Everyone complains about the government. If you want something that is more costly and more poorly done, count on the government. We might forget that there is only one source of authority and all rebellion against government is rebellion against God. Only one type of person hates authority, the proud and the boastful. Let us learn more about those who despise authority.
2 Peter 2:10 sets the stage:
And especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,
Therefore, the people who despise authority have corrupt desires, desires that are rotten; something that is corrupt is rotted, past its prime, and beginning to decay and stink. They have desires that are anti-life, anti-living, and anti-all the good things that come from God and the Spirit. In addition, they are self-willed. They despise authority because authority would mean that they have to do what they do not want to do. If the rebels get into government, they will try to force the government to do their will instead of constituted authority. However, that is a long story, not meant for now.
1 Samuel 15:23 God gets into the real aspect of rebellion:
"For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king."
Obviously, rebellion originates from Satan that rebelled against God, and, people who rebel against God are therefore self-willed idolaters. So, putting these two concepts together, you get a rebellious person who by definition (above) practices witchcraft and idolatry as well. We all observe people who are constantly resisting even the least of those in authority, and finding fault with them. We on the other hand know the Bible says do not fear the people in authority because if one does what is right, God will protect them through those in authority, regardless of who they are. Rebels, however, just do not like those in authority; they are a stubborn, daring, self willed, defiant people rejecting the Word of God.
Rejecting the word of God is different from just disobeying Gods word, because some who may not know Gods word disobey from ignorance. Rejecting of Gods word means a considered and well thought out strategy: the rebel premeditatedly and deliberately rejects the Word of the Lord.
Of course, the above verse refers to Saul, and says that God has rejected him from being king because he decided to reject the Word of the Lord; God, then, rejected him from being king. He received the just results of his arrogant rebellion.
John 8:44 repeats the origin of pride:
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
As noted above, the demon is the source of the pride of the self-willed person. Furthermore, as noted above, those who reject authority, like Saul, receive deserved punishment. But, believers, although they may worry that if Satan has control of the government, know that no government can hurt them because God is in control ultimately. For others, unfortunately, great harm befalls the people of the nations as well as the ruler the demon possesses.
The people who emulate Satan will also rebel against the government that he happens to be temporarily in control of; remember authority still comes from God. From time to time, people like Hitler and others who are possessed, face people in their own land who would rebel against them unless they are brutally repressed. Rebellion just does not succeed in any way, no matter how you look at it. The rebellious person, who gets into position of authority, must be terrified of his own people who will rebel against him. There are countless cases in history of rulers being overthrown by the rebellious, who are overthrown by a new set rebellious people. That beat goes on.
Rev. 22:15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
Remember, the Bible says rebellion is the sin of witchcraft. Out-side the dogs and sorcerers is another term for witchcraft and immoral persons. The Bible says the murderers and idolaters are related to people who are self-willed and stubborn. Of course, stubbornness is idolatry as well. The rebellious people that God speaks about will forever remain outside the kingdom.
Particularly, the defiant loves to practice lying because he has to lie to himself and to others about how bad those in authority are to keep the fire of rebellion alive. Eventually, they are found out and no one trusts them. Additionally, by rejecting the truth that God is the source of all authority, they effectively rebel against God.
Another verse in Revelation says:
Rev. 21:8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
This is the ultimate result: their burning desire to rebel ends up in their being burned entirely in the lake of fire. Therefore, it is not a good idea to rebel against those in authority not a good idea at all.
Dan. 5:23 But you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and your ways, you have not glorified.
You remember what happens after that. Just about every book of the Bible talks about people who rebel.
Deuteronomy, the basis for much of the Bible, says:
Deut. 18:20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.
Deut. 18:22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
Moses is talking about a prophet who is lying, self-willed and rebellious. Notice, they speak in the names of other gods. Understanding what this false prophet lies about shows his true colors, his false colors.
God tells us the false gods do not see or hear: they are just statues, pieces of wood or metal.
He goes onto ask:
Deut. 18:21 You may say in your heart, How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?
This is a good question. How do you know the prophet is speaking the truth or is lying? If the prophecy spoken in the name of the Lord does not come true, that is your answer right there. He has spoken presumptuously, self-willed presumptuously: therefore, do not be afraid of him, because there will be nothing to fear from his prophecy if it is against you, say, since it cannot come true. As noted above no one will ever believe his lies again. Be very careful how you deal with prophets until you know if they are false prophets or not. A true prophets predictions of you will indeed come true. Note also, that a false prophets word will disagree with Gods Word, which also damns him.
Mark 13:22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
That situation is going to come at the end time, and the false prophets are going to be so realistic and so powerful that people are going to actually believe them and even become disciples of them. Furthermore, those who are not well grounded in Christianity and in the Bible may possibly be led astray. Isaiah goes on to say:
Is. 37:23 Whom have you reproached and blasphemed?
And against whom have you raised your voice
And haughtily lifted up your eyes?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
Isaiah is talking about people rebelling against the Holy One of Israel and even the Kings and his ministers. When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the Lord, God will destroy him. A person who is disloyal or unfaithful obviously cannot be trusted. A person who is self-willed, God says, will act unfaithfully against all and contaminate or infect their companions. To reiterate, this is what the rebellious do, they do not act alone; they have to deceive others. They get their followers to believe in the same rebellious things and set them going against the Lord.
Isaiah said, do not worry about these people. The Lord, who instead is with those who fear Him, has removed their protection from them. We do not have to worry about the rebellious ones because God will take care of them. It may not be pretty.
Lev. 6:2 When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the LORD, and deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to him, or through robbery, or if he has extorted from his companion,
Deu 31:27 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?
Num. 14:9 Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.
