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No. 5: Elijah’s War with Baal

BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 5
July, 1989
Copyright 1989, Biblical Horizons

1. Jeroboam and Ahab

After Solomon died, the people came to his son, King Rehoboam, and asked for tax relief. Rehoboam refused to give it, and indeed told the people that he was going to tax them even more severely than his father had. At that point, with the blessing of God, the ten northern tribes of Israel seceded from the Israelite Confederacy and created their own Kingdom (1 Kings 11:26-40; 12:1-24).

Their first king was Jeroboam I, who had been called by the Lord to this task. Jeroboam decided not to honor the Lord, and set up golden calves at Bethel and Dan. He named his sons Nadab and Abijam (equals Abihu), after the two sons of Aaron who perished before the Lord (1 Kings 12:25-32; 14:1, 20).

Jeroboam was a shrewd politician. What he was saying to the people was this: "My people, as you know I have spent many years in Egypt as a refugee from the tyrant Solomon. While I was there, I learned the real truth about our past — not the lies you have been told in these so-called Books of Moses, but the real truth. The Society of Egyptian Revisionist Historiography generously let me into their files, and this is what I found out.

"Originally, the people worshipped Yahweh openly, and every man was free to worship and to bring sacrifice. That is how it was when we came out of Egypt. All the people brought their offerings to Yahweh at the golden calf, which please notice, was not hidden away from view in some Tabernacle or Temple. You’ve heard that Yahweh was displeased with this, and ordered Moses and the Levites to slay the calf-worshippers (Exodus 32). But stop and think about it. How do we know this is true?

"After all, look what happened next. Moses and his Levite bully-boys set up this Tabernacle that only they could go into. Moses armed these Levite storm-troopers to kill anyone who tried to go into this secret Tabernacle. Isn’t it obvious? Moses and Aaron pulled off a coup against the people. We went from being a participatory democracy to being a tyranny.

"I found out in Egypt the real story about Nadab and Abihu. You want to hear it? Well, these two men sided with the people. They opposed Moses and Aaron’s tyrannical attempt to take over everything, and Moses had them killed (Leviticus 10:1-2).

"Now I ask you, don’t we face the same tyranny today? Who built this new secret Temple that only so-called priests may enter? Solomon! Who taxed and oppressed the people? Solomon! Whose son finally drove us to set up our own kingdom? Solomon!

"So you see, the more it changes the more it stays the same. We need to get back to the pure original truth. Away with this `holy Zion’! Bethel was good enough for the Patriarchs! What’s wrong with it now? Away with these hidden temples and armed priests! Let worship be free and open, as it was before Moses and Aaron perverted it.

"After all, if Yahweh wants to be worshipped with the blood of bulls, what better altar than a golden calf to sacrifice them on? The people originally persuaded Aaron of this truth, but Moses seduced him away from it by offering him power. Let’s get back to the original truth. Don’t go down to Jerusalem to worship. No, no; stay here and worship at the calf.

"By the way, if anyone wants to be a priest, just apply at the main office. After we’ve collected your filing fee, which I’m sorry to say must be rather hefty given the expenses involved, we’ll have a drawing and we’ll fill the synagogue vacancies with those whose names are drawn."

Thus spake Jeroboam. Like all tyrants, he appealed to "democracy," for democratic rhetoric has always formed a cloak for tyranny. He told the people that anyone could be a priest, and sold the office to the highest bidders, filling the offices with political appointees (1 Kings 13:33). Thus came into being the state-church of Northern Israel.

The "sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin" (2 Kings 3:3; 10:29; 13:2; etc.) was the sin of liturgical idolatry. Jeroboam and his hirelings maintained that it was the Lord, Yahweh, whom they were worshipping, but they denied the Second Commandment. They made images and worshipped "through" them.

God raised up prophets to confront Jeroboam’s liturgical idolatry. They confronted Jeroboam at his altar, concerning his false worship, his liturgical idolatry (1 Kings 13:1-5). These prophets called Israel back to God for about sixty-two years, but the situation got worse and worse.

Then Ahab came to the throne, and Ahab took Jeroboam’s sin one step further. Ahab went all the way and got rid of Yahweh altogether. He sinned against the First Commandment. The sin of Ahab was covenantal idolatry, total rejection of the Lord. This greater sin brought about a greater response from God. Ahab had "upped the ante," and God was ready to match him.

