Is all Authority from God?

god-is-in-control_t_nvRevolting Against the State

[link to original article]

With all of the political upheaval in the air this year, and with elections right around the corner, I thought…”Why not right an article about God and politics”. Actually I have adapted this study for use on this blog, from an article I wrote nearly 4 years ago.

Now going in, you need to understand that my position on the topics expressed are not popular – this I admit.  Never the less I believe them to be quite accurate. Their lack of popularity only adds strength to my position from my perspective. In truth, history has demonstrated that the masses are OFTEN wrong, while comparatively few people understand the truth. I do not present this as an understanding entirely unique to me, nor did I arrive at these conclusions completely unaided. These thoughts are an accumulation of various questions I have been asked, studies I have done and Q & A times between God and I. They represent the understanding from scripture which has offered me much peace and a deeper understanding of God Himself. Furthermore, it is the only position I have been able to arrive at which does not require me to make special pleading in versus which seem to disagree with my beliefs.

NOTE: Politically minded Christians are very aware of the promise God made to the Israelites under the old covenant in II Chron. 4:17. At least, they are familiar with part of it anyway. To keep from getting sidetracked, I will not address that verse in this study. If you are interested in knowing more about that passage however, read my four part study entitled, “If My people…”.

In the not so distant North American past, lynch mobs were somewhat common. Lynch mobs were, at the time,  a group of white vigilantes who wrongfully took the law into their own hands and exacted judgment on black people by forcibly removing them from their homes or jail and hanging them until dead. This was done for various reasons, but the predominate reason was racism. If a black man had been accused of murder, theft or rape, a lynch mob felt well within their rights to murder the suspected offenders without trial. Unquestionably there were black people lynched who were not even guilty, many for simply having the wrong color of skin!

In modern usage, the term has come to generally refer to any attempt by a group to unfairly destroy another’s life, based on some belief held in common by the mob. Lynching is to take power from the governing authorities and exact judgment based upon personal justifications, without a civil, state or federal trial. Historically, these involve blood shed and the intentional death of the “offender”.

Those involved in lynching are guilty of the same crime as King Uzziah when he went to burn incense in the temple. The king had a sphere of authority which DID NOT extend to the temple or the priesthood. In like manner, a lynch mob does not have the God delegated authority to exact judgment for a city, state or nation, yet they unilaterally assume authority God never granted. The first and most heinous of sins a lynch mob is guilty of, is stealing authority from God.

Now we know from Romans 13 that ALL authority is designated by God and those in authority have been placed there by His providence. This is a difficult concept to grapple with because immediately springs to mind all kinds of injustices which humanity has suffered under evil dictators.

What are we to do with the Stalins and Hitlers of the world? Are they too – appointed by God?

The simple and most straight forward answer to this is –YES!

You may wonder…How can  this be? Well, that is not so simply answered.

All power and authority to govern and rule are intrinsic rights of being God. As God, He can also delegate these powers or authorities whenever, wherever and to whomever He chooses. He does not require man’s permission or approval. What a person might do with this bestowed authority, however, belongs to man – it is his stewardship.

Man, in his selfish subjectivity cries, “That’s not fair! What if I am born a Jewish man under a dictator who is anti-Semitic?” This is a separate and altogether unrelated issue. Fairness and Justice are separate in function as night is from day. Justice is based upon a standard which is fixed and immovable. Its plum line is the very character of God. Fairness on the other hand is almost entirely subjective. What might be “fair” to me might be equally unfair to another. Fairness is NOT the measuring stick for justice and that needs to be understood from the onset.

The “dictator” (as mentioned above) might have chosen to be benevolent rather than malevolent –  this is NOT in God’s hand. The  only thing God dictates is WHO will rule, where and when – not necessarily HOW. I say, not necessarily because there are a few scriptures which spell out quite plainly God’s sovereign right and ability to do as He wishes with man’s will. The example of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 where God takes the King’s soul from him and gives him the soul of an animal for seven years. Also there is the difficulty of the passage in Proverbs 21:1,

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will.”

