To obtain a healthy respect for what authority really is, we first must firmly establish what authority is NOT. Authority and ownership are NOT synonyms. Anyone who has been given authority may indeed act within the established limits of said authority, but ownership of a place (or organization) is retained by the one who has delegated that power.
Consider this: If a person buys a building filled with apartments, and then hires someone who is given authority to supervise those apartments, ownership is not transferred to supervisor, but remains with the owner exclusively. The owner is still the true power, even if he/she has granted great authority to the new servant.
When God created the world for His little ones, He gave Adam complete dominion (authority) to rule and subdue the world. God Almighty's delegated authority - power beyond measure. But we must never imagine for a moment that the Great Creator and King of Glory was in any way relinquishing His rights as creation's sovereign owner. Adam had indeed been given great authority (unlike anyone since), but it was clearly shown in the events of "the fall" that his authority was reliant upon obedience and fellowship with the One who had given him that power.
So when Adam foolishly squandered his authority over mankind as its titular head (God's delegated first-born), the rancid benefactor of that wicked exchange was thereafter equipped to use that authority against mankind. Here is where much confusion sneaks into our collective doctrines on the matter - and these must be cleared away by stating a few brief absolutes.
a. By usurping Adam's authority, it does NOT follow that the devil also gained the power that Adam had been given. We've already established that Adam's power was a delegated power that was exclusively reliant upon his relationship to God. The devil has no relationship with God - so the authority that he stole was a partial authority tethered only to man's free will. The snake did NOT acquire a conduit to the power of God that Adam enjoyed, which rested within the first-Born's authority. Whatever power the devil still wields over his rotten kingdom of damned spirits, it is a derivative power that he received long before our creation began - when he was still in obedience to God and was given those abilities. As we covered in a previous episode of this writing, Paul confirmed that God's gifts are irrevocable, and the devil is the prime example.
b. We read in the Gospels that the devil took Yeshua onto a high mountain and showed Him the kingdoms of this world. "And he said to him, 'I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.'” (Luke 4:6-7) Let us consider this carefully. First - we know that the devil is a liar, but he was NOT lying about his authority over these places. He was offering Jesus (falsely, no doubt) something that he actually had to give. It would not have been listed in God's Holy Word as an actual "temptation" under any other terms. Secondly; It was not God, but Adam (Yeshua's first-born) who had given the devil that authority. Finally, we are given a comforting conclusion to that anecdote. Yeshua's answer to the devil's bribe was a stiff rebuke that put the devil to flight; perfectly illustrating the point that was made (above) about the limits of the authority in question. The True Owner of this world had rejected the devil's stupid offer.
c. Working within the constructs that we've established thus far, we must completely reject some of the careless rhetoric that I have heard (and read) even among the most knowledgeable scholars and theologians who discourse on the matter of satan's authority in this fallen world. Here is an absolute: The devil is NOT a god. He is not the "god of this world" as I have heard many foolishly say (though he regularly poses as one, and is even worshiped by many as one). The authority he gained was the conveyance of man's free moral will, but Adam's power is a matter that remains between God and His children alone. One might generously call that snake a prince of his own rancid, diminished, rotten kingdom - but nothing more. This world (and any other that exists) has but ONE GOD. Only ONE. Abba has never relinquished ownership to the tiniest sliver of His creation, and He even holds the keys to death, hell, and the grave by way of His Holy Son's unfathomable exertions on the cross.
Therefore, the enemy's authority to wreak havoc in this world came as a result of Adam's sin - and was utterly revoked through the Holy and redemptive Blood of The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Until the time finally comes for Yeshua to take this Earth by force (and He certainly shall), The Lord works through the lives of submitted sons and daughters by the all consuming power of The Great Holy Spirit.
You've heard it said that we are in the midst of a cosmic war, but this is not true. We all know that God would win any such engagement with ridiculous ease. Rather, our world is consumed by a hostage crisis that started in Eden. A condemned criminal was able to prolong his time of judgment by tricking God's little one's into wickedness. He then thanked God's little ones (and ever since) by holding a knife to their collective throats, daring their Holy Father to act - all the while knowing that doing so would be the eternal death of untold billions. That is, until Yeshua paid that ransom and was given all power, dominion, and authority. The Owner and King of this world would not (and will not) be parted from His redeemed little ones. Any who come to Him are saved.
The way back to Eden has been restored through the precious Blood of Jesus, and by the remission of sins through wholehearted repentance.
With this, we have established firm grounding on which to build a better understanding of authority at it's root. When next we speak, we will dive a little deeper and see what can be learned of authority among men - and how it is used against us to great and terrible affect.
Your brother and servant in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Mark Scott Grimmett GoldenLight Ministries