PROPHET ELIAS, (ELIJAH) THE TISHBITE
(Life and Times)
Prophet Elias, also known as Elijah was born in a remote and little known Village
called Tishbe, which lies among the mountains of Gilead, on the other side of the
Jordan River. This area is not too far from the country of the Gergesenes, where,
in the time of our Lord the devils entered into the swine. (Luke. 8:26-
Elias lived during the Kingship of the sixth King of Israel, Ahab (854-
Ever since the death of Solomon Idolatry was coming like flood. King Jeroboam, the son of Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel became divided into two Kingdoms. The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin stayed faithful to the house of David and formed Southern kingdom of Judah with the capital Jerusalem; while the ten tribes became the Northern kingdom of Israel. With the capital of Samaria. The two Kingdoms were at a perpetual war with each other. This however, was not the greatest evil. Worst of all was the internal, political and religious, disorder. The Kings of Israel and most especially Jeroboam, for their own political interest began initiating this new idolatry. Jeroboam began making imitations of the Golden Cherubim of the Temple. He transferred some festivals to other seasons and chose priest out of all the tribes instead of the tribe of Levi. This unlawful worship found its peak and became open idolatry to all when Ahab the
King with his wife Jezebel ascended to the throne of Israel. Jezebel, the ungodly woman of Sidon, managed with the approval of her husband King Ahab to issue an edict, declaring that the official religion of the house of Israel was to be the worshiping of idolatrous god Baal. She maintained and supported the prophets of Baal and forced all citizens to worship the idols, instead of the one true God the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Idols and temples were erected every where. Evil times cover the whole land. All worshipers of the true God were persecuted with fire and sword.
THE PROPHETIC DENUNCIATION
Among these awful times Elias, the man of God, as if dropped from heaven in the middle of such political and religious unrest stood up to Ahab and Jezebel saying.” And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lived, before whom I stand, not the dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (I Kings,17:1). Indeed no dew or rain fell upon the earth for three years. The drought was so intense the land begun to dry out. The animals were dying all over from lack of food and water and people suffered from not having water to drink. Elias himself suffered in the common calamity among with the people near the brook of Cherith, surviving only from the little water coming from the brook, and food brought to him by the ravens morning and night. “And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening. (I Kings, 17:6) For twelve months Elijah stayed by the brook, in solitude and prayer. Eventually, because of the extended drought, the brook dried up. At last, water was no longer to be found. Elias having no water to drink was forced to seek new place to stay.
In the mist of the severe drought the Lord appears again to him saying: “Get thee
to, Zar’ephath and dwell there: behold I have commanded a widow woman to sustain
thee” (I Kings, 17:2-
ELIAS AND OBADIAH
The times were gone by with no repentance or changes in the mind of the king or his wife Jezebel. The Lord again, who cares for his people, but never forgets those who believe in Him, appeared to Elijah saying: go back to Ahab and declare to him that the true god is ready to prove to his people. “go show thyself to Ahab; and I will send rain (I Kings 18:1) and summoned him, that the Lord is about to show many wonders and mighty deeds, that he is to prove to his people that He, is God alone and no one else, and Baal is to be overthrown. On his way to the King's palace Elijah met Obadiah, the king’s servant and said to him “now go tell thy lord, behold, Elijah is here” (I Kings 18:16) and Obadiah did as Elijah told him and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When Elijah saw King
Ahab said to him “Now therefore”, said Elijah authoritatively, like a representative
of God, “O King! Send, and gather unto the Mount of Carmel four hundred and fifty
prophets of Baal, and four hundred prophets of the goddess of Ashram, who are supported
by Queen Jezebel, and have them sacrifice to their gods and ask their god to send
fire and burn the sacrificial offering. I, on the other hand, will sacrifice to the
true God of Israel, and ask the same. Whichever God consumes the sacrificial offering,
I want you to declare to the nation as being the true God. ( I Kings. 18 ;17-
ELIAS PRAYER AT MOUNT CARMEL
Ahab, as was told by Elijah, went up to Mount Carmel. There he summoned the Prophets
of Baal 450 in number and ordered them to pray to Baal and prove to the people that
Baal is the true God. The prophets of Baal sacrificed and prayed all day long asking
their god to send fire , but to no avail. From morning to night they were praying
and saying “Hear us ,O Baal, hear us. And there was no voice” (I Kings 18:20-
Ahab having no other choice ordered according to the word of Prophet Elias the prophets of Baal to be slaughtered. Immediately clouds appeared in the sky and the heavens opened and rain came down and the drought ended.