God brought in Elijah.

2. The Queen of Omriland

Because Jeroboam I had committed the sin of liturgical idolatry, God cursed his family line. His son, Nadab, only reigned two years before being overthrown. The man who overthrew him was named Baasha, and Baasha destroyed the entire house of Jeroboam (1 Kings 15:24-30).

Baasha, however, did not listen to the prophets, who warned him for twenty-four years. He maintained the sin of calf-worship as the religion of the state. He did not dismantle Jeroboam’s state-church, but supported it. Thus, God announced that he and his entire house would also be destroyed (1 Kings 15:33–16:7).

Baasha’s son Elah became king, but only lasted two years before an army commander, Zimri, overthrew him and killed all the household of Baasha (1 Kings 16:8-14). The people wanted the top general, Omri, to be king, so they killed Zimri after only seven days of rule (1 Kings 16:15-20). This was from the Lord, because Zimri had refused to get rid of Jeroboam’s idolatry.

Now this man Omri is very, very important to the story of Elijah: He was the father of Ahab. Omri was an outstanding warrior and general. Under his leadership, Northern Israel became a powerful principality, a force to be reckoned with. Records from surrounding nations show us that after Omri’s reign, Northern Israel was called "Omriland."

Omri conquered the nations roundabout and enriched Israel from them. He built a new capital, Samaria, which was much more of a fortress than the earlier capital, Tirzah, had been. He made peace with Southern Israel (Judah), conquered Moab, created new relations with Tyre and Sidon, and was defeated only by the Syrians (1 Kings 20:34). Under his leadership, the kingdom rapidly expanded in prosperity. (For more on Omri, see articles in any Bible encyclopedia.)

It seems clear that the dynamic Omri arranged the marriage of his son Ahab to the princess of Sidon, Jezebel.

Tyre and Sidon were two related city-states along the Mediterranean coast north of Israel. A couple of generations earlier, the prince of Tyre, Hiram I, had been a friend of David and Solomon. He had helped build the Temple, and everything in the Bible indicates that he was a convert to the true religion — although some pagan sources can be taken otherwise (as cited by Josephus, Antiquities 8:5:3).

Since those halcyon days, however, Israel had apostatized, and so evidently had Tyre. Hiram’s successor was assassinated, and then the assassin’s successor was slain in turn by one Ethbaal, the Baalist high priest of Sidon. In Hiram’s days, Tyre had dominated Sidon; now the reverse was the case.

Jezebel was daughter of Ethbaal, priest-king of Sidon and Tyre (1 Kings 16:31). Her husband, Ahab, was evidently the weak-willed son of a strong-willed father. Ahab readily followed her lead and began worshipping Baal and his goddess-consort, Asherah (or Ashteroth; Venus). In Solomon’s day the Tyrean Gentiles had followed Israel’s lead and worshipped at the Temple of Yahweh; now the situation was reversed.

Thus, Ahab "erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria, and Ahab also made an Asherah" (1 Kings 16:32-33). As a result, Ahab "did more to provoke Yahweh, the God of Israel, than all the kings of Israel who were before him" (1 Kings 16:33). Ahab advanced beyond liturgical idolatry (violation of the Second Commandment) to covenantal idolatry (violation of the First).

Jezebel clearly dominated Ahab, as we see from the story of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21). She had as her goal the Baalification of Israel. She wanted Northern Israel to become a spiritual vassal of Sidon, as Hiram had made Tyre a spiritual vassal of Godly Israel two generations earlier. She imported a large number of priests of Baal and Venus to go throughout the land and teach the new religion, and she killed all the pastors ("prophets" they were called in those days) she could locate (1 Kings 18:4).

There was, however, one man the Queen of Omriland did not know about. His name is given to us as Obadiah, which means "Slave of Yahweh." He was one of the Tyreans who came into Israel to administer Ahab’s and Jezebel’s kingdom, but he was a man committed to the old true religion, the religion Solomon had taught to Hiram. Since he was a Tyrean, Jezebel thought he was on her side, but in reality he was God’s spy.