Proverbs talks about wisdom coming from God:
Prov. 8:15 By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
Prov. 8:16 By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge rightly.
Many rulers do not decree justice because they are not going by Gods wisdom, and their ultimate end is they will lose their authority and power. We see injustice constantly in the world today. Rulers or leaders are always being deposed or overthrown because they are not following what God says governments are supposed to do. To reiterate, at the same time, if a Christian is under the authority of that government, they have to be responsive to that government, but they don't have to worry anything bad will happen to them, because God is in charge of them, and He will protect them as long they do nothing wrong.
The wise, who trust God, are the antithesis of the rebellious. To see them rule rightly brings justice and prosperity to a land.
On the other hand, we must remember, that if any government demands a believer disobey God, he must refuse to obey them even if it might mean death. However, as shown in Daniel, God will protect the believer. That testing, however, is quite rare.
Now we get to, the famous Romans 13:
Rom. 13:1 ¶ Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Rom. 13:2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
Note well, every person, not just a Christian, is to be in subjection to the governing authorities, and Romans 13 says so specifically. Furthermore, God establishes those governments which exist. Remember, the government that early Christians lived under was the ruthless totalitarian Roman Empire governed by pagan officials with evil pagan worship and laws.
At no time was the Roman government anywhere near akin to the kind of government that God wanted, and at no time did the rulers subject himself to the authority of God or do the things that God says to do. This is the Roman government that Paul is talking about, that the Christians were supposed to be subject to. The early Christians, who understood the nature of Roman rule, must have wondered how they could be subject to them. Paul knew that they needed to hear this, because no matter how bad or corrupt those in the government are, believers have to be subject to them, whether believes understand why or not. As we know, there is no authority except from God and those, which exist, are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists even local authority, such as the traffic police looking for traffic violations, resist Gods constituted authority. Therefore, however much people complain, they resist those proxy, if you will, ordinances of God, and they who oppose local authority will receive condemnation upon themselves. We have not only to respect and obey their authority but also without being hypocritical. Perhaps, some may say it is all right when the police are around to say nice things about them and treat them properly, but when they are alone and talk among themselves they express what they really feel.
God does not like that either.
Ex. 22:28 ¶ You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
We surely must elaborate on this verse. Our Father in Heaven insists that you do not imprecate, speak evil against, speak abhorrently against, speak detestably against or abominate against the rulers of the people no matter what they do or how they act. You do not have to like the governor, the mayor or whomever it is that you do not like, but you must not curse or denigrate him because his authority comes from God. To curse those in authority is cursing God who gave them their authority. In other words, the rulers will bear the sins for their misuse of power, but the cursers will bear the sins for their misuse of their mouth. God does not want people to speak evil of those in authority because of the principle that all authority comes from God. When Noah, the ruler of the earth at that time, agreed to accept Gods authority by keeping His Commands, he established the legal basis of Gods rule on Earth. God made him the first ruler of the world and all rulers come from him; so, his three sons were his heirs and their children and their children down to everyone that is in authority today receives the authority of Noah. God established that authority at that time, with Noah. Of course, God always had the authority, but mankind chose to reject his authority by turning to Satans authority. After the flood, those who were left had the opportunity to legally choose a different authority, God.
From that point on, God, through Noah, will always establish that authority which exists.
Not Even to Yourselves
Eccl. 10:20 Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.
You do not curse the ruler, official, the person in charge or the rich man because all authority comes from God. Even in your bedrooms, do not curse them. How often do we look at the rich and see all the corruption in such as Enron, and want to imprecate them. All the rich employ people over whom they rule. Corporations and small business owners are like mini governments and thus have authority from God. As much as some rich are as despicable as some rulers, God insists we do not curse them.
However, even when we are alone, do not speak abhorrently against them, just keep your mouth shut. The only way to keep your mouth shut is not to think about them because if you think about something long enough, it will come out in speech. For, the bird of the heavens, very poetic, will carry the sound of the vile oaths and curses to the heavens. God will hear, and He will shake his finger at you: those people have authority from God.
For example, God would not remove those in authority who oppressed the children of Israel. He could have gone ahead and destroyed Egypt or fomented an insurrection, but God would not do that. The children of Israel might have complained that the Pharaoh is evil as he was doing all the terrible things to them, but God would not have him removed by rebellion, because his authority was from Him. Instead, God brought all of these terrible plagues on Egypt, but the Pharaoh would not let them go. Finally, with the death of the first born, the Pharaoh ordered, by his authorities, Israel to leave. It is important to keep in mind Israel never rebelled against Pharaoh. Now Israel was no longer under the authority of Pharaoh, and they could do what they wanted. God never took Pharaohs authority away from him. He lost authority over them because he gave up his authority over the children of Israel.
We should remember what the whole Passover narrative teaches us about authority. Remember that winged creature will carry a persons evil utterance against authority into the heavens. We must keep in mind this that we may not rebel against those in authority from the highest to the lowest, or criticize, curse, libel or say anything against those in authority, even in the sanctuary or a quiet place hidden away from everything else like your bedchamber.
Besides who are we to judge, as James says, for there is only one Judge, God, and those who judge act as if they were God. Can you see the idolatry there?
There is no getting around the fact that to be rebellious is to be on the side of Satan. Furthermore, while we do not think privately castigating those in authority, governments and even employers, is wrong, we are rebelling against and judging God, and we know rebellion is witchcraft and being self-willed is idolatry.
When we are self-willed enough to rebel against those in authority, we are among the kinds of people that God does not appreciate.
We have repented from rebellion and embraced loyalty. Furthermore, God has changed us and put us on the path to righteousness and eternal life.
In Jesus name. Amen.
Gil Kovacs, for the
Sabbath Christian Church