The Elijah Task--Part 1
Apr 21, 2009
For many years we have watched for the beginning of the Elijah ministry. Now that this time is upon us, we are learning details that we did not know until now. We already knew from revelation in the early 1980's that this would be a world-wide ministry, because Elijah went out of the country during the drought in Israel. Jesus commented on this in Luke 4:25-28, saying,
" (25) But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; (26) and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. (27) And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. (28) Andall in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things."
Why did they become so angry? It was because Jesus was destroying their belief that the gospel was for Israel only. Jesus was showing them that God was interested in people other than just Israelites. He gave examples from the Old Testament, showing that these other nations were not excluded prior to the cross. The only reason they appeared to be excluded was because the priests and rabbis in Jerusalem said so.
Believe it or not, these people were so angry that they actually attempted to murder Jesus that day by throwing Him off a cliff (vs. 29).
This inclusiveness is the first thing that we must understand today, if we are to participate in the Elijah ministry. The financial crisis is our economic "drought" today. It forms the background to the Elijah ministry, and it is designed to bring us to the showdown with the prophets of Baal and the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
As I showed in chapter 6 of The Laws of the Second Coming, the Elijah ministry culminated with the fulfillment of the second set of feast days: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. First Elijah raised the widow woman's son from the dead to fulfill the pattern of Trumpets. Then he returned to Israel for the showdown with the prophets of Baal, in which the people repented (Atonement). Finally, he prayed seven times for rain, which represent the seven days of the feast of Tabernacles. The rain then came on the eighth day of Tabernacles.
I believe that April 12, 2009 marked the commissioning of the Elijah company for the work ahead. Perhaps it will come in two stages, even as Elijah spent some time first at the brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:5), where he was fed by "ravens" (Heb., Oreb, "dusky," from Ereb or Arab). From there he went to Zarephath. I have often wondered how the Arab people would fit into this prophecy. Perhaps we will see shortly.
Jesus also mentioned Elisha in regard to the healing of Naaman the Syrian general. Naaman was a leper. His claim to fame is mentioned by Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews, VIII, xv, 5,
" . . . and when they [Syrian army]sought to kill Ahab alone, but could not find him, there was a young nobleman belonging to king Benhadad, whose name was Naaman; he drew his bow against the enemy and wounded the king through his breastplate in his lungs. Upon this Ahab resolved not to make his mischance known to his army, lest they should run away; but he bid the driver of his chariot to turn it back and carry him out of the battle, because he was sorely and mortally wounded. However, he sat in his chariot and endured the pain till sunset, and then he fainted away and died."
So Naaman was the one who killed King Ahab of Israel. 1 Kings 22:34 does not tell us who it was that did it, but Josephus does.
In that battle, the Syrians took a number of Israelites captive. One was a young Israelite girl whom Naaman gave as a slave to his wife (2 Kings 5:2). Some time later, she told Naaman that a prophet in Israel might be able to pray for his healing. He went to Israel and was healed of his leprosy.
This is another characteristic of the ministry that lies ahead for us. The laws of the leper are recorded in Leviticus 14, and the two doves needed to cleanse lepers are represented on my logo. They represent the two works of Christ--the first was killed; the second was dipped in the blood of the first and let loose in the open field (world). For this reason Jesus was killed in His first advent; and Rev. 19:13 says He comes the second time into the world ("field") with his robe dipped in blood.
This tells me that the laws of leprosy are foundational to the work ahead. Leprosy speaks of mortality (death), and the law prophesies and instructs us in the way that we must come into immortality.
But the same story also puts this into the context of Elisha, rather than Elijah. We have recently come to the understanding that the Moses-Elijah ministry is actually a Joshua-Elisha ministry. That is, it is associated with the second work of Christ and is a progression from Moses to Joshua, and from Elijah to Elisha.
It also tells us that this work set before us is a HEALING work that will culminate with the healing from death itself. Revelation 22 presents to us the Tree of Life whose leaves are for "the healing of the nations" (22:2). Naaman the Syrian is a type of "the nations" in this story, as well as the widow woman of Zarephath and her son who was raised from the dead.
The nations have been brutalized by carnally-minded rulers for thousands of years. It is time for the Body of Christ to present a more accurate picture of Jesus and His character and love. Whereas men rule by fear, Jesus rules by love. Whereas men rule by their own laws, Jesus rules by divine law. Whereas men's laws are either permissive or repressive, divine law contains the perfect balance between justice and mercy.
The problem we face is that the world has been given an inaccurate impression of Christ that is based upon what the Church has told them by word and deed. Isaiah 52:5 says,
". . . Again the Lord declares, Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long."
Paul comments on this in Romans 2:23, 24,
" (23) You who boast in the law, through your breaking the law, do you dishonor God? (24)For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, just as it is written."
Paul says that Isaiah's words are fulfilled "through your breaking the law." In my view, it is not possible to fulfill the Moses-Elijah ministry while preaching lawlessness. In fact, that is why it is not merely an Elijah ministry (i.e., prophetic), but is also a Moses ministry (lawful). Too long men have desired the prophetic without the law, but this has only resulted in God's name being blasphemed among the nations.
A good example of this in our own day is when President Bush, professing to be a Christian, adopts the old water torture tactics used in the Spanish Inquisition against so-called "heretics" and also against American prisoners of war during World War II. People around the world are given the impression that Christian America, run by a Christian President, approves torture, and so once again God's name is blasphemed. In other words, Christians have testified to the world that Jesus Christ approves of torture.
It is our job to correct this false impression by teaching and demonstrating the love of God to all men. The task is huge; the laborers are few.
This is the first part of a series titled "The Elijah Task." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones