The Delusion Sent by God… Elijah 14

And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.( I Kings 22:1-5)

God had given Israel victory, over his nemesis, the Syrians. Ahab had been advised and helped by the very prophets of God that He and his wife had once tried to kill.

But Ahab soon forgot God, and played worldly politics, refusing to slay the enemy of God and Israel, Ben Hadad.

Three years had passed in which Syria dared not make any more incursions into the Holy Land. But Ahab decided he would make war on Syria, to recover Ramoth Gilead, a city pledged to Israel by Ben Hadad, but never given.

Ahab sent for Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, to come for a state visit to his capitol in Samaria. There He invited King Jehoshaphat to participate in a joint venture, the recapture of Ramoth Gilead from the Syrians.

Flattered by the offer, and perhaps in a misguided ecumenical spirit, Jehoshaphat pledged his people and horses to the effort. The godly King verbally committed himself to Ahab’s adventure, and now there would be no going back.

Jehoshaphat realized to his horror that without seeking God, he had committed himself, his nation and the integrity of his Kingdom, to a fight that he had no permission from the LORD to be involved in.

So Jehoshaphat asked for a “Word from the LORD”, to be enquired of, by any prophets of Jehovah which would have been in the Kingdom.

Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.( I Kings 22:7-9)

Who were these 400 prophets? They weren’t the prophets of Baal, for they had been slain at Carmel and all but wiped out. Nor were they Jezebel’s prophets of Astarte, for they were prophesying in the name of the LORD.

It could be that Ahab had re-instated the former state religion , the false worship of Jaweh in the idolatrous forms of two Golden Calves, centered in the two shrines, at Dan and at Bethel. We don’t know, but obviously these were not Baalists, they were false prophets of Jahweh, and served the interests of Ahab’s government.

And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king’s hand. ( I Kings 22:10-12)

Their ‘prophetic’ enactments, and use of props, didn’t convince the godly King Jehoshaphat, for none of their utterances held that ‘ring of truth’ evident in the genuine prophetic ministers.

As the two Kings sat in the plaza between two of the city gates, and beheld the spectacle of ‘Prophets’ assuring Ahab of victory, the prophecies seemed hollow.

The use of the prop of horns may have been inspired by a real prophecy, ie the prediction that” Joseph would push down the nations with horns”in Deuteronomy 33:17. Thus in these sham prophets of Jehovah, there was a mixture of scripture and hype.

And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah. ( I Kings 22:7-9)

Ironically, when Jehoshaphat expressed doubts about the veracity of these ‘prophets’ of Jehovah, he inquired further, for a valid man of God. Ahab immediately knew who to send for. But He didn’t like to have to do so, for this prophet, Micaiah, “never prophesied good towards him, only evil”.

In the mind of carnal and pagan men, Prophets are brokers between the world of Spirits and gods, who can secure favorable or unfavorable “Words” (curses) according to the situation. The trick is to find the right ‘prophet’ and to maintain good terms with him, in order to receive a ‘good word’. in Paganism, the categories are not “True and False” rather “good or evil” Words. Ahab believes that Micaiah is against him personally, thus he gives him an evil Word.

But Jehoshaphat knew God and knew that the issue was truth, revealed by God. All that counted was what does God say? What is the reality of the situation? What has God decreed and what should we do about it? Jehoshaphat, who had already unwisely committed himself to Ahab’s fight, needed to know the mind of God, for good or for evil, and what to do about it.

And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak. So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. ( I Kings 22:13-15)

Micaiah is warned to give a “good Word” to the King like the other ‘prophets’ have done. So initially he does so, “Go and Prosper…The LORD gives you the victory…”.

But now even Ahab knows that this ‘word’ isn’t right, and demands the truth, putting the prophet under oath in the name of the LORD.

And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord. And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.( I Kings 22:16-17)

The Truth?

The truth was a vision of Israel routed, leaderless , defeated and in retreat to their homes, scattered and Shepherd-less .

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How Moriel’s Teaching is corrupting…

I have been recieving a steady stream of objections to my open letter to Moriel, from supporters of said ministry, arguing with me against my critique against Jacob’s false teaching on the Metatron. These people are confused, due to this teaching and perhaps due to their eagerness to defend Jacob at all costs, as well as due to Jacob’s refusal to just admit he has been wrong and to try and help God’s flock. He could have cleared this up years ago, and should have.

Every once in a while I publish good examples of this confusion, not for the sake of attacking Moriel ministries, as much as for clarification and warning to God’s flock of the dangers of this seriously flawed teaching, and my pastoral response to it.

I submit one such letter now, (Name omitted)

You know I hear lots of things that preachers teach that is error in my humble opinion. … Among the modern preacher it is my view that Jacob Prasch is doctrinally on the money and Jacob will let other know when he discerns error and he calls them out and rightfully so.

I have this feeling that some so called ‘men of God’ are angry with Jacob because of all the preachers he has called out for false doctrines. Concerning the Metatrone as taught by Jacob that the Metatrone is a Christophany, that is a manifestation or a type of Christ like say Melchizedek as an example. It is factual that many Jewish Christians are taught this.

