It is having two separate authorities upon which to base a belief.
You see, concerning God’s words, Jesus never left any doubt about the question of authority. He affirmed that God’s words were the absolute and final authority for man’s life. For instance, he warned those that would not believe on him that they would be judged by his words, “(John 12:48) He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”
There’s no way that God’s words could judge unbelievers unless they were clearly without error and contradiction. Otherwise, men would use the contradictions against the Lord to justify themselves. For instance, let’s say that the Bible said that you had to work your way to heaven by good works and deeds, in one place. And then that you had to be saved by receiving Christ and the free gift of salvation in another place, like Eph. 2:8-9. A man who believed he could work his way to heaven would say to the Lord, “In such and such a passage, you said that I could work my way to heaven and now you are telling me that I simply had to receive Christ to get in, which I didn’t do. So, you’ll have to let me in because I did what you said.”
That’s precisely the reason that the Pharisees kept challenging the Lord on the words of God. As an example, they caught a woman taken in adultery and wanted to see what Jesus would do to her so they could accuse him of violating God’s words. “(John 8:4-5) They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” They were trying to get him to contradict the words of God in order to justify themselves because they had rejected his words. But Jesus wouldn’t give them a dual authority. What he wrote on the ground was undoubtedly Deut. 22:22-29, and that ended the matter.
This age old trick of dual authority started with the devil in the Garden of Eden. He came to Eve in Gen. 3 and asked her one of the most profound questions in the Bible, “Yea, hath God said…?” You see, the devil wanted her to question God’s authoritative words and to consider a different authority, namely, his words. God said, “(Gen. 2:17) thou shalt surely die.” The devil said, “(Gen. 3:4) Ye shall not surely die.” There you have it: dual authority. Eve was left to decide for herself what she should do because she had two authorities upon which to rely, God’s words and the devil’s words. Of course, you know what she did.
Here’s another perfect example of dual authority. In 1 Kings 13, a man of God is sent to Jeroboam to prophecy against an altar upon which Jeroboam burned incense. The man of God was given specific instructions by the Lord to go in one way and leave by another and not to stick around for a meal or even a drink. “(1 Ki 13:9) For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.” Did the man of God have any problem understanding God’s instructions here? Absolutely not!! They are absolutely 100% clear.
Now watch what happened. An old prophet heard what the young man had prophesied and went out looking for him. He found him under an oak tree outside of town and invited him to come home with him for a meal. Look how the young man responded to the invitation, “(1 Ki 13:16-17) And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.” How’s that for an authoritative answer? That should have ended the matter!!
Well, the old prophet wasn’t satisfied. So, he lied to the man of God and presented him with a second authority, an angel of God speaking the words of God. “(1 Ki 13:18) He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.” There it is, a classic example of dual authority designed to confuse the hearer and deceive him. And the man that offered the second authority was “a prophet also as thou art.”
Do you know the outcome of this old prophet’s wicked deed? The young man of God accepted the invitation. He rejected the authority of God’s words for the lie (disguised as the word of the Lord) of the prophet. “(1 Ki 13:19) So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.” Well, because the man of God disobeyed the words of God by following the trusted counsel of that old prophet and his second authority, the young man was killed by a lion on his way out of town (1 Ki 13:24).
Now, what does this have to do with us today? Well, plenty. You see, there are over 200 English Bibles on the market today, all professing to be “the Word of God.” But if you would take the time to study these Bibles carefully, you would soon discover that they are different from each other in 1000’s of places. We once did an experiment where 7 different men read 7 different translations in unison and you never heard such a “tower of Babel” confusion of languages in all your life.
Most of these modern Bibles compare themselves to the King James Bible by saying things like, “… this Bible is more accurate than the King James Bible.” In reality, you are being offered a second “opinion” of what God really said. It’s like the devil said, “Yea, hath God said..?” In all honesty, the introductions of these modern Bibles ought to say, “Is that really what God said?” All these scholars are doing is offering a dual authority.
Many times, preachers and teachers (the “old prophets” of our day) will go to “the” Greek or “the” Hebrew to tell you what “the angel spake unto them by the word of the Lord.” God didn’t show them anything. They don’t even have “the” original Greek or Hebrew to refer to. The originals have all been destroyed. They are simply using their scholarship to offer you a dual authority. And once you go along with them, you are going to get tripped up sure enough. These guys are the modern Pharisees of our day when it comes to the “words of God.”
Listen, you can safely trust the King James Bible. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you everything in it that he wants you to know (1 Tim. 3:16; Job 32:8; Prov. 8:8-9). It is absolutely authoritative beyond the shadow of a doubt. That’s why it is called, “the Authorized Version.” And then you will never have to worry about dual authority again. Every matter in your life will be settled based upon what God said!!
Hope this helps,
Pastor Bevans Welder