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  • David

    March 6, 2022 at 7:00 am

    The Seedbed Daily Text, March 6, 2022

    This is one of those incidences where I think we have to consult the whole counsel of the Word and the Holy Spirit and not just focus on one text. There is no way to say that both Peter and Paul did not advocated submission to government authorities (Romans 13:1-5) for the sake of Christ and for conscience sake. The text says what it says, but does that mean total submission to government authorities? As I said yesterday, I believe there is a line in the sand and my answer is NO. There is a time for civil disobedience for Christ sake and for the sake of what is right in God’s eyes.

    There are many Biblical examples of civil disobedience (see gotquestions.org). For example in Exodus the midwives disobeyed the Egyptian Pharaoh’s order to kill all the male Jewish babies. They feared God more than they did Pharaoh and “God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them” (Exodus 1:20-21).

    In Joshua 2, Rahab directly disobeyed a command from the king of Jericho to produce the Israelite spies who had entered the city to gain intelligence for battle. Instead, she let them down via a rope so they could escape.

    Daniel records a number of civil disobedience examples. The first is found in chapter 3 where Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down to the golden idol in disobedience to King Nebuchadnezzar’s command. The second is in chapter 6 where Daniel defies King Darius’ decree to not pray to anyone other than the king. In both cases, God rescued His people from the death penalty that was imposed, signaling His approval of their actions.

    In the New Testament, the book of Acts records the civil disobedience of Peter and John towards the authorities that were in power at the time. After Peter healed a man born lame, Peter and John were arrested for preaching about Jesus and put in jail. The religious authorities were determined to stop them from teaching about Jesus; however, Peter said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). Later, the rulers confronted the apostles again and reminded them of their command to not teach about Jesus, but Peter responded, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

    Finally, in the book of Revelation where the Antichrist commands all those who are alive during the end times to worship an image of himself. The apostle John, states that those who become Christians at the time will disobey the Antichrist and his government and refuse to worship the image (Revelation 13:5).

    So how are we to interpret today’s Text? If we take it literally, we will wear a mask, kill unborn babies, worship the Emperor and do whatever he says. This is why I do not believe in a literal interpretation and application of the Scriptures. If we did that, I could not eat bacon for breakfast this morning and we would be stoning people for disobeying their parents (Leviticus).

    Got questions.org sum it up as follows:

    • Christians should resist a government that commands or compels evil and should work nonviolently within the laws of the land to change a government that permits evil.
    • Civil disobedience is permitted when the government’s laws or commands are in direct violation of God’s laws and commands.
    • If a Christian disobeys an evil government, unless he can flee from the government, he should accept that government’s punishment for his actions.
    • Christians are certainly permitted to work to install new government leaders within the laws that have been established.

    I know this is a very long response to JD’s reflection and questions. I directly quoted most of it from another source that I respect, Gotquestions.org, to help me support my answer. The issue for me is when do I draw the line? The discussion above helps me and I pray it will help you. By the way, I probably should have worn a mask, but I felt it was the camel getting its nose under then tent that would lead to a greater evil like shutting down churches and not proclaiming the Gospel. That day is coming unless Jesus comes and takes us away and we will have to choose to submit or disobey. As for me, I will obey God!