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ELIJAH
 AS TYPE OF CHRIST's END-TIME CHURCH 
It has sometimes been mistakenly alleged that after Elijah's great spiritual victory at Carmel (previously Baal-Rosh/Head-of-Baal), Elijah's faith subsequently wilted and failed under Jezebel's threat, and that he then ran away, but that at Sinai God then sent him back to face up to his responsibility. This is not true! It is a total misrepresentation!
It is an insult to this great prophet of God, and a culpable misrepresentation of Holy Scripture.
Core Concepts
Elijah,
after his awesome victory of faith and the turning of his nation to God, was shocked to hear by the threat of Queen Jezebel that, in spite of it all, Israel was now back to square-one again, so he headed South to meet with God on that issue at Sinai where God had covenanted with Israel in the beginning of its nationhood.
 
Far
from a rebuke to return, God enhances the ministry of His faithful prophet beyond Israel by now sending him to even change the government of Syria and to appoint his prophetic successor for training so that his unique ministry would then continue after him.
Elijah's ministry enlarged
But
this story of Elijah the prophet in our Old Testament, or Jewish T'nakh (1 Kings 17:1-2; 2 Kings 2:11), is much more than simply a record of past events. Elements in this story also carry a significance which anticipated future developments in the way of God in this world. The Biblical principle used here (type and anti-type) is also illustrated in the New Testament in Christ's use of Jonah's sea-experience as being a prophetic anticipation of His own death and resurrection (Matthew 12:39-41).
 
Among
Bible teachers this prophetic method has become known as 'typology' – the use of an historical situation or person to prefigure a larger reality. This is not simply allegory, in which a fictional story is used as guise for a truth. This is important to note for, as is true of 'types' in general, not every part of the Elijah story carries a typological significance as an allegory would do. Everything does not have a secondary meaning. Elijah was a real person who fulfilled a real role in a crucial time in Israel's history.
 
 
But the Bible teaches us that, not only did Elijah's lonely voice anticipate the ministry of John the Baptist, the prophet of whom Jesus said there was no person greater (Matthew 11:10-15); but a yet even greater and final fulfilment of this Elijah 'type' still awaits our own future time.
 
 
Already in his own time, 'Elijah' was larger in God's thought than a single individual.
 
The
representative character of his identity is shown in God's commands to him on Mount Sinai (1 Kings 19:15-17). Of the three persons that Elijah is sent from there to anoint, only Elisha (Elijah's successor) is anointed by him directly/personally. Jehu of Israel is instead anointed by a nameless prophet sent by Elisha to fulfil this 'Elijah' commission, long after Elijah's departure from this life.
 
This representative factor in Elijah is further reinforced later when we are told, after Elijah's departure, that the king of Judah (who came to that throne even later) received a letter from 'Elijah' (2 Chronicles 21:12-15). (Of course, to fit their dogma the 'Jehovah's Witnesses' use this reference to conclude that Elijah was never caught up to God in the whirlwind but was deposited somewhere in Syria to write letters).
 
Thus
the representative aspect of Elijah's ministry is already a factor in the Old Testament, even before Malachi (4:5-6) and the New Testament symbolize the role of this unique prophet in its end-time context.
 
These
There are four representative factors in particular that carry the Bible's typology of Elijah –
  The Judgment factor
  The Gentile factor
  The Authority factor
  The Rapture factor
four factors come together in what is the final fulfilment of the God's Elijah sign.
 
 
Understanding the typology of the Elijah-sign assumes our knowledge of the Bible's history, the human Elijah, and of the practical situation which he faced in his time. (1 Kings 17-21; 2 Kings 1-2).
 
1.
The Judgment Factor
 
Elijah
arrives before Israel's King (Ahab) to announce that there would be no rain or dew for the following years unless he said so. To an agricultural economy this meant economic collapse and devastating famine. God's judgment had come! The Bible says that this judgment was a period of exactly 3½ years (James 5:17).
 
 
The Bible also tells us that the final judgment of this present age (the judgment of God Himself upon the kingdom of Antichrist), the time of Satan's fury, is also exactly 3½ years long (see the Core Concept). In this way the earlier and lesser experience of Elijah anticipated the later and greater judgment of God. 
 
 
Elijah was the trigger to God's judgment. He, Elijah, prayed and it rained not. Without the Elijah figure the judgment of God would not have come on Ahab's kingdom of Baal worship.
 
 
Likewise, the New Testament tells us that it is the Elijah-sign which brings judgment upon Antichrist's kingdom –
 
 
the final 3½ years (3.5×360 days), or 42 months (42×30 days),
or
1260 days: – the days of God's Wrath.
Revelation 11:3-6.
2.
The Gentile Factor
 
Another
factor often overlooked, that was highlighted by Jesus (Luke 4:26), is also significant in this proleptic 'Elijah'. The Gentile factor! By this, I do not mean that Elijah was not an Israelite, but there is a series of elements in the Elijah story which should significantly focus our attention outside the promised Land. Consider them:
2.1 Elijah's Origin in Transjordan
2.2 Elijah at Cherith to the East of Jordan
2.3 Elijah at Zarephath in the district of Sidon
2.4 Elijah taken up from Transjordan
[πρόληψις = anticipation]
2.
1 Elijah's Origin in Transjordan
 
 
Elijah is introduced to us in the Bible as being from the "Settlers of Gilead" (1 Kgs.17:1). Why? What is the significance that Elijah came from settlers in Gilead? Why would the fact that his family/community was not native to where they lived be significant enough for us to be told? And why Gilead?
 
