By Wes Myhre
During this election cycle of 2016, up to and including the 45th president’s inauguration, we have witnessed protests and rioting, where the impact and destructive behaviors of several of these movements caused severe and long lasting damage to several of our American communities: physically, emotionally, and financially. This brings us to the substance of protests.
In certain circles in the Jesus-following community the discussion of believers participating in the political arena, either through being private citizens or elected officials, has intensified. Some well-meaning people recommend that Jesus-followers should step away from the important roles of voicing opinions or representing our fellow citizens in formal capacities, protest movements, as endorsed through our legal system. Often, persuasive articles or sermons have been written and spoken concerning the fallacies and negligent effects of protesting government’s decisions, stating Jesus-followers should not become involved in these civil engagements.
Foremost, we must recognize any gathering of people where Godly laws are broken has now moved from a legal and ethical position of influence and has given way to reveling and rioting, evil and lawlessness. Paul addresses these activities in Romans 13.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:13-14
We, as Jesus-followers, have no business acting in this manner.
However, often honest and well-meaning Jesus-following people believe and espouse the only time a citizen should voice an opinion must only be at the polls under the guise of anonymity. “Never, under any circumstances, should Jesus-following citizens gather in a group to protest governmental decisions because Jesus never did,” has become the rallying call. Is this really true? Or has the Word simply been twisted. Remember, what is stated in the second epistle of Peter.
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16 (Emphasis added.)
Meaning, we need to educate ourselves and rightly divide the word. So let us start here with part of Paul’s letter to Timothy.
1Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 2 Timothy 2:1-16
Stand by those things that are Godly and just but not of unprofitable things. Pick and choose battles. Some are not worthy of a Jesus-follower to fight, yet some are. A wise person steeped in the Word will know and recognize the difference and will understand how to fight that cause.
So starting at this point let us return and look at the first verses of Romans 13.
1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Romans 13:1-4 (Emphasis added.)
Let us inspect verse 3 of this passage, closely. “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” So, many governments are excluded by virtue of this single verse, and we must take it at its simple meaning of, rulers are not a terror to good works. Case in point, look at the atrocities of all governments killing their own citizens, ours’ is the killing of millions of our unborn. Furthermore, we must understand man is evil continually; unless we are guided by the Holy Spirit, have a relation with Jesus, and are following God’s precepts, commands, and instructions.
John tells us in 1 John 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” This also pertains to governments as well. Clearly if government does are not follow God’s commands, it is sinning, and if it denounces God’s precepts, commands, and instructions, it is also evil.
So what government is good? What is good?
Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. Psalm 119:68
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Luke 18:19
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God…Matthew 19:17
Which government is good? What we find here, is the government of God, which He set up through Israel in His pre-death and divorce covenant He had made with the Houses of Judah and Israel and the new covenant through His Son Jesus Christ bringing together both the house of Judah and the house of Israel through which the Gentiles are adopted. It is still the marriage vows given to Israel on Mount Sinai. Here, God gave His governing constitution and made it new again after Jesus’s death on the cross for these marriage vows have been written on our hearts. (See Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 10. And this article, Not All Israelites Are Jews.)
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Romans 7:12
(Also check out this article, All It Takes Is Law.)
8But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. 1Timothy 1:8-11
Now then, let us understand the United States of America is our government, and let us examine the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Here, we see our nation is founded on the biblical basis that man is created by God. However, there exist arguments on whom the Creator is, but by looking at the context of this sentence in the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence, we find there is only one Creator. Remember, the enemy suggests, we were not created but evolved from a soupy mess of water and soil, where life just happened; therefore, we know this Preamble statement does not refer to the lie of the imposter in the Garden. Hence, we know the Creator spoken of here is YHWY/Yeshua because we are created through His spoken Word.
We need to recognize, unlike in Jesus’ day when He walked on the earth in a country run by a pagan government, that God’s chosen people did not have the legal authority from the Roman government to admonish the governing authorities; nor was that a government of God, because it did not follow God’s commands, laws or precepts. On the other hand we must acknowledge that we have the capacity and blessing by virtue of American law, which is set up to redress government, and our legal process is based on the premises of God’s Word. If our legal system was not based on God’s Word then it would be sinful, out of the will of God, and not good as defined in Romans 13.
