Spiritual Authority

One of the earliest teachings on spiritual authority is found in Exodus. Moses was leading the people of God out of bondage (Egypt) into the promise land. Once they were out of harm’s way the Father manifested to them in power. The people trembled and feared the Lord. They had never encountered the Father in such power and demonstration so near to them and focused on them directly. They had seen His power against the enemies that kept them in bondage. The miraculous events that turned the government of the land to set them free to worship God was more than any human has seen even to this day. We can certainly believe that those demonstrations would be enough to set the authority structure in someone’s life, He is God and that settles it. But the Father wanted communion, He wanted one on one relationship. He wanted to have authority in every area of their life and not just removing the enemies.

The first thing God does once He has delivered them is cut a covenant.

And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: (Exodus 19:3)

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. (Exodus 19:4)

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (Exodus 19:5)

And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6)

The people responded. Whenever the Lord offers covenant there will always be an opportunity to respond.

Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. (Exodus 19:8)

The second thing God did was set Moses as an authority before the people so that they would understand that when Moses spoke he was speaking for God.

And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.” So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. (Exodus 19:9)

Notice that even though Moses was the authority speaking for God, the Lord set the people as a priesthood who were to have direct access to Him

And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words      which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6)

The people were than given their first opportunity to obey the voice of the Lord through Moses.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. (Exodus 19:10)

And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. (Exodus 19:11)

You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, “Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. (Exodus 19:12)

Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.” (Exodus 19:13)

Moses instructs the people.

So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. (Exodus 19:14)

And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.” (Exodus 19:15)

And the Lord comes to meet His people in power and glory.

Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. (Exodus 19:16)

And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. (Exodus 19:17)

The people trembled. They came near to God. This encounter is so powerful.

Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. (Exodus 19:18)

And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. (Exodus 19:19)

Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. (Exodus 19:20)

Notice the Lord calls Moses to come closer still. Moses had a level of consecration that brought him face to face with the Lord. It wasn’t that Moses was better than the people but the Lord desired all the people to come up the mountain. They needed to learn how to consecrate themselves to come near. This was the first time they had done this on this level.

And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the LORD, and many of them perish. (Exodus 19:21)

Also let the priests who come near the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them.” (Exodus 19:22)

Moses didn’t understand the Lord wanted the people to come as near to Him as they could.

But Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for You  warned us, saying, “Set bounds around the mountain and consecrate it.”‘ (Exodus 19:23)

 

It is clear that the Lord knows the people are not ready but is testing Moses. He wants to evoke out of Moses His desire for the people to come near. As leaders our purpose is ALWAYS to bring the people near to God.

Then the LORD said to him, “Away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest He break out against them.” (Exodus 19:24)

So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them. (Exodus 19:25)

The Lord was going to teach Moses and Aaron how to help the people come near to God.

 

Part Two

Moses is called back up the mountain for more instructions to help the people set boundaries. These boundaries were to give them God’s expectation of how to stay pure before the Lord so they can minister to him as a Holy Priesthood. The law was not to be bondage rather to give instruction of God’s expectation and to set boundaries that would protect and over covering. God is not looking to withhold from His people, just the opposite He wants to pour out all that is His to give us an exceeding great end.

Remember God told Moses I will speak to you and the people will hear me and know that it is I who am speaking with you.

The Lord gives the boundaries:

And God spoke all these words, saying: (Exodus 20:1)

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Exodus 20:2)

“You shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:3)

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (Exodus 20:4)

you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, (Exodus 20:5)

but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:6)

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, (Exodus 20:9)

but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. (Exodus 20:10)

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:11)

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

“You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13)

“You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)

You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15)

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17)

What happens next is a manifestation of power on His word, His authority manifested, this was non-negotiable.

Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and   the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. (Exodus 20:18)

The people responded. Out of the abundance of their heart they drew back.

Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:19)

Moses addressed the issue, fear.  Perhaps the people thought they would be unable to keep the commandments. They were facing direct authority that was non-negotiable. They didn’t know that God would enable them, they didn’t perceive Him rightly. They were maybe relating to past authority in Egypt, or a misinformed idea of what God was manifesting. Perhaps they weren’t willing to change the way they lived, perhaps they thought these are too hard we must negotiate these.

