Moral Decline

Documenting The Moral Decline That Threatens To Destroy America

The Truth About Romans 13 And Submission To The Government

Recently, I paid a visit to a local church to which I was invited by a co-worker.  That co-worker, who has children in public schools, had had a number of discussions about public schools with me.  One of those discussions led to my having written a letter which exposes a tiny sliver of the facts and information which, formerly taught in U. S. schools, are no longer taught in many of our “dumbed-down” “skools.”  While speaking to one of the leaders of the church, I mentioned that parents and students should work to de-fuse some of the nonsense and harmful teachings in public schools.  The leader swiftly rebuked me, cited Romans 13, and said that students in public schools need to learn to submit to school officials.  (One of the pastors of the church has a son who is now the principal at the school to which I wrote the above-mentioned letter.)

Implied in this oft-pushed notion about Romans 13 is that the word, submit, involves, or connotes, staying quiet, and refraining from giving opinions about what the government does for, or with, or to, us.

I admit that I am still struggling with where Romans 13 draws the lines.  I hope that my attempt to put my muses and research into words will help you who also struggle.  Please bear with the “rabbit trails.”

Here is Roman 13:1, from the English Majority Text Version (EMTV) of the Bible.  (Other Bible quotes herein are from the Authorized Version, unless otherwise noted.)

Let every soul submit to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.

The Apostle Paul wrote Romans 13.  Was Paul silent about how government dealt with him?  Or is someone, somewhere, twisting the connotation of the verb, to submit, from the way that Paul saw its connotation?  If someone is, indeed, twisting Romans 13 from its original intention, what is the motivation of that person, or that entity?

Paul was born a citizen of Rome.  Being a citizen, Paul was not one of the conquered masses, with whom Rome dealt as it pleased (beating, torture, murder).  According to Roman law, Paul had rights.  Roman officials could not grab Paul off the street and beat him, unless he had been “condemned” (Acts 16:37; 22:25), or found guilty of a crime.  [Peter was not a Roman citizen.  Under Roman law, Peter could be beaten at the whim of the Jewish leaders (Acts 5:40), who were puppets of Rome.]

Paul was obligated to submit (or, to be subject—Rom. 13:1) to Rome.  His own writings bound him to do so.  But did Paul include silence about what Rome did to him as part of his obligation to be submissive to Rome, as the above-mentioned church leader seems to do, regarding public “school” students, in students' dealings with public “schools?”

In Acts 22, Paul delivered a speech which angered many Jews.  The resulting commotion resulted in Paul having been dragged into custody by Roman officials.  They decided to have Paul beaten, so that he would tell what he had said to stir up the crowd (verse 24).  As Roman officials were preparing to beat Paul, Paul asked them, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?” (v. 25).  Uh, oh…Paul didn’t “submit” to whatever the Romans wished to do with him.  He dared to question them, as I urged, to that church leader, that students and parents should begin to do, regarding policies in place at public “schools.”  Why didn’t Paul simply “submit,” and allow himself to be beaten?

Roman officials did beat Paul on another occasion (Acts 16:22, 23).  The text does not reveal whether Paul was so quickly rushed to be beaten that he didn't have time to react, or whether he had a reason for having allowed Roman officials to beat him on that occasion.

Paul did not remain silent about the beating in Acts 16.  Paul made certain that he did what he could to get those Roman officials to admit, in fashion, that, in having beaten Paul, they had made a mistake (vv. 37-39), and “they (those Roman officials) feared” (v. 38), because of the actions which Paul insisted that they take.

After another incident, a result of which Jews strove to stop Paul permanently, a Roman ruler, Festus, asked Paul whether Paul was willing, in defense of his actions, to stand before Jews in Jerusalem.  Paul replied that he was standing before Caesar's judgement seat, and, as a result, he appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:11).  Paul did not say to himself, “I need to submit to the Jewish rulers.  They're doing God's bidding.”  Paul could smell a kangaroo court from a million miles away.  From what I can see, Paul’s connotation of the verb, to submit, did not always involve remaining silent and passive.

Can you imagine students, following Paul's example, respectfully standing up to “school” officials, and asking those officials why things which their grandparents were taught are no longer taught in schools?  Didn't Paul give such students a “green light?”  What is the alternative—for our children to remain ignorant into their adult years?  Doesn't God lament ignorance in people?  “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).  By extension, do not our dumbed-down schools, in breaking the spirit, or intended purpose, of Hosea 4:6, break the law of God?  What do you prefer?  Do you choose “submission” to government-paid, government-sponsored “school” leaders, while breaking the law of God by keeping students (YOUR CHILDREN) in ignorance?  Or, do you prefer keeping the law of God, and, in the name of wishing to increase dissemination of knowledge, respectfully challenging these people?  If you discover that, indeed, there is a plan to “dumb-down” children in the U.S., would you formulate your own plan to remove your children from public schools?

