Elijah, Jew Or Gentile?

Q. Each time that I visit your site, I am blessed! Recently, I heard a minister on TV say that the prophet Elijah, mentioned in the books of 1st & 2nd Kings, was not Jewish. I had assumed that all of the old testament prophets were Israelites. Your thoughts on this.

A. The controversy over Elijah’s nationality comes from the fact that he’s called a Tishbite, and there’s disagreement over what that means. Tishbe was in Gilead (north western Jordan today) an area east of the Jordan River that was given to the Tribe of Manasseh in Joshua’s day.

Elijah had a Jewish name (it means the Lord is my God) and he proclaimed himself to be in the service of the God of Israel (1 Kings 17:1) He’s called the greatest of all the Jewish prophets, was with Moses and Jesus on the Mt. of Transfiguration, has an important role in Judaism even today, and will return to Israel at the End of the Age. (Malachi 4:5) Based on all that, I’d say the Lord considers him Jewish.

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