Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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We are informed by God's Word that Israel was given to us as an example upon whom the ends of the world are come, I Corinthians 1:11. God commanded Israel they were to have nothing to do with the inhabitants of the land which He had given them to possess. They were not to marry their daughters, nor give their sons in marriage to the daughters of the land. They were to destroy their gods and all the heathen in their promise land.
As we come into our promise land, the Kingdom Age, God is separating His people unto Himself. He is putting the Kingdom within His chosen. These walk no more among the heathen. These are being directed by God's voice and the "powers" He has ordained, the "higher powers" chosen by God to bring His body into perfection.
We must begin to understand the Bible is a Spiritual book, written to God's people. God's Word is His Spiritual revelation to those who are going to walk into His Kingdom, His Kingdom Age and His Kingdom ways. This book has been written to those who are strangers, pilgrims and sojourners in this strange land, those who know they are part of God's Kingdom and His nation Israel. Jesus asked:
"Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over His household, to give them their portion of meat in due season. Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing." Luke 12:42-43
As we begin this book we should consider the words of Noah Webster:
Quote... "...The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible."
THE HIGHER POWERS
When the New Testament was written Rome was in power. Their power was known throughout the whole known world. At that time Rome's government was the most powerful, cruel and corrupt government that had ever existed. Yet today their greatness has only become a veiled myth of man's accomplishments and failures.
When the Apostle Paul was in Greece, probably Corinth, he penned his letter to the Christians in Rome. In his letter to the believers at Rome, Paul wrote much about Christian independence and the sovereignty of God in the Christian's life. Paul's letter to the Romans has been called "The Constitution of Christianity".
As our knowledge of God's Word increases, we become enlightened as to our relationship to God and man's government. The question arises, "Do we submit to man's law, or is the Word of God the only law in our life?" There has been much confusion and misunderstanding as to our relationship with man's law, and what relationship, if any, we have with those who administer that law.
Two portions of scripture are generally pointed to as proof that we, as God's people, are to submit to man's law. One is in Paul's letter to the Romans. The other is in the book of I Peter. Peter wrote to the early churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, I Peter 1:1. As we examine the scriptures we should keep in mind we are only "pilgrims" and "sojourners" in this strange land. In Paul's letter to the Romans, he wrote:
"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." Romans 13:1
Paul speaks of "power" and "powers". Paul identifies the "power". He states, "There is no power but of God." There is no "power" in the whole universe but God. God does not have to go outside Himself for anything. He is the "Great I Am", the sum total of all that exists.
The question then arises, "Who are the 'powers' that every soul are to be subject to?" First we need to consider the word "subject":
The word subject is the word HUPOTASSO. This is a Greek military term, and was also translated "submit" and "in subjection to". The basic meaning of the word subject is "to come under the authority of". It has a further meaning, "to be subjugated; to subject one's self, to obey; to submit to one's control; to yield to one's admonition or advice;".
One must ask the question, "Did God ordain man's government to be in this place in His people's lives?" Paul's words were, "Let every soul be subject unto the "higher powers". We must also examine the word "higher":
The word higher is the word HUPERECHO and means "to have or hold power over one, to be above, be superior in rank, authority, power, to excel, to be superior, better than, to surpass".
Those who would have God's people submit to man's government would ask us to subjugate ourselves to man's immoral, godless government, and view them as superior in rank, authority and power in our lives. This place in a Christian's life, is to be reserved for God and those who are ordained by God to sit in that place in the lives of His people.
The word ordained is the Greek word TASSO and means "to appoint or to arrange in order". What order did God establish to govern His people? It was the church. For three and one-half years, Jesus trained His disciples (learners). After Jesus' death, these same disciples became Apostles (ones who are sent). Before Jesus was crucified, He met with His disciples:
"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:" John 20:21-22
Jesus sent His disciples and they became the Apostles and Elders of the early church. When problems arose they did not run to man's government for help. They sought the counsel of God and dealt with the problems as they were directed by God. The power to act was given them by God when He ordained them as "higher powers" in the church. It was the Elders who were to ordain the deacons and set the order in the church. God directed the elders to do this because they were to give themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, Acts 6:4. Paul went on with his instructions to the church at Rome:
"Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Romans 13:2
Paul stated, "...those who resist the "power" (God), resist the ordinance of God". The second use of the word resisteth is a different word then the first word. The first word used for resisteth is ANTITASSO and means "to stand against God's intended order. The second use of the word resisteth is ANTHISTEMI and means "to set one's self against, to withstand, resist and oppose".
