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THINGS AS THEY ARE, WERE ARE TO COME

Elijah and Fire From Heaven
ANTHONY E. LARSON

But there is far more to his story that is instructive when one looks beyond the obvious. which event piques the curiosity of the inquisitive Bible student. and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty. sacrificial bullocks and stone altars. We pick up the Bible narrative where Elijah makes some demands of Ahab that will set the scene for a confrontation with the priests of Baal.) . As ever. the story becomes quite odd.” Elijah’s ministry occurred during a time of gross apostasy in Northern Israel. His bestknown deed was the calling down of fire out of heaven. Jezebel. F ew Old Testament prophets were as colorful as Elijah. All of this corresponds with an asteroid passing near. but not impacting the earth. brought the worship of Baal. the god of her people. WERE ARE TO COME Elijah and Fire From Heaven Copyright © 2002 Anthony E. as Paul Harvey. the eminent news broadcaster. King Ahab’s wife. the Phoenicians. (1 Kings 18:19. fire and earthquake at no extra cost. and the prophets of the groves four hundred. Now therefore send. The rest of the story So. which eat at Jezebel’s table.THINGS AS THEY ARE. Gale force winds. Larson Elijah’s challenge to the priests of Baal in the Old Testament saw fire come down from heaven that consumed water-soaked wood. the catastrophist point of view illuminates and gives new meaning to the often-overlooked oddities in Elijah’s story. and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel. to Israel’s Northern Kingdom. Perhaps few readers have ventured further in the Elijah story because beyond the basic concepts of a dramatic contest with the priests of Baal. is fond of saying. “Here’s the rest of the story.

and cut it in pieces. the many prophets of the Baalim should be far more powerful than the sole prophet of Jehovah. Elijah. and let them choose one bullock for themselves. even I only. then follow him.) This was a subtle. Elijah set the stage for the most dramatic demonstration of the powers of Jehovah since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt during the Exodus. (1 Kings 18:23. and put no fire under. Elijah’s challenge This was Elijah’s challenge to the priests of Baal: Let them therefore give us two bullocks. and the Israelites worshipped had a multitude of prophets to serve them. And call ye on the name of your gods. and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire.) When they had no answer for him. Jezebel.) The challenge. He simply. eloquently. put the vital question to the Israelites present: How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God. The implication was that by force of sheer numbers. while the multitude of gods (Baalim) that Ahab. remain a prophet of the Lord. Remarkable similarities Indeed. (1 Kings 18:22. let him be God. like Moses and Joshua. had clearly been informed by the Lord beforehand as to what was about to transpire in the heavens and how to take maximum advantage of the unusual phenomenon . 24. and lay it on wood. Thus. then. the similarities between Moses. (1 Kings 18:21. he challenged them. follow him: but if Baal. Joshua and Elijah are striking. nor did he lecture them. I. and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock. and lay it on wood. but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. was to see which god would light the fire of sacrifice — an imposing demonstration for the true God since he alone could command the elements to do so. but unmistakable reference to the difference between his monotheism and the polytheism of those he confronted. Elijah did not preach to the Israelites. He alone served the one.3 Once so gathered. true God.

each worked his ‘miracles’ before thousands of people where failure was not an option. Most of us would be inclined to run the other direction if we thought something catastrophic was about to happen in our neighborhood. What is more. giving considerable leverage and stature among onlookers to the one who seems to control such tremendous forces. Put yourself … Imagine putting yourself in harm’s way as they did.) The bearer of bad tidings. Additionally. And they took the bullock which was given them. A powerful lesson A little foreknowledge goes a long way. the anger of the people for their humiliation and their loss in the wake of these Herculean phenomena would undoubtedly be directed at the prophet — an uncomfortable position. if the promised miracles did not materialize. since they had never experienced anything remotely like this before. Carmel. say nothing of natural calamity. if not his very life. There can be no better teaching aid. is often blamed for the outcome and held responsible with his life. as Elijah learned. and called on the name of Baal from morning even .4 about to occur. The idolaters take their turn Returning to the narrative. Most of us would rather go fishing than put ourselves in such a precarious position. especially when that information includes knowledge of the rare manifestations seen to accompany a major catastrophic event. The natural forces that would be unleashed in a natural catastrophe of the dimensions we are about to examine could as easily have destroyed the prophet if he failed to follow God’s instructions to the letter. One could easily lose reputation. once they got over their astonishment at the event. Such faith is rare. we see that the priests of Baal initiated their part of the challenge on Mt. (See 1 Kings 19:10. Still. It is also likely that none of these prophets completely understood what was about to happen. if not fatal. as instructed. and they dressed it. they acted their part.