ANGEL VISIT UNDER THE JUNIPER TREE
Prophet Elias following the event at mountain Carmel, left and walked all day. When
evening came he slept under a tree and the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his
sleep saying: “arise eat and drink for you have along way to go” and Elias did as
the Lord commanded him. Morning came an Elias left and walked for forty days and
forty nights and came by the mountain Horeb. At the mountain he found a cave and
stayed. And Lord appeared again to him saying. Leave the mountain and go to Damascus
to anoint Hazael as King of Syria and Jehu as king of Israel and Elisa to be your
successor to carry on the prophetic mission. (I Kings, 19:1-
Elias raised his voice once again against King Ahab in the case of Naboth's vineyard.
King Ahab wanted to acquire the vineyard of Jabot, who did not want to sell it. Jezebel
initiated a trial in which she sentenced Nabuthai Jabot to death on a fabricated
charge. Following the execution of Naboth, Ahab took possession of the vineyard.
Elijah openly accused Ahab as a murderer and robber announcing a doom to the royal
house (I Kings 21:17-
THE ASCENTION OF PROPHET ELIAS
The last moments of Elias are not as one could imagine. Elias, according to the Holy Scriptures, did not die. He was ascended to heaven in whirlwind as Elisha saw with his own eyes. The two men as they were passing on together in the country beyond Jordan and while they engaged in holy conversation, “behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings, 2:11).
The prophetic mission of the prophet lasted fifteen years and made a profound impression on the imagination of the people of Israel. Later generations remembered Elijah and expected him to return as the forerunner of the coming day of the Lord.(Mal. 4:5)
In the New Testament. People during the times of Jesus thought He was Elijah himself
(Matt.16:14, Luke.8) Others thought John the Baptist was Elijah (John 1:21). At the
transfiguration of Jesus, Elijah appeared together with Moses. (Matt.17:3-
Our Church honors his name day on July 20th
Written by: Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Pilavas, Protopresbyter,
Pastor of the Greek Orthodox Church of
Prophet Elias. Yonkers, NY
Απολυτίκιον Ηχος δ’
Ο ένσαρκος άγγελος, τών Προφητών η κρηπίς,
ο δεύτερος Πρόδρομος τής παρουσίας Χριστού,
Ηλίας ο ένδοξος,
άνωθεν καταπέμψας, Ελισαίω τήν χάριν,
νόσους αποδιώκει, καί λεπρούς καθαρίζει,
διό καί τοίς τιμώσιν αυτόν βρύει ιάματα.
Κοντάκιον Ηχος β’
Προφήτα καί προόπτα τών μεγαλουργιών τού Θεού,
ο τώ φθέγματί σου στήσας τά υδατόρρυτα νέφη,
πρέσβευε υπέρ ημών, πρός τόν μόνον φιλάνθρωπον.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
The incarnate Angel, and the Prophets' summit and boast,
the second forerunner of the coming of Christ our God,
Elias, the glorious,
from above sent down his grace upon Elisseus; he doth cast out sickness and doth also cleanse lepers; and unto all that honour him, he poureth forth streams of cures.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
O Prophet and foreseer of the great works of God, O greatly renowned Elias (Elijah), who by your word held back the clouds of rain, intercede for us to the only Loving One.
Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church
Yonkers, New York
Life and Times of Prophet Elias....more
Telephone: (914) 963-
Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Pilavas, Pastor
Winter Time Services :
Orthros 9:00 A.M.
D. Liturgy 10:15 A.M.
Summer Time Services :
Orthros 9:00 A.M.
D. Liturgy 10:00 A.M.
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|Life & Times of Prophet Elias|
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|The Calander of the Orthodox CHurch|
|The Holy Eucharist|
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|And Then They Will Fast|
|Holy Week Meditation|
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|The Icon Controversy|
|Why Orthodox Christians Are Not Cremated|
|On the Protection of the Natural Environment|
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