1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
On these verses, it is claimed that we must be in complete, even unconditional, submission to the government at all times. Federally trained “clergy response teams” (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/august2007/160807_quell_dissent.htm) are using this passage to preach complete, abject submission, to accept martial law, to turn in their guns, to go get their mass vaccinations, and to not resist being dragged off to the camps. “You must obey the government, because the government is of the Lord,” is the common argument.
But is this what this Scripture really means? Let’s first put this passage back into context:
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Putting it back into it’s context shows that a good government must praise the well-doers, and punish the evildoers. The God ordained purpose for government is punishing criminals, and rewarding the good. We pay taxes (supposedly) for the funding of this purpose. The government that we must submit rewards good and punishes evil. If a government rewards evil, and punishes good, then it is in violation of God’s law. A government that violates God’s law is a bad government. A government that starts aggressive wars is a bad government. A government that sanctions the murder of millions of babies with the people’s tax money is a bad government.
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! — Isaiah 5:20
The Founding Fathers sought to obey God over man, and replaced a bad earthly king with the heavenly King of Kings. One of the rallying cries of the Revolution, along with “No taxation without representation” was “No king but King Jesus.” After the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams declared,
We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.
They fully believed that Jesus Christ would be King over the United States. But who rules the U.S. today? Are we better off now, or then?
The Founding Fathers were not the only ones to oppose a government righteously. There are many examples of men and women who have stood up against, opposed, and fought against wicked governments, with the full sanction of the Almighty.
Here are a few examples:
- Moses stood up to Pharoah for enslaving his people.
- Gideon lead a revolution to overthrew the Midian overlords.
- Samson was a one man militia fighting against the Philistine overlords.
- Elijah stood up to King Ahab
- The wise men disobeyed King Herod, and didn’t tell him where to find the young Jesus.
- John the Baptist rebuked King Herod, and lost his head.
- The Apostles kept preaching, even after they had been forbidden from doing so.
- All who have ever preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ where it was illegal to do so.
So, we must submit to government, good, godly government. But if the government compels us to do something against the Bible, or against our conscience, we have every right under God to disobey man to obey Him.