The Altar of Yahweh Elohim

The name “Elijah” means “Yahweh is my God.” Elijah prophesied in Israel during a time of dark apostasy. During the days of King Omri, many Israelites began to turn away from their ancestral God and turn to the god of the Canaanites, Baal. With the ascension of Ahab to the throne, the apostasy of Israel became complete. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, was an enthusiastic patron of the Baal cult. Under her direction, the prophets of Yahweh were relentlessly persecuted. The prophets of Baal were welcomed at the royal court. Altars to Baal were constructed throughout the land.

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Finding Joy in the Ghetto

This month I led a team to Bulgaria for a week of mission work with the Church of God in that country. Most of our work consisted of evangelism and care in remote villages of ethic Gypsies. I have traveled to Bulgaria several times am grateful for the opportunities to assist in the work of the Gospel. During the week I woke early each morning for my personal devotions that included reading Eric Metaxas’ biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and sections from the gospel of Matthew.

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“Tongues as of Fire”

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance (Acts 2:1-4).

The images of Pentecost are not unique to the Jerusalem Pentecost event. As I demonstrated in the previous post, the violent rushing wind reflect the ruach/pneuma of God – Spirit, breath, wind – throughout the Old Testament. Likewise, the “tongues as of fire” reflect various theophanic images in the Old Testament.

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A Violent Rushing Wind

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance (Acts 2:1-4).

We don’t usually associate the word violent with Holy Spirit’s activity. We prefer peace and serenity. But Luke presents the Pentecost event as a wind-storm, or to be more precise – a Spirit-storm. The Hebrew word ruach, and the Greek word pneuma, are translated throughout the Scriptures as wind, breath, or spirit. This reflects movement, life, power, and mystery. It may also be that ruach and pneuma suggest a relationship between the Holy Spirit, the breath of life, and the power of nature.

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