Now a days it is fairly rare to make a phone call to a business without being told that the call may be recorded for all sorts of reasons. Businesses react slightly differently when you tell them that you are recording them just to make sure that there is an accurate record of what has been said.
Prior to this the main way of proving what was said (or happened) was when it was said in front of witnesses or having pictures taken on the event. An image snapped with ones phone is common place, but before cameras were readily available it was an artist who sketched or painted what they saw. An example of this is documented here
Going back in time even more somebodies ring/seal was often the sign that they had the authority of that person. They used the ring to make decisions. This then led to people having their ring fingers cut off (with the ring still on the finger) as a witness to prove that they had been usurped. In more extreme cases the head was cut off and paraded around.
Going back in time even more in Deuteronomy 17:6 Jewish law requires two or more witnesses to an event before it can result in Judgement (in this case the capital crime). So when Elijah was travelling around and had 50 prophets following him they made pretty good witnesses.
In 2 King 2 v7 it describes how they watched Elijah and Elisha (his apprentice/understudy) go up to the River Jordan and Elijah touches it with his cloak and the waters divided so he and Elisha could cross the river on dry ground.
It does not record how large the river was at that time but I think it is fair to say that it was not a stream, but a river. Elijah and Elisha go on and Elisha witnesses Elijah being taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, during which he drops his cloak.
Elisha picks up Elijah's cloak and walks back to the river Jordan where the prophets are still waiting on the far side. I am sure they are wondering how is he going to get back across the river. But Elisha
picked up Elijah's cloak that had fallen from him, returned to the shore of the Jordan, and stood there. He took Elijah's cloak—all that was left of Elijah!—and hit the river with it, saying, "Now where is the God of Elijah? Where is he?"
When he struck the water, the river divided and Elisha walked through. - from verse 15 The guild of prophets from Jericho saw the whole thing from where they were standing. They said, "The spirit of Elijah lives in Elisha!" They welcomed and honored him. From the message version.
The prophets were the witness to the fact that Elisha now had been granted similar powers by God to that of Elijah.
You can read more about this period of Elijah's time on earth in our studies on him and the relevant sections of the Bible this time being main 2 King 2 here
Have you ever wished that you could call down a bolt of fire from the sky to sort out a problem. Being able to use lightning or bolts of fire is often a popular powerful weapon in computer games. Normally one must do certain tasks or achieve/collect certain things to get this skill but once acquired it is very useful.
But having the capacity to call on thunderbolts of fire is not just for computer games, as we read about Elijah in 2 Kings 1 being able to call on lightning and in this case it hits and kills a captain of the guard and fifty of his men by incinerating them. The captain had challenged Elijah and questioned if he was a “Holy Man”.
The captain had been sent by the king at that time Ahaziah to get Elijah to come to him as Elijah had prophesied that the king would not get better having fallen through some balcony railings on the rooftop of his house in Samaria. -
The king had sent some messengers off to consult Baal-Zebub the god of Ekron, but Elijah had met them on their way and given them a true prophesy from God
Elijah said 'You're not going to get out of that bed you're in—you're as good as dead already.'" Elijah delivered the message and was gone. 2 Kings 1 verse 4 (The Message). The King did not think much of this when the messengers came back and told him what Elijah had said.
I somehow think that was probably a bit of an understatement – I can just imagine him ranting and raving calling for Elijah as he wanted to confront him and wanted Elijah. Hence the captain and fifty solders were dispatched to go and get Elijah and bring him before the king.
Once Ahaziah heard that the captain had been killed he dispatched a second captain and fifty more men to nab Elijah. Elijah is just sitting there when the guard comes along. He says "O Holy Man! King's orders: Come down. And right now!"
Elijah answered, "If it's true that I'm a 'holy man,' lightning strike you and your fifty men!" Immediately a divine lightning bolt struck and incinerated the captain and his fifty. 2 Kings 1 11-12
News gets back to the king and I can just imagine how cross he is this time, and so he sends a third captain and fifty more men. This time the captain is a bit more respectful. I would think seeing the incinerated remains of over 100 men would help focus his mind.
Elijah goes with him to the king and I can imagine King Ahaziah asking Elijah what did you say would happen to me?
Elijah told him, "God's word: Because you sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub the god of Ekron, as if there were no God in Israel to whom you could pray, you'll never get out of that bed alive—already you're as good as dead." and he died, exactly as God's word spoken by Elijah had said. 2 Kings 1 16-17 (The Message).
Most of us probably don't have anything to do with prophecy in our day to day lives other than looking at the weather and trying to guess when our British summer will start and it will start to warm up.
