These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed. Mark 16:17-18 NLT
Signs, wonders, miracles, healings, and deliverance: what’s the point? All through scripture we find supernatural evidences of God’s power manifested to His people by the Holy Spirit. The Third Person of the Trinity is quite active in human affairs and chooses to display His Presence in amazing ways (Heb. 2:4).
Consider the prophets Elijah and Elisha. 1 Kings 17 begins the story of Elijah and the supernatural power of God manifested in his ministry. Miracles achieved, predictions accomplished, dead raised, demonic realm confronted, experiences of the fire and voice of God, and last but not least, led into a mentoring role in the life of Elisha. This guy was so full of the Holy Spirit that King Ahab’s prime minister, Obadiah, was afraid the Spirit would carry him away unexpectedly. Elijah’s life was a foreshadow of a believer.
The power behind Elijah’s ministry was obviously the Spirit of God but it didn’t end with him, it was transferred to Elisha (1 Kings 19:16-21) who participated in twice the number of miracles! God told Elijah to cast his cloak on Elisha as a sign that God had anointed him. What is the significance of the cloak? Interestingly, the cloak is protective clothing worn in Bible times but also a sign of God’s majestic and superior power. That’s one aspect, a vital one, of the role of the Spirit in a believer’s life. The Hebrew word for cloak/mantle is used to describe God’s superior power: adir. When Elijah covered Elisha he was symbolically covering him with the majestic power of God’s Spirit, in fact, scripture tells us it was a double portion (2 Kings 2:6-16). Elisha received double the portion of God’s power to achieve double the miracles.
This lower story is seen in the New Testament as well. Consider the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matt. 14:36), Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15), or the handkerchieves and aprons of Paul (Acts 19:12). Signs and wonders, scripture tells us, will follow believers. We can’t make them happen, that’s God’s prerogative, but we can be ready if he chooses to use us. All through the book of Acts, the beginning of the Church, we find signs and wonders producing salvation and deliverance; isn’t that what we want today? It’s not about us but about the imagery of the cloak, the mantle of the Spirit, clothing us in His power. The gifts of God’s Spirit are evidence that He is working among us and I don’t know about you but I desire people to be saved and delivered from Satan’s power into God’s kingdom (Acts 26:18). How about you?