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Spiritual Authority

Worldly authority

When asked what authority is, most would say, having the right to rule over and tell others what to do. We acknowledge the President of our country as having great authority. Our boss, the police, a mayor, the military leaders and even our parents have authority. Is this the same kind of authority that the Christian has? In the physical world, authority is gained by power, money or influence. Most people in authority have arrived there by conforming to the expected status or by raw force. Many manipulate, buy, lie, deceive, rely on notoriety or just steal their way into a place of power and authority. Yet after all this the Apostle Paul declares: ROM 13:1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 13:2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 13:3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; 13:4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. 13:5 Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. 13:6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 13:7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Peter also declared about worldly authorities: 1PE 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 2:14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. The Apostles did not see these authorities as a thing to fear or hate, but a system that is established by God. In both sections it is stated that they exist to punish evil and the evildoer. Mankind needs a system of laws and people to enforce them in order to monitor peoples' behavior. The rulers must also have the ability to judge and bring retribution. As a side note, notice that Paul says, "for it does not bear the sword for nothing (for no purpose or in vain)." This means that the government has the right to carry out capital punishment. Earthly leaders are given authority to rule the world in order for there to be peace and a sense of law.

We must not falsely think that because of these scriptures that we are to do everything the earthly rulers tell us to do. There are immoral imperatives that we as children of God are not to partake in, even as Daniel refused to worship any other god but his God. We must realize that just like Daniel we may face being thrown to the lions, which of course is the ruler's prerogative. Moses' mother also rebelled against the governing authorities by hiding him in a basket which resulted in no real physical harm to her but provided the very man that God would use to free the people.

While this kind of authority is not what we want to focus on, it is important that we understand that it is a real realm of authority. This brings us to our responsibility in filling positions of authority. God's gifts and calling are not limited to the church alone. We can see from the Old Testament that God raised some of his people up to be political rulers. Joseph was raised up to the second in command in the land of Egypt and was able to preserve his family. Esther became queen to King Ahasuerus and was able to deliver the Jews from destruction. There were also King David and Saul as well as a host of others. We already spoke of Daniel who possessed great power in Babylon. The Church has caused much damage by not realizing that some of the body is called to serve God and mankind in the office of a governing official. Even as God raised these people up to places of power so God is able to raise us up also. It is time that the Church begins to release the people to fulfill the destiny that God has intended for them. We need to recognize those who have a clear calling to enter politics.

Spiritual authority

Spiritual authority is given to us by God as we show ourselves faithful in small things. A parable spoken by Jesus details this. LUK 19:12 He said therefore, "A certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. 19:13 "And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business with this until I come back.' 19:14 "But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.' 19:15 "And it came about that when he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him in order that he might know what business they had done. 19:16 "And the first appeared, saying, 'Master, your mina has made ten minas more.' 19:17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.' 19:18 "And the second came, saying, 'Your mina, master, has made five minas.' 19:19 "And he said to him also, 'And you are to be over five cities.' 19:20 "And another came, saying, 'Master, behold your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 19:21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.' 19:22 "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? 19:23 'Then why did you not put the money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?' 19:24 "And he said to the bystanders, 'Take the mina away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.' Here we clearly see that from managing one mina great authority came to those who used it wisely. Now a mina was equal to about 100 days' wages or sixty shekels. Each slave had absolute authority over this money to use it anyway they wanted. Those who increased the mina received authority over an equal amount of cities. This should amaze us. Who wouldn't want to go from managing a hundred days' wage to managing five or ten cities? We must understand by this story that our advancement is according to what we do with the abilities that God has given to us. We must also understand that how we use them is under our complete control. We alone are given the abilities and we alone will be the one held responsible before God. If we are faithful in using and multiplying them then we will receive more authority. If we show ourselves unfaithful and not grow in those abilities we will suffer loss. MAT 13:12 "For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. We need to understand that the using of our gifts may not be within the church and or recognized by our "spiritual authorities" as anything special. Yet, if we want to be advanced into a ruling position over cities we must be faithful with what little we posses. Do not let anyone say your mina is nothing and do not be afraid of our loving Heavenly Father and bury the mina. Use your abilities even if they are not acknowledged by your local church because God gave them to you for your advancement.  

Spiritual authority is not something that is necessarily known by other people. JOH 19:10 Pilate therefore said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?" 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin." Pilate has no idea who it is that he is speaking with. As a worldly ruler he falsely assumes that his authority is supreme, but Jesus knows better. Jesus has no official title or position and yet possesses authority just about equal to His Father, God. We know from scripture that Jesus was present and active in the creation of all things, yet Pilate is unaware of His authority. Jesus did not even posses a religious position (a role acknowledged by the "spiritual authorities" of his day) within the Jewish faith. The Pharisees were no different than Pilate. Somehow the Pharisees made it to places of spiritual authority or so they thought. They were promoted and given positions of authority over people and ruled in religious matters. They, however, were blind to true authority and when confronted by it they lashed out in persecution. We must understand that this same false spirit can and does live inside of us and manifests when we lash out to persecute others. We must humble ourselves and see God in the lowly and unimportant. If we fail to see God in the lowly and seemingly unimportant, we will be left behind to worship in a dead religion. We may find (in the same way Pilate and the Pharisees did with Jesus) ourselves persecuting people with more spiritual authority and higher spiritual positions.

