In Romans chapter 13, we see Paul explain how Yahweh executes His vengeance and His judgment: that He uses worldly powers and authorities which He appoints in order to do so. Many pastors, even within Christian Israel Identity, have struggled with Romans 13, and many noble attempts have been made to explain it. However they usually fail because once again, they neglect to consider the full Biblical context of Paul’s words. This chapter cannot be properly understood in isolation.
Often in such considerations, it is imagined that Romans chapter 13 is talking of only governments which are godly. What is missed is this: there has never in the history of man been a truly and completely godly government, and even the government of David had its faults, and even if it was close to being godly, that did not last very long beyond David’s death. While there were attempts in early America and recent Germany to create what good Christian men perceived as godly governments which were based upon Christian principles, these also have failed and the real lesson which Christians must learn through all of this is that only Yahweh God can be their King, through Christ.
However Paul, when writing his epistle to the Romans, is at a completely different stage in the history of the children of Israel than that of the Founding Fathers of the original American government or that of the National Socialists in Germany. Paul lived and was writing at a time which was near the height of the power of the Roman empire: a government which, as the Scripture itself certainly informs us, was also ordained by Yahweh. To understand this as well as the context of Romans chapter 13, one must understand the ancient prophecies concerning the children of Israel, and what was to happen to them because they rejected their God as their King.
The pattern of government first ordained by Yahweh God for the children of Israel was that Israel be a nation of kings and priests: that every man govern with and administer to his own family according to the law of God. From Exodus 19:6: “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” That this is still the divine will of God is evident in the first epistle of Peter, where in chapter 2 and speaking to Christians among the dispersed of ancient Israel he says “9 But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, so that you should proclaim the virtues for which from out of darkness you have been called into the wonder of His light”. In the period of the Judges, Yahweh God and His law was King, the Levitical priests had functions in relation to the law for the administration of the Kingdom, and the Judges were arbiters in matters of justice, and were to ensure that justice was dispensed. But the Judges were not rulers, and neither were the priests, even if once in awhile Yahweh raised up one man or another to fulfill a special leadership position in the performance of a particular task.
When the people sinned, they suffered tyranny, and at that time there were many nations surrounding Israel which were more numerous and more powerful than the Israelites themselves were when they were without the favor of their God. Thus we read in Judges chapter 10: “1 And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. 2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir. 3 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years. 4 And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon. 6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him. 7 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. 8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed. 10 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. 11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? 12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. 13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. 14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. 15 And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. 16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.”
This is the general pattern all throughout the Old Testament. The children of Israel forsake Yahweh their God, are led off into sin, and are punished by tyranny and oppression until they repent. There is no reason why this same pattern should not have persisted in the Christian era, and according to the prophets of Yahweh it certainly did. In Leviticus chapter 26 we read the consequences of disobedience by which Yahweh forewarned the children of Israel. Among those consequences we read “27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. 30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. 31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. 32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. 33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.” Therefore here in one of the earliest prophecies of the deportations and captivities of Israel and Judah this judgment is directly connected to the concept of a prophetic seven-times period of punishment.
It was also foreseen as early as Deuteronomy that the ancient children of Israel would eventually reject Yahweh their God as their King, and demand an earthly king, as we read in Deuteronomy chapter 17: “14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.” In 1 Samuel chapter 8 this prophecy became a historical reality where we read this, which was precipitated by an account that Samuel’s sons were evil judges: “4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.”
The children of Israel rejecting Yahweh their God as their King, the seven-times punishment as a result of their disobedience which was prophesied earlier in Leviticus became inevitable. Therefore, in the prophet Daniel in chapter 2 we read that Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon saw a vision of a great beast. From Daniel’s explanation of that vision we read: “31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. 36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. 39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
Now this beast was to rule over all the earth, which means all of the Adamic οἰκουμένη, the White world of the time, because Nebuchadnezzar and his successors never ruled over the non-White worlds of the other continents, and this beast was also to rule “wheresoever the children of men dwell”, and even though the word for men in that passage is a plural form of the word enosh, it still means to indicate the general Adamic world and none other. Enosh is a word for man which refers to the mortal man, and whereas Adam is a more specific word, any Adamic man can be described as an enosh, even if every enosh may not actually be an Adamic man, for there were bastards in the Adamic world even at that time. Daniel chapter 2 does not set a time for this beast, but it is obvious from the context that it begins with Nebuchadnezzar, who is identified in the interpretation as the head of gold (Daniel 2:38). Comparing the four parts of this beast to ancient history, it endures through the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires.
In Daniel chapter 7 we see a similar prophecy which is identifying the same entity in a different way. There we read: “2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. 5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. 6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. 9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.”
Later in the chapter, we read an interpretation of these four beasts and the horns which follow: “17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. [This is the stone cut out of the mountain in the vision of Daniel 2, the dispersed children of Israel of those Germanic tribes which destroyed the Roman Empire.] 19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings [Totila, Vitiges and Gelimer, kings of the Goths and Vandals who arose after Rome’s fall]. 25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. [All of these things describe the emperor Justinian, the eleventh emperor of the Byzantine Roman Empire, and the papacy which he created in the laws which he established. Justinian’s Novels governed Europe and affect European law today, the Gregorian calendar is what we live with today.] 26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
The vision of Daniel chapter 7 concerns a longer period of time than the vision of Daniel chapter 2. The vision of chapter 7 describes not only that first series of four empires, but another world power which succeeds it. That power is said to rule for “a time and times and the dividing of time”. Such a period cannot be interpreted as seven times, but it can be interpreted as three-and-a-half times. However in Revelation chapter 13 we see another vision, this time of two beasts. The first has seven heads and ten horns, and therefore it may be associated with the fourth beast of the first part of the vision in Daniel chapter 7, which had ten horns. The vision in the Revelation has 7 heads because it covers a greater period of time than Daniel 7. Daniel’s prophecy concerns only the future from his own time, and the Revelation concerns past, present and future from John’s time. But this first beast of the Revelation also has other features similar to the four beasts of Daniel 7, where each are associated with the leopard, the bear and the lion. By these and other similarities we see that these two chapters may be correlated, although one has a greater scope than the other. The second beast of Revelation chapter 13 rises from the head of the first beast, when it is smitten. The description of this second beast may be correlated with the little horn which rises out from the fourth beast in the second part of the vision in Daniel chapter 7. There are other similarities which beckon a longer discussion.
Upon correlating these two visions, Revelation chapter 13 and Daniel chapter 7, we see a description of a series of empires followed by another world power which may be identified with the Roman Catholic papacy. Daniel chapter 7 dates the second entity to three-and-a-half times, and the Revelation dates the first to 42 months, which is a period equivalent to three-and-a-half years. This period may then be interpreted as signifying three-and-a-half prophetic times, and together we then see the seven times of the punishment of Israel. A day in prophecy being the equivalent of a year in the time of men (Numbers 14:34, Ezekiel 4:6), the seven times of punishment is equivalent to 2,520 years. 42 months is half of this period, or 1,260 such prophetic days. This 2,520-year period is nearly the exact length of time, in the reckoning of men, that the children of Israel were ruled over first by the series of empires which began with the Assyrians, dated in the Revelation, and then by the papacy in Rome, dated by Daniel. (This is explained in greater detail in our series on the Revelation, in the segment for Revelation chapter 13.)
While our purpose here is not to offer a full interpretation of these prophecies in Daniel and the Revelation, we hope to have explained sufficiently that, for the sins of the children of Israel, they were long ago appointed by Yahweh their God to undergo a period of chastisement which Christ Himself could not reverse, but rather which even He submitted Himself to, as we hope to elucidate. This punishment for Israel was to last for a specified period of seven times, which in total are evidently equivalent to a period of 2,520 years. Today that period has transpired, but there are still other prophecies which deal with the present predicament. However the First Advent of the Christ had occurred at a point where only about three tenths of that time of punishment had elapsed. Since Rome was still in power when Paul wrote, Paul himself must have understood this to some degree, and he acknowledges it in the first verse of this chapter.