As long as we send our children to public schools, we “enable” those whose fruits are substandard (planned or not).  We keep public school employees comfortable with their disappointing results.  And everyone (including churches) being quiet and “submissive” about this tragedy puts fuel on the fire burning our children out.

In advising students to “submit” to (or, to be quiet about) dumbing down procedures in schools, this particular church breaks a portion, or aspect, of the law of God.  Are other churches such transgressors?  If so, why do churches, in failure to observe the 1st Commandment, put the State ahead of the Creator?

I can't help comparing a failure to feed knowledge to our youth to a failure to feed food to them.

In addition to looking at some of Paul's examples, I wish to explore other Biblical examples of how those who have followed their Creator have dealt with governments which are in opposition to the Creator's ways, or in opposition to that government’s own written laws.

I strongly suggest that the reader look up a quote made by one Dr. Durell Tuberville, who is part of what are called “Clergy Response Teams” in the U.S.  Regarding unconstitutional “emergency” actions by government operatives (such as the gun-grabbing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina), Dr. Tuberville stated, “...the primary thing that we say to anybody is 'Let's go out there and get this thing over with, and then we'll settle the differences once the crisis is over'...because the government's established by the Lord...and that's what we believe in the Christian faith.  It's what stated in the Scripture.”

If you were to ask some of these members of the Clergy Response Teams about the family, most of them would reply that the institution of the family is established by the Lord.  If you were to ask them about the clergy, they would tell you that an organized clergy is established by the Lord.

So they admit that family, clergy, and government are all “established by 'the Lord.'”

Paul wrote about how to approach questioning an action of an “elder” of a church.  He wrote, “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father” (I Timothy 5:1).  Paul gave a green light to intreating, or questioning respectfully, a father.

In the book of Malachi, especially in second chapter, members of clergy (priests) are openly rebuked.  In effect, Malachi told us that we can question clergy.  Further, Luke, in the book of Acts, wrote that the Bereans were “more noble,” because “they...searched the scriptures daily, whether those things (which Paul taught) were so” (Acts 17:11).  The Bereans were open to Paul's teachings, but they didn't swallow Paul's teachings without question.  They did research.

 Would these people in Clergy Response Teams say that parents should never be questioned, or that ministers should never be questioned?  If so, they would teach against Scripture.  In like manner, for Clergy Response Teams to help the government to do its dirt on a smooth, paved, unquestioning road of “submissive” citizens is not Scriptural.  Why is it not Scriptural?  Just as no human individual is perfect, so no nation—no collection of humans—is perfect.  Any nation is thus subject to humble correction in love.

Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him” (Leviticus 19:17).  For Clergy Response Teams to fail to publish errors made by the government in Washington amounts to hatred of Washington by the Clergy Response Teams, no matter how “cozy” the relationship between Clergy Response Teams and Washington seems to be.  It further demonstrates hatred against citizens governed by Washington.

“Open rebuke is better than secret love” (Prov. 27:5).

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (v. 6).

In order to give myself a reason to think more highly of these Clergy Response Teams, I want to find an example of rebuke made, by Clergy Response Teams, against Washington.  Sadly, from what I have found, Clergy Response Teams seem to be secretive.  Here's an example.  When a member of the Worldwide Church of God asked how many ministers in that church are part of the Clergy Response Teams (i.e., getting do-re-me from F.E.M.A.), that minister's response was, “Sorry, that is privileged information.”  Why wasn't that church willing to admit (or deny) association with the Clergy Response Teams?  Do we see members of Clergy Response Teams making themselves known at any other time, other than to help citizens to find acceptable yet another unconstitutional act by Washington?  Why do they seemingly spend most of their time under rocks?

We need to call a spade a spade.  The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of the law of the U.S.  Any action done in contradiction to the U.S. Constitution is unlawful.  If a “common” citizen goes against the Constitution (as in the act of treason), that citizen breaks the law.  If a President goes against the Constitution, that President breaks the law.  They break federal law, and not mere civil law.  The gun-grabbing done in New Orleans broke the supreme federal law of the land.  A preacher attempting to make unconstitutional actions seem holy or palatable or make them feel good neither makes those actions any less unconstitutional, nor does he make those actions lawful.

How, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, were “differences” between gun-grabbing government officials and citizens who hoped to be able to defend themselves settled, as Dr. Tuberville spoke of settling differences?  That was easy.  Government officials sent the National “Guard” in, and, at gunpoint, the National Guard, against the edicts of the U.S. Constitution, confiscated weapons.  Did those citizens who had their guns stolen ever get those guns back?  Who cares?  The case was settled.  (I hope that it hasn’t been settled.)

In an aside, isn't it easy to wonder whether uniformed people who break the precepts of the U.S. Constitution are working for another government, and are, as a result, treasonous?  They don't follow the U.S. Constitution.  What, or whom, do they follow?  Are they part of YOUR government?

Dr. Tuberville makes no mention of Paul's having brought grievances to the government…why not?  Why didn't Paul take that the beating which the government “established by the Lord” wished to inflict?  Why didn't Paul get in contact with the Clergy Response Teams of his day?  Why didn't Paul consult the Pharisee and Sadducee Clergy Response Team lackeys, who, in order to seize the scraps of power doled out by the Roman government, worked as a glove over the hand of Rome, as Rome's snitches?  If Paul didn't consult the Clergy Response Teams of his day, should we take the advice of our Clergy Response Teams, today?  Should they even exist, as they are?

We need to do research about the origins of Clergy Response Teams.  They need exposure.  They’re your tax dollars at work against you.  We need to discover how much money has been diverted into the pockets of the members of the Clergy Response Teams.

Did other Biblical characters challenge the status quo?

Numbers 27 has the story of five women who, according to inheritance laws as they were, with property going from father to son, were not to receive any inheritance.  (These women had no brothers.)  Did those daughters say to themselves, “Romans 13 says we better shut up about any inheritance, because it's a man's world?”  They went to Moses, who took the case of the women to the Creator of all.  “And YAHWEH spake unto Moses, saying, The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them” (Num. 27:6, 7).

Let's have a look at the story of the birth of Moses, and the degree of submissiveness exhibited by some of the players having to do with Moses' birth.

In Exodus 1 is the account of the Egyptian pharaoh having become concerned, because the Hebrew slaves had multiplied in number.  At first, in order to contain their population, the pharaoh had the Hebrews forced to work as slaves.  But the Hebrew slaves continued to increase their numbers.  Finally (v. 16), the Hebrew midwives were told to allow female children to live, but to kill male babies.

The Hebrew midwives could have said, “We better submit, because whatever Pharaoh says is the will of God.  The Clergy Response Teams say that we can settle the differences later, after those babies are killed.”  Verse 17 tells the course of action of the midwives.  “But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.”

Had the edict of that pharaoh been fully obeyed, Moses would not have been born.  Hebrew midwives “feared God,” and, in doing so, disobeyed the pharaoh.

Residents of New Orleans faced armed government forces who broke the law of the land.  Can't you extrapolate from trends that, in time, you, personally, will have your “The Creator vs. Pharaoh” moment?  You will probably soon encounter man's orders which, if kept, would go against the will of the Creator, and not merely against man's law of the land.  (Are we already facing that fork in the road, with increasing pressure to ban home-schooling, and to force private schools to become state-certified or accredited, and, in effect, forcing parents to keep their children ignorant?)  Which would you do?  Would you keep man's law in spite of going against the desire of the Creator, or would you “fear God,” as did the Hebrew midwives, and go against man's edicts?  Would you, for instance, keep your child in a public school, though you know that you child could learn much more in a real school, though that school may be declared “illegal?”  The Clergy Response Team's Dr. Tuberville does not mention the possibility that the U.S. government could go against the wishes of the Creator.  Regardless of Dr. Tuberville's opinion, what will you do, when you encounter a law of man which, to observe it, would go against the Creator's way?  What will you do, when you are offered a “mark” (Revelation 13:16, 17) which would pave the way for you being able to buy and sell under government approval, when acceptance of that mark also mandates that you worship a “beast” (v. 15)?  I submit that, if you accept, in silence, having your children “educated” (brainwashed, and kept in ignorance) in a public “skool,” you soften yourself for any other government onslaught.  “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10—words of the Messiah).  If you are unfaithful, in allowing, without challenge, public “education” to flourish, you may also cave in, when someone comes with a mark, to help you be able to buy and sell.

