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What is grave soaking/ grave sucking /mantle grabbing?

Grave soaking (also called grave sucking or mantle grabbing) is practiced by some charismatic churches in an attempt to receive a special anointing of the Holy Spirit; it is in no way supported by the Bible. Grave soaking is based upon the belief that a Christian's anointing and filling of the Holy Spirit doesn't leave his body when he dies, and one can receive this person's anointing by lying on their grave and "soaking" it up. Grave soaking is problematic because it is founded on principles that are not described in the Bible and it is suspiciously close to necromancy, the practice of calling upon the dead for help.

Teachers who practice grave soaking point to 2 Kings 13:21 to support this practice. It says "And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet." A man was revived from touching the bones of Elisha, but this is a miracle that is only performed once. It was not repeated in the Bible, nor is such a practice anywhere instructed in the Bible. It is certainly not enough to base any sort of theology of the Holy Spirit off of.

The Bible teaches that our bodies came from dust and will return to dust when we die (Genesis 3:19). While we are living, the Holy Spirit indwells those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and been born again (Ephesians 1:13). First Corinthians 6:19 says that a believer's "body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you." But the Holy Spirit is in no way "trapped" in our bodies. Solomon says that when we die our bodies return to the earth "and the spirit returns to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7). If our human spirit departs our physical body at death, why would the Holy Spirit remain trapped in dead and decaying flesh? The Holy Spirit is one of the persons of the Trinity. He is all-powerful and all-present. He is given freely to all who put their trust in Jesus. There is no need, or sanity, to go trying to "suck" the Holy Spirit from the graves of the deceased. The frames of our bodies are not powerful enough to trap the Holy Spirit, nor is He some sort of energy to be tapped into.

Some refer to this unbiblical practice as "mantle grabbing," comparing it to the passing of the mantle of a prophet in the Old Testament. But this is a misunderstanding of what the prophet's mantle, or cloak, was. It was simply a physical symbol of God's calling on that prophet. When Elisha, for example, picked up Elijah's mantle after the prophet had been translated to heaven, it was a physical demonstration that God had called Elisha to be Israel's new prophet (2 Kings 2:1–25). The cloth held no power; it was merely symbolic, as were many of the physical object lessons used by the Old Testament prophets.

What grave soaking does look like is seeking the dead for special help. Over and over in the Bible necromancy is condemned (Leviticus 20:6, 27; 2 Kings 21:6; Revelation 21:8; Acts 19:19). We are to rely on God for power and guidance, and not the dead for God is God of the living (Mark 12:27). Jesus said in Luke 11:13, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

We can go to the graves of particular Christians whom God used in powerful and prominent ways for inspiration to remind us what God can do and whom He can use. We are certainly free to pray for God to use us while there. But because God is omnipresent and already dwells within each individual believer (Romans 8:9), we do not have to go to a church or a gravesite or anywhere else to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We don't need to try to take God's anointing on others. His work is not limited by their deaths, nor is our relationship with God dependent on some sort of anointing that is inherited or physically passed along. Instead, we need to develop a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, actively growing in Him and yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit within us. Grave soaking is unbiblical, superstitious, prideful, and dangerously deceptive. Believers should have no part in it.


Related Truth:

Who is the Holy Spirit?

When do we receive the Holy Spirit?

What is a prophet in the Bible?

The charismatic movement — What is it?

Why is sound doctrine so crucial?


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