Therefore Romans 13:2 should read, "Whosoever therefore stands against Gods intended order, and sets one's self against to resist and oppose what God has ordained, shall receive to themselves damnation".
The word damnation is the word KRIMA and should have been translated "condemnation". The word "condemnation" according to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon is "a judgment that is formed and passed by God". The idea of man's government bringing damnation or condemnation on one of God's people is completely foreign to God's Word.
When Jesus called His disciples, He gave them power over the unclean spirits and power to heal all manner of sickness and disease, Matthew 10:1. Jesus told them:
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28
Jesus informed His disciples not to fear those who only have power to destroy the body. All man's government can do, if we break one of their laws, is to impose a fine, restrict our activities or at most kill the body. By Jesus' words we are not to fear those who only have "restricted powers". We are neither to have fear of them or show them reverence. But we are to fear the power who has all power and authority, both in heaven and earth, Matthew 28:18. Those who resist the order of God and resist those who are ordained by God will receive judgment from God.
"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." Romans 13:3
Those who are anointed of God are not a terror to good works. The word terror means "fear or dread". If we do that which is good we have nothing to fear from those whom God has ordained. But if we do evil we should fear the power (God) who appointed them to act in His authority on the earth.
Paul was ordained by God to establish the church world-wide. Paul had to deal many times with those who thought to do him evil. He had to deal with those who brought reproach upon the church. He wrote to the church at Corinth about a man who was practicing fornication with his father's wife. Paul's instruction to the church at Corinth was:
"To deliver such as one unto satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." I Corinthians 5:5
Paul wrote to Timothy about two men who had blasphemed and violated their faith in the living God:
"Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." I Timothy 1:19-20
Another man who caused Paul, God's anointed, much sorrow was Alexander, the coppersmith. Paul's instruction to Timothy was:
"Alexander, the coppersmith, did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:" II Timothy 4:14
God's anointed leaders are not a terror to good works, but they are a terror to evil works before God. King David wrote almost half of the Psalms, (73). In a great number of his Psalms, David prayed for the destruction of his enemies. God inspired an unknown Psalmist to write:
". . .Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm." Psalms 105:15
When someone touches God's anointed, then they need to be afraid of the power (God). Paul admonished the Romans, "Do that which is good, and thou shall have praise of the same", the praise of the power (God).
Paul continued his instruction to the church at Rome:
"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 doeth evil." Romans 13:4
The word minister is the word DIAKONOS. It is the Greek word that is translated "deacon", or "the one who executes the commands of another". Those who operate man's government are not ministers of God. They serve no one except themselves and the dictates of the government they represent. They are not servants to God's people for good, nor are they good in themselves. Hardly a day goes by without hearing of a judge, a sheriff, a commissioner, a senator (state and federal), or a representative that has not been caught in some ungodly or illegal act. Reports of drunken parties, drug abuse and womanizing, which God calls fornication and adultery are common among those who have been put in control of man's government. To call these "ministers of good" would stretch anyone's wildest imagination.
We must always remember the Bible is written to God's people, those who are called by His name. It is not written to the world, because the world does not read it, nor would they understand it if they did read it, because it must be Spiritually discerned.
Paul warns, "But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid for He beareth not the sword in vain". The sword is the Word of God. In Paul's letter to the Ephesians it is called the Sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:17.
In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he set the order for the church:
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." I Corinthians 12:28
One of the gifts God set in the church was the "gift of government." He established governments and ordained those He has set over His government in the church. We must remember the church is to operate as the Kingdom of God with Christ as its head.