The Lord calls them again to priesthood. This is your calling Israel, you will minister to me and I will make a way. The patience of God is unlimited and beyond our human comprehension, His love for us and desire to bring us near is stronger than any fear, any sin, any human entity. He will have a people set apart for Himself to display His glory to, He will have a family.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: “You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. (Exodus 20:22)

You shall not make anything to be with Me–gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves. (Exodus 20:23)

An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. (Exodus 20:24)

And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. (Exodus 20:25)

Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.’ (Exodus 20:26)

The next few chapters the Lord goes into such detail of His expectation covering every area of their lives that would be in need of His authority. He explained the consequences for not following His instructions. He sets a precedent for meetings and corporate gatherings to worship and appear before the Lord. He already set up their individual priesthood but this was as a corporate body.  He gave them a track to run on for His nearness, protection and provision.

The Lord knows everything about the weakness of man. He knew they would be tempted to go back to their old ways so He again sets a boundary.

You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars. (Exodus 23:24)

“So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. (Exodus 23:25)

No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. (Exodus 23:26)

You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. (Exodus 23:32)

They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.” (Exodus 23:33)

At this point the Lord establishes more authority. He extends covenant again looking for a response.

Now He said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. (Exodus 24:1)

This establishes an authority structure. Spiritual authority is more than a title, it is nearness to God. It is not something man can give, the Lord draws those near who He has found to be a pure and clean heart who will represent Him and His authority without question. It is so important that we understand that the Lord sets up the structure. When we see spiritual authority as speaking for the Lord, we honor them not as mere men but as His authority. It is not that the Lord doesn’t want us all to draw near, He does but based on our need for help in areas of our lives, the Lord will set boundaries and help us get to Him as near as we are willing to go. This is the fullness.

This is the goal, to be one with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Again the Lord delineates the authority structure.

And Moses alone shall come near the LORD, but they shall not come near; nor shall the people go up with him.” (Exodus 24:2)

Moses gives the people God’s plan and the people respond and covenant is established.

So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has said we will do.” (Exodus 24:3)

Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. (Exodus 24:5)

And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. (Exodus 24:6)

Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.” (Exodus 24:7)

And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.” (Exodus 24:8)

These next verses are astounding as the authority stood before the Lord to minister to Him. It is a picture of our very own priesthood today that Jesus Christ paid the price for, His blood making possible an everlasting covenant for an eternal priesthood.

And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.” (Exodus 24:14)

Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. (Exodus 24:15)

Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. (Exodus 24:16)

The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. (Exodus 24:17)

Moses goes into an encounter with the Lord that lasts 40 days and 40 nights. We don’t ever want to get in the way of leadership encountering the Lord. It will always manifest such a blessing to the corporate body. In fact we would be best served by praying for leadership to encounter the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights straight!

So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was  on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:18)

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, (Hebrews 12:25)

whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” (Hebrews 12:26)

Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:27)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28)

For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)

When listening to spiritual authority we would do well to realize that they are speaking as they are moved by the Holy Spirit, not as mere men or by their own will. They have submitted themselves to speak what the Lord is speaking.

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; (2 Peter 1:19)

knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, (2 Peter 1:20)

for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)

The word if it is the Lord’s word will not pass away, it will endure forever. Though it may come through a man and who has a particular style or personality, the word will not return void. If we listen we can hear the voice of the word, the Lord’s voice speaking, instructing, protecting, helping, guiding, modeling for us the way to draw near to God and enter into the fullness.

We have to know harder times are coming, that trail, tribulation, war, famines, destruction, chaos but there is something that cannot be shaken, something that will remain. A structure, a plan, and a kingdom that is eternal.

“For thus says the LORD of hosts: “Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; (Haggai 2:6)

and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. (Haggai 2:7)

The authority structure of God’s kingdom is paramount to our navigation through what is to come. We can have assurance and confidence when we know we are submitted to God’s authority both personally and in the corporate church, whether local or global.

