Elijah – Eliyahu in Hebrew, meaning “my God is Yah” is coming to restore all things. Such a monumental responsibility and assignment from Yah makes one want to inquire more into what that will mean for our time. How will these days of Elijah look and who is this “son of fresh oil,” this “anointed one?” These are compelling questions because we are very close to that period of time John the Revelator called the Affliction, the first 1260 day period of the last 7 years, or last week of Messiah’s work (cf. Daniel 9:24-27), decreed for Daniel’s people and his holy city [the end time people and the end time Jerusalem].
Since the two witnesses will stop the rain for 3 1/2 years just as Elijah did during the time of King Ahab, that provides a warrant to examine the ancient “days of Elijah” to see what their shadow foretells. For it is a solid truth that the apostle Paul understood and proclaimed that God performed physically for the circumcised of flesh House of Jacob, what He will accomplish spiritually for the end time House of Israel, those circumcised of heart.
For such a mighty and revered prophet from the history of Israel, who was seen by disciples on the mountain with Jesus, there is surprisingly little that was recorded in I and II Kings to bring to life this mighty one of the Lord whom Obadiah called, “my master.” He first appears in scripture, prophesying a drought (1 Ki 17:1) which becomes a principal feature in the Affliction with the two witnesses doing the same thing.
Next Elijah is told to leave the land of Israel and to go to Sidon to dwell with the widow of Zarephath and her son. If this is a physical, left-handed reflection of a spiritual, right-handed reality, how will it appear to disciples during the Affliction? If the two witnesses begin their ministry with a drought that lasts throughout their days, then at least one of them will be “dwelling” with the “widow” among the nations; Sidon was a major Phoenician city and part of a trading corporation which employed 50 ships engaged in commerce between Egypt and Phoenicia. In our time then we might expect the Elijah figure to be found among the highways and byways of the commercial world, but supping with the common folk who are the lowest class, like the widow, poor and marginalized. In this story the widow and her son would be the shadow and type of those who are not a part of the world system. Yet, on a deeper level, she is the spiritual mother who has lost her husband, who would be Christ for the church, and she has little to feed her child, the first-born of the church. The small amount of “manna” and oil which she has is multiplied by Elijah for the feeding of her household, and the oil for their anointing. And here we have the second sign of the Elijah figure. He will multiply the meager teachings — remember, we are in a famine of the word — which the widowed church has, and will expand the knowledge of God. He will also breathe new life into her only son and revive him. Homer Kizer has written on the meaning of the 3 efforts to breathe life into the son as 3 historical movements for God’s Spirit to breathe life into the church.
Perhaps the greatest thing Elijah is remembered for is his confrontation with the defiled priesthood of Israel, which has made herself filthy with the gods of the nations, notably under Queen Jezebel, daughter of the king of Tyre — interestingly, Tyre is 25 miles south of Sidon, so it was into Jezebel’s territory that Elijah went to sojourn with the widow of Zarephath; Jezebel was herself priestess of Baal, and transformed the priesthood of Israel. She had under her dominion 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah [some scholars connect Asherah with Ishtar, but there is much disagreement on the subject] who sat at her table and ate — food sacrificed to demons of course. Her name Jezebel contained the element <zebul>, one of the titles of Baal, as in Baalzebul. In an ironic play on words, her name was distorted to <zebel> meaning ‘dung.’
At length Ahab and Elijah meet when the famine is severe on the face of the earth, and this is in response to the Lord’s promise to make it rain if Elijah will show himself to Ahab. After calling Elijah “troubler of Israel,” Elijah replies “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals. Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (1 Ki 18:18-19)
And now comes one of the greatest demonstrations of power in scripture, contrasting the power of the Living God, creator of heaven and earth, with the powerlessness of the gods who created neither heaven nor earth. For repairing the altar of YHWH which had been torn down, he took 12 stones for Israel to build the altar, poured water all over the sacrifice and the wood, then called upon the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel in prayer. With that, fire of YHWH came down and consumed everything including wood, stone, dust, and finally the water in the trench around the altar.
