The land for Mount Carmel was purchased in 1937. Construction of the buildings began in the spring of 1938, and everything was ready in time for summer sessions that same year – cabins, a dining hall, and a chapel. In the May 1938 issue of the Lutheran Bible Institute’s periodical The Bible Banner the Mount Carmel name was announced:
Mount Carmel: this is the name we have chosen for our new summer home at Lake Carlos. But why a special name at all? Because we want to avoid the designation “Bible Camp.” We have foreseen that unless we have a suitable name for the place where we will conduct our summer Bible sessions our friends, as well as the public in general, will name it the L.B.I. Camp. But we do not want it to be called a camp. The word “camp” is used to designate so many different kinds of projects. We want a name that shall suggest just one thing, a place of Bible study and Christian fellowship and prayer. Hence, Mount Carmel.
Doubtless you are curious to know why we selected that name. When the reasons have been stated you will doubtless adopt the name as heartily as we have. It was not an easy matter to make a selection from the many that suggested themselves to us but after much thought, discussion, and prayer we were led to adopt Mount Carmel.
Our first reason for this selection was that we wanted a Biblical name. Suggestive as well as appropriate non-biblical names came to our attention, but we felt that our summer Bible school should have a name taken out of the holy scriptures.
In the next place, Mount Carmel commended itself to us because it is euphonious. The sound of this name is pleasing to the ear and it harmonizes well with Lake Carlos, on which our summer home is located.
The meaning of the word itself is another reason for the choice. It is variously translated “a garden,” “a garden with fruit trees,” “forest garden,” “orchard,” “park,” etc. In the scriptures it is often used figuratively as a symbol of beauty, as for example, in Cant. 7:5. “Thy head upon thee is like Carmel and the hair of thy head like purple.” Our place on Mount Carmel is, we feel, a “Carmel,” a beauty spot. Even the contours of our property are in a diminutive way suggestive of Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel in the Holy Land is a low, beautifully wooded mountain range jutting out into the Mediterranean. Our Mount Carmel includes a high elevation projecting into Lake Carlos. The chapel and lobby and dining hall are now being erected on the highest point overlooking the lake.
But the deciding reason for selecting Mount Carmel as our name is its spiritual connotations. It was on Mount Carmel God revealed Himself as the true God by sending the fire down from heaven which devoured the sacrifices presented by Elijah. I wish space would permit a brief resume of the story. Please find it in First Kings 18 and review the events that took place.
You will then notice that Mount Carmel was a meeting place with God. But that also made it a place of decision. We want our Mount Carmel to be a meeting place with God as He draws near to us in His word. And our prayer is that such a meeting may lead to many decisions on the part of those who are limping between two sides.
On Mount Carmel, God revealed Himself in His holy majesty in the fire which came from heaven. It was a revelation both of judgment and of mercy, of His holy judgment upon sin and error toward the followers of Baal and of His mercy toward those who looked to Him in repentance, as seen in His acceptance of us in Christ for the sake of the sacrifice which was made on Calvary.
Mount Carmel was also a place of death. There the prophets of Baal were seized and led to the brook Kishon where they were slain. May our Mount Carmel be a place of death to the self-life and to sin as God’s holy Word reveals sin and exalts Christ. We pray that the whole brood of Baal prophets of flesh may be mercilessly seized and committed to execution that there may be many resurrections unto life in the Lord.
It was on Mount Carmel that Elijah announced the refreshing rain that broke the three year’s season of drought in all the land. After the Baal prophets had been destroyed and God had been acknowledged as the only true God, Elijah told the king to hasten home because the heavens would open unto a refreshing downpour. We look to God to make our Mount Carmel a place of downpour of showers of blessing in the Holy Spirit by means of the Word of God. We earnestly long for seasons of refreshing to come to each thirsty and needy should who comes to fellowship with us in the Word and in prayer at Mount Carmel.
Speaking of prayer, let us not forget that Carmel was a place of persevering prayer as well as answer to prayer. Bowing down before God, Elijah persevered asking God for rain until the answer came. May our Mount Carmel be a prayer sanctuary from which many a prayer shall ascend to God pleading His promises in Christ. May it also witness God’s abundant answers to prayer.
Mount Carmel was also a place of refuge and retreat. In the name of the Lord we have proceeded in the purchase of a site and in the erection of buildings in the confident hope that God will make our Mount Carmel a place of refreshing retreat to many souls.