This is the title of an article written by Guy Cohen, founder of the Harvest of Asher Congregation and Ministry in Acco, Israel. He is affiliated with Tikkun International, a global family of ministries dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Biblical Church. Tikkun means restoration, renewal, rehabilitation, and repair [in Hebrew]. It is the cry of the Hebrew prophets for the Messianic Age, and for about 10 years I have been blessed to see the dedication and the work of this organization for the Kingdom of God.
Mr. Cohen's title captured my attention and I wondered if there might be some common ground of understanding between a Messianic Jew in Israel, and a Christian woman in America. Furthermore, I found his religious background interesting, as well. He grew up in an orthodox Jewish religious environment in Israel, studying the Old Testament and rabbinical teachings. Then in 1997, the Lord opened Guy's eyes and he accepted Yeshua as his Messiah! His background and training in the Hebrew Scriptures gives him a unique perspective into the Word of God and the Jewish roots of faith in Yeshua. I am a serious lay student of those same roots in reference to the Christian Bible and my faith.
The subject of Cohen's article was the prophet Elijah and the environment in which he lived. Elijah was one of the major prophets God sent to Israel to call His people back to Him. But Elijah ran into some formidable foes in King Ahab and his pagan queen Jezebel. According to Scripture, Ahab had done more evil in the sight of the Lord than all the kings who were before him. He built a house for the worship of his wife's false god, Baal, and there he built an altar to Baal and worshiped him. At his wife's instigation, he also built an Asherah pole, a sacred monument and tribute to the Canaanite goddess, Asherah, who was said to be "the mother" of a pantheon of gods with the other "creator god", El. The nation of Israel was tempted to follow these false gods, just as their king had. Elijah could not convince them to choose whom they would worship; their noncommittal attitude only served to greatly provoke the Lord God of Israel.
But Elijah was anointed by God to confront the idolators, and he fulfilled his mission, gaining a fiery victory on Mount Carmel. As you will recall, the spiritual showdown occurred after Israel had suffered three years without rain, due to their unrepentant idolatry. All Israel gathered at Mount Carmel, where Elijah confronted the evil king and his false prophets. The challenge went like this: Elijah was the lone prophet of the God of Israel. Against him were 450 prophets of the false god, Baal, and 400 prophets of the false goddess Asherah. The challenge was to prepare a bull as an offering to their respective gods. But there was a condition that had to be met ... they could light no fire on their altar. The God who answered with fire from the sky would be declared the true God.
The fire of the Lord fell and consumed Elijah's offering, after which the people of Israel fell on their faces, saying, "The Lord, He is God"! And after God provided evidence to the people of His sovereignty as the one true God, you have to believe Elijah would be thinking, "I've known why I was sent; to harken the people to the Lord's voice and His presence. How can they not repent and return to the Lord, now?" Instead of what he thought was irrefutable proof of God's supremacy and the truth, Elijah found himself the target of Jezebel's wrath and on the run for his life. The spirits of fear and doubt engulfed him and he ended up in a cave, ready to give up. How dispirited he must have been! He saw his beloved nation forsaking the covenant they had with their God. He witnessed the altars to God being destroyed, and the prophets were all killed. He was the only one left, and they were trying to kill him, too.
But the Lord did not abandon Elijah. He didn't appear in the grand manner that Elijah expected Him to, but rather as a still, small voice that encouraged him and then sent him back into the spiritual battle. Elijah followed the Lords commands to anoint Hazael as king over Syria; Jehu as king over Israel; and Elisha as a prophetic voice to take his [Elijah's] place. Sadly, both kings failed to do as God bid, and only Elisha carried out his assignment.
So, why does this ancient situation spoken of in an article by a Messianic minister speak so much to my spirit today? Mr. Cohen fights the battle of speaking as a believer in Yeshua, the Messiah, to a nation of orthodox or unbelieving Jews. He identifies with Elijah in speaking to an unbelieving nation that bows the knee to political Zionism. For me, as a Christian in America, I see how much our governmental leadership and so-called prophetic voices have disappointed. The nation's leaders are as guilty of idolatry and abandoning the true God as King Ahab was. They worship at the altars of power and wealth, and the "voices" of so many prophets assault our ears! What is God's Truth in the midst of all this? Both government leaders and "prophets" battle for their messages to be heard, leading to deception and confusion among the brethren of believers. So what are we seeing? False prophets leading many astray, lawlessness increasing, and love for our fellow man growing cold.
Did the Lord identify with Elijah, when He said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!"? Today, we often find that Christians don't want a message that interferes with their comfort zone, or troubles their spirit, or challenges their belief system. We need the spirit of Elijah today! We need the true prophets who are willing to call out the false gods this world is bowing down to. We need an Elijah willing to challenge and confront the false prophets and their empty promises. We need an Elijah to call the Church to account for compromising with the culture and beast system. We all need the spirit of Elijah in us to be bold to declare, "The Lord, He is God"!
It may seem as if we are alone; like Elijah, we may feel like most around us have abandoned this nation's covenant with God; that all our foundations have been torn away. God is no longer welcome in government, our schools, or the public square. He and His statutes are openly mocked by what seems like a growing mob of haters. It may feel like we are facing overwhelming odds. That's how Elijah felt. But God reminded him that he was not serving the Lord alone. In fact, God told Elijah there were 7,000 left in Israel that "had not bowed their knee to Baal nor kissed his mouth".
I believe God is doing the same in our generation! There is a faithful remnant that echoes the 7,000 in ancient Israel. And it is up to us to discern the ones God has sent, and listen to their words in truth and spirit. We will know them by their fruit! The challenge will be to accept the ones God sends and reject those with messages that draw us away from Him. It will be tempting to listen to those who only preach what makes us feel good. That's the lesson to be learned from the people of Israel, who followed the false prophets of Baal, and rejected the Lord's prophet, Elijah. If we are true followers of Christ, we know the whole agenda ... it includes troubles, hardship, and persecution, BUT concludes with victory, eternal life, and glory to God in the highest! Again, let us be diligent to accept the ones God sends to us and resist "stoning" them if the messages seem uncomfortable. And if the Lord calls us to be His voice, we can be the Elijah, Daniel, and Jeremiah of the generation that sees the return of Jesus! Remember, the Lord was with Elijah the whole way, encouraged him, and provided his successor. May we all receive the same favor from our faithful God!
Luke 1:17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous [which is to seek and submit to the will of God]—in order to make ready a people [perfectly] prepared [spiritually and morally] for the Lord.”