By Mike McClung
(Article adapted from chapter of the same name in the book Restoring the Ruins)
Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 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 strike the earth with a curse (Mal. 4:4-6).
Curses crumble when generations are joined together. Curses impact generations in a specific bloodline through a family, and they also impact cultures or nations, through a tribe or people group. The cause and cure remain the same. The generations must join together, through the redemptive power of the cross and blood of Christ, or the bondage, habits and mindsets of peoples and nations will change little. But…this is changing. When God begins to answer the cries of His people for deliverance from bondage, he first moves on the “fathers,” or leaders, to make the initial step for change.
After studying the scripture for many years, I am convinced that the Lord called Abraham for one specific reason, which is laid out in Genesis 18. The scripture states: For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him. (Gen. 18:19). God chose Abraham because Abraham would pass onto his son all that the Lord had entrusted to him. Abraham would think generationally, and not just about how he personally was affected or how he could be blessed. The blessing and inheritance of God throughout scripture, passes from father to son. This is one of the main things the Lord looks for in people being qualified and validated in ministry…a father’s blessing passed on to natural and/or spiritual children. To be qualified to minister, a natural or spiritual father who was a minister or servant of the Lord should commission and validate you and your ministry.
Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water. You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And you shall bring his sons and clothe them with tunics. You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations (Exodus 40:12-15).
To serve in ministry, the ministry must be passed on to you from a father, or leader, who was intimately familiar with your life, and who validated you and your ministry. Although this was an Old Covenant practice, we still see this same practice carry through the cross into New Covenant ministry practice.
Mantles, blessings and inheritance flow from fathers to children, spiritually and naturally.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day– with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods– so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them” (1 Sam. 8:4-9).
The people rejected God’s order of passing the inheritance and ministry down from father to son because of the rebellion of Samuel’s sons. From a human standpoint, it would be easy to understand why the people did not want this when they saw the unrighteous attitudes and actions of those who were supposed to inherit the promises, ministry and mantle. They would ultimately have to submit to their leadership. However, they used this as an excuse to be “like all the nations” that surrounded them. If God’s order is not being followed or abused, you do not change God’s order. You pray for God to correct those people or those things that are out of order, and for God to restore His ancient path of blessing. Because of Samuel’s son’s rebellion, the people used this as an excuse to rebel against God’s divine order of passing the blessing, ministry and mantle from father-to-son. God’s judgment gave the people what they desired. They wanted to be big, famous and well-known like the other peoples around them who had fleshly, unrighteous, self-centered leaders, so God gave them what they wanted…Saul.
Another example of this divine order of passing the inheritance from father to son is illustrated in the example of Elijah and Elisha. (1 Kings 19:19-21.) Elijah received a mantle and commission from God to bring remediation to the nation of Israel because of the rebellion and idolatry brought in and perpetrated by Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah’s primary calling was to call God’s covenant people to repentance from idolatry and false worship back into an intimate, loving relationship with their husband-God. (Isaiah 54:5; Jer. 31:32.) Since Elijah had no natural children of his own to whom he would pass the mantle and ministry, the Lord provided a “son in the faith,” Elisha, to whom the mantle would pass when Elijah’s work was accomplished. Elisha eventually did twice as much work and twice as many miracles as Elijah. It’s important to note here that each successive generation should find an exponential release of the Lord’s blessing, provision and power, if they have faithfully served the previous generation. Both the blessing and the curse operate the same way. If generational sin is passed on and perpetuated in the succeeding generation, that sin and curse will grow in all dimensions. If the generational covenant, callings, mantles, ministry and blessings are passed on to a submitted, faithful generation like Elisha, the inheritance will grow in scope and power.
Elisha’s relationship to Elijah was one of a son to a father. (2 Kings 2:12-13.) But his primary job description was to follow Elijah, observing his life and ministry, and serving Elijah’s physical needs. (2 Kings 3:11.) It was Elijah that first initiated the relationship by offering what the Lord had given him to a succeeding generation. (1 Kings 19:19.) Fathers must take the first step to see the curse broken and the inheritance and blessing of God released. In calling forth a younger generation, the older generation imparts a blessing that will increase and expand the area of authority. There will be a “conduit” through which the Lord can release His glory and promises and bring healing, restoration and deliverance in the earth. The latter generation must respond in kind, forsaking their own agendas, plans and pursuits and serve those who are leading in the present generation. If not, the inheritance will be laid up for a future generation that will pay the price to enter where a previous generation failed to receive it because of unfaithfulness. Elisha’s mantle, which he received from Elijah, the previous generation, was buried with him because of the self-centeredness and unfaithfulness of Gehazi, who was chosen by Elisha to be his spiritual son in the faith. (2 Kings 4:12.) The Lord Jesus, who possesses all of the promises and inheritance, recovered Elisha’s mantle. Yet even the Lord Jesus said there would arise a generation that would be faithful to Him through which a greater dimension of grace and power would flow. (John 14:12.)
