What does a mantle symbolize in the spirit?
- A. from Arizona
Mantles of anointing and spiritual authority (Part 1)
In Bible days, a mantle was an outer cloak used for additional covering and warmth, especially at night. The mantle was essentially the only "blanket" the person had so even when used as a pledge the law required it be returned before bedtime.
From the idea of something that "covers" in the natural, a mantle easily comes to represent spiritual covering also. Mantles usually refer to spiritual authority and anointing. A great example of a spiritual mantle which passed from one person to another is Elijah and Elisha.
Elijah was a prophet in Israel and Elisha was his student or disciple. Elisha ministered to Elijah and studied under him, earnestly desiring to operate the way he did. He realized that the time was drawing near when Elijah would leave the earth. Elijah also knew the time was soon and repeatedly told Elisha to depart from him. Instead, Elisha pressed in closer and refused to leave him.
Before Elijah was translated into heaven, he said; "'Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.' And Elisha said, 'Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.'" (2 Kings 2:9) It was Elijah's mantle which proved whether or not Elisha received his request.
Elijah told him; "'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.'" (Verse 10) Elisha did see Elijah leave in a chariot of fire. He then tore his own garment in two pieces and "took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him." (Verse 13) Thereafter, he also took up the work of his spiritual father and operated in his anointing.
Remember that Elisha asked for a double portion? And so it was. The Bible records twice as many miracles for Elisha as are recorded under Elijah's ministry. Do spiritual mantles have a modern application? Can a spiritual mantle be passed today from one person to the next or one generation to the next?
"Greater" works (Part 2)
There is a wonderful precedent in the New Testament for those who desire to press in tight like Elisha did to Elijah. Jesus said; "'Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.'" (John 14:12)
The anointing that is in Jesus is available to his followers and his mantle is greater than any prophet in the Old Testament. Seeking these "greater" works may manifest in an individual life in many ways depending on the gifts of the Holy Spirit deposited in them. One may have a healing anointing, another, a deliverance anointing, another, a gift of evangelism or gift of helps or administration. The mantle that you seek is usually the mantle that God wishes to impart.
What about a mantle passing from one person to another? Yes, I believe that happens. If God has placed someone in your life who is a giant in an area of Christian faith, you may seek to have their anointing and spiritual authority imparted to you. Maybe that is one of the reasons God has that person in your life. Remember though that the anointing resident in them is really a measure of God's Holy Spirit given to them by grace.
I well remember a very godly pastor whose ministry I sat under praying for me one time. He asked that "any good thing that he had by the Spirit of God be passed to me - that he gave it away freely for the purposes of God." That man is now with the Lord and how grateful I am that he prayed that prayer when he was still with us. How much do I owe him? I won't know till eternity.
Spiritual mantles represent spiritual authority and they always have a cost. They also always demand great responsibility. A large mantle is not for the faint hearted or the immature. Do you want one? Go for it!