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1 Kings 18:20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire–he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
The people accepted Elijah’s bold challenge, and the event proceeded. As we know, the prophets of Baal went first. They prepared the sacrifice and cried out to Baal to send the fire. But nothing happened even after hours and hours of pleading.
…29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
Baal failed to answer the earnest prayers of his prophets. Then it was Elijah’s turn to call upon the name of the LORD.
…36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD–he is God! The LORD–he is God!”
In response to this dramatic miracle, the people could only acknowledge the LORD—the God of Elijah—as the one true God.
The spirit which God gave to his prophet Elijah is clearly the spirit of extraordinary POWER and BOLDNESS. Malachi prophesied that the spirit of Elijah would be sent before the great and dreadful day of the LORD—the coming of the Messiah.
Malachi 4:5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.
This was fulfilled 2,000 years ago through John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel, referring to John, spoke to his father Zechariah:
Luke 1:17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
This was fulfilled when John appeared shortly before the Christ to prepare Israel for His Coming with extraordinarily bold preaching.
But we know that the Christ will appear again a second time—this time after the gospel of the kingdom has been preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and we have completed the Great Commission:
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Therefore according to Malachi’s prophecy the spirit which God gave to Elijah will be sent once again. If we are indeed in the last days before the end of the age, we can expect the spirit of Elijah to be restored in order for us to proclaim the kingdom of God to the lost with great power and effectiveness—especially to very gospel-resistant pagan peoples who number in the billions around the world.
The Elijah Challenge is called to equip the Lord’s people to proclaim the kingdom of God to the lost in the spirit and power of Elijah—as Elijah did at Mt. Carmel—with manifest and visible power confirming the truth to the gospel-resistant. We equip SPECIAL FORCES for the Kingdom of God.
This is not just talk
In witchcraft-dominated Africa we have held open-air evangelistic events where infirm people—including the blind and the deaf—come to be healed of their infirmities. At these events we first preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then before inviting the people to repent of their witchcraft and idolatry, we issue a challenge to the witchdoctors who have come to “check us out.” We challenge them to come forward to use their witchcraft to perform miracles of healing for the many infirm people who are present. We want to see how much power they have. What has been their response?
The witchdoctors have never picked up the gauntlet and dared to try to perform their miracles in front of the crowds. And so we servants of the Most High God then call upon our God, asking Him to send the fire of healing upon the sick so that everyone may see that our God is the only true God and that Jesus is the only way to Him. After the prayer, we have the newly-trained servants of God and disciples lay hands on the sick to heal them after the manner of Jesus Christ in the gospels. The blind begin to see, the deaf hear, and many are healed of their infirmities. One by one they come up to the stage to testify what the Lord Jesus has miraculously done for them. The God of Elijah has glorified His Son Jesus Christ.
After the testimonies we challenge the crowd to repent of their sins and to follow Christ as Lord and Savior. After witnessing the extraordinary miracles, the Africans come streaming forward for the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life through Christ.
Our calling is to train the Lord’s disciples to proclaim the kingdom of God with such power and boldness wherever He sends them. Already we have trained tens of thousands of servants of God and disciples in over forty countries (and counting) around the world. Many of them are now preaching the gospel powerfully and fruitfully.