Delegated Authority and Power
The Father's children have been given the authority to communicate with him and petition him with requests. And some of his children have the authority and responsibility to use his spirit-power to perform works for him. Because of this, it is important for his earthly children to clearly understand how the delegation of authority and spirit-power is administered by the Father.
The ancient Roman empire provides us with a good example of how delegated authority and power works. Whenever a person acted as an ambassador of the Roman Empire, they had the full authority and power of the empire to support any action they took or decision they made. A Roman ambassador's words were law. When he spoke, it was as if the Roman Empire spoke.
Roman citizens were feared throughout the Empire, because they carried the authority of Rome with them. When Paul was arrested at Jerusalem and informed his captors of his Roman citizenship, they became extremely fearful because, as a citizen of Rome, Paul represented Rome and carried the full force of the Roman empire behind him. And the penalty for harming a Roman citizen was death.
When Jesus was sent by his Father, he was sent with authority and power. Jesus sent his disciples and those of the early church to preach his Father's message with certain authorities and powers. Today, the Father's elect are also sent with certain authorities and powers. When God the Father or Jesus Christ authorize a person to represent them to the elect or to the world, that person is given the necessary authority and power to carry out their function and responsibility.
To understand what it means to use the authorizations of spirit-power granted to the elect by the Father through Christ, as well as the results obtained through the use of one's authority, it is necessary to review several accounts showing people being delegated authority and power by Jesus Christ and how they used this power over the physical and spirit realms.
The Disciples and the Seventy
Early in the ministry of Jesus, he taught the message of the Kingdom of God to twelve men who were chosen to be with him throughout his ministry and he sent them to teach the same message that he taught them. He also taught seventy other men and also sent them to teach the same message.
"Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick" (Lk.9:1-2 KJV). See also Mk.6:7.
Jesus gave these twelve men authority and power over evil spirits and physical illness. Other scriptures show that these twelve were given other authorizations and powers, some of which they were told not to use at that point in time (Lk.9:51-56).
"After these things Jesus appointed seventy others also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, where he would go. heal the sick that are there, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come near to you" (Lk.10:1,9 KJV Para.).
Jesus sent these seventy out to heal people and perform miracles in his name (on his behalf) as they preached the good news of the Kingdom of God.
"And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us through your name Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Lk.10:17, 19 KJV).
From their accounts, we can learn the following about the authorizations and powers given to the men Jesus sent out to proclaim the Kingdom of God:
- These men were sent forth to represent Jesus and the Sovereign God's kingdom.
- They were delegated authority and power to heal the sick on his behalf.
- They were given authority and power over evil spirits, harmful serpents, scorpions, and their enemies.
- Their authority and power was given to them by Jesus Christ who was sent as a representative of God the Father and his kingdom.
Discretionary use of Authority and Power
The authorizations and powers Jesus gave to certain individuals during his earthly ministry could be used at their discretion. These individuals did not have to ask Jesus each time they wanted to exercise their authority and power. This same discretion was given to those of the early church and is given to the Father's elect who live during the end of the age just before Christ returns.
Signs, Wonders, and Miracles
Jesus Christ had tremendous power at his disposal. He not only used this power at his discretion but also authorized others to use this same power. The following are several of his authorizations of power from his heavenly Father:
- Power to heal the sick and raise the dead ( Lk.7:20-23; Acts 5:16)
- Power to control evil spirits (Matt.17:14-18; Mk.16:17)
- Power to manipulate natural laws (Matt.8:23-27; 14:25)
- Power to create physical things (Matt.14:15-21; Jn.2:1-11)
- Power to destroy the physical existence (Matt.21:18-22; Lk.9:54)
- Power to bring curses (Matt.21:18-22; Acts 13:9-12)
- Power to give and take life (Jn.17:2; Acts 5:3-10)
- Power to enlist angelic help (Matt.26:53; Acts 12:5-7)
Greater Power To Come
"Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. And whatever you shall ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (Jn.14:12-14 KJV).
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new languages; They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mk.16:17-18 KJV).
Few realize the awesome power that Jesus had placed at the disposal of the early church in order for them to fulfill their commission to proclaim the Father's good news message. There are at least 21 distinct authorizations of physical and spirit-power noted in the New Testament which were given to the organized and unified Body of Christ.
As powerful as the apostolic era of the church was, the Father's elect did not do a greater work than Jesus. They did perform many great acts and miracles as a powerful witness. However, the historical record shows that they did not do a greater work than Jesus.