Jesus, Himself, did not begin His ministry until the Father openly declared, validated and released Him. (Matt. 3:17.) As a man, the Lord Jesus had remained faithful as a Son to the Father, in every aspect of His life and relationship. As such, He now qualified for the ministry to which He was destined. He would never act independently from the Father’s will, because He had proven Himself in the “silent years” by being faithful to the Father, Mary and Joseph, and as a carpenter in his stepfather’s shop.
The apostle Paul, although called from his mother’s womb, was not released into ministry until he faithfully served the leadership of the church of Antioch. (Acts 11:25-30.) Although Paul was more anointed, more gifted, and had more revelation than the leadership the Lord placed him under in Antioch, he was still required to faithfully serve another leader and another leader’s vision before the Lord would release him into his own ministry.
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus (Acts 13:1-4).
Notice that the Lord equates the commissioning of the “fathers/leaders” in Paul’s life with the commissioning of the Holy Spirit. At the right time, the Lord openly declared, validated and released him, with the leaders to whom he was in submission, commissioning and blessing him and his team into the ministry. This is the Lord’s order for releasing generational blessing, inheritance, mantles, and ministry.
Paul also carried this divine order on in his own ministry when he chose Timothy, Titus and the others on his missionary team. He knew the things over which the Lord had made him a steward would die with him unless he had faithful “sons” to whom he could pass the ministry and the mantle. To do this, those sons must be intimately acquainted with him, show complete faithfulness to him and his calling, and be willing to experience not only the heights of exhilaration that would come in seeing the Lord move, but also willingly suffer with him through the persecution that would attend the ministry to which the Lord called him. Timothy had faithfully followed his spiritual father Paul, so Paul could openly declare, validate and release Timothy in ministry.
To Timothy, a true son in the faith… (1 Tim. 1:2).
For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church (1 Cor. 4:17).
Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do (1 Cor. 16:10).
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state (Phil. 2:19-20).
…and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith… (1 Thess. 3:2).
The apostle Paul, a spiritual father, had no problem commending Timothy to any of the churches to which he sent him, because of his faithfulness in serving the Lord and serving Paul. That which operated in and through the apostle Paul was gloriously imparted to another generation who had met God’s order and qualified.
I believe one of the reasons why we lack such power and confirmation of the preaching of the gospel in the west is because we are out of God’s order. People start churches and ministries on a whim, in offense, or from a panoply of other motivations, but they have never faithfully served someone else and had the Father’s blessing and order passed on to them. The Lord had said that the passing of the inheritance from father to son would be a perpetual statute throughout the generations. (Ex. 40:15.) We have seen this not only applies to an Old Covenant order, but it passed right through the cross to the New Covenant priesthood. We need to ask ourselves the question, “Are we more like Gehazi or Elisha?” The Lord Jesus, Himself, stated in Luke 16:12: And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? The principle of passing the inheritance, mantle and blessing from father to son has been lost and God’s order has been substituted by man’s order in most of western Christianity. Could this be why we do not see the power, miracles and salvation occurring here that they do in tribal societies such as Africa, Asia and South America? Most of these tribal societies have built within them this principal of passing the blessing on to succeeding generations and they have formal ceremonies through which this is done.
When a natural or spiritual father openly commends a spiritual son or daughter through the laying on of hands and opening doors to ministry, it is much more than a tradition. This action imparts the ministry of the Holy Spirit upon that spiritual son or daughter’s life. A spiritual download occurs. The spiritual genetic code, vision, burden, mantle and inheritance come upon a submitted, receptive spiritual child or disciple in the faith. It is high time we reject the ways and methods of men and return to the Father’s order. The inheritance of God and the power to break the curse in the earth depend upon it.
Questions for Reflection:
What is the spiritual significance of generations joining together?
What mantles, blessings and inheritance have been passed to you from your spiritual or natural father?
What are you planning to pass on to your spiritual children?
 For a more detailed exposition of passing generational blessings and mantles I recommend You Have Not Many Fathers, by Dr. Mark Hanby, Destiny Image Publishers, 1997.