The Great Contest - Part I
The water was a type of the Word of God.
Everything here was saturated with water, even the trench around the altar was filled.
This tells us that everything about the cross was and is according to the Word of God, and that the Word of God is the foundation and criterion for all that we do.
Again, it states that what Jesus did at the cross was all according to the Word of God, and according to the Word of God entirely.
Pouring the water three times over the sacrifice signifies to us that the Word of God is backed up by the entirety of the triune Godhead. It also tells us that the Word is incumbent upon each member of the Godhead, even as each member of the Godhead is incumbent upon the Word.
Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
The Time Of The Evening Sacrifice
“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice” (I Ki. 18:36).
Two sacrifices were to be offered at the temple each day, the first at 9 a.m. and the second at 3 p.m., with the latter referred to as the evening sacrifice. This was to be done seven days a week.
On the Sabbath, which was Saturday, instead of one lamb being offered in the morning and one lamb in the afternoon, the number was doubled.
Jesus was put on the cross at about 9 a.m. He died at 3 p.m.— the time of the evening sacrifice.
So, all of this tells us that what the Lord did here was a portrayal, a picture if you will, of that which would be carried out by His Son when He died on the cross.
Elijah would have had no knowledge concerning a cross, nor would he have known that Jesus would die on the cross at the time of the evening sacrifice, but God most definitely did know all of this.
The idea is that the Lord was trying to bring Israel back to the altar, back to the cross. In effect, He has always been doing this, and He still is.
God Of Abraham, Isaac, And Israel
Elijah said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel” (I Ki. 18:36).
Why were these three individuals so special that their names would be linked with Jehovah? One word explains it—faith.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—other than these three families at their respective times, the whole world lay in spiritual darkness. They alone knew God, and they alone believed God.
First, the Lord revealed Himself to Abraham. As to how this was done, the Scripture is silent. At that time, Shem, one of Noah’s sons, was still alive and may very well have been serving God. Some believe that Shem was actually Melchizedek, but there is no proof of that.
At that time, the only ones in the world who knew God were Abraham and Sarah, probably some of Abraham’s servants, which included Eliezer of Damascus (Gen. 14:17-20; 15:2), and a few others such as Melchizedek.
As the revelation had been given to Abraham, it was handed down to Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, and then to Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebekah.
At that time, they were the only people in the world who were monotheistic, meaning they worshipped one God—Jehovah. The balance of the world was polytheistic, meaning they worshipped many gods (in actuality, demon spirits).
So, it was faith that caused these individuals to stand out, and to be certain, faith is the same principle now (Rom. 5:1-2).
The Fire Of The Lord Fell
At the beginning of this contest, Elijah had said to Ahab, plus all the false prophets of Baal, plus the entirety of Israel that was gathered at Mount Carmel that day: “Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God who answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken” (I Ki. 18:23-24).
The fire was a type of the judgment of God that was poured out on the sacrifice instead of that judgment being poured out on Israel. This typified Christ and what He would suffer at the cross. The only thing that stands between mankind and the judgment of God is the cross of Christ.
I Kings 18:38 says, “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.”
When the fire fell, it consumed everything and left nothing. This tells us that Calvary paid it all. No sin was left owing. The judgment was total, meaning that Christ paid it all.
Unfortunately, far too many in the modern church are hypocritical and seek to punish those who have failed. They don’t ever seem to realize that Jesus already suffered such punishment. For such to be enacted says, in essence, that what Jesus did at the cross was insufficient. This is a gross sin!
We must never forget that the fire of the Lord consumed everything — the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and even the dust, and “licked up the water that was in the trench.”
With all the water being licked up, this portrays the fact that the Word of God was fulfilled in totality. As stated, absolutely nothing was left owing. Such was and is the cross of Christ!
The Lord, He Is The God
When the fire fell, the Scripture says, “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God” (I Ki. 18:39).
These Israelites, who had been worshipping Baal for some years, were now made to realize in stark reality that Baal was not God, but rather “the LORD, he is the God.”
The fact that the name God has the definite article preceding it, making it read “the God,” tells us they were saying, in essence, that there was no other god. Jehovah alone was God!
But it must be understood that God, Jehovah, could only be recognized by and through the means of the cross—the altar.
The apostle Paul addressed this very thing, but in the New Testament sense, by stating that if the faith of believers is in anything other than Christ and the cross, then what they have is another Jesus, which fosters another spirit, and which plays out to another gospel (II Cor. 11:4).
This episode with Elijah and the people of Israel tells us that God could be understood only in the sense of the cross—the altar. It is no different now (John 3:16).
The Prophets Of Baal
“And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there” (I Ki. 18:40).
This is one of the reasons that the cross is so despised. It exposes false prophets. And not only exposes them but puts them out of business.
When the cross of Christ is held up as it should be held up, all false doctrine goes out the window, all false apostles will stop short, and all error is laid aside—the cross exposes it all. This is the greatest reason the message of the cross is not so very much appreciated, especially considering that the majority of the modern church is apostate. The light always exposes what the darkness covers. That which the light exposes must be exterminated, which the Holy Spirit, in one way or another, will definitely do, at least for those who truly want to follow the Lord.
The Rain Of The Spirit
The people had been directed back to the cross, of which the altar was a type, and now the rain of the Spirit could fall. Before the Holy Spirit can work, the church must come back to the cross; there is no other way.
Seven is God’s number of perfection; in other words, the rain that was coming would be in proportion to God who was sending it. Even though the Lord had promised this, we find that Elijah had to persevere. This should be a lesson to us; if we ask and do not receive, we ought to keep asking (Luke 11:6-13).
The Sound Of An Abundance Of Rain
“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain” (I Kings 18:41).
When the Word of God becomes preeminent, with Calvary once again becoming the center point of all that is done, then the spiritual drought will end, and there will be an abundance of rain.
Again, the great drought in Israel, which had lasted now for some three and a half years, was meant to be a portrayal of the spiritual condition of the nation. The rain falling in copious amounts was a type of the Spirit of God being poured out, which brought the thirsty land back to life again, as only the Spirit of God can do. There was not merely rain that fell, but an abundance of rain.
This meant that the earth soaked up the rain, which could once again grow grass with the trees doing the same regarding their leaves. The streams that had long since gone dry now gurgled with water flowing in copious amounts. The drought had broken, and the rain was falling—all a type of the Holy Spirit.
Again, this copious rain was made possible by the cross, and made possible only by the cross. As it was then, so it is now.
The church will not know revival until it comes back to the cross. In fact, the people, whomever they might be, will not know a touch of God in their lives until they come back to the cross.
Read part II of this article in the November issue of The Evangelist. Article is an excerpt, reprinted from the book, Elijah The Tishbite.