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Spirits Amongst Men-Fiery Battle between Prophets

Pagan influences within cultures wax and wane throughout their development, either leading to their prosperity or ruin. During the rule of King Ahab, his queen consort Jezebel ordered for the heavy suppression of the worship of the God of Israel, to the point that God’s Prophets went into hiding, leading to a drought that destroyed the country. The Faith of the Nation was turned towards false idols, until Prophet Elijah challenged the ruling religious elite to see whose God truly controlled fire and water.

King Ahab came from a long line of exceptionally evil and destructive kings over Israel, “but Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight more than all who were before him” (1 Kings 16:30).

One of his most notable offenses was marrying Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, King of the Sidonians. Jezebel’s father Ethbaal, had been a priest of Astarte, considered another name for Asherah, before Ethbaal murdered his father King Phelles. The worship of Astarte/Asherah was primarily focused on fertility rites and the cult was noted for its sexual practices. It is believed that Jezebel may have been a high priestess (qadishtu: sometimes translated temple/shrine prostitute) of Asherah, “the Queen of Heaven” and goddess of fertile harvests, who was responsible for prosperous rain falling from the sky. Likewise, Jezebel’s dedication to the fertility goddess of the region encouraged King Ahab to erect Asherah poles in her patron goddess’ honor. Asherah’s husband, Baal-Zebul/Zebub, “King of Heaven” was also heavily promoted by Jezebel, who had King Ahab build a temple and altar to Baal in Samaria and Ahab served and worshipped Baal. Baal, like his wife Asherah, was noted for his power over “the storm” and violent downpours. Because of his connection with flies, Baal-Zebub’s worship often included fecal matter and cutting up of one’s own skin so flies could lay eggs in the open wounds.

“Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the Kings of Israel who were before him” (ref. 1 Kings 16:31-33).

As Israel’s focus turned to these two gods of gentle showers and fierce storms, God sent Prophet Elijah to King Ahab declaring “As the Lord God of Israel lives, I stand before Him, and there will be now dew or rain during these years except by my command!”

For three years Prophet Elijah hid from King Ahab and Jezebel’s political and religious persecution and executions, till the Word of the Lord came to Elijah to “Go and present yourself to Ahab. I will send rain on the surface of the land” since the famine in Samaria had crippled the region. When Ahab saw Prophet Elijah, Ahab challenged, “Is it really you? You destroyer of Israel!” blaming the drought that was destroying the nation on Elijah and the God of Israel. But Elijah corrected Ahab, “I’m no destroyer of Israel. It is you and your ancestor’s household who have been doing that, because you have abandoned the Lord’s commandments and have followed the Baals. Gather all of Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel and bring the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah that Jezebel funds from the state treasury” (ref. 1 Kings 18:1-2, 17-19).

After the Israelites gathered together, Prophet Elijah issued a challenge to the prophets of Baal that they should build an altar to their god and place an ox on the wood and whosever altar would light with fire that would be the true god that Israel should worship.

They accepted the challenge and went about shouting and calling on the name of Baal from morning till noon. But there was no answer from their god, so they went into a mayhem and danced in a frenzy around the altar they had built.

At noon, Elijah began to taunt the Prophets of Baal-Zebub: (implied by 1 Kings 18:27, creative liberties taken)

Shout louder! He’s the god of storms right? Maybe he can’t hear you?! Speak up!

You honor him by relieving yourself in his temple correct? Possibly he’s currently preoccupied on the bathroom himself?!

He’s Lord of the Flies, is he not? Perhaps he’s buzzed off somewhere?

Baal and his wife Asherah are both fertility gods aren’t they? Methinks they were enjoying each other and fell asleep afterwards. Someone needs to go wake them from their post-coitus nap.

Stung by Prophet Elijah’s insults against their gods, they cried even louder and began to gash their skin open with knives and lancets until their blood gushed all over themselves as was their custom. They carried on like this till the evening sacrifice, but they never heard a response from their god. (ref. 1 Kings 18: 28-29).

Elijah gathered Israel about him and built an altar of twelve stones for each of the tribes of Jacob and built his altar in the Name of the Lord. He dug a deep trench around the altar and had water poured over the bull and wood three times, saturating the materials so much that water overflowed and filled the trench.

Elijah cried out to “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I, your servant, have done all of this in obedience to your word. Answer me, Lord, so that this people may know that you, Lord, are God, and that You are turning their hearts again,” (ref. 1 Kings 18:30-38).

Then God’s fire fell from Heaven and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, the dust and even the water within the trench.

When all the people saw what had happened, they fell flat on their faces and cried “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”

Having won the contest, Elijah triumphantly ordered “Arrest the prophets of Baal! Don’t let even one of them get away!” So the people seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the brook of Kishon and executed them there.

Elijah confronted King Ahab, whose gods of rain had failed to provide a drop of water for Israel for three years, during the drought.

“Get up and have something to eat and drink, because there’s the sound of a coming rainstorm”.

A little while later, the sky turned black with storm clouds and winds and there was a heavy shower.

The supposed King and Queen of Heaven were unable to answer let alone provide for those who worshipped them. They were false idols who had no power and no voice. The Israelites again had to be reminded that God has power over all His Creation including fire and water. The nation suffered greatly because they had turned away and forgotten about the God of their Forefathers and it took a direct challenge against the ruling political and religious elite, for them to turn to the God of Israel. Any icons of power man can erect by his own strength and cunning, will be mocked and torn down but the One True Living God.

Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator

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