Posted in angel, elijah, tender

Tender Moments in the Bible (repost)

I’m reposting this essay originally published in June 2014 in hopes that it will encourage.

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There are so many powerful moments in the bible. Where does one begin? Genesis 1, God creates everything, are verses that are awesome to ponder. The resurrection, when Jesus emerged from the tomb alive. God is all-powerful.

There are thunderous moments too. When Mt Sinai trembles, when God was in the earthquake, when He split the ground under Korah and closed it back up again. God is to be feared.

But there are tender moments too. The God of thunder and wrath and all-power is so tender!! I’m not one of these who believes the wrathful God is the Old Testament turned into the sensitive (“boyfriend”) Jesus of the New Testament. Read Revelation and you see it is the same God of wrath and anger against unrighteousness and sin. In the Old Testament (as well as the New), there are very tender moments which show us our Holy God is everything. He is simply everything good- including tenderness.

In Genesis 21:15-19, slave girl Hagar had been misused by Sarah (and Abraham). She and her son Ismael ran away to the wilderness, and there, thirsty, alone, and weak, they prepared to die.

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

“God heard“, “The Angel of God” [Jesus] called to her from heaven. He assured her. He made promises to her. He opened her eyes so she could drink. What direct, intimate ministration from Holy God in heaven!

In 1 Kings 19:4-8, we see tender ministrations again. Poor Elijah, downcast, alone, and fearing for his life. He, like Hagar, ran to the desert and wanted to die.

Elijah in the wilderness, by Washington Allston, 1817

 But did God let Elijah stay that way? No

Ferdinandus Bol, 1660, Elijah Fed By An Angel

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

The angel touched Elijah! He had prepared food for Elijah! He comforted Elijah, and gave him direction and hope. God is so good to us. He does that for us today.

In Matthew 4 we read that Jesus was in the desert 40 days and nights, alone, fasting, and tempted by satan. At the end of the trial, it says in Matthew 4:11,

“Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

One might say, ‘Well, of course God would send angels to minister to His Son!’ but perhaps the ministering angels who ministered to Jesus are also some of the same ones who minister to us? Just think on it! Overall, it is to His glory that he is so involved with His people, that ministration is a regular part of His interaction with us!

His ministration with sinful man began at the Garden after the Fall. He personally covered Adam and Eve

Genesis 3:21 says, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”

The God who had just made the Universe, and upholds it by power of His will and His voice, personally made garments for his rebellious children, and wrapped them. I picture a child throwing a tantrum, and saying all sorts of things to his father, including, “No! I don’t wanna! I hate you!” But after the storm is over and the timeout is finished, the father gives the boy a bath, wipes his tear-stained face, and wraps him in a towel. He holds him close to herself, his sniffles diminishing as the very heartbeat of the one who created him him and feeds him and cares for him saturates the boy’s heart and mind, and eventually his brow unfurrows and his face becomes angelic, and he drifts off to sleep, still in his father’s arms.

That is our God. Holy and Fearful, but a caring Father, holding us in His arms until the storm passes by and our rebellion subsides. He is tender. One day, there will be no more tantrums, and no more rebellion. We will love our Father perfectly and completely, just as He loves us now. What a day that will be.

Posted in elijah, enoch, paul, prophecy, rapture, two witnesses

All the raptures in the bible

I was listening to Tommy Ice on pre-Tribulation rapture on a youtube video last week. It was a long video, over an hour, and I only had time to listen to about ten minutes. I figured I’d get back to it.

But I lost it in the flow of the dozens of music videos I subsequently watched while on vacation. Viva vacation.

All this to say I’m sorry I can’t post a link to the video, but here is the part that interested me.

We Christians know about the rapture. We understand that at the moment the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (the full number, Romans 11:25), the rapture will occur and Jesus will descend from heaven. We will vanish from the earth in a moment, a twinkling of an eye. The dead will be no means be left behind, they will also be raised and we’ll all meet in the air. Jesus will lead us to heaven. Then, the final 7 years remaining to complete the Old Testament decree regarding the Jews will resume on earth. It will be a time of Godly wrath, unleashed full force.

It’s fascinating to think about going on our daily business, driving, washing, feeding the dog, and suddenly we will hear the trumpet of God, and the next moment we’ll be airborne! The next moment we’ll be in heaven, where no eye has seen nor any ear has heard the things prepared for us!! It is a singular, unique, momentous event!

