Questions About Elijah

Hi, all :slight_smile:

As I am reading the Books of Kings, I came across a few passages I had questions about.

The first question I have is about this passage in 1 Kings 19:

11 “Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain,” the Lord said to him. Then the Lord passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills and shattered the rocks—but the Lord was not in the wind. The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice.”

-Does this passage have a deeper meaning to it?

The other questions I have are about the Second Book of Kings.

God took Elijah up in a whirlwind to Heaven by a chariot of fire (Wow!).

-Was there a reason for this?

Before this took place, The Lord sent Elijah to journey through four cities: Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho and Jordan.

-Do these cities signify something?

Also, why did Elijah tell his servant, Elisha, to stay behind?

I tried my best to organize my questions because i know there are a lot! Elijah’s story is short, but I feel like it has so much meaning!

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No doubt these passages and many others may have deeper significance. I personally don’t have decent knowledge or certain insight about these. Hopefully others will be able to contribute where possible.

Be aware however, that many times, truth seekers (like yourself) sometimes get misled by the over-active-imaginations of well meaning “spiritualistic” explanations and interpretations of others which may not be altogether accurate.

Keep in mind also that it’s not just the interpretations of others we should be cautious about, but the problem also lies within ourselves – our own tendency to perhaps misalign the meaning of something, or over-spiritualize or misinterpret scripture… A diligent student of the bible is aware of these possible pit falls and works to diminish these self-deceptive potentials during the course of his bible studying and gathering the real truth.

So, as I see it, part of this involves reaching out to others to get input but the other part (which I’m hoping to emphasize here) is doing your own homework and searching the scriptures (comparing scripture with scripture) for your own confirmation of things, (whether they be true)… It’d be nice if we could get someone to hand us the answer to each of our questions. But I would submit that there is often no substitute for the necessary conversation with God and with his word about such things.

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Hi Olivia, the life and times of Elijah’ has been the subject of many discussions. Thank you for sharing your questions with everyone
To fully understand Elijah the prophet of Israel reading all that is written is a good start.

I Kings 19:1‭-‬3 NKJV
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

The back story found in 1Kings 18:20-46 is a clue to his decisions which led Him to Gods mountain to bring restoration. The victory on mount Carmel brought about a state for Elijah. He was weak and weary and as you continue reading in chapter 19 he just wanted to die. Hence he wanted to be alone and left his servant. God uses those he chooses but we are still subject to human frailties, emotions. The physical and spiritual battle on Mount Carmal took a toll on him and God was drawing elijah away so He could restore him before He took Elijah home to heaven and appointed Elisha as his successor.

In Gods word there is always a reason and most agree that Enoch, and Elijah are the two witnesses spoken about in Revelation. For God to be true to His word that says it is appointed unto man once to die then judgement. These two did not die as yet, but they do at the end.
Hope you find this beneficial.
Mik

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My guess is after he called down fire from the sky and started to restore the people back to God. He faces Jezebel and in that moment I believe he sees something so horrible and this causes him to flee away. I’m just guessing that in this time he feels guilt and ashamed for fleeing and this whole time he wasn’t hearing correctly from God because he was so used to the very big things happening that God was showing him a new way to hear from HIM. I often wonder if there is a deeper meaning from this as well. Thx for bringing it up.

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Hi @OJMCKEE! I had a look at your question this morning and have been praying on your question and people’s responses through the day. I likewise find the whole story intriguing for so many reasons! I like what everyone has contributed so far.

In terms of your question here,

And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice.”
-Does this passage have a deeper meaning to it?

I’ve always understood this to be a reminder that we can look for God in the big things, the noise and clamour but actually God sometimes wants us to wait in stillness for our deepest encounters with Him. I’ve certainly had experiences where I’ve been to a massive church with a huge worship band, and everyone is waiting for an ‘experience’ but I’ve felt nothing, disappointingly so, and then I go home and feel the presence of God on my own. I know God meets us in a multitude of ways, and sometimes it is in the big moments and church gatherings. I suppose it’s a reminder that God doesn’t work to a formula. He will meet each of us differently in our own ways at the very time we need it to be so.

