Spiritual Authority Part 2


There are two kinds of authority is this world

      I.    Temporal or Delegated authority
      II.   Transparent authority or transmitted authority

I.    Delegated authority

Delegated authority is earthly, human kind
Is exercised by man, responded to by man and recognized by those who live on this earth.
The kind of authority which governments and other earthly rulers have is called "delegated authority."
The person who has this authority is a representative of guides and procedures which are incumbent on all people to follow, but not all have access to them.
The kind that kings, presidents, governors, military officers, and police have is power and authority delegated to them by men above them.
As we have seen, God is the possessor of ultimate authority, but He has chosen to "delegate" or "give" this authority to other individuals who are supposed to act as His representatives.
It is something which God has instituted, which operates according to the fashion of this world to govern the people of the world.
Once God gives this authority, it then belongs to the person to whom it was given.
Although they are responsible to God for their use of this authority, it is theirs to exercise as they see fit.
In essence, they become the authority.
Delegated authorities may use their power well or they may misuse it.
They may be good rulers who choose what is in the best interests of God and those over whom they rule, or they may be evil and use their authority to benefit themselves and harm others.
Regardless of how they use it, those who hold positions of power are God's delegated authorities.
This delegated authority is easy to identify.
Those who have it are set apart in some fashion from the common man so that it can be seen that they are in authority.
They either sit in a special building like the White House, a palace, or a governmental office building
or they ride in a special vehicle such as a royal carriage, limousine, or police car.
Positions, titles, uniforms, and many other such externalities all serve to point out those who have delegated authority.
There is something that makes them noticeable in a crowd or sets them apart from the people.
This kind of authority is always seeking recognition by other men, in fact it needs this recognition to function.
It is a natural, worldly authority which was designed by God to appeal to the fallen nature of man.

II.   Transmitted or Transparent authority

There is another brand of authority shown to us which, although it also originates with God, is quite different from the delegated variety.
It is true spiritual authority
For the sake of clarity, this kind of authority can be referred to as "transmitted" authority.
It is through this authority that God intends to govern His people.
Should be evident in the Church.
Transmitted authority is exercised simply by transmitting the authority of God.


God finds a yielded vessel totally given over to His divine authority and reveals His wishes for the people to him and he is an intercessor for them.  
The person involved is simply a channel through which the leadership of God flows.
He does not need any titles or garments to reinforce what he says.
He is not trying to impress others so that they will obey him.
His position is one of being submitted to God.
Consequently the word of God flows through him to others.
In this way, the true authority of Jesus is revealed in His church.
This authority does not belong to the person who is exercising it.
It is not something which is "given" to him to use according to his own inclinations.
They do not have their "own" authority, but simply are responding to the directions of the Most High.
When He speaks to them for others, they speak. When He directs them to take some action, then they move.
But they never take this authority upon themselves.
No matter how often they are used by God to transmit His authority, they never become this authority.

Transparent authority

Every transmitted authority is transparent authority
Transparent authority stands transparent so that true authority is always revealed.


There are many examples in the Old Testament of this kind of leaders
They were primarily priests, prophets, and judges such as Moses, Samuel, Elijah, and King David.

Moses was a shining example of God's transparent authority.
God said to Moses:

            Exodus 7:1- “See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh"

When Moses spoke through Aaron to Pharaoh it was God speaking.
He was not leading the Children of Israel according to his own ideas or directions.
He was not expressing himself.
As you read the Old Testament account of how he led the Israelites out of bondage, it is quite clear that he was simply moving and speaking according to Supernatural instructions.
Every step, every law and ordinance, every detail of the tabernacle; everything was done according to heavenly guidance.
He was not exercising some positional authority or delegated authority which God had bestowed upon him.
He was not formulating his own plans and making his own decisions.
He was simply allowing God to use him to transmit His authority through him to the people.
He always without his own opinion spoke exactly what God wanted to say to Pharaoh and his people.
He spoke the pure and clean, sanctified word of God.
When Moses' authority was challenged by Korah and his crowd, he summed up his position in this way:

            Numbers 16:28 - "By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will"

Thus he sanctified God in the eyes of the people (except for that one fateful occasion of striking the rock a second time, and that cost him his continued position of leadership in the Promised Land. He only got to see it from a distance for his failure was counted by God as rebellion.)

