Sunday, September 23, 2007

Romans 13...Again!

When I had my old "Render Unto Christ" site up here on Blogger I had written a post expressing what I had believed Romans 13 actually said. I will boil it down to this: you must obey the law and the authorities but you don't have to like it, you can work to change it, and if it violated the laws of God you most certainly did not have to obey it!

Well, I didn't go far enough and, further, I was wrong about who or what I thought Paul was meaning when he used the word "authority." "Magistrate" was another word. However, I did not have to wait for God to give me discernment on this directly. In this case, God used Chuck Baldwin (see his website at Chuck Baldwin Live. The Florida Panhandle preacher wrote a very informative piece on why most Christians and preachers get Romans 13 wrong. I am not going to site the exact words Paul wrote from any Bible. Suffice it to say Paul wrote that since all authority (power) is derived from God, and all "rulers" (powers) are appointed by God, all SOULS must obey this authority and these powers. As for taxes, they are to be rendered unto authority is given. Baldwin explained that where Christians get it wrong is in their belief that all people we elect to be our leaders or rulers or what have you must be obeyed, even if we don't like their laws or even if we believe their laws take our freedom away or even if we believe they might violate "The Ten Commandments." Even I believed that this was true until, as Baldwin pointed out, it was precisely our rulers who were emphasized as to be "subject unto the higher powers." Naturally, we all are. But Paul and of course God knew who exactly would need to be reminded constantly who must remember that they are subject to there "higher powers": the "rulers" themselves! It is the people at large, being constantly reminded every minute of every day by the cops, the media, the clergy, the courts, the governor, the president, who KNOW they are subject to the law. That is why most people wear seat belts whether they want to or not--they don't want to be ticketed (and of course some wear then to feel safe). That is why most people register their vehicles and buy car insurance...the law says they have to. That is why 18-year-old males register for Selective Service: the law says they have to (besides, the penalties for not doing so, such as not getting a job or a college degree, make not registering a bit prohibitive). That is why people pay taxes. Not because they want to but because they don't want the IRS on their backs!

No, Romans 13 applies most specifically to the "rulers" themselves. Why? Because God knows it is the rulers who are most likely to break their own laws! Throughout history--including the history of the Kings of Israel and Judah--it was most likely that the rulers would break their own laws. David, "the man after God's own heart", murdered Urias to grab his wife Bathsheeba. Solomon had God knows how many wives though the law was one wife only. Many of the Kings, listed in Kings and Chronicles, constantly violated God's laws and man's laws ("...and he did evil in the sight of the Lord..."). It is the rulers, who to a man or woman constantly break the laws of God and the laws of their nations, that Romans 13 was specifically written for. Not just because these rulers tend to break their own laws because they can rig the system to let them get away with it. Also, because when the people see their rulers flouting the law as they always do, the people themselves start to think that they, too, should be allowed to flout the law. It is rare indeed when a member of the public at large violates a law that the rulers hadn't already violated themselves. It is not for nothing that most famous (or infamous) quote of the late Leona Helmsley, "Only the little people pay taxes," rings true. Well, we can know what uttering that quote got her...several years in jail!

If you think that President Bush and Vice-President Cheney really, really are going to get away with their various crimes (do I really need to list them here? If you don't know what they are you have been physically or mentally asleep since 9-11-01), then you are being sorely pessimistic. They may not get impeached (and, if any president and vice president deserves to be impeached it is Bush and Cheney!), but somehow, somewher, at some time, they will answer for for bearing false witness, violating, continually, the US Constitution, overseeing the murder of millions either through unjust war or financial chicanery or torture, worshipping false gods (through Skull and Bones and the other so-called "secret societies"), taking the Lords' name in vain ("God told me to invade Iraq..."), committing adultery (in the sense that Bush is "in bed" with leaders of the so-called Religious Right who practice "Churchianity", that is, Mystery Babylon, Mother of Harlots), stealing (by invading countries to steal their resources, in the case of Iraq, oil, and lusting to steal the oil or Iran), lusting after more wealth and power (that is, coveting), and lying, lying and lying some more! When the Constitution, "the supreme law of the land," (in other words, the "authority" of which Paul speaks!), says that the Federal Government must raise a standing army it means in order to defend the US--not go into 140 or whatever countries putting up bases of Empire! Not go destroying Iraq and perhaps Iran and Syria and thinking that what Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the Huns, the the Brits, the Soviets, and who knows what others couldn't do in Afghanistan, the "almighty United States" can do!

And, for all you "Mark of the Beast" eschatology believers: now that you so wholeheartedly believe that you must obey the government of man no matter what they force you to do, on what basis will you be able to resist it when they "put this mark" or "microchip of the 'mark of the beast'" into you?

And you though you deserved to be "raptured"!

Deborah Lagarde

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