Authored By :
Published On :
November 10, 1997
Last Updated :
April 2, 2012
NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.
Lack Of Respect For Authority, Decadent Roman Empire, Apostle Paul's Description Of Ungodly Society Of The Endtime, Personal Observations Regarding My Childhood And Modern Times, General Rebellion Against Authority, Corrupt And Abusive Governments, Be Subject Unto The Higher Powers, Leaders Rule Only By God's Divine Will And Permission, God's Vessels Of Wrath And Rods Of Chastisement, In His Mercy God Bestows His Blessings Upon The Evil And The Good, God Patiently Waits For Repentance, Loving Chastisements, Wheat And Tares, Sheep And The Goats, Authority Over Our Lives From Birth, Pregnancy And Tragedy Of Abortion, Child Rearing And Discipline, Other Authority Figures: School And Teachers, Adult Life: Bosses Government Agencies Landlords Utilities Etc., Complex Pyramidal System Of Monetary Control, Treasures In Heaven, Beware Of The Snare Of Riches, Apostles' Warnings About Materialism, Love Of Money Is Root Of All Evil
One problem which seems to be fairly common amongst people who have rejected the Lord in their lives, is their refusal to recognize and submit to authority. In fact, in this day and age, this lack of respect for authority is a very common trait amongst many people, even with some people who do know the Lord. This situation is nothing new. In describing the decadent Roman society of almost two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul could just as easily have been describing our current society. In the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, Paul writes in part:
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:"
Romans 1:28-31, KJV
In his second Epistle to Timothy, rather than focusing on the hedonistic Roman society which ruled his own time, Paul turns his prophetic camera to the future, and offers us a startling comparison by describing the godless, unbridled society of the Last Days, which doesn't sound any different from the excesses of Rome. Consider the following verses:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
2 Timothy 3:1-5, KJV
Everything Paul says in the above verses is a perfect match for our modern society. It is unbelievable how he is so on the mark with his description of the society of the Endtime. Selfishness. Covetousness. Pride. Blasphemy against God. Kids being disobedient to their parents. Not being thankful for the things that we have. Unholy. Unloving towards each other. Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Please notice how Paul uses some of the very same descriptive words in his Epistle to Timothy that he uses in his Epistle to the brethren at Rome. Truly amazing! I discuss some of these very same things in the article called "Selfishness: A Prophesied Sign of Our Times?".
In comparing our current time with my own childhood, if there is one thing which stands out in my mind, it is the level of blatant, in-your-face sexuality, and the unprecedented level of obscenities which now pervade the entertainment industry. Trust me; when I was a young boy, and even a teenager, such behavior, and such language, was never ever seen or heard in a movie or in a television program. The way that actors today drop the "f" bomb every other sentence is disgraceful. It is nice to occasionally come across a movie that stands on its own merit, without the need for baring so much flesh, or the intentional "f" bomb explosions; and, I might add, the need for so much over-the-top violence. A good story simply does not need all of this dressing in order to engage an audience. But, of course, there is the profit factor.
Returning to our previous topic, even if we were to remove God and the Bible from the equation for a moment, this would not change the situation, because this rebellion is not just against God's Authority over our lives, it is in fact against authority in general; that is, manmade authority. Of course, some people will argue that some of this rebellion is in fact warranted, and quite justified, because there are quite a few dictatorial governments in the world today which have clearly overreached their powers, and which are corrupt, abusive and oppressive. As the oft-quoted adage says, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. However, at the same time, we need to be mindful of the fact that, as the Apostle Paul writes, most governments are in place for our own protection and benefit, as we see by these verses:
"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. 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: 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. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."
Romans 13:1-8, KJV
The Old Testament offers us some similar thoughts concerning this matter, and informs us that every human leader can only rule by God's Divine Will and Permission, even when they are the most vile person upon the face of the Earth. Consider the following verses:
"Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."
Psalm 75:5-7, KJV
"Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:"
Daniel 2:20-21, KJV
"This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."
Daniel 4:17, KJV
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."
Proverbs 21:1, KJV
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel."
1 Samuel 15:23-26, KJV
As I explain in other articles, while it may be difficult for some people to accept, even oppressive tyrants have a place in God's Plan for humanity. For example, when the Assyrian armies invaded the Northern Kingdom of Israel, it was by God's Design. When the armies of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem and Solomon's Temple, it was likewise by the Will of God. Over six hundred and fifty years later when the Roman General Titus again destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple, this too was with God's Permission. As I point out in such articles as "The Fruits of Disobedience", God uses these secular powers as His "Rods of Chastisement", and His "Vessels of Wrath" against His rebellious children, in order to get them back in line. As the Apostle Paul writes in his Epistle to the Romans:
"What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:"
Romans 9:22, KJV
So God will sometimes use these Vessels of Wrath in order to accomplish some purpose which may only be known to Him, and then He will turn around and destroy them. We see this time and time again in the pages of the Old Testament. It is also important that we understand that just because God allows a certain leader or government to rule, does not necessarily mean that He approves of them. As Paul writes above, it may be that God is simply enduring them, or tolerating them, so that they will fulfill His Divine Purpose.
