The fire-lighting challenge by the prophet Elijah – a prominent story from the Old Testament between a pagan deity and Yahweh, the God of the Israelites – happened on the summit of Mount Carmel.
Mount Carmel stretches southeast from the Mediterranean Sea and sits next to the city of Haifa. this is not actually a mountain, but rather a coastal range. It has been considered a sacred place since ancient times and was referred to as beautiful and fertile many times throughout the Old Testament.
Pythagoras, a Greek mathematician who lived in the sixth century, allegedly visited the mountain because of its sacred reputation.
Elijah’s fire challenge came after many kinds did evil in the sight of the Lord. King Aham married Phoenician princess Jezebel, who turned his allegiance from Yahweh to Baal, her god, then had Yahweh’s prophets killed.
Elijah then told Ahab to gather 450 priests of Baal onto Mount Carmel. Elijah told the priests to ask Baal to light a sacrificial fire.
As 1 Kings tells the story, Baal failed to respond. Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord and offered a sacrifice, and fire immediately consumed the offering, despite the fact that it had been soaked in water.
The southeastern peak is now known as Muhraka, which translates to mean “the Scorching.”
Below that is a plan, on which sits the Kishon brook. This brook is the site of where Elijah took the priests of Baal to have them put to death.
Underneath the monastery is a cave where it was rumored that Elijah sometimes lived.
Across from the monastery is a path near the Mediterranean that leads to a grotto called Elijah’s Cave, where Elijah is rumored to have meditated before the fire challenge.
In Scripture –
1 Kings 18:1-40 tells the story of Elijah triumphing over the priests of Baal.
Today, many residents of the Mount Carmel area boast different religious beliefs, including Jews, Druze, Christians, Muslims, Baha’I and Ahmadi. The Baha’I temple is one of the most historic sites in Haifi.
Parts of Mount Carmel are covered with groves and a natural forest, which lives throughout the year. Any damage caused by fires doesn’t last long due to the large amounts of precipitation and humidity in the area.
Carmel also boasts natural pine wood trees, which integrated with conifers planted by earlier inhabitants. Even though Carmel has seen many forest fires, the trees survived and thrived.
Mount Carmel is situated close to the sea, which allows for large quantities of precipitation. This rain lets Mediterranean groves grow and develop well. Because of this, is referred to by many people as the Evergreen Mountain. The mountain has long been a symbol of beauty in the surrounding landscape. It only reaches 546 meters above sea level. The mountain is situated between the Haifa Bay in the north, the Menashe Plateau in the south, and the Jezreel Valley in the east. The mountain has very clear borders, making it its own independent unit at 32 square kilometers.
There is much more to see on the northen side of israel, Capernaum for example. Capernaum was the site where Jesus preached many times and performed numerous miracles.