PROPHETS OF BAAL - FIRED Print E-mail

 

 

PROPHETS OF BAAL – FIRED

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

November 10, 2020, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

This morning when I awoke after preparing this the night before, I saw in the news that Donald J. Trump had “fired” the executive director of Climate Science, Michael Kuperberg.  This is the U. S. Global Research Program which produces the National Climate Assessment.

 

Elijah was sent by God to overthrow the empire of Baal --- the fire god, who Israel worshipped.  They worshipped Baal as god over the elements and climate.  They made fire, hail, snow, vapor, wind, stars moon, and the sun objects of their worship.

 

When I saw this morning that Donald J. Trump had “fired” the director of Climate Science, I felt it was a sign that God is bringing down fire on the Prophets of Baal.  

 

Elijah was raised up by the Lord in a time of gross national apostasy.  Only one of his sermons is recorded in the Holy Bible, but the One true God who rides on the mobile chariot of fire led by His horses of fire (2 Ki. 2:11) gifted him with a supernatural miracle ministry as God’s prophet of fire.

 

1 Kings 17:1:  And Elijah, the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, as the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand…”

 

The Church life---the spiritual life of Israel---could not have been at lower ebb than at this period under the reign of Ahab.  His own faithful people were counted by units.  Thousands were bowing the knee to Baal and kissing his impious shrine.  But Jehovah has His hero prepared for the times. 

 

Elijah was Jehovah’s messenger of wrath to a guilty age.  “He stood up as a fire, and his word burned as a lamp.”    The most graphic and memorable incidents in Elijah’s life speak and are illumined with the element and symbol of fire.  Fire fell at his intercession on the sacrifice at Carmel.  God showed him at Horeb, the reflection of his own character in the fire which preceded the “still small voice.”

 

When we go through the fire of God, it will reveal all of our character.     

 

He called down fire on the captains of fifties.  In a chariot of fire, he went up to Heaven.   Like a fiery meteor, he appears all at once in the sacred firmament, and as a fiery meteor he vanishes. 

 

“It seems as if this man had the thunder of the Lord for a soul, and that the element in which he was borne to heaven was the one in which he was brought forth.” (Lamartine’s Holy Land, vol. i.e. 189)

 

Divine judgment follows national apostasy.  Individuals may, in this world escape punishment for personal crime, ---but nations never!!!!

 

Ahab and his whole people except a feeble remnant were guilty of glaring national apostasy.  They dishonored the one true God and had adopted a god who presumed to be over the elements. 

 

Tracey Cooke in a recent visitation of seven angels reveals that the Lord will again preach and prophesy using the elements.  We are to see storms and severe weather patterns of God’s judgments on the earth.  We are again in a time when people and even the platform of Joe Biden gives power to the environment over the sovereignty of God.   Then, today Donald J. Trump fires the head of Climate Science. 

 

 Jehovah metes out judgment in accordance with guilt.  He makes His gifts of the elements the instruments of their punishment which had been the means of their sin.  They had un-deified Him in nature.   He will make nature wield its mighty force upon their land.  They had given to demons sovereignty over the “rain” and the “dew”.   He makes these arrows in His own quiver to be the weapons of vengeance, ---with what measure they mete; it was measured to them again. 

 

God acts upon fixed and unchanging principles.  Mankind cannot UN-deify Him by the worship of graven images and false gods. 

 

God has always raised up a suitable instrument in every great crisis of His Church’s history.  The Lord is again raising up prophets of fire who are standing before God and with a voice of thunder proclaim--- “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand”, I charge the leaders of nations with the sin of trying to un-deify the One True God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  May the court of Heaven release righteous judgment upon those who are doing wickedly in high places of national leadership.

 

God has his star ready to come forth in the midnight of gloom and despair.  Our nation and the church are in a season of gloom, darkness and apostasy.   A voice of thunder will be ready with the power of God to declare the Glory and righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Under God, this one man, Elijah, rallied an apostate nation---saved his country by saving its faith in God, and made thousands and tens of thousands in after ages, blessed by the mighty works of God done through his servant.

