The Prophet Elijah
Berlin, 14 December 1911
As one of the most brilliant stars in the sky of the spiritual development, the Prophet Elijah shines to us from early antiquity. His traits, his actions, his whole greatness stick to our hearts as they are described in the Bible. The outer history can hardly understand this significant personality. However, for spiritual science just this personality is a sign of the fact that not only the actions, the ideas form the basis of the most important causes and impulses of human evolution which the outer history reports, but that the human soul processes are the most important moving forces and impulses. In order to imagine this, we want only remind of the fact that also the foundation of Christianity is due for the most part to inner soul events which present themselves externally as the event of Damascus for the Apostle Paul. One cannot deny the outer fact that the foundation of Christianity is intimately connected with the event of Damascus, with the events in the soul of the Apostle Paul and what spread in his flaming words and in his serious sacrificial actions. At many other places we can also prove that human affairs, historical becoming do finally not lead into the usual actions of history, but into the human soul, into the human heart.
Today we have to consider such an example. Nevertheless, with the shortness and the sketchiness of this talk I have to leave the further elaboration of this topic to you to what extent these things may anyhow prove, explain, or light up the historical development that are brought forward today following the personality of the Prophet Elias and his time. However, this talk should not be given only as a communication about the personality and significance of the Prophet Elijah, but also as an example how spiritual science considers such things, and how it can illumine with its means what was told about the historical evolution of humanity in another way. To reach this goal I would like to go forward in a particular way.
At first, I would like to give that what one can say about the person and the significance of the Prophet Elijah from the researches of spiritual science, only following the Bible where naming or characterisations give point to a hint. The ambitious attempt should be done to tell at first what happened actually, and then to show how these events are reflected in the Bible. For the listeners who are completely familiar by long-standing occupation with the power and with the proving strength of the spiritual-scientific method, I can only present that sketchily as sure result of the research because proving discussions would take many hours. I ask the other listeners to accept what I say about the true history as a hypothesis that has just to be checked. I am quiet if this check is undertaken appropriately and without prejudice, it will confirm what I say now. What has now spiritual science to say about the person and the significance of the Prophet Elijah?
We have to put ourselves in that time of the Hebrew antiquity in which the brilliant epoch of King Solomon was over, and the Palestinian kingdom had to stand manifold miseries, one has to remind of the Philistine distress and similar events. We have to put ourselves in that time when the once uniform kingdom was already divided in the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel. We have to put ourselves in that time in which in Samaria the King Ahab ruled who is the son of Omri and one of the successors of Jerobeam. A kind of alliance or fraternisation took place of the King Ahab, or more precisely of his father, and of the king of Tyre and Sidon, and this alliance should be reinforced with the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel, the daughter of the royal family of Tyre and Sidon.
The names are known from the Bible, and to the better understanding, I use the names of the Bible. We have to put ourselves in a time in which people who had kept the appropriate hereditary factors had by no means lost the old clairvoyance that was a mental quality of the human beings in primeval times. Queen Jezebel was equipped not only with this clairvoyance, but with a particular clairvoyant force which she used not only in the good sense. We have to consider her as a kind of clairvoyant, while we have to see in King Ahab a man who had in exceptional states what can come from the hidden soul forces in the consciousness what appeared especially in ancient times to a much higher degree than in the present. He had notions, visions to some extent, but only sometimes if he faced any special fateful question.
In this time, one heard in those areas that there would be a great significant spirit. This spirit is called Elijah just in the Bible. Least people knew actually neither where this person Elijah was to be searched nor how strongly this person worked just on the contemporaries. One can say that his name caused certain feelings of thrill in many people. One knew that something significant is in and behind this spirit. However, one did not surely know how this worked in the world, where one had to search it; one had no idea of it. Only single persons whom one can call the initiated students of this spirit knew what it concerned, actually, and knew how the man is to be found in the physical world, in the outer reality who was the bearer of this spirit. King Ahab did not know it. Nevertheless, he had a particular fear, a kind of particular feeling of thrill if this person was mentioned. Since one connected and had to connect particular concepts with this person.
