– Enjoy this great article on Kingdom Authority –
In the spiritual realm, no issue is more important than authority. Who has the right to rule? Two sovereigns cannot rule in the same sphere at the same time. In the creation account, God had given that right to those who were created in His image. “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Satan had to crawl on his belly like a snake before Adam, who was created in the image of God. When Adam sinned, he lost his relationship with God and Satan became the rebel holder of authority.
In the spiritual realm, no issue is more important than authority.
Because of the Fall, Satan became “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) and “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). Jesus called him “the ruler of the world” (John 14:30). John says, “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
The primary battle is not against flesh and blood. It is a battle between good and evil, between the Christ and the anti-Christ, between the truth and the lie, between the Kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The purpose for the Lord’s coming and the purpose for the Church further reveal this cosmic battle in the heavenlies.
“The son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). “In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10,11). The heavenly places are not Saturn and Mars or any location above or on planet Earth. The heavenly places refer to the spiritual realm.
We cannot overlook our fundamental purpose for being here on earth. The Lord is in the process of restoring a fallen humanity to its rightful place in creation, thus undoing the works of the devil. According to Paul, in this present age He is going to make His wisdom known through the Church to the whole demonic realm that presently rules this earth. If that is the case, how are we doing? Half the Church has no practical belief in the spiritual realm, in spite of the fact that the belief of a personal devil has always been a standard doctrine of the Church.
The Lord is in the process of restoring a fallen humanity to its rightful place in creation, thus undoing the works of the devil.
Some people think the Church is a hospital where sick people go to be healed. It is not. It is a military outpost called to storm the fortresses that praise God as an infirmary. I thank God for the infirmary because we have a lot of wounded warriors and I have spent a lot of my time in that service. Our purpose, though, is not to provide hospital beds for the whole army. We want them alive and free in Christ and back on the front lines. Ours is a mop-up duty. The war has already been won (Col. 2:13-15):
“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When he had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
Jesus told the Twelve that they had both authority and power over demons. What is the difference? Authority is the right to rule, whereas power is the ability to rule. Authority is based on a certain position that a person has, which gives that person the right to rule within the limits and scope of a designated authority. A police officer may be designated the authority to direct traffic, but he does not have the power to stop it. The authority is actually invested in the government and delegated to him by imposing well-defined scopes and limits. He does not have the authority to rule over people in other realms. For instance, he cannot go into a church and tell the people to leave or what to believe. He has no authority there unless so directed by his superiors and then only if it is consistent with the laws of the land.
Some people think the Church is a hospital where sick people go to be healed. It is not. It is a military outpost called to storm the fortresses of the enemy.
The authority and power given to the Twelve was probably given only to them at that time. It was not universally applied to all those who followed Jesus. It is universally applied to all those who are in Christ Jesus since the Day of Pentecost. Before Jesus uttered the Great Commission, He said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). If that is the case, how much authority does Satan have? None! Do you believe it? Why is Jesus even mentioning that He has all authority when He has been so reticent in the past about declaring who He is? Because you can’t delegate responsibility without authority. And you can’t delegate to others the responsibility to go into all the world and make disciples without giving them the authority to do it.
Paul describes the scope of Jesus’ authority in Ephesians 1:19-23:
“These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
There are no limits to the extent of God’s authority in this age and in the one to come. The throne of God is the ultimate authority in the universe. That same power and authority has actually been extended to us who believe (see Eph. 1:19). We have the right to rule in the spiritual realm because we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies (see 2:6). Every child of God has the same authority in Christ. It is not our authority; it is His. We share in it because we are joint heirs with Jesus. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:16,17).
Unlike Christ, however, we have definite limits to the scope of this authority. We have the authority to do God’s will and no more. The moment we act upon our own initiatives we will suffer serious consequences, as illustrated in Acts 19:13-16:
“But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” And seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
Reciting ritual slogans or simply naming Jesus will not prove to be effective. We have to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). We have the authority to do God’s will because of our position in Christ, and we have the power as long as we walk by the Spirit. If we attempt to do spiritual battle in the flesh, we will be thrashed. It is His authority and His power, not ours.
If we attempt to do spiritual battle in the flesh, we will be thrashed. It is His authority and His power, not ours.