Regarding schools, I'll tell what I'd like to do.  I'd like to find an “underground” school whose directors have no regard for state-sponsored teacher certification, and I'd like to be a teacher in such a school.  I'd view such a school in a state in which such schools are deemed “illegal” similarly to how I view the actions of the Hebrew midwives.  I'd seriously consider teaching in such an “illegal” school.  Just as I am against killing newborn babies, I am also in extreme disfavor of intellectually starving children and youth.  If blind government goons came to arrest me, I'd submit to their arrest.  I would hope that my actions would speak loudly.

Jesus' parents did not “submit,” as Clergy Response Teams view submission.  When Joseph and Mary learned that Herod wished to kill male babies two years old and under, they didn't say, “Romans 13 says that it's the will of God that we turn Jesus over to have him killed.”  They got outta Dodge.

Are you beginning to wonder whether the word, submit, in Romans 13, carries a connotation of “be quiet, and do what you're told?”  I hope so.  Now, you need to discover what connotation the word, submit, in Romans 13, does carry.  In addition to my ideas given below, I strongly suggest that you give a good, long, serious look at what Dr. Chuck Baldwin has to say about Romans 13.  Dr. Baldwin has spent much more time with this subject than I have.  Further, I suggest that you obtain or otherwise gain access to watching one of Pastor John Weaver’s sermons on the subject of Romans 13.  (Pastor Weaver has also written a book along this line.)  I may not agree with every last word of either Dr. Baldwin or Pastor Weaver, but I'm much farther down either of their roads than I am down Washington's road, and, at the very least, I believe that both Dr. Baldwin and Pastor Weaver make very good points to ponder.  They are much closer to the “America” which was the land of the free; home of the brave, than is Washington, which is creating the land of the flea; home of the slave.

            To understand Paul’s idea of submission, or of being “subject” to “higher powers,” we should look at the example of Paul’s Master—Yahshua HaMashiachJesus the Messiah.

            When Judas led the group of scribes and elders to Jesus, in order to hand Jesus over to Roman authorities, the disciple Peter got in a good lick, by cutting off the ear of a servant (Malchus—John 18:10) of the high priest.  Perhaps, with a couple more good licks, and with it having been in the dark of night, Jesus could have escaped.  However, Jesus made himself subject, or submissive, to authorities (Isaiah 53:7).  He said, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52, 53).  Jesus could have rounded up a sure escape from his predicament on the Mount of Olives.  But he submitted.  To Pilate, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).

            Though Paul challenged policies of Roman authorities, ultimately, when Paul had run out of appeals, he did not fight the death sentence pronounced by Rome.  I'm certain that Paul warned all involved in his execution that they would pay a price for their error.  But he didn't try to round up an army to defend himself or to escape.

            Unquestionably, Jesus had caustic words regarding the practices of the Pharisees and the scribes (Matthew 23).  But, ultimately, submissively, when the “hour had come” (John 17:1)—when the Creator deemed time—Jesus relied on the Father's view of the Big Picture, and did not resist the group of Jewish leaders who had followed Judas to Jesus, and who witnessed Judas' kiss of betrayal.

            In similar fashion, Daniel did not fight the death sentence handed down by Darius, who was tricked into paving the way for that sentence.  Daniel went into the lions’ den, but was Protected from the lions (Dan. 6:4-22).

I believe that, in the creation, we can observe the submissive attitude, or the attitude of being subject (Romans 13:1).  I once saw some documentary which showed the capture of wild geese, in order to “tag,” or “band” them.   Explosive charges were placed to propel one edge of a large net over a flock of geese on the ground at the start of a day.  (Of course, the opposite edge of the net was anchored.)  As biologists ran over to grab geese, each goose tried to escape.  However, curiously, once the geese were in the arms of workers, each goose settled down, and was very still and calm.  That tendency of calming down when capture is certain must be “built in” (instinctive).  I tried that, once, with one of a number of geese at a municipal park.  One of the geese was close enough to me that I grabbed it.  I dreaded a beating, and a lot of bites from that large bill.  However, once the goose “knew” that it was captured, it calmed down, so that my daughter could stroke its feathers.  Another example:  a cat with a songbird in its mouth once approached me.  I suppose that the cat was “bragging” about its ability to catch a bird.  The bird seemed to have been killed, but, when the cat attempted to “meow,” the bird sensed that it had a chance to escape, and it quickly flew from the cat's mouth.  The cat then gave out a very sad-sounding “meow,” and appeared startled and saddened.  The complete submission of the songbird lulled the cat into overconfidence and lack of vigilance.  The cat may also have assumed that the bird was dead.