The prophet Isaiah, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, foretold the coming of Jesus and the establishment of His Kingdom. Isaiah wrote: "The government shall be upon His shoulders", Isaiah 9:6. God is the head of the church, and His shoulders are the elders of the church, those who have been anointed of God to operate His government in His body. The church becomes a totality within itself. The church is to have no head except Christ, and certainly we are not to look to, nor fear what man or man's government can do unto us. David wrote:
"In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." Psalms 56:11
Only those who have not put their trust in God fear what man or man's government can do unto them. If those who sit in the church continue to do evil, they need to fear those whom God ordained and anointed to administer His sword in His church. But this cannot happen until God's proper order comes into the church and His scriptural order is established and Christ is made the absolute head of His church. Proper order will come into the church when those who administer His sword make Christ the absolute head of the church.
When the church is in proper order, then those who are committing evil can be dealt with, within the church, not by man's government. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul admonished them for using the court system of man's government:
"Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?" I Corinthians 6:1
Paul knew, even in his day, the court system was unjust and that matters in the church were to be settled before the saints, and not in man's governmental courts.
"I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No,not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?" I Corinthians 6:5-7
Paul warned the church at Corinth what they were doing was wrong. Yet today we have those who are called by His name proclaiming their rights as guaranteed under man's law. These have completely overlooked every promise of justice and judgment in God's Word. Paul further enlightened the church at Rome:
"Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake." Romans 13:5
Paul wrote to his brothers and sisters in Rome that they were "...to be subject...". Again the word subject is HUPATASSO and means "to submit to, or "be subjugated to". They were to submit to the higher powers God ordained; not only because they feared the sword if they continued to do evil, but also for conscience sake. Our conscience always tells us right from wrong in every decision, whether they be moral issues or the keeping or breaking of man's law.
As Christians, there are some of mans' laws we are commanded to break. We are not to be partakers of man's immorality just because it is lawful. Many of mans' laws are for our protection. We certainly do not run stop signs just because we live by a higher law. We should keep mans' laws that do not violate God's higher law if they are for our safety and protection. But we cannot become subject to or brought under the control of those who administer man's law, or we will have violated God's higher law of freedom.
When God becomes our absolute head, what we do we must do for conscience sake, knowing good from evil, and choosing the good, and shunning the evil. We only become militant and "cause fighters" when we choose to fight the evil, all of which detract from what God is trying to teach us. We are to rise above man-made governments in our lives. We are to be seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We are to stop wallowing in the dust of the earth, proclaiming our rights under man's laws because the only rights we have are in Christ. Paul informed the church at Corinth:
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." I Corinthians 6:20
Our body and spirit are God's, and we are to glorify and serve God, not become subject to man's government.
Paul continued his instruction to the church at Rome:
"For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." Romans 13:6
The word tribute is an interesting word. It is the Greek word PHOROS and is used to describe "the money paid as a temple tax". It was a duty, tax or levy to be paid by captured nations. The tribute was also "an act of paying homage or respect to a deserving person".
Many teachings today relate this to our duty to man's government in paying taxes; and that we are to subjugate ourselves to man's government as the ministers of God. When Jesus came to Capernaum, those who collected the tribute asked Peter if Jesus paid tribute, Matthew 17:24. Jesus asked Peter, "Who do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute, their own children or strangers?" Peter's answer was: "From strangers", Matthew 17:25. Jesus proclamation was, "Then are the children free." Matthew 17:26. Free from what? They were free from the custom or tribute to be paid to the kings of the earth.
At the time this was written, Palestine was a captured nation of Rome, and tribute was levied on all captured nations. Jesus asked, "Whom does the government demand tribute on, their children or strangers?" The children of the Roman system were not demanded to pay tribute. The word children is the Greek word HUIOS and means "son, or son's sons". The sons and inheritors of the Roman system were free from the custom or tribute.
This is true today. We see those in government who make millions of dollars and are free from any tax or duties because of all the loopholes in the law which allow them to keep what they earn, while strangers, or those under subjugation are levied the full amount in order to keep their corrupt, wasteful system functioning.
