Compromising with temporal powers can never lead to redemption. Most "Christians" have accepted the unrighteous code of the State, instead of insisting that the State follow the Laws of Almighty God. This article will examine the difference between the two. Between Law and force. The kingdoms of this world use force, for there is no love in what they do. Whereas the kingdom of God uses Law, for love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:8).
There is only one lawgiver (James 4:12). This one lawgiver is the Lord (Isaiah 33:22). Man does not have authority to make laws, but only the authority to make Ďordinancesí which enforce Laws already in existence, which are the Laws of God. To obey the so-called Ďlawsí conjured up by the worldly governing authorities is to set aside the gospel of our Lord, and place oneself under a separate government, other than His.
Bondmen of Christ are not citizens of any country on this earth, our citizenship is in heaven, and so our first loyalty is to God, not "our" country (Ephesians 2:19, Philippians 3:20). Ours is a better, heavenly country (Hebrews 11:16).
Throughout the scripture, governments have always been the leader in bringing people to sin (Daniel 3:4-6, 1 Kings 12:25:33; 14:21-24, 2 Kings 13:2; 17:21; 21:11,16, 2 Chronicles 21:6,11-13, Isaiah 9:16). God condemned Israel for wanting to be ruled like other nations, by a human king (1 Samuel 8:4-5,20). When they chose to be ruled by a human leader, our Father considered that to be a rejection of Himself because He would not then reign over them (1 Samuel 8:7; 10:19). The people later realized their sin against God when they asked to be ruled by a human government (1 Samuel 12:19). Notice their kings never had any power to make new laws; nor did their best and wisest of kings make any, as in the cases of David and Solomon. And when a return to the ways of the Lord was made among them, as by Hezekiah and Josiah, it was not by making any new regulations, but by putting the original Law into execution; and by directing and requiring of the judges, and other officers, to act according to that Law.
To serve an earthly king, or his government, is to serve other gods (1 Samuel 8:8-9), which is violating the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3). It is wickedness and a sin to ask to be ruled by a human government instead of God (1 Samuel 12:17-19). Our Father condemned Israel for following the statutes of their disobedient government (2 Kings 17:7-8). He rejected those who followed the statutes of governments instead of His Commandments (2 Kings 17:19-20). He specifically said not to follow the ordinances of earthly governments, but to follow his laws, ordinances, and statutes instead (Leviticus 18:1-5). Throughout the history of Israel, the majority of the kings of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord (1 Kings 11:4-9, 2 Kings 8:18), which shows that most rulers and governments are corrupt because of their carnal nature (Romans 8:7). The Jews eventually chose king Caesar over King Jesus (John 19:15). Those who do the same are just like them.
The whole duty of man is to live by God's commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13), not man's commandments which turn from the Truth (Mark 7:7, Colossians 2:20-22, Titus 1:14). What duty is there to a servant of Christ except to fulfil God's Law (Romans 13:8)? When we pray, we pray to do our Fatherís Will, not manís will (Matthew 6:10, Luke 11:2). God rewards those who place His Laws above man-made laws (Exodus 1:17,20). We are even instructed to avoid going to courts of law before the unjust and unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). How incredible that the just would go before the unjust for justice! Therein no blessings are found:
Psalms 1:1, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly."
The kings and rulers of the earth are against the Lord, and against his anointed (Psalm 2:2). Governments frame mischief and sin through their laws:
Psalms 94:20, "Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?"
Isaiah 10:1-2, "Woe unto them that prescribe grievous laws and take away the right from the poor."
When a government is ungodly, and people trust in that government, then God will punish those who trust in that government and obey their laws (Jeremiah 15:4; 46:25, 2 Kings 21:11-12, Isaiah 9:16, Ezekiel 11:10-12, Micah 6:13,16). The people will be cursed for trusting in man (Jeremiah 17:5, Hosea 10:13). It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man and governments (Psalm 118:8-9). We are told not to put our trust in human governments (Psalm 146:3). We are commanded to "turn away" from those with certain characteristics (2 Timothy 3:2-5), and governing authorities possess most of these said characteristics! Governing authorities are "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:5). So we are to turn away from governing authorities with these characteristics. They proclaim their own power (force), which becomes a 'law' unto itself. The law is made for evil-doers, not for the righteous (1 Timothy 1:9-10). Therefore, we are to obey God's Law, and whatever laws that man creates are irrelevant to us.
Esther 3:8, "And Haman (the highest prince in the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians) said unto king Ahasuerus (the king of the Medes and the Persians who reigned from India to Ethiopia), There is a certain people (people who were obedient to God's Laws) scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws..."
As we can see, God's children were following God's Law, which were diverse from the government's law, and His children did not keep the governemnt's law! When one reads the book of Esther, one will see how God protected His children when they followed His law and disregarded the government's law. One cannot obey both laws, because one cannot serve two masters.
Jesusí teaching on Governing Authorities
What did Jesus teach about the governments of men? Let us examine three parallel Gospel accounts. He himself explained:
Matthew 20:25, "...Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. " Mark 10:42, "...they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them." Luke 22:25, "...The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors."
By comparing these three parallel verses, Jesus stated the fact that the governing authorities (princes, rulers, kings) exercise authority over the Gentiles (those who do not believe in God). Note that the term "Gentiles" here cannot mean "Gentile Christians", because Jesus had not yet died to confirm the New Testament, and "Christianity" was not yet in existence. All the apostles were Jews, and Jesus commanded them not to preach to the Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-6). The Gentiles were the enemy of Christ at this point (Matthew 20:19; Mark 10:33, Luke 18:32). The Gospel was not preached to the Gentiles until at least 10 years after the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 9:15; 10:45; 11:1,18; 13:42,46-48).