However as I listened Dr Ice put something together in my mind. There have been several raptures already.

Enoch.

James Tissot, ~1900

Father of the longest lived man on earth, Methuselah. Enoch was the 7th from Adam. He was a prophet. (Jude 1:14). He lived 365 years, then God took him home. He was the only one in a long line of the genealogical record to not have died. “And then he died…And then he died…And then he was not, for God took him.” Raptured.

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24)

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

Elijah.

Prophet, servant of God. Slew all the false prophets of Baal by the sword. (1 Kings 18). Mentored Elisha. Raptured.

And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)

Jesus.

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11). Raptured.

Paul, Isaiah.

Paul wrote about “a man” who was caught up to the third heaven. Most scholarly consensus is that Paul is speaking of himself. Note that Paul says “caught up” in some translations it’s “snatched up”. In the Greek it’s the word harpazo. This means snatched up. It is the same word that describes the bride’s snatching up, or of being caught up.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. (2 Corinthians 12:2)

Isaiah- This one is more speculative, but in Isaiah 6:1 Isaiah wrote that he saw the throne room. Whether in the body or not…we can’t be sure. He described the altar, the train of the Lord, the pillars,the seraphim crying HOLY HOLY HOLY. However after Isaiah exclaimed he was undone, he was a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips, the seraphim took a coal from the altar and touched Isaiah’s lips. If Isaiah was not in the body then this is metaphorical, however the word for mouth in Hebrew is mouth, the word used here. My personal opinion is that Isaiah was bodily caught up to heaven as Paul was.

Two Witnesses.

In Revelation 11 we are told that there will be Two Witnesses sent by God to preach to the entire world. This will be during the Tribulation

But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. (Revelation 11:11-12).

Many people think, and I include myself, that the Two Witnesses are Enoch and Elijah. Since it is appointed for man to die once then the judgment, and they never did, that this means the Two Witnesses are those two men and their death will occur during the Tribulation. Anyway, The Two Witnesses will be raptured.

Philip.

I wrote about his remarkable instant journey from point A to point B in Gaza: here. I have always been fascinated by the practical moments. After Philip was finished baptizing the Ethiopian Eunuch, he was snatched up and set down 20miles away. He wasn’t raptured to heaven but to two places on earth, but still, the notion of being bodily taken up by the scruff of the neck like a kitten and plunked down some there else with no warning is amazing. In the sense of a harpazo, a catching away, Philip’s experience fills the bill. His snatching up is the same word used on the Bride’s rapture: harpazo.

And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:39-40).

We’ve talked about various raptures in the past. They’ve all been one man or at most two. The most startling and eagerly anticipated event of all is no doubt

THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

This will occur at an unknown time in the future, and it will happen to a large number of dead and alive believers.

in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.(1 Corinthians 15:52-53).

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,d that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

While being raptured is not a usual nor a frequent event, neither is it made-up as some like to claim. As we can see in the bible, it has happened before and will happen again. It isn’t far-fetched and it isn’t an “escape.” A catching up or a snatching away of persons or groups of people is an event that God uses in His plan to accomplish the things He wants to accomplish. Simple as that.

How wonderful He is so sovereign He is able to put us where He wants and to take us up when He wants. How majestic are His ways. What a blessed hope our rapture is.

Come soon Lord Jesus!

Posted in discernment, elijah, encouragement, eternity, moses, personal revelation, transfiguration

Talking with Jesus

Not the ‘Mount of Transfiguration’. Source

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. (Matthew 17:1-3)

A spiritually awe-filled scene, as we mentally behold it and picture Jesus glorified and being fully God. However, today I am picturing Moses and Elijah, talking with Him.

Imagine, in the Millennium Kingdom and in Eternity, we will do the same! We will stand casually on a mountain and talk with Jesus! My mind veritably breaks apart just thinking of this. What will I say? What were Moses, Elijah and Jesus talking about? What could I possibly have to say to Jesus, except only “thank You!”

But we are His friend. We will talk with Jesus, and He will talk personally and directly to us.

The Graphics Fairy

For all of you who envy Beth Moore and her personal conversations with a different Jesus, and for all of you who covet the personal touch Sarah Young claims to have had with Jesus Calling her, I have this to say. Those women and all those like them are having the only talk with “Jesus” they will ever have, except at the Great White Throne Judgment when He says “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” Will they then wonder, were the five or ten or fifty chats they thought they’d had with ‘Jesus’ worth an eternity of missing the real Him, and never speaking to Him again?

