—1 Kings 17:15-16 (NASB)
One of the most important biblical figures which replays itself throughout the whole of history is Elijah. There is the first literal, historical person of Elijah, John the Baptist who comes in the character of Elijah to prepare the way for the Messiah, his reapppearance with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration, and yet another who is to come in the spirit of Elijah in the Last Days as one of the two witnesses identified in Revelation 11. Whenever Scripture speaks about Elijah, the Spirit is trying to teach us something about each of these who have come in the past and is yet to come.
It’s interesting that Elijah is here temporarily living among the Gentiles. I believe this says something about the rejection of the Messiah by the Jews and the taking of the Gospel to the Gentiles, and that in some way this speaks about the final Elijah to come. But it’s also worth noting that throughout Scripture bread represents the Word of God and oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In a time of great spiritual famine, this man yet retains the anointing of the Word of God just as each iteration of Elijah does.
One of the signs of the End Times is that being fed the Word by the anointing of the Holy Spirit will become scarce. People looking for indications of Christ’s imminent return often focus on the big signs like Israel’s return to the land or the institution of a one-world monetary system; I find the greater signs to be the changes to the spiritual landscape. As I see the overall commitment to God’s Word and the preaching of His Truth dwindling with each passing year of my adult life, I have no doubt that this is the greatest of all proofs that His return is closer than ever.
It’s easy to get pessimistic about such things, but I find in Elijah something of comfort. When he thought he was alone in his stand for God’s Word, when he thought he was the only one left and fled to God’s mountain, there God revealed He still had 7,000 faithful (1 Kings 19:18) — a faithful remnant, if you will. Even in these days when fewer and fewer appear sincere in their Christianity, there is still a remnant faithful and anointed in His Word.†††