Examples of Authority
I was attempting to help a severely victimized young lady when suddenly her voice changed and an ugly scowl appeared on her face as a voice said, “Who the (blank) do you think you are?” I said, “I’m a child of God and you cannot touch me” (see 1 John 5:18). Immediately the young lady was back in her right mind and we were able to secure her freedom in Christ without any other confrontation. We can’t be intimidated by such outbursts, and it is important to know that our authority in Christ does not increase with volume. We don’t shout out the devil. We calmly take our place in Christ.
It is important to know that our authority in Christ does not increase with volume. We don’t shout out the devil. We calmly take our place in Christ.
We are describing the authority the Church has over the kingdom of darkness. It cannot be exercised by violating Scripture or the will of God.
A young missionary in India was attempting to go into Hindu temples and bind the evil spirits with the intent of casting them out. He was receiving psychiatric care at the time. He asked me what was wrong with what he was doing and why it did not work. I told him, “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” (Rom. 13:1). He did not own that Hindu temple and he had no legal right to be casting out demons.
Without such governing authorities, there would be nothing but social chaos. We cannot violate the authority God has given to governments, institutions and homes and expect God to bless us. Generally speaking, we should “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:21), and be careful to subject ourselves to all governing authorities, or incur the wrath of God. “Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake” (Rom. 13:5).
Biblical Examples of Loosing and Binding
Jesus said in Matthew 16:19, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The Lord makes a similar statement in Matthew 18:18 and then adds, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst” (vv. 19,20). Another similar passage, grammatically, is John 20:23, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
These passages are difficult to interpret linguistically and have resulted in church practices that may or may not be biblical. If these passages are translated into English as future tense (i.e., “shall be bound” and “shall be forgiven”), then they can be taken to justify extreme sacerdotalism. In other words, the Church has the power to bind, loose and forgive whomever it wishes. The Catholic church has generally taken this position, but according to their teaching, only the pope can speak with ultimate authority, and only ordained priests under the authority of the pope can communicate such statements. Some “name-it-and-claim-it” advocates and many in the “positive confession” movement also operate as though they have the authority to bind and loose whatever they wish.
The vast majority of Protestant Christian theologians, however, believe that the tense of the verbs in these passages is best translated as future perfect (i.e., “whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven” and “if you forgive anyone his sins, they have already been forgiven”). This is the best way to interpret these passages in view of the rest of Scripture.
We are called by God to do His will, not ours, and live our lives totally dependent upon Him. All temptation is an attempt to get us to live our lives independent of God. On the other hand, we are assured of God’s presence for the purpose of discerning His will when two or three are gathered together in His name. Heaven—not us—initiates the binding and loosing, which we have the privilege of announcing. The idea to bind the evil spirits in those Hindu temples probably originated with that young missionary, not heaven.
There is always the unfortunate possibility of two or three gathering together and then agreeing on what they want to do, and then claiming this passage in Matthew to support their activity. In effect, they are putting God to the test by claiming He has to respond according to His Word. God will always respond according to His Word, but who initiated what they agreed upon? Was it God or them? We can learn one powerful lesson from the temptation of Jesus. We do not put God to the test; He tests us.
Adhering to the Laws
We do have all the authority we need to do the work God has called us to do. I have been invited by Campus Crusade for Christ to speak on several secular university campuses. The flyer they used to invite students said: “Come and hear about demonic influences around the world.” I was surprised when hundreds came as a result of the flyer. They were not coming to hear me; they wanted to hear about demons. If the flyer had said, “Come hear about the claims of Christ,” guess how many would have come? Two Crusade staff members and 10 trapped friends!
Could we pray and commit that auditorium to the Lord and agree that the enemy be bound during the time we were there speaking to those students? Yes, and we did, and you could hear a pin drop while I was sharing. Many gave their hearts to Christ or signed up for an appointment. We could do that because the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ had received permission to use the auditorium and we had a legal right to be there. We were under authority and adhering to the laws of the land.
Learning to exercise the authority we have in Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit will be essential if we are going to fulfill the Great Commission. Many strongholds are present in this world and in the minds of unbelievers, but our weapons are superior. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:3,4, NIV). This is not describing defensive armor; this is battering ram weaponry that tears down strongholds erected by the god of this world. He does not like to give up territory easily, but he has no authority to stop the Church from doing God’s will. It is God’s will that we make disciples in every nation.
By Neil T. Anderson from book “Rivers of Revival”
Posted on Destiny Image website 6-24-2019