The altar of twelve stone is known to have been used by Elijah the prophet to challenge the backslidden nation of Israel in the time of Ahab the king of Israel. The twelve stones represented the nation of Israel and the altar they formed helped to turn people’s hearts back to the one and only true God.
This happened at the time when the Hebrew people were divided into two kingdoms; the kingdom of Judah and Israel. Judah was ruled by Asa at the time when Israel was ruled by Ahab the son of Omri. Ahab was King at the time when there was so much sin that one of the people by the name of Heil began to rebuild the city of Jericho something that Joshua had warm not to do.
In 1 Kings 16: 34 the Bible talks about the days of Ahab as King in Israel and says, “In his days did Hiel the Beth–elite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun” (KJV). Ahab himself promoted idol worship in Samaria and was married to Jezebel who killed many prophets of the one and only true God. This is what led Obadiah to hide a hundred prophets in a cave. Sin was rampant and because of it Elijah had earlier prophesied that there would be a severe drought and that drought came to pass. The land of Israel was definitely in need of healing.
Yes, Israel needed healing and that relied so much on God’s promises. When Solomon the King built the Temple, God made promises to his people. In 2 Chronicles 7 :13- 14 God says, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain…If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (KJV). God promised to listen to prayer, forgive sin and heal the land. In the time of Elijah God healed the land as promised.
In 1 Kings 18: 31-32 the Bible says, “And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed” (KJV). That day when Elijah prayed, the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice on that altar of twelve stones. People in Israel saw what happened and turned back to God in repentance. That same day rain fell and the drought was over. The promises of God came to pass. Elijah used the altar of twelve stones, but today we have to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. That is what connects us to the one and only true God and that is how God has ordained it.
God heard prayer, forgave sin and healed the land. In that name of Jesus Christ prayer is still being heard by God in heaven and forgiveness and healing is available for every one of us.