King Ahab in Samaria was that who had brought a certain kind of religion into the ancient Palestinian kingdom by his fraternisation with Tyre and Sidon which stuck to outer ceremonies, outer symbols, to a kind of paganism to put it another way. Now those who belonged to such paganism had to accept that what was known to them about the individuality of the Prophet Elijah with a particular feeling of thrill. Since because of the different things which one heard there one could say to himself, indeed, the Jahveh religion exists from old times of the ancient Hebrew people, the faith in one God, in a spiritual being of the world that intervenes by its supersensible forces in the evolution of the human being and of humanity. — However, one also knew that the time approached where within the best of the ancient Hebrew people a bigger and bigger understanding of the being of Jahveh should arise. One knew that the Moses religion already contained the Jahveh religion, indeed, in a seminal state, but it was understood as a young people could understand it. The Jahveh religion which looked up to a supersensible God who can be characterised by nothing but that one says, He does not resemble anything but with that invisible supersensible of which the human being becomes aware, if he envisages his own ego. That supersensible was there, but one had understood it in such a way that one tried so to speak to visualise in the outer phenomena of the human life how the Jahveh God was working.
One had got used to saying: Jahveh is working in such a way that he rewards the human beings; he is benevolent if in the outer nature fertility, luxuriance appears if, otherwise, life proceeds easily. — One had also got used to saying that the Jahveh God becomes angry or turns away from the people if wars, famines or such like were there.
The time about which we speak now is also a time of misery, in particular of famine. Some people had turned away from Jahveh because they could no longer believe in his work, because they saw how he treated the human beings, because just a dreadful famine was there. If we can speak of a progress of the Jahveh idea, we have to characterise this progress in the following way. A conception of God should now appear which was, indeed, the old conception of Jahveh, but which should be penetrated by a higher understanding of the human beings saying to themselves, whatever may appear in the outer world, howsoever the human being may live from day to day beatified, how strongly distress and misery may affect him, these outer things do not at all prove the goodness or Jahveh's goodness or rage. However, someone has the right concept of Jahveh who also does not falter to look up to the invisible God in the biggest misery who gets the certainty by the forces only which prevail in his soul and by no outer observations: He exists!
This reversal should take place at that time. If such changes should happen, human beings must always be there in whose souls such a thing takes place first on whom as it were a new impulse should work; a new force should appear in history. If the word is not misunderstood, one may say: that individuality who is called Elijah was chosen by the national destiny to grasp the Jahveh idea first in such a way.
It was necessary for it that in his soul particular forces from the hidden subsoil and depths ascended which were not before with the human beings, also not with the teachers of humanity. A kind of mystic initiation of the first kind by which the knowledge of such a God could enter had to happen in Elijah. Hence, it is important to show the Jahveh idea entering in the characterised way that one looks into the soul of that man in whom the spirit was embodied first which should make possible the Jahveh idea in such a way by his initiation, by his penetration with the hidden soul forces.
With that what such persons experience as a significant jerk forward first in their souls they stand alone. However, they gather students around themselves. The big religious or prophet schools within Palestine that one can call mystery sites with other peoples belong to it. Some pupils who looked up at him but knew at least what it concerned even if they were unable to look deeply into his soul also surrounded the Prophet Elijah. However, the other human beings did not know where that man was in whom such things happened. One could only say, he is there; something goes forward that we would maybe call a kind of rumour in our language. The rumour spread that the prophet is there, but one did not know where. Since such prophets, such significant spirits had a particular power. What I say may seem to be absurd if one looks only at our time, but to someone who knows the peculiarities of old times it is not absurd at all.
These human beings had a particular power that appears here and there, not only in the emotions of thrill, but also in the positive that they instill, so to speak, in the souls to work in such a way that one does not really know, where the outer person is. Sometimes the outer person of such spirits is a rather insignificant one. The pupils know it. Somewhere, maybe in an extremely insignificant outer position, the outer personality appears.
And lo and behold: the outer personality, the bearer of this spirit, was without Ahab, the King of Samaria, having an idea of it, actually, his neighbour. King Ahab searched him everywhere, only not in the simple owner of a little property that was in his immediate nearness. Since where this person was at certain times, why he was absent now and again, the king did not worry about it. Jezebel knew it, but she did not inform Ahab about her secret at first. She kept it for herself for reasons that we recognise later. The outer physical bearer of Elijah is also called in the Bible with a name. He is called Naboth, so that we have to recognise the biblical Naboth as the physical bearer of the spiritual individuality of Elijah in truth according to spiritual-scientific research.
In that time of famine when many people just had to starve also Naboth experienced misery in certain way. In such times when not only hunger works, but when also the infinite compassion with the starving people, with the pressed people works, the conditions are especially favourable that in someone who is prepared by his karma those hidden soul forces can appear by which he can soar such a mission.
We want to bring to mind now what went forward in Naboth's soul. These are inner processes at first, a significant self-education to higher spiritual heights. What the soul internally experiences in appropriating the forces by which it beholds in the spiritual worlds to carry down from them what should be planted as impulses into the human development is exceptionally hard to describe. It is exceptionally hard to dress it in words because even somebody does not become aware of it who experiences such a thing, in particular in those old times, so that he could not express it in precise, sharply outlined concepts. One experiences different levels of a clairvoyant development. With such a being like Naboth this precedes of course which the soul has as the most certain inner experience at first: in me the forces shall light up which shall now enter in humanity. I shall be its vessel. — Then the other experience comes: now I must risk everything that I am worthy of this force that the force can speak in me in right way that I appropriate the abilities to experience what I must experience, so that I can inform people about the force in the right way.
Thus, such a person must go through various levels. If then a suitable level is reached, certain signs appear as it were to the soul which are not dreams, but inner experiences, also not only visions, because the reality of the soul development forms the basis of them. Pictures appear there which the signs of it are: now you are so far in your soul that you can venture to work.
The pictures as those do not need to deal with that what goes through the soul in reality. They are mere symbols, as well as the dream symbolises. However, these are symbols as we have certain dreams also under certain circumstances. Thus certain vision-like experiences appear if the soul concerned attains this or that clairvoyant force. With Naboth it appeared first that he recognised by such a picture: you shall announce that one can trust in the old Jahveh God, even if the outer appearance of the historical course contradicts by misery. One has to wait in rest, until the times become better again, because it corresponds to the decision of the old Jahveh God to bring misery and happiness again. However, the trust must never dwindle. Naboth realised that this is a steadfast, persuasive force in him. It faced him vividly as something that was more than a mere vision. The God faced his soul as he could imagine Him in a vision and spoke, go to King Ahab and say, one has to trust in the Jahveh God, until He makes rain again, that means, until better times come again. Then this man knew his mission, knew that he had to devote himself now to the further development of the soul force that can completely develop what was in his mind's eye. He decided to be one of those — with all sacrifices, as far as it was only possible — who were exposed mostly to the misery of that time, also to hunger. He did not starve really — I stress that I do not recommend starving to attain spiritual knowledge — to ascend to higher worlds, he starved from no other impulse than the others starved, not only to take part the destiny of the others, but to take part it even to an increased degree.
However, his soul was given away in perpetual contemplation to the God who had revealed himself to him in the described way, and he did not turn away his thoughts from this God. Today we would say in spiritual science, his whole meditation was that he brought this thought in the centre of his soul with full arbitrariness. — The fact that he acted rightly with it appeared to him again in an inner vision that was again more than a mere dreamlike vision, while he faced the picture of the God in all liveliness who said to him, endure everything! That who nourishes the human beings will give you the necessary. You must only have unconditional trust in the everlasting continuance of the soul! The picture appeared, as if he went — a hermit who showed the things more pictorially — to the brook Krith whose water he drank, as long as it was there, he hid there and lived from what the God sent to him what he could still just have in the misery of the time. It appeared to him as a picture of special divine grace that ravens brought this food. Thus he had an affirmation of that what he had to experience again in his inside as the central issue.
Then he should experience a higher level. He tried, we would say today, to delve even deeper into that meditation from which he had started and which we have already characterised. Then this meditation accepted the following character. He said to himself, if you shall generally cope with the vision, which shines there from a quite new God idea you must become internally, also in the deepest forces of your soul, another than you have been up to now. You must overcome, put away, actually, the soul that lives in you and you must enliven that what you have from your deeper soul forces in new way what you have, indeed, what must not remain your real ego as it is.
Therefore, he intensely worked on his soul influenced by this idea, on a transformation of his ego, so that it could become worthy to face the God who had revealed himself to him. Again, a kind of vision arose to him that is even more than a vision an is still much less valuable, because the inner soul processes have the real value. He had the vision that his God sent him to Sarepta that he met a widow there who had a son. Now the way appears to him how he should live personified as it were in the destinies of the widow and her son. They hardly have anything to eat. They want to eat the last that they still have and die then. Now he says what he had said to his own soul from day to day, from week to week in lonesome reflection, as in a vision to this widow: do not care, prepare the meal quietly which should be prepared for you and also for me from the flour you still have. Trust for everything that should come in the God who can bring happiness and misfortune in whom one must never lose faith! And lo and behold, it appeared to him in the vision that the flour container and the oil jug did not become empty, but were filled over and over again. His whole soul state expressed itself in the vision in such a way, as if he had become ripe for this personality, as if this personality moved in the house of the widow and lives in the upper floor of this house. However, the inner reality is that his soul ascends as it were to a higher floor, that it attains a higher level of its development. Now he beholds in the vision that the son of the widow dies. This is nothing but the symbolic reflection of the overcoming of his previous ego. The subconscious forces of his soul ask him, what shall you do now? He stands there helplessly as it were. There he pulled himself together by the force that has flowed into him up to now, and keeps on delving in what is given him for self-contemplation.
After the death of the son that means of his own subconsciousness the widow reproaches him: his old ego-consciousness is away, what shall happen now? It is pictorially shown in such a way that he lets the son come to himself, keeps on delving daringly in his soul and thereby brings the dead son to life again. This gives him courage to invigorate the new ego from the old one.
His soul matured so that it could have the strength in itself to appear now in front of the outer world, above all before King Ahab, and to announce what was to be said to this outer world and to Ahab, so that he decides for the new Jahveh idea instead of that which replaced it because of the weakness of the times, and whose representative King Ahab was.
From anywhere — in any case, Ahab had no idea where from the man came — he approached King Ahab who walked around anxiously in his kingdom and looked at the misery. There he met this man. Something asserted itself in Ahab's soul with the words which this man spoke to him, although he did not know that he was his neighbour, as if the emotions of thrill faced him especially now what he had always felt when people spoke about that spirit Elijah. Are you possibly the man who confuses Israel? Ahab asked him. No, I do not, Naboth-Elijah answered; you yourself are that who causes the misfortune and evil of Israel. A decision has to be made to which God our people shall turn now.
The matters were so led that a big part of the Israelites was gathered on the Mount Carmel where an outer sign should decide between the God of Ahab and the God of Elijah.
First, the priests and prophets of Baal, as one called the God of King Ahab, offered their sacrifices. Now one wanted to wait whether the people got any information by the sacrifices, by the devout exercises of the ecstatic prophets who put themselves in particular states by music and dance, in other words whether by the divine power of these priests something of the power of God appears. An animal was brought to the altar. It should became obvious whether really in the priests the power worked which might seize the people. Since Naboth-Elijah said: the decision must be brought about; I am standing alone here — and 450 priests of Baal face me. We want to see how strong their power is on the people, or how strong my power is. The sacrifice was offered. Everything was done to transfer the power of the priests of Baal on the people, so that it believed in the God Baal. Even the hands and other parts of these priests were scratched with knives, so that blood flowed to invigorate the effect of the priests. However, lo and behold, nothing happened, because Elias-Naboth was there with his power. One would like to say with sober words, he was there with his influence.