These thoughts are only difficult mind you, if you maintain a belief that God will never commandeer a human’s will. Free will is a belief which enjoys nearly universal acceptance by both Christians and non-Christians alike. However, I will go out on a limb here and say that if there is any directly stated scriptural precedence for this belief it is beyond the scope of my knowledge. I freely admit, the scriptures make it clear that in many areas of life (and especially the important ones) we enjoy autonomy of will to choose our devotions and beliefs. I also know for a fact, that though it has been offered to us as an unearned privilege, like all stewardships, it can hardly be claimed as a right. If it were a right commonly held by all humanity solely upon the basis of their humanity, then what are we to do with the insane, the “Nebuchadnezzars” or those whose conscience become’s hardened? If it is a intrinsic right, then it cannot be denied, revoked or lost by either birth or actions. We know, however, that such situations do exist. Romans 1:18-32 shows the progressive loss of moral aptitude one experiences who continually rejects God’s inner working. If one were to loose all sense of conscience, then in effect, they have lost the power of choice – for one can only choose between those things which he recognizes as a choice. So in the end, I believe the freedom to choose is a result of the privilege of having a softened heart, which is both in man and God’s hands to control.

Take Pharaoh for example. God, according to Romans 9 , rose up Pharaoh to power in order to make His Name great and to make His power known. (Rom.9:17)

When you think it through, Pharaoh would have met this objective regardless of HOW he ruled Egypt.

“And from this we learn that everything is dependent not on man’s will or endeavor, but upon God Who has mercy. For the scripture said to Pharaoh, ‘It is for this very purpose that I have lifted you so high — That I may make manifest in you My power, and that My Name may be proclaimed far and wide in all the earth. – Rom. 9:16,17 .

Let’s consider – what exactly would have happened if Pharaoh had responded favorably to Moses’ demand to let the children of Israel go?

What would have changed concerning God’s purposes?

In either case, Israel would be set free in the end – thus displaying God’s power. After all, when in all of history did the Pharaohs ever let their captors go free? Secondly, their freedom would have sounded the fame of the God of Israel. His Name and power would have proceeded the Israelites into the desert and the world. Objective met!

Ask yourself this question – Why didn’t God just take the Israelites out of Egypt?

If setting them free was His objective and if He owns the earth and all who dwell in it – couldn’t He just have pushed Pharaoh aside and taken the Israelites out of bondage?

The answer is both yes and NO!

Yes, in that if those conditions where God would deem it necessary and within the scope of His character and justice were present – He could have removed the kingdom of Egypt from Pharaoh even as he had the Kingdom of Babylon from Nebuchadnezzar.

No in that…

#1. Evidently those necessary conditions were not present in this case with Pharaoh.

#2 Even though God does own all authority AND people – He delegated the authority over the Israelites to Pharaoh. So, if God were not going to remove Pharaoh’s sanity and authority then, God had to bring Pharaoh to the place where he would let the Israelites go of his own free will.

You might ask, “What about all those who died under Pharaoh’s cruel hand? Where is justice for them?”

While God could not have delivered them before their judgment was complete, there are many times when He CAN help those under ungodly rule IF they believe and IF He can influence ‘the powers that be’ to allow it. If not, then we have the following command from God,

“Honor every one. Love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the Emperor. Household servants, be submissive to your masters, and show them the utmost respect–not only if they are kind and thoughtful, but also if they are unreasonable. For it is an acceptable thing with God, if, from a sense of duty to Him, a man patiently submits to wrong, when treated unjustly. If you do wrong and receive a blow for it, what credit is there in your bearing it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you bear it patiently, this is an acceptable thing with God. And it is to this you were called; because Christ also suffered on your behalf, leaving you an example so that you should follow in His steps. He never sinned, and no deceitful language was ever heard from His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not answer with reviling; when He suffered He uttered no threats, but left His wrongs in the hands of the righteous Judge. – 1 Peter 2:17-23

So what do the scriptures imply we should do when those in positions of authority attempt to hurt us or kill us. Didn’t Jesus tell the disciples to take a sword with them?

Well, lets consider what Jesus actually said about swords. The references are Matt. 26:51-54 ; Mark 14:47-53 ; Lk. 22:31-54; Jn. 18:10-12 .

