In His night conversation with Nicodemus, the Savior says, And no man hath ascended up to Heaven, but He that came down from Heaven, even the Son of man Which is in Heaven (Jn. 3:13). Many opponents of Christ see in this phrase a contradiction in the words of Scripture, for the Old Testament relates how Elijah ascended into Heaven and how God took Enoch to Himself. Let’s try to sort this issue out, using the Tradition of the fathers of the Church as the key to Scripture.
Why is St. Elias such an important and revered Old Testament prophet for Orthodox Christians? What is the typological interpretation of certain events in his life? Blessed Augustine talks about St. Elias as a type of Christ, and the widow of Sarephta as a type of the Church.
But I want the thought to reach your heart that not only does this kind of prayer, which works manifest miracles seen by everyone, not only the prayer of the Prophet Ellias, and the prayers of the apostles, prophets, and martyrs work miracles. I want you to understand that any prayer will work miracles.l
'Elias" is the Greek form of the Biblical name "Elijah". Hence, "St. Elias" is how we refer to the Holy Prophet, Elijah [the Tishbite]. (Fyi, "St. Eliseus" is the Greek form for the Holy Prophet, Elisha.) The name "Elias" (in Hebrew: "Eliyahu") means: My God is Yhwh (the LORD). The Elijah cycle can be found in the Bible at I Kings 17:1 - 22:54 & II Kings 1:1 - 2:18.
The prayers of St. Elias were indeed powerful in their effects for several reasons. First, Elias was a holy man who remained faithful to God in defiance of King Ahab who ordered the Israelites to worship Baal. His faith was so great that the prophet never doubted God's ability or willingness to answer his prayers.
The great Prophet Elias was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot (4 Kings 2:1–18). According to the Old Testament Prophecy, he will return to the earth before the coming of the Messiah Christ: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Mal. 4:5).