Notice what Jesus says next. Does he say that His people will have other men rule over them? Most definitely not!
Matthew 20:26, "But it shall not be so among you:" Mark 10:43, "But so shall it not be among you:" Luke 22:26, "But ye shall not be so:"
Jesus said we shall not have leaders exercise authority over us like they do over the gentiles. We shall not be subject to governing authorities unless those in "power" are servants of God and His people. Read what Jesus said after he told his disciples that earthly princes, rulers, and kings will not have authority over His chosen:
Matthew 20:26-27, "Öbut whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:" Mark 10:43-44, "Öbut whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all." Luke 22:26, "...but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve."
As we see, Jesus does not want man to have authority over man! He commanded that whoever is the chiefest and greatest among men, will be the servant of all. Unlike human governments which make their chief ruler the dictator of all. Man was not created to rule other men, but was given dominion over the creatures of the earth. This is confirmed in the very first chapter of the Bible, when God created the earth. When our Father created the earth. When he first created man, He commanded, "...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 1:26,28). Only God has dominion over man. Man is not subject to any other man. Man is ruled by Law, not by the will of man.
Now, Jesus was not condemning all authority, as is clear from the fact that Jesus himself exercised authority over his disciples and others (Matthew 11:27; 23:10; 28:18, John 13:13), and expected his disciples to exercise authority as leaders of his congregation (Matthew 16:19; 18:17; 24:45-47; 25: 21,23, Luke 19:17,19). What sort of authority then was Jesus condemning in this passage? What difference was there between the authority of the gentile ruler and that of himself and his apostles? Surely this, that the latter rested on spiritual ascendancy and was exercised only over those who willingly submitted to it, whereas the former was exercised over all men indiscriminately whether they liked it or not, and for this reason involved the use of the sanctions of physical force and penalties. There can be no doubt that it was this fact that caused Jesus to tell his disciples: "It is not so among you."
When an earthly government believes it is "god walking on the earth," it has no true dominion (authority) but only force, and has fallen from the Grace of Almighty God. Dominion and force are opposed to one another. Force is false power.Matthew 23:10, "Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ."
Remember, the reason Jesus Christ was crucified was because the governing "authorities" at that time were afraid that they were going to lose their "place and nation," their political power, if the people believed on Jesus (John 11:47-48).
The Apostleís teaching on Governing Authorities
Acts 5:29, "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
The reason the apostles were arrested and most eventually executed was because they "all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus" (Acts 17:7). Our brother Paul said,
1 Corinthians 2:5, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
The apostles disobeyed their governing authorities because, "No man can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24), and we are not to be "the servants of men" (1 Corinthians 7:23). We can only serve one lord, one Messiah, and no other lord. As Jesus asked in Luke 6:46, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" We are to do the things Jesus says to do, not the things Caesar says to do.
Do you remember when people used to call their government officials, like the police, our "public servants"? Why? Because they were supposed to serve people (Matthew 20:27, Mark 10:42, Luke 22:26). Now, those servants have become the masters, and they are feared more than they fear God (Matthew 10:28, Proverbs 29:25). However, true servants of God do not fear the kingís commandments (Hebrews 11:23). We are not to fear man (Psalm 56:4; 118:6, Isaiah 51:7, Matthew 10:28, Hebrews 13:6).
The earthly government is to sit on Christís shoulder (Isaiah 9:6), and there is no end to His government (Isaiah 9:7, Psalms 145:13). Those in government are instructed to follow God's Law and serve Him (Psalm 2:10-12). And we are to obey the ordinances of man as long as they do Godís Will; through punishing evildoers and praising them that do well (Romans 13:3, 1 Peter 2:13-17).
A Study of Romans 13
Romans 13:1-10 explains the government which applies to the bondmen of Christ. Our Father has ordained rulers, and those rulers have responsibilities before Him. Unfortunately, many interpret this chapter to mean we are to obey all governments, no matter how ungodly they are. However, this cannot mean we are to roll over and submit to governing authorities, because if that's the case, Jesus himself violated Romans 13. They crucified him unlawfully, and there's a case where Christ did the will of the Father, and that brought him into conflict with the powers that be. Just because God ordains government for His purposes, it does not mean it is a godly government. He does use evil to draw people closer to Him.
Hereís a little food for thought:
If Paul, in Romans 13, was saying to "obey all governments" then Jesus, the apostles, and all the disciples were hypocrites, because they all lived their life by placing Godís Law above man-made laws!
- Who wrote the book of Romans? Paul.
- Where did Paul write Romans? In prison.
- Where did Paul write most of his Epistles? In prison.
- What is another name to describe the epistles of Paul? The "Prison Epistles".
- Why are they known as the "Prison Epistles"? Because Paul was being repeatedly arrested and imprisoned by the "governing authorities."
- Why was Paul being repeatedly arrested? Because he kept breaking the laws of the "governing authorities."
- Who put Jesus to death? The government of Rome.
- Who put Paul to death? The Emperor Nero at Rome in AD 67.
- Who killed most of the apostles? The governing authorities.
- Did Jesus and the apostles obey the "governing authorities" of their day? Obviously not.
Some people claim that the reason Paul was being repeatedly arrested and imprisoned by the "governing authorites" was because he would not confess that Caesar was his lord. This is not true, because one immediately received the death penalty for not doing so. Obviously, Paul was never directly asked to do so until they executed him in Rome in 67 A.D.
Some people claim that the reason our brother Paul was being repeatedly arrested and imprisoned by the "governing authorities" was because he was "preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ." This is not true. The Romans worshipped hundreds of different gods' they had a different god for every thing and every occasion. One more "god" would not have mattered to them.
Here is proof that the Romans did not imprison Paul for preaching about Jesus Christ. In Acts 18, the Jews brought Paul before the tribunal of the Roman Government of Achaia (a Greek province under Roman rule) on the charge of persuading men to worship Jesus (verse 13). The Roman court (Gallio) refused to judge religious matters (verse 15), and "drave them from the judgment seat" (verse 16). This scriptural passage is proof that Rome did not judge people for peaching another god. So why was Paul repeatedly imprisoned by the governing authorities? Paul was in prison for violating the Roman government's law (which are in opposition to God's Law), because Jesus commanded his followers to be separate from Caesar.
After all, if Paul was in jail because he was preaching about Christ Jesus, then the governing authorities would never have allowed Paul to write letters (epistles) concerning Jesus while in prison, and then allow him to take his writings about Jesus out of prison to publish and spread them throughout the then known world. This, again, evidences that they did not forbid preaching Jesus, and that Paul was in jail, not for preaching Christ's Kingdom, but for disobeying the governing authorities in other matters.
Now, for those who believe that Paul was saying to obey all governments at Romans 13, one must also believe that our brother Paul was a hypocrite, for he constantly disobeyed the governing authorities and was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for doing so. For those who believe that Paul was not a hypocrite, then we must believe that Paul was saying something quite different at Romans 13. With this in mind, let us take a look at the first six passages of Romans 13.
Does verse 1 say, "let every soul be subject unto all governments"? Or does it say, "let every soul (including governing authorities such as kings, judges, police, etc.) be subject unto the Higher Power"? Who do souls belong to? God says:
Ezekiel 18:4, "Behold, all souls are mine."
And the second part of verse 1 tells us Who the Higher Power is: "...For there is no power but of God."
The souls of the governmental powers belong to God, and they are not the higher powers, the higher powers are held by Christ himself (Matthew 28:18). Is our Lord not the higher power, then, if all power has been committed unto him (John 17:2)? Christ is the governor among the nations (Psalms 22:28). All power over earthly kings has been given unto Him (Romans 14:9). All judgment has been given unto Him (John 5:22,27). Notice the separation of Power in Romans 13:1. All power comes from, and belongs to, God (Psalm 62:11) and not the one exercising it. And remember that most men, especially those constituting the "governing authorities," usually deny that power given to Jesus (2 Timothy 3:5).
Verse 2 says, "Whosoever therefore resisteth (Greek word #498 antitassomai) the power, resisteth (Greek word #436 anthistemi) the ordinance of God:" The words "resisteth" in this verse are from two completely different Greek words with two different meanings. Let's look into the first word "resisteth" by going to the original Greek. To "resist" the power of rulers ordained by God means the following:
"antitassomai: To range in battle against" (Thayers Greek Lexicon).
"antitassomai: To set an army in array against; to arrange in battle order" (Zodhiates Word Studies).
"antitassomai: Setteth himself in array against; as one draws out a host for battle. Implying an organized or concerted resistance" (Vincents Word Studies).
"antitassomai: To range in battle against" (Strong's Greek Lexicon).
This is in accord with these passages:
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)."
Ephesians 6:11-12, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians goes on to list all of our spiritual weapons. Notice, there are no physical weapons listed. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, so when you use carnal weapons against the governing power ordained by God, then you are resisting the ordinance of God.
Ecclesiastes 9:18, "Wisdom is better than weapons of war: and one sinner will destroy much good."
Now the meaning of the second term, "resisteth the ordinance of God" simply means "to set one's self against, to withstand, resist, oppose." In other words, the first "resisteth" means to use physical weapons in battle against an ordained power, which would result in the second "resisteth," which means to oppose the will of God (with no physical weapons).
Verse 3 says God ordained governments, but the only power He gave to "governing authorities" is to punish evil-doers and reward the doers of good (John 18:23, Romans 13:3-4, 1 Peter 2:14). The definition of good and evil is defined in the scripture. God did not give government the power to interfere with, and interpose itself in, the exercising of God's Law by His people.
Verse 4 says rulers are to be Ministers of God, servants of God. If rulers are not the servants of God, if they do not follow and obey His Word, no obedience is due to them. And how do we know if they are servants of God? By testing them with God's word (Isaiah 8:20, Matthew 12:30, Mark 7:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Titus 1:14, 1 John 4:1, 3 John 1:11, Acts 17:11, 2 Timothy 2:15). God's purpose for all governments is to be "a minister of God to thee for good."
Verse 6 says we are to pay taxes to the government for one reason only; because they are God's ministers. If a government uses tax money that go contrary to God's Will, then they are no longer ministers of God, and thus no taxes are due to them (Ezra 4:12-13).
Their purpose is to punish evil doers as a rod of correction to drive them back to the ways of the Lord, and to encourage the righteous. They are to be ministers of God, meaning they are to carry out the duties that God has given them. But when the governing authorities ever fail to do this, or go beyond this, then they themselves are resisting the ordinances of God, and are unlawful authorities that must be "resisted" with the Sword of the Word.
