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Authority of the Believer
by Michael Holohan
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The Authority of the believer is not a new doctrine but it has been around from the garden of Eden, in fact man’s whole struggle with the devil is an authority issue.

What is Authority?
Dictionary Definition:

1. the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.

2. a power or right delegated or given; authorization.

3. Usually, authorities. persons having the legal power to make and enforce the law.
The English bible doesn’t always translate the word authority correctly which causes a little confusion. The bible translates authority as power, which is also correct but when you also translate the word power as power there is confusion.

For example:
Matt 9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

The word translated power here is the word exousia or authority.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

dunamis ability, might, power, strength,
Both words are translated as power but one means authority and the other means strength or ability. Authority is not to be confused with ability.

Let’s go back to the beginning and look at authority and where it comes from.

Man’s authority:
Gen 1:26-28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Dominion: 7287 radah (raw-daw');
to tread down, i.e. subjugate or bring into subjection. KJV translates it as: have dominion, prevail against, reign, bear rule, over take.

Subdue: 3533 kabash (kaw-bash');
to tread down; negatively, to disregard; positively, to conquer, subjugate, violate: KJV translates it as: bring into bondage, force, keep under, subdue, bring into subjection.

Let’s look at what they were given authority over.
V26 let them have dominion over 1. the fish of the sea, 2. over the fowl of the air, 3. over the cattle, 4. over all the earth, 5. over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Now at this time there was another creature watching this and he wasn’t too happy, he wanted this authority for himself. In fact the devil tried to take this authority for himself and now here was God just giving it to this man.

Isa 14:12-16
All these… I will’s up until now only the will of God was carried out on the earth, but now a rebel has appeared, a new creature (because of his iniquity, he wasn’t created that way) who wanted to exercise his own will, he wanted to set himself up as God and see his will carried out.

I will ascend into heaven… I will be where God resides
I will exalt my throne… He wanted his own throne in God’s domain… he would be the king on the throne.
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation… this is where God is worshipped and glorified… he wanted the worship and the glory for himself.
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds… I will be like the most high… Most high here is a translation of one of the names of God El Elyon, we find a reference to this name in the book of Genesis 14v18 here God is called the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.

Of all the names of God why did Satan choose this one, Jehovah Jireh (provider), Jehovah Rapha (healer), Jehovah Shamah (Our ever present God). He didn’t want to be know as any of these things, but El Elyon, now that was different, possessor of heaven and earth, this was what he wanted to possess heaven and earth. If he could be like the Most High God he would own it all.

Satan is a usurper of authority, notice here we see he didn’t ask to be promoted, he wasn’t due for promotion but he decided in his heart I am just going to take it.

Back to the garden, God gave this authority to man, man was in authority over the earth and Satan again decided I am just going to take it and he did. He usurped man’s authority. Adam sinned and gave it all over to the enemy.

Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Jesus came then to take back that authority and to give it back to man, it was an authority issue, most people don’t realise that, but Jesus knew it and the devil certainly knew it… Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Head has to do with authority.

Jesus first test, the devil tempted him openly in the wilderness.

Matt 4:1-11 Jesus was tempted in 3 areas:
1. Fleshly appetites, Jesus hadn’t eaten for 40 days and the devil tried to appeal to his flesh, “don’t mind this fast use your ability for yourself and satisfy your hunger”.
Jesus told him that bread wasn’t what was important but the word of God or the will of God. John 4:32-37. The devil was trying to distract him from the work.

2. Test God, Satan tried to get Jesus to doubt God, “are you willing to throw yourself down and see if God will come to your rescue”.
Satan said “if you are the son of God” again a subtle question to cause Jesus to doubt the word of God. Just like Eve in the garden “did God really say”.

3. Take a shortcut, “I know exactly why you’re here, you’re here to take back the authority of the earth, I will give it to you if you will just for a second bow down and worship me”
Whoever you bow your knee to becomes your master. If Jesus had bowed to Satan then there would have been no redemption. Satan tried to offer him an easier way, you don’t have to go through this crucifixion take the easier way.

I don’t believe the devil knew what Jesus was going to do but he certainly knew why he was here.

Jesus couldn’t be bought, he couldn’t be tricked and he couldn’t be persuaded to take the easy way out. Jesus knew what he had to do, the will of the father.

Jesus met the devil head on in the wilderness and overcame him with the word of God. From that day until Jesus was taken by the soldiers to be crucified, Jesus met the devil head on in every arena and defeated him.

Matt 4:18-22,25 The calling of the first disciples. Men began to follow a new master.
Matt 4:23-24 He began to heal all manner of sickness and disease and demons were cast out.

Matt 8v 1-3 authority over leprosy, v 6-13 authority over paralysis. v14-15 authority over fever, v 23-27 authority over nature, v28-33 authority over demons.

Matt 9v 2-6 authority over sin, v27-30 authority over blind eyes, v18-25 authority over death

Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power (authority) of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. We are no longer under the authority of Satan and we have a new king and kingdom.
Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Right from the beginning it was the will of God that we rule and reign in life, Adam lost that at the fall but now in Christ we can again reign in life.

God didn’t just give us back the authority that we had in the garden, he gave us a higher authority, we have His Name and His authority. The whole right to use someone’s name is the whole right to his complete authority (power of attorney).

Mark 16:15-18 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe(all believers) In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

John 14:12-14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also: and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power (authority) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power (ability) of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

John 16:23-24 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Jesus has authorized the use of his name and God the Father himself will back it up. To walk in authority in the earth today we need to understand and correctly use the name that has been given to us, the name of Jesus.

We need to get the understanding that we are the ones with authority, the devil still goes around usurping authority, trying to defeat us, trying to put us into bondage, but we have a higher authority, really we just need to say no to the devil and stand our ground and he has to leave us.

James 4:7 Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Zech 10:12 And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.


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Caroline Alderson 05 May 2004
Good article. Lots of great scripture referances.


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