Paradox of Authority
I. All Authority
This statement is similar to Shaul's (Paul) in Romans 13:1 and Shimon's (Peter) in I Peter 2:13 that all authority comes from God. The claim by Yeshua that all authority belongs to Him certainly challenges our own attitude toward authority.
If all authority belongs to Him, there is no authority that does NOT belong to Him. Any time we deal with authority, we are ultimately dealing with Yeshua. He is King Messiah and His kingdom is His government.
II. The Paradox
Even Yeshua was challenged by this (Matthew 21:25; Matthew 22:21; John 19:11), as well as Peter (Acts 4:19) and Paul (Acts 23:5; Acts 25:10-11). Jeremiah the prophet received spiritual authority over all the nations of the world (Jeremiah 1:10). He called for all the nations to submit to the government of Babylon (chapter 27) and at the same time predicted that God would punish Babylon for their sins (chapter 50).
We do NOT obey authority when it demands sinful or criminal activity. We are NOT to allow someone in authority in the ministry to abuse us (II Corinthians 11:20). However, since we recognize that the system of authority was established by God, we are respectful of that authority. The fifth of the Ten Commandments tells us to HONOR our parents and be blessed.
When Noah disgraced himself in a drunken stupor, his sons responded in three different ways. One son respected Noah's authority and covered his nakedness. He was blessed for generations by God. One son ridiculed his father and dishonored his authority. He was cursed for generations. We can choose which one of the sons of Noah to be like.
III. Dimensions of Authority
Notice again that there are two systems of authority – one invisible and heavenly, and one visible and earthly. The invisible and heavenly system is made up of angels; the visible and earthly system is made up of human beings. Yeshua claims to be the head of both.
This claim is made yet again by the fact that, after Yeshua rose from the dead, He also ascended to the right hand of God –
Here authority is divided into two general time periods: this world and the world to come. Yeshua, therefore, is the head of all authority in two systems in two periods, making four dimensions all together:
[Note: Yeshua also gave us authority over unclean spirits (Luke 10:19) to cast them out (Mark 16:17) and to fight against them (Ephesians 6:12). Their realm of authority is called "under the earth" (Philippians 2:10). This would give us a fifth area: angels who have fallen.]
IV. We Must Be Healed
There was a historic break down of authority in the Western world during the years 1967 to 1973, which corresponded to the time of the Vietnam War and to the period between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War in Israel.
Almost all of us have a problem with authority. Yeshua said that He could not find even ONE person in all of Israel who had a right attitude toward authority (Luke 7:9). It takes great trust in a loving and all powerful God to have a healthy attitude toward authority.
Last year as I was praying before a message at the Feast of Tabernacles, I sensed in my heart this word from God concerning our bad attitude to authority: ''GET OVER IT!" Everyone has been hurt or hurt others by authority. We must be healed. Some abuse; others abdicate. Some usurp; others rebel. We must find the balance.
We are called to be a positive and challenging influence in this world ("salt and light"). We can influence the authority systems of this world by
V. If Only…
Next to my apartment is a promenade that overlooks the sky-line of Jerusalem. I like to walk along that promenade as the sun sets. One evening recently, I was praying over government leaders, business leaders, and ministry leaders. Suddenly I felt a lifting up in the spirit, like going up in a helicopter. I had an awareness of the reality of our position in Yeshua above all principalities and powers. At the same time I sensed a sadness in the heart of God – that so few were willing to pray for those in authority (I Timothy 2:1-2).
If only we as believers could understand and embrace these principles of spiritual authority! Most translations misquote II Chronicles 7:14, saying "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray…" Actually it says, "If My people will SUBMIT…" (The Hebrew root for submission is cana'a like the word for Canaan land.)
The issue is not only of humility but of a submissive heart. "If God's people could be healed of our attitude toward authority, God would…
Back to Articles 2007
Please PRAY for our ongoing ministry in Israel of indigenous evangelism, planting Messianic congregations, the discipleship training center, prophetic praise and prayer watches in Hebrew, and financial aid for the needy.