All of the above scriptures are concerning the exact same event. Jesus had just spoken to them concerning their quarrel about who was the greatest among them. He told them,

“The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest  among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” Just after this He tells Peter that the devil had made demand for him, but that Jesus had prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail him. Peter then told the Lord, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Then Jesus asked His disciples if when He had previously sent them out, “…with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” to which they replied that they had lacked nothing. He then began to warn them about the time which was now approaching. He said, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

Now, one could understandably walk away with the impression that Jesus was telling them to bring literal swords – with which they would presumably defend themselves. After all, Jesus said this immediately following Peter’s statement that he was ready to go to prison and even die for Him. Yet, later on in this exact same passage, (when Judas betrayed Jesus) the disciples – ready to put into action what they had just heard Jesus say to them – they cried out,

“Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” But as the others were asking this, Peter was doing it! He drew his sword and removed the right ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus’ response is very telling. He says, “No more of this!” He then said to Peter, “Put back your sword, for all who draw the sword shall perish by the sword. Shall I refuse to drink the cup of sorrow which the Father has given me to drink?” And He touched the High Priest’s servant’s ear and healed him.

What does all of this reveal concerning the meaning of Jesus’ words to His disciples?

Well first off, we have good evidence that Jesus was not advocating that they actually take real swords with them to preach the gospel. This is indicated by the fact that when the entire group of disciples revealed that they collectively had two swords – Jesus replied that this was enough.

Simple math reveals to us that if sent out two by two, as they were before, this would afford only two groups a single sword at best.

Never the less Jesus said that it was enough!

Enough for what?

Certainly not enough to protect them all, especially because we know that most of the apostles went out on their own, which would have left 10 of the disciples unarmed.

Well, what  if Jesus didn’t mean that the two actual swords would be sufficient? What if He meant that those type of swords would do fine? If this is true, why then did Jesus  yell  “No more of this!”  when the disciples offered to strike with the sword and why did he tell Peter that  if he drew the sword he would condemn himself to dying by it?

It appears after much study that Christ MAY have been using the term ’sword’ metaphorically.  The word ’sword’ can be used symbolically for the pain one could feel in their heart, for violence in general, for relational division, for dividing of truth or even as a warning to be on guard.

Lest you think I am reaching too far on this, look at the following examples and you will find that using the word ‘sword’ in this fashion was in fact a common Jewish idiom.

“(and a sword will pierce through your own soul  also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” – Luke 2:35

“Do not suppose that I came to bring peace to the earth: I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For  I came to set a man against his father, A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HERMOTHER-IN-LAW; AND A MAN’S OWN FAMILY WILL BE HIS FOES. Any one who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and any one who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and any one who does not take up his cross and follow where I lead is not worthy of me. To save your life is to lose it, and to lose your life for my sake is to save it.” – Matt. 10:34-39 .

It should be noted that Paul endured the very troubles Christ was warning the disciples about here and yet, we have absolutely no record of Paul owning nor ever using a sword in any capacity – much less for personal defense. Consider what Paul endured, yet without raging against the state or in fact even offering a defense (except in some cases so as to persuade them and to gain audience with Caesar. – See Acts 26:25-32 & Acts 22:1-21).

“I use the language of self-disparagement, as though I were admitting our own feebleness. Yet for whatever reason any one is ‘courageous’ –I speak in mere folly–I also am courageous. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if I were out of my mind.) Much more am I His servant; serving Him more thoroughly than they by my labors, and more thoroughly also by my imprisonments, by excessively cruel floggings, and with risk of life many a time. From the Jews I five times have received forty lashes all but one. Three times I have been beaten with Roman rods, once I have been stoned, three times I have been shipwrecked, once for full four and twenty hours I was floating on the open sea. I  have served Him by frequent travelling, amid dangers in crossing rivers, dangers from robbers; dangers from my own countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles; dangers in the city, dangers in the Desert, dangers by sea, dangers from spies in our midst; with labor and toil, with many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, in frequent fasting, in cold, and with insufficient clothing. And besides other things, which I pass over, there is that which presses on me daily–my anxiety for all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led astray into sin, and I am not aflame with indignation? If boast I must, it shall be of things which display my weakness. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ–He who is blessed throughout the Ages–knows that I am speaking the truth. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the gates of the city in order to apprehend me, but through an opening in the wall I was let down in a basket, and so escaped his hands.” – 2Cor. 11:21-33