Elijah then commanded the men to seize the prophets of Baal, and by the brook Kishon he slaughtered them — the same river by which Jael and the forces of Israel had routed the Midianites by the torrent of Kishon.
What can disciples in the affliction expect to see from this figure based upon the historical shadow in 1 Kings? The endtime Elijah will confront the ruling powers and their abomination of desolation. During the affliction we may expect to see the 2 witnesses directly exhibit a stark contrast between the power of the true God and the shadow powers which the man of lawlessness, son of perdition and his priesthood exhibit. The power to cleanse the priesthood is critical in the restoration of all things. With the Elijah figure and the Moses figure, we will see the power to smite the earth with every plague (Rev. 11:6) applied to the priests and followers of this evil world religion that follows the Baals, the lords of the fallen host of heaven.
Even more powerfully, the destruction of these priests/ministers of Satan will not be by the sword as Elijah slew the prophets of Baal, but by fire.The fire came down from Heaven and consumed the offering, it is true. But notice how the delegations from Ahaziah, [‘Yah has seized’, son of Ahab, succeeding king of Israel] to Elijah received a message from heaven. After inquiring from Baal-zebub, god of Ekron, a delegation from the king tells them that a man [Elijah] told him he would not recover from his sickness, but surely die. King Ahaziah then sent successive delegations of 50 to Elijah to bring him in. The first two delegations were consumed by fire coming down out of heaven according to the word of Elijah. The third delegation pleaded with the prophet and led him to the king, to whom he pronounced the verdict of YHWH, and so the king died, with no successor.
During the Affliction, readers will note the similarity of treatment to those who attempt to harm the two witnesses: “If anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and if anyone would desire to harm them, in this manner he must be killed.” (Rev. 11:5) The physical reality of fire coming down out of heaven upon Ahaziah’s men is now repeated with the spiritual fire that comes forth upon the breath of the two witnesses.
We could examine other features of Elijah’s ministry, but these are the principal ones that suffice for now to show the reader what to expect from the endtime Elijah who will come in the Affliction. He may go into the presence of God, as the historical Elijah went 40 days to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God, and there he entered a cave and heard the voice of God. This event in the life of the prophet Elijah tells us that he was one like Moses, and the 40 days and 40 nights, like the time Moses spent on the mountain, link them together, as does the address of the Lord to Elijah out of the quiet, even as the Lord spoke to Moses on the mountain, albeit in a louder tone it seems.
In the restoration of the church and the priesthood at the end of time, we will see these spiritual realities portrayed through the two witnesses. As John the Baptist baptized the humble and repentant, while castigating the Pharisees [and Jesus said he was Elijah, if you can hear it], so the end time Elijah figure will baptize the priesthood with spirit, breathing new life into the first-born, expanding knowledge of God, purging the congregation of the first-born of the ungodly in the priesthood, killing with fire the emissaries of the adversary, casting plagues upon the masses of those who claim Christ, but do not walk in His ways, and being a general all around troubler — but not for Israel, the circumcised of heart followers of Jesus Christ, aka The House of God. For it is the son of destruction, the man of lawlessness, who creates trouble for the end time House of Israel, and actually succeeds in creating an abomination of Christendom. United with Jezebel, the ‘Queen of Heaven,’ and the fallen host of heaven, he will usher in the most ungodly form of Christianity, with a final objective to bring the throngs before the adversary to worship the creation rather than the Creator.
Against this abomination will come the two witnesses in the spirit and power of Elijah and Moses, and they will restore the church by removing iniquity and the wicked, and striking down the priesthood of Babylon and Egypt, while breathing new life into the body of Christ, and multiplying the flour and oil as two “sons of fresh oil.”
These are the days of Elijah, declaring the word of the Lord.
These are the days of Your servant, Moses, righteousness being restored.