Picture: St Elias, scenes of his life. Taken from http://www.sinykova.ru/biblioteka/iljin-den
The first prophecy of Elias. According to the Bible, Elias carried out his prophetic activities in the time of king Ahab’s rule. Following the religion of his Phoenician wife Jezebel, Ahab established worship of the Semitic god Baal, and brought many priests and prophets of Baal into the country. The few followers of the Lord were expelled from the country, and the Semitic cult of the false deities was spread little by little among the Israelites. So, one day Elias, barefoot, in the rough camel cloak and with a crook, came to Ahab with the warning, that there would be years of catastrophic drought in the country as a punishment for false god’s worship, which was considered evil in the sight of God.
The miracle of manna from heaven and resurrection of a child. After the confrontation with the King God told Elias to escape from the city and to hide himself near a brook, where he would be fed by ravens. When the brook was dried, he was guarded again by God to a widow who lived nearby. The woman had hardly enough food for herself and her son, but anyway she gave the last pieces to the wanderer, whose another prophecy was realized, as God sent “manna” from heaven to the widow. Later, when her son died, the woman was crying over him, when Elias prayed to God to restore the dead as a demonstration of the trustworthiness of God’s word. So, the child was raised from the dead and given back to his mother, who recognized the prophetic gift of Elias.
Picture: Elijah restoring the Widow's Son. Artist: Ford Madox Brown.
Taken from http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/ford-madox-brown/elijah-restoring-the-widow-s-son
The challenge between Elias and the prophets of Baal. After three years and six months of famine, God sent the prophet back to Ahab to announce the end of the drought by to the command of the Lord. Then a confrontation between the priests of Baal and Elias as the prophet of Yahweh was arranged. The test was to demonstrate the divine power by putting on fire the sacrificial altar by prayers only. So, they created 2 altars, putting woods and the slaughtered sacrificial oxen on them. The priests of Baal started praying for fire to light the sacrifice, but all their prayers and rites were useless. Then Elias ordered to drench the other altar with water, and asked God to accept the sacrifice. At that very moment the fire fell from the sky, consuming the water and the altar, as a demonstration of the power of God. Then the prophet prayed to God to destroy the prophets of Baal, and to send rain, which marked the end of famine.
The life in the wilderness and Elias’ desperation. Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, was enraged that Elias had ordered death of her priests, and threatened to kill him. So, the prophet had to escape again. He went into the wilderness and was miraculously saved from famine by the Angel of God. Disappointed of the unfaithfulness of people, Elias desperately complained to God, and, after several divine revelations, anyway obeyed the will of Lord and was sent to the other places to go on his prophecies.
Picture: Prophet Elijah in the Desert - from the Winged altar in St. Peter in Leuven. Artist: Dirk Bouts.
Taken from http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/dirk-bouts/prophet-elijah-in-the-desert-from-the-winged-altar-in-st-peter-in-leuven
The punishment of the king and his family. Another time Ahab acquired possession of a vineyard by murdering its proprietor. Elias was sent to him with the prophecy of the inevitable and terrible death of Acab and all his family. That time Ahab repented, and God relented in punishing him, but his wife and his son Ahaziah. So, the latter one day was seriously injured in a fall, and sent for the priests of Baal, to know if he would recover. Elias intercepted his messengers and sent them back with the question: “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal?” At this question, Ahaziah ordered his soldiers to find and arrest the prophet, but part of them was destroyed by the fire called down by Elijah from the heaven. At last, the prophet arrived to Ahaziah to give his prophecy personally.
Elias’ Ascension to heaven. Once, approaching Jordan river with his disciple Eliseus, Elijah rolled up his mantle and stroke the water, which divided and formed a path of dry land for them to cross on. Suddenly, a chariot of fire with horses appeared and Elias was lifted up by a whirlwind, his mantle falling down in the hands of Eliseus.
Picture: Icon. The fiery ascension of Elias the Prophet. Nizhniy Novhorod school.
Taken from http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BB:N.Novgorod_Elijah_icon.jpg
The following appearances of Elias in the Bible were interpreted in Judaism, as the prophecy that his return will precede the coming of Messiah. In Christianity this prophecy is traditionally considered to have been fulfilled by the ministry of John the Baptist.
Video about the life of St Elias: