The Authority of the Believer
by Kenneth Hagin Sr.
In 1952, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me in a vision* and talked to me for about an hour and a half about the devil, demons, and demon possession.
At the end of that vision, an evil spirit that looked like a little monkey or elf ran between Jesus and me and spread something like a smoke screen or dark cloud.
Then this demon began jumping up and down, crying in a shrill voice, “Yakety-yak, yakety-yak, yakety-yak.” I couldn’t see Jesus or understand what He was saying.
(Through this entire experience, Jesus was teaching me something. And if you’ll be attentive, you’ll find the answer here to many things that have troubled you.)
I couldn’t understand why Jesus allowed the demon to make such a racket. I wondered why Jesus didn’t rebuke the demon so I could hear what He was saying. I waited a few moments, but Jesus didn’t take any action against the demon. Jesus was still talking, but I couldn’t understand a word He was saying—and I needed to, because He was giving instructions concerning the devil, demons, and how to exercise authority.
I thought to myself, Doesn’t the Lord know I’m not hearing what He wanted me to? I need to hear that. I’m missing it!
I almost panicked. I became so desperate I cried out, “In the Name of Jesus, you foul spirit, I command you to stop!”
The minute I said that, the little demon hit the floor like a sack of salt, and the black cloud disappeared. The demon lay there trembling, whimpering, and whining like a whipped pup. He wouldn’t look at me. “Not only shut up, but get out of here in Jesus’ Name!” I commanded. He ran off.
The Lord knew exactly what was in my mind. I was thinking, Why didn’t He do something about that? Why did He permit it? Jesus looked at me and said, “If you hadn’t done
(* See Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin’s book I Believe in Visions.)
something about that, I couldn’t have.” That came as a real shock to me—it astounded me. I replied,
“Lord, I know I didn’t hear You right! You said You wouldn’t, didn’t You?”
He replied, “No, if you hadn’t done something about that, I couldn’t have.”
I went through this four times with Him. He was emphatic about it, saying, “No, I didn’t say I would not, I said I could not.”
I said, “Now, dear Lord, I just can’t accept that. I never heard or preached anything like that in my life!”
I told the Lord I didn’t care how many times I saw Him in visions—He would have to prove this to me by at least three Scriptures out of the New Testament (because we’re not living under the Old Covenant, we’re living under the New). Jesus smiled sweetly and said He would give me four.
I said, “I’ve read through the New Testament 150 times, and many portions of it more than that. If that is in there, I don’t know it!”
Jesus replied, “Son, there is a lot in there you don’t know.”
He continued, “Not one single time in the New Testament is the Church ever told to pray that God the Father or Jesus would do anything against the devil. In fact, to do so is to waste your time. The believer is told to do something about the devil. The reason is because you have the authority to do it. The Church is not to pray to God the Father about the devil; the Church is to exercise the authority that belongs to it.
“The New Testament tells believers themselves to do something about the devil. The least member of the Body of Christ has just as much power over the devil as anyone else, and unless believers do something about the devil, nothing will be done in a lot of areas.”
We believe that certain people have power. No, Jesus said
the least member of the Body of Christ has just as much power over the devil as anyone else; and when we start believing that, that’s when we’re going to get the job done.
Jesus continued, “I’ve done all I’m going to do about the devil until the angel comes down from heaven, takes the chain and binds him, and puts him into the bottomless pit [Rev. 20:1- 3].”
That came as a real shock to me.
“Now,” He said, “I’ll give you the four references that prove that. First of all, when I arose from the dead, I said, ‘All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth’ (Matt. 28:1Cool. The word ‘power’ means ‘authority.’ But I immediately delegated my authority on earth to the Church, and I can work only through the Church, for I am the Head of the Church.”
(Your head cannot exercise any authority anywhere except through your body.)
The second reference Jesus gave me was Mark 16:15-18:
MARK 16:15-18 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
He said, “The very first sign mentioned as following any believer—not any pastor or any evangelist—is that they shall cast out devils. That means that in my Name they shall exercise authority over the devil, because I have delegated my authority over the devil to the Church.”
Remember, Colossians 1:13 says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son….” (One translation says “the Father hath delivered us from the power of darkness.”) Again that’s the Greek word ‘power’ here for ‘authority.’
The verse should read, “The Father hath delivered us from the authority of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” God already has delivered us from the authority of darkness! Therefore, we’ve got a right to speak to darkness—that is, Satan and his kingdom—and tell them what to do!
Exercising Authority Over Others
Believers have authority over the devil. They can break the power of the devil if he raises his head anywhere in their own life or the lives of their immediate family or loved ones. They have authority there. They’ll be free from the enemy because they’ve got the right to exercise their authority over him.
That doesn’t mean, however, that they’ll go down the street casting the devil out of everyone they meet. It primarily means they will exercise authority over the devil in their own lives.
You’ve got to realize that you’ve got authority over your own household that you don’t have in my household. Spiritual authority is much like natural authority. For example, you don’t have authority over my money. You can’t tell me what to do with my money unless I give you permission to. You don’t have authority over my children.
