of the greatest and most holy prophets of the Old Testament.
He lived in the 9th century B.C., during the reign of the
sinful King Ahab, King of Israel, who worshipped the idol
Prophet Elias, also known as Elijah, was wise and faithful
to the true God. God sent Prophet Elias to speak the truth
to King Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel. But to no avail. Not
only did King Ahab not listen to Prophet Elias, but he threatened
to kill him.
To escape, Prophet Elias fled to a mountain. There he stayed
and hid in a cave. Everyday, God sent a crow with meat and
bread to feed Prophet Elias. He would drink from a nearby
stream. But there was a drought in the land. Prophet Elias
had prophesied that it would last for 3 years as a punishment
for the faithlessness of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. So in
time, the stream dried up.
With no water, Prophet Elias had no choice but to leave his
mountain hideout. On his way, he met a poor widow with her
only son. The unfortunate woman accepted to give Prophet Elias
a place to stay, despite her poverty. She had only a little
flour and oil with which to make all their food. However,
Prophet Elias miraculously increased the amount of flour and
oil so that all three people had enough to eat for a long
time. Then, when the widow's son fell ill and died, Prophet
Elias performed a second miracle and brought him back to life.
The drought, though, continued. For three whole years, not
a drop of water fell. The people suffered and many died from
hunger. God sent Prophet Elias to appear before King Ahab.
Upon seeing Prophet Elias, the sinful King Ahab said to him,
"Is it you, you troubler of Israel?" Prophet Elias
responded, "I have not troubled Israel; but you and your
people have because you have forsaken the commandments of
the Lord." [3 Kings 18:17,18 (LXX)] To show them that
the Lord is the true God and that Baal is truly false, Prophet
Elias offered King Ahab a challenge. He told the King to gather
his people and priests the next day. Prophet Elias and the
priests of Baal would each make offerings to their own God.
No one would have fire. Then they would let the true God send
fire from the heavens to light the wood and make the burnt
King Ahab accepted the challenge. The next day they all gathered
on Mt. Carmel. The priests of King Ahab made their offerings
upon their altar. They danced around their altar, pleading
with Baal to send fire from the heavens. But nothing happened.
Then, Prophet Elias drew near to his altar and made his offering.
He ordered the people to pour water abundantly on the wood.
Before the crowd, he knelt and prayed to the true God, "O
Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, I ask you O Lord,
hear my prayer and send fire upon this sacrifice that all
may know that You are the Lord God of Israel" [3 Kings
18:36 (LXX)] Prophet Elias had bearly finished his prayer
when a great fire descended from the heavens and consumed
the wood and the offering.
When the gathered crowds saw the miracle, they believed in
the true God. Prophet Elias then prayed for rain, and a great
rain fell. All the people glorified the true God.
Finally, when his earthly life was over, God decided to bring
Prophet Elias close to him without his tasting death. One
day, when Prophet Elias was resting near the Jordan River
with his disciple Elisha, who was to become a prophet also,
a fiery chariot descended from the heavens and took up Prophet
Elias. As he was ascending to the heavens, he threw his cloak
down to Elisha. With this cloak, Prophet Elisha performed
many miracles as well.
We celebrate the memory of Prophet Elias, as well as his presence
among us, on July 20.
* Translated from the Encyclopaedia