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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?).
"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.
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?
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."
"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.
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.
Fact Finder: How can we know a true prophet of the LORD from the vast number of false prophets in the world?
This Day In History, May 31
1279 BC: Rameses II ("Rameses The Great") became Pharaoh of Egypt (see also How Long Were They Slaves?).
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.