1 Every soul must be subject to more powerful authorities. Since there is no authority except from Yahweh, then those who are [the MT adds “authorities” (“powers” in the KJV), the text follows א, A, B, D, and 0285], by Yahweh are they appointed.
The 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codex Claromontanus (D) have “You must be subject to all more powerful authorities.” The text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and the Majority Text.
From Matthew chapter 26, immediately after a crowd from the temple descended upon the garden of Gethsemane and Judas Iscariot embraced Yahshua Christ with the legendary traitor’s kiss: “50 Then Yahshua said to him: ‘Friend, for what are you here?’ Then having come forth they laid hands upon Yahshua and seized Him. 51 And behold, one of those with Yahshua extending the hand drew his sword and smiting the servant of the high priest took off his ear. 52 Then Yahshua says to him: ‘Return your sword into its place! For all those taking the sword shall be destroyed by the sword! 53 Or do you suppose that I am not able to summon My Father, and He shall have come to Me now over twelve legions of messengers? 54 Then how would the writings be fulfilled, that thusly it is necessary to happen?’”
The writings, found in Moses and the prophets, were Yahweh God’s decree for not only the children of Israel, but for Christ Himself as well, and they all had to be fulfilled. Since the Word of God does not change, God must abide by His Own Word. Therefore while Christ came for the redemption of Israel, He also by necessity had to subject Himself to those decrees found in the prophets, so that His Word would be fulfilled. Paul also explained this in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, where in part he says that at the consummation Yahweh would “abolish all rule and all license and power”, meaning the end of these worldly powers which He decreed. Paul then explained that Christ Himself is subject to these same things until that consummation actually takes place, where he said in verses 27 and 28 of that chapter: “Now until it may be said that it is evident that all things have been subjected, (because outside of the subjecting of all things to Himself and until all things are in subjection to Him,) then also the Son Himself will be subjected in the subjecting of all things to Himself, in order that Yahweh may be all things among all.” So Paul understood that Christ was indeed subject to the writings in the books of the prophets.
This subjection is evident once again in John chapter 19: “8 Then when Pilatos heard this word [referring to the accusations of the Jews], still more he feared, 9 and entered into the Praetorium again and says to Yahshua: ‘From where are You?’ But Yahshua gave him no reply. 10 Therefore Pilatos says to Him: ‘You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You and I have authority to crucify You?’ 11 Yahshua replied to him: ‘You do not have any authority over Me if it was not given to you from above. For this reason he who delivered Me to you has greater fault.’” Yahshua recognized Pilate’s authority, but reminded Pilate that such authority must have come from God. Pilate was an agent of Rome, that fourth beast of Daniel chapters 2 and 7. The Word of God ordained that authority, having presaged the Roman Empire, and by necessity Christ was subject to it. Here in the first verse of Romans chapter 13, Paul is warning that by that same necessity, all men are subject likewise.
2 Consequently, one opposing the authority has opposed the ordinance of Yahweh, and they who are in opposition will themselves receive judgment.
Although it is noble to think in such a manner many Christians, and especially Identity Christians, feel that they should only have to submit themselves to righteous governments. However that is simply not the case. In fact, the Roman Empire was ordained by God, and Christ submitted Himself to its authority, but with certainty the Roman Empire was not always a righteous government. Even if Paul commended the Romans for building a society based on the rule of law in the second chapter of this epistle, Paul himself had also described at length just how unrighteous Roman society was in the first chapter of this epistle.
Neither was the Babylonian Empire a righteous government. Yet the Word of Yahweh says in Jeremiah that whatever nations did not submit to its yoke, he would punish and destroy, and those which did submit to the Babylonians would survive! From Jeremiah chapter 27: “5 I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. 6 And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. 7 And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. 8 And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. 9 Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: 10 For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. 11 But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.” Yahweh decreed this period of punishment for the children of Israel, and they had no choice but to comply. By complying, their path is made easier and by resisting they are crushed by the beast. In Jeremiah chapter 29 they were advised while in captivity that they may as well build houses and plant gardens, because they were going to be in captivity for a long time.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good work, but to evil. Now do you desire to not be fearful of the authority? Practice good, and you will have approval from it;
The text of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece does not mark an interrogatory statement here in verse 3, but may be read “Now you desire not to be fearful of the authority, practice good and you will have approval from it.” The King James Version agrees with the reading here.
