Sermon Notes

SBS    Sermons     Note 11/11


(My God is YAH)

Reading: 1 Kings 18


The Bible contains stories of many of the greatest men and women the world has ever known. They do not fall into any one category: but come from every strata of human society: kings, governors, scholars, scribes, builders, farmers, shepherds, fishermen, publicans and tent-makers. What was the secret of their greatness? What common factor did these individuals possess that set them apart from ordinary mortals? How is it that they accomplished so much to qualify for a mention in the greatest book of all time - The Bible? In short, what was it that made the Bible greats - great?

Was it their intellect, their education, their wealth, possessions, appearance, social status or talent? Or was it a definable something that is freely available to all mankind? I trust that this morning we will discover part of their secret. It is, of course, impossible in one sermon to analyse the lives of several people; so I have chosen just one man for close scrutiny - Elijah the Tishbite. Why have I chosen Elijah? The answer is because Elijah is like a spiritual icon who calls to mind everything a last-day servant of God should be. To me Elijah is one of the greatest believers that ever lived: and though he never wrote a single book in the Bible, Elijah's message is what the Scriptures are all about. The Elijah message concerns every soul on earth, especially believers living in the closing days of this age. In this sermon I will briefly mention well-known facts concerning Elijah and then attempt to look behind the man at the special possession that made him great the - Elijah Message!

1. Appearances

We live in a world where people judge by appearances. I must confess that I am no exception to this trait: for I have often made the mistake of judging people by their appearance. And yet how wrong I have been. The Almighty commented to the prophet Samuel, "Man looketh on the outward appearance." How true. What did Elijah look like? How tall was he? What was the colour of his hair, his eyes, his skin? Was he handsome, rich, educated? These are the things that mostly concern the people of this world. But they are unimportant considerations. In the Day of Judgement they will count for nothing. When asked about Elijah's appearance, some observers answered as follows:
2 Kings 1: 8... He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.

This tells us very little about the man or his message, so I will move on to discuss the important qualities Elijah possessed over and above the norm.

2. Courage

The first quality I notice about Elijah is that he had courage. Courage to openly practice the truth at a time when most feared to do so: courage to stand up to the hundreds of false prophets of his day: courage to rebuke an angry monarch to his face. Elijah had that kind of courage.
2 Kings 1: 15: And the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, Go down with him: Be not afraid of him.

Elijah overcame his fear and courageously went to meet king Ahaziah, to deliver a message concerning the king's sins and subsequent punishment - death! Yes, courage is a mandatory requirement for every servant of the Lord in these last days. Every prophet, priest and disciple must have courage: courage to face, overcome and rebuke sin which is becoming increasingly fashionable all over the world.

3. Faith

Elijah possessed a good measure of faith in God. Bear in mind that his name 'Elijah' means 'my God is Yah.' Yah is the short form for Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We see Elijah's faith expressing itself in his experience at Zarephath during Israel's three and a half year drought and famine.
1 Kings 17: 9: Get thee to Zarephath ... behold I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee ...
10: So he arose and went to Zarephath ...
13: And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said; but make me thereof a little cake first and bring it to me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
14: For thus saith the Lord God of Israel. The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruise of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.

To take the last morsel of bread from a starving widow was an act of faith in Yahweh's ability to provide thereafter. Elijah was not displaying selfishness in this act. Instead he was demonstrating strong faith in his God YAH. Elijah firmly believed that her barrel of flour and bottle of oil would not run out till the rains came. That is why he made that unusual request. Elijah believed, but did she? The widow's faith proved as strong as his. This widow prefigures the obedient people of God in the end-time when for three and a half years the church will be miraculously sustained in the 'wilderness of the peoples.' The widow of Zeraphath rose to the occasion, just as the church will, and shared her last morsel with Elijah.
1 Kings 17: 15: And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah, and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
16: And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.

