Kingdom of God
in 13 Weeks
Power and Authority in the Kingdom. Learning About the Authority We Have: Week 9
Dunamis is used to translate two Hebrew words in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX). The Hebrew words generally mean military power or force. The overwhelming proof of the power of God in the Old Testament was the miraculous deliverance of Israel at the Sea of Reeds (Ex 15.6, Deut. 3.24; 9.26-29). The most comprehensive demonstration of the power of God certainly is demonstrated in the creation of the world (Gen. 1-2). Jeremiah describes this awesome power to create in Jeramiah 27.5. He says the same essential thing in a prayer that is recorded in Jeramiah 32.17. Micah talked about the power of God working in him (Micah 3.8). In this passage, the Hebrew parallelism suggests that to be filled with power is to have the presence of the Holy Spirit. Micah is not saying that he is filled with power and the Holy Spirit but rather he is filled with the Spirit which is the same thing as being filled with the power of God.
Synoptic Gospels and Acts
The Gospel of John
The Writings of Paul
To understand the New Testament use of the word we are indebted to the Old Testament book of Daniel. God delegates authority to world rulers. God installs and removes kings (Dan. 2.21; 4.31). In Daniel we discover that the authority invested in the "son of man" is endowed by God. This authority would be given to the true Israel, the church (Dan. 7.14) is the absolute power of the king to govern the people of God. In Rabbinical literature the word means ruling power.
The Hebrew word (rasuit), not found in the Old Testament but among the writings of the Rabbis, means an authoritative power of action like the power of attorney who is given the power of an ambassador. The judicial sense of rasuit designates the right to marry, teach, or inherit. Finally, the word is used to denote freedom of action. The New Testament uses the word exousia frequently, most frequently in Revelation. In secular usage it meant the power to give orders (Matthew 8.9, the Centurion).
Power and Authority and Believers
Jesus expelled demons by his authority. He deprived Satan and his demonic host of their power, that is their ability to do evil, thus destroying the works of Satan by snatching men from his rule. Jesus passed the same authority to his disciples (Matt. 10.1; Mark 3.15; 6.7; Luke 10.19). John's Gospel tells us that everyone who receives Jesus receives from Jesus the power (exousia) to become his child (John 1.12). Three words are important to this verse. First, give. God gives to those who believe the right to become his child. Second, the right. This is our word exousia. John is not speaking of power as some ability to do a certain task but to gain status. Jesus gives those who believe full authority to become. He gives us the power to change status. Finally, children. Those who believe become children. John uses a term that draws attention to the community or family. As a part of the family, we become partakers of the divine nature of the Father (2 Peter 1.4). When we believe, we are given authority (the right) to change our status from children of Satan to children of God.
Luke teaches us through the words of Jesus that we have been given authority (exousia), which is the right to use God's power (the ability to accomplish a task) to tread on serpents and scorpions. Think of it this way. A police officer who directs traffic does not have the power to stop a car because it is much bigger and more powerful than he or she is. However, a police officer does have the authority to stop a car by merely raising his hand. The government has delegated his authority to him.
The Centurion of Matthew 8.5-13 demonstrates this very fact. He knew what authority was. He had been delegated his authority by his superior. Those under him had to follow his command. His authority to command was granted because he was also under the authority of his senior officer and finally Caesar himself. Ultimate authority came from Caesar, but the Centurion issued the orders. This was a one time gift of authority to the Centurion. He did not have to run to Caesar each time he needed to give an order to his followers. The same idea is true for believers. God has passed on his authority to us through Jesus who sent the Holy Spirit to continue his ministry through us. We have been empowered (Acts 1.8) to do his work. We have the responsibility to exercise the power and authority he has given us.
Doin' the Stuff!
BibleHandbook: Resource Stuff
Read the following Dictionary Articles from Easton's Bible Dictionary. Easton's is about a century old, therefore, some of the information is not current with newer Bible Dictionaries. You might read the articles off-line in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If you like lots of color pictures, try Revell Bible Dictionary. One of these should suit your personal needs.