Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.2Ki 2:13-14
The way this story usually gets told is:
Elisha for years was a servant to Elijah, after having been called when plowing the field with his oxen. Now, twenty years later, the time had come for Elijah to die, or rather to go to the Father in heaven. Elisha, for the first time recorded in the bible, rebelled against his father Elijah. Elijah told him to stay back in 3 cities before reaching Jordan. But Elisha knew he wanted to follow this man. Asked for what he wanted, he desired a double anointing. “When you see me go, it is yours.” Elisha saw Elijah go. But he had to take the mantle and he had to get rid of his own mantle to walk in the authority of the anointing.
Such a rich and valid story.
First, Elisha had to decide to take up his calling when Elijah threw his mantle over him. He did, but he also knew that the mantle was not for keeps – just yet. Elisha destroyed his way back, tore down the bridge to his past by burning his tools and sacrificing his oxen. He then lived a life in submission as a second in row to the anointed and appointed man of God of the hour.
When time had come, Elisha chose authority over power, anointing over position. He was offered three cities, but refused. He had to pass over with Elijah, and coming back, his past again had to die, his own duty, his identity as Elijah’s servant. The name Jordan in itself means passing over and death.
But there is more to that story. As there always is.
What happened with Elisha’s mantle? He tore it in two and threw it to the ground, before taking up Elijah’s mantle from exactly that ground.
Elijah’s mantle had not fallen on him. God could have sent a wind to guide the mantle to drape itself around Elisha. But Elisha had to willingly take up the mantle, otherwise the anointing would stay there on the ground. Elisha had thrown his own mantle to the ground. Why did nobody pick it up?
Elijah’s mantle came down in one piece, while Elisha tore his in two. Elijah, as far as we know, had no spiritual father. God is a God of multiplication. He started with Elijah, and Elijah had one spiritual son. He started with one anointing, and Elisha had a double portion. Elisha tore his mantle in two. Two callings and two future double anointings waiting for the taking.
Fifty sons of the prophets waited at the Jordan for whoever would return. They saw Elisha tear his mantle, they saw the authority had come on him when he parted the waters. But nobody ran for a piece of the mantle. Why?
- First, it was on the other side of Jordan. One had to pass over. It was an effort. One had to leave his past behind.
- Second, it lay there on the ground, torn. Seemingly worthless.
- Third, why trade what I have right now – a mantle that fits me fine – for half of a servant’s mantle. In this life as a son of the prophets there was little responsibility, no need to grow up.
- Fourth, one had to pass Jordan a second time. Death to your own position, your identity. No way back.
But the greatest reason of all?
They were all holding on to the past. They went looking for Elijah, despite Elisha’s warnings. They wanted to keep the status quo.
And thus, great opportunities, great anointings fell to the ground. Unused.
And when Elisha died, nobody was ready to take up his new mantle, the mantle of Elijah, and carry it further. Elisha had taken up the calling 20 years prior to being set into the office of Elijah, when he reacted there on his parents field whilst plowing. Nobody reacted there at the Jordan. And Elijah’s anointing lay dormant until John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said: And, if you are open, Elijah has already come. And it lay dormant again for centuries, until God started to turn the hearts of the fathers towards their sons and vice versa.
We are in a time where fatherless Elijahs have taken up their call and anointing, called others to follow them as spiritual sons. Sons today do not have to wait for their fathers to die. Just as Paul says in Galatians: the testator has died, and rose again to be the steward of his will – just as much the fathers have given their lives both on the cross and sown it into the lives of their sons.
There are times of promotions. This is such a time of promotion.
Sons, grab a hold of the mantles of your fathers as they grow into new authority and anointing. Tear your past anointing. Primarily not to kill the past, tear down the bridges. But to multiply. Become a father and distribute your anointing.
If you are not a spiritual son, this is your chance. Embrace change. Go for a piece of a mantle. Pass over Jordan, let go of your right for self-determination. Let go of the past. Die to your self.
What does that mean?
Press into the things of God. Let others, that are anointed to help you become what God has for you, speak into your life.
- If you are offered power and position, if you are offered a city to dwell in: press on further. Do not go for power, go for the anointing, which is Christ.
- If you have to take a decision that seems too daunting, too much: go for it, for the price that is on the other side.
- But then, do not let it fall to the ground. Pick it up and exercise this anointing.
What do you think? Up for it?