The interpretation of the word “it” is not subjective. Paul did not say that the authority would do no evil. Paul only said that if Christians do good, then they would have approval from “it”, and since the Greek pronoun matches the gender of the Greek word for authority, the pronoun must be referring to the authority. Paul is saying that the authority will approve of those practicing good works. That word translated as approval here, ἔπαινος (Strong’s # 1868), is “approval, praise, commendation” (Liddell & Scott) and the King James Version rendered it as praise. Paul has also outlined what those good works are, which he discussed at length in Romans chapter 12, and he outlines later in this chapter some of the things which Christians must do in order to comply with the Word of God concerning submission to these worldly authorities. This is not, however, an acceptance of worldly authority. Rather, it is an acceptance of the chastisement from God which came as a result of disobedience on the part of the children of Israel. Christians, submitting themselves to the Word of God, must submit to these same things which even Christ submitted to for that same reason.
We have explained in brief that the period of the punishment of the children of Israel under these tyrants was to last for seven times, or 2,520 years, and that this period has now passed. The founders of the former American republic repeated the adage that “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”, and that phrase was appropriate for their very time: for they were among those chosen by God to end the period of Israel’s submission to the beasts of Daniel chapters 2 and 7 and Revelation chapter 13. But the Founding Fathers were not the chosen Saviour who would redeem the children of Israel from captivity and from the powers of darkness, where they still stand.
Now the children of Israel are in a different time and are under different prophecies. Today we perceive that we are in a period of self government, or democracy, everywhere in Christendom. Yet this is truly what the Scripture calls the “time of Jacob’s trouble”, and the children of Esau have come to rule over Israel. The children of Israel thought they could rule themselves, and that experiment has also failed miserably. (This was also explained more fully in an article at Christogenea entitled Slavery for a Hundred Years – and Longer.) This is where, as it says in Revelation chapter 17, “17 For Yahweh has bestowed it into their hearts to do His will and to have one purpose, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of Yahweh shall be accomplished.” The beast to which the kingdom, or Christendom, has been delivered is the eighth beast, world Jewry. This is the time of Esau which was prophesied by Isaac himself in Genesis chapter 27: “39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him [meaning Esau], Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; 40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” The children of Esau, the Edomite Jews, now have the dominion through the world’s banking system.
In the captivity of Egypt, the children of Israel submitted themselves to the good graces of that nation voluntarily: especially since one of their own brothers was second in command of the kingdom. But a pharaoh arose “which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8) and under that pharaoh the Egyptians oppressed and enslaved the children of Israel. This too was the purpose of Yahweh God, who said to pharaoh “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).
Now one may think it to be quite unlikely that the present day government could become as evil as the government of pharaoh did when it oppressed the Israelites in Egypt. However in different ways, our government is certainly just as evil today. The pharaoh forced the Israelites to make brick, and gave them straw to do it. Then he withheld even the straw, but continued to demand the brick. We have many equivalents to that scenario today, in the form of oppressive taxes on lands, homes and businesses, whether or not those things generate sufficient income. That pharaoh even forced the Israelites to expose their infant children to the elements, that they may die. Today we are forced to accept wild beasts as people, we are forced to allow the wild beasts to live among us, and daily we, and especially our women and our children, are exposed to these beasts so that we may die. When one sees negro youths roaming White neighborhoods looking for prey, and the Whites can do nothing to defend themselves from the inevitable savagery, we have the equivalent of a pharaoh forcing us to expose our children to the elements. This has been happening throughout Christendom for at least 75 years already.
In the captivity of Egypt, the children of Israel were helpless, unarmed, and could not even think to deliver themselves. The children of Israel must yet learn that same lesson, that they cannot deliver themselves, and therefore the Word of God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Continuing from where Paul said in verse 3 “Practice good, and you will have approval from it”:
4 a servant of Yahweh is to you for good. But if you practice evil, be fearful; for not without purpose will he bear the sword, indeed a servant of Yahweh is an avenger with wrath to he who has practiced evil. 5 On which account to be subordinate is a necessity, not only because of indignation, but also because of conscience.