You do not need to think about any magic. By his influence, he was able to out-compete everything that was there. Then he offered his sacrifice with the whole power of his soul that had experienced what we have just described. The sacrifice worked! The souls were affected. Something similar took place what I tried to describe in my book Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age. I have shown at the example of the priest Johannes Tauler (~1300 — 1361) who still experienced a special instruction. When he entered the pulpit after this instruction again, his sermon had a tremendous effect on his listeners. One told that about forty persons fell down and seemed to be dead, that is they were hit in their inside by the power. It was the same with Elijah. Now we have only to pay attention that the words in the Bible are exaggerated, this results at least from the spiritual-scientific research. The Baal priests, the 450 opponents of Elijah, had to surrender. Elijah-Naboth “slaughtered” them in their souls. Elijah-Naboth out-competed them. (1 Kings 18:40). However, we can say this is something that results from itself.
I have described the character of Jezebel. She knew that the man who worked there, actually, was her neighbour. Unless he was absent mysteriously, he was in immediate nearness.
However, what did Elijah-Naboth know from then on? He knew that Jezebel was mighty that she knew his secret, and that — in other words — now his outer physical life could never again be quite sure. He had to take care if he died the next time. The Bible also tells that King Ahab went home and informed Jezebel what had occurred at the Mount Carmel. She said, I shall do that to Elijah what he did to your 450 prophets. (1 Kings 19:2) — I would like to know someone who wants to explain such a statement of Jezebel with other means than with that of spiritual science, while it seems by the spiritual-scientific research as a self-evident fact. Now Elijah must take care that if the vengeful Jezebel killed him in a way his spirit would keep on working in humanity.
And lo and behold when he was intensely contemplating he asked himself again: what shall I now do to replace myself here in the physical world if I am killed by the vengeful Jezebel? There he had a new revelation. His view was directed to a particular human being to whom he, Naboth Elijah, could transfer what he has to give to humanity. His view was directed to Elishah. Now you may think that Elijah knew Elisha from old days, but that does not matter. Elijah's view was directed to him, and the inner enlightenment said to him: let this man in your secret. — With that clarity, with which the religious documents speak to spiritual science, is still said to us that Elijah-Naboth should carry out something special, and that that what Elisha should experience now is the same spirit that prevailed in Elijah up to now. At Damascus, this enlightenment of Elisha should take place in the same way as it later happened with the Apostle Paul. After Elijah could determine his successor, he experienced the revenge of Jezebel.
Jezebel turned the thoughts of her husband Ahab to the neighbour and said possibly the following to him: this neighbour is a devout man in whom the thoughts of Elijah live. Still remove him from your immediate nearness because a lot depends on him as one of the most important followers of Elijah. — Ahab knew nothing of Naboth's secret, but he knew that he was a loyal follower of Elijah. Then Jezebel persuaded Ahab to induce this man either by persuasion or by force that he should change to him. This would have been a decisive blow against the concern of Elijah if Ahab had succeeded to change this man. Jezebel knew of course that this was only a fiction, she wanted to cause only that her husband brought himself to do an important action. Since she did not want this action but the other one, which followed. Thus, Jezebel gave a kind of fake advice.
Ahab went to Naboth, and Naboth said to him, you never attain what you want now. — You know that the matter is shown in such a way in the Bible that Naboth owned a vineyard and that Ahab wanted to get this vineyard either by force or by persuasion. Naboth says in the Bible to the king: “The Lord forbids that I should surrender to you land which has always been in my family” (1 Kings 21:3). But in reality another heritage is meant which he does not want to give. Then Jezebel arranged her revenge. She used her fake advice because the king should be completely disappointed about Naboth's refusal. You can recognise this reading the following place in the Bible: “Ahab came home, sullen and angry because Naboth had refused to let him have his ancestral holding. He took to his bed, covered his face, and refused to eat” (1 Kings 21:4).
Because he could not get a vineyard, he stopped eating! Such things arise only if one can investigate the facts that are behind it. Jezebel arranged her revenge, one “proclaimed a fast” to which Naboth was also invited and treated honourably. He could not escape from it. He had the possibility to work. But Jezebel was a clairvoyant person too. With the others, he would have easily coped. However, she was able to precipitate him into ruin. She incited the murderers, that means as it is told in the Bible, wrong witnesses who said that Naboth denied God and the king (1 Kings 21).
