by Ruth Greene
Dealing with government injustice comes from the failure to appoint and support wise leaders. This isn’t your fault unless you support their unwise actions. Being answerable disciples that look out for the places we live in, there is no limit to the need for effective, righteous, relationships. Pray for government leaders, despite the fact that they don’t have the mind of Messiah. (“U.S. Bankruptcy and the Bible“; “Christians, Corporations & Disability in the US“; “Bible Prophecy and the Rise of the Corporation“; “Authority: The Real Meaning of Romans 13“)
At times, you may be surrounded by people who gossip endlessly about leaders. This is not the same as exposing evil and injustice. (Ephesians 5:11) Verbal cruelty can damage you as much as the subject of the gossip. Rather than speaking with hateful words, like David you can talk to your Heavenly Father about your concerns and problems. That is YHWH’s provision for you as His son and heir. (“Break Down Walls of Darkness with Prayer“; “What is Evil? The Jealousy of Nations & Skeptics“)
Because of Satan and original sin, national leaders are bound by sin and iniquity, yes, even the collective sins of a nation [the curse of nations]. These leaders may profess to be Christian, but more often than not, they are not spiritually mature, righteous disciples by any realistic definition. They are likely on the wide road to destruction because they cannot abide a Elohim’s righteousness or the Holy Spirit [Sanctified, Set Apart Spirit]. Leaders and politicians are easily able to commit sins and rebellion in private without public knowledge. At times, the sin overflows into public life to the embarrassment of many. Leaders may have sexual sin, assault others with loose talk and create laws that run counter to effective governance and the righteousness of YHWH. (Psalm 57:4; Deuteronomy 16:15-20; “Which Shepherd Do You Believe?“; “The False Shepherd and the True Shepherd“; “News: Hyperinflation & False Teaching“; “News: Investment & the Black Horse of Famine“)
The Israelites faced a great problem when they arrived in the Promised Land. In the beginning, the Israelites had Joshua as their spiritual and national leader. Yet, the leadership and people utterly failed to complete their task of cleansing the land. As the nation matured, they would often fail to choose and support spiritual leaders who would lead the tribe, districts and cities with justice and the righteousness of YHWH’s wisdom. (“YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“; “Breaking the Strongholds of Egypt and Canaan in Your Heart“)
Because they did not have wise judges and righteous administrators, rebellion and injustice plagued their land. It is a serious matter to elect twisted men to the office of government. In your realm of influence at home, church, school and job, are you ensuring that justice and righteousness of Elohim [‘God’, YHWH] prevail? Failing to choose leaders who hold up justice can lead to much trouble. This is exactly what Israel discovered. Today is no different. (“Living in an Apostate World“; “The Idolatry Factor“)
The book of Matthew shows that the disciples didn’t fully comprehend the purpose of Yahshua’s [Jesus] death and resurrection until Pentecost. Disciples can be slow to fully understand and appreciate the full range of Christian truth, which can only be the righteousness of Elohim.
The disciples were with Yahshua [Jesus] much of the time, heard His words and witnessed miracles and still had difficulty understanding. Despite their doubts, misunderstandings and questions, they put their trust in Him. They believed that we should do no less. (“The Unpardonable Sin“; “Understanding Sin“)
His disciples failed to understand why Yahshua [Jesus] kept talking about His death. Jewish culture was steeped in the idea that a Messiah would come to establish an earthly kingdom. Because of this influence, His disciples expected Yahshua [Jesus] to set up a political kingdom for a time. They though His death would crush their hopes. They didn’t understand that the death and resurrection of Yahshua [Jesus] would make YHWH’s Kingdom on earth possible. He told His disciples what they needed to know by talking about what would make His Kingdom possible.
All Jewish men had to pay a temple tax to support upkeep of the temple. (Exodus 30:11-16) Tax collectors set up booths to collect the taxes. Only Matthew records this incident; perhaps because Matthew had been a tax collector himself.