It is important to take into consideration that Romans 13 was intended to be prescriptive, not descriptive. In other words, it speaks of what the "rulers" are supposed to be, not what they are intrinsically at all times. As "God's minister," the men who govern (the powers that be) are obligated to obey God's Law and to properly apply it to the nation and people which it governs. Conversely, any time the "governors" becomes "a terror to good works," and rewards evil rather than punishing it, they have then begun to "bear the sword in vain." To this extent, he is no longer "a minister of God to thee for good" and it is our duty to resist his unlawful rule as we would the rule of Satan himself.
To say that God may deliver His people over to an oppressive government as chastisement for sin is one thing; to say that we are to deliver ourselves and our consciences to that which is contrary to God's Word is quite another. To say that the laws of the temporal government, whether they be "good or evil" (moral), are unequivocally the "ordinances of God," is not merely naive, but a blasphemous affront to the holiness of God and His Word. The righteous and eternal Judge of the world simply cannot be charged with requiring us to obey contradictory commands.
God never commanded people to obey the kings of Israel when those kings turned their backs on Him. Our Father put those people into captivity for their disobedience towards Him! And He does the same today.
The Nazi's at Nuremberg said, "Well, I was just doing my job. I was obeying the government." It's an error to believe that whatever the State says is okay "because it's ordained of God." For those who are true followers of Christ Jesus, the government is on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6), He is the King of kings, and the government is the Kingdom of God. It's a government of peace and the only government that will not end:
Isaiah 9:7, "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,"
All man-made governments come to an end, so they are obviously not the "higher power." We have to obey the government that's always been here and always will be here.
In reply to the blind opinion that all kings, princes, and governments are set up and "ordained" by God, we will quote the following passage, which is spoken into the ears of Hosea by God Almighty Himself:
Hosea 8:4, "They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not."
We pray that those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will no longer engage in such opinions.
One way to test whether or not a man-made law is godly or not is to test it with the following. Ask yourself, "Does this law punish evil-doers and praise or reward doers of good?" For example, consider the drivers license law. Does the requirement for a drivers license punish evil or reward good? No, it does not. The traffic courts might do this, but not the license itself. Therefore, since God only gave His "governing authorities" the power to punish evil and reward good, this man-made law is outside of God's delegated authority, and no obedience is required if you live, move, and have your being in Him.
Another question you can ask is, "Will this Law, being imposed by man, help me walk in God's Truth?" If it is a godly law, it will. But most man made laws do not bring anyone to the Truth, nor can they.
The Facts about Governing Authorities
The purpose of government is clearly defined in our Father's Word. That is, to punish evil and to praise those that do well. From this, the protection of life, liberty, and property (being gifts from God) follows in accordance with His Order.
But when a government falls into idolatry, it collects information from you because it must know where everyone and everything is, in order to tax or seize it.
Why is government prone to idolatry? Because governments only exist through law, and law is inherently religious. Behind every law is a judgment, and ones values are based upon their theology or religion. Itís the nature of government to perpetuate itself. Have you ever seen a politician who didnít want to be re-elected, or a political party that did not want to stay in power? Every one of them are willing to do anything to keep themselves in power (John 11:47-48).
Government is power. Government is authority. And corrupt, depraved men, instead of exercising dominion over Godís creation for His sake, desire dominion over men for their own sake. What did the crafty serpent say to Adam and Eve? "Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). Who is it that has control over men? God does! If man believes he is his own god, or if he believes he is some kind of god, then he will exercise control over men in order to prove it.
A king rules by his law. Likewise, God rules by His Law, and His Law is the Word of God. Jews obeyed their king, Caesar, and killed those who did not obey their king (John 19:15). True servants of Christ honor Him by obeying Him (Luke 6:46, John 14:15), not by substituting man-made requirements in place of his.
Thus, in law, the human lawmaker becomes a god by determining for himself which of the many theories at his disposal he will apply to his next act on behalf of "the people." Of course, this means that every other law-maker has an equal "right" to apply his theories to the acts he does, and the only answer to the resulting chaos that comes out of the compromise between theories is that one man must impose his will on all others so that one "coherent" view will control the end result. This means, clearly, a dictatorship and nothing less will do.
We have been taught that we must obey even ungodly governments, and to help them by paying taxes, but scripture says, "...Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD" (2 Chronicles 19:2).
The scripture says it is evil in the sight of the Lord for governments to tax the land (2 Kings 23:35-37). The earth does not belong to the government, this earth belongs to God (Exodus 19:5, Psalm 24:1, Isaiah 44:24, 2 Corinthians 5:18). Land tax is claiming ownership over Godís earth. It is literally a dethronement of God and an enthronement of the State. The State is claiming to be god by claiming control and ownership of land. The State is literally trying to be god walking the earth. God has never given his earth to the government to tax, pollute, or destroy (1 Kings 21:1-16).
The State's claim of "eminent domain" is in direct conflict with the Word of God:
Ezekiel 46:18, "Moreover the prince [government] shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession."
Scripture also says it is not lawful for governments to impose a tax upon the servants of God (Ezra 7:24). Thus, it is not lawful to impose tax upon the servants of Christ. But those servants must be true servants. If one seeks to make merchandise of His creation, they will be taxed. The slothful are under taxes (Proverbs 12:24). We also see that the Levites were not taxed or conscripted for military purpose (Numbers 1:45-54; Numbers 18. Note especially verse 24). The tithe was to go to the Levites (Deuteronomy 14:27-29; Joshua 21). God is sovereign; He cannot be taxed.
Abram paid tithes of all to Melchizdek, King of Salem, and refused the spoils he was offered from the King of Sodom. It is clear that it was the result of a solemn oath that Abram had made to God. "Abram said to the King of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldst say, I have made Abram rich" (Genesis 14:22,23).
Abram would not accept the commercial benefits of the heathen, because he knew the resulting duties attached thereto. Instead, he chose to honor the Lord. The people of God are not to finance the government (through heathen taxation); nor is the government to finance the people of God (through benefits such as social security, etc.). A State-financed church is a State controlled church. He who accepts a benefit from the State accepts the sovereignty and authority of the State, and thus is subject to and will serve the State.
Jesus himself was accused of forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar at his trial (Luke 23:2). Notice these were not false witnesses who accused Jesus of not paying taxes, because every time a false witness accused Jesus, the scripture tells us it was a false witness (Mark 14:57-59). Where did Jesus forbid to pay taxes to Caesar?
In Mark 12:13-17, Jesus was asked if it was lawful to give taxes to Caesar or not. A silver coin, with Caesar's inscription on it, was shown to Christ. In this example, the Lord's answer requires everyone to make the determination as to what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God;
Mark 12:17"...Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's..."
Who did this silver coin belong to? Since the Scripture says, "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts" (Haggai 2:8), that means that the silver coin shown to Jesus belonged to God. However, those who live, move, and have their being in the image of Caesar, as the disciples of the Pharisees did, will believe this coin belongs to Caesar instead. We are not to be deluded by the image of Caesar, but built-up in the image of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:7; 15:49, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:10).
There's only one instance where Jesus paid a tax. Matthew 17:24-27. Let's break this passage down.
Verse 24: The tax collector asked Simon Peter if Jesus paid taxes.
Verse 25: Peter said, "yes". But "Jesus prevented" Peter from paying the tax. Why did Jesus prevent Peter from paying taxes?
Verse 26: Jesus said "Then are the children free" from paying taxes. This is why, because we are now free. But we must not use our liberty as a cloak of maliciousness.
Verse 27: However, to avoid "offending" this tax collector (since, as was the habit of Peter, he opened his mouth too soon without really thinking and obligated Jesus by his statement that Jesus did pay taxes), Jesus told Peter to cast a hook into the sea, and catch a fish, and take out money from its mouth and pay it.
Even though Jesus paid this tax, it was to avoid "offending" him, and because Peter rashly agreed to pay it, not because we are bound to pay taxes by Law. Jesus made the point to stress that the children are free from taxes. But notice, Simon Peter and Jesus did not give him any of their own money, but that which came from the fish! It is interesting to note that Peter was a commercial fisherman (a fisher of fish) before being called to be an apostle of Christ (a fisher of men), and when Peter opened his mouth before thinking (as he often did), Christ basically chastised him by having Peter return to his old life to pay his debt! He had to be a fisher of fish to catch that fish with the coin in its mouth. When you join yourself to the world, and make obligations to the world, you must become part of the world again to meet those obligations.
Additionally, Jesus could not have fulfilled prophesy if he was to go to prison, which might have happened if he didn't pay that tax after Peter "volunteered" for him. It was not his time to go to prison yet. Likewise, Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels to his rescue, but because the scriptures would not have been fulfilled if he did, he refrained from doing that act (Matthew 26:53-54). Jesus taught that we are free from paying taxes if we are children of the king (Matthew 17:24-26), meaning the children of King Jesus (Acts 17:7, 1 Timothy 1:17).
Now, for clarification, if a government is acting strictly as a minister of God, then it is lawful to pay taxes to that government (Romans 13:6). Because that "silver coin" which belongs to God also belongs to God's ministers, as they are acting in His Name and doing His Will. However, if a government is not a minister of God, then there is no duty to give taxes to it.
A license is just another form of taxation. By requiring a license, the State is claiming complete control and ownership over a discipleís life. The term "license" is from the word "licentious", which means "morally unrestrained, disregarding rules, lascivious". These same words describe human governments today. In demanding licensure from true bondmen of Christ, the State is asking that we render to it the submission and tribute that scripture requires us to give to God alone.
To partake of this kind of government and pay the taxes due therefrom is to support a government bent on destroying God's dominion. And in case you don't think the governments of men are out to destroy the servants of Christ, the following quote is from an enemy of God responsible for murdering our brothers, sisters, and children at Waco, Texas and for murdering Randy Weavers' family in cold blood on an isolated mountain."A cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second Coming of Christ; who frequently attends Bible studies; who has a high level of financial giving to a Christian cause; who home schools for their children; who has accumulated survival foods and has a strong belief in the Second Amendment; and who distrusts big government. Any of these may qualify [a person as a cultist] but certainly more than one [of these] would cause us to look at this person as a threat, and his family as being in a risk situation that qualified for government interference." Attorney General Janet Reno, Interview on 60 Minutes, June 26, 1994
According to the above, if you are a follower of Christ, you are an enemy of the government. This quote is in response to the question as to why the killing of the people at Waco, Texas was necessary. The answer may shock you. The reason for murdering them, said "the government," was because they were "cultists"! And when asked for their definition of a cultist, their definition (Janet Reno being their mouthpiece) is someone who is a follower of Christ!!!
This is an example of the government calling good evil:
Isaiah 5:20, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
And this explains why governments persecute those of Christ:
Proverbs 29:27, "An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked."
