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ELIJAH episode from Family Films' Old Testament Series

Old Testament Scriptures

Family Films’ Old Testament Scriptures is a series of short biographies of Old Testament patriarchs and prophets. It was produced on a small budget in the late 1950s and shot at Family Films’ soundstage on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. Exteriors were shot mostly at the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, a 25-mile trek from the studio.

Each episode begins with a colorful animated globe highlighting the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia. In episode 14, Elijah, a Fearless Prophet, the narrator sets the scene: “In the yesteryears of centuries ago, in a small portion of this vast world of ours, there lived a people called the children of Israel. From them came certain men and women through whom God revealed himself to all mankind. One of these was Elijah, a fearless prophet.” Enjoy the film!

Each film runs approximately 17 minutes. The narratives are accurate transmissions of the biblical accounts.

1. Abraham, Man of Faith
A story of true devotion to God’s will. God commands Abraham to leave his home and settle in a new land. By faith he ventures forth, taking his nephew Lot with him. The story includes his unselfish treatment of Lot, the visit of the three strangers, the birth of Isaac, and Abraham’s great test of faith in being asked to sacrifice his only son. Through it all God’s promises of many descendants and the coming of the Messiah are heard repeatedly.

2. Jacob, Bearer of the Promise
Jacob, the youngest son of Isaac, deceives his father and receives the blessing of the first born son. Fearing Esau’s wrath, Jacob flees to Haran. On the way, he has a dream in which he is assured of God’s love and care. After working to marry Rachel, he is deceived into marrying Leah, and must work another seven years for Rachel. The story ends with Jacob’s return to make peace with Esau, and Isaac’s realization that through Jacob’s descendants the world would be blessed with the Messiah.

3. Joseph, the Young Man
This is the story of a God-fearing young man who kept his faith and remained true to God in spite of severe trials and temptations. Joseph is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. His captors take him to Egypt, where he is thrown into prison by his master after being falsely accused by his master’s wife. In prison he gains a reputation for interpreting dreams and is brought before the pharaoh to interpret his dreams of a forthcoming plenty and famine. God’s purpose in bringing Joseph to Egypt is revealed when he is made second in command of all Egypt.

4. Joseph, Ruler of Egypt
In a story of repentance and forgiveness, Joseph, now ruler of all Egypt, saves his people from famine. Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt seeking grain, and Joseph, unrecognized, puts them through several tests. When the brothers express a change of heart, Joseph reveals himself as their brother. He brings his whole family to Egypt and is reunited with his father, Jacob, thus carrying out God’s plan and promise that He would make of Jacob a great nation.

5. Moses, Called by God
God’s devotion to His children is evident in the story of the life of Moses. The film includes Moses’ narrow escape from death as a child, his flight from Egypt, God’s choosing him to lead His people out of Egypt, the plagues that proved God to be all-powerful, and the crossing of the Red Sea.

6. Moses, Leader of God's People
This is a story of human weakness and unfaithfulness, and God’s forgiveness and care. The Israelites were free, but the journey to Canaan was hard and the people frequently lost faith in Moses and in God. The story includes God’s giving the Ten Commandments, the sending of manna, water from a rock, the building of the temple, the golden calf, the report of the 12 spies, and the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. God shows Moses all of Canaan and promises that it will belong to his descendants.

7. Joshua, the Conqueror
God’s strength is dramatized in the story of the battle of Jericho and the campaign to win all Canaan for the Israelites. Led by Joshua, God’s people send men to spy on the city of Jericho. Rahab, a harlot, helps the spies escape and the city is conquered after God destroys the walls of the city. After this victory, Joshua warns his people that to forsake the Lord will result in their loss of the Promised Land.

8. Gideon, the Liberator
Gideon, a courageous but humble servant of God, is chosen to rescue Israel from the Midianites who threaten to destroy their land. First he destroys the idols which had angered God and brought oppression on Israel. After many signs that God would be with him, Gideon agrees to gather an army which God limits to 300 by a strange method. After driving out the heathen invaders, Gideon reminds the people that God delivered them from their enemies and that they should serve Him faithfully.

9. Ruth, A Faithful Woman
This is the story of Ruth, a young widow from the heathen land of Moab. Her devotion to her mother-in-law Naomi, her faith in the one true God, and her marriage to the rich landowner, Boaz, make a tender and beautiful account of the meaning of faith. The story ends with God’s promise that from the descendants of Ruth will come the Messiah.

10. Samuel, a Dedicated Man
Samuel’s story of lifelong devotion to God begins even before his birth when his mother, Hannah, promises him to the Lord. His boyhood in the tabernacle, his leadership of God’s people, his life as a teacher of God’s word, and his fulfillment of the Lord’s command to make Saul the first king of Israel, characterize the life of this consecrated man of God. The story ends with Saul disobeying God, and the Lord ordering Samuel to find a new king for the people of Israel.

11. David, a Young Hero
God’s protection of His chosen people is shown in the story of the early life of David. Highlights include the young man’s anointment by Samuel to the future throne of Israel, his battle with Goliath, his true and close friendship with Jonathan, the vengeful attempts on his life by the jealous king Saul, and his flight into the wilderness to wait for the end of Saul’s cruel reign.

12. David, King of Israel
Devotion to his king and his people, faith in God, a love of God’s house and a desire to honor God, all characterize David’s ascent to the throne of Israel. His campaigns against the Philistines, his narrow escapes from Saul, and his merciful rule as the King of Israel ends in the promise that David’s son, Solomon, would build the beautiful temple as a place of worship for God.

13. Solomon, a Man of Wisdom
Blessings that come from the love of God are emphasized in the story of Solomon, the man who asked God for wisdom above all else. During his reign, Solomon built the temple and spoke many proverbs. His great wealth and his fame as a just and wise ruler brought many visitors, including the Queen of Sheba. However, as Solomon grew older, he turned away from God, bringing punishment upon himself and his people.

14. Elijah, a Fearless Prophet
Elijah’s encounter with Ahab and Jezebel, his discrediting of the priests of Baal, the miracles he performs in God’s name and his exile in the wilderness reveal his life as one of faithful devotion to God. Then come the tests of faith: the famine in Israel, the episode on Mount Carmel, the still voice at Mount Sinai, the choosing of Elisha, and the final reward of being taken to heaven.