Sunday, August 28, 2016

Israel: Mount Carmel

Today as we leave Galilee, we travel to Mount Carmel where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal, and then we cross the Valley of Jezreel(Armageddon) to Megiddo, a city that Solomon fortified.

Lush green from the top of the mountain
Panoramic scenery from Mount Carmel viewing deck
Church of Mount Carmel Muhraka
Carmel, "garden land," is a word used to indicate a place where trees and gardens grow. Mount Carmel is part of a wooden mountain ridge that extends 21 kilometers inland from the Mediterranean Sea and rises 700 meters above sea level. The mountain is lush all year round. In ancient times, altars to various deities were built on its heights, Baal in particular, The brook, Kishon flows at the base of Mt. Carmel.

Statue of Elijah slaying a Baal priest
The prophet Elijah had a contest with the group of prophets of Baal to demonstrate the true God on top of the Mount Carmel, The people then worshipped God and killed the prophets of Baal at the foot of Mount Carmel, at the Brook of Kishon (1 Kings 18:16-40).

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. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 
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.
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” -- 1 Kings 18:36-39

Elijah prayed seven times on top of the Mount Carmel asking God to send rain and end the lengthy drought. When the rain come, Elijah outran King Ahab, who traveled by chariot to Jezreel (1 Kings 18:41-46). The prophet Elisha, frequented Mount Carmel (2 Kings 2:25; 4:25).

The Old Testament used Mount Carmel as an illustration of strength, beauty and natural fertility (Isaiah 33:9; Jeremiah 46:18, 50:19; Amos 1:2; Nahum 1:4)

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