Bondmen of Christ
So, what is a bondman of Christ to do when the government rises against him in judgment? We shall condemn them, because this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord (Isaiah 54:17). Do we obey governments that produce unfruitful works? No! We are to reprove and rebuke them (Luke 17:3, Ephesians 5:11, 1 Timothy 5:20, 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:13; 2:15, Revelation 3:19). We are to cast down the spiritual wickedness of anyone who exalteth himself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are to bind the kings of the earth with our mouth (Psalm 149:6-9). To not keep Godís commandments is defined as to "go and serve other gods, and worship them" (1 Kings 9:6, 2 Kings 17:37-38, 2 Chronicles 7:19,22, Jeremiah 16:11; 22:9, Deuteronomy 7:4; 8:18; 11:28; 28:14; 30:17; 31:16,20, Joshua 22:22).
For anyone to assume the power of directing our comings and goings, and not leave us to scripture alone, is declaring the Word of God to be defective and insufficient for that purpose. And, therefore, to those who walk contrawise, our Lord Jesus Christ (who has left us the scriptures for that purpose - 2 Timothy 3:16-17), did not know what was necessary and sufficient for us. All those that impose their will against a bondman of Christ as the bondman walks in His ways are guilty of rebellion against God, because to reject a servant of God is to reject God himself (1 Samuel 8:7). If one's walk is under the direction of any man made authority, they cease to be under the direction and authority of Christ.
A minister of Christ is to receive his directions from Christ alone. No other power or authority may be admitted, and no laws or doctrines may be taught, besides those that He has taught. Everything else is of men only, and no part of Christ. What is taught by any man, and not confirmed in Scripture, is not of God. No man can make laws to oblige the Christ's assembly but Christ himself. Christís assembly does not exist on paper, but in the hearts of men, and is expressed in their outward acts (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20, Acts 17:24-25, John 4:23-24).
As Law is the basis of all government, the war to be fought, and around which all the issues revolve, is around the Law of God (Revelation 12:17). Only by a compromise of its unchangeable standards can the followers of Christ Jesus find "social respectability" (John 15:18-20). We must stand firmly for Truth and must not compromise with evil (2 Corinthians 6:14). And what is Godís definition of Truth? God's Law is Truth, and all of Godís Commandments are Truth (Psalm 119:142,151, John 17:17). And what is Godís Will? Godís Will is his Law written in our hearts (Psalm 40:8).
God's Children are not to Obey the State
When our brother Paul was accused by the Jews of persuading men to worship God contrary to the law, the courts of law of the Roman Government refused to judge religious matters, because they recognized they had no authority to judge in matters of "religious freedom" (Acts 18:12-16), as did the governments before Christ (Jeremiah 38:4-5).
There is not one time in scripture where Christ ever submitted to the Roman Imperial law. Period! He said his true family are not his blood relatives, but only those who "shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 12:50). Jesus Christ, nor any servant of God for that matter, has never, ever, never, ever said anything about doing the "will of man on earth", only the "will of your Father which is in heaven."
Example #1: There were three kings (the king of Israel, the king of Judah, and the king of Edom), marching out to crush one of their enemies, the Moabites. While in the desert, they discovered there was no water for anyone (2 Kings 3:9-12). So they asked a prophet of the LORD, Elisha, to help them out. But in 2 Kings 3:13, when the king of Israel asked Elisha for help, "Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee?"
In other words, Elisha said, "I am a servant of God, you are not! Iím not going to do anything just because youíre king!" Elisha is going to serve God, heís not going to serve even three kings. One king has the power to cut off his head. Elisha went up against three kings and said "go to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother." Elisha understood that they had a different calling, and a different approach to religion. But the king of Israel pleaded with him and said, "...the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab." In other words, these kings and all their armies are going to die! This is a life and death matter.
This cuts to the heart of Elisha and he decides he will do something. In 2 Kings 3:14, Elisha said, "As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand..." This is the key! It is not because Elisha is of a lesser rank than these three kings, or because heís scared to death that theyíll kill him if he doesnít do what they say, but "As the LORD of hosts liveth" before whom he serves. And Elisha says that if it wasnít for the fact that he respected Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, he wouldnít even look at them or notice them! Now, Elisha is absolutely telling them where it is to their face, because they donít follow the laws of God, but king Jehoshaphat alone does have that reputation (2 Chronicles 17:3-4). So for his sake, he helped and saved them all.
Example #2: In 2 Chronicles 16:7, the Lord cursed king Asa with wars (verse 9b) because he relied on a "king" (government) and made a mutual agreement (license, contract) with him (verse 3), instead of relying on the Lord. He also trusted physicians (verse 12).
There will be those who may be thinking that we should "obey all government authority." It is agreed that we should obey that government instituted by the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus; but not a usurper or pretender to His Throne. Rememnber what our Father has told us:
Hosea 8:4, "They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not."
The State is not God
Our Lord taught us to resist evil when he said, "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5:39). Resist evil and it will flee from you (James 4:7). We are not taught to overthrow the government, but to throw the wickedness out of government. We are to overthrow that which is ungodly and wicked by speaking the truth, and establish in its place that which is godly and holy. The only lawful government is that which governs according to God's Word.
There is no command in the Word of God to confess the State to the glory of the State:Romans 14:11-12, "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee [*including governing authorities] shall bow to me [*not to ungodly men, i.e. politicians], and every tongue shall confess to God [*not to legislators, lawyers, and judges]. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God [*not to the State, or men working for an ungodly government]."
Philippians 2:9-11, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus [*not the President, Governor, or the State] every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [*not the State, or men using the artifice of the State] is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Colossians 1:16, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him [*not for self-willed men]:"
Proverbs 17:15, "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD."
Luke 17:21, "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you [*not on a sheet of paper with man-made codes, rules, regulations, ordinances and statutes]."
