Chapter 9, from the forthcoming book, An Ahava Adventure – the Four Louis Brothers in Israel” by Steve Martin (Photos by Steve Martin)
The times and seasons of Elijah the Prophet were not too much unlike what it is in our American society today and in many other nations. Witchcraft abounds and is growing. “Darkness covers the earth, and deep darkness the people.” Isaiah 60:2. Both then and now.
We wanted to go see the actual mountain where Elijah combatted the enemy and overwhelmingly won a great victory.
Among the new generations, witchcraft has outpaced traditional religion in choice, as many continue to leave behind the faith of their parents and grandparents. Young people are looking for spiritual options in realms beyond themselves, and the Church has lacked far behind in giving them the true choice, with demonstrations of power and superiority through the Holy Spirit.
Centuries ago the body of Christ began denying the activity of the Holy Spirit, and the mainline denominations today continue to believe that His power work ended after Jesus left the earth for heaven. The charismatic gifts were given for our good, to combat the enemy and strengthen our faith. But after their first release back in the first century among the gathered 120 in the Upper Room, the supernatural void due to their denial of existence in our midst today has pushed the young ones seeking in other places. Sadly, the enemy of our soul, Satan and his demonic forces, have been there ready to fill it.
Not only in the gatherings of witches and warlocks but elsewhere, idols reign everywhere. Small Buddha figurines require worship in homes, while gigantic ones tower over Asian parks and within elaborate temples. Thousands of Muslims trek to Mecca and Medina to honor Mohammad, the founder of Islam. And though he was reported to have left the earth on a horse from where the current Dome of the Rock is on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, he had never been to Jerusalem.
NFL football stars, who think they are the almighty, invincible ones until they fade away or get hurt and realize they are human after all, are glorified and set on large TV screen pedestals while making millions in dollars.
Hollywood screen actors and actresses, who reign on the bigger screens and in the hearts of adoring fans, take every opportunity to oppose the ways of God, outspoken as they claim understanding and wisdom, with their vast ungodly knowledge within and then beyond the realm of their acting careers.
Idols rule in many hearts and minds. All seeking the glory due only to the Living God of Israel.
Elijah faced opposition to God’s ways. The prophets of Baal, under the rule of Queen Jezebel and King Ahab, taunted Elijah to prove his God was the Most High God. As history proved, he did, and He is. We were on our way to stand where he stood in his ultimate victory as He served the Most High God.
Before departing Netanya, the first full day we had in the Land, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the hotel. During that time, I also had the privilege of meeting Barry Shaw, Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, and a fascinating author of several books, and a social media blogger. I bought four copies of his book “1917 – From Palestine to the Land of Israel” to give to others. It details the extraordinary early struggles of Jewish and Christian heroes in establishing the State of Israel. Another book he had written, ‘Sarah’s Story. A Tale of Love and Destiny” was purchased, as he said “it would bring to tears” anyone who reads it. So, my wife Laurie was given the gift when I got home.
The four of us then loaded up the SUV and departed Netanya with the destination being Mount Carmel, close to the coastal city of Haifa in northern Israel, or about an hour’s drive. Being Greg was an avid golfer, of course we had to venture off the main highway just a bit to get a photo of him posing in front of the Caesarea Golf Club, one of the very few courses in all of Israel. Then we did a stop off at the Caesarea National Park, on the Mediterranean Sea coast, where the Apostle Paul was presented before the Roman government officials before being shipped off to Rome.
The ancient Roman port had been built purposely by Rome to primarily allow ships of the sea to bring in the goods of the nations for the ruling party. Archaeological digs, found all over Israel, have unearthed the amazing ruins, now allowing nationals and tourists to observe up close as they walk the acres of grounds and among the structures.
One highlight that I always enjoy at this park is the hippodrome, or as we say in these southern parts of the USA, and elsewhere, the dirt track. Of course, the 3-4 horse powered chariot races at that time were the precursor to modern day NASCAR, with their more powerful 850 horsepower engines. Four legs and two wheels became four wheels. It just took some time for the development stages to take place.
Not to be deterred too much along the way, trying to adhere somewhat to a schedule, I kept a continuing eye on my watch. Our destination for the evening was the Aliyah Return Center, having booked months before a two-night stay there. Located near Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, I kept the stops as short as possible. I kept in mind that this was the initial trip for Lathan, but to get all in and yet see the location where Elijah had taken down the Baal priests from atop the mountain of Carmel, we had to move on from the national park after about an hour.
Laurie and I had come to Mount Carmel a few months earlier in May 2019, and I wanted the men to experience the lofty location, especially the overlook of the Jezreel Valley from the west side. An awesome view is provided, when tourists from the nations climb to the roof balcony of the monastery to capture with their eyes, and cameras, the magnificent valley stretching for miles below. And if one is so blessed, you will be able to see the Israeli Air Force planes jet out from below ground bunkers in the valley, before making the flight from west to east, between the country’s borders, in mere minutes.
The commemorative statue of Elijah on the Mount Carmel Monastery grounds has long since replaced the pagan-built altar centuries ago in the area. The white stone figure standing tall above the religious plaza is another memorial of the battle won here over witchcraft.
I commend those who too desire to remember that which the Lord God has done here, especially the Jews and the Catholics, who have built so many places of remembrance, in order to preserve for the generations that follow these biblical, historical locations of events that took place in this promised land of the Jews.
God Himself instructed Joshua and the Hebrew nation to build an altar with stones gathered from the Jordan River, after crossing over, before going into the land after the departure of Moses. This was done in order to remember the work He had mightily accomplished for them along the way. Many altars were thus built, in order to give thanks and remember what the Lord has done.
May we also win the battles being fought in our land, as we too stand on the side of the Living God, and He acts on our behalf. We too must build those altars of faith in our hearts and minds, remembering all His good works, for ongoing needed faith in the days ahead.