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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Elijah, the Mighty Prophet of God

Elijah, the Mighty Prophet of God

       At the time of Elijah, spiritual tyranny and terror was in the northern Kingdom. Ahab and Jezebel were ruling over Samaria (Northern Kingdom). Ahab and Jezebel were murdering God's true prophets and practicing idolatry. They also led God's people into rebellion and idolatry. God does not take kindly to this! He doesn't like His flock led astray by false teachers, doctrine and prophets. It is important for leaders in Christ's Church to understand the gravity of leading Jesus' flock astray by false truth. The Bible says that teachers of the Word will be held to a higher standard and accountability for what they teach. Jesus is the Supreme, Divine Teacher. He taught both Jews and Gentiles as He walked the earth in His flesh body. He told them to do what He commanded them--not what the Law and the Prophets commanded. Jesus brought a New Covenant written on our hearts--love for God and love for each other.  Jesus because He is God interpreted scripture. He knew Truth because He is Truth – Word of God from beginning to end. He didn't teach error.
       The two testaments of the Bible have to agree or they couldn't walk together side by side. (see Amos 3:3) God is a God of agreement. The Bible says that the spiritual is not first, but the natural and then the spiritual. God gave us a clue in this scripture of how His Word is written. God used the earthly people, places, circumstances, law and prophets to paint a picture of the spiritual reality of His Son Jesus who would redeem the world and be its King. His love fulfilled the Law.  The Bible is circular in motion. It is a progressive revelation of Jesus Christ...beginning with the natural, and moving into the spiritual in Jesus in the flesh and His flesh Body of believers in the New Testament, and onto the spiritual Jesus in all of His glory in Revelation. God doesn't go backwards but is moving forward in His restoration of all things when the beginning and the end of the Word meet and all is restored to its original condition in the beginning of Genesis – holy and perfect with no evil. Jesus is the Word of God that called all things into being in the beginning.  He is the Word of God in the end in Revelation.  No person, nation or church is to take any glory away from Jesus Christ. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He alone is worthy of ALL GLORY BECAUSE HE IS THE LORD OF GLORY.
       Elijah means “the Lord is my God.” This is Elijah's unshakable conviction. He is a true believer and prophet of God. God sent the prophet Elijah to Ahab to speak a word of judgment because he and God's people had fallen into false truth, idolatry, sexual immorality and rebellion. Elijah at God's instruction told Ahab that the lack of rain that was happening for 6 months will last another three years. No water, no life! God added, “except at Elijah's word.” Because Elijah was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and heard God and His Word, God would use Elijah as His spokesperson and prophet. What Elijah spoke would come from God and would be fulfilled by God. He was a true prophet! Jesus is the Supreme Prophet of God. Jesus had a full measure of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of Truth because He is Truth. He had a full measure of the Holy Spirit because He had no sin to block it or reduce its power. What Jesus spoke came from God the Father, and came true by the full power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not speak error!
       Elijah spoke God's Word of judgment on the wicked, but he also revealed God's love and provision for faith-filled individuals including gentiles. God used Elijah to give hope to the widow at Zaraphath by providing bread that didn't run out to feed her, her son and God's Jewish prophet. God's Anointed Word is a never-ending supply.  God also used Elijah to give resurrection life to the gentile widow's dead son. This, of course, represents the Bread of God's Word and the oil of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit that provides bread for our spirit man. Our natural body needs food and water to sustain life. So does our spirit man. If we don't ingest God's Word daily, we will be spiritually lacking. A famine of the Word brings spiritual lack and spiritual death.
        At a time when Israel was in famine, God supernaturally provided food for His Jewish Prophet Elijah 1) through a raven, 2) through a Gentile woman's faith and obedience to God's Word and willing service, and 3) through an angel (spiritual being).
       Out of nowhere Elijah the prophet stepped onto the scene. In the New Testament, John the Baptist who came in the spirit of Elijah also came out of nowhere (wilderness) when he appeared preaching repentance and washing to prepare God's people for Jesus, the Lamb of God. Elijah is the beginning of a long list of prophets who warned God's people that they had broken covenant with God and must repent and return to God. Elijah was mentioned in the beginning of the prophets of the Older Testament, in the New Testament and also in the end of scripture. In Revelation 11:3, it says that God will send “two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These two witnesses will have the power of both Moses and Elijah. They will perform their ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit just as Moses and Elijah did.These two witnesses will also preach repentance and cleansing as well as do the mighty wonders that Moses and Elijah did.  The power of God was in the rod of Moses and Aaron. And the power of God was in Elijah and His mantle (gifting).  The rod represents the cross of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Without the power of God, we are all spiritually helpless. Moses, the servant-ruler over God's people and Aaron, the first High Priest symbolize Jesus in His roles of Ruler and High Priest. Elijah represents Jesus as the Mighty Prophet of judgment in the end times against all wickedness.  Again, God used the people, places, and circumstances in the Older Testament to paint a picture of the reality in Christ.
      After speaking God's Word to King Ahab, God tells Elijah to leave Israel, “turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” 1 Kings 17:3-4 A brook flows from the top of a mountain down to the earth and deposits into a larger body of water. The Jews believed that moving water was "living" water.  God is satisfying Elijah's thirst with this "living" water and feeding him bread and meat by a raven.  God has authority and control over all things! He will use a raven who is naturally a very selfish bird to supernaturally feed His prophet bread and meat. Ravens cruise along looking for food and flesh. Bread represents the Word of God and meat its deeper truths. God is preparing and strengthening Elijah to take on the false god Baal and his false prophets. While Israel and its surrounding lands are in famine with scarce food and water, Elijah is being fed bread and meat twice a day by God. God provides a way when there seems to be no way.
        Jesus illustrated to us in His temptation by the devil in the wilderness that it is knowing the Word of God, believing it and doing it that will defeat the enemy of our souls.
        When God wanted Elijah to move to another place for further teaching and strength, He dried up the brook. He told Elijah to “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” 1 Kings 17:7-9  Elijah is to go quickly. Notice that God had already commanded this gentile woman to do this. God sent His Jewish Prophet to a Gentile woman for unleavened bread and water. Unleavened Bread represents pure Truth and water is symbolic of the Holy Spirit and Word—the Anointed Word. Sidon is in Phoenicia. Zarephath means “refining.” God is sending this Jewish prophet to this gentile woman for refining. She will feed Elijah the supernatural God-provided supply of unleavened bread—Anointed Word.  (to be continued)
        Elijah's mission was to warn God's people of their apostasy and call them back to faithfulness to God and His Word/Covenant. He also must speak judgment upon the leaders -- King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel.  Elijah by the power of God would take on the false god Baal and his false prophets and worshipers. But first, Elijah must get alone with God and be supernaturally fed, strengthened and empowered. Then Elijah must go to this gentile woman for further refining in the Word. Believers in Christ also have to turn from all evil, and be prepared, strengthened and empowered by the Word and anointing of the Holy Spirit in order to take on the forces of darkness. God must prepare us for spiritual warfare. When Jesus came up out of the waters of the Jordan after John the Baptist baptized Him, the Holy Spirit rested upon Him empowering Him for public ministry. It was right after this that Jesus was taken into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  Jesus came out victorious because the Holy Spirit rested upon Him and empowered Him, and He knew the Truth because He is Truth.  Jesus spoke the Truth  against the devil's lies and manipulation of Truth. 

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