Who are the governing authorities of the United States of America? Let us look at our Preamble to the Constitution of the U.S. and see how it is defined.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
“We the People” chose representatives and judges to administer law and order as well as to protect this county by having a Democratic- Republic form of government, where the people elect officials to do the bidding of the citizens. Notice the legal populace is still the final authority as shown in our Constitution through the casting of the vote. From a biblical sense we must understand, the people need to follow God’s will in order to make responsible decisions when electing our leaders, and furthermore our elected officials must follow God’s will and laws in governing. If not, and His commands are disregarded by both citizens and leadership, then by definition we have become lawless, out of the will of God, and no longer good.
Our founding fathers knew elected offices have various terms and were aware that elections would not always select nor would elected officials always make perfect decisions; therefore, the framers built in a provision in which the people could call the government to task and allow the populace to reprove the governing decisions or redress issues through peaceful assemblies and petitions.
Let us look at the First Amendment.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
There you have it, we as Jesus-followers are commanded through our own laws and regulations and backed by God’s commands to be active in our government decision-making process through elections and peaceful assemblies, or protests. We still need to be respectful of one another and show Jesus’ love to one another, as well as to use that love to guide our governmental admonitions; however, we are called to follow the rules and regulations of a good and just government, one that adheres to the commands, laws and precepts of God.
And as for Jesus, He came to bring His people back to the Kingdom of God, and the first time walking here as man was to demonstrate to His people how to follow Torah. He drove out evil doers, He told people of sins, and demonstrated His discontent with them. He never once sat and did nothing. He was so effective in what He did, those who were afraid of Him had him killed. (Those saints who stand up and do the right thing face this same physical fate.) Make no mistake though, Jesus will return with a vengeance to execute wrath upon those that doeth evil.
At best we are living in a God fearing county on the verge of falling prey to the enemy from within. Are we going to turn our backs on God and those brave Americans who fought and died for this beacon of hope and light exhibiting Godly values to the world? As Jesus-followers we need to engage the enemy on all fronts otherwise we are sinning.
We are admonished from some pulpits not to confront the enemy, and we make excuses for this belief because we are uniformed at best. Whatever the case let us repent of this sin and follow God’s commands and continue to fight sin and evil to let His light shine to the world as well as to honor the memories of our brave men and woman who have already given their lives for this cause. Let our light shine before men. This not only has individual connotations but corporate ones as well.
2 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Romans 2:12-13
We can no longer compromise with evil actions and intent. We need to stand fast. We can no longer sit on our butts making excuses as to why we are not acting. We need to act to show where we stand. We need to follow God’s commands and we need to know what those commands entail. We need to study to show ourselves approved.
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 2 Timothy 2:15-16
We also must remember, each one of us will have a different role to play, and we need to be ready to fulfil that need. Also, do not forget:
1Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation2:1-7
Finally, let us review. Foremost, we must recognize any gathering of people where Godly laws are broken has now moved from a legal and ethical position of influence and has given way to reveling and rioting, evil and lawlessness. The pagans and lost engage in this type of activity. Several pagan rituals sent people marching in mobs and leaving trails of carnage. We find these in the pagan ceremonies of Easter/Ishtar and Lupercalia/Valentines.
“Every year following Tammuz’ tragic death and presumed ascension to the sun, the forty days preceding Ishtar’s festival were set aside for fasting and self-affliction to commemorate his suffering and death. (It was this practice, “weeping for Tammuz,” that God called an abomination in Ezekiel 8:13, 14.) At the end of this period of mourning the people would waken early on the first day of the week and travel to the highest hills near their homes. There they would present their offerings of wine, meat, and incense and prostrate themselves before the rising sun, exclaiming “Our lord is risen!” Then would commence the festivities of Ishtar, queen of heaven and goddess of fertility. In preparation for this high celebration, the people would make small cakes, inscribing them with a cross (a pagan fertility symbol), for baking in the sun and eating as part of their ritual. The day would conclude in orgiastic revelry of a most debasing sort, and often included human sacrifices.” Taken from Baptized Paganism by Dennis Crews, http://www.mobxpozd.com/BapPag.html.
Let look at this one concerning Valentine’s day origins.
“From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.
“The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.
“The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right.
“The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.” From The Dark Origins Of Valentine’s Day
This is the revelry we cannot engage in.
So, where do you stand?