The 20th century is the most violent century in recorded human history. Most of the violence has been committed by "governments." Most of the violence committed by "governments" has been against innocent, non-combatant civilians. Most of the violence committed by "governments" against innocent, non-combatant civilians has been against "their own" citizens, not external "enemies." Man-made laws make criminals out of honest folks (Isaiah 5:20), and these same laws reward criminals today.
The true bondman of Christ know the State is not God and that it must be controlled by laws rigidly defined according to Scripture. Even the heathen knows that all the laws of the State must conform to Godís Law:
"Any law contrary to the Law of God, is no law at all." Sir William Blackstone
"God alone is the lawgiver of eternity". Judge Henry Clay, Crimes of the Civil War, 1868, pages 428-432.
"The law is from everlasting." Bouviers Law Dictionary, 1914, ĎMaximí, page 2143. (Psalm 90:2; 93:2; 145:13).
The disciples of Christ of the first century were under the military authority of Rome, a nation which openly proclaimed its rulers, the Caesarís, to be divine. All those under the jurisdiction of Rome were required by law to publicly proclaim their allegiance to Caesar by burning a pinch of incense and declaring, "Caesar is Lord". Upon compliance with this law, the citizens and subjects were given a papyrus document called a "libellus", which they were required to present when either stopped by the Roman police or attempting to engage in commerce in the Roman marketplace, increasing the difficulty of "buying or selling" without this mark. In this way, Roman society became closed to anyone not willing to adhere himself and his family to the established religion of Caesar-worship (statism) This is the essence of Scriptureís warnings to the early followers of Christ against taking upon themselves the "mark of the beast".
It should be remembered that "it was granted to him [Caesar] to make war with the saints and to overcome them" (Revelation 13:7). Our brothers and sisters were torn apart by wild animals in the Roman Coliseum and used as living candles in the gardens of Nero because they refused to offer up even a tiny pinch of incense in his name and proclaim that he, not Christ, was Lord. In essence, they refused to submit to licensure (permission) from the State to live and worship as God had commanded them. They were not put to death because they believed in Christ. In Rome, you could believe anything you wanted to believe, just as long as you swore by the genius of Caesar. Disciples of Christ were put to death not because they believed in Christ, but because they were called traitors and treasonous individuals, because they would not swear allegiance to the State.
To a follower of Christ, disobedience and unfaithfulness to God is idolatry; it is treason. Statism is the concept that the State or government is always right, and that the State or government can do no wrong. This is idolatry, because it ascribes to man that which belongs to God alone. Anyone that says, "the government can do no wrong," or "the government is always right," is saying "government takes the place of God." The Word of God does not give the State the power or the authority to go beyond the Word of God. To ascribe power, authority, reverence, submission, or anything else to the State, above the Word of God, is idolatry. The State does not have "Infinite Wisdom", only God has Infinite Wisdom.
Your Questions Answered
- What about Hebrews 13:17, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls..."
Answer: When scripture speaks of obeying and submitting ourselves to those who have the rule over us, His Word is not talking about heathen governments, but those "rulers" within the Christ's assembly. Notice carefully this verse says these rulers "watch for your souls." Governments of men cannot govern or watch for anyone's souls, for they can only govern outward acts, not the inward being. But true spiritual leaders do watch for our souls.
Those who "have the rule over you" at Hebrews 13:17 is specifically defined a few verses earlier in Hebrews 13:7, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."
As we can see, scripture itself defines these "rulers" as those who speak the Word of God and have faith. Secular governments avoid, and often forbid, speaking the Word of God within their system through outlawing prayer in their schools and replacing it with such unrighteousness as "the theory of evolution," and by taking down the "Ten Commandments" from their courtrooms. These are not the rulers we are to submit to.
- What about 1 Peter 2:13, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake..."?
Answer: Firstly, we must understand that the above partial verse is just that - a partial verse. This is blatant "proof-texting," quoting the Word of God out of context to create a "private" interpretation. If the whole verse and its continuation is not quoted, our Father's Word becomes perverted. Let's look at what our brother Peter wrote, in its full context, so that we may avoid the pollution of others:
1 Peter 2:13-14, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."
Notice that the ordained power that God gave to "governing authorities" is to punish evil-doers and praise those that do well. The only ordinances we should obey are those that conform to this truth. If an ordinance does not punish evil or reward good, then no obedience is due, for this is the only power that God gave to "governing authorities." Anything beyond these two duties creates only tyranny.
Secondly, the word "ordinance" in this passage does not mean man's law. The word "ordinance", here is translated from Greek word # 2937, ktisis. This is the only place in any bible where this word is translated as "ordinance." In every other passage of scripture, it is translated as "creature" or "creation." But, since an "ordinance" is a creation of man, as long as that ordinance punishes evil doers and rewards good-doers, it should be obeyed.
Thirdly, this passage only applies to submitting the flesh, or your self-will, to worldly governments (2 Peter 2:10), because governments regulate and control the works of the flesh, and not the renewing of the mind through Christ Jesus. Felix Frankfurter was a justice on the US Supreme Court during the 1940's-1960's, and in a court case titled West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnett in 1943, this is what he said: ď[Man-made] law is concerned with external behavior, and not with the inner life of man.Ē The governments of men are into morphosis, and not the renewing of the inner man at all. They don't have that capability (1 Corinthians 2:14), and they know what their limitations are.
- Did not Jesus teach we are to submit to even evil governing authorities when he told us to "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5:39)?
Answer: Even Christ Himself did not literally turn the other cheek when smitten by a member of the Sanhedrin (John 18:22-23), or when struck on the face by the palms of the Roman guards (Matthew 26:67-68, Mark 14:65, Luke 22:64).