We have seen what the Word of Yahweh said in Jeremiah, that those who did not submit to Babylon as He demanded would be destroyed by the Babylonians. Evidence that Yahweh had continued to execute His judgment and take vengeance both through and upon His people by the agency of the Roman government is found in the Gospel in Luke chapter 13, where we read the following account: “1 Then there were some present at that time who reported to Him concerning the Galilaians whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And replying He said to them: ‘Do you suppose that those Galilaians had been wrongdoers beyond all the Galilaians, because they suffered these things? 3 No, I say to you, but if you do not repent, all of you likewise shall be destroyed! 4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam had fallen and killed them, do you suppose that they had been debtors beyond all the men who are dwelling in Jerusalem? 5 No, I say to you, but if you do not repent, all of you in like manner shall be destroyed!’”
While government is often the vehicle employed, judgment comes from God, and it is usually a punishment for sin. It is not a coincidence that the English word crisis is derived from the Greek word κρίσις which means judgment. Whenever there is a crisis, Christians should always view that crisis as a judgment from God. Our German and English ancestors did, and that is why they borrowed a Greek word meaning judgment in order to describe calamity. Here we also see the words of Christ uphold the teaching of Paul in Romans chapter 13: that if one does good works, he has nothing to fear of anyone. But if one’s works are not good, a tyrannical government is one device whereby Yahweh God punishes the disobedient among His people. Pilate mixed the blood of certain Galilaians with their sacrifices, evidently having them slaughtered, and Christ asks if those men were sinners above all others of their nation. Then He warns those living, that they repent lest the same thing should befall them. That warning fully corroborates Paul’s words at Romans chapter 13, and even unjust governments are therefore a punishment upon the disobedient. One may ask, but why do the just suffer likewise on account of the unjust? Yet it is also clear in Scripture, for instance in Ezekiel chapter 21, that the righteous often suffer on account of the wicked among them, and that the sword of Yahweh is employed in the hands of chosen chastisers, as Paul describes here in Romans, which in the case of Ezekiel chapter 21 was also said of the invading Babylonians.
From Ezekiel 21: “1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel, 3 And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. 4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: 5 That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.”
Along these same lines we see the same event prophesied in Habakkuk chapter 1: “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. 4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. 5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. 7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.”
The sword of Ezekiel 21 is that same sword which is referred to by Paul here in Romans chapter 13 where he states that: “1 Every soul must be subject to more powerful authorities. Since there is no authority except from Yahweh, then those who are, by Yahweh are they appointed. [The cruel Babylonians were appointed by Yahweh to chastise the remnant of Israel at Jerusalem – both the good figs and the bad, both the righteous and the wicked.] 2 Consequently, one opposing the authority has opposed the ordinance of Yahweh, and they who are in opposition will themselves receive judgment. [The Word of Yahweh insisted that the nations, including Israel, submit themselves to the Babylonians, as it is written in Jeremiah chapter 27.] 3 For rulers are not a terror to good work, but to evil. Now do you desire to not be fearful of the authority? Practice good, and you will have approval from it; 4 a servant of Yahweh is to you for good. But if you practice evil, be fearful; for not without purpose will he bear the sword, indeed a servant of Yahweh is an avenger with wrath to he who has practiced evil. [Christians should be aloof from the evil world governments, having come out of the world, and should see those governments as chastisers of the wicked. Seeking to do the will of our God, we pray not to be chastised ourselves.] 5 On which account to be subordinate is a necessity, not only because of indignation, but also because of conscience.” The attitude Paul presents towards tyrannical government in Romans 13 is the same attitude which Christ presented in Luke chapter 13, in John chapter 19, and which Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Habakkuk all present from the Word of Yahweh in relation to the invasions of Judah by the Babylonians. When the people of Yahweh submit themselves to their God, only then shall the oppression of worldly government cease.
