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Obey the Government; Yes, or No?

02 Sep

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

There is no authority except from God? Paul must be wrong on the point, just look at the countries around the world! Corruption is everywhere, even in the USA, and yet Paul says God created these horrible governments (governing authorities)? What about the Nazis? Did God institute the Nazis? Hitler? And more importantly, are we really to obey such ‘governments’?

First, is Paul’s statement really all inclusive?

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:2)

According to this passage, it’s clear that we should obey any government, because after all, God is the one who set it up. However, if we look at Acts:

 27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:27-29)

We see according to this verse that we are to obey God, rather than man. So now, which is it? Is the scripture contradicting itself now? No, it’s not. This is because yes, we are to obey the government no matter “who” set it up, because we know God in reality is the founder. However, if the government tells us to, for example, become Buddhist, we are to disobey. But this still seems to be a contradiction of scripture.

Second, is the scripture contradicting itself? … Because that’s what it seems like at the moment.

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:3-4)

To quickly use (and slightly change) an example from carm.org on this subject:

The law tells us not to murder, it also says to obey your parents. But what if your parent’s tell you to murder? Obviously, we shouldn’t obey them then, but why? After all, we’re supposed to obey our parents… Because what they’re saying doesn’t line up with the rest of scripture. If what a government is saying doesn’t line up with what scripture tells us to do, we shouldn’t obey them.

But what exactly is Paul’s whole point? Just to give us (and the Romans) some helpful information about obeying the government? Something else maybe?

Third, what is Paul’s point? … To simply give some day-to-day instruction, or something else?

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:12-14)

He’s telling them, and us, to “put off darkness”, but he’s also telling us how to do that, that means obeying the government. But it’s more than that, “putting of darkness”, as Paul now clarifies, also means putting something on; it means putting Jesus on.

Paul’s point isn’t  so much focused in particular on our obedience to the government as it is on our obeying, focusing on, and over all giving glory to Jesus in everything we do.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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11 responses to “Obey the Government; Yes, or No?

  1. Kristine

    September 20, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    Hi. I probably won’t say any more after this. It’s too large a subject to discuss via text and I have not even touched on ‘law’ vs. ‘statute’, ‘lawful’ vs. ‘legal’, unconscionable constructive cestui que trusts, and the court’s secret definition of ‘person’ etc.
    I think that you have not fully grasped what a legal fiction is so I can’t move on.
    Regarding “I’m not going to defend the pilgrims for what they did way back then, but, frankly, it was way back then.” If the ‘roots’ of governments are rotten, then one can expect rotten fruit. The last living Indian chief who signed the last treaty with the government in the later 1800’s died only 10 years before my still-living father was born. ‘way back then’ may seem a long time ago to you, but not to me. (God doesn’t recognise ‘statutes of limitations’ either)
    With all due respect, most American Christians (and it’s similar in Australia) have a patriotic mindset towards defending the U.S.A. governments. For everything that you said, I can see where you are coming from, as I went through similar stages of belief.
    I don’t condone anarchy, however controlling general havoc (incl. kidnappers, rapists, drug-sellers, “coyotes”, other illegal activities, rapists, murderers) does not of itself justify the U.S.A. governments as being lawful and being ordained by God.
    That’s what a counterfeit does, it mimics the real thing.
    The German government (a body-politic in Hitler’s time), for example, with Hitler at the reigns, also prevented many aspects of anarchy occurring, but that in itself did not justify that government as being lawful and ordained by God.
    You stated “I agree true authority can only be given by God, the same way only true law can only originate from God”. This is true.
    The Australian governments (federal and states) are corporations (being legal fictions), are not lawful, and are not ordained by God (they are similar to a king not set up by God, per Hosea 8:4), therefore I do not obey them, yet I abide by God’s Laws in His Word. The Australian governments do prevent anarchy – they mimic lawful government.

     
    • Joshua Cleveland

      September 21, 2011 at 12:21 AM

      “therefore I do not obey them, yet I abide by God’s Laws in His Word.”

      Thank you for explaining your point of view more. I agree that we should live by God’s law’s in his word, rather than by the, “king’s” (government/power/authority) rules, if the king contradicts scripture. As for my understanding of a legal-fiction:

      A government that only exists in the minds of people & on paper.

