July 11, 2021
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Kingdom Authority.
We have no trouble believing Jesus Christ is King and has authority, but do we understand that, as our King, He has given kingdom authority to us, His followers? He said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy…” You will find this astounding promise in Luke 10:19, Matthew 10:1, and Mark 6:7. For the Christian, there’s no more exciting, beautiful truth than what kingdom authority means to us.
What is “kingdom authority”? “Authority” means the official right to do something. We have the right to exercise kingdom authority because Jesus gave it to us. That thought is staggering. Having such an incredible gift, we must learn how to exercise it, don’t you agree?
Authority isn’t the “power” to do something—power deals with brute force. Rather, Jesus says: “I’m giving you the official right (authority) over all the power (force) of the enemy.”
Where did Jesus get His authority?
He had to have it before He could convey it to us. As Jesus was teaching the people, the religious leaders challenged Him: “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” (Matthew 21:23)
In other words, “Who gave You the right….?” Authority, you see, is conferred upon you. It goes beyond power, beyond force.
So let’s look back: When we’re redeemed, we’re made kings and priests before God.
So, we have authority, though we don’t live like it. We must learn how to exercise the kingdom authority Jesus Christ conveyed to us.
We don’t come upon this by accident. The Apostle Paul said as much when he wrote to the Ephesians, praying that the eyes of their hearts might be opened to the kingdom authority they have through Christ. He reminds them Christ is risen and God has now seated Him at His right hand.
Where is Jesus in relation to other powers and principalities who want to rule? Ephesians 1:20-21 says Jesus is, “in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” But that’s not the end of it. Continuing in verses 22-23, we see that God has given, “all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body…”
“All things” means all things. Jesus has that authority, and He has given it to His Church, the body of believers—to you and me.
There are three things you must learn about kingdom authority. This can be complex, but I want to make it understandable.
God gave it to Adam and Eve when He put them in the Garden. They were to rule on this Earth, to be caretakers on His behalf. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26).
He says “Us” because God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are speaking together, the Holy Trinity in council. He says “in our image” because God has an image. He says “have dominion” because God has dominion, rule, and authority.
God set Adam and Eve in the Garden to control and master Earth’s resources. “You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6).
God made us, the followers of Jesus Christ, to have dominion here.
From that high estate of conferred dominion, we became “dead in our trespasses and sins.” We followed Satan: “…according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [the devil] …” (Ephesians 2:2).
What happened? How did our “high estate” get turned on its head?
To begin with, the devil wasn’t created to be “the devil.” God created Lucifer, a shining angel. But Lucifer, “son of the morning” (See Isaiah 14:12.), became Satan, father of the night. In arrogance and pride, he rebelled against God and was banished from Heaven. (See Luke 10:18.)
Exiled, he came to Earth and turned his attention to Adam and Eve, tempting them to do what he had tried in Heaven: to be like God. The war Satan lost in Heaven, he won on Earth with Adam, who forfeited his dominion. Adam and Eve believed a lie, chose against God, and at that moment, God was dethroned from Adam’s heart.
Adam legally forfeited to Satan the power God graciously gave him to rule on Earth.
So 2 Corinthians 4:4 describes Satan as “The god of this world.”
Ephesians 6:12 says he’s the one we do battle with: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities [kingdoms], against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
When Satan tells Jesus in Luke 4:6 he will give Him all of Earth’s kingdoms if Jesus will worship him, Satan could do it, because the Earth was delivered to Satan, and Jesus knew it. Ephesians 2 rightly says Adam and his race have been dethroned. They are spiritually dead. They no longer have legal authority.
“We” don’t win it back. This is why Jesus Christ left Heaven and came to Earth: to righteously regain what man handed over to Satan. Since it was legally lost, it must be legally regained. In His death and resurrection, Jesus triumphed over Satan, death, Hell, and the grave. Then God the Father seated Jesus at His own right hand… “far above all principality and power and might and dominion” (Ephesians 1:21).
Paul prayed that we would have our eyes opened so we could comprehend what all this means (See Ephesians 1:17-21) because we’re not wrestling against a human enemy, but “against the rulers and the darkness of this age” (Ephesians 6:12).
People ask, “Why doesn’t God just kill the devil, snatch the authority from Satan, give it back to Adam, and just be done with it? Why does God let the devil get away with all he gets away with?”
Here’s the answer: If God were to just step in, snatch it from Satan, kill him, and give it back to Adam, He would make a farce of divine justice. Now, God doesn’t owe the devil anything, but He owes much to His own holiness, righteousness, and law. This is a universe run by law.
God’s plan centers on a man.
Where was dominion given? To a man, Adam.
How was it lost? By a man, Adam.
How can it be recovered? By a man.
A member of Adam’s race must be found to redeem us—and not just any man, but one upon whom Satan has no legal claim. That’s why the Second Person of the Trinity became a man—the Lord Jesus. That’s why God came in human flesh.
Satan had a legal claim on all of us as Adam’s children because we sin (See Ephesians 2:1-3.) “For since by man [Adam] came death, by Man [Jesus] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
All born of Adam are dead; all born of Christ are alive. Jesus had to be the virgin-born Son of God, not of Adam, yet still be a man. (See Hebrews 2:14.)
A spirit cannot die the physical death our sins deserve, but a body can. Jesus took on a body. That’s the reason for the Virgin Birth. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was not a fallen son of Adam. But born of a woman, he was a member of the human race.
Satan had absolutely no claim on the Lord Jesus Christ. If Jesus had been born like we are, He would have inherited Adam’s sin. Jesus is truly human but at the same time unquestionably divine.
When He walked this Earth, Jesus was God and could have obliterated Satan. But He defeated Satan as a man—a righteous, sinless man—using the same resources Adam had in the Garden of Eden: the Spirit of God (See Luke 4:1.) and the Word of God. (See Luke 4:4, 8, 10, and 12.) By the anointing of the Spirit and the authority of the Word, Jesus as a man won this battle and defeated Satan.
Satan then tried to do to Jesus what he did to the first Adam—get Jesus to sin. That’s why Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. (See Luke 4 and Mathew 4.) Just one sin and redemption’s whole plan collapses. In a beautiful garden, Adam lost his estate, but Jesus overcame Satan in a wilderness.
By hounding Jesus to Gethsemane, then bloody Calvary, Satan made his worst mistake ever. Satan thought, “Surely He won’t do this. He won’t pay this price for Adam’s race. He won’t take the sin of the world.” But Jesus said in Gethsemane: “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done,” and on dark Calvary, “It is finished.”
Satan marshaled all the forces of Hell to keep Jesus in that tomb because if He came out, it meant God the Father accepted His payment, and Satan’s legal power was broken. When Jesus rose from the dead, Satan’s dominion and his kingdom came crashing down. (See Romans 1:4.)
As His last act before ascending back to Heaven, Jesus told His disciples:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Then He gave it back to us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19). He already had authority in Heaven. He won it back on Earth. He gloriously gave it to the Church. It is ours. (See Luke 10:19.)
Jesus Christ is today seated far above all rule, authority, power, and dominion. Once the Church grasps the truth of what Jesus did on the cross, how He spoiled principalities and powers, redeemed mankind, and broke Satan’s hold on the human race, then all Heaven will break loose.