The word servant which appears twice in verse 4, is from the Greek word διάκονος (Strong’s # 1249), and we explained at length while presenting Romans chapter 12 that the word may mean servant or minister, but that the word minister, which is actually borrowed from Latin, is only a synonym for servant. Paul means to say that government is a servant of God, whether for good or for evil, as God uses government for his purposes. As we have already shown from both the words of the prophets, from the Gospel, and from Biblical history, this idea is indeed found throughout Scripture, that Yahweh God uses governments in order to chastise His people. In the next passage we chose to render διάκονος as minister, but once again the word refers to governments as servants of God:
6 For this reason also you pay tribute; they are ministers of Yahweh, obstinately persisting in this same thing.
Since nothing exists outside of the permissive will of God, all governments are ultimately the servants of Yahweh. Governments exist for His purposes, to serve Him, whether for good or evil. From Jeremiah chapter 18: “11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” That device was the Babylonian captivity and the destruction of Judah.
Speaking in a prophecy of the future [at that time] Persian king whom we know as Cyrus II or Cyrus the Great, the Word of Yahweh says in Isaiah chapter 45: “4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Here we must be careful of the Biblical context. It is not proper to say that Yahweh creates evil which is in opposition to Himself, for that evil is the result of the sins of men. But Yahweh creates evil which is evil in man’s perspective, although in God’s perspective it is the chastisement of man for his sin, which is ultimately for his good. The kingdom of Cyrus was one example of a government raised up by Yahweh God to do something good.
7 Therefore render to all debts: to whom tribute, tribute; to whom taxes, taxes; to whom reverence, reverence; to whom dignity, dignity.
Paul is again in agreement with the Gospels. Here is a clear example, from Matthew chapter 22: “15 Then going the Pharisees took counsel, how they may entrap Him in speech. 16 And they send to Him their students with those of the partisans of Herodas, saying: ‘Teacher, we know that You are true, and in the way of God You teach in truth and in You there is no thought for anyone, for You do not look at the stature of men. 17 Therefore tell us, what do You suppose: is it lawful to give the tax to Caesar, or not?’ 18 And Yahshua knowing their wickedness said: ‘Why do you try Me, hypocrites! Show Me the coin for the tax!’ And they presented to Him a denarion. 20 And He says to them: ‘Whose image and inscription is it?’ 21 They say to Him ‘Caesar’s!’ Then He says to them: ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to Yahweh the things of Yahweh!’ 22 And hearing it they marveled, and leaving Him they departed.” Today if one desires not to pay his taxes, he had better first check the inscriptions on the currency in his wallet and see to whom it is that it belongs. You are better off paying your taxes than sitting in prison, where you will be a burden to your brethren and shall most likely be in no position to serve Yahweh your God.
8 You owe to noone anything, except to love one another: for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 Indeed you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not lust, and any other commandment is summarized in this saying, to wit: [literally or “in this”, P46 and B want the phrase] “You shall love him near to you as yourself.”
After the phrase “you shall not steal” the Codex Sinaiticus (א) and the 5th century Codex Vaticanus Graecus (048) add “you shall not testify falsely”, where the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Claromontanus (D). The manuscripts which constitute the Majority Text are divided, although the King James Version includes the phrase.
The Greek phrase καὶ εἴ τις ἑτέρα ἐντολή is rendered “and any other commandment” here. The King James Version has “and if there be any other commandment”, as if Paul was not sure. The phrase καὶ εἰ is literally “and if”, but it is also a Greek idiom which in no way indicates that Paul had not known the rest of the law. For one explanation, in his Greek-English Lexicon Joseph Thayer compares the phrases καὶ εἰ and εἰ καί and said at εἴ, III. 7. that “καὶ εἰ, even if … In εἰ καί the conditional particle εἰ has the greater force; in καὶ εἰ the conjunctive particle καὶ. Hence καὶ εἰ is used of only what is assumed to be true; εἰ καί, on the other hand, of what is said to be.” This is only part of Thayer’s explanation of the idiom, and he is in turn quoting from another grammarian. However in the case of the phrase καὶ εἰ we see that it was used of things assumed to be true, so Paul was by no means inferring that there were not any other commandments, as some of his critics often assert. Rather, he was fully inferring that there were other commandments. Another translation, which upon considering the idiom would certainly be valid but which was avoided here so as not to add words unnecessarily, would be “and although there may be other commandments”. (Compare the similar phrase at 1 Timothy 1:10.)
