In 2 Kings 2:13-14, we read about Elisha dividing Jordan, which is symbolic of a ministry of life that conquers and overcomes spiritual death. The waters of Jordan, in the Bible, are symbolic of death. And the parting of the waters is therefore symbolic of triumph over death. In the ministry of Elisha, we find him engaged again and again in bringing life out of death. In Jericho, he brought life into the barren land there (2 Kgs. 2:19-22). In Shunem, he brought life into the barren womb of a woman (2 Kgs. 4:8-17). Later, he brought life into a dead child (2 Kgs. 4: 18-37). He once brought life into a pot of deadly food (2 Kgs. 4: 38-41). He ministered life to a leprous general's dying body too (2 Kgs. 5 : 1-14).
Elisha's power never faded away. Even after he was dead and buried and his body had disintegrated, when a dead man was thrown into his grave, the dead man arose! (2 Kgs. 13:20-21). This was Elisha's ministry-bringing life out of death, wherever he went. This was a direct result of his being anointed. This is the type of power that the anointing of the Holy Spirit brings-power to bring life out of death, resurrection power.
Power To Bring Life
This alone is the unmistakable evidence of the anointing. We read of this power often in the New Testament. Paul, writing to the Ephesian Christians, says that his prayer for them is that they may know this power. He goes on to tell them that the greatest manifestation of God's power was not in creation, nor in the miracles recorded in the Bible, but in the raising of Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19-23). Writing to the Philippian Christians, Paul tells that his own desire is that he may know more of this resurrection power (Phil. 3:10). This, I am convinced, is the power that Jesus said His disciples would receive when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8)-resurrection power, the power to bring life out of spiritual death. And God desires to communicate this to us too.
This, brothers and sisters, is the mark of the anointing. Not some experience, not some utterance, but the power to bring spiritual life out of death, wherever we go. Is our ministry accomplishing this? This is the acid test whether we have the anointing or not. Alas, so often Christians, instead of ministering life, are ministering death. The heathen are so often driven away from the Lord instead of being drawn to Him, because of the bickering and quarrels, the lack of integrity and other un-Christlike habits that they see in the lives of those who profess to be born-again Christians. How we need to humble ourselves before God and ask for His forgiveness for bringing reproach upon His Name by our behaviour.
Let us not glory merely in the face that we are "evangelicals." If we are not careful, we can end up like the church in Sardis, having a name that we are alive, but in reality being dead (Rev. 3:1). It is not enough that the creed we repeat and the statement of faith we sign are Scripturally sound. We may be able to sign the most fundamental statement of faith. So can the Devil! He knows the Bible well and so he is no modernist. He is a thorough fundamentalist as far as doctrines go! It is not much use therefore taking credit merely for our fundamentalism. Doctrines are important. God forbid that I should decry their value. But over and above doctrine, the thing that counts with God is whether we are ministering spiritual life or not.
The Apostle Paul could say that through God's help, he was an able minister of the New Testament, ministering spiritual life (2 Cor. 3:5,6). He didn't just boast that he was a fundamentalist. Neither did he merely talk of his experiences-either the Damascus Road one, or the Straight Street one. No. He demonstrated the reality of his fundamental beliefs and of his spiritual experiences by constantly bringing life into situations of spiritual death.
In Paul's life, as in Elisha's, there was no fading away of the power. There was no losing of the anointing in later years, as seems to be the case with so many servants of God in our day. Paul and Elisha never came to a stage where all they could do was to glory in what God did in days of yore. They constantly lived in the present enjoyment of the anointing and of God's power. Their spiritual strength, instead of waning, waxed more and more. As their days, so was their strength. Their light shone brighter and brighter until the perfect day. What a blessed way to live! And yet this is the path that God desires all His children to walk in (Pro. 4:18).
Elisha lived in constant touch with God and this was why he was always able to bring life out of death wherever he went. And so people came to him with their problems and their needs. He didn't have to go looking for a ministry. He didn't have to go around asking people to sponsor him and to invite him. No. Opportunities for ministry came to him in abundance, without any fleshly efforts on his part.