One argument against Jacob’s teaching is the Metatrone is from the Kabbalah which is considered heretical, thus the criticism of Jacob. Many so called ‘men of God’ are quick to condemn far too often concerning anything that doesn’t jive with their view of Scripture. If I said that a Christophany appeared to many people of many different cultures, the narrow-minded types will jump all over this idea as heretical. I don’t think so, it is a view that can be proved in Scripture and can be disproved by Scripture according to one’s views but I will say that Jacob’s teaching on the subject is factual concerning what is taught to many Christian Jews, that is Jacob’s point, ‘it is taught’. True or untrue, it doesn’t matter to me as far as Jacob is concerned sincerely XXXXX

Here is my reply,

Dear xxxxx, thanks for the input, I appreciate all viewpoints, sincerely held.

As for Jacob, Yes he has had many insights, and his boldness in refuting false doctrine has been an inspiration in the past. I have been a friend and have even taught and traveled with Jacob, since the mid 1990’s till fairly recently. I know Jacob well.

But lets cut to the chase, as they say,

The Metatron he teaches, is a false doctrine.

There can be no Chistophany in the Kabbalah, and there is no Metatron in the New Testament, therefore it couldn’t be a “Christophany” as you claim. The Metatron is an occult concept, derived from an occult book, the Kabbalah and the Zohar, metaphysical treatments of scripture which are demonstrably antiChrist.. I find it sadly ironic that few warn against AntiChrist as much as Jacob, but then He presents an AntiChrist and gives him the attributes of Jesus. This is dangerous.

One other thing sir, you are not qualified to judge the motives of other preachers, and it looks like you are attributing the worst of motives to them simply because they disagree with Jacob.I don’t know your motive but you should think about that.

Your final statement is most concerning, I hope you simply misspoke, “True or untrue, it doesn’t matter to me as far as Jacob is concerned”.

As a matter of fact, Truth does matter, quite a bit. Truth from the pulpit, truth about how a person represents themselves, truth when speaking of fellow ministers and obviously, truth in doctrine matters supremely. For the Church, the body of Christ, Yours truly Pas Bill 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11

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Confrontation and Repentance… Elijah pt 13

And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it( I Kings 21:15-18)

Naboth has been killed, stoned to death after that parody of a sham trial. Jezebel has accomplished this, using and abusing the law of Moses without any scruple. In a stunningly haughty manner she bids her husband to arise and take possession, the Vineyard is now his. Ahab did as she commanded,without asking any questions.

At the same time, by the Word of the LORD, the Prophet of God is told to arise and go to meet the King, in that very Vineyard. As the King arrives with his chief advisers, to savor his new possession, He is confronted by Elijah. Ahab knows full why the prophet is there, greeting Elijah as “My adversary”.

Eidersheim is insightful on Ahab’s comments about Elijah being his “Enemy”-

It was an admission, indeed, in that moment of surprise, of his guilt and apprehension of the Divine punishment announced. But it conjoined with it this – if not in excuse, yet as a counter-charge – that Elijah was his personal enemy, and had lain in wait for the occasion to call down Divine judgment upon him. ( Eidersheim, Bible History)

And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord. ( I Kings 21:19-20)

Ahab is the one who has killed Naboth, a righteous Israelite. Not just Jezebel. Just as in the sin of Adam in the garden, there would be no ‘plausible deniability’. Therefore dogs would soon lick Ahab’s blood as they had licked Naboth’s. A literal eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, to the murderers of Naboth. Jezebel herself, the hateful and murderous priestess of demons would be eaten by dogs herself.

And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord.  Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.  And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. ( I Kings 21:20-23)

Ahab had “sold himself ” entirely to do evil, in the very sight of the LORD”. In other words, He was a slave and the course of his sinful life brought him to do what he did, as a result of constant choices he made, in spite of God’s dealings with him.

Ahab knew that God was real, God had spoken to Him and proven himself. Therefore Ahab will be cut off and his posterity, His fate would be like that of Jeroboam, Baasha , two other notable Shepherds who not only sinned deeply, but had caused Israel to go astray as well. The dogs will not merely lick Jezebel’s blood, they will eat Jezebel. All of Ahab’s children would also suffer the indignity of dying in public and dogs licking their blood.

Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.( I Kings 22:24)

The sin of Ahab was public and so was the rebuke and sentence upon Him by Jehovah. 1

 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. ( I Kings 22:25-26)

But the LORD is ever merciful, and slow to anger, even against one as “sold out to evil” as was Ahab. The King sincerely demonstrated that the Word of the LORD had found its mark and pierced his conscience, by all of the marks of Old Testament repentance, and that publicly. He rent his clothes, put on sackcloth, fasted and under the heavy load of his perceived true moral guilt, He walked softly.

And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,  Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.( I Kings 21:27-29)

Ahab had brought judgment upon the nation, and it would surely come. And Ahab had brought judgment upon himself and his own house, for his personal sins, (Naboth). All of these demanded a righteous retribution, but in God’s mercy the Judgment would be delayed, the axe would fall in the days of His son, and should he have repented, perhaps in the days of his son.

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Ahab’s Domestic Policy…Elijah pt12

And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. ( I Kings 21:1-4)

In the last chapter, we looked at an example of Ahab, the King of Israel’s foreign policy . When threatened and even humiliated by the King of Syria, He went to war, and allowed himself to be directed and helped by prophets of God. As a result, God gave him a signal victory over his Syrian enemy.

