Tuesday 7 December 2010

Fire of Elijah?

Andrew Sibley is of the opinion that the fire in Israel’s Carmel region was significant. Could it be the “fire of Elijah”, he asks on my blog “The Israel Inferno” (Sunday).

What exactly does Andrew mean by the “fire of Elijah”? Presumably he is referring to the fire Elijah was able to call down from heaven to demonstrate to an apostate Israel that Yahweh was God, and Baal wasn’t. Elijah also called down fire from heaven to consume several of the king’s men when they were sent to arrest him.

Andrew wants to know my thoughts. Well here they are:

First, no one called down this fire from heaven; it was apparently the result of two Druze brothers leaving burning rubbish unattended.

Secondly, Elijah’s fire vindicated him as a prophet of Yahweh and everyone who observed the fire come down knew it was a supernatural vindication of the prophet.

Thirdly, the fire on Carmel came as the result of a showdown between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. This latest fire on Carmel was the result of an accident (forgive me if my theology sounds a little flaky there; I hope you know what I mean).

Fourthly, if I understand Andrew’s book Zion’s New Name properly (see my blog "Replacement Theology's New Name", Monday 11 January 2010), he believes the modern state of Israel no longer stands in a covenant relationship with Yahweh. Israel’s astonishing transformation of the land from desert and swamp to fertile arable land apparently means nothing; Israel’s remarkable technical achievements have no significance; the benefits bestowed on the rest of the world in the areas of agriculture, technology and medicine are too insignificant to mention. However, when a fire breaks out in an area of outstanding natural beauty, killing 42 people, that has significance. And biblical significance to boot!

Perhaps I am reading far more into Andrew’s brief comment than I ought and am judging him a little harshly, in which case I am open to correction.

For a very interesting and bizarre revelation on the "fire of Elijah", visit Joseph Weissman's latest blog at Harry's Place.


  1. For those who criticise me for asking questions about prophetic signs in relation to Israel, I would like to ask a question.

    Why do Christian Zionists feel at liberty to ignore Moses ? This lack of respect for Moses troubles me and was another reason for me to reject CZism. Rabbi Yusef presumably knows his Torah better than many CZs. CZs should be praying for God to raise up prophets if the state of Israel really has spiritual significance before God.

    Deuteronomy 18:14-19
    14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. 15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

    17 The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.

  2. Thanks you Andrew.
    I wouldn't count on Rabbi Ovadia Yosef having a better knowledge of biblical Torah than Christians, you included. He is more of an expert on the Oral Torah.
    But I have three questions. The first is, Do you believe Israel is still the people of God and that the people stil stand in a unique covenantal relationship with God? If not, how can you apply Torah to them.
    Secondly, could you clarify your reference to "Elijah's fire"? Do you mean the fire referred to in Dr Stephen E. Jones' page that you link to.
    Thirdly, why do you have a link to the page of Holocaust denier, Gilad Atzmon?

  3. Hello Mike - you ask a question about Israel as a people before God. Hosea records that God divorced northern Israel, but even in divorce the Israelites are still loved and God plans to restore them within a New Covenant. The population of the state of Israel today are of the 2/3rds Judahites that Zechariah sees separated from God. The Church is the 1/3rd of the tribe of Judah that remained faithful to Jesus. But God wishes to restore all people in Christ, Israelites, Judahites, Levites, Benjaminites and Gentiles.

    Am I being inconsistent about the Torah? I was simply asking a rhetorical question; the reason there are no prophets in the state of Israel is because I believe it is not in relationship with God, but has been established in lawlessness (in Mosaic terms - this is also a point that the group True Torah Jews against Zionism make).

    I am simply asking questions about prophecy, Stephen Jones writes a lot and I do not accept it all, but a lot is of interest - he has a depth of knowledge about the OT that I have not found in many other theologians. If the Mt Carmel fire is a prophetic sign, it may have wider considerations than Stephen Jones alludes to. I genuinely fear for the state of Israel and the faith of CZist if the state is destroyed by Iran, Hizbolah etc. I pray that the Israeli's may turn to Christ in repentance first. It is better to face the fire of God's Holy Spirit instead of real flames.

    I was brought up on Hal Lindsay, and although I thought him to be of interest I thought him wrong on some points. So I have been trying to understand the present situation in a way that better fits Scripture and facts on the ground. I don't pretend to have the complete picture, but there are ways of making progress that address problems in CZ theology, although most CZists would not be able to accept this.

    I have no knowledge of Gilad Atzmon's views on the holocaust, although he is a Jew. I have stated many times that I have no reason to question the holocaust so if that link causes offence then apologies offered.

  4. Like Andrew, some Breslov hasidim also believe the Carmel fires are actually the fault of Israel's spiritual leaders who have not accepted the true Jewish Messiah...

    he is Saba - of course - Na Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman!

    Joseph W