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What is the universal and cosmic authority given by the Father to the Son in Matthew 28:18?

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."

Matthew 28:18 (ESV)

Is this the authority of Yhwh over all creation?

  • Please clarify what you mean by "the authority of Yhwh". Are you asking if YHVH ceded his own authority to Jesus? Or if Jesus' authority derives from YHVH? Or are you asking what is the scope of the authority? Thanks. – user10231 Jun 12 '16 at 13:20
  • (-1) for posing an ambiguous question. – user10231 Jun 17 '16 at 10:50
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"And God said, Let us make (נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה: accomplish H6213) man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Genesis 1:26

The authority YHVH has given Yeshua is the authority God said He would give mankind when He accomplished making man in His image. Yeshua tells us the reason he has this authority is because he is the son of man.

"For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." John 5:26

Because of Yeshua, mankind is receiving the authority that God planned for all of mankind. Yeshua tells us what we have authority over...

"And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth (Mark says "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" The Jews just assumed this, because they did not understand the Scriptures)

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

And he arose, and departed to his house.

But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men." Matthew 9:2

Yeshua said mankind has the power to forgive sins. The people rejoiced because such authority has been given to "men".

"But I say unto you, That in this place is [one] greater than the temple.

But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day." Matthew 12:6

Yeshua says mankind is lord of the Sabbath as well.

"For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.

But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

But we see Jesus" Hebrews 2:5

We do not see mankind executing their authority over all things. This is because mankind does not yet have the wisdom and prudence to choose good over evil. We have the knowledge, but our hearts are wicked and sick. Yeshua is the express image of God, because he was made in God's image, and he reflects God's purpose for mankind perfectly. Thus, when we believe him and strive to be like him, we likewise become "the sons of God", and Yeshua is not ashamed to call is brothers.

"Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by (δι’: because of-G1223) whom also he made the worlds;

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." Hebrews 2:2

Thank you.

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  • (+1) This is only marginally better than the other answers currently available, but has the strength of depending on some references from Matthew itself. It would be good to see this answer cleaned up, condensed into a clearer structure and make clearer reference to its hermeneutical approach. – Steve Taylor Dec 13 '16 at 12:54
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One aspect of this authority is immediately described:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you... (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

Jesus has the authority to give the disciples a new mission: go outside of Israel to make new disciples, to baptize them with a baptism different than John's, and to teach them to obey the commands Jesus taught.

Matthew ends with direction to teach what Jesus taught. Obviously that would include teachings found in Matthew, notably the Sermon on the Mount. It would also include other New Testament writings. "All authority" is not limited to Matthew, it includes things not found in Matthew:

All Judgment: The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, (John 5:20 ESV)

Judge of the living and dead: and I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead… (2 Timothy 4:1 ESV)

Eternal life: since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. (John 17:2 ESV)

Judgment and eternal life are things which would exist from the beginning of creation and are things over which God would be expected to have authority. They are not described in Matthew but they are part of the authority now residing with Jesus.

One question of authority is on creation. Since the Bible speaks largely to the issue of redemption and recreation and to a New Heaven and New Earth (Isaiah and Revelation), are these to be included in the authority Jesus now has. In other words, did the Father retain or withhold the power to create?

Raise the dead to Life: For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40 ESV)

Jesus will raise up on the last day those who have eternal life. This will include those who have died and whose bodies have decayed. This is an act of (re)creation (also taught in 1 Corinthians 15) when He raises up all those who look on Him and believe on Him on the last day. 1

Jesus taught this act of (re)creation encompasses all things:

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (John 6:39 ESV)

Finally, if this authority was given to Jesus Christ, it was given up, or surrendered, or taken from the one who previously had that authority. Therefore Matthew 28:18 is not a simple statement that Jesus has all authority; it is describing a transfer (or restoration) of authority to Jesus Christ.


1. Giving Jesus the power to (re)create does not preclude His having that power in the first place. Matthew 28:18 describes a change in who has the legal right to exercise authority, essentially a transfer of power from someone to Jesus. This transfer is a restoration of power from the devil (Matthew 4) back to God.

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This is the authority spoken of in Daniel 7 when the Son of Man comes to the Ancient of Days.

Daniel 7:13,14 (ESV)

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

This comes at the end of a vision in which Daniel sees four great beasts which represent the kingdoms of the earth. The beasts are stripped of their authority but allowed to live for a period of time.

Daniel is troubled by the vision and asks for an interpretation (of those standing there in his vision). He receive the following answers:

Daniel 7:17,18 (ESV)

‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

but regarding the fourth and terrible beast:

Daniel 7:26,27 (ESV)

But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’

Throughout the gospel of Matthew has identified himself as the "Son of Man" and preached that the "kingdom of God is at hand." Both of these are strong themes in Matthew and are linked in this vision of Daniel.

  • Son of Man appears 30 times in Matthew (wikipedia)
  • Kingdom of God/Heaven appears 38 times in Matthew (wikipedia)

Jesus uses the same kind of language referring to "all authority" and "under the whole heaven" to refer to the kingdom which he receives as the Son of Man appearing on the clouds before the Ancient of Days.

This pronouncement is immediately followed by the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:19,20 (ESV)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It is on the basis of this cosmic authority that Jesus identifies himself as the second person of the Triune Godhead, showing that has name is equal to and unified with that of the Father and Holy Spirit.

The authority given to the Son of Man has no limits: It is the authority of the Godhead. It is the arrival of the kingdom of God.

By receiving it, Jesus also receives it for mankind, since all the saints now have the dominion given to them that is taken away from the kingdoms of the earth. He does this as the Son of Man (the second Adam) who is reclaiming the dominion (kingdom) given to the first Adam but lost to the enemy.

The recovery of the kingdoms of the earth to the Son of Man is evident in the temptations of Jesus after he is anointed:

Matthew 4:8,9 (ESV)

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

This takes place directly after the Father declares Jesus his beloved Son and anoints him with the Holy Spirit:

Matthew 4:3:16,17 (ESV)

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

So the Son of Man is the one in which earthly kingdoms and heavenly kingdoms come together. All authority is now vested in one person, who represents Man to God and God to Man.

References

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