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The Days of Elijah




When we think about the last days, our first thoughts often turn to compare them to the days of Noah and Lot. After all, Jesus is the one who made that comparison (Luke 17:26-30). We might also think about the birth pangs Jesus spoke of in His epochal Olivet Discourse or Paul's grim warnings of perilous times. All of these are accurate descriptions. However, those weren't the only appropriate descriptions.


When we take into consideration, typology, this opens the door to describing the last days in many other facets. The last days, in keeping with the context of Genesis chapter six, connect the days of Noah to the scope of global wickedness and violence running rampant in his day. In keeping with Genesis chapters 18-19, Lot’s Day highlights the depth of immorality and moral depravity men were capable of. Although we are seeing the shadow of this growing longer in our day, the full depth and scope of darkness will not be felt until the rapture door is shut, and those that dwell on the earth prepare for the fiery trial they are about to endure.


However, there is another time that may be more apropos of the time just prior to That Day (the Day of the Lord), and that is to the days of Elijah. Now, I don’t want to make too much of a comparison between ancient Israel and the United States, but if you think about it, the days we are living in now are for the Church, increasingly like those days.


It was under King Solomon's son Rehoboam and servant Jeroboam, we saw the kingdom of Israel first divided. King Jeroboam replaced the worship of the true God Yahweh in the north (Israel), for the adoption and normalization of pagan idolatry of her surrounding neighbors. He did this because he didn't want his subjects traveling south to Jerusalem, fearing they might one day side with Rehoboam.


By Elijah's day, the Israelites were still living in a divided kingdom with the northern kingdom being ruled by Ahab and Jezebel and the southern kingdom being ruled by Jehoshaphat. Nevertheless, from Jeroboam's reign down through Ahab, the northern kingdom was plagued by one wicked and oppressive leader after another. In fact, in its 200 years, the kingdom of Israel never had one righteous leader.


In the north, we see the incremental normalization of the institution of child sacrifice, which was done to satiate the bloodlust of their new false gods, Baal, Asherah, and Molech.


There was also a growing tumult to the east in what was called Mesopotamia. It was in Elijah’s day that we start to see the ascent of Israel and Judah's future enemies. There was the Assyrian Kingdom which was quickly becoming a regional powerbroker. The Assyrians would be subsequently followed by the increasingly powerful Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires.


Lastly, in Elijah’s day, we see the supernaturally miraculous delivery of the man himself.


Historical Revisit


After King Solomon died, the nation of Israel split in two with Rehoboam ruling in Judea, and Jeroboam ruling in the north of what was called Israel. Down the line, all of Israel’s kings were evil. Not a single righteous one in the whole lot. King Ahab was the son of King Omri, king of Israel, and He ruled for 22 years from 874-853. He married Jezebel, the Sidonian (Sidon was a Phoenician city north of Tyre in what is now, modern-day Lebanon) and he worshipped her god Baal. The Sidonians used to be the Phoenicians, who used to be the Canaanites. Remember that Solomon had become trading partners with Sidon in his day, and it is presumed that a relationship remained intact all the way to Ahab.


Ahab was a wicked king who set up a temple to Baal in Samaria, Israel’s capital, as well as Bethel and Dan. Now, Jeroboam had long since established idol worship in the north because he didn’t want his people going south to the temple in Jerusalem because he feared they would become loyal to Rehoboam and help overthrow him. It was during this time that Ahab and Jezebel attempted to push Baal worship on a nation and tried to silence God’s prophets. Apparently, she had killed so many that Obadiah, an officer in Ahab’s court, had hidden a hundred prophets in two caves because he feared she would kill them all. She was even more wicked than Ahab and convinced him to do things like killing Naboth (through false witnesses and treachery) so he could take over his vineyard. Abbreviated timeline of Elijah; timeline from https://totallyhistory.com/elijah-timeline/


Timeline (1 Kings 16:29 - 2 Kings 2:11)


~900 BC: Elijah is born in Tishbe, Gilead


~874 BC: Ahab becomes king of Israel


~873 BC: King Ahab builds an altar in the temple of Baal


~870 BC: Elijah warns King Ahab that God will send a drought as punishment for worshiping Baal


~870 BC: God instructs Elijah to hide near the brook Cherith, where the ravens would feed him