You can make the devil desist in some of his maneuvers in somebody else’s life, but you can’t always cast him out, because you don’t have authority in that “household.” That’s one place we’ve missed it.
The next reference Jesus gave me was James 4:7: “.. .Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (the understood subject of
this sentence is “you”). The believer has to have authority over the devil, or the
Bible wouldn’t tell him to do something about the devil. This Scripture doesn’t say that the devil will flee from Jesus; it says he’ll flee from you!
Similarly, you don’t pray that Jesus will lay hands on the sick; you do it. Notice, too, that the hands are not in the Head; the hands are in the Body: “They … shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” When you lay hands on the sick, you are exercising authority over the devil.
That authority is yours whether you feel like you’ve got it or not. Authority has nothing to do with feelings. But you must exercise it.
After that vision, and after Jesus gave me that verse from James, my spirit told me the word “flee” was significant. I looked it up in the dictionary and found one of the shades of meanings was “to run from as if in terror.” The devil will run from you in terror! Then I knew why the demon in my vision had begun to whimper and cry—he was terrified.
Since then I have seen other demons quake and quiver in fear as I exercised my God-given authority over them. They were not afraid of me, but of Jesus, whom I represent.
In the vision Jesus gave me another Scripture that tells us to do something about the devil. This third reference was from First Peter. Peter wrote, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:Cool. Your adversary means your opponent.
This is as far as a lot of people read. They say, “Oh, the devil’s after me!” They ask for prayer so the devil won’t get them —but the devil’s already got them if they talk that way. It’s too late to pray then.
What are we going to do about him: Roll over and play dead? Hide our head in the sand and hope he’ll disappear? No,
thank God, notice what it says as we go on reading. The next verse reads, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions [tests and trials] are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” The American Standard Version says “your faith” instead of “the faith.” I like that better.
Jesus said to me in this vision, “Peter did not write this letter and tell Christians, ‘Now, word has come to me that God’s using our beloved Brother Paul in casting out devils, and he’s sending handkerchiefs or cloths, and the diseases are departing from people, and evil spirits are going out of them, so I would suggest that you write to Paul and get a handkerchief.’ ”
No, instead of that, he told them to do something about the devil. Why? Because they’ve got authority over him. The Spirit of God through the Apostle Peter wouldn’t tell you to do something you couldn’t do. The reason you can do it is because every believer has the same authority Paul had in Jesus Christ. Peter didn’t tell us that only Paul could cast out devils or that Paul would resist the devil for us. (Why get Paul to do it when you can do it for yourself?)
Standing for Baby Christians
People are always asking me why they don’t get healed. Some think there is something wrong with the preacher who prayed for them!
I explain that when they were first saved, they were baby Christians, and God permitted others to pray for them and carry them on their faith. But after a while, God expects that baby to grow, walk, and start doing things for himself. God puts the baby down and tells him to walk, but many won’t. Too many people still want to be babies and have someone else pray for them all the time.
We want to help those who can’t help themselves, but we need to teach people so they can grow and use their own
authority, because the time will come when they will have to use their own authority if they want their prayers answered.
Once my wife and I stayed in a certain couple’s home while attending a convention. The woman had been in our church before she had married. They asked us to pray for their baby boy, just a few months old, who had a rupture. The doctors wanted to operate on him.
We cursed the rupture and commanded it to wither and die. In a matter of a few days, it had disappeared completely and the baby never had to have the operation.
The baby’s mother said, “Brother Hagin, I don’t mean to be critical, but in our church it seems that we younger people are the only ones who have any faith for healing. I didn’t know who to ask to pray for the baby before you came, because no one ever gets healed here.”
We ought to grow stronger in faith the older we get, but too often we don’t. In her church, as in so many, most of the people were saved when they were younger, and God permitted others to pray for them then. But because of a lack of right teaching, they remained in that babyhood stage of Christian development. They said, “We used to get healed when we were first Christians, but now we don’t.”
It would make just as much sense for you never to have any clothes of your own—always depending on wearing somebody else’s clothes—as it would for you never to exercise your own faith or do your own praying, always depending on somebody else’s prayers.
What happens to people who never attempt to exercise any faith of their own, but always rely on other people’s faith? We just read that “.. .your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…” But the believer can do something about him.
Jesus, James, and Peter tell us to do something about the devil. Paul says in Ephesians 4:27, “Neither give place to the
devil.” This was the fourth Scripture Jesus gave me. He explained, “This means you are not to give the devil any place in you. He cannot take any place unless you give him permission to do so. And you would have to have authority over him or this wouldn’t be true.”
Authority on the Earth
Jesus added, “Here are your four witnesses. I am the first, James is the second, Peter is the third, and Paul is the fourth. This establishes the fact that the believer has authority on earth, for I have delegated my authority over the devil to you on the earth. If you don’t do anything about it, nothing will be done. And that is why many times nothing is done.”
Now you can understand why things have happened as they have. We’ve permitted them to happen! Not knowing our authority—not knowing what we could do—we have done nothing, and we actually have permitted the devil to keep on doing whatever he wanted to do.