The Believer’s Spiritual Authority
- 1 The Three Realms
- 2 The Right Approach to Spiritual Warfare
- 3 What Are the Heavenly Places?
- 4 Symptoms, Sources, and Solutions
- 5 Jesus’ Exaltation as a Human Being
- 6 Demons Are Under Our Authority
- 7 Being Under Authority Confers Authority
- 8 The Importance of the Seat of Power and Jurisdiction
- 9 Listen / Watch / Download
The Three Realms
There are 3 realms in which believers are involved:
- The physical, visible, and earthly realm (or the first heaven) – world governments, political structures, all systems and cultures belong to this realm.
- The spiritual, invisible, and demonic realm (or the second heaven) – here we have demonic spiritual authorities that are behind the authority structures, cultures and systems of the earth. They have authority over and influence the physical realm. This does not mean that we have to become super aware of the devil and believe that there is a demon under every rock.
- The spiritual, invisible, and godly realm (or the third heaven) – here is the throne of God along with all the angels and the angelic hierarchy structures.
The Right Approach to Spiritual Warfare
When talking about spiritual warfare and spiritual authority, many Christians say that we need to know the spiritual principalities we are dealing with and the ranks in the demonic world (demons of lesser power and authority, demons of greater authority, etc.). They say you must know your enemy well before engaging in spiritual warfare. And we all probably have examples of people making strange intercessions for cities involving all kinds of material symbols. These people start their teaching from the premise of “knowing your adversary” and focus heavily on the demonic world. But this is the wrong approach for born-again Christians. Yes, you should know your enemy, but before that, you need to know 3 things:
- Who you really are in Christ
- To Whom you belong
- What you possess or what you have
The true spiritual battle of the believer is fought between the two ears (that is, in the mind), not directly with demonic spiritual forces. Yes, you must know your opponent, but only in relation to those 3 things you must know and assimilate as your normal reality deep in your heart. Any teaching about authority and spiritual warfare must begin with these 3 concepts and their assimilation at the level of the subconscious mind. Let’s read Ephesians 6:12:
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Here the apostle Paul speaks in detail about the demonic principalities and hierarchies. But let us notice in which chapter of the book of Ephesians this verse is found. It’s in chapter 6 of the book which is the last chapter of Ephesians. In verse 10 of the same chapter, Paul uses the expression: “Finally, brothers…” or “Furthermore, brothers…” or “Finally, brothers… ” This is not the first thing Paul teaches the Ephesians about spiritual warfare. Let’s also read Ephesians 1:19-23 to see where Paul begins his discussion of authority and spiritual warfare:
Ephesians 1:19–23 (NKJV)
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
As you see, Paul begins in Ephesians chapter 1 by talking about the boundless greatness of God’s power that raised Christ and placed Him at the right hand of God’s power, giving him a rank of authority far above any other spiritual authority in the heavenly places. Paul then continues the discussion of spiritual warfare in Ephesians chapter 2, stating that ALL that Christ has (that is, his sphere of authority) we believers also have:
Ephesians 2:6 (NKJV)
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Another extraordinary thing we can see in Ephesians 1:22 is that ALL things are under the feet of Christ FOR THE CHURCH. Christ is made up of Jesus (the Head) and the Church (His body). It is an indestructible and indivisible unitary whole. Ephesians 5:30 tells us that we are bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh. If all things are under the feet of Christ, and the Church is His body, what does this mean for us believers? It means that all things are also under our feet.
So, Paul begins in Ephesians chapters 1 and 2 to describe the authority and power of Christ and us, the Church, and then in chapter 3 verse 10, he describes the purpose of this conferment of authority, that of ruling over the second realm:
Ephesians 3:10 (NKJV)
10 to the intent that NOW the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (meaning from the second realm).
Likewise, 1 John 3:8 describes the purpose of Christ’s manifestation in us, that of destroying the works of the evil one:
1 John 3:8 (NKJV)
8 For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Only at the end of the book of Ephesians does Paul introduce the believers to the subject of spiritual warfare. So, what we need to know is: who we are, who we belong to, and what we have. Only when you know these things and live permanently with this awareness (when you don’t struggle to convince yourself) can you start talking about spiritual warfare.
What Are the Heavenly Places?
What are these heavenly places in terms of location? Notice that it is not the heavenly place (or God’s heaven), but the heavenly places. We have already seen in Ephesians 6:12 that demonic spirits are also in heavenly places. But now these spirits along with the devil were cast down to earth (Ezekiel 28:17; Isaiah 14:2; Luke 10:18). If the devil is also on earth and in the heavenly places and in the second invisible realm, this means that the earth together with the second invisible realm are part of the heavenly places. Then in Ephesians 2:6 we see that we also have the same rank of authority as Christ in the heavenly places now, but we are located on earth and not with the throne of God in the third realm. This is further evidence that the earth is part of the heavenly places. But according to Ephesians 1:20, it seems that God’s heaven or the third spiritual realm is also in the heavenly places.
In Isaiah 66:1 and Acts 7:49, we see that heaven (or the third heaven) is God’s throne, and the earth is His footstool, which is another indication that the third heaven and the earth are somehow together:
Isaiah 66:1 (NKJV)
1 Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?
Putting Ephesians 1:19-23, 2:6, and 6:12 together, we can conclude that the heavenly places include all 3 realms. The heavenly places represent all that is around us visible and invisible. And in that common space or dimension, everything is under our feet (under our command) in Christ. In terms of authority and rank, God’s heaven is the highest, followed by the demonic realm, and then the earthly realm. For example, in the building of a business company (which would represent the heavenly places), the CEO of the company and the cleaning person may be geographically located in the same building. But their ranks of authority differ significantly. All these 3 realms are interconnected. They intertwine and occupy the same space. When Ephesians 1:21 says “far above,” it is not referring to the physical location of God’s heaven (the third heaven), but to the level of authority.
Symptoms, Sources, and Solutions
Now, if we look at the physical realm, we see many problems and works of darkness: disease, violence, wars, abortions, rapes, organ trafficking, drug trafficking, and all kinds of evil. But these are just some symptoms. The root of these problems lies in the second realm. And only the third realm has the permanent solution to these problems. So, what we have here is a first realm with symptomatic problems whose source is in the second realm and whose solution comes from the third realm.
You can’t treat a first-realm problem with a first-realm solution. This is how medicine works for example. If you have cancer and you try to treat it with medicine, that’s ok, but it’s a first-realm remedy. And behind that cancer may be a spirit of infirmity or death. We are not against doctors because they are after the same thing (health and healing), but they are limited in their ability to help. They try to treat the symptoms, which may return. If you learn to operate from the third realm and demolish the problem from the second realm, then the symptoms from the first realm disappear.
Jesus’ Exaltation as a Human Being
Let’s go further. All the demonic principalities, authorities, powers, and dominions in the second realm were created by God originally, and all these ranks of authority are a good thing. Likewise, they exist in the angelic world. Colossians 1:15-18 says this:
Colossians 1:15–18 (NKJV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by Him (Jesus or the Word) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible (the first realm and the other two realms), whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
The difference between these authorities or power structures in the second realm and the third realm is that those in the second realm live in rebellion (Ephesians 6:12). There are principalities, authorities, principalities, and powers in the third realm as well. But all were created BY HIM and are UNDER HIM and FOR HIM. And He is the Head of the Church. Wherever my head is, there is my body as well, right? We don’t have our head in America and our body in Europe. If He, Jesus, has the greatest sphere of authority, and He is the Head, and we are the body, it means that we also have the same sphere of authority. In terms of sphere and rank of authority, we are together in the same place with Him. Let’s read Philippians 2:6-11:
Philippians 2:6–11 (NKJV)
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
When Philippians 2:9 says that God exalted Jesus because of His humility and suffering, God did not exalt Him as God, because Jesus was already exalted as God. But He exalted Him and lifted Him as a man. God cannot be exalted any higher than He already is. Jesus became not only our substitute, but also our representative as humanity. What is the difference? Everything He did as a man, He did not only FOR us and in our place, but also AS us, that is, representative of the human race.
Jesus is one of us. He is of our human race. For example, when you are abroad and you come across someone from your own people and country, aren’t you happy? Why? Because you speak the same language, you feel comfortable that he understands you, and he is of the same culture and personality as you. Jesus is the first man (one of us) Who was brought into union with God. We are used to seeing Jesus as God, but He is first and foremost a human being like us. We need to discipline our minds to see Jesus as a human being, because then our whole life will be revolutionized. It is not for nothing that Jesus was called “Son of Man” in addition to being called Son of God. Jesus was a son of the human race.
God has exalted THE NAME OF A HUMAN BEING above all other names. The authority of the name Jesus makes every knee bow in reverence. All beings in all three realms will one day bow before Him. Jesus did not exist before the incarnation. From the beginning and throughout the Old Testament the Trinity was composed of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit (John 1:1-4,14; 1 John 5:7).
John 1:1–4, 14 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
1 John 5:7 (NKJV)
7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
All that God has done for Jesus and bestowed upon Him reveals His heart for humanity. Romans 8:17 says that we have become heirs of God Himself and joint heirs with Jesus. All heaven and universe know the Name of the human being Jesus.
Hebrews 2:5–11 (NKJV)
5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.
6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. (after the fall)
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory (it doesn’t refer to the future glory), to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.
You don’t have to worry that it’s disrespectful or that you’re messing with Jesus if you call Him your big brother. He first called us His brothers and sisters. God created Adam to rule over and subdue the physical realm. He put all things under his feet, but he fell. So, he who was to subdue all physical things was himself subjected. Jesus is a man and will be a man for eternity. He kept his physical body of glory. He is not only a spirit now as God. Jesus has the highest seat of authority as a man over all 3 realms: physical, demonic, and heavenly.
There is nothing extraordinary about God having authority over the 3 realms because He is God. BUT for a man (one of ours) to have this authority is something else entirely. Matthew 28:18-20 says this:
Matthew 28:18–20 (NKJV)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Jesus has all authority not only on earth but also in heaven. And this authority HAS BEEN GIVEN UNTO HIM, CONFERRED TO HIM. But no one gives authority to God, if the passage refers to Jesus as God, otherwise there would have to be someone greater than God to give authority to Jesus as God. This authority was given to Him as MAN. You and I have been exalted to an authority far above that which Adam had before the fall. Adam did not have God’s eternal life (gr. zoe). That life was in the tree of life, but we now have it in our born-again spirit. This eternal life is not just endless existence after physical death. It includes endless existence, but that is the secondary part. Eternal life is primarily the life and nature of God Himself from the realm of eternity manifested in our spirit here on earth.
In the Old Testament, the hierarchy of authority was God, the devil, and then men. In the New Testament, it is God, Jesus and the Church (together they form the Christ), the devil and then the rest of other people. Job, David, Abraham, Elijah, and Isaiah were all under the authority of the devil.