~867 BC: Elijah challenges King Ahab and Baal’s prophets to show the people who the real god is


~867 BC: Elijah orders the people to execute the prophets of Baal at Brook Kishon


~867 BC: Elijah asks God for heavy rains to end the drought


~867 BC: Elijah runs away to escape Jezebel’s vengeance


~867 BC: God asks Elijah why he was hiding in a cave


~867 BC: God instructs Elijah to anoint Hazael, who is to be king of Syria


~867 BC: God tells Elijah to anoint Jehu king of Israel, and Elisha to replace him as prophet


~865 BC: Elijah anoints Elisha by placing his cloak on him


~862 BC: God prophesies King Ahab’s death and tells Elijah to deliver the prophecy to the king


~862 BC: Elijah prophesies Jezebel’s death, that she will be devoured by dogs by the wall of Jezreel.


[my comment: she dies later at the hands of King Jehu at Naboth’s vineyard 2 Kings 9:30-37- of note, even though Jehu was evil, God used him as an instrument to destroy the line of Ahab]


~849 BC: Ahaziah dies exactly as God has told Elijah. – 2 Kings 1:17


~849 BC: A fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses appears, and a whirlwind takes Elijah to heaven.


(end quote)

Assessment


Even in our day, we see our nation becoming increasingly divided. We see the growing tumultuous undercurrents around the globe in every direction. We have global wickedness reaching peak levels. We have global immorality reaching peak levels. We see abortion killing more than a billion babies on the altar of convenience around the world. The normalization of idolatry is now the norm, not the exception. We have had, at least since the 1960s, a deep state ran, criminal bureaucracy controlling the levers of power in our nation’s capital. With two brief exceptions, we’ve seen wicked and oppressive leadership in our nation, as well as around the world for the better part of seventy years.


Even after her violent and gruesome death, the Spirit of Jezebel lives on. We see that in the letter to the church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:20) Jezebel’s reputation continues on as Jesus speaks against this church: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.” Presumably, the woman Jesus was referencing wasn’t actually named Jezebel, but she was very Jezebel-like in that her immorality and idolatry continued to plague God’s people.


In my table of the seven letters showing how these churches historically fulfilled the past two thousand years of Christendom, Thyatira represents the corrupt Roman Catholic church that venerates Mary, the Queen of Heaven, even above her Son. We know that Roman Catholicism has adopted and embraced many aspects of paganism from the surrounding cultures from which she sprang up (the Roman Empire) and has committed many, gross violations and blasphemies from the Inquisitions, the selling of indulgences, the demand for abstinence (leading to centuries of problems with molestation and abuse) as well as the introduction of idols in the form of Mary, Christ on the cross, angels, and saints.


Christendom course-corrected with the Protestant Reformation, but within two centuries, it too had become corrupted by dead orthodoxy. Ross Douthat, in his book, “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics” (Simon & Schuster, 2012) writes this:


Orthodox Christianity used to be like a river with tributaries of heresies that ran into it, today, heresy is the main branch of the river, with orthodox doctrine making up the minor tributaries making very little difference.


When we consider the recent (and depressing) Pew and Gallup polls that show an increasing abandonment of the Christian faith, it shouldn't be any wonder why over half our nation seems to be losing its mind. In fact, the abandonment of faith is a direct correlation to the sanity of a nation (Romans 1). Just as the kingdom of Israel abandoned the true God for idols, in the process, they came under an increasingly burdensome and continuous cycle of wicked and oppressive leaders. And just when things seemed to come to their very worst, God raised up Elijah.


Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?”


18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals. 19 Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”


20 So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. (1 Kings 18:17-22)


The Still Small Voice art design by Pete Garcia, free to use


You know the rest of the story. God gave Elijah the victory when He consumed the altar with fire, also destroying the 450 prophets of Baal. But just as quickly as it happens, Elijah was plagued by fear and he ran fearing the wrath of Jezebel.


And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.


But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 1 Kings 19:1-4


But why?


If I were Elijah, I'd be strutting around the land with my chest out feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof. And yet, here we see him hiding in a cave bemoaning his existence.


What happened?