Paul in verse 9 quotes from the ten commandments, which may be found at Exodus 20:13-17, Leviticus 19:10-12, and Deuteronomy 5:17-21. However the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself” is found in our Old Testaments only at Leviticus 19:18, which reads “18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”
The word translated as neighbor from Greek is most often the adverb πλησίον (Strong’s # 4139), usually accompanied with the definite article. It is a word which by itself distinguishes neither geographical proximity nor closeness in relationship. However there were other Greek words which did describe geographical proximity and were translated as neighbor in the King James Version, such as γείτων (Strong’s # 1069), which is explicitly “one of the same land, a neighbour” (Liddell & Scott) and is found at Luke 14:12; 15:6, 9; and John 9:8, and περίοικος (Strong’s # 4040) which is literally “dwelling [a]round” (ibid.), and which is found only at Luke 1:58. These words γείτων and περίοικος do express geographic proximity, but πλησίον describes only one who is close or near.
At Matthew 5:43, Yahshua Christ says “Thou shalt love thy neighbor (τὸν πλησίον), and hate thine enemy”, a phrase which would have no meaning if one’s enemy lived in the house next door. So therefore it should be evident that τὸν πλησίον describes one who is near to another, but not necessarily in the geographical sense. Rather, one near in relationship is how the word should be understood in the Bible. Acts 7:27 gives an account of the events recorded in Exodus 2:11-14, where one Israelite is referred to as τὸν πλησίον, or the neighbor as the King James Version has it, in relation to another Israelite, but not in reference to the dead Egyptian. Yet Moses, as evidenced in the Exodus account, could not have known that these men lived in close proximity to one another, as we currently understand the meaning of the term neighbor. He only could have known that the men had a tribal relationship.
The Hebrew word in the original text of the command that “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”, which is found at Leviticus 19:18, is Strong’s Hebrew # 7453, reya’, and it is defined as “an associate (more or less close)”. Strong’s then lists “brother, companion, fellow, friend, husband, lover, neighbor” among the King James Version translations of the word, and therefore it should certainly be evident that τὸν πλησίον is not simply “one who lives nearby”. In Leviticus 19:18 we see the bounds in which the word is used define the word for us in this same manner, since neighbor can only refer back to one of “the children of thy people” according to the commandment as it is given.
The Hebrew word from which the word meaning of neighbor is derived is ra’ah, Strong’s # 7462, and it is defined by Strong as “a primitive root; to tend a flock, i.e. pasture it; intransitive to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension to associate with (as a friend)…” and so it is apparent that if one is a member of the flock, then one’s πλησίον, or neighbor, can only be a fellow sheep! So we see that if one is of your flock, he is a neighbor. But if one is not of your flock, he cannot ever be a neighbor. A wolf who moves into the sheepfold can never be a sheep, and therefore he can never be a neighbor.
10 Love for him near to you who does not practice evil: therefore fulfilling of the law is love.
“Love for him near to you who does not practice evil”, this clause may have been written “Love to an evil neighbor does not work”, depending upon whether the verb is considered a part of the subject predicate, or a part of the object of the statement: ἡ ἀγάπη τῶ πλησίον κακὸν οὐκ ἐργάζεται. The rendering of this verse as it reads in the King James Version and other popular translations must be rejected because they separate the words πλησίον and κακὸν, which are neighbor and evil. But because both of these words are in the Accusative case they must be understood as a unit. In Greek, an adjective agrees in case, number and gender with the noun that it modifies, and that is the precise circumstance here. They also must be rejected because the negative particular typically precedes the word which it negates, which in this case the verb for work. Paul’s intent, especially considering the balance of the statement where he says “therefore fulfilling of the law is love” is obviously to qualify the word for “neighbor” in the commandment which he quotes at verse 9, “You shall love him near to you as yourself” or “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (KJV), with the idea that “love to an evil neighbor does not work”.
