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Passing On The Mantle or Spiritual Office

 The error in teaching:

There is a teaching that has been around for many years in Pentecostal circles about passing-on one's mantle or Office to another person.  The teaching basically says that an anointed man or woman of God with a ministry can pass on that ministry to their understudy or to whomever is working for them at the close of their life.

This is a fundamental error with NO Biblical foundation whatsoever.

The so called reason for this teaching based on the relationship between Elijah and Elisha whereby Elijah passes on his mantle of the prophet to Elisha as he is taken up to Heaven (I Kings 19:19; II Kings 2:7-15). It is argued that one can get an anointed man's office if you serve him like Elisha did "pouring water on the hands of Elijah" and at the end of the man's life he then lays hands on you and you get his office.  Other examples are also made using the relationship between Moses and Joshua who served him and ended up leading the Jews into the Promised Land after Moses' death.

The Proof it is error:

 A close look at Scriptures will reveal that the above teaching is a very misleading, made very grievous by the fact that there are many Christians working their "guts" out for men of God hoping that they will end up getting the men's anointing. There is need for repentance on the part of those who teach this doctrine, and even more so for those who have used it to exploit their ignorant understudies and staff. 

What do the Scriptures actually say about the relationship between Elijah and Elisha?

 Elisha is first mentioned in I Kings 19:16. Note that this occurs AT THE VERY END OF ELIJAH'S LIFE. Elisha did not serve Elijah for very long at all to deserve the right to ask for and receive the anointing let alone a double portion. Moreover, in fact, Elijah recognised it was not possible for him to give that anointing to Elisha. All he could offer, instead of a prayer of faith, was for Elisha to wait and see if God would grant a sign which indicated that his request for the double portion was granted (II Kings 2:9-10).  This is very akin to Jesus Christ's response to the two sons of Zeebadee who wanted to sit at His right and left hand in the Kingdom. Jesus' reply was that it was not up to Him to grant such requests, but rather The Heavenly Father's to determine Sovereignly (Matt. 20:20-23).

 This Scriptural principle is clearly reinforced by both I Cor.12:28 and Eph 4:11 which says

God has appointed. There is NO mention of passing on the mantle to any-one. It is a Sovereign appointment and not to be earned or given by an act of man's will. In the case of Elijah and Elisha this Scriptural principle is clearly upheld in I Kings 15:16 where it reads,

 

"Then the Lord said to him: "Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazeal as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place".

 This was the first mention of Elisha, and it was God who appointed him before he started to serve Elijah. The MANTLE WAS NEVER PASSED ON BECAUSE HE WAS ALREADY THE HEIR APPARENT BY A SOVEREIGN APPOINTMENT. He simply received what was his by Divine Will. The double portion was the only extra he got for being hungrier than Elijah for the things of God.

The same Scriptural principle of a Sovereign appointment applies with the case of Moses and Joshua.  In this case Joshua was first mentioned in the Old Testament in Exodus 17:9 when Moses instructed him to go an fight Amalek. In Num. 13:16 he was sent as one of the spies into Canaan. Note: Joshua was the 13th man and not one of the representatives of the twelve tribes of Israel. It was in Num 27:15-21 that God tells Moses that Joshua was His Sovereign choice to lead the people of Israel into Canaan after Moses' death. Moses did not chose Joshua. He was instructed to make Joshua his successor. In fact, Moses' prayer for a successor showed that He had no preferences and in humility left that decision entirely to The Lord God. The scripture reads:

"15 Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: 16 “Let the Lord, mthe God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17 nwho may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be olike sheep which have no shepherd.”

18 And the Lord said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man pin whom is the Spirit, and qlay your hand on him; 19 set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and rinaugurate 4him in their sight. 20 And syou shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel tmay be obedient. 21 uHe shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him vby the judgment of the Urim. wAt his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.”"

m Num. 16:22; Heb. 12:9
n Deut. 31:2; 1 Sam. 8:20; 18:13; 2 Chr. 1:10
o 1 Kin. 22:17; Zech. 10:2; Matt. 9:36; Mark 6:34
p Gen. 41:38; Judg. 3:10; 1 Sam. 16:13, 18
q Deut. 34:9
r Deut. 3:28; 31:3, 7, 8, 23
4 commission
s Num. 11:17
t Josh. 1:16–18
u Judg. 20:18, 23, 26; 1 Sam. 23:9; 30:7
v Ex. 28:30; 1 Sam. 28:6
w Josh. 9:14; 1 Sam. 22:10
The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

 In the New Testament this Scriptural principle is maintained by God, in Jesus Christ, Sovereignly hand picking the disciples who were to receive the apostolic anointing to spread the gospel to the entire world. They were already given the anointing to a small degree before Pentecost, a fore taste of what was to come at Pentecost. They did not earn their positions as disciples since, for example, Judas was a traitor all along.

 The only gift that can be passed on by the laying on of hands are gifts of the Spirit (I Tim. 4:14; II Tim. 1:6)., NOT the Five-Fold Spiritual Offices

 

Published 2005

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