The Great Contest

“And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. “And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. “And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water” (I Ki. 18:33-35).

The water was a type of the Word of God.

I hope it is obvious here that everything was saturated with water. In fact, even the trench that had been dug around the altar was filled. This states to us that everything about the Cross was and is according to the Word of God. This tells us that the Word of God is the foundation and the criterion for all that we do. Again it states that what Jesus did at the Cross was all according to the Word of God, and according to the Word of God entirely.

Pouring the water three times over the sacrifice signifies to us that the Word of God is backed up by the entirety of the triune Godhead. It also tells us that the Word is incumbent upon each member of the Godhead, even as each member of the Godhead is incumbent upon the Word. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Mat. 4:4).


“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice” (I Ki. 18:36).

Two sacrifices were to be offered at the temple each day, the first at 9 a.m., and the second at 3 p.m., with the latter referred to as the evening sacrifice. This was to be done seven days a week. Actually, on the Sabbath, which was Saturday, instead of one lamb being offered in the morning and one lamb in the afternoon, the number was doubled. Jesus was put on the Cross at about 9 a.m. He died at 3 p.m., the time of the evening sacrifice. So, all of this tells us that what the Lord did here was a portrayal, a picture if you will, of that which would be carried out by His Son when He died on the Cross. Of course, Elijah would have had no knowledge concerning a Cross, nor would he have known that Jesus would die on the Cross at the time of the evening sacrifice, but, of course, God most definitely did know all of this. The idea is, the Lord was trying to bring Israel back to the altar, i.e., back to the Cross. In effect, He has always been doing this, even as He is doing such presently.


Elijah said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel” (I Ki. 18:36).

Why were these three individuals so special that their names would be linked with Jehovah?

One word explains it: faith.

At the time of these individuals, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel and Jacob are one and the same), other than these three families at their respective times, the whole world lay in spiritual darkness. They alone knew God, and they alone believed God.

First of all, the Lord revealed Himself to Abraham. As to how this was done, the Scripture is silent. At that time, Shem, one of Noah’s sons, was still alive and may very well have been serving God. Some believe that Shem was actually Melchizedek; however, there is no proof of that. At any rate, at that time, the only ones in the world who knew God were Abraham and Sarah, very probably some of Abraham’s servants, which definitely included Eliezer of Damascus (Gen. 14:17-20; 15:2), and a few others such as Melchizedek. As the revelation had been given to Abraham, it was handed down to Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, and then to Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebekah. At that time, they were the only people in the world who were monotheistic, meaning they worshipped one God, i.e., Jehovah. The balance of the world was polytheistic, meaning they worshipped many gods, in actuality, demon spirits.

So, it was faith that caused these individuals to stand out, and to be certain, faith is the same principle presently (Rom. 5:1-2).


At the beginning of this contest, Elijah had said to Ahab, plus all of the false prophets of Baal, plus the entirety of Israel that was gathered at Mount Carmel that day, “Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:

“And you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God who answers by fire, let Him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken”
(I Ki. 18:23-24). The fire was a type of the judgment of God that was poured out on the sacrifice instead of that judgment being poured out on Israel. This typified Christ and what He would suffer at the Cross.

As we’ve already stated, the only thing that stands between mankind and the judgment of God is the Cross of Christ.

I Kings 18:38 says, “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.”

When the fire fell, it consumed everything, in effect, leaving nothing. This tells us that Calvary paid it all. No sin was left owing. The judgment was total, meaning that Christ paid it all.

Unfortunately, far too many in the modern church hypocritically seek to punish those who have failed, seemingly never realizing that Jesus has already suffered such punishment. For such to be enacted, in essence, says that what Jesus did at the Cross was insufficient. This is a gross sin! We must never forget that the “fire of the LORD” consumed everything - the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and even the dust, and “licked up the water that was in the trench.”

With all the water being licked up, this portrays the fact that the Word of God was fulfilled in totality. As stated, absolutely nothing was left owing. Such was and is the Cross of Christ!


When the fire fell, the Scripture says, “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God” (I Ki. 18:39).

Of course, these Israelites, who had been worshipping Baal for some years, were now made to realize in stark reality that Baal was not God, but rather “the LORD, He is the God.”

The fact that the name God has the definite article preceding it, making it read “the God,” tells us that, in essence, they were saying that there was no other god. Jehovah alone was God!

However, it must be understood that God, i.e., Jehovah, could only be recognized by and through the means of the Cross, i.e., the altar.

The Apostle Paul addressed this very thing, but in the New Testament sense, by stating that if the faith of believers is in anything other than Christ and the Cross, then, in essence, what they have is another Jesus, which fosters another spirit, and which plays out to another gospel (II Cor. 11:4). This episode with Elijah and the people of Israel tells us that God could be understood only in the sense of the Cross, i.e., the altar. It is no different presently (Jn. 3:16)!


