophet may already feel sufficiently revived, what the “calm and low voice” tells him next is undoubtedly of even greater comfort: Jehovah assures him that he values him too much. How does he do it? He gets to reveal to her what he intends to do in the future against the Baal cult in Israel.
And since nothing can prevent that purpose from being fulfilled, it is obvious that Elías’ work has been worthwhile. In addition, the Lord God, Jehovah still counts on him, since he entrusts him with a new mission and gives him the specific instructions of what he must do so that he can fulfill it (1 Kings 19:12-17).
The Steps Jehovah Took to Encourage His Prophet
As far as we can know the Lord takes 2 measures to encourage the Prophet Elijah. In the first place, he sends him to anoint Elisha, since this is going to be the prophet who will come to replace him some time later. This younger man is going to be his co-worker and assistant for a few years.
Second, Jehovah comes to reveal this news to him: “I have left seven thousand to remain in Israel, every knee that has not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18). That’s right: Elijah was not alone! He must be very happy to learn that those thousands of faithful Israelites have come to refuse to idolize Baal. All of them need the prophet to continue his sacred service, to set an example of unswerving loyalty to them in these terrible dark times.
How long did the drought last?
Elijah even told King Ahab that all that long drought was going to end soon. This came to pass “in the third year” , counting from the time that Elijah had announced the drought (You can see it in the book of 1 Kings 18:1). And Jehovah caused it to rain a short time after his prophet foretold it.
Perhaps that is why certain people reach the conclusion that the drought ended in the course of the third year and that, therefore, it must have lasted less than about 3 years. However, both Jesus and James went so far as to affirm that the drought lasted for “three years and six months” (According to what the book of Luke 4:25 and James 5:17 says). Is this some kind of contradiction?
Not at all. We must bear in mind that the dry season in ancient Israel was quite long, up to 6 months. To be sure, the Prophet Elijah announced the drought to King Ahab when the dry season was already exceptionally long and also intense. Actually, it had started almost half a year before that.
In such a way that when the prophet came to proclaim its end “in the third year” from the day he announced it, it had not rained for almost 3 and a half years. When all the people gathered to witness the great test that occurred on Mount Carmel, the “three years and six months” had already passed .
Think in the same way about the time the Prophet Elijah announced the drought to King Ahab. People thought and believed that Baal was “the rider of the clouds” , the supposed god who would bring rain to the land of Israel at the end of the dry season. As this was already lasting longer than usual, it is likely that they came to ask: “Where is Baal, and when will he bring the rain?” . Prophet Elijah’s announcement that no rain or dew would fall until he said otherwise must have been a tremendous blow to all those idolaters of that time (Book of 1 Kings 17:1).
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