The evidence that Obadiah was a Gentile is indirect but compelling. First, it was the settled policy of such kings as Ahab to employ foreigners in their service, men who would not have loyalties to the people and who thus would carry out the king’s will without compunction. Second, Obadiah refers to the "Lord your God" when he meets Elijah, the same language used by the Sidonian widow (cp. 1 Kings 17:12; 18:10). Third, the expression "fearer of the Lord" is equivalent to "God-fearer," the normal Biblical term for the uncircumcised Gentile believer (1 Kings 18:3; Acts 10:2; 13:16, 26). God sometimes has His people where we least expect it (Philippians 4:22).

So, the stage was set. Wealthy powerful America (excuse me, I mean Omriland) had set out on a policy of stomping out the truth faith and of slaughtering children by abortion (excuse me, by Baal fire-worship). Omriland was a pretty powerful state, but something was about to happen.

God was about to bankrupt Omriland.

3. The Reduction of Baalism

One day, a couple of years into his reign, Ahab was sitting back on some cushions watching the Baal Channel, eating a dish of fried pork and mouse chips, and sipping some Chateau Sidon 880 (a vintage year for date wines), when his Prime Minister, Obadiah of Tyre, entered the room.

"Another delegation with tribute from one of the vassal states?" Ahab asked.

"No," answered Obadiah. "It’s some fellow I’ve never seen before. He says his name is `My God is Yahweh.’ He says he has a message for you."

"Yeah, I’ll bet," said Ahab. "They’ve all got some `message’ for me. Probably wants some golden calf repaired. Why don’t you see to it."

"I don’t think he’s one of those, my lord," said Obadiah.

Ahab’s eyes opened a bit wider. "You mean he’s a `puritan Yahwist,’ one of those `Remnant Church’ weirdoes? A Jerusalemite? I thought my wife had killed all of them. I know she spared the calf boys if they were willing to put a pinch of incense in her precious Baal’s nose, but I didn’t know any of these Moses-freaks were still around."

Obadiah looked at the ceiling. He didn’t want Ahab to know about the hundred pure-Yahwist pastors that he had helped escape from Jezebel. After all, everything Ahab knew, she knew. If Obadiah were dead, he would not be able to help these prophets any longer.

"Well," he said, "I gather she slew all she could find, but evidently she did not get this fellow. Are you willing to hear what he has to say?" Obadiah did not want his hope to show on his face.

Before Ahab could reply, the door swung open abruptly and there stood a total stranger. "Who are you?" asked Ahab.

The stranger ignored the question, and offered neither genealogy nor credentials. He simply said, "As Yahweh, the God of Israel, is alive — before whom I stand — surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."

Both Obadiah and Ahab were taken aback by this. Obadiah felt hope die in his bosom. This man was insane. Talk like this could only make matters worse. Ahab burst out laughing. "Get out of here before I have you thrown out," he said.

But Elijah was already gone.

"You boys from Tyre have never seen anything like some of these Puritan nuts we have around here," said Ahab to Obadiah with a wink.

"Yes, my lord," said Obadiah.

A couple of months went by, and it did not rain. Ahab was not worried, however. It was, after all, the dry season, and he knew that eventually the rains would come.

Then, however, the rainy season arrived, but no rain. Clear out to the borders of Omriland and beyond, into the vassal states, there was no rain. Ahab began to remember the words of that fellow (what was his name?) who had barged in on him months earlier, but he didn’t say anything about it to Jezebel.

Meanwhile, Jezebel was trying to get the Baal priests to make rain. After all, Baal was the god of natural forces and of the storm. Surely Baal was pleased that she had brought him a new land to oversee. Surely Baal would give rain. But try as she and her priests might, they could get no response from Baal.

After a year, things began to get serious. By now Jezebel and everybody else knew the name of this Yahweh-purist. "Elijah" was on everyone’s lips. Deputations from the court scoured the land searching for him. Anyone suspected of pure Yahwism was rounded up. Couriers went to the vassal states and nations round about, but nobody knew anything about this man. Nobody had ever heard of him.

Of course, nobody was starving in Omriland. Omri had laid up lots of treasure, and so they simply bought grain from Egypt. Next year there would be rain.

But there wasn’t. Nor was there rain the third year. Now the matter was really serious. The gold and silver in Fort Omri had been largely spent. Moreover, since everybody knew some kind of curse was on once-powerful America (excuse me, Omriland), their credit was no good. Worst of all, the vassal states were starting to flex their muscles. If something did not happen soon, they would break away.