But the God of Elijah as recorded in the Old Testament in the Bible is the same God of the New Testament and is the same God of the 21st Century and He has given people the power of prophecy all through the ages including now.
The first two captains of the guards in our story did not recognise God working through Elijah, and sadly suffered as a result. We need to keep our eyes and ears open so we can recognise God at work in people today.
You can read more about what happened to Elijah at this time in our notes from our Bible Study on this passage here.
How often have you looked over at your neighbours garden and thought that it looked good and you would like something like that. Or even more so felt that your garden is too small and only if you could buy a bit of extra land, it would make the garden just so much better.
Well they say that nothing is new and the same thing happened thousands of years ago with King Ahab. He was looking out of his palace window, and thought that he needed to expand his palace grounds. There was a vineyard next door and this was just what he needed but it belonged to his neighbour Naboth.
The King approached Naboth and asked him if he would sell the land, but Naboth said no, because it was his ancestors land. Well the king felt he just needed this vineyard and went into a megga sulk. His wife Jezebel wanted to know what was wrong, when she found out she was not going to let a little thing like this thwart her. If Naboth would not sell then she would remove him from the picture in another way.
Jezebel arranged for a day of religious fasting and then got a couple of her cronies to start accusing Naboth of being false, and then to ensure that the punishment was stoning to death. The crowd were soon whipped up into a frenzy and sadly poor Naboth was killed by the crowds.
King Ahab now grabs Naboths land and adds the vineyard to the palace grounds. He is oh so happy, until Elijah comes along and confronts him...You can read the full version of what happens in 1 Kings 21 along with the rest of the story and you can read our notes from our Bible Study on this passage here.
With all the rain that we have had recently it seems hard to imagine a drought. Easier really to imagine a flood, but back in 9th Century BC, God had told Elijah to predict that there would be a drought, and there had been for three years.
The King at the time King Ahab, was getting desperate to feed his horses, which kept his army going, as all the grass had died. He had split the cavalry into two groups so that they may have a better chance of finding some food. One group was being led by the King and the other by his assistant Obadiah, who was a secret believer.
Elijah appears to Obadiah and tells him that God is going to have a show down with the King and all his false prophets. He is to get the King to meet him at the top of Mount Carmel and they will prepare for two sacrifices. One being run by the false prophets the other by Elijah
The king gets his 450 prophets of Baal and the queens 400 prophets of Asherah up to the top of the hill. Great crowds of people come along to watch.
The false prophets go first. There is a bull placed on the altar, and they start to chant calling upon their false gods to cause fire to come down and burn up the bull. Nothing much happens. After a few hours Elijah suggests to them that Baal must be asleep and they are not making enough noise, so they chant even more and start cutting themselves. Eventually they run out of steam, nothing has happened.
Elijah then says it is my turn now. He firstly rebuilds the altar, using 12 large stones, then places the bull on it. Then just to make sure that there is no trickery gets the crowd to pour lots of water all over it, so water is in the trough around the altar.
With not a cloud in the sky, and the offering soaking wet, Elijah then calls upon the true God to cause fire to come down from heaven and burn up the sacrifice. Fire comes down from heaven and burns up the offering and destroys the altar. The people are totally amazed. The drought then ends. This is just a brief summary of our second encounter with Elijah. You can read the full version of what happens in 1 kings 18 and you can read our notes on this passage here.
Elijah is an amazing character recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible. He lived during King Ahab's reign in the 9th Century. Elijah bursts onto the seen in 1 Kings 17 and confronts King Ahab telling him that there is going to be a drought until he says it will stop. King Ahab is recorded as “doing more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.”in 1 Kings 16 v30 and had certainly led the country astray.
Having told King Ahab the bad news about the drought, Elijah flees for his life, as King Ahab and his wife Queen Jezebel had a tenancy to kill those they did not like especially any true prophets who were challenging their beliefs.
The drought begins to take hold. Elijah in his hiding is then miraculously fed by ravens, bringing him food, but after a time the brook that he is using for drinking water runs dry, so he needs to up sticks. God tells him to go to Zarephath which was around 100 miles away from where he was, so it was no walk in the park.
He there meets a widow, who he asks for food. She feeds him with her last meal, thinking that she will then die, but again a miracle happens and her food supply does not run out while Elijah is living with her.
Time moves on a bit and the widow's son sadly dies, but amazingly God brings him back to life, through Elijah.
This is just a brief summary of our first encounter with Elijah, more can be read in the notes from the study here
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.