There are many today, who are called by the name of Christ, who have been made captive to this system, whom God would free if they would make Him their King instead of Caesar. Jesus continued:
"Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for Me and thee." Matthew 17:27
Jesus paid tribute, not because it was required by the Father, but so they would not be offended. He did not rebel or become rebellious. He knew the Father would supply the money in a miraculous way.
The issue of tribute came up again when the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus, so Rome would have something against Him. They sent out their people; and with them, the Herodians, Matthew 22:15-16. The Herodians were a religious party formed by Herod who opposed everything Jesus did. Here we see organized religion and government coming together to oppose the true move of God.
Today we see the same thing happening. It is called the "Conservative Right". Their purpose is to try to change man's government to suit what they want to believe; to legislate morality, instead of teaching a changed heart. Nowhere in the Word does it state where our example, Jesus, ever got involved in politics. Nor does He encourage any of His followers to get involved. We cannot find where Jesus formed a committee or lobby to get a better deal for His followers, nor did He try to get legislation passed that would protect His people's rights. All the rights they have come from Him. This coalition of religion and government asked Jesus:
"Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" Matthew 22:17
Is it lawful for Christians to pay tribute to Caesar (man's government)? As stated before tribute was paid by captured nations and was a duty or levy on the captured people's property, on their lands, houses and persons. Every Christian should ask themselves, "What nation do we belong? Are we a part of the country or government we live in, or are we part of another nation as God's called and chosen ones?" A country is made up of many nations or groups of people.
First we should understand the difference between a nation and a country. A nation is a people or peoples. A country has geographical borders and is inhabited by nations. A nation could be bound by a culture, a language or a belief. A nation could be an ethnic group. A country could have many nations living in it. The United States is a country made up of nations from all over the earth.
There are basically two types of nations on earth in the sight of God: the nation Israel and the Gentile nations. The Gentile nations are those people, or peoples, who do not know God. These are the heathen nations. Then, who is the nation of Israel? In his letter to the Galatians, Paul explained who the nation of Israel is:
"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." Galatians 6:15-16
Those who walk by the rule, or standard, of being that new creation man in the earth are the Israel of God. Paul revealed this same revelation to the Ephesians:
"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:" Ephesians 2:12
When we were without Christ (the anointing) in our lives we were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. The word commonwealth means nation. When we were without the anointing we were aliens from the nation, Israel. We were strangers from God's covenants and His promise. But when we become that new creation in Christ, then we become part of the nation Israel God is raising up in the earth. Israel will inherit all things. This nation will never be captive to any other nation, nor will it pay tribute to any other nation or country.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." Ephesians 2:19
All those who are of the household of God are no longer strangers and foreigners to the nation of Israel.
When Jesus faced this issue with the coalition between religion and government He asked them, " ...Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites". Hypocrites are play actors, Matthew 22:18. These did not have a heart for God, nor did they want to know the truth. They were only seeking their own way. Jesus said, "Show Me the tribute money". Then Jesus asked, "Whose is the picture and name on this coin?" Matthew 22:19-20. The picture and name was that of Caesar. Then Jesus gave us a truth:
". . .Then saith He unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." Matthew 22:21
Jesus proclaimed, "If it belongs to Caesar, give it to Caesar, and give unto God the things that are God's". The lesson should be clear to every believer who is walking in the ways of God; if we have something that belongs to Caesar, then we should give it to him immediately. But that which we have that God has given us, then that belongs to God, and we have no right to give to Caesar that which is not ours to give.
The nation Israel is not a subjugated nation to any country or any man's government. God spoke through the pen of Moses to record:
"But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day." Deuteronomy 8:18
God gives His people power to get wealth to establish His covenant in the earth.
God gives His people power to get wealth. Why? To establish His covenant, not to give it to man's government to waste, destroy and bring into slavery those they are supposed to protect and provide for. When Paul wrote to the Romans to pay tribute to the ministers of God for conscience sake, he certainly was not in any way suggesting that man's governments were the ministers of God.
God spoke to the great prophet Daniel, "To the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men", Daniel 4:17
The word basest means "the lowest of men". The elite of the earth are not set over governments, but the lowest form of humanity.
