They asked Jesus, saying, “Why is it the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” And He said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things… (Mark 9: 11-12)
There are five examples of Elijah-type prophets in the Bible. Each prophet is uniquely different, but each has an important trait which is also common to the other ones. This common trait is not seen in King David, Isaiah, Jeremiah or Ezekiel.
And guess what? This trait is also the reason why today’s church has not seen the Elijah-type of prophets….as yet.
Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word. (1 Kings 17: 1)
One moment, Israel was a backslidden nation without a prophet who had the anointing to point the people back to God. And then, in the next moment, Elijah arrived on the scene.
Little is known about Elijah before he prophesied to King Ahab, except that he came from the nation of Gilead, and not from Israel. Most likely, he was an Ishmaelite, which made him a Gentile.
Isn’t that interesting? God used a Gentile to prophesy to His people, the Jews. This fact may help explain why the listeners were so touchy when Jesus stood up and spoke at the synagogue in Nazareth.
And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah, was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow….And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things. (Luke 4: 24 – 26, 28)
Yes, Elijah was the prophet of power. Yes, he slew four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Yes, he prayed a drought away. Yes, he called fire down upon a hundred soldiers. And yes, he was taken alive up to heaven in a chariot of fire.
But even with all of this, what was it that set Elijah apart from the other prophets in the Old Testament? And who are the other four Elijah-type prophets?
(Continued in Part 4)