DELEGATED AUTHORITY AND POWER
The elect of God have been given the authority to communicate with the Father, and petition him with requests. In some instances, the elect have the authority to use his power to perform a work for him. Because of this, it is important for the elect to clearly understand how the delegation of authority and power is administered by the Father.
A good example of delegated authority and power is that of the ancient Roman empire. 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.
A Roman citizen was feared throughout the Empire, because he carried the authority of Rome with him. When Paul was beaten 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 the Father, he was sent with authority and power. Then, Jesus sent his disciples and those of the early church to preach his Father's gospel message with certain authorities and powers. Today, the elect of God are also sent with certain authorities and powers. When God the Father or Jesus Christ authorize a person to represent them to the world or to his people, that person is given the necessary authority and power to carry out their responsibility.
In order to more clearly understand what it means to use the name of Jesus Christ and the authority and power that it represents and that can be invoked through the use of his name, it is necessary to review a few of the many accounts that show people being delegated authority and power by Jesus Christ and how they used this power over the physical and spiritual dimensions of existence.
The Disciples and the Seventy
Early in the ministry of Jesus, he taught the message of the Kingdom of God to twelve men whom he had chosen to be with him throughout his ministry and he sent them out to teach the same message that he taught them. He also taught seventy others whom he sent out 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. And he said to them . . . heal the sick that are there, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come near to you" (Lk.10:1-2,9 KJV).
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).
The following are a number of things we can learn from the accounts of these men whom Jesus sent out to proclaim the Kingdom of God:
Discretionary use of Authority and Power
The authorizations and powers that 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 will be given to the elect of God who live during the end of the age just before Christ's returns.
Signs, Wonders, and Miracles
Jesus Christ had tremendous power at his disposal. Not only could he use this power at his discretion but also he authorized others to use this same power. The following were among his authorizations of power from the Father:
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 whatsoever 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). See also Acts 1:4-5,8; 5:1-15; 6:8; 13:8-11; 15:12.
"And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen" (Mk.16:20 KJV). See also 1.Thes.1:4-5.
Few realize the awesome power that Jesus had and 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 spiritual power noted in the New Testament that were given to the organized and unified Body of Christ. See our study papers about the spirit of God and spiritual gifts.
As powerful as the apostolic era of the church was, these elect of God did not do a greater work than Jesus. They did perform many great acts and miracles as a powerful witness. However, the historical record clearly shows that they did not do a greater work than Jesus.
Before the end of this age, Jesus Christ will again authorize and empower the elect of God to perform a great work. The power that the elect of God will be authorized to use is almost unimaginable and will fulfill Jesus' prophecy concerning a greater work recorded in John 14:12-14.
"And I will pour out my spirit on my slaves and on my slave-girls 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 elect of God. During the time of the end, the church of God will have all of the physical and spiritual authorizations that Jesus and the early church had and more. There will be a unified dynamic body of the elect of God who will be filled with tremendous physical and spiritual power with which they can defy the very laws of the physical universe. No physical or spiritual power will be able to stop them from performing their God-given task to proclaim the entire gospel message, teach the truth of God, and announce the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.
Their work will be greater because their task is greater than that of the early church. Therefore, they will require greater power to proclaim the gospel 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" (Hab.1:5 KJV). See also verses 1-4.
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). See also Isa.29:9-14.
Ambassadors of the Kingdom
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God the Father, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; whereas the Father was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not charging their trespasses to them, and putting the word of reconciliation in us. Therefore, on behalf of Christ we are ambassadors, as the Father exhorts through us, we beseech on behalf of Christ. Be you reconciled" (2.Cor.5:17-20 Para.).
The Father's elect children are sent forth into the world as Christ's ambassadors to offer the Father's reconciliation of people to himself. 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 Christ for the Father. The elect are authorized to use whatever spiritual powers that are necessary for them to carry out their responsibilities as ambassadors while they proclaim the Father's offer of reconciliation through his good news message.
"Go you therefore, 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 things whatsoever 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.).
Although the elect of God must live in this world until Christ returns, they are citizens of heaven and have authorization to partake of certain spiritual privileges and powers that are only given to citizens of the Father's heavenly kingdom:
"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).
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil.3:20 NIV).
The following are some of the authorizations that are given to those who are ambassadors and citizens of the Family and Kingdom of God:
Although there are obviously a number of authorizations and powers that are only given to the spiritual leaders of the elect, there are also many gifts and authorizations of spiritual powers given to others (both men and women) in the congregations of God in order to benefit the elect of God 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 Jesus Christ has sent to do a work for him, those whom Satan has sent to mislead people, and those who think that Jesus 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 physical and spiritual authority and 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 authority and power, power cannot be evil. All physical or spiritual power can be either used for 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 powers 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 forbid 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 that we can assume were true of this individual who was casting out evil spirits using the name of Jesus:
1. Because he was saying that he was doing these things 'in the name of Jesus', he was doing these things thinking that he was authorized to do them by Jesus. Whether or not Jesus had actually authorized him is not recorded, although it is a possibility that Jesus did authorize him.
2. Jesus said this person was not against him or his disciples; therefore, we can assume that this man was not preaching things contrary to God's laws, precepts, and principles, which would disqualify him to represent Jesus and what he was teaching.
3. 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 Lk.21:8; Mk.13:5-6.
Jesus Christ warned his disciples to be on guard against false teachings that would be preached in his name. The Bible also reveals that Satan the Devil and his ministers have counterfeited the true worship system of God with a perverted version. This powerful spirit-being known as the Devil or Satan, along with other evil spirits, is actively deceiving the entire world politically, philosophically, and religiously:
"That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives [i.e., 'is deceiving'] the whole world . . ." (Rev.12:9).
2.Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15 KJV
"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 . . ." (vs.3-4).
"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" (vs.13-15).
Much of what people consider to be the truth of God 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 exorcise 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.).
There is a very serious warning here to any who are not called of God and attempt 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 that these seven were not authorized to have power over him. This is why he said he did not know them.
There is no doubt that some people today perform many awesome and fantastic 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.13:6). It does not matter if a person intentionally or unintentional deceives another person, the end result is the same.
There are many sincere people in the world who honestly believe that 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 Christ. Sincerity is just an indication of how dedicated a person is to what they are doing. If a sincere person who has not been called of God attempts to use the power of God through the name of Christ without being authorized, there are a number of things that could happen:
1. Nothing may happen.
2. An evil spirit might perform the act through his power in order to perpetrate a deception.
3. The sincere person may become possessed by an evil spirit.
4. 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 will of God because of physical works and manifestations of supernatural power. However, the scriptures clearly show that, unless a person is called by the Father, is transformed into a son of God, and keeps God's laws, precepts, and principles, they are not a child of God.
"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 Mk.3:5-6; 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 that the Father has called to salvation during this age of the church is warned to test the spirits (1.Jn.4:1) 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 from their fruits you shall know them" (Matt.7:15-19 KJV Para.).
By B.L Cocherell, file b8w11