Ultimately, God is not going to act how we expect him to act. He won’t always answer our prayers in the way we imagine or hope. His responses will often be the opposite to what we are looking for. Isaiah 55:8-9 is another reminder in line with the above story of God and Elijah:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

It’s a call for us to keep trusting in him, no matter what we see before us.

I also have an additional question, particularly to @timotto if that’s ok? :grinning: It was so good to read your constructive reply, and I love your reminder not to be misled by fanciful explanations. I just wanted a bit of clarification with the following point, please, for the sake of how I can continue to pray further about Olivia’s question:

Be aware however, that many times, truth seekers (like yourself) sometimes get misled by the over-active-imaginations of well meaning “spiritualistic” explanations and interpretations of others which may not be altogether accurate.

This has been on my mind through the day and I wondered if you could give an example of what you mean by this, please? I’m just thinking of this incredible story of Elijah and all the supernatural activity that’s taking place - how might we over spiritualise it?

Thanks :grinning:

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@artownsend

If you’ve ever had someone incorrectly explain to you what you were thinking or tell you what your intentions were you’d probably agree that they would do well to dial back their assumptions a few turns and get more comfortable with the fact that they might not necessarily be correct about everything they assert. Especially due to the fact that their ways of thinking are unlikely to be in alignment with yours. If they are to truly understand you and understand various things of significance behind things you say, they can’t do it by their own vain imagination. They’ve got to have actual, decent, solid basis to actually know what you actually mean by what you say, and why. And they’ve got to get this from you (and not their over-active-imagination) .

If we’re careful to decently honor those kind of things we humans have the liberty to do all sorts of creative communication maneuvers to try to truly connect with and properly interpret the mysterious parts behind those whom we truly want to understand.

The difference is: that this happens by genuine discovery and not by mere imaginative thinking.

I think the capacity to understand various significance behind things in God’s word (and to connect the “dots” in a way that the dots actually connect) is similar. But it’s too common to find christian folks who put spiritual conclusions together without much of a basis.

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So, how can you OVER-spiritualize something that is already as amazingly-spiritual-and-miraculous as this story of Elijah?

People sometimes improperly attribute certain significance or misapply meanings (to things or events) to which those meanings may not apply. Things like this have been done on a large scale with folks like Joseph Smith, David Koresh etc. but this can easily happen on a small scale when someone comes up with a biblical interpretation that might better have been described as a good creative attempt to explain the deeper meaning of something that didn’t Biblically measure up.

My initial comment was just a way of saying “Be careful to personally do your own homework when digging deeper.”

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty (1 Peter 1:16)

… I’m not sure if I’ve sufficiently explained what you we’re asking.
Feel free to require more explanation if that didn’t cut it.

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Thanks, that’s great :grinning:. I think my question to you on this was based on what I’ve heard said by other Christians occasionally about being ‘over spiritual’ on certain issues. I don’t think they’ve always meant it in the same way as you described. I think I have a concern that people may miss out on the incredible things that God is waiting to reveal if they have already decided not to venture further than their comfort zones of understanding. I see this is not what you were saying.

I absolutely agree that whatever we search out in our Biblical understanding must be rooted in truth and not hopeful imaginations.

One example on this which I hope will help you, @OJMCKEE as you continue to ponder on this Elijah story is that a while back I was struck by a seemingly innocuous reference to Moses’ staff in Exodus. I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I put it in my journal. Like you, I felt there must be something else that God was wanting to say to me about it but I couldn’t understand. My approach was to ‘ponder on it’ as Mary did Luke 2:19

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

I’d regularly look at it and pray and it was a matter of months later in some of my other Bible study that God revealed what he was wanting to communicate with me personally on this issue.

And this is exactly what @timotto said:

The difference is: that this happens by genuine discovery and not by mere imaginative thinking.

I hope this shows that we will discover God heart for us in his Word as we are patient and continue to wait upon the Lord. This also should minimise risk of jumping to airy conclusions prematurely. I hope this helps others, as it has me :grinning:.

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Awesome.
Seems like David would concur with your forgoing quote: I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons (Psalm 16:7) and no doubt that’s often how God tells us things… I would just encourage people who are considering these kind of subjective arenas that you need to use those subjective tips to search the scriptures and see if the thing is true. Our own human hearts more deceitful than we realize. Every “spiritual” or amazing experience or insight is not necessarily from God. Amazing counterfeits exist.

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