 

As the prophet of fire, Elijah’s life and ministry speaks a great lesson to the Church of the 21st Century.  The mighty exploits of his ministry are recorded in the Word of God as a living voice for all times.  It is fire we need; not the fire of fitful impulse; ---not the flame of intemperate bigotry; ---not the kindlings of unregulated enthusiasm; ---not the mis-leading gleam of bewildering human reason; ---not the strange fire of deified intellect.   We need the living fire of burning words and burning deeds, lighted from the inner sanctuary;---men and women who are standing in the presence of the Lord with divine, God-derived power,---who feel that they have received a clear Word from the Lord who alone “takes the censer and fills it with the fire of the altar.”.   All other wildfires sooner or later go out in darkness.  This alone is the true vestal flame of heaven, which burns pure and bright, and shall thus burn forever.

 

Lord send the fire of the Holy Spirit on the wings of the fiery Seraphim, the flaming ones of earth, as a burning and shining light; a beacon-blaze of warning set on the hill-tops to stand with men and women of God to go forth in the power of Elijah.

 

Prophets of Fire resume your sacred mission!  Arise in the power of God and again ask the question in faith believing---“Where is the Lord God of Elijah?”  May the God “who answers by fire” raise up man “in the spirit and power of Elias,” who shall rekindle the smoldering ashes on the Church’s altar, to consume the dross, and refine the gold.

 

Luke 1:17:  He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the father to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

 

The story of Elijah is surrounded with a blended halo of heroism and saintliness.  Though neither angel nor demi-god, but “a man of like passions,” (James 5:17) intensely human---yet he spent more time in conversation with heaven than conversations on earth.  His name means “My God the Lord,” or “Jehovah is my God.” Elijah is introduced in 1 Kings 17 as one who is endued with power from on high; not only an ambassador from God, but the very viceroy and representative of Omnipotence.  He announces himself as standing before the Lord of hosts, as an emissary of heaven, rather than a citizen of the lower world; coming forth from time to time from his mysterious seclusion to deliver his message, and then retiring again into solitude to wait fresh communications from on high.

 

He is ushered at once onto the stage of eternity in manhood and maturity---with no prior introduction to us, he confronts the guilty monarch of northern Palestine; “Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, as the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand.”

 

We have no record of his history, ancestry, home, education, father, mother, companion, or friend; and this too, throughout all the rest of his career, until near the close.  He appears before us---the Melchizedek of his age---nursed in the wilds of nature for his great and momentous calling.  The mention of Elijah is at intervals, as one appearing in peopled neighborhoods---no one knew from where---in the desert, on the hill-tops---seen and recognized as by surprise, in the hair garment of the prophet; ---the solitary of God---as one without script or purse, ---even, it may be, as he who had nowhere to lay His head---having food to eat which man knew not of.

 

When Elijah commanded Obadiah to give a message to Ahab, Obadiah replied: “You say, go tell your lord, Behold, Elijah is here.  As soon as I am gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord shall carry you where I know not; and so, when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you he will slay me …”

 

For three and a half years, a price had been set on the head of Elijah.  The bloodhounds of Ahab had been on his track, but had failed to discover his hiding place.  Obadiah in search of provender for the cattle was in the plain Esdraelon.  Suddenly Elijah appears.  Startled, Obadiah fell on his face before Elijah addressing him as “my lord” and himself as “thy servant.”  1 Ki. 18:3: Obadiah feared the Lord greatly.  When Jezebel cut off the prophets, Obadiah took one-hundred and hid them by fifty in caves.  He fed them bread and water.

 

But when Elijah tells him to go tell Ahab he wants to see him, Obadiah fears for his life that Ahab will kill him.  Elijah said, As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.

 

Obadiah delivered the message.  The king in hot haste sets out from his palace, and soon the seer and he stand face to face.  The prophet of Jehovah and the champion of Baal; the upholder of the true religion, and the abettor of lies; Light confronting darkness.  Truth confronting error.  They meet like two charged thunder-clouds.

 

Instead of having his armed retainers execute Elijah, the commanding figure of Elijah unmans him.  He addresses Elijah with a feeble challenge, “Are you he that troubles Israel?”  The eye of the Prophet of fire flashes.  He replies in a voice of thunder, I have not troubled Israel; but you and your father’s house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and followed Baalim.  Therefore, send, and 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. So, Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.