Along the same vein, just because a particular nation is rich and powerful should not always be interpreted as a clear sign of the Lord's approval. As Jesus informs us in the Gospels, in His great Love and Mercy, God patiently bestows His blessings upon nations and peoples -- both good and evil -- in the hope that they will repent of their wicked ways, and acknowledge Him and His Son. Furthermore, when God is forced to deal with us, and lowers the Rod of Correction, it is not because He truly desires to destroy us, rather, it is because He wants to bring about a state of repentance. He wants to heal us and to make us whole again. Consider the following verses:
"That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
Matthew 5:45, KJV
"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."
Luke 9:51-56, KJV
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 33:11, KJV
"For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Lamentations 3:31-33, KJV
I will be discussing this issue more at length in part two.
If we stop and think about it, there are quite a few nations in the world which are rich and powerful, and yet they reject the Christian faith, and embrace Islam, Buddism, Hinduism, atheism, etc. Even though they may have an abundance, are we really to believe that their Christ-rejecting belief systems are approved by God? Hardly. I am reminded of Jesus' Parable regarding the wheat and the tares. In His Mercy, God allows them to grow together until the End, and then the sifting is going to occur. The wheat shall be separated from the tares, and the sheep from the goats. Consider the following verses:
"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
Matthew 13:24-30, KJV
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Matthew 25:31-46, KJV
Leaving behind the previous issues, whether for good or for evil, the fact of the matter remains that whether we like it or not, from the moment that we are conceived, someone has authority over our lives. Even the act of conception itself is a decision of authority that is made by two consenting adults. During her pregnancy, the habits that a mother keeps exerts authority and control over a baby's destiny. If she drinks, or does drugs, or does anything else to abuse herself in any way, this will affect the baby in a detrimental way even before it is born, and possibly for the rest of its life.
As I explain in the in-depth series "Abortion: Slaughter of the Innocent", even the power of life and death is in the hands of the parents, and they can decide to have an unborn child's life terminated if they believe that it is in their best interest. The unborn child has no voice, and no choice in the matter whatsoever. Truly, this silent murder of God's precious creatures is one of the greatest tragedies of our modern day.
Once a baby is born and arrives home, the parents retain authority over that child until he or she reaches the legal age, whatever it may happen to be in that area of the world where they live. Naturally, we hope that the parents of that child will be God-fearing parents. We hope that they will be loving parents. And, as that child grows older and begins to form his own opinions, we especially hope that they will be fair and just parents who are able to reason with their child. In short, we hope that they will follow the precepts that are found in the Bible, and that there will be a balance of love, discipline and mutual respect in that child's life, as we see in the following verses:
"The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother."
Proverbs 10:1, KJV
"A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke."
Proverbs 13:1, KJV
"A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother."
Proverbs 15:20, KJV
"Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
Proverbs 19:18, KJV
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it . . . Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
Proverbs 22:6, 15, KJV
"Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
Proverbs 23:13-14, KJV
"The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame . . . Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."
Proverbs 29:15, 17, KJV
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Ephesians 6:1-4, KJV
"Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged."
Colossians 3:20-21, KJV
"Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;"
1 Timothy 3:3-4, KJV
As that child continues to grow, he begins to realize that there are other authorities in his life besides his parents, such as his teachers, guidance counselors, etc. Later, when he enters the workforce, he encounters more authority in his life in the form of a supervisor or boss. Once he is out on his own, possibly raising his own family, he discovers that he has his local, state and federal governments to answer to in the form of taxes and other rules and regulations. Plus he has rent to pay, groceries to purchase, utilities to pay, and a multitude of other expenses which will present themselves during the course of his life.
In a realistic sense, all of these people in these different areas of his life exercise authority over him. If he doesn't have money, or else a good line of credit, he simply cannot acquire the goods and services that these various entities can provide him with. Worse yet, if for whatever the reasons he is irresponsible and goes into debt, he will realize even more how much his life is really controlled by these various entities. Collections agencies will make sure of it!
As can be seen, this complex pyramidal system of control is built upon one layer of authority on top of another, and the higher the level, the more far-reaching and absolute is that power and authority. This entire system is founded upon the concept of money, and people's dependence upon it to secure their needs. Money has become such a necessary part of our lives, that some people will go to any length to obtain more of it. Sadly, this includes relying upon less than honorable means such as robbery, embezzlement, drug-trafficking, unfair price-gouging, prostitution, human-trafficking, gambling and other unscrupulous methods. This unhealthy desire to become excessively rich is totally contrary to the Lord's teachings in the Gospels, as we see by the following verses:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:19-21, KJV
". . . Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
Matthew 19:23-24, KJV
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8:36-37, KJV
". . . Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"
Mark 10:24b, KJV
"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Luke 12:16-34, KJV
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
John 6:27, KJV
The Apostles James, John and Paul also offer us a variety of warnings regarding the dangers of lusting after the temporal things of this current world. They advise us to be content with what we have, to beware of the materialistic enticements of the false god of this world -- Satan -- and to build upon the right foundation. The Apostle Paul very bluntly informs us that the love of money is the root of all evil. Consider the following verses:
"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
1 Corinthians 3:13-15, KJV
"And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."
1 Corinthians 7:31, KJV
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11, KJV
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:6-10, KJV
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5, KJV
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."
James 5:1-7, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
1 John 2:15-17, KJV
"And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it."
Luke 4:5-6, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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