What does it mean to live or pray in the Name of Jesus? It’s not a magic formula. It means that everything you are, do, and speak is in the Name of Jesus. You function and live in His name. You can heal or deliver without necessarily mentioning the Name of Jesus if when you do it you are aware in your mind that you are doing it in His Name. It is not your words that release the power, but the mental awareness you have. In fact, someone said that when demons hear repeated too many times the expression “in the name of Jesus” or when someone tries to find the exact formula, to say all the right words to cover everything, then they realize that you don’t really know who you are or you’re not quite sure who you are. For example, when Moses was at the burning bush and God told him to throw down the rod, it turned into a snake without God specifically commanding the rod: “Rod, I command you to become a snake.” The rod turned into a snake only by the mental intention of God, because He is God after all. In Mark 11, when Jesus got hungry and came looking for something to eat from a fig tree, the Bible says that He found nothing but leaves because it was not the season for figs. Then Jesus ANSWERED something to the fig tree and cursed it. This means that the fig tree spoke something to Jesus before Jesus answered. Why was Jesus angry with the fig tree since it was not the figs season? Because Jesus had intended in His mind to find fruit in it even though it was not the figs season. From afar, by His intention and expectation, Jesus commanded the fig tree to produce instant figs. But the fig tree, stubbornly, “told” Him that it was not going to give Him any figs because it was not their time. This is how the things in our life speak to us. They are speaking to us from a human perspective, a normal one for the common man. But Jesus had authority over the fig tree at all times. Therefore, He answered it angrily and cursed it.
Let’s take the illustration of a power of attorney. When someone gives you a power of attorney to make decisions on that person’s behalf about some accounts and represent them at the bank, no one is analyzing you to see what kind of person you are and whether you have the right attitude and appearance to make those decisions. The bank will only look at the power of attorney to see if it’s good and valid. It doesn’t matter who you are as a person. In the same way, Jesus gave us His name as a power of attorney. He sent us in His Name to make decisions and deliver people from the works of darkness.
“Therefore go!” We have the mission to go from the perspective of the authority that Jesus, as a man, and us have. Paul says that we will judge the angels. Now we know why angels are ministering spirits to us (Hebrews 1:14). They are at your service and mine. Now we can understand a little why they long to look into the gospel and understand why we have such authority. What exactly have we inherited to have such authority, when the devil desired such a thing and didn’t get, but that very authority God willingly gave to man? This is exactly what bothers the devil enormously and burns him to his core.
Hebrews 1:14 (NKJV)
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
Demons Are Under Our Authority
The Greek word for AUTHORITY is exousia. John 1:12-13 says that God has also given us the AUTHORITY to become sons and daughters of God:
John 1:12–13 (KJV 1900)
12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
In most English translations, the term “children” of God is used instead of “sons” of God, which is neither the most correct nor preferable translation, because the word “children” makes us think of helpless babies who are always in need of God, the Father, doing everything for them. And this is not the reality of what this verse wants to convey. The more correct term that is also used by the KJV translation is “sons,” since the Greek word used here for sons/children is teknon, which means born of God and having the same nature as Him. The other Greek terms for babies would be brephos or nepios.
We are the LEGAL heirs of God Himself and of all that He has. Because of this, we have AUTHORITY. If we do not understand that we are born of the Word (1 Peter 1:23) EXACTLY like Jesus, we cannot even begin the spiritual warfare or any deliverance. We see before the resurrection how Jesus gave the disciples authority to do something. Let’s see together what they could do with that authority they had, not because they were born of God (as we are), but because Jesus conferred temporarily His authority to these men:
Matthew 10:1 (NKJV)
1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal ALL KINDS of sickness and ALL KINDS of disease.
Look what they could do with this authority that was only temporarily vested in them: cast out every unclean spirit and heal ANY disease and ANY disability or infirmity. How can sickness ever come near you, you who have the ultimate AUTHORITY as a son or daughter of God? You have the authority of the authorities:
Luke 10:19 (NKJV)
19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Snakes and scorpions hide, they stay out of sight. Behind every problem in the material world, there is a demonic spiritual force lurking, and we with God-given authority can step over these lurking forces as well. Notice one more thing. The authority Jesus gave the disciples was over ALL the power of the enemy. This means that the devil along with all his demons were under the command of the disciples and implicitly ours. We in Christ have AUTHORITY over ALL THE POWER of the enemy. The power of the enemy is at our command, under our authority. What exactly does this mean? Let me give you an example. In a war maybe some soldiers don’t want to go to battle. But because they are under the authority of the president of that country, they have no choice and must obey. Or, for example, a huge bulldozer represents massive raw power that can easily destroy cement walls. But if a policeman waves the bulldozer driver to stop, he must obey. In other words, this machine that has such great power stops before the authority above it. Power (gr. dunamis) is under the command of authority (gr. exousia). Believers in Christ have received both the supreme authority as sons of God and the supreme power (the fullness of the Holy Spirit).
