Exousia

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In Romans 9:21[1] Paul uses ἐξουσίαν in the accusative singular to denote "the power of choice" the potter has over the clay.

But men should only be clay in God's hands. God even bestow choice on man because there can be no love without choice.

In Romans 13 we see “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

What was Paul attempting to say in his Epistle to the Romans?

The phrase " higher powers" is from the Greek "exousia huperecho", [ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις] and later the singular noun "exousia ", [ἐξουσία][2] is seen in the same verse.

In the fifth century B.C. writings of Thucydides the Greek word exousia is used by Antiphon Orator meaning “an ability to do something” if there were no hindrances (Kittel, 2:562). The word generally denotes the "right to act according to moral standards". It can be used in an official sense to describe the authority of a king but before kings exousia was used to denote the natural choice to do or not do something by right.

The word "ἐξουσία" appear 4 times in reference to an adversarial jurisdiction, 12 times in reference to a right, 11 times concerning conflicts of justice and 51 times in reference to Jesus. Jesus as the Christ came to set us free if we will repent and seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

There was a time when there was no king in Israel. God did not tell man to choose a king. Cain and Nimrod set up such systems but when the voice of the people chose to have a ruler in Israel it was said they rejected God.

Christ did not come to subject us to Babylon or Pharaoh or to entangle us again in the bondage of Egypt or in the elements of the world.

The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon "ἐξουσία" is defined:

(1) power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; leave or permission
(2) physical and mental power; the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises
(3) the power of authority (influence) and of right; delegated authority
(4) the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed; authority (Page 225).

Government is not even mentioned until the 4th definition and all governments are not top down. In fact it is generally believed that governments can only derive their just powers from the consent of the people whom they govern. [3]

While the point of consent may be debated there should be little doubt that the "power of rule or government" begin with the people as natural rights vested in every man by God.[4] Not the power to rule your brother like Cain and Nimrod but to rule over our own passions in righteousness as free souls under God.


ἐξουσίαις - noun: dative, plural, feminine

  1. power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases
a. leave or permission

We also see ἐξουσίαις in reference to heavens rights not the government of men:

Ephesians 3:10 noun: dative, plural, feminine
GRK: καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς
NAS: to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly
KJV: and powers in
INT: and the authorities in the

And gain ἐξουσίαις appears in Titus 3:1 speaking to early Christians not engaged in covetous practices but living by fervent charity in the practice of pure Religion warning them to be cooperative and not a brawler but certainly not excusing praying or applying to the Fathers upon the earth or those who claim to be benefactors but exercise authority one over the other.

noun: dative, plural, feminine
GRK: αὐτοὺς ἀρχαῖς ἐξουσίαις ὑποτάσσεσθαι πειθαρχεῖν
NAS: to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient,
KJV: and powers, to obey magistrates, [This is not the word normally translated magistrate]
INT: them to rulers to authorities to be subject to be obedient

So who is the king and who should a real Christian be obeying?[5]

ὑπερεχούσαις - verb: present, active, participle, dative, plural, feminine

  1. to have or hold over one

The words "governing authorities" is really a paraphrase and novel interpretation of "ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις" which may match many modern eschatological but not necessarily what Christians were doing in the early Church.

In Romans 13:1 ὑπερεχούσαις is translated "higher".
In Philippians 2:3 ὑπερεχούσαις is translated "better than" .
In Philippians 3:8 ὑπερεχούσαις is translated "the excellency" of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
In Philippians 4:7 ὑπερεχούσαις is translated "passeth" in refference to "... the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
In 1 Peter 2:13 ὑπερεχούσαις is translated "supreme" in reference to the king by the same man who said there is another king one Jesus and did contrary to the decrees of Caesar.[6]


As singular ἐξουσίᾳ (exousia) [2] is also seen 29 times in the text of verses Ref.:

Matthew 21:23 N-DFS
GRK: Ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς
NAS: By what authority are You doing
KJV: what authority doest thou
INT: By what authority these things do you
Matthew 21:24 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ
NAS: you by what authority I do
KJV: by what authority I do these things.
INT: by what authority these things I do
Matthew 21:27 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ
NAS: you by what authority I do
KJV: by what authority I do these things.
INT: by what authority these things I do
Matthew 28:18 N-NFS
GRK: μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ
NAS: All authority has been given
KJV: saying, All power is given unto me
INT: to me all authority in heaven
Mark 11:28 N-DFS
GRK: Ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς
NAS: to Him, By what authority are You doing
KJV: what authority doest thou
INT: By what authority these things do you
Mark 11:29 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ
NAS: you by what authority I do
KJV: by what authority I do these things.
INT: by what authority these things I do
Mark 11:33 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ
NAS: you by what authority I do
KJV: by what authority I do these things.
INT: by what authority these things I do
Luke 4:32 N-DFS
GRK: ὅτι ἐν ἐξουσίᾳ ἦν ὁ
NAS: for His message was with authority.
KJV: was with power.
INT: for with authority was the
Luke 4:36 N-DFS
GRK: ὅτι ἐν ἐξουσίᾳ καὶ δυνάμει
NAS: message? For with authority and power
KJV: for with authority and power
INT: that with authority and power
Luke 20:2 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς
NAS: us by what authority You are doing
KJV: what authority doest thou
INT: by what authority these things you do
Luke 20:8 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ
NAS: you by what authority I do
KJV: by what authority I do these things.
INT: by what authority these things I do
Luke 20:20 N-DFS
GRK: καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος
NAS: Him to the rule and the authority of the governor.
KJV: and authority of the governor.
INT: and to the authority of the governor
Luke 22:53 N-NFS
GRK: καὶ ἡ ἐξουσία τοῦ σκότους
NAS: hour and the power of darkness
KJV: hour, and the power of darkness.
INT: and the power of the darkness
Acts 1:7 N-DFS
GRK: τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ
NAS: has fixed by His own authority;
KJV: in his own power.
INT: his own authority
Acts 5:4 N-DFS
GRK: τῇ σῇ ἐξουσίᾳ ὑπῆρχεν τί
NAS: was it not under your control? Why
KJV: thine own power? why
INT: the own authority it was [not] why
Romans 13:1 N-NFS
GRK: γὰρ ἔστιν ἐξουσία εἰ μὴ
NAS: For there is no authority except
KJV: there is no power but of
INT: indeed there is authority if not
Romans 13:2 N-DFS
GRK: ἀντιτασσόμενος τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τῇ τοῦ
NAS: resists authority has opposed
KJV: resisteth the power, resisteth
INT: sets himself against the authority the
1 Corinthians 8:9 N-NFS
GRK: πως ἡ ἐξουσία ὑμῶν αὕτη
NAS: that this liberty of yours
KJV: this liberty of yours
INT: somehow the right of you this
1 Corinthians 9:12 N-DFS
GRK: ἐχρησάμεθα τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ ταύτῃ ἀλλὰ
NAS: this right, but we endure
KJV: used this power; but suffer
INT: we did use the right this but
1 Corinthians 9:18 N-DFS
GRK: καταχρήσασθαι τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ μου ἐν
NAS: as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
KJV: not my power in the gospel.
INT: using up the right of me in
Jude 1:25 N-NFS
GRK: κράτος καὶ ἐξουσία πρὸ παντὸς
NAS: dominion and authority, before
KJV: dominion and power, both now
INT: dominion and authority before all
Revelation 6:8 N-NFS
GRK: ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἐξουσία ἐπὶ τὸ
NAS: was following with him. Authority was given
KJV: him. And power was given unto them
INT: was given to them authority over the
Revelation 9:3 N-NFS
GRK: ἐδόθη αὐταῖς ἐξουσία ὡς ἔχουσιν
NAS: upon the earth, and power was given
KJV: was given power, as
INT: was given to them power as have
Revelation 9:10 N-NFS
GRK: αὐτῶν ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἀδικῆσαι
NAS: and in their tails is their power to hurt
KJV: and their power [was] to hurt men
INT: of them the power of them to injure
Revelation 9:19 N-NFS
GRK: ἡ γὰρ ἐξουσία τῶν ἵππων
NAS: For the power of the horses
KJV: For their power is in
INT: the indeed powers of the horses
Revelation 12:10 N-NFS
GRK: καὶ ἡ ἐξουσία τοῦ χριστοῦ
NAS: of our God and the authority of His Christ
KJV: God, and the power of his Christ:
INT: and the authority the Christ
Revelation 13:5 N-NFS
GRK: ἐδόθη αὐτῷ ἐξουσία ποιῆσαι μῆνας
NAS: words and blasphemies, and authority to act
KJV: and power was given
INT: was given to it authority to act months
Revelation 13:7 N-NFS
GRK: ἐδόθη αὐτῷ ἐξουσία ἐπὶ πᾶσαν
NAS: and to overcome them, and authority over
KJV: them: and power was given him
INT: was given to it authority over every
Revelation 22:14 N-NFS
GRK: ἔσται ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἐπὶ
NAS: so that they may have the right to the tree
KJV: they may have right to the tree
INT: will be the right of them to


Terms of the Times

"Ancient texts require ancient dictionaries."