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation,  or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Rom 8:35-39

So, returning to the issue of the meaning of Jesus’ words concerning the sword, it appears that if taken in context, Jesus was attempting to prepare them for the very difficult task of beginning to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth. He had already previously warned them about not seeking to be greatest, but to serve. He had also just told them, “The kings of the Gentiles are their masters, and those who exercise authority over them are called Benefactors. With you it is not so; but let the greatest among you be as the younger, and the leader be like him who serves.” – Luke 22:25-26 .

Jesus later said to those who were arresting Him,

“Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.“ – Luke 22:53.

Furthermore, when Jesus stood before Pilate He told him,

“You would have had no power whatever over me,” replied Jesus, “had it not been granted you from above.” – John 19:8-11.

This agrees with Romans 13,

“Let every soul be subject to the higher authorities. For there is no authority but of God; the authorities that exist are ordained by God. So that the one resisting the authority resists the ordinance of God; and the ones who resist will receive judgment to themselves.” – Rom. 13:1-2 .

So, in context and by example – is it really  a justified position to claim that Jesus was telling His disciples to become their own defense. To kill – lest they be killed? I do not think that the whole of the scriptures reveal this to be a defendable position or interpretation. Scripture is interpreted BY SCRIPTURE. When we see Jesus, Steven, Paul, James, John, Peter … all of them martyred – how many of them defended themselves with the sword?

How many offered even a verbal defense?

No, they did precisely what Peter told the churches to do,

“Dear brothers, do not be surprised, as if it was something strange, if your faith is tested as by fire: But be glad that you are given a part in the pains of Christ; so that at the revelation of his glory you may have great joy. If men say evil things of you because of the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God is resting on you. Let no one among you undergo punishment as a taker of life, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as one who is over-interested in other men’s business; But if he undergoes punishment as a Christian, that is no shame to him; let him give glory to God in this name. For the time has come for the judging, starting with the church of God; but if it makes a start with us, what will be the end of those who are not under the rule of God? And if it is hard for even the good man to get salvation, what chance has the man without religion or the sinner?

For this reason let those who by the purpose of God undergo punishment, keep on in well-doing and put their souls into the safe hands of their Maker.”– 1 Peter 4:12-19

Which is the same as what Christ did while standing before Pilate – just as Peter states,

“Dear friends, I entreat you as pilgrims and foreigners not to indulge the cravings of your lower natures: for all such cravings wage war  upon the soul. Live honorable lives among the Gentiles, in order that, although they now speak against you as evil-doers, they may yet witness your good conduct, and may glorify God on the day of reward and retribution. Submit, for the Lord’s sake, to every authority set up by man, whether it be to the Emperor as supreme ruler, or to provincial Governors as sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers and the encouragement of those who do what is right. For it is God’s will that by doing what is right you should thus silence the ignorant talk of foolish persons. Be free men, and yet do not make your freedom an excuse for base conduct, but be God’s bondservants. Honor every one. Love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the Emperor. Household servants, be submissive to your masters, and show them the utmost respect–not only  if they are kind and thoughtful, but also if they are unreasonable. For it is an acceptable thing with God, if, from a sense of duty to Him, a man patiently submits to wrong, when treated unjustly. If you do wrong and receive a blow for it, what credit is there in your bearing it patiently? But  if when you do right and suffer for it you bear it patiently, this is an acceptable thing with God. And it is to this you were called; because Christ also suffered on your behalf, leaving you an example so that you should follow in His steps. He never sinned, and no deceitful language was ever heard from His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not answer with reviling; when  He suffered He uttered no threats, but left His wrongs in the hands of the righteous Judge. The burden of our sins He Himself carried in His own body to the Cross and bore it there, so that we, having died so far as our sins are concerned, may live righteous lives. By His wounds yours have been healed. For you were straying like lost sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Protector of your souls.” – 1 Peter 2:11-25 .