Yet for the persevering and patient Christian who clings to Hebrews 11:1 and believes that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (and not heard), we will be talking with Him just as Moses and Elijah were.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (John 3:2)

We will join Moses and Elijah and be talking with our wonderful Savior, Friend, Shepherd, every ‘day’ throughout all eternity.

Hallelujah.

Posted in elijah, encouragement, God, hagar, tender

Tender moments in the bible

There are so many powerful moments in the bible. Where does one begin? Genesis 1, God creates everything, are verses that are awesome to ponder. The resurrection, when Jesus emerged from the tomb alive. God is all-powerful.

There are thunderous moments too. When Mt Sinai trembles, when God was in the earthquake, when He split the ground under Korah and closed it back up again. God is to be feared.

But there are tender moments too. The God of thunder and wrath and all-power is so tender!! I’m not one of these who believes the wrathful God is the Old Testament turned into the sensitive (“boyfriend”) Jesus of the New Testament. Read Revelation and you see it is the same God of wrath and anger against unrighteousness and sin. In the Old Testament (as well as the New), there are very tender moments which show us our Holy God is everything. He is simply everything good- including tenderness.

In Genesis 21:15-19, slave girl Hagar had been misused by Sarah (and Abraham). She and her son Ismael ran away to the wilderness, and there, thirsty, alone, and weak, they prepared to die.

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

“God heard“, “The Angel of God” [Jesus] called to her from heaven. He assured her. He made promises to her. He opened her eyes so she could drink. What direct, intimate ministration from Holy God in heaven!

In 1 Kings 19:4-8, we see tender ministrations again. Poor Elijah, downcast, alone, and fearing for his life. He, like Hagar, ran to the desert and wanted to die.

Elijah in the wilderness, by Washington Allston, 1817

 But did God let Elijah stay that way? No

Ferdinandus Bol, 1660, Elijah Fed By An Angel

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

The angel touched Elijah! He had prepared food for Elijah! He comforted Elijah, and gave him direction and hope. God is so good to us. He does that for us today.

In Matthew 4 we read that Jesus was in the desert 40 days and nights, alone, fasting, and tempted by satan. At the end of the trial, it says in Matthew 4:11,

“Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

One might say, ‘Well, of course God would send angels to minister to His Son!’ but perhaps the ministering angels who ministered to Jesus are also some of the same ones who minister to us? Just think on it! Overall, it is to His glory that he is so involved with His people, that ministration is a regular part of His interaction with us!

His ministration with sinful man began at the Garden after the Fall. He personally covered Adam and Eve

Genesis 3:21 says, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”

The God who had just made the Universe, and upholds it by power of His will and His voice, personally made garments for his rebellious children, and wrapped them. I picture a child throwing a tantrum, and saying all sorts of things to his father, including, “No! I don’t wanna! I hate you!” But after the storm is over and the timeout is finished, the father gives the boy a bath, wipes his tear-stained face, and wraps him in a towel. He holds him close to herself, his sniffles diminishing as the very heartbeat of the one who created him him and feeds him and cares for him saturates the boy’s heart and mind, and eventually his brow unfurrows and his face becomes angelic, and he drifts off to sleep, still in his father’s arms.

That is our God. Holy and Fearful, but a caring Father, holding us in His arms until the storm passes by and our rebellion subsides. He is tender. One day, there will be no more tantrums, and no more rebellion. We will love our Father perfectly and completely, just as He loves us now. What a day that will be.

Posted in elijah, enoch, prophecy, two witnesses

"Where is Elijah’s body?"

Elisha Succeeds Elijah

An icon of Elijah
from Saint Catherine’s Monastery,
Mount Sinai

Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men. And for three days they sought him but did not find him. And they came back to him while he was staying at Jericho, and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?” (2 Kings 2:15-18)

Elijah had been taken up to heaven bodily in a chariot of fire, while his successor, Elisha, looked on. Elisha then took Elijah’s left-behind mantle and doffed it. When the other prophets saw Elisha return wearing it, they knew what had happened, and you see in the verse, they bowed in respect to the new premier Prophet of Israel.

