Elijah's God Answers by Fire
At a very transitional time in Israel's past, a dramatic sign was given that speaks prophetically of a sign that will be given in the near future. It is both the Bride Theft and the baptism of the 144k sons of Israel. The setting was a showdown on Mount Carmel between Elijah's God and Baal. The 950 prophets of Baal and Ashterah and the one prophet of the God of Israel faced off in prayer. The God who was to win was the God who would answer by fire. The stakes were high - winner take all - all the hearts of Israel.
You may want to read the whole eighteenth chapter of I Kings before you continue reading here.
Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord which had been torn down.
31 Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name."
32 So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed.
33 Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood.
34 And he said, "Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood." And he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time.
35 The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water.
36 At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, elijah the prophet came near and said, "O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.
37 "Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again."
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God."
1 Kings 18:30-39
This turning of Israel's heart back again was the subject of Elijah's prayer. This prayer and the context in which it was prayed pictures the events of the near future we have become familiar with in this series of prophetic studies. This turning back will begin with phase one, a first wave of sorts where a very significant number of sons of Israel have their hearts turned back to the God of their Fathers. This is a sign to the people of Israel. It is a baptism sign and a sign like the Acts 2 Shavuot. It will reveal their God to all Israel, first the 144k then, to the balance through the outworking of their commission. It will be one big sign day with both the Bride Theft Jonah sign and the sealing of the 144k sons of Israel sign of God answering by fire!
When Elijah repeated his cry "answer me" twice, he addressed both his present time and that which is yet to come. The 12 stones make up the altar, representing the 144k sons of Israel, 12k from each tribe as the stones were one for each tribe. When it says Jacob was the one to whom the word of the Lord had come saying, "Your name shall be Israel," it's like, what, are we so ignorant we didn't already know that? Well, we may indeed be so ignorant, but some greater truth is being brought to our attention. The use of the name Jacob usually signifies that those people are "unregenerated" and the name Israel signifies that they are revived, regenerated people. We should get the point then, that this altar represents a revived people of Israel, spiritually. They have overcome. For example, consider the following verses.
He said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed."
27 When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.
28 Then Israel said, "It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die."
The bull on the altar represents Y'shua, the ultimate sacrificial offering. (Hebrews 10) The placing of the bull on the wood alludes to the sacrifice of the wooden cross, a burnt sacrifice wholly devoted to God. The bull on the other altar represents the anti-Messiah Beast, the one worshiped by the false prophets. The four large jars of water poured three times totals 12 large jars of water, one for each stone in the altar; for each tribe of Israel. This act represents baptism, identifying the offering, the wood and the altar and trench with Y'shua in his death and resurrection. In one prophetic view, it pictures the baptism of the 144000 sons of Israel, which is their anointing and sealing with holy spirit. It is also the washing of water (mikvah) by the word (Torah) that makes them holy. That the water was poured three times signifies a resurrection. As we have seen in similar accounts, the sealing of the 144k sons of Israel triggers the Bride theft resurrection. (Romans 11:15)
Elijah prayed for God to "let it be known today that you are God in Israel," and that is what will happen when the 144k are sealed. The glorious event will make Him known as God in Israel! The 144k are the first wave of Israel to have their hearts turned to the Lord. As a result of the Lord answering the prayer, they will know that the Lord is God, that YHWH is Elohim!
Who has ascended into heaven and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has wrapped the waters in His garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name or His son's name?
Surely you know!
They will know - they will know Y'shua!
The fire that fell consumed not only the sacrifice and the wood but the altar stones, the soil and the water in the trench as well. These tongues of fire could be seen licking up the water in the trench, because, after all, that's what tongues do with water. :) The fire from God indicated his acceptance of their offering. The fire is also the baptism.
John answered and said to them all, "As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
This baptismal fire is like what came when the day of Shavuot was fully come in 33 AD
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
For the 144k, it will be an Acts 2 kind of experience. Did you notice the prominence of tongues in those verses in Acts? The tongues of fire were visible signs, evidence of God's acceptance of their offering, The tongues that were spoken languages were evidence of their having received God's spiritual blessing. There was an exchange of firstfruits on that day. On Shavuot, the firstfruits were being offered to God and accepted - and God was giving the firstfruits of the spirit!
Behold, the name of the Lord comes from a remote place;
Burning is His anger and dense is His smoke;
His lips are filled with indignation
And His tongue is like a consuming fire;
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
1 Kings 18:38
The things recorded in the passage in 1 Kings took place on Mount Carmel. The name Carmel means "fruitful field." The Lord's harvest field will indeed be fruitful when the time comes for the great contest between God's servants and the servants of Baal. Consider the fruit evidenced in those who had gathered on that Mount.
When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God."
1 Kings 18:39
And the people will know as Elijah prayed, that he was His servant and that he did all those things at His command. Yes! Elijah's God answers by fire! The Bride and the 144k, what a relay team they will be; a two-pronged witness in the earth! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Baruch haba b'shem Adonai!
An interesting feature I discovered about this chapter can be seen in this study, The Bible's Divisions Speak About Time