About Historical Elijah In the Old Testament
Prophet Elijah in the History of Israel–As we have already studied in the example of Moses, the life and work of a figure in the Old Testament foreshadow the one who fulfill them spiritually in the New Testament. In that way, the bible testifies about the one to come, that is, the Christ. Therefore, the bible represents Christ as Adam, Melchizedek, Moses, etc.
In the previous post, I revealed that Prophet Elijah actually works in the same way. It means that Elijah was recorded also to teach the one to come, Christ. Especially, Elijah exemplifies the Second Coming Christ who would appear “before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.” To prove Christ Ahnsahnghong is the spiritual Elijah we must first look at the life and work of Elijah the Prophet in the Old Testament. And then we have to show how Christ Ahnsahnghong fulfill the work of Elijah spiritually. Therefore, let us first study the historical Elijah as copy and shadow.
About Prophet Elijah In The History Of Israel
Prophet Elijah in the History of Israel–Historically, Elijah was a prophet of God who lived around 8th Century in the time of King Ahab, a king of Israel. In those days, the land of Israel was divided into two countries, South Judah and North Israel. In South Judah, people still believed and worshiped God even though not with all their minds, hearts, and strength. However, ever since its division from the time of King Jeroboam around 900 BC, North Israel strayed away from God and worshiped idols. King Jeroboam made golden calves and set them up, one in Bethel and the other in Dan. Since then all the kings of Israel followed practice of King Jeroboam and worshiped the idol.
In addition to this wrong doing of worshiping the idol, King Ahab married to a Gentile woman, Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. And he started to worship Baal, the god of Sidonians. This came to cause much trouble to him and the kingdom of North Israel leading them into destruction in the end. At this period God sent Elijah to teach the laws of God. Elijah came from Tishbe in Gilead. His appearance was so unique with a garment of hair and leather belt that it was easy to recognize him. In the time of his prophethood, King Ahab persecuted him because the prophet rebuked him in many occasions. That is why many times he had to run away from the wrath of the king.
Missions Of Elijah
Prophet Elijah in the History of Israel–There are many episodes in the time of his prophethood. Today, we are going to take a look at one episode which contains great prophetical implications. We have to take a close look at these mission of Elijah. It is because these missions foreshadow the works of prophetical Elijah, the Second Coming Christ.
At one time, Elijah visited King Ahab and told him that there would be no rain because the king committed sin against God. (1Kings 17:1) This caused a great wrath from King Ahab. To escape from the deadly grip of King Ahab, he hid himself in Zarephath of Sidon. There he stayed in the house of a widow until God commanded him to go to King Ahab about three years later. When God sent Elijah to the king, God gave great missions to the prophet. Through this visit, God wanted to reveal the true God the Israelites must worship by bringing the long expected rain to the dry land.
1 Kings 18:1 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
Elijah Challenging the False Prophets Of Baal and Asherah
Prophet Elijah in the History of Israel–Finally, Elijah reported himself to the king and told the king to gather up all the false prophets of Baal and Asherah. Once and for all, he wanted to let people know the true God. Deceived by the false prophets, people became spiritually blinded at that time. And they did not realize who to worship.
1 Kings 18:16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” 20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.
When all the prophets were gathered up on Mount Carmel, there were only one true prophet of God against 850 false prophets of Baal and Asherah. At this moment he told people to choose the true God who they must worship. But they could not say anything. Even though they were once chosen people of God, they forgot their God. They got confused because of many false prophets. As a result, they did not know the true God and the true prophet God sent them.
Prophet Elijah in the History of Israel–I will explain the episode that happened on top of Mount Carmel in the following post. To conclude this post, however, I would like to mention the challenge Elijah made to the 850 false prophets. When they gathered up on the mountain, Elijah made a following challenge.
1 King 18:22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Elijah had great faith in God. And he knew that it was only true God who has ability to consume the sacrifice drenched thoroughly with water by fire. With this faith in God, he could make this seemingly nonsensical suggestion. In the end, God responded to Elijah’s prayer by consuming the drenched sacrifice with fire. Then what were the missions Elijah accomplished through this episode? I will reveal the secrets hidden in the story one by one in the next post.