Today: [2 Kings Chapter One]: Spirit of Elijah or Spirit of Christ? In this chapter Ahab’s son Ahaziah rules and comes into a confrontation with Elijah. Elijah calls down fire on a hundred soldiers and they are consumed in a moment dying in agony before the Lord. Centuries later the disciples refer to this passage in 2 Kings when Jesus is expelled from Samaria. They also want to call down fire like Elijah did. Jesus corrects them and in so doing sets the tone of New Testament prophetic ministry very differently from the example set by Elijah.
[2Ki 1:1-18 KJV] 1 Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. 2 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that [was] in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. 3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, [Is it] not because [there is] not a God in Israel, [that] ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? 4 Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.
The nation of Moab was under tribute to the Northern Tribes of Israel until the end of Ahab’s reign. In fact Moab was originally put to tribute by king David so apparently while they revolted against the Northern Tribes they continued under the domination of Jehosaphat in the south as their rebellion is not mentioned specifically to include Judah or Jerusalem. After Ahab’s death his son Ahazia reigned and Moab revolted. Ahaziah we read in the conclusion of 1 Kings 22 followed in the footsteps of his father Ahab in wickedness and idolatry.
Now remember that the Northern Tribes maintained their capital in the hill of Samaria about 30 miles away from Jerusalem which was originally set up by Ahaziah’s grandfather Omri, also an evil and despotic king. An unexpected crisis occurs apparently when Ahaziah leans against a wooden screen in a second floor balcony and is severely wounded. Ahaziah being a true worshipper of Baal sends messengers to the temple of Baal-Zebub in Ekron to inquire after his recovery. Baal-Zebub was a false god of the Philistines said to ward off plagues of flies in the land. In the New Testament Beelzebub is synonymous with Satan himself.
As the messengers are on their way to Ekron the angel of the Lord speaks to Elijah to intercept them and predict Ahaziah’s death. Now Ahaziah is still a young man – he hasn’t even fathered children yet. Elijah’s challenge to Ahaziah reveals Ahaziah’s well known contempt for the God of his fathers. He believed in Baal in Ekron but as far as he was concerned there “was no God” in Israel therefore Elijah confronts him on his defacto atheism. Remember that Ahaziah was not asking Baal-Zebub for a cure. In the ancient world it was common for false gods to be consulted in medical issues. The answer usually given was in the form of a prognosis by the temple priests of whatever god was inquired of in a “you shall live” or “you shall die” prognosis. Elijah intercepts the messengers of Ahaziah with an answer from God Himself that is in fact a medical diagnosis – “you shall surely die – your condition is fatal and irreversible…” This may be why Ahaziah didn’t inquire of the God of his Father’s because he knew what the answer would be.
Now to be technical we need to make note that God did not bring this upon Ahaziah. What happened to him was accidental. Did Ahaziah fall and die because he was evil? In Luke 13:1-5 Jesus takes this question on in regard to a building collapse that occurred in Jerusalem:
[Luk 13:4-5 KJV] 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
It is really important to note what Jesus says here. It is common for people to think that the victim of an accident may have done something to deserve his fate. In fact Jesus says this is not the case. In insurance cases the language often used is “this is an act of God …” implying that it is God’s fault that someone dies in some mishap. Jesus in answering the question makes the point that if we repent and think differently it is possible to be protected from mishap and causality. It isn’t God’s fault that Ahaziah had an accident and it isn’t God’s fault that Ahaziah is going to die.
5 And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back? 6 And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, [Is it] not because [there is] not a God in Israel, [that] thou sendest to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. 7 And he said unto them, What manner of man [was he] which came up to meet you, and told you these words? 8 And they answered him, [He was] an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It [is] Elijah the Tishbite.