 
The twin factors of Elijah's character and Israel's spiritual/moral condition, lead to only one probable conclusion. In the light of Israel's condition, his family was almost certainly part of a settlement of spiritual exiles from Israel. In the time of Israel's extreme ungodliness, his god-fearing family had moved out of their precious promised Land to rugged Gilead, East of Jordan. 
 
 
Joshua had originally settled Gilead with the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half Manasseh, as a concession, but it was really the Land west of Jordan that was – "the possession of the Lord" (See Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:10-12; Joshua 22:19; Ezekiel 47:18). Hence, the miraculous westward crossing of Jordan and national initiation at Gilgal thereafter. For god-fearing Israelites to voluntarily leave the Land is seriously significant. But, Ahab's Israel had broken God's heart!
 
 
Baal worship with its infant-sacrifice was no longer an aberration in Israel. By the influence of Israel's powerful Queen it had become the official religion of the kingdom. This horror, more than any other possibility, lies behind the self-imposed exile of Elijah's family/community. It is this spiritual grief that found its voice in the ministry of this unique prophet.
 
2.
2 Elijah at Cherith to the East of the Jordan
 
 
Having announced God's judgment and having initiated it through prayer, Elijah is directed by God to find refuge from Ahab at the brook Cherith. This refuge is outside the promised Land and here he is fed by 'unclean' birds also - the ravens - and with meat that was therefore ritually 'unclean'.
 
2.
3 Elijah at Zarephath in the district of Sidon
 
 
When Cherith runs dry, God sends Elijah for refuge, once again - outside the Land. But now it is even in the territory of Sidon, birth city of evil Jezebel – the very heartland of Baal worship. Here he is housed and supernaturally fed by a Gentile widow.
 
2.
4 Elijah taken up from Transjordan
 
 
When it is time to terminate his ministry, God sends Elijah out of the Land. Notice that early Israel's miraculous westward crossing of Jordan under Joshua is now answered with a miraculous eastward crossing as a sign to the faithful (2 Kgs.2:8). 
 
 
As Jesus very deliberately went to the Mount of Olives to be taken up with anticipation of the fulfilment of Zechariah's prophecy (Zech.14), so Elijah here must necessarily leave the Land for his ascension, in order to be taken up. This is emphasized by his supernatural crossing of Jordan.
 
These
4 Gentile factors point to the NON-JEWISH nature of this Jewish prophet's ministry as an analogy of the end-time Church from all nations. This does not exclude Jews, but it is NOT Israel that is represented by Elijah; it is the Church world-wide within which there is neither Jew nor Gentile.
 
 
This is important to an understanding of the future fulfilment of this 'type', in which, according to the New Testament, there is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ, but only a new person (Gal.3:27-28),.
 
3.
The Authority Factor
See: Authority Restored
Elijah
announced to King Ahab –
 
Representative authority
 "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand
 there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." 
1 Kings 17:1.
 
Elijah's manner of ministry carries a confrontational authority unparalleled among the prophets of Israel. Not only the initiation of the drought and its confrontational climax at Carmel, but the repeated supernatural incineration of Ahab's troops is unique (2 Kgs.1:9-14).
 
 
This supernatural authority anticipates an authority such as expressed in the apostle Paul before the Roman court when he blinded Elymas in the presence of his patron Proconsul Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:6-12). This supernatural authority is described as a particular characteristic of the final witness of God's people in this world – that is, when this world is at its worst (Rev.11:3-6).
 
 
 "And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. 
If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed.
 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying...". 
Revelation 11:5-6.
4.
The Rapture Factor
 
Elijah's
supernatural exit prefigures the great climax to the final witness of God's people in history's catastrophic end, when every believer will be caught up to meet the Lord "in the air". Even the millions who have died in faith throughout human history will be raised from the dead to participate directly in this unique historical event.
 
 
As the tombs were opened for those who rose from the dead in witness with Christ (Matt.27:52), even more so will this climax of history disturb the turf. This is no more a hidden or secret event, as some foolishly teach, than was Elijah’s supernatural departure in the presence of Elisha.
 
The welcome of
the Lord Jesus Christ back to this planet by the physical raising together of both the dead and the living believers of all ages to meet their Lord in the air (1 Thess.4:15-17) fulfils the promise which Zechariah gave to a yet to be defeated and devastated city of Melchizedek and David, when he wrote –
 "the Lord, my God, will come, and ALL the holy ones with Him" 

Zechariah 14:1-5.
 
Witness Victorious! To 'The Core Concept' Church Glorious!
Hallelujah!
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