Paul informed us we were to pay tribute to the ministers of God; "attending continually upon this very thing", Romans 13:6. What "very thing"? The ministers of God are to continue to minister and become servants unto God's people. The ministers of God are those who are ordained by God, those He has set to be the higher powers. The writer of Hebrews revealed who these higher powers are:
"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." Hebrews 13:7
Who is to have the rule over you? Those who have spoken the Word of God to you, who's faith is evident in their lives. God would not have inspired this writer to write this if we were to be in subjection to man's government. He further states:
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17
Man's government does not watch over God's peoples' souls. Only His ministers of life, those who are the higher powers in the earth today can watch for our souls. God informs those who are called by His name to submit and obey the higher powers. The writer of Hebrews closes his book with this salutation:
"Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints..." Hebrews 13:24
We are to pay tribute, homage and respect to those who have the rule over us. In his letter to Timothy, Paul speaks of the respect due the eldership which God has ordained to shepherd His people:
"Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;" I Timothy 5:1
An elder is not to be rebuked, but is to be given the same respect one would give His natural father. Paul again mentions how an elder is to be respected:
"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the Word and doctrine." I Timothy 5:17
An elder that rules well is to be given double honor, homage and respect because as Paul wrote to the Romans, "...they attend continually upon the ministry of God".
"Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." Romans 13:7
We need to render respect and honor to those ministries of God who labor in the Word and doctrine. These are those who are ordained by God as the higher powers in the earth today. These are those who have been given authority by God in the church to administer His will to His people.
Another group of scriptures that many have considered to say we are to submit to man's government is in I Peter:
"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. For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." I Peter 2:13-17
If we look at these scriptures with carnal understanding it is easy to see where many would believe we are to submit ourselves to man's government as having authority over our lives. We must first remember Peter was given the keys to the Kingdom by Jesus. Peter's writings are the keys that open the Kingdom of God to us. Peter's writings reveal the way we, as God's people, should live in this last hour of time. Jesus stated:
"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom His Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom His Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That He shall make him ruler over all His goods." Matthew 24:45-47
Jesus said, "Blessed is that servant whom His Lord when He cometh shall find so doing". "So doing what"? So doing the things He taught about: His Kingdom, His Kingdom ways and His Kingdom will. We need to learn God's Kingdom ways and His Kingdom will if we are to be made rulers in His Kingdom.
The word Peter began with is submit. Again this word is HUPOTASSO and means "to submit, or bring yourself in subjection to, or to be subjugated to". We are to be subject to the powers God has ordained, not those self-exalted ones who are in charge of man's government.
We are given examples in the Bible we must follow. Jesus was given to us as an example that we should follow, I Peter 2:21. Peter stated the elders were given to the church, as examples, I Peter 5:3. Israel also was given to us as an example upon whom the ends of the world are come, I Corinthians 10:11.
So we can come to a complete understanding of whom we are to submit to, it may be well to look at our examples God has given us to follow: Jesus, Peter and ancient Israel; to see how, and if they submitted to man's government.
Peter, who penned the words, "Submit to every ordinance of man", was thrown into jail because he preached God's Word. God freed Peter from man's prison, and he returned to the synagogue to preach the Word again. When the high priest sent to the prison to bring Peter and the disciple that was with him, the high priest was told they were not there but back in the temple preaching.
"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." Acts 5:2728
Peter certainly did not submit to the ruling powers of his day. His answer was:
" . . .we ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29
Jesus was also our example. Did He obey the government? When Jesus was taken before Pilate what was His attitude? Was it one of submission to Caesar's highest power in the land?
"Then said Pilate unto Him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And He answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly." Matthew 27:1314
When Jesus was questioned by Pilate, Jesus answered him not a word. Why didn't Jesus submit to Pilate's question or his authority? Today in the court system this would be termed "contempt of court". But Jesus did not submit. Later when questioned by Pilate, Pilate told Jesus, "Knoweth thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee", John 19:10. What was Jesus' answer:
". . .Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin." John 19:11
The only power Pilate had over Jesus' life was that given to him by the Father. Pilate only had authority because it came from Jesus' Father to fulfill and accomplish the predestined purpose for Jesus in the earth.