But when He had a chance to execute Divine vengeance on the King of Syria, a war criminal, idolater, and inveterate foe of God and His people, Ahab indulged in elitist compassion. Not the mercy of God, of course, for God wanted to slay Ben Hadad. Ahab followed in the footsteps of Saul, who spared “the best of the Amalekites”, including their King. He refused to wage holy war, instead he indulged in worldly ‘compassion’. In fact he showed kindness to the cruel, for his own aggrandizement.

Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord. None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.( Leviticus 27:28-29)

Ahab pretty much repeated the error of the Syrians, for instead of acting as one who was given undeserved victory by the grace and power of Jehovah, He was treating God as a national Deity, and behaving as though the decisions for Israel, going forward, belonged to him. He decided it was best to spare Ben Hadad.

By contrast we are given this sordid story about Ahab’s Domestic policies.

Ahab had a prosperous neighbor, Naboth by name, who had a very beautiful Vineyard on his land. Ahab wanted it and offered to either buy it or to give Him a different Vineyard.

Naboth could not do so, for religious reasons. The land of Israel was sacred and allotted to the various tribes, clans and families as an “inheritance from the LORD”, which technically could never be forfeited. It was a matter of Naboth’s faith, (Evidently He was one of the 7000 God had reserved for himself).

The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold.Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption,then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property.But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall revert, that he may return to his property.( Leviticus 25: 23-28)

Of course this frustrated and saddened Ahab, to the point that he pouted like a petulant child, and even went into a kind of depression.

Ahab’s wife, (the Priestess of Baal), Jezebel , noted Ahab’s sadness and marveled that the King of Israel would be so easily stymied, when he could just seize it, as any other godless pagan King would do if he had the power to do so. In Paganism, might makes right.

But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.  And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth, ( I Kings 21:5-8)

Jezebel would take care of it, without the normal scruples of an Israelite King, still under the residue of Biblical morality. She had no such inner restraints , and neither did those in circles of power around her in that Kingdom. This passage very much reminds me of our situation in Washington DC today. We have Judges and senators who do not regard God or men! Woe to us!

Jezebel resorted to law-fare to seize Naboth’s property. She arraigned Naboth on false charges of blasphemy. In calling a fast on the community of Jezreel, she was hypocritically giving the appearance of outrage and offended piety, as if Naboth’s “blasphemy” had endangered the city which had tolerated t, and incurred some kind of Judgment, (I Samuel 7:6).

In another hypocritical nod to Deuteronomy, she subborned two witnesses, to verify that He had indeed blasphemed the King of Israel, the visible representative of God, in effect denying God himself. This crime was punishable by stoning, and to be carried out immediately.

Thus in a foretaste of the sham trial of Jesus himself, Naboth, a pious and God fearing Israelite was executed after a trial which made a mockery of the Law of God, letter and Spirit.

Ironically the property of those accused of blasphemy was to be offered to the LORD as a whole burnt offering, and not confiscated by the state. But Jezebel handed Naboth’s Vineyard over to Ahab as a prize, furthering the blasphemous proceedings.

This was Ahab’s domestic policy, by contrast to his foreign policy.

There would be no “brotherly compassion” for a truly pious Israelite, seeking to please God, no mercy, no quarter, and no understanding as He had given to a Pagan King and enemy of God. Just the use of power to seize, falsely cause, and to murder, even utilizing the Law pf God to do so, to give an appearance of propriety. Though Ahab delegated all to Jezebel, God would hold him to be the responsible party in this debacle.

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Ahab’s Foreign Policy… Elijah 12

Now Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his entire army. Accompanied by thirty-two kings with their horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria and attacked it. He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.’” The king of Israel answered, “Just as you say, my lord the king. I and all I have are yours.” The messengers came again and said, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘I sent to demand your silver and gold, your wives and your children. But about this time tomorrow I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.’”The king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land and said to them, “See how this man is looking for trouble!When he sent for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold, I did not refuse him.” The elders and the people all answered, “Don’t listen to him or agree to his demands.” So he replied to Ben-Hadad’s messengers, “Tell my lord the king, ‘Your servant will do all you demanded the first time, but this demand I cannot meet.’” They left and took the answer back to Ben-Hadad. Then Ben-Hadad sent another message to Ahab: “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in Samaria to give each of my men a handful.”( I Kings 21:1-8)

Israel was set at the very crossroads of the known world, a tiny nation situated between mighty foreign powers, and smaller but virulent rivals in the Ancient near East. God situated her there for His own reasons, among them being, that if Israel trusted in God, those mighty powers were kept at bay, and she(Israel) would hold her own as a witness to the Pagan world. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD’ saith the Psalmist.

However if she should prove faithless, she would have to rely upon worldly statecraft, appeasement (Vassalage) , inter marriage, and other dubious worldly means, just to survive. Just as she is today, Israel was placed in the worst, most hostile neighborhoods in the world.

Aram (Syria) was a perennial foe of Israel, and the Kings of Syria aged constant warfare against her, since the collapse and split of the Kingdom.

In this story, Ben Hadad imposes a humiliating demand, for Ahab’s silver, gold and the best of his wives and children! But notice how quickly Ahab complies, in a humiliating defference to this pagan King.

Ben Hadad, sensing weakness, came back with an even more humiliating demand; He would have his officials come and search Ahab’s palace, and the houses of his top ministers, in order to take “anything of value”. Ahab was expected to comply to that also, like a eunuch.

