A Nigerian Pastor , Abel Damina, has said that it was Satan, not God, who sent down fire when Prophet Elijah, a Biblical figure, prayed for fire during a contest between him (Elijah) and the priests of Baal.
The Biblical story, as told in 1 Kings 18:1 – 18, narrates a spiritual contest between Elijah, whom the Bible portrays as a prophet of God and another set of prophets – the prophets of Baal, portrayed as false priests.
Here is a simplified version of the story as presented by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“The kingdom of Israel continued to suffer from having no water. King Ahab told the people to follow a false god named Baal.
“The Lord sent Elijah, the prophet, to meet Ahab. Elijah invited all the people to the top of a mountain. He invited the king and his priests to a challenge to see whether the Lord or Baal was the true God.
“Elijah explained the challenge. He and the priests would sacrifice a bull on an altar, but they, would not light a fire themselves. Instead, the priests would pray to Baal to start a fire. Then Elijah would pray to the Lord to start a fire. Elijah knew that only the true God would start the fire.
“The priests of Baal prayed to their god from morning until noon, but nothing happened. Elijah joked with them and said their god Baal must be asleep.
“The priests grew angry, jumped on the altar, and shouted into the evening. They hoped their god would answer, but there was still no fire.
“Then it was Elijah’s turn. He built an altar to the Lord, dug a trench around the altar, and prepared the sacrifice.
“Elijah asked the people to fill four barrels of water and pour them onto the wood of his altar three times. Water soaked the wood and the altar. It filled the whole trench.
“Elijah prayed to the Lord to show the true God’s power. The Lord’s fire came down and consumed the sacrifice, wood, stones, and water. The people knew that Elijah’s God was the true God. Elijah prayed that the drought would end, and the Lord sent rain.”
But Mr Damina, who is the founder of Power City International in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, said Jesus Christ would have shut Elijah up if he (Jesus Christ) was there when Elijah made the statement, adding that the fire in the Biblical story was from Satan, and not God.
In two different clips which addressed the same issue, Mr Damina, citing Luke 9:51, said it was Satan that sent down fire when Prophet Elijah prayed. He explained that Jesus Christ rebuked his disciples from emulating Elijah.
“If I be a man of God let fire, if Jesus (Christ) was there, he would have said stop that,” Mr Damina exclaimed, according to a video clip of the remark posted on the internet.
“Jesus would’ve told him (Prophet Elijah) (to) stop that. Shut up! Go and sit down, if you don’t know what to do. Jesus (Christ) would’ve rebuked Elijah. If he rebuked the disciples that wanted to copy Elijah. It means if he was there, he would have rebuked Elijah.
“That means it was not Jesus that answered Elijah’s prayer, it was Satan,” he said amidst cheers from the congregants.
Damina said these are not the “days of Elijah” but that of the “manifestation of the sons of God”. “It devilish,” he said.
Mr Damina told the congregants, “All those wicked books you bought, go and burn them this afternoon. Bring them out, pour fuel, I licence you (to) burn it to ashes; those books are demonic.”
It is unclear the exact books Mr Damina was urging the congregants to burn, but he may have referred to any book that supports the claim that it was God who sent down fire when Elijah prayed.
Pastor Damina has made many controversial remarks in the past. In 2017, he preached against Christians donating money to churches and expecting God to flourish them with riches in return.
He remarked that God did not tell Noah to build an ark but that Noah built an ark to communicate what God revealed to him, among others controversial stance.