Belinda asks:

How does the authority of the local church, given by Jesus relate to the title deed which went from Adam and Eve to Satan? Does Satan have any authority? Is church authority related? Do you know of any relevant verse references?

Great questions that show a wonderful desire to understand the state of the world, the church, and our King in a systematic way. First, You can read my article called “Jesus as Our Redeemer” to understand the background behind Belinda’s question. You can read it by clicking HERE.

From that article, you can see that Satan is currently the prince and power over this world (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11 cf Eph 2:1-3). But if Jesus’s death and resurrection conquered Satan once and for all, how could Satan still be the ruler of this world? It must be stated that ultimately, God is sovereign over everything, but Satan currently has dominion over the world. We can understand this concept by looking at a similar relationship between David and Saul. Saul was anointed king by Samuel at the command of the Lord (1 Sam 10), but he became the illegitimate Benjamite king through disobeying God’s commands repeatedly. Note: According to Jacob’s prophecy, the linage of Judah was to hold the scepter, not the from the lineage of Benjamin. Because of Saul’s disobedience, Samuel, speaking on the Lord’s behalf, instructed Saul that His role as king was coming to an end (1 Sam 13:13-14) Samuel then went on to anoint David as king (1 Sam 16). Yet David would not ascend the throne and rule over all of Israel and Judah for many years (22 years according to my timeline). During that in-between time, Saul persecuted David and his supporters and actively tried to hunt them down and kill them. Even during this time, David refused to let his own people cause Saul harm. David left Saul’s demise, and the hope of his own kingship, into hands of God’s sovereign timetable. Eventually, Saul was killed, and David ascended the throne.

Similarly, Jesus was anointed as king in Matt 28, with all authority in Heaven and Earth being given to Jesus from the Father. Yet Satan is still the prince of the Earth and Jesus has yet to ascend the literal, earthly throne of David, over His kingdom, here on earth. However, there is a time that has been prophesied when Satan will be removed and Jesus will ascend this literal throne and reign over the earth again. In the between time (now), the King is away and His kingdom is manifested through the local church. Where Jesus’s kingdom exists, His kingly power and ultimate authority also exists. Therefore, the church is filled with the authority of Jesus, and nothing in this world (ruled by Satan) has authority over the local church (ruled by Christ). This is what it means for believers to be called ambassadors in this world (the embassy being the local church). Embassies exert their own sovereignty even though they sit on a foreign land (2 Cor 5:11-21 cf Heb 11:13-16). This world is a foreign land because it has a different ruler (Satan). Meanwhile, we are ambassadors representing our King Jesus, who is away.

Believers are also called conquerors because we seek to spread Jesus’s kingdom, through the local church, in this foreign land, by the empowering of the Holy Spirit, while the King is away… and the gates of hades will not prevail against the church (Mt 16:18-19) in its mission (specified in Matt 28:18-20). Eventually, the King will return and establish His universal rule forever more. This is the hope the church has that Jesus will “be with us to the end of the age!”

Please don’t confuse the authority of the local church described above with any kind of authority from individuals within the local church. The believer’s sole source of authority is always and only the Scriptures. The authority of the local church is in the ownership, and responsibility, of the keys to the Kingdom (Mt 16:19). These keys are simply all things concerning the message and proclamation of the person and work of Jesus in His gospel—represented by Peter’s Holy Spirit empowered answer to who Jesus was (Mt 16:15-17).

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