This was too much for his council, who urged him to refuse the demand, and this initiated another round of the long war between Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’”Ben-Hadad heard this message while he and the kings were drinking in their tents, and he ordered his men: “Prepare to attack.” So they prepared to attack the city. Meanwhile a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.’” “But who will do this?” asked Ahab.The prophet replied, “This is what the Lord says: ‘The junior officers under the provincial commanders will do it.’” “And who will start the battle?” he asked. The prophet answered, “You will.”( I Kings 21:11-14)

Ahab in his indignation, and in the new found courage bolstered by the support and council of the advisors, admonishes Ben Hadad about being presumptuous.

God is good, even to the King of Israel, who vacillates between faith in God and submission to his pagan wife. A Prophet comes with a promise and instructions as to how to win the battle with the Syrians.

They were to strike while the Syrian General staff were drunken, and the audacity of Israel’s attack, caused a panic among the much larger Syrian army, which led them into a rout, and a retreat. The Syrian army was defeated, Horses and Chariots destroyed and Israel was victorious as in olden times.

But Ahab received another prophecy, to prepare for the next attack, in the Spring.

We are taken into the council of the Syrian army, which was preparing to attack Israel again in the Spring. Being Pagans, they misunderstood the nature of Israel’s victory over them.

Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. 25 You must also raise an army like the one you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.” He agreed with them and acted accordingly.( I Kings 21:23-25)

Again Syria marched against Israel, and met them at Aphek, a battlefield of rich historical significance, (Where the Philistines had once captured the Ark in battle). There is a comparison between the two armies, Israel was split into two camps,”Like two small flocks of goats”. Aram (Syria) covered the valley with her hosts.

Again a Prophet of Jahweh brings the Word to Ahab,

The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”( I Kings 21:28)

The Arameans have blasphemed, in comparing Jahweh to the regional “gods” of the pagans, therefore they will be defeated. (What a message to Ahab!).

For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.( I Kings 21:28)

There were massive casualties on the part of the Syrians, and even such Divine interventions such as a collapsing wall, it was all so obvious that God was helping Israel, even in spite of their unbelief. Eventually the Syrians are defeated, and their King Ben Hadad is trapped.

There is a council among Ben Hadad and his surviving staff,

His officials said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.” Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live.’”( I Kings 21:30-31)

They had heard of the humane qualities of the Kings of Israel, and counted on it. “Put on a touching show of humility and go out to meet Ahab, and ask for your life”.

When Ahab hears that the King of Aram had survived, He is touched, and sends for him. There is a touching and emotional meeting, an alliance is formed, and Ahab allowed this idolatrous King to live and even to go home. After all, they had a lot in common, Ahab himself vacillated between true worship and idolatry. He made peace with evil. He had shown compassion to the cruel.

Ahab felt like he had the liberty to be magnanimous, he felt a unity with this pagan King, therefore he would let him live.

But the God of Israel had something to say about this also, for He had determined that this blasphemous idolater Ben Hadad should have died.

An elaborate prophetic enactment is set forth by a Prophet of God. ( Evidently the seven thousand who have not bowed their knee, are coming out of the woodwork!), The Prophet asks someone to strike Him to make him look like he had been wounded. He then finds Ahab and tells him a story about being told to keep watch on a captive,but through neglect, the captive escaped.

As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent[b] of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.”“That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.”( I Kings 21:37-39)

This story is a recapitulation of Nathan’s parable to King David about a poor man’s sheep, taken by a more powerful man. It was designed to get David to judge himself, and this parable had the same design. Ahab made a snap judgment, not realizing he was condemning himself in the process.

Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets.  He said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die.[c] Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’” Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.( I Kings 21:41-42)

This was Ahab’s foreign policy, it was humanistic, indulgent, touchy feely ‘compassion’ on the cruel. He refused to wage total war on evil, there would be no holy war against paganism in God’s name.

Ahab was ever ready to count himself among the elite, the “Kings of the earth” who look our for each other, and wage ‘civilized war’ sparing their counterparts, but letting other “lessers’ die as fodder. Very much like modern, never ending, irresolvable conflicts.

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God’s Triple Response… Elijah pt 11

And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:  And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. ( I Kings 19:16-18)

Elijah the Prophet had come back to Horeb, to the place where the Covenant had first been received. Like Moses He had been placed in the cleft of the Rock and was given a revelation from Jahweh, who passed by the cleft, just as He had in Exodus 34 with Moses.

Elijah had wanted Fire, earthquakes and Storms to fall on intransigent Israel, because it seemed to him that his labor had been in vain, even after Mt Carmel, and the total revelation of the power of God. Yet they had rejected God, the Covenant, snd seemed to be incorrigible.

So the LORD passed by the Prophet, trembling in the cave as a mighty Wind passed, and a Firestorm and an Earthquake, yet “the Lord was not in them”. Eidersheim again,

The storm which rends, the earthquake which shakes all to its foundations, the fire which consumes – these are but His messengers which at most precede His coming. But Jehovah Himself is not in them. When He cometh it is not in these, but in the gentle stilling of them. To learn this was a real, though not an expressed, answer to Elijah’s despondency and to his accusing appeal against Israel, the more touchingly conveyed that, being indirect, like the answer of Jesus to the inquiry of the Baptist, it carried instruction but not rebuke. The mood of both was the same, their doubts, and the reply given to them. It was in effect, See what the LORD really is, purposes, and doeth; and learn reverently to bow and to adore. God is greater, higher, better than appears only in judgment: do thy work, and leave the result to Him – He will make it plain.Eidersheim, Alfred, OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY

Yes the LORD has power over these forces, and can use them to excercise his Judgments. And yes, the fire will fall, the storm is already brewing over the head of Israel, and yes there will be a God sent earthquake that shall shake “everything in the Kingdom that can be shaken”.