Matthew 5:39 is speaking about the custom of the Romans when a superior would demand obedience from an inferior. Christ was showing disdain for them when he said to turn the other cheek. When struck by a Roman superior in the first century, you where to drop to one knee or put your forehead in the dirt before them. To turn the other cheek to him would be a very defiant act when you were struck on the face. We are not to resist with violence, of course, but with love. That is truly resisting evil.
By simply turning the other cheek for him to hit, you are refusing to partake of the evil resulting from bowing to man, and at the same time you are not reverting to violence. We are to "overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21). You are showing him, out of love, that you can only bow to One Lord, and no man will you ever bow down to. You show him that you will place God's command above man's command, no matter what the consequences will be. You are willing to take the punishment, and are willing to get "hit again" by your enemies, but you will stand firm in God's Law of love. By taking a stand such as this, the one who hits you may very well flee from you (James 4:7).
- Doesn't the scripture say we should agree with our adversary? (Matthew 5:25) Therefore we should obey governments.
Answer: Again, this verse is taken out of context. If you read verses 22-25, you will see this passage applies only to your "brother" in Christ, who has become your adversary. Jesus stresses to not be "angry with his brother without a cause" (verse 22), and to remember why "thy brother" is angry at you (verse 23), and then to be "reconciled to thy brother" (verse 24). When we come to verse 25, Jesus is stressing to agree with your brother, because He does not want His children to go to court against each other (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). Nowhere in the entire scripture does the term brother ever refer to an enemy. Matthew 5:25 says to agree with "thine" adversary, it does not say to agree with "the" adversary. If the Christ's assembly had to obey unlawful government, then the gates of hell would be prevailing against it (Matthew 16:18).
- The Christian church should not be political, we should not mix politics with religion.
Answer: We should learn from our past steps through history and time, not repeat them over and over again until they become the norm. The people of any Christian nation cannot withdraw to the comfort and security of their ornate Cathedrals, sit in their comfortable padded pews, and watch as the world around them goes to hell. To do so is a betrayal to the true church and a denial of the power of His Word. One of the most clever tools in the enemy's arsenal, used to silence and intimidate Christians and drive them out of the public forum, is the great lie known as the "separation of church and State." The separation of church and state is a lie. God never put a wall up between them. There is no such statement in the US Constitution. Our Constitution provides for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
Germany learned this in 1934 when there was a special meeting held in the German capital of Berlin. Hitler had been Chancellor for just over a year and was taking Germany through a process called "glichshaltung", which basically meant at the time 'coordination.' Everything, including the church, was being re-aligned in terms of Hitler's new national-socialist philosophy. Public protests had already begun as the people objected to this interference with the church. To counter this resounding rejection by the people, Hitler called together the most important Preachers in Germany, gathered them at the chancellery building, and reassured them in order to silence their criticism. Hitler told them their State subsidies would continue, their tax exemptions were secure, and that the church had nothing to fear from a Nazi government.
A young Preacher, Martin Neimuller, spoke up at that gathering and objected directly to Hitler. The other Preachers stood there in frozen silence as the bold Neimuller pushed his way up through the crowd to the German Chancellor, eventually facing him eye to eye, and said with all boldness and Christian conviction "Heir Hitler, our concern is not for the church. Jesus Christ will take care of His church. Our concern is for the soul of our nation." As Neimuller was being ushered away by his fellow Christian Ministers, Hitler cunningly resounded "The soul of Germany... you can leave that to me!" And that's just what the church in Germany did; they separated the Church and State from that day on until not many years later, their nation was completely destroyed. America, as so many other nations, continues to do the same today.
The Law of God is not private law, but universal Law. His Law speaks to offenses that affect the collective body and soul of all mankind. All are part of the whole, and all suffer when the Law is trivialized, ridiculed, and worst of all, replaced with an inevitable inferior invention of man's 'reason'. Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me;" (Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23). Therefore, any government that is not for Him, or is neutral, is against Him.
Mention obedience to God's Law (substance), and many "Christians" accuse you of being a 'legalist'. But the very ones who call us a legalist are themselves true legalists to every code, rule, and regulation (form) that Caesar passes. "Legalism" is to adhere to the "form" and not the "substance" of law. They obey Caesar's will without taking any thought as to whether it is right or wrong. They do it blindly, and that's blind faith in a false saviour. They themselves are 'legalists' to Caesar's laws. They fear man and keep his commandments, for they believe this is their 'duty'. Well, let's have God tell us the conclusionÖ
Ecclesiastes 12:13, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
Notice, we are to fear God (not man) and keep His Commandments (not man's commandments), because this is the whole duty of man (we do not have a duty to any other except God). The only thing we owe to man is "to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8).
God will judge those in governments, especially those that act as gods themselves by teaching contrary to God's Will:
Wisdom of Solomon 6:1-8, "Hear therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn, ye that be judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear, ye that rule the people, and glory in the multitude of nations. For power is given you of the Lord, and sovereignty from the Highest, who shall try your works, and search out your counsels. Because, being ministers of his kingdom, ye have not judged aright, nor kept the law, nor walked after the counsel of God; Horribly and speedily shall he come upon you: for a sharp judgment shall be to them that be in high places. For mercy will soon pardon the meanest: but mighty men shall be mightily tormented. For he which is Lord over all shall fear no man's person, neither shall he stand in awe of any man's greatness: for he hath made the small and great, and careth for all alike. But a sore trial shall come upon the mighty."
Remember, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. If men would "obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29), this world would be a much better place.
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