Fathering And Mentoring
As we examine this teaching, we will understand that fathering is much more than the ability to teach or instruct someone. It is the God given ability and grace, to impart and reproduce life in others.
Paul, in establishing this fact, wrote to the Corinthian church the following:
“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel”. 1 Corinthians 4:15 (Emphasis added).
Paul was making a very salient observation of fact, which I believe is still very applicable to the present day. We have many, many instructors today, but very few genuine fathers and effective mentors.
This has been one of the most neglected dimensions in the Church. Actually God knew that it would be, so He declared before, that He would set out to have this dimension fully restored in the end-times.
“Behold I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6 (Emphasis added)
This scripture can be applied both at the level of the natural family, and in the Church. As we look around the earth today, we can see so many children being raised in a single or non-parent environment. This, in many instances, is the continuation of a vicious cycle that has left many without proper mentoring or fathering. This area has also been neglected in the Church, and we have seen the same and sometimes greater, devastating effect, as many have been raised without proper mentoring or fathering.
We are thankful; that with the restoration of the Apostles, this is one of the areas the Holy Spirit will be strengthening. In Malachi chapter four we see the heart of the fathers, first being turned to the children. This is so very important in establishing the true qualities of the fathering dimension, being released by the Holy Spirit in these end-times. It is equally important, in this process of Apostolic restoration, that there be fathers who want to father, and for children to turn their hearts and desire to be fathered. It is the only way that the process would be complete.
As we mentioned before, the bible in the book of Malachi declares, that in the last days God will send Elijah. He will have the anointing to turn the hearts of the fathers’ back to the children and vice versa. In the light of that, we need to explore the life of Elijah and see the “Fathering” dimension that he operated from.
Elijah And Elisha
In the book of Kings we see a tremendous example of this principle. Elijah is about to come to the end of his life and the Lord gives him his final prophetic mandate, which included anointing Elisha in his place:
“So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. 1 Kings 19:19 (Emphasis added)
This is an awesome revelation, as Elijah (a type of the true father) finds Elisha (a type of the true son). The scripture is careful to note, that he “found” Elisha, which is indicative of a process of careful seeking. Elijah then threw his mantle on Elisha, signifying a willingness to release the “baton” to another chosen vessel. Everything that happened after this was because of the initiative on Elijah’s part. As we read through this account there are several things that happened, which I will briefly highlight:
- Elisha was willing to leave what he was doing to fulfill this call. (Verse 20)
- He was willing to leave and wisely departed from his natural parents to follow Elijah, a type of his spiritual father. (Verse 20)
- He was willing to make personal sacrifices before stepping into this new call. (Verse 21)
- He adopts a “servant’s posture” in the relationship, even though Elijah had already cast his mantle on him.
- Elijah created within Elisha the capacity for a double portion of his anointing, by the process he took him through. Before actually walking experientially in the “double portion” anointing Elisha went through the following four significant stages.
- Stage 1 – Gilgal
“And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 Kings 2:1 (Emphasis added)
To fully understand this we need to go back and explore the reason why Gilgal was established.
“So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel. At that time the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.’ So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them; All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt. For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord – to whom the Lord swore that He would not show to their fathers that He would give us, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed. Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.” Joshua 5:1-9 (Emphasis added)
Gilgal represents the death of unbelief; doubt; scepticism; murmuring and disobedience. Circumcision takes place at Gilgal, a complete cutting away of every hindrance that will keep us away from the purpose of the Lord. It is the place of the rolling away of reproach; it is the first place to the “double anointing”. Elijah tested Elisha to see where his heart was, and also to create in him the desire for the “double anointing.” Elijah was training this young man of God. But as good as Gilgal is, we will never be able to enter into all that God has for us, we must move on.
- Stage 2 – Bethel
“Then Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’ So they went down to Bethel.” 2 Kings 2:2 (emphasis added)
There are two very important scriptures that convey the significance of Bethel.
“Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and here the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you. Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, Surely the Lord is in this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven! Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously.” Genesis 28:10-19 (Emphasis added)
Bethel here represents a clear revelation of the house of God, both from a corporate perspective as well as an individual one. Elisha had to come to a place of realizing, that his life was the temple of God, and as such, a gateway to heaven. It was the next step towards that “double anointing”. Here we see a covenant being made to honour God, with all that Jacob possessed (verse 20-22). The second reference to Bethel is very striking.
“So Jacob came to Luz (that is Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother. Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the terebinth tree. So the name of it was called Allon Bachuth. Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him. And God said to him, Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your I name. So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him; am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land, which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land. Then God went up from him in the place where He talked with him. So Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel.” Genesis 35:6-15 (Emphasis added)
It is in this place that God reaffirms Jacob’s name change. In the light of this, it is very important to go back and read the issue surrounding Jacob’s name change (Genesis 32:22-32). Before arriving at this point, one has to confront their true identity, and if it is not in accordance with the plan of God, submit to the power of transformation, even if it means wrestling with God.
Every father that is mentoring his son must know, that there is a dimension of that training the son has to go through on his own. He must face his true nature, and allow God Himself, to regulate and change him. This is the place that you receive “power with God”, this place is very pivotal in what God wants done in your life. If you fail here, you will have to go back to Gilgal and start all over again.
I speak to you sons; this is the place where your own strength and ambitions (no matter how good they may seem) are broken. If you will submit at this stage, then you can progress to the next two stages, which will be “crunch time”! Hallelujah!
- Stage 3 – Jericho
“Then Elijah said to him, Elisha, stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho. But he said, As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you! So they came to Jericho.” 2 Kings 2:4 (Emphasis added)
Jericho was the seemingly impregnable fortress that stood before Joshua and the children of Israel and their land of promise. This is the place that Joshua came into one of the greatest revelations in the scriptures.
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, Are You for us or for our adversaries? So He said, No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped, and said to Him, What does my Lord say to His servant? Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15 (Emphasis added)
This is where Joshua realizes that God is “Lord Sabaoth”. It is also the place that manna “what is it” ceased. It is also the place to exercise full obedience to the strategies of the Lord, and execute the written judgements on the kingdom of darkness. This is the place that you press in (Luke 19:10-11), but make sure that your training at Gilgal and Bethel is what you live by (reproach is rolled away and your character is changed and you are Spirit-led), because this is divine purpose that you are entering into. After Jericho, Elijah takes Elisha to the final frontier of testing.
- Stage 4 – Jordan
“Then Elijah said to him, Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan. But he said, As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you! So the two of them went on.” 2 Kings 2:6 (Emphasis added)
Before we conclude this fourth stage, let’s take a look at the significant amount of discouragement that was levelled against Elisha. From the moment he leaves Gilgal, major and significant “men of God” known as the “sons of the Prophets”, began to discourage him. A lot of times, when you are called to move onto the next level in God for your life, many, sometimes significant, senior, anointed “people of God” may not even see or understand the reason for your urgency, and seeming inability to hear God. However, Elisha was careful to tell them that he was well aware of what they were saying, but he also declared to them that they should shut up! (2 Kings 2:3,5,7)
Jordan is a very significant place in our journey with God. It is the place of the legitimizing of our “call” or appointment from God with authority and anointing! It is the place where you receive your mandate and mantle!
It is the place where your ministry is released with signs, miracles and wonders. It is the place where terror is instilled in the eyes of your enemies, and awe and recognition in the eyes of those who doubted your direction. Basically, it is the place where the Lord completely exonerates and vindicates you.
“Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken from you? Elisha said, Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me. So he said, You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so. Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with the horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen! So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. Now when the sons of the Prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.” 2 Kings 2:8-15 (Emphasis added)
This is just one of the many examples in the Bible concerning fathering and mentoring.
You can study this process in some of the following examples:
- Moses and Joshua
- Jehoiada and Joash
- Jesus and the Apostles
- Paul and Timothy
As we step deeper into this new millennium, there is greater awareness in the body of Christ, for the need of true fathers of the faith. We are beginning to understand that, it is vital for the Apostles to be restored, thereby releasing a fatherhood dimension into the Church.
For more on this see the book Five Pillars of The Apostolic!