Of Elijah's faith the Apostle James writes:
James 5: 17: Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18: And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

4. The Elijah Message

Now we come to what I believe is Elijah's most important holding - his message. The Elijah message calls people to obey the commandments of Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel: particularly those commandments which relate to sexual conduct and pagan festivals. When accused by king Ahab of being a trouble-maker, Elijah's answered as follows:
1 Kings 18: 17: And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
18: And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.

Baalim is Hebrew plural for Baal the god of nature and fertility. I quote from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, article 'Baal.' (emphasis mine)
"... Baal worship apparently had its origin in the belief that every tract of ground owed its productivity to a supernatural being, or baal, that dwelt there. The farmers probably thought that from the Baalim, or fertility gods, of various regions came the increase of crops, fruit and cattle...The worship of Baal was accompanied with lascivious rites (1 Kings 14:24), the sacrifice of children in the fire by parents (Jer.19:5), and kissing the image (1 Kings 19:18; Hos 13:2). Baal was often associated with the goddess Astoreth (Judg.2:13), and in the vicinity of his altar there was often an Asherah (Judg.6:30; 1 Kings 16:32-33,R.V.)"
Of the goddess Astoreth the same dictionary says:
"... She was the goddess of sexual love, maternity and fertility. Prostitution as a religious rite in the service of this goddess under various names is widely attested. The identification of 'Ashtart with Aphrodite is evidence of her sexual character."
Elijah's spoke out against the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth. He fearlessly condemned sexual sin and the worship of nature and pointed to Yahweh the CREATOR of the mighty universe: the one and only God who, in the final analysis, controls the fertility of the earth and the womb. Over and over again Elijah taught that obedience to Yahweh's commandments was the only acceptable route to fertility and that man's sexual conduct must be governed by divine law, not by human desire. Why, even the widow burst out:
1 Kings 17: 18: And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

When Elijah called for a three and a half year drought, he was, in fact, demonstrating to Israel that his God YAH was the only true God: and that it was on Yah's authority that all productivity depended. He alone can give meaningful increase in basket and womb, and this blessing comes in direct response to faith and obedience. This is the message of the Bible. This is the Elijah Message.

The world is fast approaching a state that existed in the days of Elijah. Sexual perversion is now the norm. Fornication, Adultery and Homosexuality are openly advocated by the many modern priests and priestesses. Sin has become fashionable! But don't be deluded: these sins are simply a sophisticated 20th century version of Baal and Ashtoreth worship! What is even more tragic is that the collapse of sexual standards is reflected in the church's rejection of Yahweh's weekly and annual Sabbath days which are the divinely appointed memorials of the Creation.

The keeping of Easter (Ashtaroth's fertility festival) and Christmas (The birthday of the Sun god) are high level examples of Astaroth and Baal worship! These are stunning facts, which you must know and take heed to. (If you have not already done so, be sure to read our booklet, The Festivals of the God of Israel, which is available online.)

The Prophet Balaam

The Elijah message calls people back to the commandments of the Most High. On both the physical and the spiritual planes it challenges the teachings of Balaam the mercenary prophet who advocated sexual license as a tool to overthrow Yahweh's people. Balaam was unable to curse Israel, even though he was offered large sums of money by king Balak. Balaam knew that the only way Israel could be overthrown was by getting the nation to sin. So he instructed king Balak to invite the men of Israel to Moab's heathen festivals at which sexual sin was at its height. Balak followed Balaam's advice and the invitations went out. The men of Israel walked straight into the trap and grievously sinned. The curses written in the law of the Most High began to take effect. The story of Balak and Balaam is found in Numbers chapters 22 to 25. The record goes on to tell of a holy war between Israel and Midian: a war which, itself, was a dramatised prophecy of the end-time attack against the powers of evil. In that war the prophet Balaam was put to death.
Numbers 31: 8: And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.