So there came a day when Ahab called his Prime Minister and said to him, "We’ve got to keep the war machine going, or else we’re going to lose our empire. You take a team of men, and I’ll take another. We need to survey the land to find water for the horses and mules. Forget the people. If we don’t have an army, the people will die anyway." (See 1 Kings 18:5-6.)

Obadiah thought of the times that Yahweh had delivered Israel without any army worth sneezing at. He thought of the fact that an aggressive horse-centered war machine had been prohibited in the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 17:16). But he didn’t say anything. It was more important for him to keep his mouth shut and keep the hundred pastors alive in the caves. He was confident that Elijah had been a true prophet, and that when Elijah was ready, he would show himself and settle the situation.

That very day his expectations were vindicated.

4. Elijah and Obadiah

In the third year — the year of judgment and resurrection — God told Elijah to show himself to Ahab. So, Elijah set out from Zarapheth in Sidon (he’d been hiding in Jezebel’s home territory!) and came toward Samaria.

He met Obadiah, Ahab’s Prime Minister, and told him to find Ahab. Here is how the conversation might have gone:

Elijah: "Well, behold the compromiser! Hey, puppy, tell your master I want to see him."

Obadiah: "Listen, you fanatic! Because of you a lot of good people have been tortured and killed. Don’t call me a compromiser; I managed to keep a hundred of your fellow prophets alive after you left town! It’s extremists like you who make it harder for all the rest of us."

Elijah: "Look, if all you softies would come out on the front lines and be counted, maybe we could accomplish something. But no, not you! You’ve got a cushy job with Jezebel. You want that nice retirement. As long as people like you stay in your liberal churches and try to `work in the system,’ we’re never going to get anywhere. Naked confrontation is the only way."

Obadiah: "Oh, yeah? Well, let me just tell you something, Mr. Hero. Last month Ahab was about to put to death about five hundred of your people, and I talked him out of it. These people were under suspicion because of you and your activities. It was I who saved them. You’re needlessly stirring things up."

Wait, wait! That’s not how it went, is it? Sadly, though, I imagine if a modern Elijah and a modern Obadiah met, that is probably how it would go.

You see, Elijah knew that he was only part of the solution, and so did Obadiah. God needed both the insider and the outsider. He needed both the prophet and the chamberlain. Is there something here for us, today?

Let’s return to the story. Obadiah’s response to Elijah is very important. Obadiah said, "What have I sinned, that you are delivering me into Ahab’s hand? If I show Ahab that I know you, he’ll realize that I am a secret God-fearer, and he will put me to death.

"Moreover," Obadiah continued, "Ahab has been looking everywhere for you. If you disappear again, I’ll have revealed my true colors for nothing. And it’s not just my life that is at stake. I’ve been feeding a hundred of your fellow prophets in caves. If I die, they die.

"Think hard about that, Elijah. You’re asking a lot. If I get exposed, and you don’t pull this off, a lot of people are going to die. You’re asking that we put all the cards on the table. I’ll do it if you say so, but are you sure you are ready to play this hand?" (1 Kings 18:7-15).

Elijah’s heart skipped a beat. "Surely, Lord, what this man is saying is true. If You don’t defeat Baal today, a lot more innocent people will die, and there will be no pastors left in the land," he prayed. But the Lord told him that today was indeed the day, and Elijah reassured Obadiah.

And so the confrontation was held. You know the story, how the priests of Baal and Venus were unable to get fire down on their altar, but how Yahweh instantly answered Elijah’s prayer. Elijah put water all over the altar, which represented the tribes of Israel (1 Kings 18:31), and all of it was burned up. The altar took the judgment the land and people deserved, and the water on the altar took the judgment that God had placed on the rain. As a result, the land, the people, and the rain were restored.

You remember how Elijah had all the priests of Baal and Venus slain, and how they were cast at the foot of Mt. Carmel into the bone-dry bed of the brook Kishon. You remember how it began to rain and rain, and how the filthy corpses of the priests were flushed out of the holy land into the Mediterranean Sea, and the land was cleansed.

You remember how Elijah was so excited and so swept up by the Spirit that he outran Ahab to Jezreel. (Read 1 Kings 18.)

And you remember that the next day Jezebel told Elijah that she was going to kill him, and he ran away in horror. "So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of my dead Baal priests by this time tomorrow," she said (1 Kings 19:2).

Do we fault Elijah? Do we explain this psychologically, as the depression that follows victory? Does this episode show us Elijah’s "feet of clay?" I think not. I think Elijah remembered something we may already have forgotten.