Another example of God's transparent authority was Samuel the prophet, priest, and judge.
There is no record that the Samuel ever blew it.
He was God's pure conduit.(channel or pipe)
He would inquire of God for the people and the people would hear from God through him.
But where the rub came in during Samuel's life was when the people decided that being led by a man with transparent authority wasn't good enough for them. They had a better idea. Enter King Saul.

      1 Samuel 8:1-9:2, NKJV
      1 Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel.
      2 The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba.
      3 But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.
      4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah,
      5 and said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations."
      6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." So Samuel prayed to the LORD.
      7 And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.
      8 "According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day--with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also.
      9 "Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them."
      10 So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king.
      11 And he said, "This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots.
      12 "He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
      13 "He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
      14 "And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.
      15 "He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants.
      16- "And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.
      17- "He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants.
      18 "And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day."
      19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, "No, but we will have a king over us,
      20- that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."
      21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD.
      22 So the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed their voice, and make them a king." And Samuel said to the men of Israel, "Every man go to his city."
      1 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
      2 And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.”


For some strange reason God's people are often not satisfied with God's way.
They desire a human, tangible authority.
They yearn for someone they can see and hear and feel.
They feel much more comfortable with something natural.
All through the Old Testament God made it plain He would rule over His people; they were not to be like the other nations.
He would be their judge, and He would go before them and fight their battles!
Being dissatisfied with his spiritual authority, they came to Samuel and insisted that he set up for them an earthly ruler (I Sam 8:5-20).
Wow! What a poor trade, a human king in place of the God of the universe to lead and fight for them!
Notice that Samuel's sons were operating in delegated authority just as Eli's sons and the people rejected them, 10. But instead of waiting for God to deal with them and substitute another for them as He did with Eli's sons, they decided the authority structure the heathen nations had was what they needed.
When Samuel heard this request he became very angry.
He knew something about what God's intentions were and he understood that God was using him to transmit Divine direction to His people.
He was grieved that the nation whom God had chosen as His own would go the wrong way.
However, the Lord reminded him that they were not rejecting him but were in fact rejecting Himself.
They were not turning away from a man but were refusing God's kingship in their lives (I Sam 8:7,8).
Why? Because Samuel was God's transparent authority, Saul was not.
To reject Samuel was to reject God. To seek a king to rule over them was rebellion against God.
They now chose to have a delegated form of authority so they could be under a rebellious form of government like the other nations.
Tall, dark and handsome Saul proved what a mistake that was.
He was after the form of Nimrod who ruled over the city of Babel where he made a name for himself and drew others behind him to rebel against God.
It is evidence of God's great love for men and His abundant grace that He did not forsake the Israelites even though they were abandoning Him.
He let them have their own way, but first He explained that this request would only be bad for them.
Earthly, human authority would harm them in three ways:
1). It would take away their sons and daughters,
2). demand a share of their possessions and
3). bring them into a bondage from which God would not deliver them (I Sam 8:9-18).

He allowed them to have their way because He perceived that their hearts had already turned away from Him. But it is quite clear that this was not His will.

Whether they realize it or not, TODAY what most of us are really looking for is a kind of king just like the Children of Israel did so many years ago.
Perhaps we can identify some reasons for this puzzling desire.
First of all, having such a king would relieve them of their personal responsibility to seek God for themselves.
Now their "leader" could do this for them.
Next, he could bear all the responsibility, take care of all the problems, decide upon the directions they should take and fight their battles.
All they would have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

There were times when a king of Israel would demonstrate God's transparent authority as King David often did, but it was rare.
Finally, about 600 BC., the last king of Israel was wiped out and the nation was sold into captivity.
During all these years after Samuel, God still had His transparent authority in many different prophets, but the people were getting hard of hearing.
He finally had to restore transparent authority through His Son Jesus Christ.