To preach the Elijah message in these days requires faith and courage; because it will upset millions: especially the religious authorities who disregard the Almighty's Sabbath days. Like the ancient priests and priestesses of Baal and Ashtaroth, they detest the Elijah message. It troubles them. It angers them. They would rather hear smooth words which keep clear of sexual sin and Sabbath-breaking: those low and high level sins which are currently sweeping the earth. But the Most High is not mocked. His judgements will - yea already have - begun to take effect.
2 Peter 2: 4: For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5: And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6: And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
7: And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9: The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
10: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
11: Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
12: But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
13: And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
14: Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
15: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.

Those who proclaim the Elijah message do not fight human beings. Oh no! our enemy is not men, but error!
Ephesians 6: 12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Our battle is against sin, not people. Like Elijah we must speak out against sin:

The Power of Truth

Elijah taught the Truth: and he backed it up with breath-taking power. He even raised the dead!
1 Kings 17: 21: And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.
22: And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
23: And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.
24: And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.

The Two Witnesses and the 144,000

The Elijah message will be preached by the Two Witnesses and the 144000 servants of God with great power. This power will become apparent shortly after the 6th Seal of Revelation bursts open. Its effect on mankind will be spectacular:
Malachi 4: 4: Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgements.
5: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

John the Baptist

John the Baptist was not a reincarnation of Elijah. But like all the true prophets of God, John preached the Elijah message: Turn away from sexual sin and keep the commandments of God. John was a message, a voice in the wilderness, calling people back to the commandments of God. When asked by the Jewish leaders:
John 1: 19:... Who art thou ... Art thou Elijah?
20: And he confessed and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21: And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he said, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22: Then said they unto him, Who art thou? ...What saiest thou of thyself>
23: He said, I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

Matthew 3:1-12 ... A voice ... Prepare ye ... Repent and be baptised ... Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance ... Every tree that not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.

5. Elijah's Victory at Carmel

The story of Elijah's victory at Carmel is well known. The prophets of Baal miserably failed to bring down fire from heaven, whereas Elijah succeeded. There is, however, coming a time when the 'False Prophet' will be able to bring down fire on the earth in the sight of men. Be prepared for such miracles. They will come.
Revelation 13: 11: And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12: And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13:And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast ...

Miracles, on their own, however, are no proof of truth. Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet and hundreds of prophets of all the religions of the world are well able to do breath-taking miracles! But miracles of themselves are no proof of truth. Truth is found in Yahweh's Word - the Holy Bible. If a miracle-backed doctrine is not in agreement with the Bible, then it is false: however spectacular or appealing it may otherwise happen to be. Remember this vital fact.

6. Elijah at Mount Sinai

Elijah was totally exhausted after his Carmel experience and marathon run to the entrance of Jezreel. But there were still several lessons for him to learn: lessons about himself, his fellow believers and about his God Yah. These lessons are described in 1 Kings 19.
Lessons about himself
Exhaustion / Depression
verse 4 ... and he requested for himself that he might die; and said 'It is enough, now O Lord, take away my life ...

verse 4 ... for I am not better than my fathers.

The need for supernatural nourishment
verse 6 ... And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruise of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid down again.
7: And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
8: And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

Lessons about Yahweh
verse 11 "... And, behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind and earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
12: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13: And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering of the cave. And behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here Elijah?

Duties to Perform
verse 15-17 Anoint kings and a successor (Elishah).

True Believers Elijah knew nothing of
verse 18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him.

7. Elijah's Ascension

Elijah was unable to pass on his spirit to Elisha. That was - and still is - a matter for only Yahweh to decide. He does so, after weighing the evidence of holiness, zeal and ability which He alone can detect in individuals.
2 Kings 2: 9: ... Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10: And he said: Thou hast asked a hard thing.

Did Elijah actually go to heaven at that time? Not according to Jesus:
John 3: 13: And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Elijah is asleep in his grave, awaiting the resurrection. But his message: 'Fear Yahweh and keep His commandments' is alive today: being proclaimed around the world. Pray that the Holy Spirit that moved Elijah will be with us (Stewarton Bible School) as we, with many others, seek to learn, live and preach the Elijah Message.

SBS     Sermon Notes

Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
June 1996 ... Reformatted March 2000