“And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there” (I Ki. 18:40).

This is one of the reasons that the Cross is so despised. It exposes false prophets, and not only exposes them, but puts them out of business. When the Cross of Christ is held up as it should be held up, all false doctrine goes out the window; all false apostles will stop short; all error is laid aside; and the Cross exposes it all. That’s the greatest reason that the Message of the Cross is not so very much appreciated, especially considering that the majority of the modern church is apostate. The light always exposes what the darkness covers. That which the light exposes must be exterminated, which the Holy Spirit in one way or the other will definitely do, at least for those who truly want to follow the Lord.


The people had been directed back to the Cross, of which the altar was a type, and now the rain of the Spirit could fall. Before the Holy Spirit can work, the church must come back to the Cross; there is no other way! Seven is God’s number of perfection; in other words, the rain that was coming would be in proportion to God who was sending it. Even though the Lord had promised this, we find that Elijah had to persevere. This should be a lesson to us; if we ask and we do not receive, we ought to keep asking (Lk. 11:6-13).


When the Word of God becomes preeminent, with Calvary once again becoming the center point of all that is done, then the spiritual drought will end, and there will be an “abundance of rain.”

As we have stated, the great drought in Israel, which had lasted now for some three and a half years, was meant to be a portrayal of the spiritual condition of the nation. The rain falling in copious amounts was a type of the Spirit of God being poured out, which brought the thirsty land back to life again, as only the Spirit of God can do. There was not merely rain that fell, but an abundance of rain.

This meant that the earth soaked up the rain, which could then once again grow grass, with the trees doing the same regarding their leaves. The streams that had long since gone dry now gurgled with water flowing in copious amounts. The drought had broken, and the rain was falling, all a type of the Holy Spirit.

However, let us once again make the statement that this copious rain was made possible by the Cross, and made possible only by the Cross. As it was then, so it is now.

The church will not know revival until it comes back to the Cross. In fact, the people, whomever they might be, will not know a touch of God in their lives until they come back to the Cross.


The church is not going to be helped, but rather hurt by such foolishness as the Purpose Driven Life scheme and scores of others similar.

What blasphemy is brought forth when men say that the church needs a new way, a new message, and a new presentation! No, the church needs to go back to the old paths. It needs to come back to the Cross.

The church that is truly of God does not function according to the ways of the world. That which makes the world go has no bearing whatsoever on the church, and actually, if employed, will destroy the church, which is happening presently.

The church functions solely upon the moving and operation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works totally and completely within the confines of the finished work of Christ. So, this means that the believer must place his faith exclusively in the Cross of Christ and not allow it to be moved. With that being the case, the rain will fall in abundant amounts.

As well, this that the Lord did portrays to us the fact that if some few people will go God’s way, which is the way of the Cross, beyond the shadow of a doubt, there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In fact, this experience with Elijah and the fire falling from heaven should give hope to any and every individual, irrespective of the difficulties or the problems.


The Scripture says of Elijah, “And he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees” (I Ki. 18:42).

Elijah had just seen one of the greatest demonstrations of power that the world had known up to that time, and it had humbled him. It was now time for the rain. The Lord had promised it. He had said some months earlier, “Go, show yourself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth” (I Ki. 18:1).

The answer of Elijah was actually the answer to every pulpit, every church, every home, and every problem that plagues our lives. Why is it so hard for us to do this? Why do we seek everyone’s opinion and not God’s knowledge? If we do seek His face, too often it is with a haughty attitude, denying all humility. God will not accept our pompous attitude. The church desperately needs revival. This verse (I Ki. 18:42) tells us how to have it. In essence, we need to cast ourselves down upon the earth and put our face between our knees. While the posture is not that important, what it represents is most definitely very important - it represents humility.


The Holy Spirit through Simon Peter said, “For God resists the proud (He sets Himself in array against the proud person), and gives grace to the humble (one who places his faith exclusively in Christ and the Cross)” (I Pet. 5:5).

As the rain was dependent upon the Cross being held up as the only solution for mankind, likewise, humility is addressed in the same capacity. It is impossible for anyone to know humility unless he properly understands the Cross. The Cross of Christ is the very epitome of humility. In fact, there could be no greater example. So, when the believer begins to place his faith exclusively in Christ and the Cross, he will begin to understand a little bit about humility. Otherwise, such isn’t possible!


“And (Elijah) said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times” (I Ki. 18:43).

This verse portrays faith. It says, “Go again seven times.” Regrettably, about the greatest admittance of the modern church is the admittance of the servant when he states, “There is nothing.” We have been compromised in our faith, being led to believe that if we snap our fingers, God is to do it immediately. If it’s not done, we quit, being taught that it’s not faith to continue.

