The Message of Elijah
Little is known about Elijah before God called him to bear His message. The first we hear of him begins as follows. “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.” (1Ki 17:1)
This verse is packed with a lot of information that we must unpack. Who was Ahab? Who was Elijah? Why did God bring this judgment upon Israel? If we understand these basics in type, we will be able to better understand them in anti-type. We will begin with Ahab.
Ahab was the seventh king of Israel and was the son of King Omri. He was the King and leader of the majority of Israel. As with all the Kings of Israel, Ahab did evil in the sight of God! “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.” (1Ki 16:30-31)
Ahab was more evil than all those before him. The Bible does not leave us in darkness as to how. He joined himself to a woman of the world (Jezebel) and served Baal, and worshipped him. We know that in type, a woman in scriptures represents a church. This will shed more light as we move forward. In his joining himself with the world, he quickly adopted their spiritual views as to who God was. Although we used this quote earlier, we will look at it again because Ellen White gave us the spiritual anti-type to Baal worship.
“Are we followers of God as dear children, or are we servants of the prince of darkness? Are we worshipers of Jehovah, or of Baal? of the living God, or of idols? No outward shrines may be visible, there may be no image for the eye to rest upon, yet we may be practicing idolatry. It is as easy to make an idol of cherished ideas or objects as to fashion gods of wood or stone. Thousands have a false conception of God and His attributes. They are as verily serving a false god as were the servants of Baal. Are we worshiping the true God as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, in nature, or are we adoring some philosophical idol enshrined in His place?” ST Feb 8, 1883
Ahab had joined himself to the world (Jezebel) and worshiped a false image of God. Elijah was a prophet raised by God to reveal that God was about to judge Israel because of this. He further revealed how by declaring that there would be no rain. But should this judgment upon Israel have been unexpected by Ahab? Had God previously warned of this judgment? Interestingly enough, this warning had been given by Moses.
“And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.” (Deu 11:13-17)
Now let’s put it together. The first part of the Elijah message is that because Israel was serving Baal (any doctrine that replaces Jehovah) the latter rain would not fall. Have we as a people wondered why the latter rain has not fallen with power among us? Could it be that we as a people have joined ourselves to a doctrine concerning the Father and Son that is not what the scriptures reveal? Have we inadvertently joined ourselves by this doctrine to a woman (church) of the world and are thus worshipping Baal? We will explore this further as we progress through this study. The messages of Elijah and Moses declare that this sin will cause God to shut up the windows of heaven.
“Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.” (Jer 5:22-25)
This text should make us pause and consider this carefully. Here is a warning not only of no latter rain, but the removal of the early rain as well. In the sin of Ahab, God was replaced with Baal. Jeremiah in the above text identifies the true God being wronged. His wording was actually taken from earlier scriptures. God is identified as the God who has placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?
This is very reminiscent of Proverbs 8 and 30. “When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth … When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him:” (Pro 8:24, 25, 29, 30) This is a clear declaration of the Father and Son. We see this further in Proverbs 30. “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?” (Pro 30:4)
In Jeremiah we see that Ahab and Israel revolted and rebelled against the truth concerning the Father and Son. Thus there was no rain. It was made clear by Elijah that unless by the word of the prophet, this would not change. Now we can understand who each individual was and how the judgment would be recognized. Now it’s time to move forward and view the second part of the Elijah message that occurred at the end of the drought. It begins with a decree from the Lord to Elijah.
“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. And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.” (1Ki 18:1-2) It was not Elijah’s choice to go and reveal Himself to Ahab. It was a direct command of God.
When the anti-type message is brought to us as a people just before Christ comes, how will we respond? Will we accept that we have been sent a message from God by His messengers or will we rebel? If we are in the same camp or mindset as Ahab, we will respond in the same manner as he did. “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” (1Ki 18:17) In Ahab’s greeting are two great mistakes. He rejects the message and messenger as being from God. Even greater, he attributed the rain being withheld to the very one who was following God’s directions.
Is it possible that we as a people are in great danger of doing the same? When the message of the truth concerning God is sent to us as a people, will we reject it and then accuse those that are bringing the message as the reason why our church is in trouble? If type meets anti-type, the answer is unfortunately yes. It happened in Christ’s day. The leaders rejected John the Baptist and killed the Messiah who was proclaimed by John’s message.