 

Ahab gathered the children of Israel and the prophets together on Mount Carmel.  It would be a vast gathering of people.  The gathering of the crowd on Carmel is a typical picture of the Church and the world at this time. 

 

1.       The Baal-worshippers-the atheist class.

2.      True worshippers of God.

3.      The vast mass of the undecided.  Those who are half-hearted Christians.

 

1Ki. 18:21: Elijah came unto all the people, and said, ‘how long will you halt between two opinions?  If the LORD be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’  The people did not answer him one word.

 

 

The people were silent and self-condemned; but still they will follow the popular opinion.  Elijah was sent by God to break the famine and open the heavens for rain. He was coming into collision and hostility with the throne and the altar; --- with a debased king and priesthood; --- the court religion --- the fashionable creed of the hour.   

 

1Ki. 18:22-24:  Elijah said to the people, ‘I even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.  Let them give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, cut it in pieces, lay it on wood, and put no fire under.  I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood and put no fire under.  Call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD.  The God that answers by fire, let him be God.

 

The prophets called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, but there was no voice, nor any that answered.  Elijah mocked them, they cried and cut themselves.  They prophesied until the time of the evening sacrifice, but no voice from Baal and no answer.

 

Then Elijah repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.  He took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob.  With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. He put the wood in order, cut the bullock in pieces, laid the wood and then had them fill it with four barrels of water.  They poured it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.  He had them pour the four barrels of water three times.

 

At the time of the hour of prayer, Elijah came before the altar and prayed LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and I am your servant, and I have done all these things at your word.

 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that you are the LORD God, and that you have 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.

 

The God of Elijah still answers by fire.  It is the emblem of the work and agency of His blessed Holy Spirit.  Spirit of God descend upon us.  The Son of Man and Son of God has already made himself the bleeding sacrifice.  We the ransomed people are the living stones.  Through everlasting ages, it will continue. 

 

Unto principalities and powers in heavenly places will be made known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God.  Oh, what a test the Church has been through these past weeks, and will continue the next few weeks.  But the God of Elijah still answers by fire. 

 

May we all be firm and confident as we stand in the divine, revealed will and purposes of God. 

 

  Jehovah in the selection of Elijah as the human instrument for a great revival in Israel would magnify the sovereignty of His own grace.  He brings balm from half-heathen Gilead to heal the hurt of the daughter of His people.  He chooses no Rabbi nor learned doctor of the schools---no hierarchy with the prestige of hereditary office---but a lay preacher from the Highlands of Palestine---a man who had graduated in the school of nature---who had been taught, but taught only of Heaven.

 

It is God who teaches his prophets.  

 

 Forth he comes, a prophet of fire, “a burning and a shining light”, in one of the darkest periods of Hebrew history---and many were to “rejoice in his light.”

 

He is spoken of in a later period (2 Kings 1:8) by Ahaziah’s messengers as a hairy man: What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?  They answered him, ‘he was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins,’ and he said, ‘it is Elijah the Tishbite.’

 

Around his shoulders he flung a loose cape or striped blanket, made either of rough sheep or camel hide, fastened at his breast with a leather girdle. It appears this mantle was to Elijah what the rod was to Moses.  It seemed at once the outer badge of his prophetic office, and the instrument by which his miracles were performed.  It screened him at one time when he held intercourse with God in the entrance of the desert cave; he wrapped it round his face.  Another time, he would roll it up like a staff, as he did at the close of his history; when at the touch of it, the Jordan was driven back.  The mantle was the legacy which dropped on the shoulders of his successor from the fiery chariot when the whirlwind bore him to Heaven.

 

Nor must his physical strength and powers of physical endurance be forgotten.  Elijah was no ordinary man, who, before the coming night-storm and after the toils of an exhausting day, ran sixteen miles outrunning the swift horses of Ahab’s chariot in reaching the gate of Jezreel.  This was no ordinary strength that could sustain the hardships and privations of Cherith, and the long forty days’ fast of Horeb.