Elijah realized what had just happened to Obadiah and to the hundred pastors in the caves.

5. A New Covenant

When Ahab got back to Jezreel, the place of the summer palace, he could not wait to tell the news. Summoning his court, he told everyone about Elijah’s great victory on Mount Carmel, and how the rain of heaven had been restored to the land. A great smile broke out on the face of his Tyrean Prime Minister, whose name the Bible gives as Obadiah, "Servant of Yahweh." "Hallelujah! Praise Yahweh!" cried Obadiah.

A look of horror passed rapidly over the face of Jezebel. Suddenly she realized that their most trusted advisor and servant had been a spy for the Yahwists all along. Clearly Obadiah was a believer in God Most High, the Gentile name for Yahweh (Genesis 14:19-22). Clearly Obadiah still clung to the old religion of Hiram and Solomon, which her father had tried to stamp out of Tyre and Sidon. Clearly she had been betrayed.

"Follow him when he leaves," she told the soldiers next to her. "Let me know where he goes."

Out went Obadiah, out to the caves. First in one cave, and then in the other, he told the wonderful story of Elijah’s victory. "You’re free to go back to your homes, and start up your churches (synagogues) again," he told the hundred pastors and their wives.

Praising God, they all emerged from the caves. And within hours, Jezebel had slain them all, and Obadiah as well.

The Bible does not describe this for us, but we can hardly doubt that it happened. Elijah clearly understood it so, for as he fled the land he told the Lord, "They have killed Your prophets, and I alone am left" (1 Kings 19:10). God did not contradict him. God told him that there were 7000 faithful church members left in Israel, but evidently there were indeed no pastors left (1 Kings 19:18).

Can we really imagine the horror of this situation? The incident at Mount Carmel seems a great victory, and in a sense it was, but it was a totally fruitless victory. In reality, it was the last chance for Israel as a nation. From this point on, God would no longer deal with Northern Israel as a whole. He would no longer offer them national repentance. Instead, He would institute a new covenant, and create what we know as the Remnant Church.

So Elijah left the promised land, and shook the dust off his feet. He returned to Mount Sinai, where God had made the covenant with Moses. Pharaoh Ahab had rejected the truth, and had driven this new Moses out of the land.

When Elijah arrived at the Mountain, the angelic doorkeepers met him and asked his petition, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" This is no rebuke; it is a formal request for Elijah’s petition: "State your business." Elijah answered by stating his lawsuit against Northern Israel. Then Elijah was admitted to the Mountain Courtroom of God, and told to stand before the Lord to repeat his charges, which he did (1 Kings 19:9-14).

Elijah did not walk up to God’s throne. Instead, God drove His chariot-throne up next to Elijah. The first rank of horses pulling the chariot was "a great and strong wind." The second rank of horses that went by was an earthquake. The third rank of cherubic horses that passed Elijah was a fire. Then at last God Himself pulled up before Elijah, with a "sound of a tremendous voice" (1 Kings 19:11-12).

Our English Bibles mistranslate the Hebrew here and say "a still small voice," but that is not accurate. This was the mighty Voice of God, the Voice so incredibly loud that it shattered the nerves of the Israelites at Mount Sinai so that they begged not to have to hear it anymore (Ex. 19:19; 20:18-19). It was the Voice of Judgment.

God told Elijah that He was done with Ahab and with Omriland as a nation. Elijah was told to set up three great judgments that would come upon the land, after which God Himself would come and finish the job.

The "great and strong wind" would be Hazael, whom Elijah would anoint King of Syria. He would be a scourge to Israel.

The "earthquake" would be Jehu, whom Elijah would anoint as King of Israel. He would wipe out the line of Ahab.

The "fire" would be Elisha, whom Elijah would anoint as his Joshua. Elisha would create the Remnant Church out of the 7000 faithful. He would train new pastors at his "school of the prophets." And he would be a great scourge to the wicked.

Last of all, God Himself would come, and would take Omriland into Assyrian captivity.

But the Remnant Church would survive.

6. The Remnant Church

The nation had failed to repent. They had had their chance, and now there was nothing left to do. It was time for a new approach. The prophets would continue to confront the kings of Omriland from time to time, but no longer with the expectation of seeing national repentance.