They were also concerned about proper burial of Elijah’s body. They kept asking and asking and asking until they were ashamed to ask any more. Elisha kept saying No, and No, and No, until he was ashamed to say no anymore. He relented and said, Go. He knew they would not find Elijah. Elisha had seen Elijah be taken to heaven alive.

When the prophets returned unsuccessful, Elisha said, ‘Well? Didn’t I tell you not to go?’

Though Elijah’s body was not found in the deserts of Israel long ago, some time in the future, will it be seen by not just the concerned prophets, but all the world?

There will be Two Witnesses in the Tribulation who will come to tell the world of God’s truth. They will prophesy for 1,260 days.

The two witnesses, as depicted
in the Bamberg Apocalypse, an 11th-century
illuminated manuscript.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

“But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.” (Revelation 11:7-11)

The Two Witnesses are not named. I believe they will be Enoch and Elijah, because these are the only two men in the world who have not died. (Genesis 5:23). Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed for man to die once, and then the judgment. Only Enoch and Elijah have been taken to heaven alive, and never died once.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)

“It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:14-15)

Elijah and Enoch – seventeenth-century icon,
Historic Museum in Sanok, Poland

IF the witness who lays in the streets of metaphorical Sodom is Elijah, and I have no certain information that it is, then the little detail in 2 Kings 2 about where Elijah’s body is becomes even more poignant. The prophets were searching and searching for a body that will not be found … until the far future, in the streets of a city that had become so unholy it is called Sodom, and to be seen by millions upon millions, not just fifty men.

The prophets wanted to honor his body, but instead, it will be desecrated and lay unburied, spit upon, and mocked by all the world.

However, the witnesses’ bodies will become the vehicle whereupon God will show His power. He will call them up to heaven, and their bodies will reconstitute before all the eyes of the world, and be translated to heaven for their eternal rest.

Praise our Holy LORD for His plan, His mind, His perfection. The bible is fascinating.

Posted in elijah, follow me, mantle

Elisha’s Call: An example of a good follower of God

Elijah is nourished by an angel, Gustave Dore

Elijah is often seen as the greatest prophet (after Moses and besides Jesus). He served the LORD strongly and stalwartly all the years of his ministry. He ended on an incredible note … he personally slaughtered 450 prophets of Baal with his sword. If you think about that for a moment, and realize that Elijah was just a man, and having to personally kill hundreds of screaming, pleading men in a bloodbath, must have done something to him inside.

And we do see that next, Elijah runs away from the scene into the sparse wilderness, and from Jezebel who he fears, and lays down under a tree and asks to be taken in death. He is like the old elephants who know they are spent and go off to die alone. He wants the LORD to take him, not Jezebel, but he wants to die nonetheless. “I am no better than my fathers” he cries, meaning, ‘I am dead anyway, useless to you, finish it, LORD.’ (1 Kings 19:4)

He just can’t go on. The LORD is so kind- he sends an angel to personally feed Elijah. (1 Kings 19:5-8). He urges Elijah on with personal appearing (He was the wind and the earthquake and the fire and the still small voice, 1 Kings 19:11-12) encouragement (You’re not alone- there are 7000 who have not bent their knee to Baal. (1 Kings 19:18).

The word of the LORD was verbal to Elijah and today for us it is written in the bible, but either way, the word of God restores us and encourages us.

Elijah in the wilderness: Frederic Leighton

Though Elijah was restored and encouraged, he was tired. He spent his last few years going around to the 7000 who had not bent their knee to Baal in their schools of the prophets, teaching them. His almost last task is to anoint Elisha as his successor and mentor him for several years. In this way, God comforted Elijah because God gave Elijah a friend to be an encouragement to Elijah. Elijah wasn’t alone any more.

“So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.” (1 Kings 19:19-21)

The prophet’s mantle was the visible sign they were of God. Of course the most credulous sign were their words, which the LORD Himself put in their mouths, and came true exactly. (Deuteronomy 18:15-22). But the mantle was the symbol of the authority the LORD had laid upon the prophet’s shoulders. Everyone knew it and understood it.

Elisha was plowing when Elijah arrived. He was the last man  on the twelfth pair after 11 pair of oxen. This indicates wealth. Elisha was comfortable, employed in a secure profession, and had a positive outlook for his life. All he had to do is name it and claim it. However, contrary to the word of faith movement’s insistence that God’s favor means a life of ease, when Elijah threw his mantle over Elisha’s shoulders, he immediately leaped down and accepted it. No hesitation, no dithering. He knew what it meant and he accepted the call. It was akin to picking up our cross daily and following Jesus. (Matthew 16:24).