Before the end of this age, Jesus Christ will again authorize and empower his Father's elect to perform a great work. The power that the Father's elect will be authorized to use is almost unimaginable and will fulfill Jesus' prophecy about a greater work recorded in John 14:12-14:
"And I will pour out my spirit on a servant and on my women servants in those days. And I will give signs in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord" (Joel 2:29-31 KJV Para.).
The prophecies show that, before Jesus returns as King of kings and Lord of lords, the dynamic power of the holy spirit will again be manifested through the Father's elect. During the time of the end of human rule, many of the elect will have the supernatural authorizations Jesus and the early church had and more. There will be those who will be filled with tremendous spirit-power with which they can defy and manipulate the laws of the physical universe. No human or evil spirit will be able to stop them from performing their task to proclaim the entire gospel message, teach the Father's truth, and announce the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.
The reason Christ said that the elect would do greater works than he did (Jn.14:12-14) is because their warning, witness, and mission involves the entire world. Therefore, they will require great knowledge, understanding, and power to proclaim the Father's message and warn a sinful and rebellious world that it is about to meet its Creator.
The Prophet Habakkuk
"Behold you [the various tribes of Israel] among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, you will not believe, though it were told you" (Hab.1:5 KJV).
The apostle Paul issued a prophetic warning to those of his day and the future in regard to Habakkuk's prophecy:
"Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, you despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which you shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it to you" (Acts 13:40-41 KJV).
Ambassadors of the Kingdom
The Father's elect are sent forth into the world as Christ's ambassadors to offer the Father's reconciliation of people to himself (2.Cor. 5:17-20). As ambassadors of Christ, the elect are also representatives of the Father and his Family and Kingdom. Because the elect are ambassadors, they are authorized to speak on behalf of the Father and Christ. Some of the elect are authorized to use whatever spirit-power necessary for them to carry out their responsibilities as ambassadors while they proclaim the Father's offer of reconciliation through his good news message.
"Therefore you go, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy spirit: Teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen" (Matt.28:19-20 KJV Para.).
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil.3:20 NIV).
"If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I [Jesus] have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (Jn.15:19 KJV).
Each person God the Father calls to salvation and makes a member of his family and a citizen of his heavenly kingdom is given certain functions and responsibilities to perform. Therefore, the Father gives to individual members the authorizations, privileges, and powers necessary to fulfill their call to salvation during this gospel age. The following are some of these authorizations, privileges, and powers:
- Authority to communicate with God the Father (Heb.4:14-16; 10:19-21) and Christ (Rom.8:33-34)
- Authority to request forgiveness of sins (1.Jn.1:9; 5:16)
- Authority to request things of the Father (Jn.15:16; 16:23-26)
- Authority over evil spirits (Mk.16:17; Acts 16:16-18)
- Authority over the physical realm (Matt.21:18-21; Lk.9:54)
- Authority to heal through prayer and ritual (Jms.5:14-15)
- Authority to heal the unconverted (Mk.16:18; Acts 3:1-6; 5:12 15)
- Authority to govern the church under Christ (Acts 15:1-32; 1.Cor.5:1-7; 2.Thes.3:6)
- Authority to proclaim the gospel (Matt.28:19-20; Mk.16:15; Acts 1:8)
- Authority over life and death (Acts 5:1-15; 1.Cor.5:3-5; Rev.11: 3-5)
- Authority to resurrect the dead (Acts 9:36-42; 20:6-10)
- Authority to issue a curse (Acts 13:8-11)
- Authority to administer the baptismal ritual and the laying on of hands for the receiving of the holy spirit (Matt.28:19-20)
Although there are obviously a number of authorizations and powers only given to the elect's spiritual leaders, there are also many authorizations and powers given to others of the elect (both men and women) in order to benefit the Father's elect and to perform the work of the church.
WHO IS AUTHORIZED BY JESUS CHRIST?
There are many in this age who use the name of Jesus in their ministry. The problem is to determine the difference between those whom Christ has sent to do a work for him, those whom Satan has sent to mislead people, and those who think that Christ has sent them but have actually sent themselves.
Many times, it is difficult to determine if a person is using spirit-power under the authority of God the Father and Jesus Christ or one of their servants, if they are using it by the authority of evil spirits, or if they have just discovered how to use it by some other method. The reason for this difficulty is that God the Father is the source of all authority and physical and spirit-power.
"Let every soul be subject to higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God [the Father]; but the authorities that exist have been ordained by God [the Father]" (Rom.13:1 Para.).
