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. 8:26-39) The book of Kings of the Bible, make the following record about Elias“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead” (I Kings, 17:1)   He was born and raised by a Jewish family of which we know nothing. His birth place Tishbe, is interpreted to mean a converter and the name Elijah as “My God of power” or “Jehovah is my strength”. We know nothing about his childhood and his life. Most probably Elias was a child with no education or schooling. His fathers name was Sadok while we know nothing about his mother. In the Book of Kings, we find Elias entering the stage of history, abruptly out of nowhere, with a word of faith and power presenting himself to the king saying“And Elijah the Tishbite said Unto Ahab. “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years, but according to my word.” (I Kings, 17:1)  


                                                                            HISTORICAL BACKGROUND


Elias lived during the Kingship of the sixth King of Israel, Ahab (854-873 B.C) son of Omri. He ruled Samaria for twenty two years. Ahab was married to have a wife named Jezebel. She was the Daughter of the King Ethbaal of Sidon and worshiped Baal. (I Kings 16:29-31). Ahab with the help of his wife continued his father’s political motives new idolatry worshiping the idolatrous god Baal. All citizens were to worship the idols of Baal, instead, of the one true God, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. The worshipers of the true God were persecuted with fire and sword. Idols and temples were everywhere. Evil times were all over the land. In every direction were build gloomy idols and temples.


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.


                                                                     ELIAS   STAYING   AT   ZAR-EPHATH


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, 17:2-9). At Zar’ephath, Elijah stayed with the widow and her son for two years and some months. While he was there the son of the widow died and the prophet with the power of prayer miraculously raised the boy. (I kings,17:17-24)


                                                                                  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 ;17-20  )


                                                                     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 18:20-29). Then came the time for Prophet Elias to do his part. Elias took twelve stones one for each of the twelve sons of Jacob to whom the Lord had given the name Israel.  With these stones he rebuilt the altar for the worship of the Lord. He then prayed saying: “O Lord, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, prove that our God is the God of Israel. I m your servant and I have done all these at your command” (I Kings 18.30-39). Immediately the Lord sends  fire  down and burned  up the  sacrifice. And the people immediately shouted “The Lord is God; The Lord alone is God” (I Kings 18:39).

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, 19:1-17) Elias did as the Lord commanded him.


                                                                              NABOTH'S  VINEYARD


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 21:17-24).

                              

                                                                 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).

                                                  

                                                                                         CONCLUSION       


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.17:3-4;Mark.9:4-5).


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

2011


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,

Ηλία μεγαλώνυμε,

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.


Back to Home

Back to Home

                                                                              
 Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church, 15 Leroy Avenue, Yonkers, New York 10705
 Telephone: (914) 963-3638, Fax: (914) 963-3757, EMAIL: prophet@prophetelias.org

Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church

                                                Yonkers, New York


Life and Times of Prophet Elias....more


Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church, 15 Leroy Avenue, Yonkers, New York 10705

Telephone: (914) 963-3638, Fax: (914) 963-3757, EMAIL: prophet@prophetelias.org

Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Pilavas, Pastor

Our History

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

Sunday Services

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.


Week Day Services

Orthros & D. Liturgy

9:00 -10:45 A.M.





Home Weekly Bulletin Administration Stewardship Information Calendar & News Philoptochos GOYA Sunday School Greek School Young Spirit Additional Resources Our Faith Links Festival Directions Contact Us