To claim that Paul is actually saying that we should be at liberty to obey God rather than be subject to the will of other men is a bold accusation against the doctrines of modern Christendom. Has the Church been steadily deceived, by either negligence or design, arrogance or ignorance?

A theme throughout the Bible has been to set men free so we should be willing to examine how the word exousia was used by the Greeks and the authors of those sacred texts in the days of Christ. Although the use of words changes over time the Greek Glossary of Aristotelian Terms states that exousia means “right”.[7]

Aristotle actually exemplifies exousia’s use in the statement, “The right (exousia) to do anything one wishes...”[8]

The rights or privileges of governments are ordained of men. That ordination of power into the hands of governments almost always occurs when the people reject God[9] and choose to go away from His ways[10] and out of His presence.[11]

Since we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights it makes sense to say our original right to choose is ordained of God. Since man is a creation of God and governments are a creation of men the power maintained by those governments is based on the consent or actions of men, not upon any appointment by God.

In Plato’s notes the “Greek words for freedom (are) eleutheros (liberal/Free), exousia (Freedom/Power to do something), ...”[12]

While Plato and Aristotle’s definition of the word exousia was from a classical Greek period, their opinion was still in conformity with the second century A.D. Cynic philosopher, Enomaos.

Aldo Brancacci examines the definition of ‘freedom’ in his Liberta e fato in Enamao di Gadara. In Bryn Mawr’s Classical Review we see, “Brancacci notices that the term used by Enomaos to refer to human freedom is not the typical Cynic one (eleutheria), but exousia, which expresses ‘the new concept of freedom in opposition to the already defunct and unhelpful eleutheria’.”[13]

Enomaos’, sometimes written Oenomaos’, writings were preserved by Eusubius. For at least five centuries the word exousia consistently referenced human liberty and freedom. Are we supposed to believe that Paul is telling us to give up our freedom and liberty and become subject once again? Or have we already?

God sent Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Gideon and a host of others to set us free in truth. We were to be free souls under God, created by God and have no other gods before Him.

Are we supposed to believe that Jesus was only going to set us free spiritually and leave us in physical bondage? It seems a slave mentality to believe that we can only be “free at last, free at last”[14] when we are dead.

  • “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

It is our prayer that the truth of this will become self evident.





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declension of εξουσία
singular plural
nominative εξουσία • εξουσίες •
genitive εξουσίας • εξουσιών •
accusative εξουσία • εξουσίες •
vocative εξουσία • εξουσίες •



The Higher Liberty

BKTHL.jpg

The Higher Liberty is an iconoclastic examination of Romans 13 and other specious teachings which are an indictment the modern Church revealing a fuller gospel of the Kingdom for this world and the next. The consistent warnings of the prophets throughout the entire Bible and the purpose of the Church appointed by Christ as one form of government shines new light on modern apostasy. The simple truth of how God made you to be free souls, serving Him in Spirit and in Truth may bear witness in your hearts and minds.

Much of what is in this book will allow you to see the truth of the gospel in comparison to those who do contrary to the ways of God and make His word to none effect and have brought you back into a bondage to the gods many of the world through damnable heresies. Arm yourselves with His truth that will set you free. chapter-by-chapter or Order

Footnotes

  1. Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
  2. 2.0 2.1 "ἐξουσία" a noun: nominative, single, feminine
  3. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The Declaration of Independence.
  4. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The Declaration of Independence.
  5. Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
    Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
    Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
    2 Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
    1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel
    Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
    Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
    Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
    2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
    1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
  6. Acts 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, [one] Jesus.
  7. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-politics/
  8. Lawmakers and Ordinary People in Aristotle, by Paul Bullen (1996) http://paul.bullen.com/BullenLawmakers.html (VI. 4.1318b38-1319a4)
  9. 1 Samuel 8:7 “And the LORD said ... they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” 1 Samuel 10:19 “And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out ... but set a king over us ...”1 Samuel 15:23. To Saul “... thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.” Luke 7:30 “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” Luke 20:17 “... The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?”
  10. Joshua 24:15 “... choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods ... the LORD.” Judges 5:8 “They chose new gods;...” Judges 10:14 “Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.” Jeremiah 11:12 “Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods .. they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.” 1 Samuel 8:18 “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”
  11. Genesis 3:8 “... Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD...” Ge 4:16 “Cain went out from the presence of the LORD...”
  12. uiowa.edu/~lsa/bkh/lla/plato
  13. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2001.08.19 On this issue, see S. Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy, Oxford 1998, chap. 6 . http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2001/2001-08-19.html
  14. From a Negro spiritual “Free at Last” originally sung by slaves at funerals.