 

This then is the great Elijah---with no priestly vestment but that hairy tunic of the desert---a glorious champion of truth and righteousness.  His name must have been a household word in every home of Israel and beyond.  Something awful must have been the terror inspired by the man who had the power to seal up heavens that there would be no dew or rain for years (1 Ki. 17:1); at another, draw fire from these clouds like a sword from its scabbard, and strew the earth with a hundred dead! 

 

Yet with all his moral and physical superiority, Elijah is spoken of, for our encouragement as “a man of like passions(James 5:17).  With the empowerment of the Spirit of God, we see his greatness, but he had his weaknesses and failings.  The reprover of Ahab, --- the bold, bearded son of the desert who feared God, and knew no fear of man or human opinion became a craven coward on hearing the threats of an intriguing woman.

 

Champion as he was, --- a shaggy lion from the coverts of Gilead, who can challenge single-handed a multitude of idolatrous priests, --- he cowers away in moping despondency at the threat of Jezebel.  Elijah faced the power of an unrighteous woman.  Ahab was the Lord’s covenanted king.  Jezebel was un-covenanted, unprincipled and a bigoted idolatress.  Ahab rejected Jehovah.  Yet God strove with him to the last.  However, the unrighteous woman was his guilty partner in his crimes.

 

The earthquake, the whirlwind, the fire, which he saw in the Sinai desert, and after all these “the still small voice” formed the reflection of his own inner nature---a union of the terrible with the gentle.

 

The denouncer of Ahab, the rebuker of kingly iniquity, the slayer at the Kishon, the homicide who, in one day, with his own hands, purpled its waters with the blood of 450 priests, also ministered to the lonely widow of Zarephath, and with loving affection clings at the last to the friendship of the faithful Elisha.

 

It was God’s training and grace, the power of His spirit working within him, that made him “the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof” (2 Ki. 11-12).

 

After Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel, God was dethroned in Israel and Baal, (or Baalim) a plurality of lords, was set up in God’s place.  The one living self-existent, all-pervading Jehovah was superseded by idols presiding over the several elements of nature.  One mountain summit would have the altar to the sun, another to the moon, another to the stars.  One grove would have its temple, or shrine, or image dedicated to the brooks and streams, another to the rain of heaven, another to the falling dew, and another to the seasons.  The worshipper’s main conception of this hundred-headed god was connected with the attribute of power.  They lost sight of the God of holiness, rectitude, and love.  They were awed by the wrath and judgment which was the habitation of Baal’s throne.

 

The time had arrived for judgment.  The cup of the iniquity of Ahab and Israel was full.  Is there a trumpet-tongued messenger, a minister of flaming fire to stand before God and declare the sovereignty of God? 

 

Yes! God has “come to send fire on the earth! 

 

It was then in the midst of this scene of darkness, apostasy, and blood, that the Tishbite came forth.  Standing face to face with guilty Ahab, he startles him with the avowal---“My God---the God of Israel---the God of your Fathers---He should be your God---Jehovah lives!  As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years, but according to my word.”

 

Such was emphatically the Tishbite, ---bold, brave, trained to habits of endurance.  The gigantic evils of the times needed a giant to grapple with them; ---one who could confront wickedness before the throne of kings ---be the scourger of sin, and dare anything and everything for the sake of truth.  God has His star ready to come forth in the midnight, gloom and despair of the United States.  When the sword drops from the hand of Moses, He has His Joshua ready to take it up.  When the Philistine champion defies the armies of Israel, he has ready the youth with the sling and stones to smite him to the dust.  When His people are led captive, he has Daniel, Cyrus, Joshua and Zerubbabel, ready at His word to turn again the captivity of Zion.  He has only to “give the word,” and “great is the company of them that publish it.”

 

There will again arise prophets, preachers, teachers, evangelists and apostles who will stand in the power of the God of Elijah, who answers by fire. 

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

www.eastgateministries.com

Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of The Prophet of Fire by John Ross MacDuff.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Pastor MacDuff.  All of his books are in the “public domain”.  He went to Heaven in 1887. Sermon notes by C. Sissom 11/24/13 – Elijah, the Prophet of Fire.   

 
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