Romans 13: Blind Obedience to Public Servants is Commanded by God?

God-haters love to point out that the churches in Germany offered no resistance to Hitler…and they’re right.

Why? Because the Nazis convinced church leadership to emphasize Romans 13.

Preachers were discouraged from reading or quoting from the Bible to those they are supposed to comfort, and from mentioning the name of Jesus. The exception was Romans 13. Just like what’s happening now with the Clergy Response Teams.

As time goes on, you’re going to see blind obedience to the government stressed more and more in church, as more preachers sell out.

Historically this has happened right here in the USA, too. One time was before, during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Matthew 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the highest point of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Once again it is written: ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’”

What I want to point out to you with this passage is that THE DEVIL CAN QUOTE SCRIPTURE.

If the devil used this tactic against the Lord Jesus, then it makes sense that agents of the devil would use it against Christians. They will use the first few verses of Romans 13 and hope you don’t have enough knowledge to put it in context

Romans 13:Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2 So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment 3 (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer.

Before I go in deep on this, there’s a point that needs to be made. Every single person I’ve ever heard teach on this subject misses a huge, foundational truth:

Here in the United States of America, who is the rightful, legal authority?

  • The people are the rulers in the USA.
  • Constitution: “We the People in order to form a more perfect Union…”
  • Declaration of Independence: Government’s job is to protect our rights.
  • We elect public servants to enforce the law (Constitution).
  • Our public servants are in rebellion against our authority.

Our public servants nowadays want to be Caesar, and want us to be their subjects.

Their lust for power does not make it so.

We let them get away with acting like Caesar, and treating us like their subjects. That they get away with it also does not make it legal, or right.

A law does not cease to exist simply because someone gets away with breaking it. It certainly does not equal ordination by God.


So much for how that applies in America. So let’s set that aside for now.

If you’ve read enough of your Bible, or even if you know much about history, something about Romans 13 should bother you. Because it seems like it’s commanding us to blindly obey government, no matter who is in control and what kind of government it is.

When we read it in English it seems as if Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and Red China were all established by God, and that to resist Stalin, Hitler or Mao was to defy God. (Some people, in fact, will say this.) So the Christians who hid Jews, for instance, who helped them escape the Nazis, were defying the ordinance of God. The Christians smuggling Bibles into China are defying the ordinance of God. Right?

Was Moses wrong to oppose Pharoah? Were Daniel and the 3 Hebrew boys wrong to disobey rulers who told them to worship other gods? When heathen rulers overran Israel, did God not raise up judges to fight against them? Peter and the apostles were arrested, jailed, beaten, and commanded to quit preaching the truth. But they kept preaching. Were they wrong? In the coming global Beast system, will it be a sin to resist taking the mark of the Beast?

According to God’s word, anyone who does take it will burn in the lake of fire, and the smoke of their torment will go up forever. (Revelation 14:9-11) Sounds like a catch-22 if that’s true.

The enemy likes to say God contradicts Himself, but that goes against God’s character. Whenever it seems like that, the issue is a lack of understanding on our part. Quite often this happens when the original text is translated into another language.

When you find a seeming contradiction in the Bible, that is a personal challenge to you to dig deeper. Study to show yourself approved. (2 Timothy 2:15)

In Romans 13 the word “authority/authorities” comes from the Greek work exousia. So I looked up where else that word was used, to see if there was a clue in how the Holy Spirit uses it.

There is a hint in Matthew 7 and Mark 1:

Then they went to Capernaum. When the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people there were amazed by his teaching, because he taught them like one who had authority, not like the experts in the law.

  • People were amazed.
  • He did not teach them like the experts in the law.
  • (They were the religious “authorities.”)
  • (They would later use that “authority” to have our Lord crucified.)
  • The people recognized that Jesus had legitimate authority.
  • There are two types of authority, here:
  • One is righteous authority, ordained by God. One is not.

When the human “authorities” demanded why the apostles disobeyed the statute against spreading the Gospel, Peter and the others said, “We must obey God rather than people.” (Acts 5:17-42.)

God doesn’t always recognize the same authority that people do. In fact, it’s often the opposite.

Just because someone is given authority by other people does not mean God ordained it.

  • Satan used part of the Bible in tempting Jesus when he was hungry.
  • Hitler used Romans 13 to usurp the church when Germans were hungry.
  • Somebody with human authority is going to deceive Christians by using Romans 13 when they are hungry, and scared, and suffering.

In these United States of America, it’s easy to identify who is the servant and who is the legal ruler; and who is rebelling against authority.

That is, it’s easy unless you lack knowledge.

Author: Elijah Dispatched

I never doubted the existence of God. I thank my parents for that. Even so, most of my life could be summed up as a shameful rebellion against Him. Still, even when living like a reprobate heathen, I still occasionally studied the Bible. I found it just as confusing and seemingly contradictory as most people, yet I could also discern there was power in it, and truth beyond my finite reckoning. After finally admitting to my Creator, "You are God and I am not," my study of the Bible became a bit more intensive. I have learned much, and will learn much more. I plan on sharing some of that here.

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