Ahaziah’s messengers returned sooner than expected because Elijah had met them along the way. They return to Ahaziah with the word from Elijah that the king will not recover from his wound. The king inquires who it was that gave this report and we get a description of Elijah as a “hairy man with a girdle of leather about his loins…” This is very descriptive as well of John the Baptist who Jesus said Matt. 11:14 was “…Elias which was (prophesied) to come again…” For centuries the people of Israel were waiting on the return of Elijah. When John showed up Matthew described him as very familiar to Elijah himself:
[Mat 3:4 KJV] 4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
The image of Elijah and John the Baptist is very compelling. Elijah is the only Old Testament prophet that was thought of as returning to a later generation. Even in our day many men and women have presumed and declared themselves to be the reincarnation or the second coming of Elijah. Alexander John Dowie who built Zion Illinois believed himself to be the return of Elijah. William Branham likewise allowed people to declare that he was Elijah return to earth. Both of these men died in shame and scandal having erred in their ministries and become derailed by the enemy. I have personally met men who believed they are Elijah returned right here in Missouri living in a 14 x 80 trailer home and driving an 18 wheeler for a living. You will meet these folks and you must be prepared not to be persuaded by their claims. Remember the words of Jesus:
[Mat 11:11 KJV] 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Are you in the kingdom of heaven? Then you are greater than John the Baptist and because John was the return of the Elijah anointing you are greater than Elijah. Jesus in this statement clearly doesn’t want us to get distracted by the Elijah ministries that may crop up in our midst or even Elijah or John the Baptist themselves. In the first century church the apostles encountered sects who followed John the Baptist exclusively decades after the resurrection of Jesus. In the centuries after the church the Roman authorities made record in their histories of a sect of followers in Jerusalem who they purported to worship the decapitated head of John the Baptist. If you think this is silly and has no bearing on history bear in mind that this sect was the original group who gave birth to the Templars whose influence in history reaches down to the halls of power in our modern day.
9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. 10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I [be] a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly. 12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I [be] a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. 13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. 14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight. 15 And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king. 16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron, [is it] not because [there is] no God in Israel to enquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. 17 So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
King Ahaziah sends a troop of fifty men to forcibly bring Elijah before him. They call to him as a “man of God” and his reply is “if I am a man of God let fire come down and destroy you…” and they are promptly consumed by fire from heaven. The king sends out another troop of fifty and they likewise are destroyed. Nonetheless the third company of fifty comes and the captain begs for mercy. Elijah goes with them and stands before the king to pronounce that Ahaziah will indeed not recover.
This is a very compelling picture. People today frequently call down consequences on those they don’t agree with. The common invocation of radical prayer is “where is the Lord God of Elijah?”. I’ve seen many times ministers, pastors and leaders when they get in strife with one another invoke the “fire of Elijah” and dire consequences down upon one another. Jesus dealt with this in his own disciples:
[Luk 9:51-56 KJV] 51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw [this], they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save [them]. And they went to another village.
Now it is important to note that this confrontation took place in Samaria the same place where Elijah’s confrontation took place centuries before. The old and bitter rivalries between the Northern Tribes and the Southern Kingdom were alive and well in Jesus’ day though the combatants were of a different demographic. This passage in Luke 9:51-56 should be memorized by every prophetic person and every prophet of God. The disciples wanted to move in the spirit of Elijah but Jesus rebuked them. Notice He didn’t say they were of the spirit of the devil because they weren’t. They were moving in an Old Covenant paradigm of judgment and destruction. This is common today when revivalists and preachers speak of the outpouring of God’s spirit they always refer to Ananias and Sapphira who dropped dead before Peter. This is an Old Covenant Paradigm. Jesus didn’t come to destroy. In this statement in Luke 9:56 Jesus announces the complete reconfiguration of the prophetic from destruction and judgment to salvation and life. What spirit are you going to prophesy in? The spirit of Elijah or the spirit of Christ? Rev. 19:10 says that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus not the testimony of Elijah. If you are going to be a New Testament prophet you must give up your judgmental attitudes.
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