but they also expected a voice. Elijah’s ‘miracle’ After verbally humiliating the priests of Baal at their failure. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. and cut the bullock in pieces. This may be so because such manifestations of heavenly fire had been accompanied in the past by the voice of god. And he put the wood in order. Then he was ready. and on the wood. Isaac. But there was no voice. as pointed out at the beginning of this article. let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel. and that I am thy servant. Elijah ordered water poured upon the altar three times until the sacrifice was drenched and the trench around the alter was full. till the blood gushed out upon them. even the bloodletting may have been in similitude of the blood from heaven that also accompanied such an event. despite the fact that Baal was known as a fire god. O Baal. . and pour it on the burnt sacrifice. Baal had failed to hear their pleas by sending fire from heaven. that Elijah the prophet came near. Indeed. and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets. saying. which is in keeping with the catastrophist model of such events and serves to explain why they held that expectation. the outcome of the challenge was predictable. He built an altar with a trench around it. Elijah went to work on his part of the challenge.5 until noon. (1 Kings 18:28. and said. … And they cried aloud. (1 Kings 18:26.) All their efforts were to no avail. and of Israel.) These verses imply that they expected not only fire from heaven to ignite their sacrifice. (1 Kings 18:36. hear us.) Perhaps to add insult to injury. Fill four barrels with water. nor any that answered. Lord God of Abraham. Of course. (1 Kings 18:33.) Herein Elijah plainly states that he has been acting under the direction of God. and said. and that I have done all these things at thy word. and laid him on the wood.

“Get thee up. Much more than heavenly fire Elijah’s foreknowledge of the fire from heaven included far more than that single event. Likely.(1 Kings 18:45. actually holds the final keys to understanding the nature of the entire episode.6 Fire from heaven Fire fell from heaven. Elijah knew something was coming and wanted to be certain of his timing to match the approaching body. and “licked up” the water that was in the trench. Elijah knows that it is time to seek shelter from what is to come. Elijah and Ahab were far from the altar when the fire fell from heaven. the dust.) . that would mean the servant was looking east. toward the Mediterranean. they are both participating in the consumption portion of the sacrifice. the seventh time the servant is sent to look. which is usually left out of any exegesis. It consumed everything in the area — bullock. Finally. an eating and drinking ceremony. with instruction to “look toward the sea. Carmel is located inland from the coast. (1 Kings 18:38. saying. The servant repeatedly returned with news that “There is nothing. eat and drink. he sees a “little cloud” arise out of the sea and reports it to the prophet who then sends the servant to warn the king to get off the mountain. consumed the burnt sacrifice. dust and water! Clearly. Elijah sets a lookout … but for what? While so engaged. and the wood. Elijah sends his servant to keep watch. that the heaven was black with clouds and wind. Elijah orders Ahab up the mountain.” Since Mt.) Note that this “fire” did not simply light the wood around the sacrifice. Clearly. the stones. wood. which later came to be the ordinance we know as the Sacrament.” then follows the king to the top of Carmel. And it came to pass in the meanwhile. The rest of the rest of the story The remaining part of Elijah’s story. and there was a great rain. stones. Most notably. this was no ordinary fire.” whereupon Elijah would send him again to look again.

) But his resignation to death may not have been due to the threat uttered by Jezebel. . but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind and earthquake. the Lord passed by. 12. and a great and strong wind rent the mountains. Elijah once again takes a ritual sacrament of cake and water and interacts with an angel. his face wrapped in his mantle for protection (vs. O Lord. … and he requested for himself that he might die. 13). The fact that Elijah ultimately takes refuge in a cave rather than some man-made dwelling suggests that he sought to escape a life-threatening. This is all entirely plausible.) Catastrophe spectator Standing at the entrance to his cave. take away my life. (1 Kings 19:11. natural event of epic proportions that was unfolding around him. leaving one to wonder if the chronicler truly understood what was going on at that point in time. but not in the time frame of the catastrophic event described.) This was the final chapter in a catastrophic event that only began with the fire from heaven.7 Both Elijah and Ahab headed for Jezreel by different routes and means. but the lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire. Elijah watched the advancing storm. It properly should be connected with that event from the beginning of the narrative. assumably for the shelter of the city. even as it will be in future events. This was typical of past catastrophic events. making this author wonder if is not a later addition or a reorganization of the sequence of events by later writers. In this part of the narrative. What is clear is that Elijah was prepared to die. swore to take his life. now. The intervening text only serves to obscure that fact. and said. … (1 Kings 19:4. (See Revelation 6:15. and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord. It is enough. And behold. But Elijah was immediately forced to flee when he learned that Jezebel. but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. Wandering text The narrative at this point diverts from the catastrophist nature of the events and becomes somewhat confused. upon hearing from Ahab what Elijah had done.