Instead, a new covenant had been inaugurated at Mount Sinai: the Remnant Covenant. It was now Elijah’s job to lead the Remnant out of "Egypt," and it would be Elisha’s job to lead them back into the promised land as a new people.

In the years that followed the victory at Mount Carmel and its horrible aftermath, Elijah and Elisha gathered the 7000 faithful Yahwists into new synagogues. Jezebel, fearing another Carmel, left them pretty much alone. Persecution, at least, was no longer to be feared.

Elijah and his deacon (Elisha) set up the school of the prophets, a seminary to train pastors, because all the pastors had been slain by Jezebel. And then came the day when Elijah was to be taken into heaven (2 Kings 2). Everybody knew about it, and they wondered what would happen.

Elijah toured the land, saying goodbye to all his parishioners. Then he left the land and went to the place where Moses had died. There he was caught up into heaven. Though they searched for his body, they did not find it. Nobody had ever found Moses’ either.

Elisha had been with Elijah to the end. When Elijah’s mantle was given to Elisha, it symbolized that Elisha would now be in charge of God’s people. He would be the "high priest" of the Remnant Church. These people would not be able to go to Jerusalem, because the borders were often closed, but the Remnant Church would substitute for them.

Just as Joshua followed Moses and crossed the Jordan into the land, so did Elisha. The waters parted for him as they had for Joshua. His first stop, naturally, was Jericho, which he conquered with the new water of the gospel (2 Kings 2:13-22). The first Joshua had burned Jericho; the new Joshua gave it water. It was a better covenant.

Then Elisha completed the constitution of the Remnant Church. We see the Exodus themes of borrowing, and of deliverance from slavery, in 2 Kings 4:1-7. We see the Exodus theme of the restoration of the firstborn son in 2 Kings 4:8-37. We see the Exodus theme of the healing of food in 2 Kings 4:38-41, and of manna in 2 Kings 4:42-44. Finally, we see the building of a new house — a new tabernacle — for God’s people in 2 Kings 6:1-7.

This new covenant, the Remnant Covenant, is distinguished by the rise of the Writing Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, Joel, etc.).

The Kingdom Covenant was gone, at least in the North. The kings would no longer be guardians of the church, and no one would call upon them to be. Instead, the Remnant Church would be cared for by the prophets, the pastors. The stories of Elisha showed the people that they were to center their lives on the Remnant Church.

Over the next century and a half, the Remnant Church bore witness to the other citizens of Omriland, and the major prophets and writing prophets witnessed to the kings, but there was no national repentance. Finally, God came and destroyed Omriland with His Assyrian army.

What happened to the Remnant Church? Were they also destroyed? No. Just a couple of years before the final destruction, God called the Remnant Church out. Hezekiah held a great Passover and urgently invited the few faithful who remained in Omriland — for many had already moved south — to attend, and they did so (2 Chronicles 30). Thus, God put His people into the Ark before bringing the Assyrian Flood upon Omriland (2 Kings 17).

What had happened to Omriland? Had they continued to worship Baal and Venus? No, they had become conservatives and had returned to the liturgical idolatry of calf-worship. They said that they were worshipping Yahweh, but in reality they were worshipping themselves, the works of their own hands. Culturally speaking, this was better than the Baalism that Elijah and Obadiah had joined hands to fight, but in God’s eyes it was every bit as evil.

God did not spare Omriland for 150 years because they returned to the "Constitutional Conservatism" of calf-worship. There was nothing pleasing to Him in that. Rather, He spared Omriland for the sake of the Remnant Church.

As we conclude this short series, let us learn the important lesson here. God is not interested in political conservatism, in turning back the clock, in restoring the public schools to what they were in the 1950s, in getting back to the U.S. Constitution, or in any other half-way measure. The answer to today’s radical humanism is not conservative humanism, but the unalloyed Gospel.

America can be spared either of two ways. She can be spared is she repents and returns to God, as Elijah tried to get Omriland to do. Or she can be spared if the Church is restored as "Remnant Kingdom leaven" in her midst, as Elisha’s work shows. She will not be spared if she simply turns back to the kind of half-way house religion that got us into this mess in the first place.

Christians must stop putting their trust in backward-looking political movements, and they must stop making alliances with Moonies, Mormons, Libertarians, and Conservatives. If we want America to be spared, we must have pure unadulterated confrontations, and we must rebuild the Church.