When did the delegated authority end?
Jesus delegated authority and “power” to the apostles Matt 10:1. The “seventy” and the apostles, were given authority over demons and physical harm Luke 9:1, 10:19 Acts 28:3-5. Some measure of the “power” (the miraculous “gifts”) of the apostles, was passed on to others, by the “laying on of the apostles hands” Acts 8:18.
1 Corinthians 14:37
37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
Paul claims that the words he writes are the actual commandments of God!
1 Peter 4:10-11
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Peter says that those who had the miraculous gift of “speaking” for God, were revealing God’s will, to their fellow Christians. They had been given delegated authority and “power”… by God… to do just that! Yet even Peter himself was not to speak on his own authority, as a man, but “as the oracles of God”… that is… what God, through the Holy Spirit, revealed to him.
19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Peter was one who had this delegated authority, although he was not alone in this responsibility to use the “power” that was given. In this verse, Jesus likens it to opening up the kingdom, with the “keys” that were to be given. If one searches for a list of the uses of word; “kingdom”… one quickly finds that “preaching the kingdom” was what John, Jesus, and the apostles did… a lot.
20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
The purpose of the “signs” accompanying these empowered people was what?… “confirming the word!”
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
Jesus’ words, and his empowered disciples words, were to reveal salvation. The signs, miracles and wonders are what confirmed that it truly was God speaking!
What was the duration of this delegated authority? Are the “miraculous gifts” still with us today? There are differing beliefs on just when they ended, but it is generally accepted in the Restoration Movement, that they have indeed ended. Here are some verses that pertain to the completion of the delegated authority and the “miraculous gifts.”
1 “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.
2 “It shall be in that day,” says the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.
3 It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live,…
Zechariah links the time of the end of “prophets” and “unclean spirits” to the same “day” when a fountain for sin is opened. John 4:14 Rev 21:6
24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. Heb 9:12
Daniel links the time of the end of “prophecy” and “vision” with the end of the people (Israelites) and the holy city (Jerusalem) and the anointing of the Most Holy (Christ). (Look at the other things that simultaneously happen.)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Paul links the ending of the “gifts” to when the “perfect man” and the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” would come.
1 Corinthians 12:28-31
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
Paul lists the “gifts” again, but says there is a “more excellent way”… love.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
Paul links the end of the “gifts” to the time when the “perfect has come.” (In his future.)Heb 12:23 The “gifts” and “delegated authority” ended, when the “perfect” came.
When exactly was that? I’ll leave you to think about it, as we move on. In part 3 we will begin looking at the use of authority in the later history of the church.