Oorsprong en betekenis van 'De tijd van Elia' door de auteur Robin Mark (Engelse tekst, Opwekkingsbundel 570)

Robin Mark (the author of "Days of Elijah") has had quite a few people asking him for an explanation of the roots and meaning of the words and themes contained in "Days of Elijah" since he wrote the song back in 1994. The following are his words:

The song is generally a song of 'hope'. The themes it explores are to do with the fact that, although raised a Methodist, I attended a lot of Brethren or Gospel Hall meetings as a small boy and somehow the theology of Old Testament stories and characters being, either as themselves or by their actions, 'types' or 'examples' of Christ and the Church got stuck in my head. That is, even though they were historical factual people, living in the old covenant days, their actions and characters can be used to teach and represent the character of God under the new covenant and they continually and repeatedly point to Christ.

Firstly the song came from watching a television "Review of the Year" at the end of 1994. This was the year of the Rwandan civil war tragedy which claimed 1 million peoples lives, and also when the first ceasefires in N.I. were declared. On this TV review were a lot of daft stories, happy stories, serious stories, and then absolutely devastating stories like the Rwandan situation. As I watched the review unfold I found myself despairing about the state of the world and, in prayer, began asking God if He was really in control and what sort of days were we living in.

I felt in my spirit that He replied to my prayer by saying that indeed He was very much in control and that the days we were living in were special times when He would require Christians to be filled with integrity and to stand up for Him just like Elijah did, particularly with the prophets of Baal. "These are 'Elijah' days".

We also needed to be a holy and just people and hence the reference to the "days of your servant Moses", meaning that righteousness and right living was important in all our attitudes and works. Now we are under grace and not under law, but the righteousness that comes by faith can be no less than the moral law that Moses brought direct from God. It has not been superseded.

"Days of great trial, of famine, darkness and sword" is a reflection of the apparent times in which we live when still thousands of people die every day from starvation, malnutrition and war. In the midst of it all we are called to make a declaration of what and who we believe in.

The second verse refers to the restoration of unity of the body, what Jesus prayed for - "that they may be one even as I and the Father are one..." by reference to Ezekiel's prophetic vision of the valley of the dry bones becoming flesh and being knit together. The restoration of praise and worship to the Church is represented by "the days of your servant David". Of course David didn't get to rebuild the structural temple, that was left to Solomon his son, but David was used by God to introduce worship, praise and thanksgiving into the tabernacle or temple. If you search carefully through the Book of Amos you will find reference to this "Restoration of David's Tabernacle". It is generally accepted that this refers to Praise and Worship as the physical temple was "Solomon's". Finally the "days of the Harvest" point towards what is the purpose of the Christian to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.

These are the themes of the verses - Declaration, Righteousness, Unity and Worship. I chose to express these thoughts by reference to the characters that represented these virtues in the Old Testament. It is in essence a song of hope for the Church and the world in times of great trial.

The chorus is the ultimate declaration of hope - Christ's return. It is paraphrased from the books of Revelation and Daniel and the vision that was seen of the coming King and refers to the return of Christ and the year of Jubilee. Theologians and Bible commentators believe that Israel never properly celebrated this particular 50th year jubilee, and that it will only be properly celebrated when Christ returns. That might be true but I reckon that a Jubilee is an apt description of what happens when Christ comes into anyone"s life at any time; debts are cancelled and a captive is set free.

These thoughts were in my head when I came to church early one Sunday in 1995. We have two services and the Pastor spoke during the first service on the "valley of dry bones" from Eziekel. I took a prompt from this and, in the 30 minutes between the services, wrote down the words and chords in the kitchen of our church building and we sang it, as a body, at the end of the second service.

How do you express the sense that these might be days, not of failure and submission, but of the sort of resilient, declaring, even arrogant trust and hope that Elijah had in his God? That these are not days of God stepping back and allowing the world and the church to roll uncontrolled towards eternity, but rather days when he is calling on his body to make a stand, to offer right praises and to declare that He is totally in control. Well, I reckon you may write the words "These are the days of Elijah" and "These are the days of David". I've used word pictures and Biblical characters to make that expression, but this is no different from many of the great hymnwriters and even David himself.

I presented the song to the church that day with a short word of explanation, and we sang it as our worship.

Now the rest, I suppose, is history. There is no mechanism (conspiracy theorists take note!) within the church for making people sing a particular song, or for increasing it's use in the national or international church body. As far as I was concerned the song was for our congregation, on that day and at that time. God obviously had other ideas and it is now sung almost world-wide. Grammatically, there may even be the odd aberration, but thankfully the church has forgiven me that particular shortcoming.

I must make it clear that I did not set out to write an overly complex or "secret" song, and I hope the testimony above bears that out.

There is a post script to this story for those who (by letters to me!) believe the song means something entirely different. Last year I was privileged to be in Israel at Yom Kippur for a celebration with hundreds of Messianic Jews. A very kind, gentle and humorous messianic brother had a bit of fun arguing with me that I, as an Irish Christian, could never have written a song which explores some of the themes that many (non-replacement theology here!) Jewish believers believe are the themes and indications of Christ's return. The Spirit and Power of Elijah in the Church, The restoration of Israel to righteousness in Christ, The restoration of praise and worship and the unity of the body particularly with a renewed and redeemed Israel under Christ.

For me, I only know what I wrote. I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it was His desire to say something more than I personally intended and to do more with this song than I first considered.

It is an unusual song, for sure. All of these restored things like Justice, Righteousness, Integrity, Unity, Praise and Worship and Revival are considered by many to be a herald of the last days and Christ's return. Personally I don't know - I believe I wrote what God was telling me to write and He seems to have used the song in many ways for many people.

I hope the explanation is clear. The song is, perhaps, a little complex - but I can assure you that this was not deliberate. I have written lots of simple, straightforward hymns and songs covering lots of themes. This song seems to have been used particularly by God in the ministry of Praise and Worship and the themes and pictures it uses seem to have been grasped by God's people all over the world.

© juichtaarde.nl

Maar 's HEEREN gunst zal over die Hem vrezen,
in eeuwigheid altoos dezelfde wezen
psalm 103, berijming 1773