I think (my opinion) was that after the Mt. Carmel victory, Baal, who many views as one of the ten demon kings of hell, (also, the demonic entity who personifies the idol god Ba-al), waged intense spiritual warfare on Elijah on account of the loss of the 450 Baal prophets that just got executed.


We see this same level of spiritual warfare going on in our own society today, with previously unimaginable issues like transgenderism, pedophilia, incest, polygamy, homosexuality, violence, murder, mayhem, and treachery of all sorts making all manners of progress in becoming normalized in our world. Folks, behind each of these issues, is a demonic entity waging war on the human race pushing their pet projects so as to demoralize, dehumanize, and destroy humanity.


But it's not just the overtly wicked agendas running afoul today. The more nefarious ones are the subtle ones that shroud themselves in good works, good intentions, and just enough truth in them, to make them sound legit. Things like the social justice gospel, the green gospel, seeker-friendly churches, Hebrew roots, emergent church movements, the prosperity gospel, as well as all works-based religions, and any philosophy that promotes human reasoning over biblical truth.


I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but if it feels like we're losing the battle for our culture, it is because we are...because that's the level of intensity these demonic powers are attacking us with and giving them the results they want us to feel. They are ramping up their attacks because they know their time is running short.


Should the Lord tarry, true biblical Christianity will become marginalized, vilified, and ultimately, ostracized. The public marketplace of ideas today is being increasingly privatized with rules and regulations so that we can't preach on the corners or the pulpits. At the same time, they are minimizing the biblical truth online so that it can be censored and penalized from social media platforms, personal platforms, and ultimately, from the internet altogether. Starting to sound a lot more similar to how it was in Elijah’s day when Jezebel was killing all the prophets, and ultimately Elijah as well doesn't it?


But through it all, God was there.


Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces 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.


So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”


And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”


Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place....Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:11-18


Conclusion


Folks, I know we are living in dark times. I know many of you (probably most) feel alone out there. It seems like everywhere you look, everyone is bending the knee to this woke, corrupt, and fallen culture. But God has reserved His own, who haven't (and won't) bend the knee to the god of this world. We know that after this, Elijah does what God requests, and then comes the time (some 18 years later) for him to hand his mantel to his successor, Elisha, that God does the greatest demonstration of glory yet...He brings Elijah home in style.


Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 2 Kings 2:11


We know, someday very soon, that our Lord (the same Lord of Elijah) will bring His bride the Church home to heaven too...in an equally glorious fashion. We are going to be caught up and be instantaneously transformed from mortal to immortal, from corruptible, to incorruptible. Maranatha!!


But Elijah's story isn't over quite yet. We know in our absence, God will send Two Witnesses back to earth to preach the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jewish people in Jerusalem. I believe these two to be Moses (the Law) and Elijah (the Prophets). Perhaps this was what that meeting of the minds was about on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2-4).


Furthermore, we know from the Old Testament that Elijah must return. Malachi 4:5-6 states: “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”


Had Israel in Jesus' day accepted Him as Messiah, John the Baptist would have been Elijah (Matt. 17:9-13). But, they didn't, so Elijah will come, along with Moses, to do just as stated in Malachi 4:5-6 and Revelation 11. Remarkably, to this day, the Jewish Seders still include an empty chair at the table in anticipation that Elijah will return to herald the Messiah in fulfillment of Malachi’s word. (Paraphrased from here).

So what do we do in our day? We fight. We take a stand just like Elijah on Mt. Carmel. Yet...


For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12


The above passage doesn't say we don't wrestle, WE DO! We just don't wrestle against our fellow humans (most of whom are trapped and imprisoned under the bondage of darkness). We wrestle against those forces who keep them in bondage.


For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (my emphasis)


Finally, do all you can to stand when that evil day comes...and it's here. The reason I like to address you all as being part of the 310 Tribe, is that a tribe (as opposed to a family) denotes that amongst your other duties, you fight. You fight because you are all warriors. You don't need a black belt in Karate or Kung-Fu to fight this kind of fight, you need a black belt in Prayer-Fu! You need a sound mind, which you get through the daily reading of the Word of God that cleanses our minds and brings every thought (not just the bad ones) into submission. Lastly, we need charity (love) because the last thing we want to be is a bunch of clanging symbols. Jesus said, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).


Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:10-13


Amen and Maranatha!



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