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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Forty-Sixth (Appointed)

As things start to get closer and closer to the events of 2 Thessalonians 2, it's helpful to understand what scripture tells us about complying with the "law of the land." I have personally seen many Christians and pastors using passages to say we should follow whatever the government says since those in it were appointed by Yehovah. Even using the name of Jesus and His example to shame people into submission. Today, it's masks and vaccines, tomorrow who knows, so this week we're going to take a look and see what guidance He has actually given us. Otherwise, we'll find ourselves being slowly and steadily walked down the path of submission to the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).

I think the most common verse used to scripture Christians into submission is Romans 13:1 and one similar to it is 1 Peter 2:13-17. In Romans, Paul tells the Christians in Rome to follow the governing authorities because God is the one who appoints all authorities. Not that it's necessarily required to verify scripture against itself, but you can see plenty of verses that confirm Paul's statement of Yehovah's appointments. In Daniel 4:25, Daniel, whom King Nebuchadnezzar called Belteshazzar, tells the king he will live with the beasts until he understands that Yehovah gives kingdoms to whomever He chooses. In 1 Samuel 16:1, Yehovah speaks directly to Samuel telling him He chose the next stop crying about Saul! Can I just pause here for a second and encourage a little chuckle about this verse? I mean, how awesome is it that we have a God that tells His children, "How long are you going to cry about this thing that I did?"

There are many other verses that emphasize Yehovah's role in appointing governmental authorities, but I think you get the point. But, it's necessary to be completely clear about something. While God may appoint some governmental authorities, if it is His will, He also will allow those He did not appoint to take power. No, this is not my opinion and no, I am not necessarily specifically talking about our current governmental authorities. I'll leave that discernment to you. In fact, this is proven in Hosea 8:3-4. This chapter of Hosea is about Israel defying Yehovah, and the judgment they received because of it. In verses 3 and 4, Yehovah says they set up kings, but not by Him. So, you can see, while we may have certain authorities over us, they may have been set up by men and not by Him.

Something else to understand is that while Yehovah may appoint certain governmental authorities, they have the potential to be influenced by evil just as we are. Remember Nebuchadnezzar? We've already seen that Daniel essentially told him he was given his kingdom by the Most High. Yet, his actions certainly did not follow God's expectations for him, and were clearly influenced by evil. More specifically, by pride.

In fact, Nebuchadnezzar is one of the most intriguing figures in scripture for me. In Daniel 2, he almost kills all the wise men in his kingdom until Daniel, by the power of Yehovah, tells him his dream and the interpretation. He is so amazed, he praises God and promotes Daniel! He even says Yehovah is the Lord of kings and God of gods! And the next thing we know, in Daniel 3, he's making an idol and forcing his people to worship it. Our three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, disobey the king's decree and their survival of the furnace (and the angel that showed up in it) cause Nebuchadnezzar to once again praise Yehovah, blessing Him, and promoting the three. He even decreed that anyone who spoke against Him would be cut in pieces and their house burned down! Aaaaaand the next thing we know, in Daniel 4, we see Nebuchadnezzar once again not living up to God's expectations for He sent a dream to warn him about having his kingdom removed from him for not remembering who set him there. He spends years in the field acting like an animal, being out of his mind, until finally he praises and acknowledges God once again.

There are some key things in this account of Nebuchadnezzar that we should note. First, as we see, he was appointed by Yehovah and clearly did things that were against His commandments, and attempting to force His people to violate those commandments. Second, what do we see our righteous friends do? Break the law of man, in order to follow the Law of Yehovah. This is key to understand that we are not to follow laws that violate the commandments. In other words, we are not to follow laws that cause us to sin. Third, there were three who stood up for God's law and were subjected to a literal trial by fire. And finally, Nebuchadnezzar was given three opportunities to be obedient to Yehovah before his kingdom was taken from him. He was shown the power of God by the first dream, he was shown the power of God by the saving of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, and he was offered a last chance to turn from his prideful ways before he was sent to the fields crazy. Sounds a lot like Peter being given three opportunities to admit his relationship to Jesus at the crucifixion, right?

I want to dig into the second and third points, starting with the third. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego are a representation of us and God telling us what we will endure. 1 Peter 1:7 tells us our faith will be tried by fire. He emphasizes this point again in 4:12-14, and that we should rejoice in it. You might ask, how can three people be a representation of us? Remember, we are beings created with three parts: spirit, soul and body. This means we are to ensure we keep all three parts sanctified for Him(1 Thessalonians 5:23). And sanctification comes through obedience to Yehovah and His commandments, which brings us to the second key thing. God's law tells us what sin is (Romans 7:7), and while we were delivered from the law by Yeshua's death on the cross (Romans 7:6), this only means we were delivered from the law dictating how righteousness is achieved and into our faith dictating how righteousness is achieved (Philippians 1:11). So yes, we are still expected to follow the example of our three righteous friends and follow Yehovah's law over the law of man.

So knowing this, what are we called to do? Pray of course! Paul's first letter to Timothy tells us we should provide prayers, supplications, thanks and intercessions for everyone, for kings, and for all those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1,2). While it's always encouraged to pray for others, what is the intended outcome Paul has for this? So that we may live a quiet and peaceful life in godliness and reverence. But it's important to not stop there, because verses 3 and 4 provide more detail for this intended outcome. In these verses, we see that it is because God desires all men to be saved and know the truth. Imagine a country, or world, in which the body of Christ performs all of Paul's exhortations and there is peace! No confusion, no war, no deception. Truly those who were not yet saved or know the truth would look to those in the body for how they enabled that! Sadly, we won't be able to see this utopia until Jesus' reign on earth, but we are still to provide the prayers, supplications, thanks and intercessions Paul talks about because in that way we are able to fight spiritually against the forces of Satan. So continue to pray for those governmental authorities appointed over us!

Shabbat Shalom and God bless you! I hope you have a wonderful week!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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