We can be promoted and demoted by God and no other person may know about it. Sometimes it may be a public promotion but there are even greater private promotions. An individual possessing authority is responsible for operating in this authority for the benefit of those who are affected. A good example of this is when the Lord and two angels went to Abraham before they destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. GEN 18:17 And the Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18:18 since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? 18:19 "For I have chosen him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him." Why would the lord feel a need to inform Abraham about the destruction of the cities? First of all in verse 18 the Lord says that Abraham will become a great nation. Now God had already promised a large section of land to Abraham and his descendants. This land would be the location of inheritance that his sons would possess. Sodom and Gomorrah were located on the fringe of this Promised Land. We also see in verse 19 that Abraham was expected to "command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord." Abraham's nephew Lot and his family were living in the city of Sodom. These two things gave Abraham authority over what was going to happen over this area. First, Abraham owned the property and secondly, that he had family in the city that was in question. The Lord had to tell Abraham what he intended to do in this land that was rightfully Abraham's, and that would affect his nephew Lot. This gave Abraham the opportunity to intercede not only for Lot and his family but also for all the lives in that area. It should be noticed that no one outside Abraham's immediate family knew that the Lord and two angels visited Him. Neither the kings ruling Sodom and Gomorrah nor any religious ruler had any idea that their lives where in the hands of a prophet miles away. Spiritual authority is as much a private calling as a public one.

This same principle of authority is at play in the family. The husband has spiritual authority over his household. If he is walking with God, he has the ability to hear when danger or loss is coming against his family or his possessions. He will be the one who defines the limits of what will take place even as Abraham defined the limits of how many righteous people were needed for God to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Our faith, if released in behalf of our family, will be a shield around them. Not only will it protect them but also help them to prosper and become successful. EPH 5:22 ¶ Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Most people misunderstand this principle and therefore abuse it. It is not so that husbands can dominate their wives and children but that they may protect and defend their families. The submission of a wife to her husband is the most rigid of submissions in the bible besides our obedience to God. Nowhere in the bible does God call us to such obedience toward spiritual leaders or worldly leaders.

If we look at the life of Elijah we may ask where did he get his authority from? Who discipled him as a prophet? To who was he submitted? Were there any other people standing with him? He is not unusual in this respect, for there are many people spoken of in the Old Testament that we have little knowledge about their beginning and position.

What we do know is that Elijah was hated by King Ahab. Not only did Elijah prophesy drought and the resulting famine but also the death of Ahab. Even as the religious rulers hated Jesus, we see that the world rulers hated Elijah. We cannot know those whom God called as authorities by who acknowledges them. Just because there is a general acceptance of one's calling, this does not qualify or disqualify them as an authority for God. It is the same for those who are not acknowledged as anyone in God. You are a spiritual authority if God acknowledges you, not anyone else. Religious rulers as well as world rulers may hate you but this doesn't disqualify or qualify you as a spiritual authority. We can even go a step further and see that Elijah killed 450 prophets of Baal as well as two groups of a captain with fifty soldiers. He was not disqualified because of it. We may say, "but that was the Old Testament we are now in the New Testament." So what? The book of Revelation speaks of two prophets (this may actually be four prophets, two husband and wife teams) that will call judgment upon the earth and the people. People who attack them will be consumed by fire and this is New Testament. REV 11:4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 11:5 And if anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and if anyone would desire to harm them, in this manner he must be killed. 11:6 These have the power to shut up the sky, in order that rain may not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. We may recoil at the idea of calling judgment upon someone, but this is and will always be part of our authority in Christ. When we begin to move in the authority and anointing of Christ we will have to deal with this issue and instruct the church when to do such a thing. I'm sure there are some who think that I just went too far. Did not Jesus tell us that we possessed this power as well? MAT 21:19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it, and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered. 21:20 And seeing this, the disciples marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" 21:21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it shall happen. What was it that Jesus just illustrated to His disciples? Was it the fact that we can kill trees? I believe the fig tree illustrates a human life. We can curse those that are unfruitful and they will die. Even if this assessment of this verse is wrong, Jesus just illustrated that we can do anything, if we have the faith to do it. This includes the destruction of people. Jesus as he was being arrested declares that He could destroy those who are arresting Him. MAT 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 26:53 "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? We should understand that this is an ability that we posses but we should also know it is one which we should use very cautiously. We should ever be diligent to ascertain God's will in everything that we do. The Mark11:19-26 verses are a parallel to the Matthew 21:19-21 verses but makes this statement after the discourse of the fig tree. MAR 11:25 "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. 11:26 [ "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions."] This scripture informs us that we should not curse people because of offense or insult. We must temper any abilities we have with mercy, grace and do nothing out of revenge. Even the apostles knew that they possessed such authority and power and wanted to use it in their ignorance. LUK 9:51 ¶ And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem; 9:52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him. And they went, and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make arrangements for Him. 9:53 And they did not receive Him, because He was journeying with His face toward Jerusalem. 9:54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" 9:55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 9:56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. "]And they went on to another village. The apostles resented the fact that Jesus was not received by these Samaritans and wanted to destroy them for it. The scripture clearly states that these people didn't receive Jesus because He was traveling "with His face toward Jerusalem." Jesus did not intend to stay in this town but continue on closer to Jerusalem. The problem here was that the Apostles did not fully understand that Jesus' mission was to save lives not destroy them. They wanted to destroy these people because of resentment, having forgotten Jesus' instruction after the withering of the fig tree. They were to do nothing out of offense and resentment. If they had more spiritual sensitivity, they would have realized that God shut the people's hearts to Jesus in order that they could travel beyond this town.

As we look further into the scriptures, we will start seeing the extent of our responsibility and the amount of authority we possess in God. The Christian church will be amazed at what we could have accomplished if only we chose to believe and exercise our God given authority over satan, the world and the flesh.


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