The plan is to fill the house with glory, the city a dwelling place, a city of refuge where His Presence and power never lifts. Our submission to authority actually affects that, in that the more of draw near to God together the greater the manifestation of His glory and presence is released. He never intended for one man to be near, He wants us all to be near together, as close as we can physically and spiritually come.

 

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, (Hebrews 12:18)

and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (Hebrews 12:19)

(For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” (Hebrews 12:20)

And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.” (Hebrews 12:21)

Moses at Mount Sinai led the people near to the Lord. We see the fear of the Lord manifesting in Moses’ heart. Moses has the right perception of God who is Holy and Terrible at the same time. We can see that because the Lord continues to draw Him to face to face encounters.

The fear of the Lord plays such an important role in our relationship with the Lord. As we are longing for encounter, longing to know God and to become one with Him in every way, the fear of the Lord keeps us in a place of consecration and right perspective.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

It takes grace to not only walk in the fear of the Lord but to impart it to others so that they also have a right perception of the Lord.

The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:2)

His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; (Isaiah 11:3)

The plan of God is not for us only to draw near to the Lord but that we would lead His people to be near to the Lord in continual communion. The Father is looking for a family to commune with Him 24 hours a day with no break in fellowship. We can do this by operating in spiritual authority both personally and corporately where we minister and by allowing the fear of the Lord to guide us and keep us with a pure heart.

Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. (Exodus 19:16)

Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. (Exodus 19:18)

The earth shook; The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. (Psalm 68:8)

It takes continual communion with the Father to understand the times and the seasons. To have a clear word to give in the midst of the tribulation and shaking that is sure to come as the word of God show us. As messengers we want to be so in tune with the Father, dwelling in His Presence and in communion so that as each trouble would arise we would not only know about it but we would have a His plan to prepare the people to navigate through it.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. (Psalm 68:5)

God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. (Psalm 68:6)

O God, when You went out before Your people, When You marched through the wilderness,Selah (Psalm 68:7)

Just as He delivered the Israelites from Egypt so will He deliver us from every enemy who will come as we near His return. We read in Revelation that the whore of Babylon, the False Prophet, the anti-christ and Satan himself desires to destroy us as we walk through the end times before ushering in the return of Jesus Christ and the Father who will establish their throne on earth and dwell forever in eternity in the New Jerusalem. We have the promise but how to get to the end unshakable and unmoved from our faith enduring without spot or wrinkle until the end comes through a life of continual communion with the Father. A life of worship and intercession giving ourselves to building His Kingdom in the earth and ruling with Him to remove everything that hinders love, this is what we will do no and throughout eternity.

The plan God gave to David in 2 Samuel 7 is still unfulfilled and we have given ourselves to creating that dwelling place in the earth.

“Go and tell My servant David, “Thus says the LORD: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? (2 Samuel 7:5)

Even today the Lord desires a dwelling place in our cities and our nations. He took David who was a man after His heart and placed a plan that would be a plan that would establish His kingdom throughout the ages.

Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. (2 Samuel 7:8)

And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. (2 Samuel 7:9)

Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, (2 Samuel 7:10)

since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. (2 Samuel 7:11)

“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. (2 Samuel 7:12)

He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:13)

I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. (2 Samuel 7:14)

But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. (2 Samuel 7:15)

And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:16)

All throughout the Old Testament the prophets were prophesying to Israel to return to their original calling as a Holy Priesthood. The continual thrust of God was to build a dwelling place for the people to commune in a corporate way with the Lord. Not only do we have unbroken fellowship individually with the Father but a witness of this in the earth that is tangible and can be experienced with the corporate body. It is more than just us entering in, we want the corporate expression of One in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit doing what we will be doing throughout eternity.

The corporate expression of a House of Prayer is an outflow of our personal communion with the Lord. The unending, unbroken fellowship with the Father will lead us through every trial, every tribulation, to the land of promise walking in the fullness of all He has given us through His Son Jesus Christ. We will be doing this forever, we are living for that day when His throne established in the midst of us we see heaven and earth as one.