With it, Elijah was dead as an outer physical human being, he was killed. Ahab was put by these events that had really aroused deep forces in his soul, so to speak, before a kind of fateful question. At this moment, he had a foreboding. Elijah appeared to him of whom he had been so often afraid. Elijah informed him about the state of affairs. This is a spiritual experience. He hears, so to speak, from the picture of Elijah after his death that he had murdered Naboth, the Naboth Elijah. He needed only to anticipate the latter, but he was called murderer. In the Bible, we find the dreadful words: “Where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, there dogs will lick your blood!” (1 Kings 21:19). About Jezebel was said: “Jezebel will be eaten by dogs near the rampart of Jezreel” (1 Kings 21:23).
We know, this was a foreboding that came true. Since when later King Ahab went to war against the Syrians, he was wounded, the blood trickled on his carriage. When the carriage was washed, the dogs came along and licked Ahab's blood. When in the course of the events Jehu became King in Samaria, Jezebel was defenestrated and, indeed, torn to pieces by dogs before the rampart of the town. However, I want to point to it only because the time is too short to go into details. Much more important is that what follows then.
Now the successor of Elijah-Naboth had to mature. But he matured in another way. The disciple has it easier than the first teacher has. The force was available to him that Naboth Elijah had got; the help of Elijah was available to him. As the individualities if they have gone through the gate of death work with a particular force from the spiritual world, Naboth Elijah now worked after his death with a particular force on Elishah, as for example Christ Jesus worked on his disciples after his death, after his resurrection. Elias-Naboth worked incredibly on Elishah. What now Elishah experienced, he experienced this also related to the force that flowed from Elijah and worked still continuously after his death on those who could dedicate themselves to him. Elishah experienced in such a way that his great teacher Elijah faced him vividly also after death, and said to him: I want to leave the Gilgal. I would like to quote the Bible to a hair's breadth: “When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elishah had set out from Gilgal” (2 Kings 2:1). This is no place. The Bible means no place with it too. It is a technical term: the soul goes through birth and death; it goes from one physical life to the other. One called this process Gilgal.
You are not surprised that it turns out by spiritual science that Elishah was, indeed, by contemplation and devotion not with the forces of his physical nature, but with his higher forces with Elijah, that is he was together with him in the higher world. The spirit of Elijah indicated the levels to him that he had to go through in the soul development. But he draws his attention everywhere to the difficulties of the way that he has to walk. He has to ascend from level to level where he only feels united with the spirit that flows from Elijah.
The names of the places are to be interpreted not as such but as soul states. There, for example, Elijah says, now I go to Bethel. — This faces Elishah as a vision that is more than a vision. Like a reminder, the spirit of Elijah says to him, “stay here.” — That is nothing but: reflect whether you have the strength to advance further with me.
There something else still appears in the vision. A “company” of his prophet disciples stands beside him and remind him. Those who know because they are initiated into the fact that Elishah can ascend to higher regions where the spirit of Elijah speaks to him say to Elishah: “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your lord and master from you today?” (2 Kings 2:3). He answers to them: “I do know, say nothing.” To the spirit of Elijah he yet says, “As the Lord lives, your life upon it, I shall not leave you.” Then Elijah says, “Now I have to go to Jericho.” The same recurs. Then Elijah asks, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken from you?” Elishah replies, and you can read this also in the Bible, only in such a way that one has to interpret it correctly: “Let come your spirit as second spirit in my spirit.” You wrongly read in the Bible, “Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” (2 Kings 2:9). But the spiritual meaning of that what Elishah hears from Elijah is just about that he becomes alive in the depths of his soul that he awakes there to full consciousness that his soul faces the spirit of Elijah there and can make known the decisions of Elijah out of itself. Elijah says, “If you see me taken from you, your wish will be granted, if you do not, it will not be granted.” Lo and behold, Elisha saw Elijah “carried up in a whirlwind to heaven,” only his cloak was left, that is the spiritual force in which he had wrapped himself up.