Our Lord Jesus Christ was the supreme example of such transmitted transparent spiritual authority.
He did not come to do His own will, but instead submitted Himself to the will of the Father

            John 6:38 – “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”

He did not do His own works or even speak His own words but simply offered Himself as a channel through which the authority of the Father could flow

            John 14:10 – “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

When Jesus cast out demons, He revealed the authority of the Father.
When He cursed the fig tree, it was the Father's voice which was heard (Matt 21:19).
When He rebuked the wind and the waves it was the Father's authority which was demonstrated (Lk 8:24).
Every aspect of His living was a manifestation of the invisible God.
He never exercised His own authority but instead allowed His Father to flow through Him.
While walking among men, Jesus demonstrated the ultimate in transparent authority.
He said to His disciples:

            John 14:7-9
            7-    "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."
            8 -   Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."
            9-    Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, `Show us the Father'?
Now that is transparent authority
To see Jesus was to see the Father. To hear Him was to hear the words of God.
There was a striking difference between the authority demonstrated by Jesus and that of the scribes and Pharisees.

            Jesus – transparent authority
            Scribes and Pharisees – delegated authority

            Matt. 7:29 - "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”

It took a lowly Gentile soldier to figure out the difference between delegated authority and transparent authority and Jesus marveled at his understanding. The story reads as follows:

            Matthew 8:5-13
            5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
            6 saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented."
            7 And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him."
            8 The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
            9 "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, `Go,' and he goes; and to another, `Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, `Do this,' and he does it."
            10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
            11 "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
            12 "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
            13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour.

Jesus lauded this man's confession for manifesting a greater faith than all the Jews in Israel.
He said the Gentiles would see Jesus' Godly authority, submit to it and sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Jews' place.
Yes, he showed great faith by not demanding that Jesus come to his house -  but there is more here.
He said, "I am a man UNDER authority." He didn't say, I am a man OF authority.
He spoke of his transparency between the officer above him and his men and acknowledged that is how it is with Jesus and His Father to us.
In the church we are not to be under mere men, but submit to God in all things just as Jesus did.
Those who properly lead in the church are to guide us and come along side and never to rule over us as the flock of God.
To be submitted to God is to be transparent and manifest Him to a dying world.
To be under men in the church is to be back under the delegated system that is seen among the kings of the Gentiles.

            Romans 6:13 – “…and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God”

Jesus was restoring God's transparent authority among men once again
and this time it would be in the form of His Church.
He told His disciples in Luke:

            Luke 22:25,26
            25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called `benefactors.'
            26 "But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.”

Jesus came to show us how to lead as God's true servants.

            John 13:12-17
            12 And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?
            13 “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.
            14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
            15 “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
            16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.
            17 “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

            Matthew 20:27, 28
            27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
            28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”


Just before Jesus ascended into heaven He spoke to the disciples and said,

            Luke 24:49 - "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."

The "promise of the Father" He was referring to was the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).
After receiving Holy Spirit the apostles demonstrated this transparent form of authority over and over.
In Acts 2, they declared the gospel of the kingdom to men from many different nations who were gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost.
These non-believers all were able to hear these spirit filled believers in their own language by a divine importation.
Because they were simple Jews who didn't know foreign languages and the people knew it, great fear came upon many and about 3,000 people repented and accepted Jesus in one day.
In Acts 3 apostles Peter and John were going to the temple to pray.
As they were about to pass through the temple gate, a lame man asked them for a donation and he got a little more than he bargained for.
Peter told him, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give to thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."
The man was instantly healed and was excitedly jumping all over the place and made quite a scene.
When the people recognized what had happened they all came running to them.
Then Peter spoke to the crowd and said,

            Acts 3:12 – “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?”

Clearly God had restored to the earth His transparent authority once again in common men through faith in Jesus' name.
There are many other examples in the New Testament of God's men demonstrating His transparent authority.
One of the more obvious ones is the account of Peter confronting Ananias and Sapphira about there sin of deception.

            Acts 5:1-5
            1 “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.
            2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet.
            3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
            4 "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."
            5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.”

Wait a minute! Weren't Ananias and his wife standing there lying to Peter?
Yes, but because Peter was walking in transparent authority, they were also lying to the Holy Spirit in him.
Well, it seemed that all was on the mend once again in the restoration of God's transparent authority over the earth


There certainly is a need for authority in the church.
No doubt God uses men to be both leaders and examples to the others and draw them into a relationship with Christ.
But what sort of authority should this be?
Is it an authority which is derived from a "position" in the assembly?
Does it come from an appointment to be an elder, minister, deacon or some similar thing?
Does a title or an "office" qualify a man to lead God's people?
Is this responsibility conferred on someone by other men who also possess some entitlement, education or position?
Does it come by some kind of vote of confidence by the majority?
Or is this honor taken upon oneself by virtue of being the strongest personality in the group?
Certainly not! All these are just earthly ways which can only serve to hinder God's purposes and bring others into bondage.

Genuine spiritual authority emanates from God Himself.
Those who exercise such authority are prepared vessels that transmit God's thoughts and desires to His people.
It is this sort of authority which we should be exercising in the church today.
We desperately need men who will speak when God speaks to them, who will lead according to His direction and who will manifest His revelation.
The great necessity of the hour is not for those who have been schooled, elected or appointed to positions of authority but for those who are intimate with God and through whom He can freely transmit His will.
Genuine spiritual authority does not come with an appointment to a position or "office."
In fact, the word "office" used in I Timothy 3:1, 10, 13 in the King James Version represents no word in the original Greek language but is the invention of the translators.

      I Timothy 3:1,10,13
      1- “ This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
      10 –“And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.”
      13-“ For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Although certain men in the New Testament acquired labels such as "elder," "deacon" or "apostle" their authority did not come from holding some "position."
These designations came as a result of the inner spiritual work which God had done within them.
They were a means of describing their special functions in the body.
In some unique area God had prepared these men to be conduits of His authority.
These names were used to identify these areas of service, not to qualify them for it.
Yes, the Bible does say that the Apostles "ordained" elders in every church

Acts 14:23- “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”

But what does this term really mean?
W. E. Vine in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words has this to say:
      "Not a formal ecclesiastical ordination is in view, but the appointment, for the recognition of the churches, of those who had already been raised up and qualified by the Holy Spirit, and had given evidence of this in their life and service."

You see, the Apostles were not arbitrarily selecting men who met certain qualifications, or who perhaps were most willing to go along with their program or possibly had a lot of money or influence in the community.
Instead, they with spiritual eyes were pointing out for the benefit of those who could not see so clearly, those whom God had already sovereignly selected and prepared to use as His vessels.
Untold damage has been done to God's people through the misunderstanding of this principle.
All too often, men are appointed to a "position" by other men with the thought that some kind of authority is needed in the church.
When we establish earthly, delegated authority in God's church, we thereby offer a substitution for the true.
When we elect or appoint men according to human reasoning or perception, we establish a variety of authority which is foreign to God's plan and which will only be a hindrance to His perfect will.
The reason for this is that no matter how "scriptural" it may be, positional authority can never produce spiritual results.
Nothing which originates on the earthly level can achieve God's designs.
The Bible is quite clear:

            John 6:63 - "The flesh profits nothing"

Human authority can never transmit the power necessary to transform human lives.
It cannot reach inside a person and touch their heart.
At best all delegated authority can produce is some kind of earthly arrangement which approximates the work of the Spirit.
This not only accomplishes nothing of eternal value but it robs believers of the opportunity to experience Christ's reality.
Please don't under estimate the gravity of this.
Human efforts, backed by natural authority, may be able to accomplished many notable things in the religious world.
"Revival" campaigns, membership drives, fund raising and building projects all can be carried out by strong human leadership.
But let us remember that the appearance of religious "success" is not the measure of our spiritual accomplishments.
No matter how grandiose or impressive our works appear, if they have been constructed with the wrong substances; earthly natural materials, instead of supernatural; they are nothing but wood hay and stubble in God's eyes and they will be destroyed on judgment day.


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