The Mantle of Yah'shua (Jesus)
Compared with the Mantle of Elijah
Q. Just before Elijah went into heaven he gave his cloak to Elisha to symbolise a transferral of prophetic authority. By contrast, Yah'shua's (Jesus') cloak was stolen by the Roman soldiers who drew lots as to who should have it. Do you think there is any symbolic meaning in this?
A. Yes, very much so. Like so many prophetic pictures there are, of course, multiple layers of meaning, and nothing that happened in the life of Jesus was accidental.
Elishah was the legitimate successor, both spiritually and physically, to Elijah. By the latter we mean that he had authority to act as God's mouthpiece throughout the lands of Israel. By contrast, the Israel of Jesus' day was under foreign occupation. As we know, the apostles received Jesus's authority to prosecute the mission of the Church throughout the world, but this was not given to them by any tokens such as the transference of a cloak or mantle. He transferred it to them by breathing on them. Thus the authority of the apostles was to be invisible and spiritual. The time for the theocratic Kingdom was not yet. Yet there was a theocratic kingdom as we know, or to be more precise, a false, imitation one. The theft of Jesus's robe by the Roman soldier is a symbolic representation of the theft of the theocratic Kingdom by the Roman Empire under Constantine who used Christianity to further his own selfish political aims, and of all those who have claimed temporal authority in the Name of Christ. This means that all churches that have political power in this dispensation -- or who claim it -- are usurpers or false apostles of Christ. In short, all so-called "state churches".
"When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots" (Matt.27:35; Ps.22:18). And Christianity remains divided to this day. Though "Christians" continue to fight one another (as, for example, Catholic Croats against Orthodox Serbs in Bosnia) there is, basically, a truce between the different churches, and they cooperate when they can in ecumenical councils. From time to time Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants have gone to war with one another, just as the unredeemed squabble amongst one another. All three have had -- and many still have -- political influence. One can only observe the increasing power of the Orthodox Church in Russia and of the Catholic Church in the European Union, and the Catholic Church's unashamedly open manifesto to get political power again in Europe as it enjoyed in the Middle Ages. Observe also the attempt by the Mormon Church to establish a political Kingdom of Deseret in the US west, and of the fatal consequences to Joseph Smith when he attempted to get political control for his Church.
Doubtless some would dispute such an interpretation but the history of Christendom would seem to bear it out. Jesus said that His Kingdom was not of this (Satan-controlled) world (John 18:36). That a theocratic kingdom is coming we of course affirm but it has nothing to do with the political systems of this world as Jesus Himself testifies. And we New Covenant Christians are, as you know, preparing for that, though we will never seek political power in this dispensation. Indeed, we shun politics like the plague, seeing how it has corrupted Christians and Christian Churches throughout the ages.
There are other levels of meaning of this prophecy but I will only make mention of one more. When Elijah transferred authority to Elishah it was from one spiritual man to another. When the Romans seized Jesus's clothes it was from the spiritual to the carnal. This is therefore a picture of how our flesh, with its many divided (non-spiritual) interests, attempts to seize the clothes of self-righteousness and authority. Whilst our spirits are crying out on the cross in death, our fleshy nature is occupied with the petty irrelevancies of physical life.
Jesus Christ is likewise crying out to us to re-focus our efforts away from the petty needs of the flesh and to the greater spiritual work. He is not saying that we should ignore our physical needs but He is asking: Where is the authority in your life? I hope we will answer: In seeking the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:31).
This page was created on 16 October 1997
Last updated on 26 February 1998
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