Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Battle of Good Versus Evil (Holy Land #1 of 14)

While in Israel, I was able to stand on Mt Carmel. This is where the story of Elijah occurred as recorded in 1 Kings 18. After Joshua, Elijah is my favorite Bible character. I have preached and taught on this passage many times. But to stand there in the very vicinity and hear that passage read again from Scripture was staggering.

It was here that Elijah gathered Israel and challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown by fire. Both would prepare an ox for sacrifice but would light no fire. Whichever God sent down fire from heaven would be the God that Israel would serve. The prohets of Baal went first and they danced and yelled and cut themselves but nothing happened. Elijah taunted them sarcastically and they cried out further but still nothing happened.

Finally it came Elijah’s turn. He had a trench dug around the altar and had water poured over the alar until the trench was filled. He then prayed and immediately God sent down such fire that it consumed not only the sacrifice but also the altar and all the water that was in the trench around it. The people responded to this miracle by falling to their knees and yelling, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” As a result, Elijash ordered all the false prophets of Baal killed. On Mt Carmel there is a statue of Elijah with his knife raised in the air as he steps on the neck of one of the false prophets.

It was shortly after this that Elijah prayed on Mt Carmel for it to rain. 7 times he asked his servant to go look toward the Mediterranean Sea to see if there was any sign of rain. The first 6 times there was nothing. But the 7th time there was a small cloud like the size of a man’s hand. Within minutes, the wind and rain appeared for the first time after 7 years of drought. In Elijah’s day, God had won the battle of good versus evil.

I just can’t explain to you what it was like to be standing there where all this occurred. But it was a different view from this spot that really caught my attention. As you stood on Mt Carnel you looked out over what is called the Jezreel Valley or the Meggido Valley. I believe it was Napolean who saw this valley and declared that the armies of the world could gather here for war. Chalk one up for Napolean. According to the book of Revelation that is exaclty what will happen at the end as the armies of the world gather for one final battle that we call Armageddon. It will happen in the very valley I was loooking down on to. You could all but imagine it…hundreds of thouands of troops from every army in the world gathered toghether for one huge battle (Revelation 16:13-16).

It is here that these armies will ultimately join together to fight a new enemy…Jesus Christ Himself who will return with His chosen ones (that’s us believers) to set up His Kingdom. And what will be the outcome of this final battle of good versus evil?

These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful!” (Revelation 17:14)

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