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Persians 13: Obey the Higher Powers?

hen Haman the wicked was promoted to the highest position in Persia, and second only to the king, the book of Esther tells us "Ahasuerus....set his seat above all the princes that were with him" (Esther 3:1). The scriptures go on to say that "all the king's servants....bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded him" (Esther 3:2).  

Yet we see the Jewish Mordecai, who is clearly an instrument for good in the tale, refuses to bow or revere Haman in any way. This action comes into direct conflict with what is commonly taught in corporate churches throughout the land, and I've called this essay Persians 13 as an allusion to that popular teaching which is usually based on a misread of Romans 13.

That passage flatly states that we are to obey "the higher powers" because these "powers" are all "ordained of God" (Romans 13:1). We further see the passage says anyone that "resisteth" is going to "receive to themselves damnation" (Romans 13:2).

Since Mordecai, and subsequently Queen Esther, are both going to resist the evil plot of Haman, who clearly has the legal authority to commit the heinous crime of genocide, if we listen to the obey all things government mindset, we would have to conclude Mordecai and Esther are damned. It is self evident that this is not the case; and because the "scripture cannot be broken" (so said Jesus Christ in John 10:35), the inconsistency must be in our interpretation.

Consider the similar example of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nego who refused to bow to the image constructed by Nebuchadnezzar. What about Daniel, who was thrown in the lion's den, for refusing to obey the ill advised law of Darius forbidding worship of any God for a month? How about Peter who, in direct coordination with an angel, staged a jailbreak?

Most "Christians" would say it was acceptable for the late Corrie Ten-Boom, a great Christian woman, to disobey the government edict instructing them it was against the law to hide Jews from the Nazis, which she and her family did most heroically. Ironically, those that say it's acceptable to break the law when it involves the Jews are largely dispensational, and believe the Jewish people are still the "chosen" people -- which they are not.

Conversely, those same "Christians" will tell you it's not all right for the Christians to disobey unholy edicts -- unless it involves Jews! This incredible state of scriptural misalignment demonstrates why the world is headed for devastation. The issue really has to do with jurisdiction, authority, and spiritual lineage.

In a widely misunderstood verse, Jesus encountered those that received the tribute money. The tax collectors asked Peter if Jesus was going to pay them tribute money (taxes). Peter was about to pay them when Jesus stopped him. Jesus said

"What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free." (Matthew 17:25,26)

As Christians, we are the children of the great God in heaven, so that "now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2). We are not children of "Caesar" (read Ahasuerus in the Persian example) and are only subject to him insomuch as "he is the minister of God to thee for good" (Romans 13:4). We are not strangers in a strange land either, because "all the earth is mine" (Exodus 19:5) saith the Lord -- and God is our father and "we are the offspring of God" (Acts 17:29).

Mordecai understood that authority is only valid to the degree that it comes from the LORD. When the evil are placed in a position of authority, the children of the king are to "resist the devil, and he shall flee from you" (James 4:7). We would do well to learn from the wonderful example set for us in the book of Esther. 

[The preceding was excerpted from the book Hadassah Of Shushan]

James Lloyd

Copyright © 2005, 2008 Christian Media Network

See Also

Hadassah Of Shushan

Romans 13

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