“So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. 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. 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.” (1Ki 18:20-22)
Here is probably one of the saddest scenes in history. When given the opportunity to voice their support when confronted with the truth of choosing which god to serve, there was only silence. How is it with you today? When you see doctrines that deny the Son of God and reject God as His Father, do you stand up for truth or sit silently in fear of the earthly kings who worship Baal instead of Jehovah?
As for those who do allow God to use them as a voice of Elijah, do you, like Elijah, feel like you are the only one that has remained faithful to God? Have you ever felt like you were alone in this message? Where is the voice of the people? Like Israel of old, most are hung up between two opinions. Yes, to many of you who are reading this, it is the same with you today. You may be among most who say they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and yet accept a doctrine of God that denies it. “How”, you might ask? It is done in many ways. One way is accepting the catholic or protestant trinity doctrine that denies Christ is the Son of God. It relegates Him to a metaphorical idea and denies the actual Father and Son relationship.. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny it by stating that Christ is created and not a true Son of God by substance and inheritance. Most of Islam denies it by stating Christ was only a messenger like Muhammad. There are more and they all share a singular blasphemy. They deny that Jesus is the true Son of God.
The heart of the second part of the Elijah’s message or ministry is to help people see that they are hung between two opinions. If we are to be true followers of God, we must follow the example of Elijah and set the truth before the church, and then the world. But how do we do this?
“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. 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:” (1Ki 18:30-31) His mission was not one of division. He was not dividing the people. He was rebuilding the altar that had been a true representation of the Father to all twelve tribes. This is important to us as a people. The altar (truth about the Father), given to us as a people, has been torn down and replaced with the high places a Baal. When the truth about God is revealed by those whom He has chosen to bear this message, will you accuse them of tearing down the altar (the Father) or building it up? The only way to tell is by examining each message against what God originally gave us as a people (the true altar).
In Christ’s day, the Jewish leaders did not recognize the significance of the altar. “Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?” (Mat 23:16-19)
Here we see that they were so focused on the lamb that they did not understand the ministry and importance of it. They profaned the altar (Doctrine of the Father) and made the sacrifice meaningless. Today is much the same. We see Christ’s name being used by all of Christianity and Catholicism. “All we need is Christ”, they proclaim. But as true as this need is, without His ministry in His people and in the heavenly sanctuary, the gift is meaningless. If the Jesus we worship today is not the true Son of the Father, then in vain do we proclaim the name! Without the altar of God (truth of the Father) rebuilt, it remains a high place for Baal.
Another point in the rebuilding of the altar we should not miss is that it had all twelve tribes of Israel represented. This gives fuller meaning to Revelation 14:1 which states “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.”
Ahab did not speak for all of Israel yet all were represented in that altar. Thus it is today. There may be some who are not numbered with Israel today but still hold fast to the truths that God gave us as a people. Here God clearly demonstrates that in His eyes they are still part of Israel and thus still His children. Israel was once a single nation. First they were ruled under judges, then by kings until King Solomon. It was the abuse by Solomon (who joined himself to worldly women) and then his son’s lack of judgment that finally divided them. Let’s look at this division more closely.
“So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day. And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam (king of Judae) forsook the counsel of the old men, And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” (2Ch 10:12-14)
The significance of this should not be lost on the reader. Although it is not part of this study, one should read Revelation 9:1-10. Solomon had joined himself to women (churches) of the world. His offspring intended to use the power of the beast from the bottomless pit to chastise them with and make their yoke heavy indeed. This is consistent with the practices of Rome. She uses church discipline and religious persecution of her members to force the acceptance of traditions of men as doctrine. Could we as a church be following in these same footsteps (practices)?