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:19-20).

Elisha asked Elijah for permission to return and kiss his parents goodbye, which was granted. His request was honorable, made more so by his burning his bridges by sacrificing the oxen he was driving and offering them to the LORD. He demonstrably showed God he was all-in and ready.

We often look at the followship of the apostles but being an Old Testament lover from not-too-way back, I like to look at the call of the prophets too. Elisha was a remarkable man. He must have been grieved by the sin of his nation, and have loved his LORD so much.

Let us follow Elisha’s example as well as the call to the apostles. We should drop everything and follow Him who is power itself, who formed us for His good purposes, and who enables us to do good work in His name. The Lord will be with us, He promised that. (Matthew 28:20)

Posted in elijah, rapture, still small voice

You are not alone: lessons from Elijah

Poor Elijah. He really went through it, didn’t he? He was surrounded on all sides by non-believers. They were vigorous in their false faith and Elijah was vexed to the extreme. It’s really hard to be the only one in a place where you are the only one who knows the truth and proclaims it, yet no one else will listen.

Finally after a time of build-up, there was a showdown. You know the story. Under God’s direction, Elijah set a contest with the Baal Priests and false Prophets and of course God won. Then God told Elijah to kill all 450 prophets of Baal and Elijah did. When Elijah heard how angry Queen Jezebel was to have lost all her Priests, and she said she would kill Elijah, Elijah ran away. He ran and he ran and he ran until he was exhausted. Then he cried out to the LORD-

“And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”(1 Kings 19:9-10).

Commonly when using this story as a teaching example, people will say that Elijah was pouting. His poutiness caused him to sit on his hands and do nothing. It may be. But I take a different interpretation. Remember, these Prophets were men after all. Regular men. They served the LORD directly and were given the charge and the ability to receive His Word and repeat it to the people. But their work was thankless, emotionally draining, and lonely. No one loved a prophet. (John 4:44)

Elijah was not a glorified man, nor a superhuman man. He was a regular person. And he had just gone through a debilitating and lengthy ordeal of fruitlessly trying speaking the Word of the LORD to the people, and they refused to hear. Then he went through an awful but glorious contest where the LORD manifested Himself to all. How would you react if the LORD manifested Himself in front of you? The reaction of the prophets and the apostles who see or hear God’s glory fall down as dead men. (Rev 1:17; Is 6:5; John 18:6; Acts 9:4; 1 Kings 18:39). Not only did Elijah live through a great and powerful manifestation of God’s glory, he had to then go and kill 450 people. Personally.  “…Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.” (1 Kings 18:40b). The most highly decorated heroes of warfare in our own day receive commendations for having slain fewer of the enemy and most of those were not for hand to hand combat. By now Elijah hides in a cave, and cries out the God that he is finished, he wants to die.

So the guy is tired, spiritually drained, afraid for his life, and alone. Or he thinks he is alone. The first thing God does is send an angel to comfort Elijah. (1 Kings 19:5). The angel gently touched Elijah’s shoulder, and refreshed him with food and drink. Elijah was not alone.

The next thing that happened was the God spoke to Elijah. He told Elijah to listen, and there the LORD sent wind and rockslides and tumultuous earthquakes but He was not in the wind nor the rocks nor the tumult, He was in the still, small voice. (1 Kings 19:12). Elijah was not alone.

God told Elijah that “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 19:18.) Elijah was not alone.

God told Elijah to go to a certain town and find Elisha and anoint him as prophet to succeed Elijah. Just as Elijah was growing weariest, God gave him light at the end of the tunnel, and showed him that his time of service was nearing an end. He needed to train Elisha, and then Elisha will take over “in your place.” (1 Kings 19:16b). He would have a helper for a while. Elijah was not alone.

Elijah was blessed to have the LORD personally tell him he was not alone in his faith. But by that same token, because of its inclusion in the bible, the Lord is telling us today that we are not alone. He sends His Spirit to us. He sends His angels to us. He sends encouragers to us. He sends His Word to us. He sends hopeful doctrine to us so that we have light at the end of the tunnel, hope in the rapture of believers. We may live in a town where there are no other like-minded bible believing Christians within your field of vision, as Elijah had thought, but we belong to a body. That body extends worldwide, and we are part of it. We are not alone, not one of us.
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