When officials tried to beat Paul, he tried to escape, as did the geese, when the net trapped them.  However, when it became evident to Paul that his time had come (as he grew to realize—II Timothy 4:6-8), he calmed down, as did the bird in the cat's mouth.  According to tradition, Apostle John was immersed into a vat of boiling oil, possibly by the Roman Emperor Domitian.  Apparently, John did not resist, but submitted.  However, as Daniel escaped alive from the lions' den, John was unharmed by the oil.  Had John tried to mount some kind of resistance, he may not have fared so well.  John submitted, as did the bird in the cat’s mouth, and John fared at least as well as did that bird.

Even some tyrants find it more difficult to put a submissive, unarmed preacher of truth to death, than to rout and kill a small group of armed people with a vocal leader.  Even tyrants are aware of image.  For a tyrant to put to death an unarmed, vocal person to death could give the tyrant a bad image.  So I believe that having a submissive attitude is not merely a show to others of being humble, but is also an intelligent approach.  After all, the government does have superior “carnal” weaponry (II Corinthians 10:4).  In the short run, they can win.

            You who say or believe that a failure, on the part of followers of the Creator, to use weaponry against tyrants will result in the extinction of those followers of the Creator do not take into consideration the Creator’s vengeance used to topple a government, or a society, whose iniquity is “full.”  You also do not take the resurrection into account (I Cor. 15).  Those who do not take into account the resurrection are, of all people, most miserable (I Cor. 15:19).

            Below, the Everliving One is speaking to Abraham about the timetable concerning when Abraham's descendants would take the “Promised Land.”

“And thou (Abraham) shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.  But in the fourth generation they (Abraham's descendants) shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full (Genesis 15:15, 16).

            All societies have iniquity, because “all (individuals) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  But some societies (notably those with wealth, which results in “pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness”—Ezekiel 16:49) become engulfed by iniquity to a point that, according to the Creator, that iniquity in that society becomes “full,” as described in Genesis 15:16.  When the iniquity of the Amorites became full, that government, and that society, was brought to an end (Numbers 21:21-31), and the Israelites under Moses took the land which the Amorites had occupied.

            I don’t know how much more “full” it is that the iniquity in Washington can become.  I do know that, if I embrace Washington’s iniquity, I will suffer Washington’s consequences.  If I speak out against Washington’s iniquity, and do so with the right attitude (Ezekiel 9:4), I can’t lose.  Either Washington listens and changes, as did Nineveh (Jonah 3:10), or Washington continues filling itself (and this land) with iniquity, and, when that iniquity is full, Washington and those who embrace it are toppled.  In the meantime, Washington may come after me, and falsely brand me a “terrorist,” or an “enemy combatant.”  If times become extremely hellish, I may be put to death.  Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).  If Washington were to kill me, and if I'm under grace, I gain, and overseers in Washington heap more future woes on themselves.  As Washington persecutes more and more saints, they hasten their ruin more and more.  If Washington turns around, their collective sins can be put behind them (Ezekiel 18:21, 22). 

The more saints any government persecutes and puts to death, the more quickly it is that that government has vengeance exacted, and is removed, in favor of a better one.  And the way is cleared for better times.

Though leaders in Washington may not realize this, I do them a much greater service in warning them about their errors than I would if I enlisted in one of the branches of the armed forces, especially since I'm much too old to serve, anyway.  In writing this article, I do more of a favor to my country than any “perfectly obedient” member of the Clergy Response Teams does, because “perfectly obedient” members of the Clergy Response Teams, as “yes men,” offer no opportunity for spiritual growth to our country, because they offer no rebuke or correction.

Here is something to ponder.  King Sihon—the king of the Amorites—gathered his subjects together, so that they could keep the Israelites out of the land of the Amorites.  (Note:  Moses had sent envoys to the Amorites.  The Israelite envoys had requested permission merely to pass through the land of the Amorites—vv. 21, 22.  Not only did King Sihon refuse the courtesy which the Israelites had requested, but he also set out to do battle against the Israelites.  The Israelites had no intention of harming anything to do with the Amorites.)  As mentioned, according to Gen. 15:16, there would come a time when the iniquity of the Amorites would be full.  When the Amorites attacked, “Israel smote (the Amorites) with the edge of the sword, and possessed (King Sihon's) land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon...” (Numbers 21:24).  Did King Sihon suffer alone?  No, anyone who fought with him also suffered, because those who fought with King Sihon were attempting to be “enablers” to a wicked king full of iniquity, and whose fall was imminent.  And King Sihon—full of iniquity—reigned because the rest of the land was also full of iniquity.  King Sihon and his subjects enabled each other to become full of iniquity.