“So Israel (God’s chosen people) rebelled against the house of David unto this day. And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.” (1Ki 12:19-20)
The truth concerning the Son of God was given to us as a people. Collectively we rejected the trinity doctrine and although some misuse a few statements by Ellen White to try and state that she changed her position late in life, our once held position as nontrinitarian is a well-established fact none the less. Our church pioneers completely rejected any concept that denied the actual son-ship of Christ. Concerning Ellen White’s supposed change; the idea that prophets will change over time, and void their own earlier writings, is not biblical. This stance would only condemn that prophet by causing them to fail the biblical tests given by the word of God for a prophet. Those who try to take this stand are inadvertently destroying the very prophet they are trying to use. An in-depth collection of statements by Ellen White, our pioneers, and Biblical prophets is available for free at www.intheheavens.org It is in a book called “Handbook for Today’s Fundamental Adventists”. I highly recommend you get a copy if you do not already have one.
Like Israel of old, this has divided us as a people. Our beloved church is now divided into trinitarians and non-trinitarians. Though most like Israel of old have followed Ahab in his apostasy, not all have. There are those who like Judah of old stayed faithful to Jehovah. It should be noted that there were good and bad kings of Judah (non-trinitarians) just as is seen today. But there was never a good king of Israel after the division occurred. There can be no latter rain bestowed upon anyone who worships Baal. Yet is the message of Elijah one of division?
When Elijah went to rebuild the altar of the Lord, all twelve tribes of Israel were represented. The altar was not new but rebuilt by Elijah. Like-wise the truth of the Father has not changed. It is only being restored as it was given to us as Adventists by God. It is the turning of us as children back to our forefathers of Adventism and their truth concerning God restored in us. “In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.” (Mic 4:6-7)
There are some who feel that the eleven fallen tribes of Israel are not to be included in this last Elijah message. Others state that Judah who is divided from us is no longer part of spiritual Israel but the Bible does not support this in type and antitype. It was only when the altar was rebuilt that fire (the outpouring of God’s Spirit) fell consuming the gift and the altar. Without the rebuilt altar of God, no fire would have fallen. Each stone was replaced in the rebuilding of the altar. No one single stone would have been enough. Not just Judah. Not without Judah.
“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. 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. 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. 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.” (1Ki 18:36-39)
This is a beautiful type seen in multiple anti-type fulfillments. First, we see this when Christ was lifted up on the cross. With the true Lamb of God on the altar, Christ returned to them (as He promised in John 14:18) on the powerful day of Pentecost.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Act 2:1-4)
Here is seen a beautiful truth. When God is worshiped as He really is, He will pour out His Spirit with power. God does not show favoritism of any singular tribe. God wants all of Israel to hear the Elijah message. Thus the third part of the Elijah message is that the outpouring will occur on individuals from all tribes of spiritual Israel not just Judah or the eleven other tribes. It is contingent on a true altar and sacrifice.
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. 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. And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. (1Ki 18:39-41)
Note that even though Ahab remained joined to Jezebel and idolatry, he could no longer prevent the early and latter rain from falling on those who cried The LORD, He is the God; the LORD! It also triggered a persecution response from the worldly church (Jezebel). Thus it will be in our future. Chief leaders may reject the truth, but the latter rain will fall on the just and those who repent of spiritual idolatry. Then the time of trouble such as never has been will commence.
Thus the Message of Elijah has 3 parts in anti-type.
1. Because we have served Baal in the form of any doctrine that denies the Jesus is the Son of God (such as the Trinity Doctrine), the latter rain has not fallen.
2. Our ministry is to first return to the God of our youth as a people and then to help all people see that they are hung between two opinions and must make a choice to either continue in Baal worship or choose to follow the Father and Son as revealed in the scriptures.
3. Finally, we must remove the doctrines (as taught by the priests) of Baal from among us. Then the outpouring of God’s Spirit will occur on individuals from all tribes of spiritual Israel (not just a portion). We must no longer worship Baal using the name of Jesus, but instead worship Him as the true Son of the Father.
This is the message of Elijah and the work it must do in us as a people here at the end of earth’s history. God saw that we would fall into apostasy and gave us this type in history so that we would recognize our condition in anti-type and return to the only true God and Jesus Christ who He sent. Only then will we really be able to spread the gospel in the power of the three angel’s messages. The three angels messages begin will “Fear God”. If we do not worship the true God, the rest doesn’t matter. It is derailed from the outset.
This will happen. There will be a people who will return to the God of their youth. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (Joh 4:23-24) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (Joh 14:6) The key is learning to bear Elijah’s message faithfully and yet reflect the character of our Lord and Savior in hating sin but loving the sinners!