A brilliantly illuminating extract from Peter Leithart’s commentary on 1&2 Kings on the story of Elijah at Mount Carmel:
‘Yahweh’s fire falls on the altar, not on the people, so that Yahweh’s judgment falls on a substitute Israel in order to deliver Israel itself…
Carmel anticipates another mountain, a mountain outside Jerusalem, where the fire of God’s judgment falls on a substitute Israel, when Jesus, the altar of God, is crucified to save his people. At Carmel, in the third year, Yahweh sends rain that renews the land; and in Jerusalem, on the third day, he raises Jesus from the dead to renew the world. At Carmel, the judgment of God is followed by rain; and at Jerusalem, the one who baptised by fire on the cross ascends to baptise his disciples with the Holy Sprit, pouring out the Spirit like showers from heaven. He does all this to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, to shame the gods of the nations, to show the nations that he is the Lord and that there is no other.’ (Leithart, p136-7)
Image: Oxidacion – Oxidation by Rodrigo Valla, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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