Because God the Father is the source of all power and authority, power cannot be evil by itself. All physical or spirit-power can be used for either constructive or destructive, righteous or unrighteous, or good or evil purposes, depending on the motivation of those who use it. Therefore, the only way to determine the motivation of an individual who is using this power is to evaluate their work by comparing the end result of their work to God's word, which defines good and evil.
Sent by Whose Authority?
During the time of Jesus' ministry, there were many who used supernatural power to perform great works and control or influence evil spirits. As the disciples went about proclaiming the Kingdom of God they became aware of an individual who was not associated with them but was casting evil spirits out of people and claiming that his authority to do this came from Jesus. Because the disciples believed that a person must be a part of their group and must be authorized by Jesus to do this, they forbade him to do it:
"And John said, Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in your name, and we forbid him, because he does not follow us. But Jesus said, do not forbid him. For there is no one who shall do a work of power in my name, yet be able to speak evil of me quickly. For who is not against us is for us" (Mk.9:38-40 Para.).
Although there is obviously more to this story than what Mark records, there are a number of things we can assume were true of this individual who was casting out evil spirits using the name of Jesus:
- Because he was saying that he was doing these things "in the name of Jesus", he thought he was authorized to do them. Whether or not Jesus had actually authorized him is not recorded, although it is possible Jesus did authorize him.
- Jesus said this person was not against him or his disciples; therefore, we can assume that this man was not teaching things contrary to God's laws, precepts, and principles, which would disqualify him from representing Jesus and what he was teaching.
- Jesus did not condemn this individual; instead, he told his disciples to leave him alone because he was not causing them any harm. By saying this, Jesus neither gives his approval or disapproval of this person's actions.
"Take heed [beware] that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ [I am the Christ]; and shall deceive many [the majority of people]" (Matt.24:4-5). See also Mk.13:5-6; Lk.21:8.
Jesus Christ warned his disciples to be on guard against false teachings which would be taught in his name. The Bible also reveals that Satan the Devil and his ministers have counterfeited the Father's worship system with a perverted version. This powerful spirit-being known as the Devil or Satan, along with other evil spirits, are actively deceiving the entire world politically, philosophically, and religiously:
"That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world . . ." (Rev.12:9 Para.).
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [deceived] Eve through his subtlety [i.e.,craftiness], so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes [and is] preaching another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit [an evil lying spirit], which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted . . ." (2.Cor.11:3-4 KJV).
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2.Cor.11:13-15 KJV).
Much of what people consider to be the Father's truth today is the same basic lie that Satan's ministers have been teaching for centuries.
The Seven Brothers
"And certain of the wandering Jewish exorcist, decided to use the name of the Lord Jesus in attempting to help those having evil spirits, saying, We exorcize you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. And there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, doing this. But the evil spirit said to them, I know Jesus, and I comprehend Paul, but who are you? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them; and overcoming them, he was strong against them, so they fled out of the house naked and wounded" (Acts 19:13-16 Para.).
This is an extremely serious warning to anyone who is not of the Father's elect, but attempts to use the name of Jesus in dealing with evil spirits. In verses 13-16, the evil spirit recognized the authority of Jesus and Paul and knew these seven were not authorized power over it. This is why it said it did not know them.
There is no doubt that some people today perform many awesome and extraordinary natural and supernatural works and claim that they are doing these works in the name of, or on the behalf of Jesus Christ; however, Jesus said that many would come in his name (appropriating his name) and would deceive many (Matt.24:4-5; Mk.13:5-6). It does not matter if a person intentionally or unintentionally deceives another person, the end result is the same.
There are many sincere people who honestly believe they are serving Christ through their efforts to preach and teach the Bible or the performance of physical and supernatural works. However, sincerity is not a test of righteousness or of an authorization to do a work for the Father and Christ. Sincerity is just an indication of how dedicated a person is to what they are doing. If a sincere person who is not one of the elect attempts to use the Father's spirit-power through the name of Christ without being authorized, there are a number of things that could happen:
- An evil spirit might perform the act through its power in order to perpetrate a deception.
- The sincere person may become possessed by an evil spirit.
- Because of their own natural power or knowledge, the person may cause events to transpire outside the normal course of events.
Many people today think they are doing the Father's will because of physical works and manifestations of supernatural power. However, the scriptures show that, unless a person is called by the Father, is transformed into one of his earthly children, and practices his laws, precepts, and principles, they are not one of his children.
"Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work lawlessness" (Matt.7:21-23 KJV). See also Lk.21:8.
Many great works are done in the name of Jesus; however, this does not mean that Jesus has sent those who do these works. Each individual the Father has called to salvation during this age of the church is warned to test the spirits and determine for themselves if the source of the teaching or supernatural works is good or evil.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God: Because many false prophets are in the world" (1.Jn.4:1 KJV Para.)
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but are in reality wolves. By their fruits you shall know them, Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs from thistles? So every good tree produces good fruits; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruits. A good tree cannot produce evil fruits, nor a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not produce good fruits is to be cut down and thrown into the fire. Then surely by their fruits you shall know them" (Matt.7:15-20 KJV Para.).
THE USE OF AUTHORITY AND POWER
In order to understand how to use an authorization of spirit-power, it helps to understand the following things:
- God the Father is the source of all physical or spirit-power and energy and he has all authority and control over it.
- The holy spirit is not a person, it is something that consists of energy and power through which God the Father creates, energizes, sustains, and influences all that exists.
- Spirit-power is neither good nor evil in and of itself; it is raw energy which can be made to perform in many ways to create, energize, sustain, influence, and perform any function that the Father has authorized. Spirit-power is similar to knowledge in that it is neither good or evil. Knowledge is an inanimate thing and incapable of any action of its own. It is what an individual does with the knowledge they possess that results in good or evil. As with knowledge, the end result of using the Father's spirit-power is determined by the user and not by the spirit-power.
People tend to categorize supernatural acts as either spectacular or not so spectacular, but in reality the Father's spirit-power and how it functions is awesome and beyond human comprehension. Supernatural acts cause things to happen which would not happen in the normal course of events. Supernatural events are the disruption of the physical realm through the use of a source of power from outside this physical realm of existence. This is the power that God the Father and Jesus Christ authorize the elect to use as they seek to accomplish the goals which have been set for them in this lifetime.
There are many examples in the biblical record of people and spirit-beings using spirit-power to perform supernatural acts. In order to explain how to access, control, and use the various attributes, qualities, functions, and powers of the holy spirit that the Father gives to his children, it is necessary to review a few examples of how this power has been used in the past.
Under the first agreement with national Israel, the Creator authorized the priesthood to perform certain responsibilities for him in relation to his chosen people and his worship system:
"For the Lord your God has chosen him [Aaron] out of all your tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons forever" (Deut.18:5 KJV Para.).
"And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the Lord your God has chosen to minister to him, and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried" (Deut.21:5 KJV). See also Num.5:17-31. 1.Chron. 16:2.
Beside being God's representatives, the priests were authorized to use his spirit-power to bless or to curse individuals on his behalf. When a priest used this authorization, the blessing or the curse was accomplished by spirit-power.
The Prophet Elisha
"And the men of the city said to Elisha, Behold, now, the site of the city is good, as my lord sees, but the waters are bad; and the ground causes barrenness. And he said, bring a new dish to me, and put salt in it. And they took it to him. And he went out to the source of the waters and threw the salt in it and said, so says the Lord, I have given healing to these waters; there shall not be death and sterility there any more. And the waters were healed to this day, according to the words spoken by Elisha" (2.Kgs.2:19-22 Para.).
This may not seem to be as spectacular an event as the parting of the Red Sea by Moses or Elisha's resurrection of the Shunammite woman's dead child. However, this is also an authorization of power which was used to benefit people by God's servant. Through the ministry of Jesus, the disciples, and the early church, the power of God was used to benefit people by acts of mercy and to further God's plan for humanity.
"And he [Elisha] went up to Bethel. And as he was going along the highway. And young boys came out from the city and mocked him, and said to him, Go up bald head! Go up bald head! And he turned and saw them, and declared them vile in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the forest and mauled forty-two of the boys" (2.Kg.2:23-24 Para.).
Elisha's condemnation of these young boys resulted in their death. Power over life and death has been and will continue to be given to some of God's servants in order to show people that they should respect those who serve God and are authorized to use his power. See 2.Kgs.1:9-14; Acts 5:1-14; Rev.11:4-5.
Authorization to Use Angels
When Jesus was being arrested, he indicated that, if he had not wanted to be arrested, he could have asked the Father for more than twelve legions of angels to come to his aid. Roman legions consisted of 6,000 men, so Jesus was saying that he could have called for more than 72,000 angels to assist him.