      “The Australian governments do prevent anarchy – they mimic lawful government.”

      I believe I now finally understand what you’re saying. The legal-fiction (‘government’) may mimic a lawful government, by isn’t one. We shouldn’t obey a non-existent or non-God-ordained government unless what they’re telling us to do is to obey God’s word. Same way we shouldn’t not obey them, unless what they are saying contradicts scripture (same thing).

      In short, I hold by what I said in my post, which I believe is in reality to some extent what you were saying all along, which is that a legal-fiction may mimic lawful government, but can’t be it. Therefore, because it’s not ordained by God, we should always study the laws they give and see if they coincide with scripture, if they do, we should obey them (and in doing so obey the Bible), and if they don’t coincide, we shouldn’t obey them.

       
  2. Kristine

    September 19, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    As I mentioned, dictionaries and the web generally have some overlap in the meaning of ‘authority’ and ‘power’. This also occurs in various Bible translations. People tend to use these words interchangeably, however if you ‘dig deeper’ it is revealed that these words are different.
    A criminal with a gun may have the power to make you do something against your free will, yet the criminal does not have any authority in such an action. A shop owner might have the authority to discount items in his store, while an employee might have the power to discount items, but does not have the authority to do so without permission. A parent has authority to discipline his/her child, while a stranger has the power to do so, but not with authority,
    Power can exist with or without authority. With true authority comes the right to use power to enforce something.
    True authority and Law originate from God. See Isaiah 33:22.
    ‘Law’ & ‘statute, and ‘lawful’ & ‘legal’ are other words which are often interchanged, yet they are as different as ‘authority’ is from ‘power’.
    A lawful organic government which is ordained by God has authority to (ad)minister God’s Laws.
    All U.S.A. governments are corporations, being a legal-fictions, and are unlawful powers. They do not have any lawful authority, therefore should not be obeyed. They are counterfeits of God-ordained organic government.
    The wholesale slaughtering of the native American Indians, and the stealing of their lands, is a witness against the U.S.A. governments, per Romans 13:3-4 which read, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. … … For he is the minister of God to thee for good”. Also, the governments aren’t a ‘he’, they are corporations. Even today the governments fail on the conditions set down in Romans 13:3-4.
    In response to your last posting:
    All state governments are corporations, being legal fictions, which exist in the mind of man & on paper, yet there are real people in the governmental structures who rule (use power) the population; just as Monopoly is a fiction game, yet there are real people throwing dice, moving tokens and ‘paying’ for Monopoly ‘real estate’ etc. These governments are ruling powers, not lawful ruling authorities, & should not be obeyed.
    Satan has a counterfeit for almost everything down here on earth. He is the ‘god’ (small ‘g’) of this world. See 2 Cor. 4:4.
    Hosea 8:4 reads, “They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not …” If God’s people in the old testament times set up kings who were not ordained (set up) by Him, then it is obvious that other rulers would be set up today which are not ordained by God; and God definitely would not ordain a legal fiction government.

     
    • Kristine

      September 20, 2011 at 8:31 AM

      Google USC, TITLE 28 – JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE (6 parts)
      Go to PART VI (6) – PARTICULAR PROCEEDINGS (Chapters 151 – 180)
      Go to CHAPTER 176 – FEDERAL DEBT COLLECTION PROCEDURE (§’s 3001 -3308)
      Go to SUBCHAPTER A – DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS (§’s 3001 – 3015)
      Go to §3002. DEFINITIONS (Parts 1 to 16)
      Part 15 reads:
      “United States” means –
      (A) a Federal corporation;
      (B) an agency, department, commission, board, or other entity of the United States; or
      (C) an instrumentality of the United States.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Google 163 U.S. 625 (1896), UNITED STATES v. PERKINS. No. 422. Supreme Court of United States. Submitted May 8, 1896. Decided May 25, 1896
      Near location 631 you will find, “ ….. We think it was not intended to apply it to a purely political or governmental corporation like the United States. ….”

      There are more –

       
    • Joshua Cleveland

      September 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      “The wholesale slaughtering of the native American Indians, and the stealing of their lands, is a witness against the U.S.A. governments, per Romans 13:3-4 which read, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. … … For he is the minister of God to thee for good”. Also, the governments aren’t a ‘he’, they are corporations. Even today the governments fail on the conditions set down in Romans 13:3-4.”

      I’m not going to defend the pilgrims for what they did way back then, but, frankly, it was way back then. That was before any real rules were set out, remember, we still did give them a reserve after everything was said and done. Not only that, but the Indians were known to kidnap children, as well as raid settlements. The early Americans aren’t the only ones to be blamed for the fighting. As for what you said about the governments today, you have to keep in mind that they still are successful at for the most part keeping the peace. Yes, I disagree with a lot of what America is doing (allowing homo-sexuality, psychotropic drugs, etc), however, I believe that particular battle can be battled online, rather than simple ceasing to obey all laws the USA has set down.

      3 For (A)rulers are not a cause of fear for [a]good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an (B)avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. (Romans 13:3-4)

      Robbers are punished, as are kidnappers, rapists, drug-sellers, “coyotes”, and other illegal activities. Preaching is allowed, as is what I’m doing with my blog. People have a rights to speech and writing and aren’t punished for either. I believe the USA has done a fairly good job of keeping in line with Romans 13:3-4, but this is only from what I know about it, if you could give me some examples of where America is terrorizing good while upholding bad, then I think I could understand your side on the matter a little better.

      “All state governments are corporations, being legal fictions, which exist in the mind of man & on paper, yet there are real people in the governmental structures who rule (use power) the population; just as Monopoly is a fiction game, yet there are real people throwing dice, moving tokens and ‘paying’ for Monopoly ‘real estate’ etc. These governments are ruling powers, not lawful ruling authorities, & should not be obeyed.’

      It seems by saying this, you would allow rapists to rape women, murders to murder people, and general havoc to break lose. This can’t be what you mean, obviously, so if you could clarify that statement, “& should not be obeyed.” I would appreciate it. For example, if you mean, “and should not obeyed unless…”

      “Power can exist with or without authority. With true authority comes the right to use power to enforce something.
      True authority and Law originate from God. See Isaiah 33:22.
      ‘Law’ & ‘statute, and ‘lawful’ & ‘legal’ are other words which are often interchanged, yet they are as different as ‘authority’ is from ‘power’.
      A lawful organic government which is ordained by God has authority to (ad)minister God’s Laws.
      All U.S.A. governments are corporations, being a legal-fictions, and are unlawful powers. They do not have any lawful authority, therefore should not be obeyed. They are counterfeits of God-ordained organic government.”

      I don’t intend to argue anything with you, however the statement you made above I can’t quite agree with. I agree true authority can only be given by God, the same way only true law can only originate from God. However, at this time, I don’t really believe the USA is trying to administer God’s law’s, I believe we actually left that behind somewhere around the 1950s(?) when we dropped prayer in schools. Any and all laws they make, are frankly, “their” laws and therefore not God’s. But this doesn’t necessarily mean the laws aren’t valid, simply not, “true law”. “True law” as I see it, is for example the (invalid) 10 commandments. Therefore it would be safe to assume that the USA has power/authority to administer their own laws, not per say God’s laws. – As for, “and should not be obeyed,” I have to disagree. It should be obeyed, unless it (the USA) commands us to in some way sin. And even though America is a, “legal fiction,” and a “counterfeit(s) of God-ordained organic government.” America is the closest thing we have at the moment to God ordained government. Personally, I don’t much like the idea of living in China, Japan, the Czech Republic or India. Especially because the conditions are to some degree worse there. Please be sure, I’m not in any way trying to insult you or your beliefs, I just disagree with what is currently being said.

       
  3. Kristine

    September 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    Hi,
    I’m not disputing Romans 13:1 or any scriptures.
    I agree that we must obey governing authorities, but there are none in Australia, U.S.A., Canada, Spain etc. etc.

    The U.S.A. federal government, for example, is a corporation, being a legal fiction, (and it used to be a body-politic) and the members of government are as the directors, as the directors of a corporation.
    The U.S.A. federal government rules by unconscionable power (power as opposed to authority – but then I would have to define these words if you want to know more), using deceit, coercion, force etc.
    It’s a bit like the game of monopoly, where there are real people playing, with a real game board, real paper as play money, real tokens, but the game is a fiction.

    I have stepped outside of the scriptures to start to explain how the governmental systems, with their controlling arms (army, courts, police) operate/work.