Did King Sihon have his form of “Clergy Response Teams?”  Did he get priests of the majority religion to help to find people to go to fight for the glory of Homeland Security?  If so, they all fell, together.

If a country is full of iniquity, what will happen to a poor, deceived civilian who volunteers to be ready to fight in defense of that land full of iniquity?

Anyone who ponders joining any armed force should give careful thought to such a move.

Back in the late '90s, a U.S. soldier, Michael New, made headlines, because he refused to wear the U.N. armband on his sleeve.  Mr. New said that he had signed the dotted line to defend the U.S.; not interests of other governments represented by the U.N.  That courageous soldier was drummed out of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Rahab lived in Jericho.  But she didn't support the defense of Jericho (Joshua 6).  Did that make Rahab unpatriotic?  Or did she hold citizenship of another country (Hebrews 11:16, 31, 40)?

For those who do not believe that Christians should vote, because Christians hold citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 11:10, 14, 16), that we shouldn't mix with the world (II Cor. 6:17), and this is Satan's world (II Cor. 4:4), and his kingdoms, and that, for those reasons, we should roll over, and let the government do as it will, I can relate to you.  I won’t tell you that, if you refrain from voting, you get what you deserve.  However, I will tell you that Paul didn’t vote.  The women who petitioned Moses about inheritance (Num. 27) didn’t vote.  Esther didn’t vote her husband into office.  However, they all petitioned their governments, in order to try to see that justice was done.  Because petitioning the king of Persia was a life-endangering experience (Esther 4:11), Esther risked her life—twice (Esther 5:2; 8:4) in order to help to save her people.  Even if you don’t believe that voting is part of what you need to do, you still are obligated to strive to see that justice is done.  You have seen the examples of Paul and the daughters of Zelophehad.

Three groups of armed forces (50 men in each group) were sent, successively, from the Israelite King Ahaziah to arrest Elijah (II Kings 1:9), who was on top of a hill.  When the first group arrived, the captain shouted to Elijah, “Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.”

Did Elijah say to himself, “Romans 13...I gotta do what the king says, because whatever he says is the Lord's will?”  Elijah replied, “If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty” (v. 10).  Fire devoured the captain and his 50 men.

The captain of the second group summoned Elijah to come down, in a tone very similar to that of the first captain.  That captain and his 50 men were also incinerated.

The captain of the third group rode the learning curve.  When he approached Elijah, he begged, “O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.  Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight” (vv. 13, 14).

Why didn't the third captain simply submit to the order of the king, do what he was told, and nab Elijah?

An angel told Elijah to go with (submit to the wishes of) the third captain and his armed force (v. 15).  Elijah submitted, possibly because the captain was submissive to a Force infinitely greater than the force which can be mustered by a human king.

If you are already committed to serving an armed force, or a police department, which serves iniquity, you may be able to escape the fate of the majority of people in your force, or department, or society, as the above-mentioned captain escaped.  That captain's wisdom also allowed his men to escape death.  That captain may have put “right vs. wrong” in a higher position than the necessity to obey orders of men.

“We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  Or, as the Bible in Basic English has it, “We have to do the orders of God, not of man.”

I doubt that pure fear was the sole driving force steering that captain.  Though “the fearful” are destined for a lake of fire (Revelation 21:8), that captain escaped fire.  Had pure fear driven that captain, I doubt that he would have been spared.

Had that captain been part of, or been listening to, a “Clergy Response Team” “because,” as Dr. Tuberville stated, “the government's established by the Lord...and that's what we believe in the Christian faith.  It's what stated in the Scripture,” he'd have become toast, with no butter.

Read the story of the prophet Micaiah (I Kings 22).  Contrast how Micaiah carried on with his government with how Clergy Response Teams interact “in bed” with Washington, today.

Rulers of Jerusalem during the time of Jeremiah accused Jeremiah of being unpatriotic; “Thou (Jeremiah) fallest away to the Chaldeans” (Jer. 37:13).  Why Jeremiah was accused of having fallen away to the Chaldeans contains seeds for another article.  Jeremiah would have washed out of today's Clergy Response Teams.

According to Jewish tradition (possibly the subject of Hebrews 11:37), the Jewish king Manasseh had the prophet Isaiah—another Clergy Response Team reject—sawed in half.

Please dig into this subject more deeply than does this article.  The answers to how we should deal with government can be found between the pages of your Bible.


The preceding was a guest post for Moral Decline by author Jimmie Parr.