But in the meantime, God is speaking, through a still small voice, to whosoever will hear. And quietly, even in apostate Israel, there are people who are hearing and turning.

But in a parallel to what He showed Moses, when He stood in the cleft, God assures Israel that “He will by no means clear the guilty” , therefore

  • A man named Hazael was to be anointed King in pagan Syria. He would be used to invade Israel, and make devastating incursions on the Land, such as it had never experienced before, as a judgment on a mostly unrepentant people.
    • Jehu, an army officer was to be anointed King in Israel. he would be zealous to execute Divine vengeance on the House of Ahab, and on the entire apparatus of Baal, and those who sympathize with the idolatry.
    • Finally a man named Elisha would be used to kindle the fire set by Elijah, and further it, across the Land of Israel. There would be those 7000 who hear the still small voice, and there will consequently be a congregation, a remnant in Israel.
  • Everyone would be effected one way or the other. If Hazael doesn’t get you Jehu will, and if Jehu doesn’t ‘slay’ you, Elisha will, but one way or the other, God would have his way

So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.  And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.( I Kings 19:19-21)

Elijah himself only fulfilled the anointing of Elisha, the other two were performed by Elisha(Anointing Hazael) and an unnamed Prophet sent by Elisha (anointing Jehu). But these three were the program of God for Israel; Elisha, Jehu and Hazael.

Elijah came across Elisha, as He plowed, with 11 of his servants, each driving an oxen. The Prophet threw his mantle on the young man, to whom the symbolism was obvious. He was being called to be a disciple of the Prophet.

When He asked only that he be given time to say goodby to his parents, the answer of Elijah seems unduly stern.”Go back again, What have I to do with you?”, but the prophet was only underscoring that it was important that the decision to follow on Elisha’s part be entirely voluntary, and that he be given every “out” and that his service to God be completely freely given.

When Elisha took the plow and the yoke by which he bound his Oxen, and slaughtered the beast, He was “forsaking all” to follow God. Glady did He do so, for he then threw a farewell feast for his friends and family. No turning back, Elisha was now “all in”.

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The Still, Small Voice…Elijah pt 10

 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?( I Kings 19:9-13)

A very dejected and exhausted Elijah leaves the promised Land, and heads South, basically reversing the Exodus. When He arrives at Sinai, he found his way up to a cave, (the text says “The Cave”, perhaps the well known cleft of the Rock Moses had once stood in, as indicated by Kiel and Delitsch, below).

Appearance of God at Horeb. When Elijah arrived at Horeb, he went into the cave (the definite article in המּערה , with the obvious connection between the appearance of God, which follows here, and that described in Exodus 33 points back to the cleft in the rock, נקרת הצּוּר ) in which Moses had stood while the glory of Jehovah passed by, and there he passed the night. ( Kiel and Delitsch I Kings 19)

There the Word of the LORD comes to him, asking him “what are you doing here,Elijah?”.

Elijah is recapitulating the experience of Moses, after the golden calf, in which he climbs the same mountain, to intercede for the sinning people,

And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.  And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.( Exodus 32:30-32)

But this ‘Moses figure’ , Elijah, prays against the sinning children of Israel,

And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. ( I Kings 19:10)

The answer of the LORD? He summonsed His servant out of the cave so that Jahweh might pass by Him. (Similar to the events in Exodus 33-34, in which Jahweh passed by Moses, revealing his name).

In the case of Moses, He had asked God to “Show me your glory”, and the answer was a revelation of the name (Attributes and perfections of God).

In this case, that of Elijah, He had poured out his frustration and sorrow at the sins of Israel, even in spite of the mighty demonstration of Power on Carmel. Would any of it matter? Elijah seems to have come in the mode of “It is time for you to work OH Lord, for they have made void thy law!”.

In the cave, at the cleft of the Rock, God passed by in the power of a mighty destructive wind, so strong was the wind that it was splitting rocks along the face of the cave. The text says “It was not in the Wind that Jahweh was… “. Next an earthquake came, and again, “It was not in the earthquake that Jahweh Was…”, and finally, Elijah saw fire go by, and again “It was not in the fire that Jahweh was…” .

The point is not that Jahweh doesn’t use those things, after all Elijah had just witnessed, (with the entire congregation of Israel, on the mountain top of Carmel), fire fall from heaven and lick up sacrifice, stones and even the water poured into the ditch! Earthquakes, tempests, and fires are all manifestations of God’s awesomized power indeed.

When the sin reaches its apex and the people seem to be incorrigible, there have been times when God has employed those powers and others, such as flooding the entire earth and sparing only eight people. The wrath of God revealed is what happens when people become unreachable.

But where is God, if not in the fire, the earthquake and the Tempest? What is God’s preferred method of drawing men and women, and revealing himself to the hearts of sinners and saint alike?

God is in the “still small voice”, and when Elijah heard it, He wrapped his face in his mantle, (Reverently positioned for worship), and stepped forward, closer to the sound of the gentle wind.