The Apostle Paul made a profound statement concerning whether we are to submit to man's government, and consider the government as the powers God has set. Peter related:
"All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." I Corinthians 6:12
Paul stated, "He would not be brought under the power of any". Why didn't Paul submit to the government of his day, as many say we should in our day?
The Old Testament is full of God's people who did not obey the commands of the government. Elijah was sought for three and one-half years because he had prayed for no rain to fall on the land. When Elijah returned, the king sent for him. Did he submit to the king's order to give him audience? Ahab, the king, sent a captain with fifty men to tell Elijah to come down, I Kings 1:9. What was Elijah's answer?
". . . If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty." II Kings 1:10
If we are to submit to the government and the king as supreme, why was Elijah disobedient? Twice captains of fifty and his men were consumed. The third captain of fifty came to Elijah:
"And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, 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." II Kings 1:1314
By this example God has shown us whom He has set in power upon the earth. We must ask who is supreme in our life, God or government?
God gave us another example of God's man in government. Daniel was a prophet of God taken captive by Babylon. When Darius was made king over Babylon, he set one hundred and twenty princes over his kingdom. He appointed three presidents; of these, Daniel was appointed first president. Only King Darius had more power than Daniel. Because of Daniel's perfect walk, the presidents and the princes conspired to find occasion against Daniel:
"Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God." Daniel 6:5
The presidents and princes tricked Darius into signing a proclamation that whoever asked a petition of any god or man for thirty days except Darius should be cast into a den of lions, Daniel 6:7. Then the Word became very clear:
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." Daniel 6:10
When Daniel knew the decree was signed, and that his enemies would be watching, he went to his house and prayed as before; before an open window. What government had decreed could not change Daniel's worship of his God. Why didn't Daniel submit to the government of which he was a part?
We could write of David who fled from his king for a number of years, or of Macaiah who never prophesied anything the king wanted to hear. There was Amos, Hosea, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Jeremiah not only spoke against the government, but openly defied every government order to keep silent. Then there were the midwives of Israel who were ordered to kill the male children at birth. What were their answers:
"But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men and children alive." Exodus 1:17
Were all these men and women of God rebellious and disobedient, or did they recognize the power and powers that God had ordained in their lives?
When we recognize what the Bible is not saying, then we need to study to discover the truth of God's Word, and what it is really saying to instruct His people. Peter wrote:
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king, as supreme;" I Peter 2:13
When we realize God's Word is speaking of God's Kingdom, rather then to man's government, we need to rightly divide the Word of Truth. When we look at the word ordinance we naturally think of man's law. But when we search to rightly divide the word of truth, we discover the word ordinance does not mean man's law. It is the Greek word KTISIS an is translated nineteen times; 11 times as "creature, 6 times as "creation", 1 time as "building" and 1 time as "ordinance". A diligent search reveals the primary use of the word ordinance is "creature or creation".
The word man used in this portion of scripture is not the general Greek word used for man which is ANTHIOPOS. The word Peter used was ANTHROPINOS and has the meaning of "human". Further research in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by George W. Bromiley. Mr. Bromiley states the use of the words ordinance and man refers to "the human creation", rather than a human institution. The word every is POS and was used 1243 times; of these it was translated as "all" 748 times. Peter was not stating we should submit to man's laws, but to submit to all God's creation.
Rightly dividing the Word of truth, we discover the key Peter has revealed unto God's Kingdom people; and that is that we are to be under subjection to all of God's human creation. Who are God's creatures in the earth today?
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
Paul further reveals:
"And that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Ephesians 4:24
God's human creation is that new creation, man, whom God is bringing forth in the earth today. Those who have not dealt with the old, beast nature are not part of God's new creation man. God's new human creation is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Peter expounded on who we are to submit to in Chapter 5:
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." I Peter 5:5
Again we are reminded the Bible was written to the church and not to the world. When God speaks of us submitting, He expressly states we are to "submit" to one another, and to the powers He has set. Our submission is not to the heathen or to the foreign nations we are no longer a part of. Paul addressed our submitting in his letter to the Ephesians:
"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Ephesians 5:21
Paul stated we should ". . . submit to each other in the fear of God . . . for the Lord's sake . . .whether it be to the king, as supreme; . . .". Every Christian must decide who is their king, whether it be the King of Kings, or the government which demands to be our king.