This was the vision by which he recognised that he might become the successor of Elijah. Then you read in the Bible, “The prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, 'The spirit has settled on Elisha.' They came to meet him, bowed to the ground before him ...” (2 Kings 2:15). This points to the fact that in Elishah the word had become so mighty that it was filled by the force which the prophet's disciples had also experienced with Elijah, and that they recognised that really the spirit of Elijah-Naboth lived on in Elishah.
These are the true events at that time according to the spiritual-scientific methods, what one can recognise about the impulse that was transferred from Elijah to Elishah as a renewal of the old Jahveh faith. Now it is peculiar that the events that at first only the initiates understood were told to those who could not understand the matter, and worked on them in the way of parables and miracle stories so that they could understand them. Then from that which is miraculous in the highest sense really developed what you can read as the story of Elijah, Elishah and Naboth in the Bible. One told it in parables to those who could not understand that the biggest impulse of the evolution of world and man had arisen from those who had first to experience many things that escape from the outer sight. They got to know what the Bible tells us, that at the time of King Ahab Elijah lived that God Jahveh appeared to Elijah at a time of famine and said to him, go to King Ahab and say, “I swear by the life of the Lord the God of Israel, whose servant I am, that there will be neither dew nor rain these coming years unless I give the word” (1 Kings 17:1).
Then you read that God said to Elijah, “Leave this place, turn eastwards, and go into hiding into the wadi of Kerith east of the Jordan. You are to drink from the stream, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there” (1 Kings 17:3-4). This happened. When the water had dried up, God sent Elijah again to Sarepta. Then in the third year, Elijah could leave, could approach King Ahab, and compete against the 450 prophets of Baal. Then the Bible shows in a miracle picture what happened as I have told. The story follows how Naboth who is in truth the bearer of Elijah's spirit was deprived of his vineyard by Ahab, and how then Jezebel caused Naboth's death. According to that what you read in the Bible, you cannot understand why Jezebel should have done this to Elijah because she said to Ahab, I want to do to Elijah what he has done to your 450 priests of Baal (1 Kings 19:2). Since according to the Bible she caused the death of Naboth only, while she caused the death of the bearer of Elijah's spirit indeed, what no Bible reader will be able to read out. Since in the Bible you read only that Elijah ascended to heaven. She would have killed Elijah in a weird way if she wanted to do the same as he did to the 450 priests of Baal. Briefly, we have pictures that you can only understand if you light up them again with the means of spiritual research. I ask the listeners who could not regard it as more than as hypothesis — because I cannot yet give other documents in this talk — to assess that what arises from the spiritual-scientific research only unprejudiced checking the single places and comparing them with that what science can give. Indeed, one cannot get on that without spiritual research, but one can confirm it by the outer science and own reason.
That is why we have to say, it seems in great measure if we look at the personality of the Prophet Elijah and his time that the impulses and causes in human history consist only of that what is external and what the outer history takes into consideration. But the most important processes of human evolution are those which take place in the human souls and work from these human souls on the outer world, go over into other human beings and keep on working there. Even if it cannot happen in our time, in old times it was possible that such a personality about whom one only whispered could live as the simple neighbour, without one knew it. In the most hidden way just the strongest, most intensive forces of human development are working. Thus, we see the Prophet Elijah ascending, working the Jahveh idea out for humanity in an outstanding measure, so that we have to register an important epochal action for humanity with him if we see him only in the right light.
By another check, it would become obvious that a light falls from here on these events and on that what happened until the foundation of Christianity. Thus, we come close by such a consideration to that what must appear so important to us: to the reasons and impulses which were working in the human development, and because they have worked, keep on working up to now.
Therefore, we cannot understand what occurs around us, if we cannot understand what happened in the past. But the outer history does not inform about the most important things, because also to history the somewhat changed words of Goethe apply. I mean those words about the necessity to recognise the spirit in nature by deepening in the human mind, by the research which can be brought up only from the hidden subsoil of the soul. At the example of the Prophet Elijah and his time, the changed Goethe's words prove to be true:
History, mysterious in the day's clear light of the present,