It is one thing to rebel against an oppressive authority or government. It is quite another to rebel against an authority or government because you didn’t get what you want or believe you are not required to respect and obey the laws of the land.
The British theologian Adam Clarke writes, “To be jealous of our civil rights and privileges, and most strenuously to preserve them, is highly praiseworthy; but to raise a public tumult to avoid merited chastisement, under pretense that our civil privileges are in danger, is not the part of patriots but insurgents”.
Clarke wrote about rebellion under the guise of fighting for civil rights. He didn’t call them protestors or rioters but more accurately describes them as insurgents. He pegged perfectly the problem we have here in America with those attempting to benefit by declaring infringement upon their civil rights and liberties. What is most interesting is that Adam Clarke wrote the above quote some 200 years ago. Did this theologian and Bible scholar have insights into the future? No; just insights into man and sin.
Our inalienable rights are rooted and founded in righteousness. Righteousness is sown in peace (James 3:18) and is an outgrowth of love. The backbone tenet of the Christian religion is love. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8).
People do not kill, harm or destroy what they love. A man will do anything he can to preserve and protect that which is in his heart, including offering up his own life. But “An evil man seeketh only rebellion” (Proverbs 17:11).
The foundations in which laws and government are built upon are of God, designed by God and given to man so as to be able to live civilly amongst all peoples and societies. The civil laws, principles and precepts of God are a framework in which man is able to function, live and have interpersonal relationships.
God’s moral laws are strict commands as they relate to mankind, leading with righteousness to eternity through Jesus Christ.
“The moral law, then (to begin with it), being contained under two heads, the one of which simply enjoins us to worship God with pure faith and piety, the other to embrace men with sincere affection, is the true and eternal rule of righteousness prescribed to the men of all nations and of all times, who would frame their life agreeably to the will of God. For his eternal and immutable will is, that we are all to worship him and mutually love one another.” (John Calvin).
To simplify Calvin’s description of the moral law we’ll use the words of Jesus Christ.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
Laws are based on love and steered by justice, equity and righteousness. Law with love but with none of the ascribed attributes is shipwrecked. It is sin unleashed. Unguided love excuses and permits all for it feels all and cannot bear pain.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Romans 13:1-2).
There is, “No power but of God”. Everyone is to obey the laws of the land for they are of God. He is the author and strength of this power.
When we understand the origin of principalities and powers, it then becomes clear what rebellion is. It is insurgency against those powers, against the righteousness behind that power and a direct assault upon God. The true underlying cause of rebellion and civil unrest is the author of all unrest himself, the devil.
The Apostle Paul reminded Titus in his letter to inform the people of Crete to, “be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:1-2).
The above is in direct contrast in what we are seeing today.
”To speak evil of no man” comes from the Greek word, “blasphemeo” and is where we get the word blasphemed. All of our protests have blasphemers, people who accuse and slander and speak reproachfully. Some such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson make a living at it.
“To be no brawlers”-We have fights, beatings, shootings, murders, fire bombings, larceny, etc. at almost every protest we see today.
“but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men” Dr. Martin Luther King understood this. Over 50 years later King is still the most effective civil rights leader. Why hasn’t anyone else assumed this role? Why are our leaders, including the President perpetuating the problem and not solving the problem? Why is violence the default position? The answer is simple. All of these protests are acts of rebellion flamed by the spirit of antichrist instigated and perpetuated by the devil.
It is important to note that God is not giving a free pass to any government to do as they please. The Bible is nothing but a fight against oppression in all its various forms, both spiritual and physical. Oppression is rooted in the devil. It is a downward force seeking first to obtain, then contain and finally control. It can manifest itself in government, religion, industry, education, any economy of people and resources! But above all oppression is an act aimed at God.
Rebellion is rooted in the devil too. It is an uprising against God. Rebellion and oppression have the same cause and the same goal; to kill, steal and destroy everything of God. The protests we are witnessing today are not about black and white, police and civilian, gay and straight, women and men, etc. although the devil uses these groups as his medium to accomplish his goal.
Also understand that the devil is not attacking evil. He is only after God and all things Godly. As Jesus pointed out, “If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” (Matthew 12:25).
The devil is attempting to make war with all things Holy and Divine.
These are the dots that our society must connect together. The battle isn’t about racism, sexism, homophobia, money, class disparity, liberalism and conservatism etc. These things are just the vehicle in which the devil utilizes to further his ground assault. Every generation will see a different manifestation of the devil at work. But the root cause never changes. It is the work of the “great dragon” that “old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelations 12:9).
We must live life awake, aware and attentive to the world around us and realize that the devil and evil do exist and it is pushing hard against God. Evil cannot exist where there is righteousness and Godliness. Only when we depart from the Lord and His way does the devil have access to us.
“When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked (Proverbs 11:10-11).
Righteousness exalteth a nation (Proverbs 14:34). In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death (Proverbs 12:28).
Our laws come from God, founded in love and steered by justice, equity and righteousness. The lawless are none of these things and are rooted in the devil. So what are we to do?
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).
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