18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honour you.
The above verses helps us understand the role of government and in what manner we are accountable to them and in what manner we are not. As you read further on, you will see that what we owe the government is obedience to the Moral Law of God (Mat22:36-40), where God is first and concern for neighbour is at par with self. A Godly decorum for government may seem appalling for many but that is because we are so used to a system of government that runs almost every aspect of our lives that we have grown used to our chains. We live in a society where it is taboo for one to criticise the government while the people’s indifference towards God is an atmosphere we are all very familiar with. In a true Biblical Theocracy however, it is God who is above criticism, not the government. In a Democracy, the state is accountable to the people and so if the people are a licentious lot then the state sets Laws to appease the people’s immoral appetite, which in God’s time incurs God’s deserving justice. To site a few examples, the legal age for sexual consent in Nigeria is 11, while it is 12 in the Philippines and Angola, and 13 in Burkina Faso, Comoros, Niger and Japan. The cost of licensing such immorality then amounts to licensing murder through abortion. WHO estimates that 125,000 unborn babies are aborted everyday across the world! Can you imagine, how such a genocide would reflect in the newspapers daily, if society only accepted: unborn babies are human beings? As much as a baby can kick in the mother’s womb, it can also experience pain but the only reason we look the other way concerning abortion is because, in a democracy the individual is sovereign, being a law to himself/herself and so he/she does as he/she pleases. The media too goes on, as though covering wickedness is a priority over covering righteousness in society. Take for instance the #lgbt population in the USA, which is about 3.8%, yet these wicked lot get about 70% of media coverage over everything and everybody else. In India, the LGBT is about 2.5 million in a population of 1.25 billion and the media here too uses celebrities to condone the destructive and sick LGBT ideology in society.
Isaiah 9:6 (A prophesy concerning Jesus)
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
In a theocracy, the State is accountable to Christ and we understand that the Bible serves as a framework for civil law from the appointment of Judges by Moses to settle civil disputes in Exo18:13:27 but ever so often, the Sacred Cow for many professing Christian happens to be Religious Neutrality, which is far from the truth in any culture because though society may claim such a thing as religious plurality, it is alway one religion that remains dominant over the rest. It is as Jesus says in Mat 12:30, if you are not gathering, you are scattering, if you are not with Him, you are against Him because if God is not first in your life, anything else that rivals God’s right over your heart is idolatry. The State is purposed to serve one duty only and that is to punish lawlessness and protect the lawful but this is not true of the modern state which purposes to terrorise good people. Take Sweden for example, a country of 9.8 million people, their government in claiming to be a Humanitarian Superpower plans to spend about 3 billion Swedish crowns of tax payers money in 2016 to house refuges in the country, while about 34000 still remain homeless in Sweden. We therefore see that it is essential for the State to stick to what is right and wrong as defined in the Bible (Is5:20) because the Law of God is infallible.
Exodus 20 (Moral Law given the believer in serving God’s interest)
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Deut 12:1-3 (Judical Law given the state in serving God’s interest)
These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess—as long as you live in the land. 2 Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains, on the hills and under every spreading tree, where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. 3 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.
Besides, bringing wrath upon those evil doers, the state is also given to protect the interest of religion, not just any religion but Biblical Christianity because if truth be told, worshiping any other God than the Triune God Almighty is damning and so the State is given to reflect God’s justice in safeguarding the worship of God Almighty. So, a State that functions under God has the power to execute people on proven charges of blasphemy (Lev24:16/Mk3:29/Jn4:24) and though the worldly Christian may find this appalling, he/she ironically finds himself/herself at home with counterfeit political power executing people on charges of treason, which only happen to prove detrimental to the interest of the State, not God.
11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.
Now the beast of the sea mentioned in Revelation 13 is apostate political power, so coming back to the fable many are led to believe concerning religious neutrality and religious plurality, we understand from Revelations 13 that only apostate religion (the beast of the land) is given to exercise the corrupt power of the beast of the sea (apostate political power). Nonetheless, knowing that it is not the State which is Sovereign but God, we understand that the State’s duty is to protect God’s interest in society. In this sense, the Civil Law is set in place to hedge the Moral Law. To give you an example, Mat 5:27-28 teaches us to guard even the motives of our heart in dealing with adultery. However, unlike the Moral Law, the Judicial/Civil Law cannot function as a thought police but if we were act on those wicked intentions viz. murder, adultery and covetousness, it is then that the Civil Law has the power to punish such crimes because the State is an instrument of God’s deserving justice here on earth.
1 John 5
16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
1 Timothy 1
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
From 1John 5:16-17, 1Cor 15:56 and 1 Timothy 1:8-11, we see that what the Christian owes the government is obedience to the Moral Law of God because the believer who showcases the fruit of Holy Spirit in his/her life (Gal5:22-23) has nothing to fear concerning the Judicial Law exercised by the State. Today, in refusing to be a conduit of God’s righteousness in society, most governments ironically find it is a herculean task to enforce Biblical Judicial Law, which are only a few hundred morality based laws, while these same governments zealously impose thousands of new laws each year to serve their own vested interest. For any minister, whether that be of the Church or the State, his/her duty is always to administer, meaning he/she only exercises that which is already written. Unlike what is happening today, a minister can never write his/her own laws whether it is to govern the State or Shepherd the Church, the purpose of the minister is to only administer the Law that is already revealed to the Church/State in Christ.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Like Apostate Egypt during the time of Moses and Apostate Assyria during the time of Daniel, the State today claims to be omnicompetent in the control it exercises over its people, which is as though it were a god. A government can only tax that which it lays claim to but today we have taxes like Income Tax, Inheritance Tax and even Gift Tax. Though these taxes may claim to secure financial spending in the country, it so often turns out to only help ministers within the government accumulate the most money for themselves that remains unaccounted for in Swiss bank accounts. These taxes only keep on increasing as the days go by and the worst thing is we are all ok with this because most of us don’t know any better. Biblically in Exodus 30:14-15, only a Census Tax was to be collected, which was within every person’s reach and the same was paid by every person, it wasn’t the same percentage but the same amount.
14 All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. 15 The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives.
The State today covers up it robbery by providing Healthcare and Education. However, it must be understood that the State cannot provide unless it first takes from the people. Also, healthcare and Education are vocational institutes and being institutes of vocation they are not to be usurped by the State. For those of you care to notice, the state has only made life worse when it chooses to leave aside its given duty of bearing the wrath of God against the wicked and usurp duties of the Church to excuse itself from further taxing the people.
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
To conclude, when it comes to understating the Godly Decorum of the State, there are three aspects to learn: its Origin that is God; its function that is to terrorise ungodly evil doers; its powers which talks about its ministry, its authority to bear the sword of God’s good/deserving justice and the power to tax without extorting (Lk3:12-14).