Passing The Mantle

R. Gustason, 03 Aug 2009

Young Christians and older Christians alike would like to be anointed like some of the great men of God and preachers that they have been touched by. The concept of passing the mantle is not a new one.

2Ki 2:2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. 2Ki 2:3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 2Ki 2:4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. 2Ki 2:5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 2Ki 2:6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. 2Ki 2:7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. 2Ki 2:8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 2Ki 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 2Ki 2:10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 2Ki 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 2Ki 2:12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 2Ki 2:13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 2Ki 2:14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

2Ki 2:1-14 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
Please notice some things in the above scripture passage. Elijah, the master went with Elisha, the student. Not the other way around. This perplexed me for a moment. Why would the master go with a student, rather than a student going with the master. Sometimes a master must show his student and teach them. It is the responsibility of the master to guide his students and mentor them. It is not something to be taken lightly. The master must walk with his students, even when they sometimes go their own way. We’ve all heard of giving someone enough rope to hang themselves, however if the master chooses to walk with his disciples, he may be there at the exact moment necessary to prevent the student from hanging him or her self!
The second verse shows the dedication of the student. He was faithful in every detail, and wished to be a servant and learn from the feet of the prophet. When asked to stay and tarry in the city, Elisha instead opted to travel with his mentor to the house of God, or Beth-el. His desire was to learn as much as possible from this man of God.
Other sons of the prophets were around. They asked if Elisha knew that his teacher was to be taken away this day. They knew the voice of the Lord, yet they did not desire the inheritence that could have been passed down to them. They were content to do the same thing they did yesterday, toiling away in the house of God, not seeking a deeper relationship, or even desiring a fuller knowledge of God by walking with the elder prophet.
Three consecutive times, Elijah asked if Elisha would stay while Elijah followed the leading of God. Three consecutive times the faithful student said he would rather follow the elder and seek a deeper relationship… a double portion… of the prophet’s spirit.
Elijah answered and said you ask a hard thing. Not that it was to be a difficult study, or something that was going to be hard to obtain… Elijah was not giving himself props! He was simply saying that walking for God is sometimes not an easy thing, and it takes moral fortitude to be a sold out follower of God. If Elisha would follow and learn, he would be there when the mantle literally and symbolically fell to him.
Living for God is a daily event. Being a Christian is more than just proclaiming “Yeah, I’m a Christian” as if you were stating a political affiliation. It means blossoming in where God has planted you. Doing what your elder (Pastor) asks of you, and living in a relationship with Jesus. If you continue to walk with Jesus in your current status, you will be used of God in a mighty way to further his kingdom.
The sons of the prophets stood by from a distance to see Elisha get a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. His ministry increased while theirs remained stagnant. These people were sons of the prophets! They were the preacher’s kids! You would have though, thinking humanistically that they would have received the inheritance. They were the firstborn, the ones to whom the inheritance was due by birthright. However, God is interested in those who are sold out. Those who say… “I’m coming with you Jesus! Use me!”. You see God is interested in a daily relationship with YOU! Stay close by His side and work where you are planted. Work with your local pastor and support him and your local church.
The sons of the tribe of Levi decided that they needed to obey their leader Moses more than sitting idly by and partaking of the same thing that those around them did. Because of this, God elevated them to be spiritual leaders over the ones to whom the birthright was due.

Filed under: holiness, soteriology