    If you can comprehend how a corporation does not really exist, but only ‘exists’ in the mind of man and on paper, then it will be a start to comprehending what a legal-fiction is.

     
    • Joshua Cleveland

      September 16, 2011 at 1:08 PM

      I think I see what your saying now, (thank you for explaining).

      If a state only has a system or government in the mind’s of the people (and on paper) but not in reality, then I don’t see how, or why someone would obey it (unless as you said, forced to do so). Under those circumstances, since there isn’t a government or system in place, there is no reason for a Christian to obey, “it”.

      But, such as in America, we do have a ruling power (as you noted) that we should obey, unless that power asks/demands of us to disobey scripture.

       
  4. Kristine

    September 14, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    For Romans 13:1,
    1) King James version reads, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. ……”
    2) American Standard version reads, “Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: …..”
    3) New King James version reads, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.”
    4) New International version reads, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities …..”
    5) Good News translation reads, “Everyone must obey state authorities”

    I’m not going into a discussion on which version might be more correct, however, avoiding any adjectives, from above, we are told to obey the powers or authorities.

    If you do a dictionary or google search on ‘power’ and ‘authority’, there is generally some overlap in meaning for these two words.
    True authority and law originates from God. Isaiah 33:22 reads, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king.” A man/woman of lawful authority, administering God’s Laws down here on earth must be ordained by God.

    So, authorities (some people use ‘powers’) are PEOPLE ordained by God.
    What most Christians fail to realise is that today’s governments are considered as separate entities from the politicians/elected-members/political-members.

    All governments in the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, Swaziland etc. etc. are corporations, and were all originally body-politic entities.
    Corporations and body-politic entities are what are correctly termed as legal-fictions.
    You can look up ‘legal fiction’ in a legal dictionary.
    The Australian federal government SYSTEM, for example, may contain say 148 members of parliament, yet there are considered to be 149 entities in the Australian federal government system. If one was to take the Federal government to court, it is the corporate 149th. entity (a legal fiction) that is taken to court.

    The Australian federal government, and all U.S.A. governments are ALL corporations, being legal fictions.

    Satan is the great liar, deceiver and COUNTERFEITER.
    This is just an introduction as to how Satan has counterfeited lawful organic government.

    There IS a difference between organic-government and corporate-government, law and statute (the rules for a society), authority and power, ‘lawful’ and ‘legal’, man/woman and ‘person’ (the legal meaning of ‘person’) etc.

    This is just an introduction to Satan’s counterfeit. If you’d like to know more I can do that, but you might want to check with your parents first.

     
    • Joshua Cleveland

      September 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      I’m sorry I think I must have missed the point of what you’re saying.

      Is your point that true power and/or authority only comes from God and that everything else is some sort of counterfeit made by the Devil? If that’s the case I would have to disagree with you, the full verse says:

      Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (NIV)

      Or, if you like, no power, or no authority, that God has not established. Is this what you’re saying? I’m sorry, I simply can’t seem to connect the dots in everything your saying.

       
  5. Kristine

    September 14, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    Hi,
    You quoted a Bible version which reads, Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.
    This verse says to obey the governing authorities. It does not use the word ‘government’

    Why do you equate ‘authorities’ with government?
    Can you please define what YOU mean by government?

    Thank you

     
    • Joshua Cleveland

      September 14, 2011 at 12:53 PM

      Sorry Kristine, I didn’t mean to cause any confusion by that.

      Back then (meaning in Paul’s time), they had monarchs, like for example Caesar Augustus. – The reason I equate governing authorities to government is because today we have government’s, while back then they had governing authorities rather than a proper government like we think of today.

      What I mean when I say, “government” is any person or power currently ruling over another person. In other words, I consider America’s government to be a government. I also consider the ruling authorities of Paul’s time a sort of government, if not as advanced as our own.

      Any sort of governing authority is a type of government If only because the actual word, “government” mean’s in essence, “the way a nation (etc) is governed”. – So technically even a tribal leader in some remote part of India (or some such place), is technically the governing authority or government, of that tribe. Even if that government isn’t as advanced as ours, it still is a ‘government’.

      Thank you for bringing that up and I apologize for not addressing it in the actual post, I just didn’t think of it at the time.

       

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