“Elisha 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. And when the sons of the
prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:13-
These sons of the prophets were not gullible people. They were students of the Scriptures and knew their Bibles well,
and so they knew what it meant to be an anointed man. They recognised that Elisha was truly one such man – one on
whom the Spirit of God rested.
Their recognition of this fact did not come from listening to any stirring sermon that Elisha preached or any
spectacular testimony that he gave of his experience. No. It was when they saw the power present in his life, when
they saw him dividing Jordan as Elijah had done, that they concluded that he was anointed indeed.
The anointing of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential if we are to accomplish all of God’s will in our service for
Him. It is not enough that the Spirit of God indwell us. We must know His resting upon us in power. Even Jesus
Himself needed to be anointed before He could go out to fulfil His earthly ministry (Matt. 3:16; See Acts 10:38).
If our work for the Lord carries on merely because we have managed to make the right contacts in America and
therefore have sufficient money to go and preach the gospel and to pay our hired evangelists, then we are wasting our
time. In fact, if there is any earthly explanation for our ministry, we might as well close down our Christian work and
engage in some secular employment, for our labours cannot accomplish anything for the kingdom of God. Our
ministry should be of such a character that there is no explanation for its continuance apart from the power of the
Holy Spirit. This is the only type of service that is acceptable to God.
There is a lot of confusion among believers today regarding the real evidence of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. But
it is clear from this incident in Elisha’s life that the unmistakable evidence of the anointing is power. Other evidences
can be misleading but not this.
We shouldn’t mistake eloquence, emotional exuberance, excitement or noise as evidences of the anointing. No, it is
none of these, but power alone. It was power that Jesus Himself received when He was anointed (Acts 10:38). And it
was power, that Jesus told his disciples, they would receive when they were anointed: “When the Holy Spirit comes
upon you, you will receive power” (Acts 1:8). It couldn’t be clearer than that, could it? Not tongues, not excitement,
When Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, who were mistaking speaking in tongues for the power of the Holy
Spirit, he said, “When I come into your midst, I am not going to just listen to your testimonies and your messages
(whether in a known language or unknown), but I am going to see whether there is any real power in your lives. For
the authority of God (the Holy Spirit) is manifested in power and not in mere words” (1 Cor. 4:19, 20-Paraphrase).
And so, brothers and sisters, we should never be satisfied with the mere fact that we can speak well or that we have a
wonderful testimony to relate. The question that we should ask ourselves is: Do we have spiritual power or not?
Well-prepared sermons are no substitute for the anointing, neither is a dynamic personality or a spectacular testimony
any substitute for spiritual power.
It becomes all too easy for us in a day of scientific advancement to depend on electronic gadgets and machines and
various types of audio-visual aids instead of on the Holy Spirit. Where the inventions of science can be used for the
spread of the gospel, we may certainly make use of them. But we need to beware lest all unconsciously our
dependence gradually shift from the Holy Spirit of God on to these material things.
It is fairly easy to find out where our dependence really lies. If it is on the Holy Spirit that we are depending, then we
shall go to God again and again in prayer, acknowledging our utter helplessness without Him. Do we do that? I am
not asking whether we go through a process that we call “prayer” to ease our consciences. What I mean is: Do we
cast ourselves upon God and seek His face in earnestness (with fasting if necessary) until we are sure that His Spirit
does indeed rest upon us in power for the ministry that He has called us to? And this is no once-for-all experience!