Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Elijah and Speaking Louder Longer

How many books did Elijah write? None.

Elijah is in many ways the quintessential Old Testament prophet. And yet he wrote nothing and his prophecies have seldom been interpreted as prognosticating Israel’s long-term future. He intervened in the life of the people, performed miracles, and spoke to their present situation. Elijah is evidence that, contrary to popular belief, a prophet is a forthteller, not necessarily a foreteller.

Still, Isaiah, at 66 chapters the longest of the Old Testament’s prophetic books, is the most mentioned prophet in the New Testament. Isaiah is quoted or referenced 85+ times in the New Testament. While Elijah appears in 29 verses and six books of the New Testament, he is never quoted. Are words more lasting than actions? Jesus famously said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33, NASB)

And yet the people did not anxiously await the return of Isaiah, but rather Elijah (Malachi 4:5, Matthew 17:10, 11, 12, Mark 9:11)

French author Michel de Montaigne, (1532-1592) famously wrote, “Saying is one thing and doing is another.” Which speaks louder longer, actions or words?

Ideally, the Christian will do both.

“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” - attributed to Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

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