Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Elijah: Man of Death and Resurrection

I have been studying 1 Kings lately, and have discovered some interesting things. I thought I would share some of those findings with you! The first is about Elijah, and after studying him more, I am so glad we named our first son after him. One of the things I noticed about Elijah is that he is a walking picture of death and resurrection, which means that he himself is a shadow of Christ. Nowhere do we get a better picture of this than in 1 Kings 17 + 18.

First, we see Elijah pronouncing drought upon Israel (death), and then three years later (in chapter 18) Elijah prays, and it rains (resurrection). By the way, most of the time in Scripture, when you read the number 3, you can think "death and resurrection", as seen in Christ being in the grave for 3 days, and resurrecting on the third. Then, after Elijah announces drought, he goes to the brook Cherith where the ravens provide food for him. While there, the brook dries up that he was drinking from (death), so God tells him to go stay with a widow and God will provide sustenance for him there (resurrection). So Elijah finds the widow, who is making preparations for a last meal with her son before they die of starvation (death), but Elijah causes the pot of oil and the bowl of flour to not be exhausted (resurrection). Then, the son of the woman becomes sick and dies (death). Elijah stretches himself upon the boy THREE times, and comes back to life (obvious resurrection).

Going now into chapter 18 where we have the story of Elijah having a competition with the prophets of Baal. The prophets of Baal call upon their god to send fire three distinct times, verses 26, 28, and 29 (death). Then its Elijah's turn. He rebuilds the altar of the Lord which had been torn down using twelve stones (this is a picture of Israel being rebuilt). Then, he has them pour four pitchers of water on the altar THREE times. This altar is a picture of Israel being dead in their sins and idolatry. 4 pitchers of water three times equals twelve, the same number of the tribes of Israel. In verse 37, Elijah prays, "Answer me, O Lord, answer men, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, AND THAT YOU HAVE TURNED THEIR HEART BACK AGAIN.". This is an obvious picture of Israel being recreated (I'll explain more in a little bit). Fire falls from heaven and consumes the sacrifice and altar (resurrection). God has restored fellowship with His people. Then, Elijah goes to the top of Mt. Carmel, where he crouches down. He sends his servant SEVEN times to go look toward the sea to see if there are any rain clouds coming. On the SEVENTH time, he finally sees a cloud, and then heavy showers fall upon Israel after THREE years of drought (resurrection). Most of the time in Scripture when you see the number 7, it refers to recreation. This is yet another picture of Israel being recreated.

So there is a little Bible lesson for you. I hope I haven't communicated it in a confusing way. If so, please let me know, and I'll try to be clearer. I'll post some more about Elijah in another post!

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