The prophet Elisha also had access to a great number of angels to help him in time of need (2.Kgs.6:15-17). Moreover, the Father's elect during the gospel age of salvation also have this authority (Heb.1:13-14). Although angelic help must be asked for in some situations, this help is authorized for certain individuals to use when the need arises.
The Fig Tree and the Mountain
"Now in the morning as he returned to the city, he was hungry. And when he saw a fig tree he went over to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, Let no fruit grow on you from this time forward. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw this they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus said to them, Truly, truly I say to you, If you have the faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, remove and be cast into the sea, it shall be done" (Matt.21:18-21 Para.).
This scripture shows that, once a person has an authorization of power, it can be used at their discretion.
Fire From Heaven
As Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem, he sent people ahead to a Samaritan village to make preparations for his coming. However, the villagers did not want him to pass through their village because they understood that he was on his way to Jerusalem:
"And when James and John heard this they said, Lord, would you have us command fire out of heaven, and consume these people, even as Elijah did?" (Lk.9:54). See 2.Kgs.1:9-14.
These two men had the power to destroy the villagers with fire by using their authority over the physical elements of the universe. They knew they had the power to do it, but were unsure if it was the will of Jesus.
These are a few of the many examples of the awesome power the Father has authorized some people to use in order to accomplish the goals set for them.
Activate and Use Spirit-Power
There are a number of things one must understand and consider in order to activate and use delegated authority and power.
- The name of the Creator God was committed to Israel as a sacred trust. The misuse of the name(s) of God the Father or our Savior is strictly forbidden. Therefore, one should treat the name of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and their authorizations of spirit-power with the proper respect in order not to be found guilty of blasphemy.
- "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain" (Ex.20: 7 KJV). See also Deut.5:11.
- There is a difference between asking the Father for something and using his delegated authority and power through the office and authority of Jesus Christ in order to influence, control, or cause an event to happen in the physical or spirit realms. One must realize that to issue a command in the name of Jesus Christ is to access the Father's spirit-power and activate one's authorization to command
- and control this awesome power.
- One must be authorized to use the power of the holy spirit. When a person has been authorized by the Father through Christ to use a certain attribute, quality, function, or power of the holy spirit, it can be used at his or her discretion.
Authorizations of Spirit-Power
There are many different attributes, qualities, authorizations, and powers which the Father gives through his holy spirit. Not everyone receives all of them (1.Cor.12:1-12), but each of the Father's elect is given what they need in order to successfully perform their calling and obtain salvation. See 1.Cor.13:1-13.
Are You Authorized?
It is clear from the scriptures that some of the elect are given specialized gifts and authorizations for the purpose of performing certain functions, responsibilities, and tasks for the benefit of their brothers and sisters in the faith, or to perform the work of the church in proclaiming the Father's good news message. Moreover, if a person has a specialized authorization, such as those of a prophet, evangelist, elder, or the discernment of spirits, healing, casting out evil spirits, or performing other supernatural acts, that person is expected to use these authorizations for their intended purpose. Therefore, if a person has an authorization they must know they have it in order to use it. But, how does a person know they have a specialized gift or authorization from the Father and Jesus Christ?
How Do You Know?
Although the scriptures do not reveal exactly how each person is made aware that they have been given a specialized authorization, it is clear that those who are given these authorizations know that they have them.
Moses was told by the Creator God himself (Ex.4:1-21); Elisha the prophet was told by Elijah the prophet (1.Kgs.19:1-21); Christ told his disciples (Mk.3:14-15; Matt.28:19-20); Christ told Paul and Ananias in a vision (Acts 9:1-18); and Paul told Timothy (2.Tim.1:6-7). God has revealed his will to his people through angels, dreams, the holy spirit, visions, and even a voice out of the air. Regardless of what method is used to show a person that they have been given special authority or power, the person will know they have been given this authority and power and will know why it has been given to them.
Other than the biblical examples about the use of the holy spirit with prayer and study, there are few detailed instructions about how to use authorizations and spirit-powers given by the Father through Christ. Obviously, these are useless without knowing how to use them; therefore, it seems logical that Christ will make sure any person who needs to know how to use the authorizations, abilities, and powers they are given will receive this knowledge in order for them to perform their specific function or task.
Much information can be gleaned about how to use authorizations and spirit-powers given by the Father through Christ from the many examples of their use in the biblical record. Therefore, it behooves anyone who desires to serve the Father and Christ in a more powerful way to study these examples. See 1.Cor.12:4-31.
By B. L. Cocherell b8w15