What Commentators have to say:

Gill says,

“These words of Christ are not to be understood literally, that he would have his disciples furnish  themselves with swords at any rate, since he would never have said, as he afterwards does, that two were sufficient; which could not be enough for eleven men; or have forbid Peter the use of one, as he did in a very little time after this: but his meaning is, that wherever they came, and a door was opened for the preaching of the Gospel, they would have many adversaries, and these powerful, and would be used with great violence, and be followed with rage and persecution; so that they might seem to stand in need of swords to defend them: the phrase is expressive of the danger they would be exposed to, and of their need of protection; and therefore it was wrong in them to be disputing and quarrelling about superiority, or looking out for, and expecting temporal pomp and grandeur, when this would be their forlorn, destitute, and afflicted condition; and they would quickly see the affliction and distress begin in himself. In “seven” ancient copies of Beza’s, it is read in the future tense, “he shall take, he shall sell, he shall buy”.

Wesley says,

Luke 22:36 But now – You will be quite in another situation. You will want every thing. He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one – It is plain, this is not to be taken literally. It only means, This will be a time of extreme danger.

Matthew Henry says,

He gives them notice of a very great change of their circumstances now approaching. For, (1.) He that was their Master was now entering upon his sufferings, which he had often foretold (Luk_22:37): “Now that which is written must be fulfilled in me, and this among the rest, He was numbered among the transgressors – he must suffer and die as a malefactor, and in company with some of the vilest of malefactors. This is that which is yet to be accomplished, after all the rest, and then the things concerning me, the things written concerning me, will have an end; then I shall say, It is finished.” Note, It may be the comfort of suffering Christians, as it was of a suffering Christ, that their sufferings were foretold, and determined in the counsels of heaven, and will shortly determine in the joys of heaven.

They were written concerning them, and they will have an end, and will end well, everlastingly well. (2.) They must therefore expect troubles, and must not think now to have such an easy and comfortable life as they had had; no, the scene will alter. They must now in some degree suffer with their Master; and, when he is gone, they must expect to suffer like him.

The servant is not better than his Lord. [1.] They must not now expect that their friends would be so kind and generous to them as they had been; and therefore, He that has a purse, let him take it, for he may have occasion for it, and for all the good husbandry he can use. [2.] They must now expect that their enemies would be more fierce upon them than they had been, and they would need magazines as well as stores: He that has no sword wherewith to defend himself against robbers and assassins (2Co_11:26) will find a great want of it, and will be ready to wish, some time or other, that he had sold his garment and bought one. This is intended only to show that the times would be very perilous, so that no man would think himself safe if he had not a sword by his side. But the sword of the Spirit is the sword which the disciples of Christ must furnish themselves with. Christ having suffered for us, we must arm ourselves with the same mind (1Peter 4:1), arm ourselves with an expectation of trouble, that it may not be a surprise to us, and with a holy resignation to the will of God in it, that there may be no opposition in us to it: and then we are better prepared than if we had sold a coat to buy a sword. The disciples hereupon enquire what strength they had, and find they had among them two swords (Luke 22:38), of which one was Peter’s. The Galileans generally travelled with swords. Christ wore none himself, but he was not against his disciples’ wearing them. But he intimates how  little he would have them depend upon this when he saith, It is enough, which some think is spoken ironically: “Two swords among twelve men! you are bravely armed indeed when our enemies are now coming out against us in great multitudes, and every one with a sword!” Yet two swords are sufficient for those who need none, having God himself to be the shield of their help and the sword of their excellency,” Deut. 33:29.

In Conclusion:

Is it a sin to protest the moral wrongs of a governing power, so long as provisions are made for such protesting within the law of the land? This is a loaded question. The answer is – sometimes!

As Peter said,

“For it is better that you should suffer for doing right, if such be God’s will, than for doing evil;” – I Peter 3:17

and

“Therefore also, let those who are suffering in accordance with the will of God entrust their souls in well-doing to a faithful Creator. ” – I Peter 4:19

So there ARE times when doing something – even when your government would allow it – would be the wrong thing to do, because even though you would not be opposing God’s authority on earth through the immediate leader in power – you would be resisting His authority directly!

