"Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. "Go and look toward The Sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back." The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea." So Elijah said, Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your Chariot and go down before the rain stops you.' Meanwhile the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of The Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel." (1 Kings 18:42-46)
The incident described above occurred on Mount Carmel, near the modern-day city of Haifa. Elijah was sent to confront King Ahab of Israel (see Kings of Israel and Judah) and his infamously-wicked wife Jezebel. Together, the royal couple had corrupted the land with the pagan worship of Baal.
The view from the top of Mount Carmel is shown in the photograph. From that vantage point, Elijah could easily look down on the coastal waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The photo shows the view in the inland direction, toward the valley of Armageddon.
Elijah was one of the most intense and enigmatic people of The Bible. His story makes for a fascinating study.
- Elijah the Tishbite is first mentioned in 1 Kings 17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to King Ahab - "As The Lord, The God of Israel lives, Whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
- After completing the message to Ahab, Elijah went, according to God's direction, to "the Kerith Ravine, east of The Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook." (1 Kings 17:5-6)
- When the prophesied drought dried up the brook, God sent him to live with a widow in Zarephath of Sidon, where he remained for over two years. During his time there, he miraculously provided a food supply during the famine, and raised her son, who had died from an illness, Back From The Dead (1 Kings 17:7-24). The time was apparently used by Elijah to study and prepare for his mission.
- During the third year of the drought, The Lord sent Elijah back to appear before Ahab. The series of events that followed ended a with confrontation on Mount Carmel between Elijah and hundreds of pagan prophets of Baal and Asherah. The supernatural demonstration of the powers of the True God against the powerless frauds led the people to abandon their idolatry and turn back to The Lord (1 Kings 18:1-40). The end of the punishing drought then immediately came (1 Kings 18:41-46).
- After Jezebel discovered that all of her beloved pagan priests of Baal had been killed in the confrontation with Elijah, she attempted to have him killed (1 Kings 19:1-13). Elijah fled south to Beersheba where he hid in despair (1 Kings 19:3-5). An Angel appeared to him twice for strength, and brought him food (1 Kings 19:5-8). He then journeyed for 40 days to Horeb, where God Himself appeared to him (1 Kings 19:9-18). The Lord then sent Elijah back north to Damascus to anoint Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel (1 Kings 19:15-18). It was during that journey that Elijah found and commissioned his successor, Elisha, as directed by God (1 Kings 19:16-21).
- One of the most controversial events of Elijah's life occurred at the end of his ministry when he was transported away on a "chariot of fire" (2 Kings 2:11). (see Aircraft In The Bible?) Elisha was then promoted from being Elijah's assistant, to Elijah's successor (2 Kings 2:15).
- Elijah was a type of John The Baptist, in manner and appearance. John was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matthew 11:11, 14), the forerunner of The Savior as prophesied by Malachi (Malachi 4:5).
- Elijah appeared with Moses in the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13)
- James spoke of Elijah as an example of the power of prayer (James (5:17).
Fact Finder: Did Jesus Christ also refer to Elijah and John the Baptist?