Neither is Paul saying that love is the fulfillment of the law, in the sense that love can replace the Christian obligation to keep the law. Sadly, that is the way most so-called Christians read the phrase. Rather, if one fulfills the law, that is love, as Christ said “If you love Me, keep My commandments”. Paul said “fulfilling of the law is love”, and if we are to have loving relationships with our Christian brethren, then all parties involved must seek to keep the commandments! Likewise Paul said in verse 8 that “he who loves another has fulfilled the law”, meaning that Christians who truly love their brethren have been keeping the commandments of Christ. Surely Christians are not obligated to love the wicked or the wolves who merely happen to live in their vicinity!
11 Likewise, seeing the time, that hour we [א, A, B and C have “you”, the text agrees with P46, D and the MT] are already to be aroused out of sleep; for now it is nearer to our deliverance than when we had believed. 12 The night has advanced, and the day is drawn near; therefore we must put away [P46 and D have “must throw off”; the text agrees with א, A, B, C, 048, 0285 and the MT] the works of darkness, and put on the armor [A and D have “works”] of light.
In many places in the Gospel we can see the basis for Paul’s teaching that the coming of Christ is indeed imminent. Here is one of those places, from Luke chapter 12: “32 Fear not, little flock, because it has pleased your Father to give to you the Kingdom! 33 You sell your belongings and give charity. Make for yourselves purses which do not grow old, an unfailing treasure in the heavens, which thief does not approach nor moth corrupt. 34 For where your treasure is, there also your heart shall be! 35 Your loins must be girded and lamps burning, 36 and you be like men expecting their master, when he may return from the wedding, that coming and knocking immediately they may open for him. 37 Blessed are those servants, who the master coming shall find awake. Truly I say to you that he shall gird himself and have them recline and coming forth shall serve them! 38 Even if in the second and in the third watch he should come and find thusly, blessed are they. 39 But you must know this: that if the master of the house had known in which hour the thief comes, he would not have allowed his house to be dug through. 40 And you also must be ready, because in the hour which you do not expect comes the Son of Man.” Of course, Christians even today should continue to believe that the coming of their Redeemer is imminent, and in that manner continue to walk in His law, that they not be caught up in sin, as Paul explains next:
13 As in the day, we shall walk honorably; not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lasciviousness and licentiousness, not in strife and jealousy. 14 Rather put on Prince Yahshua Christ, and do not fashion for lust provision of the flesh.
Fashioning for lust the provisions of the flesh is precisely what Christ had discussed in that same part of His discourse in Luke chapter 12 which leads up to what we had just cited in reference to verses 11 and 12. Again, from Luke 12: “22 Then He said to His students: ‘For this reason I say to you, do not have care for the soul, what you should eat, nor for the body, what you should be clothed in. 23 For the soul is greater than food and the body than clothing…. 29 Then you do not seek what you should eat and what you should drink, and do not get excited. 30 For all these things the nations of the Society seek after, but your Father knows that you have need of these things. 31 Moreover, you seek His Kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.’”
Examining the words of Christ in that chapter, it is not intended that Christians should not prepare for their meals, or to keep a pantry or a root cellar. In fact, in the same chapter of Luke Christ had earlier given the parable of the rich man who had a storehouse for his goods, and then because he had an overabundance of wealth he tore it down to build a larger one, when if he had distributed his excess to the needy the first storehouse was sufficient. So there is nothing wrong with having a storehouse, and later in the same chapter Christ said “Who then is the faithful, sensible steward, whom the master appoints over his attendants, to give the allotment of grain at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant, who coming his master finds doing thusly.” Rather, the admonition is that Christians should not amass wealth in this life, but share what excess they have with their brethren, building the kingdom of Yahweh here on earth and thereby storing up treasure for themselves in heaven.
Having this attitude, Christians can walk honorably, and not in revelry, drunkenness, lasciviousness, licentiousness, strife and jealousy, as Paul admonishes here. Amassing wealth in this life, one will indeed attract the attention of those governments which Yahweh God uses as His servants, in order to punish the disobedient. All of these ideas which Paul presents in Romans chapter 13 are harmonized with such an understanding.