Luke 9:52-56 And
(Jesus) sent messengers before his
face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready
(53) And they did not receive him,
because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
(54) And when his disciples James and
John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from
heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
(55) But he turned, and rebuked them,
and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
(56) For the Son of man is not come to
destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
"As Elias did," it's 2 Kings
2 Kings 1:7-17 And he said unto them, What manner
of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?
(8) And they
answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his
loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
(9) Then the king sent unto him a
captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on
the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said,
(10) And Elijah answered and said to
the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven,
and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and
consumed him and his fifty.
(11) Again also he sent unto him
another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O
man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.
(12) And Elijah answered and said unto
them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and
thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his
(13) And he sent again a captain of the
third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and
fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of
God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be
precious in thy sight.
(14) Behold, there came fire down from
heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties:
therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.
(15) And the angel of the Lord said
unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down
with him unto the king.
(16) And he said unto him, Thus saith
the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baalzebub the god
of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?
therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but
shalt surely die.
(17) So he died according to the word
of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the
second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no
From the history book known as
(Book 9, Chapter 2)
(22) And when the king bade them
describe the man that said this to them, they replied, that he was a hairy man,
and was girt about with a girdle of leather. So the king understood by this that
the man who was described by the messengers was Elijah; whereupon he sent a
captain to him, with fifty soldiers, and commanded them to bring Elijah to him;
(23) and when the captain that was sent
found Elijah sitting upon the top of a hill, he commanded him to come down, and
to come to the king, for so had he enjoined; but that in case he refused, he
would carry him by force. Elijah said to him, That you may have a trial whether
I be a true prophet, I will pray that fire may fall from heaven, and destroy
both the soldiers and yourself." So he prayed, and a whirlwind of fire fell
from heaven, and destroyed the captain and those that were with him.
(24) And when the king was informed of
the destruction of these men, he was very angry, and sent another captain with
the like number of armed men that were sent before. And when this captain also
threatened the prophet, that unless he came down of his own accord, he would
take him and carry him away; upon his prayer against him, the fire from heaven
slew this captain as well as the other.
(25) And when, upon inquiry, the king
was informed of what had happened to him, he sent out a third captain. But when
this captain, who was a wise man, and of a mild disposition, came to the place
where Elijah happened to be, and spake civilly to him, and said, that he knew
that it was without his own consent, and only in submission to the king's
command that he came to him; and that those that came before did not come
willingly, but on the same account, he therefore desired him to have pity on
those armed men that were with him; and that he would come down and follow him
to the king.
(26) So Elijah accepted of his discreet
words and courteous behavior, and came down and followed him. And when he came
to the king, he prophesied to him, and told him, that God said," Since thou
hast despised him as not being God, and so unable to foretell the truth about
thy distemper, but hast sent to the god of Ekron to inquire of him what will be
the end of this thy distemper, know this, that thou shalt die."
The footnote in Josephus history book:
It is commonly esteemed a very cruel action of Elijah, when he called for fire
from heaven, and consumed no fewer than two captains and a hundred soldiers, and
this for no other crime than obeying the orders of their king, in attempting to
seize him; and it is owned by our Savior, that it was an instance of greater
severity than the spirit of the New Testament allows, Luke 9:54.
But then we must consider, that it is
not unlikely that these captains and soldiers believed that they were sent to
fetch the prophet, that he might be put to death for foretelling the death of
the king, and this while they knew him to be the prophet of the true God, the
Supreme King of Israel (for they were still under theocracy), which was no less
than impiety, rebellion, and treason, in the highest degree: nor would the
command of a subaltern or inferior captain, contradicting the commands of the
general, when the captain and the soldiers both knew it to be so, as I suppose,
justify or excuse such gross rebellion and disobedience in soldiers at this day.
Accordingly, when Saul commanded his guards to slay Ahimelech and the priests at
Nob, they knew it to be an unlawful command, and would not obey it, 1 Samuel
22:17. From which cases, both officers and soldiers may learn that the commands
of their leaders or kings cannot justify or excuse them in doing what is wicked
in the sight of God, or in fighting in an unjust cause, when they know it so to
No Crime - No Punishment
CONCLUSION: In Luke 9:54 the Apostles
were angered that no one would listen to them. While it is irritating and
upsetting when people do not listen, not listening is not a crime. And if not
listening is not a crime then there is no punishment.
In Elijah's situation we are dealing
with attempted murder. The king wanted to kill Elijah. He sent officers to
capture Elijah so he could be put to death. That is a crime. The officers knew
the king's intent and that Elijah was a man of God. The officers and king were
both involved in criminal activity.
Imprecatory prayer is appropriate for
both asking protection from harm and asking for punishment of the wicked. So,
Luke 9:54 is not an appropriate argument against Imprecatory Prayer. Luke
9:54 is an
argument against using Imprecatory Prayer at the wrong time for the wrong
Could it be that God is answering the
present day prayers "to do good unto those who persecute you"? Do the
wicked prosper because we pray for them rather than against them?
Our prayers should be along the line of
"repent of die," not 'bless them that curse you." Yes, bless neighbors
that curse you, but not bless criminals that curse God. Let's us pray rightly
and enjoy seeing the destruction of the wicked. (Have the wicked tricked us
into praying for them rather than against them?)
Revelation 18:20: Rejoice over her,
thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.