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Saturday, May 31 2014

1 Kings 18: Elijah's Defeat Of The Prophets Of Baal

"And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God"

King Ahab (see Ahab Of Israel) and his wife Jezebel had made Baal ("the lord of the flies"; see also Baal-zebub and Beelzebub) worship the state religion of the Kingdom of Israel (see 1 Kings 14: The First Kings Of Israel and Judah and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes).

At the same time, "Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD" by making them outlaws (mere man-made laws are relative; anything can be made "legal" or "illegal" by humans to suit their own lusts and corruption; see also Law-Abiding Criminals). Not all of the people of the northern kingdom had become heathens however; Obadiah, who was the man in charge of the king's palace, "feared the LORD greatly" and "hid an hundred men of the LORD'S prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water."

Obadiah was the first to encounter the prophet Elijah after he had been sent by the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) to confront the corrupt king (see Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?).

Mount Carmel

"18:1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. 18:2 And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab.

And there was a sore famine in Samaria. 18:3 And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: 18:4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) 18:5 And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts. 18:6 So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.

18:7 And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?

18:8 And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.

18:9 And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me? 18:10 As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. 18:11 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. 18:12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth. 18:13 Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid an hundred men of the LORD'S prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water? 18:14 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me.

18:15 And Elijah said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day." (1 Kings 18:1-15 KJV)

Obadiah delivered the message to Ahab, "and Ahab went to meet Elijah." As is so typical of those whose minds have been twisted (see What Does Wicked Mean?) after they have rejected the true and wise way of the LORD, Ahab accused Elijah of being "he that troubleth Israel." Elijah responded with a rebuke ("I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim") and a challenge ("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") for a showdown on Mount Carmel, on the northern coast of Israel.

"18:16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 18:17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?

18:18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. 18:19 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.

18:20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. 18:21 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." (1 Kings 18:16-21 KJV)

Elijah was seemingly outnumbered four hundred and fifty to one. Their weakness however is obvious in that Elijah took and held the initiative in the nature of the challenge and how and where it was conducted. Elijah then "mocked them," not because he was being rude to them, but because they were being rude to their own common sense and intellect by worshipping lifeless idols. When their "god" failed to do anything to demonstrate that it even existed, Elijah called upon the LORD to demonstrate that He surely does exist. When the people saw the prophets of Baal humiliated, and then executed, "they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God."

Elijah

"18:22 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. 18:23 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: 18:24 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.

18:25 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. 18:26 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.

18:27 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. 18:28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. 18:29 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.

18:30 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. 18:31 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: 18:32 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. 18:33 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.

18:34 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.

18:35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. 18:36 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. 18:37 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.

18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

18:39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.

18:40 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." (1 Kings 18:22-40 KJV)

The drought had been called by Elijah: "17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word" (1 Kings 17:1 KJV). As stated in the verses below, the end of the drought was also called by Elijah. The LORD's end-time "two witnesses" will have that same miraculous power, and much more, in their confrontation with the world's idol masters of that time: "11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." (Revelation 11:6 KJV; see also The Battle Of The End-Time Prophets).

"18:41 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 18:42 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, 18:43 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.

18:44 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.

18:45 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.

18:46 And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel." (1 kings 18:41-46 KJV)

Fact Finder: How can we know a true prophet of the LORD from the vast number of false prophets in the world?
See What's The Bible Word For False Prophet? and The Other Proof Of False Prophets; also The Battle Of The End-Time Prophets and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets


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This Day In History, May 31

1279 BC: Rameses II ("Rameses The Great") became Pharaoh of Egypt (see also How Long Were They Slaves?).

Martin Frobisher 455: Amidst the chaos and civil strife during the fall of the "superpower" Roman Empire (see The Election Of Kings to understand how and why the Roman Empire died from moral decay, not military defeat) Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus was stoned to death by a mob while fleeing Rome. The original Roman Empire was succeeded by Germany (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

526: In one of the deadliest seismic events on record, an earthquake at Antioch, Turkey, killed 250,000 people.

1223: The Battle of the Kalka River; Genghis Khan's Mongol army defeated the Kievan Rus and Cumans.

1433: Pope Eugenius IV crowned Sigismund as Holy Roman Emperor (see Emperors and Popes).

1578: Martin Frobisher sailed from Harwich, England to the vast territory that became Canada. The bay that Frobisher explored is was named after him, Frobisher Bay.

1678: Lady Godiva rode naked through Coventry, England to protest high taxation. The people took part in the protest, agreeing not to look. All kept their promise except a certain individual named Tom - hence the origin of the term "Peeping Tom."

1859: Big Ben and the famous clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London, began operating.

1866: The Fenian Invasion of Canada. John O'Neill led 850 invaders across the Niagara River at Buffalo, New York/Fort Erie, Ontario. After a firefight with Canadian militia and British regulars, they retreated back across the river.

1902: The Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in Pretoria to end the Boer War. Over 5,000 British troops and at least 4,000 Boers were killed in action.

1910: The Union of South Africa was founded.

1911: In Belfast, the White Star liner Titanic was launched. It sank on its maiden voyage 11 months later in April 1912.

1916: The Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars). The British Fleet under the command of Sir John Jellicoe & Sir David Beatty engaged the Kaiserliche Marine under the command of Reinhard Scheer and Franz von Hipper.

1927: The last Ford "Model T" was manufactured, ending a production run of over 15 million vehicles.

1935: An earthquake at Quetta, Pakistan killed 40,000 people.

1942: During the Second World War, Japanese Navy submarines began attacks on Sydney, Australia.

1942: During the Second World War, German warplanes bombed Canterbury, England, causing severe damage to the Canterbury Cathedral.

1961: South Africa proclaimed itself a republic and left the British Commonwealth.

1974: Israel and Syria signed an agreement concerning Golan Heights.

1985: Over 40 tornadoes struck Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead in the two countries.


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