When Pilate presented Jesus to the people, He said, "Behold your King", John 9:14. The religious systems of Jesus' day were the same as those in the religious systems today. Their answer when Pilate asked, "Shall I crucify your king?" was:
" . . .We have no king but Caesar." John 19:15
We must ask the same question, "Is God our King, supreme in authority in our lives, or are we part of the religious system that has made Caesar (man's government) their King?"
God's people were not only to submit to their King, but...:
". . .unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well." I Peter 2:14
The word governor is the word HEGEMON and means "a leader of any kind". Through a diligent search by rightly dividing the Word of God, we find the word governor was translated 22 times as "prince". A prince is the son of a king. Princes are given power to operate in the king's kingdom, whether it be man's kingdom or God's Kingdom. Peter was revealing that the leaders God's people are to submit to are the powers that God has set in His church. These are to teach His people God's ways, to bring them into His Kingdom walk and His Kingdom ways.
Peter stated, " . ..as unto them that are sent by Him . . .". Who are those who are sent by Him? The Apostles. The word apostle means "one who is sent". Why did God send the apostle? He sent the apostle to set the church in order. As an apostle and an elder, Peter knew the order God had set in the church. [See "Order in His Courts" and "Proper Order in the Eldership" by G. Kirkpatrick]
One of the responsibilities of the leadership in the church is to punish evildoers. The word punishment should have been translated "vengeance" and means "that which proceeds out of justice"; not in the sense of injury, but in the sense of indignation for sin. The writer of Hebrews proclaimed:
"For we know Him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people." Hebrews 10:30
All vengeance belongs to God. He is the one who will recompense His people. The writer of Hebrews continues, "The Lord shall judge His people". God does not put the judgment of His people in the hands of man's government. He is our judge, our only judge; and we know His judgements are true and righteous, Revelation 16:7.
Peter was revealing that it was the powers God had set in the church that were to deal with the problems in the church through proper order. The leadership is not only to deal with the problems, but also to praise them that do well, I Peter 2:14. Why?
"For so is the will of God, that with welldoing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:" I Peter 2:15
Who is a foolish man? The Psalmist David wrote: "The fool hath said in his heart, NO God", Psalm 14:1. Those who have said in their heart, "NO" to God and His order are ignorant of God's ways, His will and His order.
When the church begins to deal with the evil that is resident in its midst, then it will have put to silence the ignorant, foolish men who can only criticize and tear down. This is the will of God for His people. This is why God has set the "powers" in the church. Paul addressed the gifts God gave unto man in his letter to the Ephesians. God had set apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the church. For what purpose?
"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" Ephesians 4:1213
God has ordained His "powers" in the body to complete the work He began on the Day of Pentecost. He came as the Holy Spirit of Truth to cleanse and purify a people so they may become the King's domain. He came that He may have a people who have His Kingdom within. He came that He may have a people who have put on the headship of Christ, and know that Christ is their only hope of glory.
Another place where people turn when they try to prove we are to submit to man's government is in Titus:
"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work," Titus 3:1
Paul stated to Titus, "Put them in mind..." Today we would say, "Bring to their remembrance" to be subject to principalities. We first must identify who is being referred to as principalities. The word principalities is used 6 times in the New Testament. Each time it is referring to the Spiritual realm of God's creation: whether the Spiritual realm of light, or the spiritual realm of darkness.
Paul wrote of the principalities of the Spiritual realm of light:
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor "principalities", nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come," Romans 8:38
"To the intent that now unto the "principalities" and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God." Ephesians 3:10
"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:" Colossians 1:16
Paul also spoke of the principalities in the spiritual realm of darkness:
"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 6:12
"And having spoiled "principalities" and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Colossians 2:15
The word principality is the Greek word ARCHE and was primarily used as the word "beginning", as in John 1:1. The principalities were from the beginning. Everything existed in the Spiritual realm of God before it was manifest in the flesh, or carnal realm of man.
