One of the most central things in the universe is authority.
But we have lost our understanding and value for authority. In the earlier days, authority was respected and honored and greatly desired. All ancient cultures had a great respect for authority, whether in the home or in society. As we lost our sense of authority, we have also started losing our most valuable institutions, such as the family, marriage, etc. And this loss is reflected in the breaking down of society and the rise of crime and criminal behaviour.
What is crime, but lawlessness, or anti-authority conduct?
God places a great price on authority, so much so that it is higher than right and wrong.
Is that difficult to grasp? But its true. Look at the story of David and King Saul. Saul was the anointed king before David, and although he did wickedly and even tried to kill David, David was commended for being submissive and faithful to King Saul. David did not stretch forth his own hand against the king, EVEN IN SELF DEFENCE.
When the Lord Jesus was being taken by the Romans, Peter tried to save him using a sword, but the Lord reprimanded him and told him that if it was a matter of simply saving himself then He could ask the Father, and the Father would send twelve legions of angels for delivering Him. No - The Lord submitted to the authority of the Romans, and then of the Jewish leaders.
Power and strength are not equal to authority.
Authority is distinct from mere power.
Otherwise might would be right and the law of the jungle would prevail.
Let us learn to submit to authority, whether it be of our parents, or teachers, or elders, or government leaders for in doing so, we please God and it shall be well with us. The world teaches us to rebel against authority if we think it is doing wrong, but the Bible teaches us NOT TO JUDGE those in authority. Who are we to judge those who are over us? It is God who places one over the other. All authorities represent the supreme authority of God.
When you see your father you should see God's authority; when you see your leader, you should see God's authority.
But here is the problem - people in authority are fallible and prone to errors. And when they do err or do wrong, we think it is alright to rebel! But that is precisely where we are tested. All those under authority are tested when their authority figure does something wrong; that is exactly when it is VITAL to show submission. If you cannot submit when the authority errs, then you have never been submissive at all.
Being submissive is an attitude; it does not mean the same thing as obedience.
You may disobey and yet be submissive!
But you may obey and yet be rebellious also!
Submissiveness is of the heart. And the Lord sees the heart. Precious in His sight is a submissive heart, O how precious! We do not submit for the sake of men, but for the sake of the Lord. But we rebel only for our own sake, and never for the sake of God.
Everything starts and ends in authority, in God's sight. Authority is of many types, such as authority in the family, authority in government and civil society, authority in the church and spiritual authority. These are categorized differently because of the area of authority but they all function in a similar way. The Bible states that authority in the home springs from the headship of the father, flows through the mother down to the children. Thus the children are to submit to both the mother and father; the mother is to submit to her husband, and the husband is to submit to God. Authority is exercised jointly by the parents over the children, and the atmosphere in which authority must be exercised is an atmosphere of love, kindness and gentleness. Somehow, whenever the word authority is mentioned we imagine a strict and stern visage where there is an absence of laughter, joy and love. But that is not true. It is unfortunate that many persons have exercised authority in an 'authoritarian' manner such that people have begun to hate and dread authority. However it is not the ideal way in which authority is to be exercised. In fact, when it is functioning in the right manner, authority tends to be invisible and inobtrusive. It undergirds all activity yet is not overbearing. Authority lends structure and form to relationships and functions. Authority is the principle that undergirds liberty and freedom.
Misguided people think that they will find freedom once they break the shackles of authority. But true freedom is found only within the boundaries of legitimate authority.
If you witness the social conditions of western countries you will notice that the breakdown of the institution of marriage from the 1960's resulted in the breakdown of the family structure, and now they are near total chaos. First the men strayed away from God and found it embarassing to be part of a church. Since they themselves did not have personal faith in God, their religious activity was just a sham and their children saw it. Kids can clearly spot hypocrisy and they do not like it. The children rebelled against the hypocrisy of the parents and totally turned away from God. But it all started with rebellion which came with the music revolution with pop and rock music sowing the seeds of rebellion in an entire generation. Young people broke away from home and started indulging in sexual relations without getting married; it was called "free love" and something that accompanied the Woodstock years. Tens of thousands of children were born outside wedlock and they suffered terribly under single parents who were given to alcohol and drugs. These children grew up broken and disoriented without moral and emotional foundations. Lack of love rooted in authority led them to seek love wherever they could find it, in whatever shape or form. Thus we had the explosion of homosexual activity, gays and lesbians. Breaking all natural boundaries they thought they had found love in misplaced sexual activity. The people were not evil but they were hurt people who had no guidance nor direction nor anyone to care for them. Now these same-sex couples want to have children and bring them up. One can only imagine what will be the mindsets of children who grow up in same sex homes, for they will not have the nurture and role models that God had intended children to have. But the decay has been progressive.
Yet, if you will be honest you will admit that if you want to be excellent in any sport or trade or profession, you have to conform to some rules. Rules are nothing but a manifestation of authority. But people have rejected authority in the family and society and yet they think they will have excellent lives! How can this be?!?
Ask any sportsman or businessman. If you want to be top in that field, you have to abide by certain rules, whether for training, practice or performance. Excellence and proficiency come by disciplined adherence to rules. But now people do not want rules. They say, "Who are you to make rules for us?"
They laugh at rules of nature. They mock at the male-female distinction. They pervert natural things and yet expect to find fulfillment. There can be no peace or fulfillment in the absence of authority.
Everything has a form, a structure. Everything. From the atom to the galaxy. There are laws governing movements and life of planets and micro-organisms. You cannot violate laws without consequence. Laws imply a lawmaker, and that brings you to authority. All natural and physical laws indicate the ultimate lawmaker, which is God. It is a foolish mind that sees the natural world and imagines it to be an accident, or a result of chance.
If any unbiased, objective viewer would study the structure of a single cell of the human body and the manner in which it functions, he would realize that this kind of intricate detail could not be, except by design of a Great Mind, beyond our imagination. If the human brain itself continues to baffle scientists, how much more the mind of the Maker!
Rebellious people become blind and cannot discern authority because they do not want to see it. And yet you cannot avoid it or do away with it altogether, because even in the lawless environments of a criminal gang there is one supreme leader to whom all submit and yield. Yes, the demons in hell also bow before the chief of devils, and they all tremble and bow at the name of God.
The battle in the heavenlies is about authority. If it had been about power, it would have ended a long time ago, in a moment, because the power of God is beyond challenge by any created being, and such is Lucifer, or Satan. The battle is about authority, and this is why the devil is still fighting, trying to make the people of the earth submit to his authority by rejecting the authority of God. Otherwise, the battle was over at the cross itself, when Jesus died and rose again the third day. Satan has been totally vanquished. He is only seeking to extend his rule through deception. If he can somehow prevent God's Will from being done, if he can somehow prevent Israel from acknowledging her Messiah, Yeshua, then he can continue to rule in earth. Because Jesus said to Israel, "You will not see me again until you say 'Baruch haba b'shem adonai'" i.e. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
When it speaks about coming 'in the name of the Lord' it speaks about authority. Will Israel recognize the authority which Christ represents? Will they see that He is "of God"?
"He that receives me, has received the Father."
There is so much to be learnt and understood about authority but it cannot all be said here. I write about it in my book on authority, entitled Total Dominion.