God speaks, and in his dealings with men, He has bound himself by his own Word. In His mercy He would plead, convict, convince, argue, persuade men, and as a last resort, He has the power to do earthquakes, fire, the Wind. His power is in the gospel, he uses the Bible, and preachers and teachers as well as witnesses, to reach fallen men.

Parrallel to the revelation given to Moses, who also stood in that cave as the LORD passed by, God revealed himself afresh and anew to His prophet , as being “Slow to anger, abounding in mercy, goodness and truth…”.

Eidersheim again perhaps says it best in His Old Testament History,

With reverence be it said that, in the mood in which Elijah had come, no more fitting answer could have been made to him than this awful and glorious self-manifestation of Jehovah. If the LORD Himself had not been in the desolating messengers of terror, why should Elijah have expected it in the judgments which he was commissioned to execute? Nay, if Elijah himself had come forth to worship not in the storm, the earthquake, nor the fire, but had waited for the Presence of the LORD in the soft, gentle, stilling sound, why should he wonder if the revival of Israel’s worship awaited a similar manifestation? But God would in the meantime take care of His own cause.

Again, the LORd asked his prophet, “What are you doing here Elijah? And again Elijah poured out his complaint, and his belief that He was the only faithful one left.

But was it really as absolutely hopeless in Israel as Elijah had come to believe? Was Elijah sure that Carmel and his confrontation with Baal had been of no effect?

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. ( I Kings 19:18)

God will always preserve for himself a noncompromising remnant, a people who will love Him and stay true no matter what befalls them.

And of course God will bring others in, before the fire falls, for fall it must. How God would rather have men listen to his “still small voice” but that won’t keep him from applying other more violent means in order to undergird his Holiness and glory. So Elijah is given a threefold commission to undertake the fulfillment of God’s purposes,

And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.

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Exhausted Retreat… Elijah 9

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.( I kings 19:1-3)

For a brief moment, after the showdown at Mt Carmel, and the humiliating defeat of Baal, it looked like Israel was returning to the covenant. A crowd of Baal worshippers prostrated themselves and confessed in public that “The LORD, He is God”, the King of Israel partook of a covenant meal, the congregation of Israel zealously helped the prophet of God to purge out of their midst the Priests of Baal, the King in his chariot was following the prophet down the mountain, and perhaps most importantly, God had sent rain to the parched, sin cursed land.

The Covenant was seemingly renewed. Perhaps the newly converted Ahab would now allow himself to be guided by the Prophet of God, and the Nation would come back to the true worship of God?

But would King Ahab’s repentance hold up, under the pressure of his demonically inspired wife? Elijah lingered at Jezreel, just long enough to find out.

To Elijah’s utter dismay, and perhaps even depression, it became obvious that yet Jezebel was in charge and eager to separate her vacillating husband from the powerful influences of the prophet, thus the threat and the 24 hour deadline. The newly converted King had come back under her powerful spell.

When Elijah saw the situation for what it was, he fled for his life, leaving the boundaries of the promised land, again. He headed south, and crossed over the border into the Kingdom of Judah, and headed further south into the wilderness of Paran and on into Sinai.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.( I Kings 19:4-8)

Behold the tender mercy and compassion of God on his weary servant, feeding him, in the wilderness ( as He had done for Israel)and refreshing his weary soul.

Truly Elijah was exhausted, and no doubt discouraged, perhaps emotionally spent after the drama of the confrontation on Carmel, and all that led up to it. It looked like the nation would be renewed, and that the majority was on His side, surely Israel would turn as a nation again to God, even the King! But seemingly all of that was for naught.

Where was Elijah headed? To a place of much significance, in the covenant history of Israel, to Mt Horeb where Moses received the covenant, and where He had sprinkled the people with the blood, and where the people agreed to follow God. He was going back to the place of the source.

This underscores the similarities between Moses and Elijah. Both underwent Divine training, in obscurity before they stepped into the scene. Moses confronted his Pharaoh, Elijah faced Ahab. Pharoah’s magicians are akin to the Priests of Baal, and Each of them were fed in the wilderness by God. Even the forty days are parallel. And both of them arrive at Mt Horeb, Moses to receive the covenant, and Elijah to renew it.

No wonder that Moses and Elijah both appear before Jesus at the transfiguration. In Jesus the mission of Moses and Elijah is fully vindicated and fulfilled.

And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? ( I Kings 19:9)

After forty days wandering in the wilderness, Elijah arrives at Horeb, and to the Cave. The King James says , ‘a cave’ but the Hebrew Text has a definite article before it according to Alfred Eidersheim, it is “The Cave”.

And so he came ultimately unto “the mount of God,” to “the cave”**  – perhaps the very “clift of the rock” where Moses had first been permitted to hear the glorious revelation of what Jehovah was and of what He purposed.( Eidersheim, Alfred, Old Testament History)

Furthermore, Yahweh literally asks Elijah to “State your purpose , Elijah”.

This is no therapy session for Elijah, as modern commentaries and interpreters often make it out to be. Elijah, as a prophet of the only true God, is essentially a member of God’s council. He is like an attorney who prepares briefs, delivers charges, listens to sentences, and stands in the very council of the LORD, like an officer of the court.

Jeremiah brings this out in his denunciation of false prophets,

 For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?… But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. ( Jeremiah 22:18,22)

Elijah has come to the Holy Mountain to regroup, to meet with the God of the covenant, to stand in the council of the LORD and to receive fresh orders. He will also intercede against Israel, and make a complaint of their actions. Is all lost? Is Elijah the only one standing for God? Will the covenant be renewed? Where do we go from here?