Fire? Or lightning? The fact that the lightning bolt not only consumed the sacrifice but the altars as well suggests another phenomenon that Thornhill ascribes to these interplanetary discharges: electric arc machining. . does not agree with the typical impact scenario described by today’s planetary scientists and as depicted in recent motion pictures and television documentaries. one might see the object coming. for several hours before it actually passed the Earth. a mountain. a discharge or series of discharges leap across space to equalize the net electrical charge of the two bodies. A brief arc of this type between the Earth and an intruder would suffice to explain the consumption by “fire” of Elijah’s sacrifice and altar. perhaps the near-impact model best explains them. Looking in the right place. According to Thornhill.8 A possible model? Searching for a catastrophist model that might explain all the strange manifestations reported in connection with Elijah’s challenge. Elijah’s decision to locate the challenge on Mt. Carmel would have facilitated such a strike. whether the object impacted the Earth or narrowly missed. This would also explain the subsequent events. Thus. He theorizes that most cratering seen to scar the faces of planets and moons in our solar system are the result of electric arc machining. Not only would an interplanetary lightning bolt fall to earth from a clear sky. Earth and the intruder. Wal Thornhill. these discharges are not unlike the electric arc that welders use when they employ a carbon rod to machine away material from the point of contact. would be a likely place for it to strike. Notably. the scenario outlined above fits the Elijah story very well. plasma physicist and proponent of the Electric Universe theory. elevated above a surrounding plane. He claims that long before most comets or asteroids that might have Earth in their crosshairs ever reach their target. A near impact The “little cloud” that Elijah’s servant reports emerging from the sea was probably the approaching object as it seemed to rise from the horizon. depending upon its size.

other times it was more cacophonous and dissonant than the loudest rock-and-roll concert you can imagine. it may have been another variation of the many sounds heard to come from the heavens in such planetary disasters. Sometimes it sounded like an spoken word. it was a “still small voice” that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere. Additionally. careful examination of the biblical record reveals that the greatest prophets. fail to notice the larger picture. those most remembered and revered. Elijah’s catastrophe So we see that the fire from heaven in the days of Elijah was likely only part of a greater catastrophic event. in this case. Since the voice. uttered as a roar or as a whisper. And sometimes. the narrative clearly differentiates between the “still small voice” and the voice of the angel that often conversed with Elijah. including . Hearing voices The “still small voice” is often interpreted spiritually as the voice of the Holy Ghost. this presents a distorted and laconic view of the actual event. Elijah was equal to the task. Indeed. chimes. This is the case with many scriptural accounts. untrained in the discipline of catastrophism. This would produce “a great and strong wind” followed immediately by an earthquake as the object passed by.9 Close pass or impact? If the object passed close by the Earth. And like earlier prophets who came forward during ancient catastrophic events. as a choir. Thus. occurred in immediate proximity to a series of catastrophic phenomena. they focus on the various elements of the catastrophic event as autonomous and unrelated. Sometimes it was harmonious. drums or cymbals. Most biblical scholars. served during times of planetary catastrophe. The sky would darken ominously. its gravitational and electrical influence would still have caused the darkened skies. and what would have appeared to be a great storm would quickly approach as the effects of the intruder made themselves ever more manifest in the Earth’s meteorology. This puts him in elite company. While that possibility cannot be discounted. bells. such as the name Yahweh. In this author’s opinion. Other times it sounded like trumpets. wind and earthquake reported in the narrative. it may be that this was not so in this case.

the Exodus and events predicted for the last days in Revelation. newsletters and published books exploring this material in depth: http://www. One thing is certain.com .mormonprophecy.10 Joshua’s Long Day.com/ For online classes. The catastrophist view of history and prophecy allows a more complete and revealing understanding of the scriptures than does the orthodox interpretation as we see in Elijah’s adventure. For more essays from this series: http://mormonprophecy.com/ Your questions or comments are welcome: anthonyelarson@gmail.blogspot. videos.

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