As YHWH’s people and disciples of the Messiah, we are foreigners to man’s system. Our loyalty is always to our real King: Yahshua [Jesus] Messiah. While we need to cooperate to the degree possible with earthly authorities, we are belong to another kingdom. Disciples keep local laws in order to represent YHWH’s Kingdom, a foreigners living in the world of man [kosmos, the decoration of man’s system]. (2 Corinthians 5:20). Are you acting as a witness, some would say, as a foreign ‘ambassador’ for Messiah? (Luke 20:20-26; “Wisdom & the Battle of Two Kingdoms“; “Ambassadors for Christ? Trust in His Promises“; “The Role of Authority in Your Life“; “Disciple: The Bible & Higher Authority“)
Elohim’s followers have legitimate answerability to both their Heavenly Father and, to a lesser degree, earthly governments. Keeping priorities straight is vital. When authorities conflict, personal duty and devotion to YHWH always must come first. You must be careful not to confuse two competing kingdoms with a counterfeit message of faith, tradition and philosophy that looks like YHWH’s Kingdom. (“Are You a Christian First or Last?“; “Leadership & Highly Effective People“; “Building a Counterfeit Kingdom“)
Now we can move from the theological to the practical. Paul gave guidelines for living as a redeemed people in a fallen world. We are to give ourselves to Messiah as living sacrifices. Christians are to strive to give a good testimony to governmental authority, love our neighbors and take special care of those who are weak in their faith. (“The Importance of Practical Repentance“; “Disciple: The Pattern of Your Life“)
In Romans 12:1, Paul remarks that we must learn to live by faith or trust each day. As a Christian, you answer first to YHWH through Yahshua [Jesus] Messiah. Yet, obeying established governmental laws that do not conflict with scripture is the beginning of Christian testimony. We must do what we can to be good residents while upholding the righteousness of Elohim’s Kingdom. (Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1; “YHWH’s Revolution“)
Government rule is never to force disciples to disobey the Heavenly Father, even though many times the governments of man have little respect for scripture or Elohim’s righteousness. Yahshua [Jesus] gave disciples the supreme example that we can look to in conduct and deed. When in doubt, we can trust the lifestyle of Yahshua [Jesus]. (“Messiah Teaches about Fruit in the Lives of People“; “Disciples of Messiah: Focused on the Messiah & His Purpose“)
Yahshua [Jesus] and his disciples did not disobey authority for personal selfishness, nor did they ingratiate themselves to government of the world. Disobedience to earthly rule was in order to follow the higher authority of Elohim’s Kingdom. Obedience to Elohim is not cheap, as it often conflicts with the ideas of man. The disciples were threatened, beaten, tortured, thrown in jail and executed for their conviction. If disciples of Messiah are compelled to disobey, each must be prepared to accept the consequences. (“Spiritual Authority & Satan’s Wheels of Destruction“; “The Magi of this Age“; “Redeemed Through Obedience & Faith“)
Genuine disciples are to live at peace as long as the state allows us to live by Elohim’s conviction of righteousness. There have been at least three interpretations of how disciples are to carry out “Christian conviction.”
1. Some Christians believe that the state is corrupt and that Christians should have as little to do with organized government as possible. Although they work to be honorable citizens, they do so as long as they don’t compromise their beliefs. Working for the government is often unacceptable. Voting in elections and serving in the military may be out of the question. ‘God’ and government are generally held to be totally different spheres.
2. Others believe that ‘God’ has given the state authority in certain areas and the church authority in others. The general outlook is that Christians can be loyal to both and can work for either. In some cases, the lines between the two authorities are blurred and indistinct.
3. Others believe that Christians have the responsibility to make the world a better place through politics and government and to make the state better. These believe that Christians can be politicians or active in politics. They work to serve ‘morally’ by serving as an influence for good in society. In this viewpoint, the church and state work in harmony for the same goals or for the “good of all.”
While I tend to hold the first view, none of these visions of Christianity advocate rebelling against or refusing to obey governmental laws unless laws clearly require disciples to violate the righteous standards revealed in the Bible. However, the righteousness of the world is not the righteousness of YHWH. That is why discernment is so important. (“Discernment the World Doesn’t Have“; “Discernment: Having an Ear to Deeper Understanding“; “Listening to the Holy Spirit“)
Regardless of your personal position in this world, as a Christian, a certain degree of respect for earthly authority is needed. We need to be respectful residents as much as possible. Generally, the righteous people of YHWH have little reason to fear earthly authority. When Christians are able to be respectful of earthly authority, officials do their duty and treat Christians with respect in return. There is nothing to fear because of righteous conduct. Your Heavenly Father will take care of the rest as you abide actively in doing His Will according to scripture. (“Abiding With YHWH in Quiet Places“; “Fear & YHWH’s Protection“; “Opposing Fear“)