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The Repair of the Altar… Elijah pt 8

And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.  And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.( I Kings 18:30-38)

The Assembled people of Israel, had spent the day watching the exhausting antics of the pagan priests of Baal and Ashteroth, first praying and pleading with Baal for an answer, then they witnessed the spectacle of them leaping and dancing, then finally the ‘worship’ service degenerated into bloodletting and self mutilation, all in an effort to prove to the people that Baal was Lord.

But it was futile, as well as exhausting. There was no answer, the Altar remained unlit, the Skies remained brass, and the sun began to set on the religion of Baal. They had employed all of their arsenal of superstition, sympathetic magic, and even self mutilation, but to no avail.

Finally Elijah gathered the people unto Him, on Mt Carmel to see if the LORD, the God of Israel whom they had once rejected, could prove himself. In calling them to himself, he was also bringing them into the participation of the sacrifice. They would help gather the stones. dig the trench, and bring the water and sticks that would be needed.

The first step was to repair the Altar, which had long been neglected and had fell into ruin. It would have been an altar which had once been used before the Temple was constructed. 12 Stones were selected, (although Israel at this time consisted of ten tribes). Elijah was going back to the beginning, in happier times when Israel was 12 tribes, whom God had chosen and blessed.

Even after the nation split, in the days of Solomon’s son Rehoboam, it was the will of God that the two nations remain indivisible, if not politically, then religiously. They were still to be 12 tribes united in the Worship of Jahweh. This was the meaning of the selection of 12 stones for the Altar.

But Jeroboam, the first King of the divided ten tribes, had lured them away from the Temple in Jerusalem, and thus the true Priesthood, Altars, sacrifice and religion. Jeroboam had invented a pseudo religion for Israel, with two new centers for worship, and a new Priesthood.

But Elijah was taking the nation back to where they were when they went astray.

We who stray, always have to go back to the beginning, in our case it would be the Cross of Jesus and all it stands for.

‘Israel shall be thy name‘, Elijah took them back also to the name given, in a dark night of struggle, Israel, the Prince who struggles with God and prevails. Through His prophets, God would alternate between calling them’Jacob’ or ‘Israel”, which is the ideal name. She doesn’t always live up to it, and in the case of the ten tribes, she cast it aside spiritually, she no longer struggled with God, she wanted to be like the world, and so she worshipped foreign Gods; first the golden calves, but eventually she worshipped Baal and Ashteroth.

One day Israel shall truly be Israel, but it will only so after the blackest night, the great Tribulation, the “time of Jacob’s troubles”. As in Genesis, Jacob becomes Israel by wrestling, then clinging to God, Israel wins by losing to God, not by forsaking him.

He took the stones and built an Altar in the name of the LORD. True worship, in ‘Spirit and in Truth’ is what is called for. In the name of the LORD means to worship by the God appointed means, and offering the God appointed sacrifice, and in faith in the Salvation God would accomplish. Elijah consecrated the altar by prayer in Jahweh’s name.

Israel was dying, for she had attended foreign altars, and had forsaken the LORD. Her ‘worship’ had become ridiculous, and evil, it had become a perverse parody of what God had intended of the “Holy Nation and ‘Kingdom of Priests’. The new ‘worship’ was indeed a celebration of death and decay, an affront to the LORD of Life.

But in repairing the Altar, Elijah, like all true Prophets was showing Israel the way back to Life.

Soaking the trench, the wood and the sacrifice would give the effect that the fire which fell was from heaven, and miraculous as it consumed everything. But perhaps the pouring out of water on the sacrifice, altar, and filling the trenches around the altar held a symbolic meaning, perhaps a visual picture of the repentant prayer and confession of sin of the people, or of a drink offering in the place of Israel.

We are told that it was the time of the Evening sacrifice. The Sun was setting, the exhausted Baalists were defeated , and the congregation had been enlisted to attend to the Altar of Jahweh. The Altar dripped water, the sacrifice, now sodden, gleamed in the setting sin, rivulets made their way down the stones, the trench overflowed. A silence descended when Elijah began to pray a short, direct prayer,

And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.  Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. ( I Kings 18:36-37)

The prayer was about the LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He alone would perform the miracle, and to Him alone must the people turn. He would make them know, once and for all, and conclusively, that the LORD, He is God. Elijah had only performed the Word of the LORD. What was the LORD’s purpose in all of this? To turn Israel’s hearts back to Him again!

He had said it, and, as when first the Tabernacle was consecrated (Leviticus 9:24), or as when King Solomon (1 Chronicles 21:26; 2 Chronicles 7:1) brought the first offering in the Temple which he had reared to Jehovah, so now the fire of Jehovah leaped from heaven, consumed the sacrifice and the wood, enwrapped and burnt up the limestone rocks of which the altar was constructed, and with burning tongue licked up even the water that was in the trench. One moment of solemn silence, when all who had seen it fell in awe-stricken worship on their faces; then a shout which seemed to rend the very air, and found its echo far and wide in the glens and clefts of Carmel: “Jehovah, He the Elohim! Jehovah, He the Elohim!” (Eidersheim, Alfred, the Bible History)

And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.( I Kings 18: 40)

But the victory wasn’t complete, for those who had brought and promoted idolatry into the land of Israel, had to experience judgment. Therefor the next step was for Elijah to supervise the slaughter of the Priests of Baal.The evil had to be put away from Israel.