That is unbiblical. No, it doesn’t take the Lord long to do anything, but it takes us awhile to be brought to the place and position desired by the Holy Spirit.

Elijah was one of the greatest men of God who ever lived, but the Lord would teach even Elijah something in this episode. He would be taught a valuable lesson on the grace of God.


“Seven times” speaks of God’s fulfillment and completion. It speaks of a perfect work, a work that He desires to do within our lives.

In other words, if we ask and the answer is not immediately forthcoming, we must not quit. In fact, faith, that is, if it’s true, will not quit. What did Jesus say?

“Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves (a meager request); “For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? (We as believers must give the message of eternal life to all of mankind, but the truth is, within ourselves, we have nothing to give).

“And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you (an obvious denial).

“I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needs (the argument of this parable is that if a sufficiency for daily need can by importunity, i.e., persistence, be obtained from an unwilling source, how much more from a willing giver, which and who is the Lord).


“And I say unto you (telling us how to approach the Lord for whatever we need), Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (all of this speaks of persistence and guarantees a positive answer, at least if it’s in the will of God).

“For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened (he says ‘everyone,’ and that includes you!). “Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him (an egg containing) a scorpion?

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children (means that an earthly parent certainly would not give a child a stone who has asked for bread, etc.): how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him?” (Lk. 11:5-13).

This refers to God’s goodness and the fact that everything from the Godhead comes to us through the person and agency of the Holy Spirit; and all that He does for us is based upon the Cross of Christ and our faith in that finished work.


“And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there arises a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand” (I Ki. 18:44). It must ever be said that what looks like only a “little cloud” to the unbeliever, the doubter, and the skeptic is, in fact, that which with faith can mean a coming deluge.

My grandmother taught me a most valuable lesson. I can see the twinkle in her eyes even yet. She said to me, not once but many times, “Jimmy, God is a big God, so ask big!”

I have never forgotten that. It has helped me touch this world for Christ. However, we must remember that that which concludes “big” many times, if not most of the time, starts out small. It is only at the beginning, “a cloud the size of a man’s hand.” True faith knows that it is only the beginning, which, if God has His way, will ultimately conclude with something great. The Lord, in fact, does nothing but that which is great. Don’t quit asking, don’t quit seeking, and don’t quit knocking.


“And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain” (I Ki. 18:45). One can sense the presence of God even as one reads these words, “a great rain!”

Spiritually speaking, our nation desperately needs this great rain. As well, spiritually speaking, untold millions of believers, myself included, need this great rain.


When the Lord began to open up to me the Message of the Cross back in 1997, it was like a dream come true. The freedom that this great truth brought to me was unexcelled. And yet, it’s not something new but that w

hich was given to the Apostle Paul, which he gave to us in his 14 epistles. However, after a little bit, negative thoughts began to come into my mind about the necessity of the message.

The Devil said to me that while some few may need this message, virtually the entirety of the church is doing pretty well.

Looking back, it is so easy to recognize the Evil One, but at the time, dressed as an angel of light, he seemed to be plausible.

I did not reveal to anyone what I was feeling in my spirit, but the Lord was very soon to address it.

Donnie was preaching. It was Sunday night at Family Worship Center. He wasn’t preaching about Moses and the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt, but in the course of his message, he made the statement uttered by Moses to Pharaoh, “Let My people go.”


When he said that word, “Let My people go,” the Spirit of God came all over me. I began to weep, actually sobbing, and the Lord spoke to my heart, and what He told me was not very pleasant to hear.

“My people,” the Lord said, “are in the same condition presently as the children of Israel were in Egyptian bondage.”

To be sure, that’s a powerful statement. To think that the modern church is in the same shape as Israel of old, respecting Egyptian bondage, is beyond our comprehension. In other words, it’s about as bad as it could ever be. The Devil had almost made me believe that while the Cross was definitely necessary, still, the situation was not so desperate among God’s people. However, that night, the Holy Spirit let me know that the church world is in the same condition, spiritually speaking, as Israel of old as it regards her terrible condition of so long, long ago. In other words, they were slaves to an evil taskmaster, and the Lord demanded, “Let My people go.” For a few minutes that night, I saw the entirety of the church world. I saw the bondage, and I saw untold millions who are being held captive by Satan in one way or the other, and I’m speaking of God’s people. In other words, as the situation was dire in Egypt at that time, at least as it regarded the people of God, likewise, it is dire at this time. In fact, the situation is far worse than even I know.

The only answer is the Cross of Christ. There is no other!

The church desperately needs a great rain of the Spirit.

This message came from the book, Elijah The Tishbite.

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