This scenario happened three times. However, only the last third were saved from the consuming fire because they came in humility (see v. 13). A total of 153 men were involved. Compare this to the 153 fish Peter caught in his net (see John 21:11). Jesus will come in flaming fire and consume those who refuse to humble themselves and obey the gospel (see 2 Thess. 1:7,8). Our churches are full of those who profess to be saved, but are strangers to genuine repentance. Could it be that down through the ages only one-third of the professed Church will be saved?
2 Kings 1:9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. So he went up to him; and there he was, sitting on the top of a hill. And he spoke to him: “Man of God, the king has said, ‘Come down!’ ”
10 So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
11 Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men.
And he answered and said to him: “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly!’ ”
12 So Elijah answered and said to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
13 Again, he sent a third captain of fifty with his fifty men. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and pleaded with him, and said to him: “Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14 Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight.”
15 And the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king.
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