Ahab saw all of this and was stunned. Jezebel wasn’t with Him, but he witnessed the mighty works of God. Elijah summonsed Him to share in the covenant meal, for he had become (for the time being) a convert as had all of the rest of those who witnessed. Israel had been converted to God, King Ahab would eat a share of the sacrifice.

 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, ( I Kings 18:41-42)

Elijah had one other task to attend to on the evening of miracles; fervent prayer for Rain.

 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down that the rain stop thee not.( I Kings 18:43-44)

The new convert, Ahab had to hurry, for the Rain was coming to such a degree that it would have impeded His chariot, had he lingered longer. So he loaded up with his servants and began the descent down the mountain to the plain, in the rain.

Suddenly the Spirit of the LORD inspired Elijah with power to run, He ran so fast he overtook the Chariot, in effect, leading the way before the LKing, as if He were one of his announcers. But Elijah only ran as far as the entrance to Jezreel, where the King was going, and where Jezebel, the High Priestess of Baal was staying. The King himself would have to decide how far he wanted to proceed in his new conversion.

 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.( I Kings 18:45-46)

Thus for this brief, short amount of time, all was as it should be;Israel had rejected the priests of Baal, and returned to God, and the King of Israel was following a Prophet (the Word of God) as he rode furiously in that chariot.

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The Sun sets on Baal… Elijah pt 7

 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.  So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.( I Kings 18:19-21)

The time had come for the moment of Truth for the apostate nation of Israel. God had raised up Elijah to bring the nation to this point of decision, would they continue to serve Baal or would Israel return unto the LORD ?

What is Baalism?

Baalism, was the religion of Canaan, which was supplanted when God sent the Hebrews into the promised land, with instructions to destroy everything that had anything to do with Baal and his consort Ashteroth; any idols, groves, priest, altars, worshippers of Baal, all were to be driven out of the promised land, and uprooted without hesitation.

Baal and Ashteroth were fertility gods, and the worship of them involved every imaginable perverted sexual practice, including human sacrifice, incest and bestiality. Baalism expresses itself politically through the worship and absolute rule of the State.

Remember that by the time of Elijah, Israel had gone from true religion, then the split, (Shortly after the reign of Solomon) , unto a new State religion, (the worship of two golden calves, new holy days, and the new priesthood appointed by the KING to serve the State), and finally, through Jezebel, into Baalism.

Israel had reverted back to the pre-conquest religion of Canaan, as though Moses and Joshua had never happened.

There were 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets ofAshteroth. Many of these were castrated men, or homosexuals, temple prostitutes (men and women) completely sold out to Baal, (which means LORD, or Husband).

Notice that Elijah demands a choice of the people, “If the LORD is God , follow Him, or if Baal is God, follow him…” and then asks the question, “Why halt between two opinions?”

Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.

Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. ( I Kings 18:23-25)

The choice would be clear; two altars, two sacrifices, and two sources of prayer… which God will answer by fire?

It is somewhat amazing to see the submissiveness of Ahab and Baal; they listen to Elijah’s challenge, they assemble at Elijah’s word, they go about constructing and preparing a sacrifice because Elijah challenges them to… The Baal worshippers obeyed Elijah, seemingly without comment.

 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.( I Kings 18:26-28)

The Priests of Baal began by calling upon his name, and using meaningless repetition, ( As Jesus once referred to the prayers of heathen). When this proves fruitless after several hours, they began to whip themselves up into a fanatical frenzy, leaping about the altar, in a vain attempt to get their ‘god’ to strike the altar with lightning.

(Baal was often portrayed as being the god of thunder, and lightning, and his image portrayed him holding a lightning bolt.)

When leaping didn’t work, and as the frustration mounted, (Partly due to the silence of Baal, and partly due to the trolling of the prophet of God in mockery), the devotees began to escalate, into self harm, piercing and cutting themselves until they bled in their efforts to induce this ‘god’ into some kind of response. But there was no answer.

Paganism is always emotion and experience based religion, and usually involves human degradation, then it’s worship always descends into violence either against the self or sooner or later, against others. Blood is spilt, not the blood sacrifice appointed by the Most High, rather the blood of the worshipper or against others, such as when Shiite Muslims flagellate themselves in the streets and cut little babies or children, in commemoration of the death of Ali, Mohammed’s nephew.

And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.( I Kings 18:29)

In Hebrew culture, the new day begins at sundown, not sunrise. As the Sun set, we read that in spite of the exhausting frenzy of the Baal worship, the cuttings, bleedings, the devotional leaping, and ecstatic utterances, there was nothing, only silence.

No answer came from Baal, because though there may be a spiritual entity behind the various images and forms representing Baal and Ashteroth, the truth is, they are impotent, deaf , dumb and lame.

Had the priests and congregation of Baal and Ashteroth listened to King David, a prophet of the only true and living God, they would have known this to be true.

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.( Psalms 115:1-8)

Thus did the Sun began to set that day on MT Carmel, ( Which was a place believed to be by the pagans, the place where the ‘gods’ came down upon the earth).

Not only did the sun set o Carmel, but before the eyes of the assembled witnesses ( The congregation of apostate Israel), the sun began to set of Baal as well.

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