Paul informed Titus to bring to remembrance to Gods people that they were to submit themselves to the Spiritual realm of God. The word submit again is the Greek word HUPOTASSO which means "to be in subjection to" or "to be subjugated to". God's people are to be subject to the powers or authorities He has set in the church.
Paul continued in his letter to Titus:
". . .to obey magistrates" Titus 3:1
The word used for the phrase obey magistrates is one word, the Greek word PEITHARCHEO and means "to obey, to pay heed or to harken to". The meaning has nothing to do with the word "magistrates" as we know it today. Again by diligent search we find the New American Standard, the NIV, and the Amplified Bible do not translate the word PEITHARCHEO as "obey magistrates", but simply as "obey, or be obedient". The Zondervan Interlinear nor the Berry's Interlinear use the word "magistrate". Again, through the use of research helps, we are better able to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
Paul stated we are to be subject to the powers and principalities and authorities God has set forth in the church to "prepare, perfect and ready" us to do every good work.
God's Word is plain as to whom we are to be in subjection to, and to whom we are to be obedient.
Then the question may arise, "Where do we stand with man's government and the laws of the land? Are we to ignore, disobey or break mans' laws? NO; no more than we would go to any foreign country and ignore, disobey or break that country's laws. But as God's chosen, elect, Kingdom people, we are to follow the law God has written on our hearts. This is the higher law, and is the basis for all law. If we obey His higher law, then we have entered into His protection from the laws of the land.
When we submit totally to God's voice, then He is our Paraklete. This word is translated "Advocate" and "Comforter" and means "one who pleads another's cause before a judge." When we submit to God's total power in our lives, and those whom God has ordained and empowered with His authority, then we have nothing to fear from man's government. God takes control of all our legal matters when we become obedient to His voice. The Psalmists declare:
"My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart." Psalm 7:10
"Because of His strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence." Psalm 59:9
"For the Lord is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our King." Psalm 89:18
"But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge." Psalm 94:22
Many profess they believe the Word of God. But if we believe it we must act upon it, and begin to move in the power of the Holy Spirit anointing in our lives. If we fear man's government, then we, as the Pharisees, have proclaimed we have no king but Caesar. Either God is our King or Caesar is our King.
As Joshua was about to lead God's people into their promised land, he told them:
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
All who are called by God's name must choose whom they will serve, God or government. God has directed the way in which we should go. Do we follow the examples God has given us to follow: Jesus, the early church and Israel; or, do we listen to those who have made Caesar their King? This is the day we must choose to walk with God, or run with the world. We can choose to be pleasing in the sight of God, or try to please those who desire to rule over us. Choose ye this day! As Christians we should not stand on the Constitution and demand our rights; instead we should stand on the Word of God and exercise our freedom.
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36
1.What is God doing as we come into our promised land or the Kingdom age?
2.What is God's Spiritual revelation to those who are going to walk into His Kingdom?
3.What has been referred to as "The Constitution of Christianity?"
4.What order did God establish to govern His people?
5.When problems arose in the early church, the Apostles and Elders did not turn to for help but rather sought the of and dealt with the problems as they were directed of Him.
6.What idea is completely foreign to God's Word?
7.Who will receive judgment from God?
8.Who are not ministers of God but serve only themselves and the dictates of the government that they represent?
9.We must always remember the Bible is written to God's people and not the
10.Who is the only head the church is to have?
11.Can we be partakers of man's immorality just because it is lawful?
12.Who are part of the Israel of God?
13.Who are the ministers of God?
14.Who does not watch over the souls of God's people?
15.Whose writings are the keys that open the Kingdom of God to us?
16.What must we learn if we are to become rulers in God's Kingdom?
17.When Pilate told Jesus he had the power to crucify him, what did Jesus reply?
18.Who are not a part of God's new creation man?
19.Since the Bible was written to the Church and not the world, when God speaks of our submitting, to whom does this refer?
20.When we submit to God's total power in our lives and to those whom He has ordained and empowered with His authority then we have nothing to fear from
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