In other cases, the answer would be no, it would not be wrong. Consider the following example from Paul’s life,

“And when they continued their furious shouts, throwing their clothes into the air and flinging dust about, the Tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and be examined by flogging, in order to ascertain the reason why they thus cried out against him. But, when they had tied him up with the straps, Paul said to the Captain who stood by, “Does the Law permit you to flog a Roman citizen–and one too who is uncondemned?”

On hearing this question, the Captain went to report the matter to the Tribune. “What are you intending to do?” he said. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

So the Tribune came to Paul and asked him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes,” he said. “I paid a large sum for my citizenship,” said the Tribune.

“But I was born free,” said Paul.

So the men who had been on the point of putting him under torture immediately left him. And the Tribune, too, was frightened when he learnt that Paul was a Roman citizen, for he had had him bound. The next day, wishing to know exactly what charge was being brought against him by the Jews, the Tribune ordered his chains to be removed; and, having sent word to the High Priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble, he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.”  – Acts 22:23-30 .

Here we see Paul USING his Roman citizenship to free himself from a group of angry Jewish religious officials. It was legal, it aided him in bearing testimony of Christ in Rome and it worked!

Was it wrong? No, not in this case!

How do we know that? Paul had already received his “marching orders” from God.

God wanted Paul to bear testimony in Jerusalem, and following this incident Jesus appeared to Him in jail and told Paul to take courage because he had done well in giving testimony in Jerusalem and that he must now give testimony in Rome as well.

So we see that Paul’s torture was avoidable within God’s will, but his freedom was not.

Read the entire account of this story in Acts 22-24 , to discover how God used this imprisonment to protect Paul which resulted in his being kept in Herod’s Palace the following night!

Furthermore we see that this authority is to be respected in all of the spheres of authority which exist.

Consider Paul’s response to being struck on the face by order of the High Priest,

Then Paul, fixing a steady gaze on the Sanhedrin, said, “Brethren, it is with a perfectly clear conscience that I have discharged my duties before God up to this day.” On hearing this the High Priest Ananias ordered  those who were standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. “Before long,” exclaimed Paul, “God will strike you, you white-washed wall! Are you sitting there to judge me in accordance with the Law, and do you yourself actually break the Law by ordering me to be struck?”

“Do you rail at God’s High Priest?” cried the men who stood by him.

“I did not know, brethren,” replied Paul, “that he was the High Priest; for it is written, ‘THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF THY PEOPLE.’” – Acts 23:1-5

One last question needs to be addressed which inevitably comes up when addressing God’s autonomy and sovereignty in issues of governance.

How does God appoint a ruler in a Republic (or democracy)?

Within the sphere of an electoral process is perhaps the easiest place TO establish God’s designated authority in a land.

Historically, rulers over nations are the results of God’s judging a land as good or evil. During times of repentance and sorrow for sins, God rose up a judge to deliver His people from bondage. When their hearts turned from Him to other gods or financial gain, He delivered them into bondage again (read anything in the entire book of Judges for copious examples of this very thing).

In judging the people, all God really did was give them what they wanted. When Israel wanted a king – He gave them Saul to rule over them. When they worshipped Baal, God turned them over into a nation of Baal worshippers. God simply, “Filled them with their own devices”.

“Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD, They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies. For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them; But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.” Prov. 1:29-33

The surest way to get God’s people to return with all their hearts is to let them have what they want! This is very easy to do in a nation where you elect WHO YOU WANT. In recent years many Christians (as well as the world) have voted in accordance with their wallet – not their conscience. Led more by the “promise” of financial gain than the scriptures or the promptings of the Holy Spirit. God allowed us to get what we wanted, and our greed has all but collapsed our economy! Now all of the sudden, God’s people are crying out for deliverance. Hmmmm…sounds very familiar!

One theme remains true in all of these instances – it is God’s will not mans will or endeavors to which everything is dependent ( Rom. 9:15 ).

If we claim the rights and privileges of being His sons and daughters, it is inconsistent to disrespect or disregard His authority – regardless of what vessel to which it has been designated.

God’s children and servants MUST ABOVE ALL, seek the furtherance of His kingdom – regardless of personal cost, just as did our Savior and King Jesus.

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