powers that be

those having authority
—The powers that be have given us a new dress code for the office.

Even though the early Christians were still under the authority of the Roman Empire, Paul writes that it was necessary for them to submit to government leaders.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist [powers that be] have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

Powers that be is also often used sarcastically, referring to people who make decisions that are unpopular.

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