After the fall, mankind wore mantles of skins for two millennia. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Holy cavemen?” Far from it! Historians agree it didn’t take long for mankind to hone the craft of tannery, resulting in leather fashions.1 The ancient Hebrews viewed the skin cloak as the first clothing given to them by God himself. More than for warmth and protection, the animal skin was a reminder of man’s covenant with the loving Creator of the world.
There is biblical record of animal skins being worn as late as the time of the Patriarchs (Genesis 25:25). Thankful for the ladies, as man progressed in technology, the loom began to replace skins with woven garments.2
By the time of Elijah, the skin cloak had become a thing of antiquity. Elijah’s fur mantle would have reminded the modernized Israelites of the blood sacrifice, and their total dependence on God for atonement. He would be impossible to miss in a crowd.
Because of the Elijah/Elisha account in particular, the mantle has become synonymous with the prophetic. The Hebrew word for mantle in 1 Kings 19:19 is addereth, meaning prophet’s garment.3 The mantle maintains great significance among prophetic people, still. They, too, are a bit vintage. Some call it eccentric, ultra-sensory, or even other-worldly. The true prophetic mantle is unmistakable.
Mantles exist beyond the prophetic. While we focus on the apostolic, prophetic, pastoral, teaching, evangelistic, and administrative, there are also mantles for business, arts, entertainment, science, education, government, medicine, media, etc… Mantles, simply defined, are spiritual garments of authority that endow the wearer with supernatural grace to establish the Kingdom of Heaven in the earthly realm.
Although Elijah’s mantle is the most referred to in scripture, there are other instances of mantles that bear mentioning. Each depicts a differing type of divine election in the Kingdom and the authority that calling requires for operation.
Prophets and Kings
In ancient times, your mantle revealed everything about you. Your vocation and social rank were ascertainable in just one glance. Prophets and kings wore mantles of fur skin, distinguishing them from common folk. The animal skins spoke of a life of sacrifice and consecration to the Lord. Most often beautifully crafted, their cloaks said “authority,” “holiness,” and “money.” Coronation ceremonies throughout the ages have included anointing oil, crowns and mantles. This tradition has survived thousands of years as many Christianized nations continue to borrow from biblical coronation rites.
Kings were known to reward faithful servants by allowing them to wear their royal mantles (as in the case of Esther’s Uncle Mordecai – Esther 6). I have witnessed this lending of the cloak in modern day. Serving the Kingdom with great sacrifice will bring you under the anointing of the set person. You may find yourself suddenly operating prophetically or apostolically, much like your spiritual covering. By having this experience, you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of what he or she wears in the spirit.
The office of the prophet and king in the Old Testament is a type of the New Testament prophet and apostle. Both of these contemporary offices must pass through the cross of Christ. True prophetic and apostolic authority is rooted in the death of the self-life in order to live unto Christ – the anointed One and His anointing.
Both the prophetic and apostolic carry the ability to produce signs and wonders to confirm the revelation they release. Just as in Old Testament accounts, the prophetic eye lends foresight to the apostle (kingly anointing). The apostolic mantle, however, possesses the ability to manifest what the prophetic sees. Together, these anointings are unstoppable!
Ephesians 2:20 reveals that God’s household is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. If God is building a work, there will be apostles and prophets in the foundation. No other foundation can bear the weight of the lively stones which must be set.