This is an extremely important topic that touches on rebellion, reliance on faith, judgment, the work of God, blessing and more. A proper understanding of Spiritual Authority is critical to submission thereto. Most important is an understanding of the sovereignty of God for without this one may experience confusion, restlessness, and openness to deception by the enemy. Because we are discussing a spiritual matter a fundamental knowledge of who and how the Holy Spirit deals with His people is relevant to the entire topic, e.g. the Spirit is contrary to natural worldly reason. So, Spiritual Authority is not based on conjecture and rational analysis, but by God’s anointing, and those under authority.
The scripture has many clear examples that illustrate and define Spiritual Authority involving Abraham, Moses, David, and others, including those who rebelled against God and the Spiritual Authority He established. One who opposes the Spiritual Authority of God is in opposition God Himself. This alone should denote the seriousness of this sin — the sin of Rebellion. Satan rebelled when he sought to ascend beyond the authority of God. (Isa. 14:13-14).
Yeshua was found by a Roman Centurion officer, “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Matt. 8: 6-10). This Gentile believer had such great faith as to amaze Yeshua and his faith was grounded in a proper recognition of God’s authority and the Centurion’s place under that authority.
Another Roman officer illustrates spiritual authority, Pilate to whom Yeshua was taken, said, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:10:11). Jesus understood spiritual authority and identified it to Pilate, however, Pilate neither respected truth, justice, nor authority and yielded his authority to a mob. “For the third time he spoke to them: ‘Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.’ But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” (Luke 23:22-23). It was Yeshua who offered Himself as a pure sacrifice on the cross, not simply the miscarriage of Roman justice, but Pilate was nevertheless responsible for putting an innocent man to death. We see God’s authority and will carried out perfectly on all levels in every respect and through this perfect sacrifice of His one and only Son, salvation for whoever believes on Him, and the casting down of the enemy, the accuser, the evil one.
Spiritual Authority is not the same as worldly authority, although God grants authority in reality e.g. to government agents to keep peace, order and restrain the wicked. (1 Pet. 2:13-14). Spiritual Authority is given by God and exercised under God authority and in accordance with His will. Through history we have seen abuses and frauds claiming a position of authority by those who were opposed to God’s own authority and we’re not in submission to Him. King David was anointed by Samuel through God’s command to be King over Israel and God put Saul who was seeking to destroy him into David’s hands. However, David did not consider it within his authority to kill one the Lord God had anointed. This submission to God pleased God and He said that David was a man after His own heart. (1 Sam. 13:14). This is an important principle that we must submit to God’s ultimate authority in every situation even through oppression, injustice, and threat by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit; that our loving God is sovereign and fully able to care for us in every circumstance. We remain under authority to walk in the anointing of God’s spiritual authority.