Being Under Authority Confers Authority
Matthew 8:5–13 (NKJV)
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.
The great faith of the Roman centurion is only the result of a great revelation. And what is the great revelation this centurion had? The revelation of authority. His faith was the result of his revelation of authority.
Look at what the centurion says: “Say JUST ONE WORD. You must not move a muscle and my servant WILL be healed, not MAY be healed.” This centurion was a Gentile, and Jesus was impressed by his level of faith, which was nothing more than a consciousness of authority. And the centurion explains his revelation. He says, “For I am a man UNDER authority.” He was under the authority of Caesar who was in Rome, and the centurion lived in Capernaum. He was a centurion which meant he had a hundred men under him. But he was under Caesar’s authority as well. What gave him authority over the hundred soldiers was the greater authority under which he himself was. For you to have authority, you in turn must be under an authority or put yourself under an authority, that is, the authority of Christ. Your authority has power and value only if you are under a greater authority. Those under your authority fear the authority above you. In other words, the centurion recognized and admitted that Jesus was operating under the authority of God Himself. And his servant was healed at that time.
In the spiritual world, there is no distance or space. A demon from the other end of the earth will hear a word of command from you. Many times we hear of some great man of God and we want him so much to come into our house and lay his hands on some sick person to be healed. We want that man to be close in the geographical proximity of our problem that needs solving, such as a physical illness. And we even say in our thoughts: “If only this man would come to my house, everything would be solved.” But this is not great faith. It’s not geographic proximity that makes things work.
Then we see another interesting thing. When Jesus gave the command to heal the centurion’s servant, He did not use an exact formula or an elaborate command. He didn’t foam at the mouth, get agitated, or repeat himself. He just simply said: “Go and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” How much we have to learn from Jesus! You can even come close to someone who is sick and if your intention is to heal him, you can just lay your hand on him without saying anything and he should be healed. That’s what Jesus did as well:
Luke 4:40 (NKJV)
40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
Matthew 8:16 (NKJV)
16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick.
The Importance of the Seat of Power and Jurisdiction
Luke 10:1 (NKJV)
1 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.
Christ’s authority has been transferred to us and He has sent us as disciples to DECLARE things in His place and to COMMAND things in His place. In the New Testament, God does not move mountains for us. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told that God moves them. But WE MOVE THEM using the authority conferred. The way to pray has changed in the New Testament.
There are two things to understand about authority (exousia):
- The source of power or the seat of power
- Jurisdiction of authority – the sphere of influence or over whom you can exercise your authority.
A security guard cannot stop your car on the street and check the car’s documents because he has no jurisdiction over road traffic. Only the traffic police has jurisdiction there. When you try to use your authority, you may encounter resistance at times, so you also need strength to crush the enemy’s power. And we have both. And our authority in Christ has jurisdiction over all heavenly places and over all realms.
When the disciples were sent out to preach and heal people, Jesus was somewhere else and perhaps sleeping. But wherever the disciples were, alone and without Jesus Himself, the authority conferred on them still worked. The disciples probably began to think that it had something to do with them, but it was only the authority conferred. And when they returned enthusiastically, Jesus said to them: “Rejoice not that the demons obey you, but that your names are written in heaven, that is, you have the same authority as I do in the heavenly places.” Our minds must be focused on this authority.
What is the source of our power or the seat of power? God the Father through the Holy Spirit. What is the source of our authority? Jesus Christ. What is the jurisdiction of our authority? All heavenly places.
Listen / Watch / Download
You can listen to the audio message of this article, watch the video message or download it in different formats (mp3 / mp4 / pdf) from the following link: