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Romans 13 (Part 1)

First posted: 31 July 2009

 

This article is the first in a series of articles dealing in detail with the spiritual meaning behind Romans chapter 13.

 

Index

The motivation

The target audience

Responsibilities, not superiority

Holding above ground

The "powers that be"

Under God

Antagonistic assignment

Power ≠ authority

Trench warfare

The power mirage

Ordinance

Judgement zones

Rulers

Defining, not describing

The American contradiction

The patriotism falsehood

 

 

 

The motivation

Over the last few weeks (especially since the 4th of July), the Lord has been constantly bringing Romans chapter 13 to my heart and mind. As you may already know, this chapter deals with the issue of respect for authority. Even though I perceived in my heart that the message behind this chapter was clear enough for any willing believer to grasp it, my spirit began to perceive an "inaudible" multitude of voices who were using this chapter to raise a spiritual indictment against the remnant's work, and that, therefore, it was necessary for us to post a study on it. At the macro level, a true and unbiased understanding of this chapter is especially critical at this point in American and human history because of the "authorities" that have risen and taken the reins of America's government.

 

The target audience

Romans 13 begins with the following verse:

 

"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." (Romans 13:1)

 

Notice how the Spirit explicitly specifies that the target audience for this chapter is "every soul". Unlike other versions, the King James version was wise enough not to omit the translation of the word psuche that appears in the original Greek text; the word psuche is the Greek word for "soul" (and is translated as such in most of the verses where it appears). Therefore, we can safely say that Romans 13 is a word from the Spirit that is inherently unpleasant to the soul, a spirit word that the natural and matriarchal soul will have an inherently hard time understanding, meaning that it will be prone to being either misused or ignored.

 

Responsibilities, not superiority

The word "subject" in Romans 13:1 above was translated from the Greek verb hypotasso, which is derived from the prefix hypo meaning "below, under" and the verb tasso meaning "to station; to assign a place"; tasso has the connotation of someone being assigned a post that comes with duties attached to it. Therefore, hypotasso speaks of someone being under another in the context of a given functionality. It is not a sign that one person is "inherently inferior" to another, and it does not absolve the person "above" from duties to perform. Once you go outside the context of the functionalities involved, the person "below" is not under any obligation to "obey" the person "above", in the same way that a police officer is beholden to his supervising sergeant only whilst he is on duty. As much respect as the sergeant may deserve, he cannot tell the police officer who to marry or where to live. The positioning "above" or "below" another person is merely designed to distribute duties and make the combined work more efficient. From all of this, we can say that, in the original Greek text, the word "subject" in verse 1 does not have the connotation of unconditional or servile submission, since it is strongly associated to the concept of assigned responsibilities, not inherent value.

 

Holding above ground

The word "higher" in verse 1 above was translated from the Greek word hyperecho, which is derived from the prefix hyper meaning "above" (the opposite of hypo) and echo meaning "to have, hold". Therefore, hyperecho can be literally translated as "to have or hold above", which means that it speaks of something deliberately placed or held at a higher position. There is deep spiritual significance behind this, and this significance can be discerned as we consider the other verses where this word appears.

 

The word hyperecho only appears 5 times in the New Testament, with the first appearance being in Romans 13:1. The next time it is used is in verse 3 of the following passage, translated as "better than":

 

"3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:3-8)

 

Notice how this passage calls believers to make a deliberate effort in their minds to esteem others above themselves. It then goes on to talk about how Christ Jesus who, being "in the form of God", took on the "likeness of men". Therefore, we can conclude that the key to placing others above ourselves is to see beyond the natural frailty of humans and discern their God potential. Once we are able to realise that God can manifest Himself in the flesh, we are able to discern the spiritual authority that can emanate from a fellow human being, regardless of his or her external frailty.

 

The next time that hyperecho appears is in verse 8 of the following passage, translated as "excellency":

 

"4Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:4-8)

 

Notice how Paul "holds" the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord "above" (hyperecho) all other visible things that bring honour, recognition, and respect in the natural realm. This requires a deliberate effort, given that it is naturally easier for the soul to esteem the visible labels that evoke respect from others. As opposed to these visible labels, the knowledge of Christ Jesus is "invisible" and can only be discerned in the Spirit. Thus, you cannot truly hyperecho (i.e.- "uphold" or "hold above") the higher powers, as indicated in Romans 13:1, without having an awareness of the honour that is owed to invisible authority.

 

The 4th time that hyperecho appears is in verse 7 of the following passage, translated as "passeth":

 

"6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." (Philippians 4:6-9)

 

Notice how this passage speaks of a peace that does not "come by itself" or is reached through natural understanding. Instead, it is reached through active prayer and supplication and through a conscious effort to perceive things that cannot be seen through the natural eyes, so much so that you must be willing to thank the Lord for things that have yet to happen (v6). Therefore, when you reach the "peace of God", you must "hyperecho" it (i.e.- consciously hold it above your natural understanding) in order to remain in it. Notice also how verses 8 and 9 speak of making a deliberate effort to visualise and focus on things that are good, on things that have invisible virtues and qualities that cannot be discerned with the natural understanding.

 

The word "understanding" in verse 7 above was translated from the Greek word nous, which can also be translated as "mind" (and is the word used to refer to the "mind of Christ" in 1 Corinthians 2:16). The first time that nous appears in the New Testament is in the following passage, translated as "understanding" in verse 45:

 

"38And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. 41And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43And he took it, and did eat before them. 44And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48And ye are witnesses of these things. 49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:38-49)

 

Notice how nous is used above to refer to the expansion of our understanding beyond the natural limits. The disciples here were beholding a resurrected Jesus, a man who had died and who actually rose from death and Sheol. Jesus was standing before them, not as a ghostly apparition, but as a human being with "flesh and bones" (v39), proving to them that man could be manifested in a way that was completely foreign to the natural understanding. Jesus was showing them evidence of the God-potential within man, a potential that He died on the cross for so that those who believed could manifest it as well.

 

The 5th and last appearance of hyperecho is in verse 13 of the following passage:

 

"13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lordís sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well." (1 Peter 2:13-14)

[The word "submit" in verse 13 was translated from the word hypotasso that is also used in Romans 13:1 above]

 

Unfortunately, the incompetent mistranslation of two words in verse 13 completely distort the spiritual message behind this verse. For one, the word "supreme" at the end of the verse was mistranslated from hyperecho, which, as we saw above, does not speak of inherent superiority; instead it speaks of a deliberate effort to visualise and value the attributes in others that would otherwise go unnoticed. Second, the word "ordinance" was ineptly mistranslated from the Greek word ktisis. This word appears 19 times in the New Testament, and in 17 of those 19 appearances, the King James translators translated it as either "creature" or "creation" (in verses such as Romans 8:20, 8:21, and 1:20); in one of the other two appearances of ktisis, they translated it as "building" (in Hebrews 9:11), and it is only in 1 Peter 2:13 that they chose to translate it as "ordinance" instead of translating it as "creation" or "creature". The word ktisis comes from the Greek word ktizo meaning "to make habitable, to found (a city, colony, or state), to create, to shape". Therefore, ktisis has the connotation of something created or fashioned by someone who has an overall design in mind. This is why the first appearance of ktisis is in Mark 10:6, where the Lord refers to "the beginning of God's creation". Thus, a correct translation of verse 13 would read "Submit yourselves to every creation of man for the Lord's sake". This means that the Lord is calling us to visualise man as being capable of fashioning or creating "worlds" just as God can, and that, when those "worlds" or "systems" are fashioned in righteousness, they are as worthy of our respect and submission as if God Himself had fashioned them. The "righteousness" requirement is evident in verse 14 above, when it says that the "kings" and "governors" are sent by Him to punish evildoers and to praise the doers of good. The Lord, therefore, is declaring in 1 Peter 2:13-14 that He has delegated to man the ability and the authority to create and to fashion new systems just as He does, and He is declaring that these systems founded by man are to be seen with the same respect as any system established by Him when those systems are founded in righteousness.

 

The reason why the King James translators butchered 1 Peter 2:13 is because of the compromised motivation for their translation, as evidenced by the introduction that they wrote for King James:

 

"And now at last, by the mercy of God, and the continuance of our labors, it being brought unto such a conclusion, as that we have great hopes that the Church of England shall reap good fruit thereby; we hold it our duty to offer it to Your Majesty, not only as to our King and Sovereign, but as to the principal Mover and Author of the work: humbly craving of Your most Sacred Majesty, that since things of this quality have ever been subject to the censures of ill meaning and discontented persons, it may receive approbation and patronage from so learned and judicious a Prince as Your Highness is, whose allowance and acceptance of our labors shall more honor and encourage us, than all the calumniations and hard interpretations of other men shall dismay us."

 

As the above excerpt from the introduction shows, the King James translators were not only interested in making the Bible text available to the common man who did not speak Latin; they were also interested in getting the king of England's approval, whom they revered unduly. As indicated on wikipedia.org, King James I of England (who commissioned the writing of the King James translation) believed that the Bible proved that kings were higher beings than other men, even though he did see himself as accountable before God for his actions; yet, his writings seem to indicate that this "accountability" was enforceable by no man, meaning that no "plebeian" had the right to question his actions since kings belonged to a higher "human stratosphere". Thus, it makes sense that these men-pleasing translators felt compelled to translate hyperecho as "supreme" when it referred to kings in 1 Peter 2:13, despite the fact that they had translated it differently in all the other verses where they had encountered it. It also makes sense that they would choose to translate ktisis in a totally different way than they had in all the other 18 appearances of that word, given that their souls, which revered visible authority, were unable to make sense of the Holy Spirit's use of the word "creation" in 1 Peter 2:13. Souls that focus on the visible are unable to discern the subtle messages of the Spirit and are quick to distort the Spirit's words, fashioning them so as to make them fit within their natural understanding. These "fashionings" or "creations" do not fit under the "creations" that we are to submit to according to 1 Peter 2:13 because they are creations in unrighteousness.

 

The "powers that be"

The King James translation of Romans 13:1 states that "there is no power but of God" and that "the powers that be are ordained of God". Once again, the King James translators did a poor job of translating these phrases. The word that they translate as "power" twice in Romans 13:1 is the Greek word exousia, which is different from the actual word for "power" in Greek (dunamis). The word exousia refers to "jurisdictional authority", meaning that it refers to the invisible legal authority to enforce certain rules within a given area. As we all know, there is no "physical line" separating the United States from Canada, for example, and, were it not for a few dispersed signs here and there, there would be no way of knowing whether you are in Canada or in the United States, especially if you are walking in a dense forest near the border. However, as you walk across the border from the United States and into Canada, you stop being subject to the laws of the United States, and you become accountable to Canadian law. Any law drafted in America no longer applies to you because you are no longer within its jurisdictional reach. Therefore, we can say that the word exousia does not denote "power" per se but, rather, invisible exposure to judgement. Consider, for example, a substitute teacher in a classroom full of rowdy teenage students. The class might be in disarray, with all the students chatting away, walking around, and throwing things at each other as the teacher watches in powerlessness because the students do not respect her in the least bit, ignoring her as she commands them to settle down. Despite the teacher's powerlessness and the students' chaos, the classroom remains under the exousia of the teacher, and the disrespectful students are unwittingly exposing themselves to the invisible judgements pronounced by the teacher in her mind as she beholds their chaos. Whether the students may know it or not, these invisible judgements from the powerless teacher will weigh upon their literal lives, and they will suffer literal consequences from them as if they had been pronounced by God Himself. Because of the teacher's human frailty, they did not recognise the authority in her words, and, even though they may have left the classroom feeling victorious and unharmed, they actually left the classroom with a cloud of real judgements hanging over their heads. Thus, the "powers that be" referred to in Romans 13:1 are not to be discerned by the amount of visible dunamis power they can wield. Instead, they are to be discerned by invisible parameters of exousia jurisdictional authority.

 

Another important principle that may be easily overlooked is hidden in the phrase "powers that be". The word "be" was translated from the Greek word on, which is the present participle of the verb eimi meaning "to be, to exist, to be present". Thus, the Greek word on has the connotation of something that "continues to be" or "exists" over time. Therefore, the phrase "powers that be" speaks of jurisdictional authorities that are "simply there", hanging around you like a cloud that will not go away, a cloud whose presence you are simply "aware of". In modern English, a better translation of "powers that be" would read "jurisdictional authorities that are" or "continue to be".

 

The word on is also a subtle reference to the phrase "I AM". When Moses asked God how he could identify Him before the sons of Israel, He said, "I AM THAT I AM", "Tell them that I AM has sent you unto them" (Exodus 3:14). As Moses rose out of nowhere and stood before the sons of Israel and before the most powerful king on Earth, He had the authority of "I AM" in him. He was the "exousia that be" who had legal jurisdiction over the fate of the sons of Israel in Egypt, powerless and insignificant as he may have seemed, not only to the powerful Pharaoh but to the sons of Israel who, in the past, had failed to recognise the authority from God within him.

 

"23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: 25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. 26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? 27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? " (Acts 7:23-27)

[Notice how the Israelites were unable recognise Moses' spiritual authority to make judgements amongst them. Had they been addressed by an Egyptian official, they would have been much more compliant, which goes to show how invisible true authority tends to be.]

 

The King James translation of Romans 13:1 states that "the powers that be are ordained of God". Notice the apparent redundancy of the verb "to be" in that phrase. Why didn't God simply say "the authorities are ordained of God". He did so to emphasise that not all the so-called "authorities" are truly authorities. By adding the phrase "that are" right before the word "authorities" (exousia in Greek), the Lord was calling us to discern which authorities are truly real. Each so-called "authority" must be tested in our spirits using the standards for authority delineated in Romans 13, and, once that authority passes the test, we are to submit to it as if it were God Himself, recognising the jurisdictional weight of its judgements regardless of how powerful or powerless it may seem in the natural, visible realm.

 

Under God

The word "ordained" in the phrase "the powers that be are ordained of God" was translated from the Greek verb tasso mentioned above. Therefore, it has the connotation of someone assigned to a post for the purpose of fulfilling certain responsibilities. In other words, it is a "work post", not a "position of privileges".

 

The word "of" in the phrase "ordained of God" was mistranslated from the Greek word hypo, which, as we said above, means "under". Therefore, the phrase "ordained of God" should really say "assigned under God"'. This emphasises the fact that the exousia "post" is not handed over as a "privilege" that can be exercised in isolation, devoid of any accountability. Instead, it is a post that is designed to operate directly under the guidance of God's spirit, and anyone who is given that post by God is directly accountable before Him.

 

People of a "royalist" spirit might use the above to argue that the phrase "assigned under God" in Romans 13:1 only certifies the direct connection that kings have with God, as opposed to the regular "plebeian", who only enjoys an "indirect" connection to God, being that he is under the king, who is, in turn, under God. Such an argument, however, is contrary to Scripture, which emphasises once and again that, under the New Covenant, all believers have direct access to God (1 John 2:20-29, Hebrews 8:8-13, Hebrews 4:14-16, Mark 10:14, Ephesians 2:18-22). Therefore, when the Lord is declaring that the "exousias that are" are assigned under Him, He is not establishing a hierarchical ladder. He is simply saying:

"You have direct access to Me, but be aware that, as you interact with other humans, you might, without knowing it, be interacting with Me, and whatever you do to those who are operating in Me, you are doing it to Me".

Thus, the phrase "assigned under Him" is not adding layers to our interaction with God. Instead, it is explaining another form of direct interaction with Him, a form that is possible because of the inherent God-potential in man.

 

Antagonistic assignment

Now that we have studied verse 1 of Romans 13, let us consider the verse that follows:

 

"Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." (Romans 13:2)

 

The first word "resisteth" was translated from the Greek verb antitassomai, which is derived from the prefix anti meaning "against, opposite to, instead of" and the word tasso studied above. Therefore, antitassomai refers to someone who has rejected the assignment that God has given to another person, assigning to him or herself a post that opposes that assignment and seeks to replace it.

 

The verb antitassomai is only used 5 times in the New Testament. Its only use in Paul's epistles appears in Romans 13:2 above. The next time it appears is in verse 6 of the following passage, translated as "resisteth":

 

"6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." (James 4:6-8)

 

Through the use of the word antitassomai in verse 6 above, the Lord is declaring that He assigns Himself the task of deliberately opposing the proud, meaning that, wherever the proud rise up, God's assignment (i.e.- His tasso-ed post) is to attack the proud and undermine any action or human "ordinance" that is born out of that person's pride. Since those whose ears are close to God's heart will by default develop the same attitudes as God and manifest them on Earth (Matthew 6:10), it is safe to say that the true followers of God will by default be proactively resistant against the proud, seeing it as their assigned task to undermine the proud and resist the human ordinances that emanate from that pride. This resistance will not originate from a sense of "personal revenge" but, rather, from a sense of objective indignation against the spirit of pride that dares to defy the invisible exousias assigned by God on Earth. As indicated in verse 6 above, the Lord "gives grace to the humble", meaning that the humble (the ones belittled by man) are the ones who generally hold the exousias that the proud refuse to recognise:

 

"51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree." (Luke 1:51-52)

[The phrase "of low degree" in verse 52 was translated from the same Greek word that was translated as "humble" in James 4:6 above. The words in the passage above were uttered by Mary as she praised the Lord for having picked her, "a handmaiden of low estate" (Luke 1:48) to give birth to the Messiah. To the unseeing eye, nothing had happened. Mary was still a "handmaiden of low estate", and the proud were still in power, yet the exousia had already been ordained long before. God's assignment of jurisdictional authority to the humble was already in place, regardless of whether the proud were willing to recognise it or not.]

 

"5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. 7 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 5:5-7)

[To some, the phrase "he doth not resist you" at the end of verse 6 may appear to indicate that the just do not resist the acts of the unrighteous rich who are in power. Yet, careful consideration of the context reveals that what James is actually saying here is that the just do not resist after they have been condemned and killed; since the just person is already dead and no longer present, his visible resistance is "present no more". That is why the phrase "he doth not resist you" appears after their killing is mentioned, not before, and it is also the reason why the verb "resist" is written in the present tense, not in the past tense. If James were referring to the just not resisting prior to their deaths, he would have had to use the verb "resist" in the past tense. Otherwise, James would have said, "The just do not resist you; yet you have condemned and killed them" or "You have condemned and killed the just even though he was not resisting you". The fact that James speaks of the "just" in the singular, not the plural, (by using "he" instead of "them" and using the singular form of the word "just" in the Greek) emphasises the fact that he is not including the just who are still alive when he uses the verb "resist" in the present tense.]

 

The word "resist" near the end of verse 6 was also translated from the Greek verb antitassomai. Notice, therefore, how this verse is declaring that the "rich" remain in power, carrying out their caprices, without anyone seeming to stop them. This once again emphasises that "power" is not equivalent to God-ordained exousia. The fact that someone holds the power in the natural realm in no way certifies that he has God's exousia, and, by the same token, the fact that someone seems powerless in the natural realm does not deny the validity of his or her exousia before God. Notice also how the ones with the "power" are prone to "condemning and killing the just" (v6). Why? Because the righteous are the greatest threat to their hegemony. The just become imbued with the same attitudes as Jehovah Tsidkenu, the God of Righteousness, and, even if they are not consciously aware of it, they begin to emanate an "electromagnetic field" of spiritual resistance (antitassomai) to the actions of the unrighteous rich. This is why the unrighteous rich condemn and murder them (literally and figuratively) so that they may "antagonistically resist" (antitassomai) no more. This is the reason why verse 6 first speaks of the righteous being murdered and then declares "and he doth not resist [antitassomai] you". Once the righteous are murdered, they are no longer around to act as a visible source of resistance. However, as Cain (the first rich murderer) found out, the murder of the righteous may end the righteous' "visible" resistance, but it does not end their resistance in the spirit realm, for their blood continues to cry out from the ground, even after they have died (Hebrews 11:4, Matthew 23:35, Genesis 4:10).

 

The word antitassomai of "antagonistic assignment" also appears in verse 6 of the following passage, translated as "opposed" (this is actually the first time that the word appears in the New Testament):

 

"4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. 7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain manís house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue." (Acts 18:4-7)

 

Notice how the word antitassomai is used here in the context of the religious leaders who assigned themselves the task of opposing the Anointed's message. Being a Jew himself, Paul could have taken the attitude of not contending with the religious leaders that his people respected and followed, yet doing what was right was more important to him than being submissively obedient to the religious leadership. Notice also that, after he declared judgement on the Jews for opposing the Truth, he left, and he entered into the house of a man named "Justus" (which means "the just one" in Latin). This is the Spirit's way of testifying that, even though Paul seemed like the "unrighteous" one for going against the thoughts of the Jewish religious leadership, he was actually the just one. In that sense, righteousness trumps external authority.

 

The final appearance of antitassomai is in verse 5 of the following passage, translated as "resisteth":

 

"1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over Godís heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5:1-7)

 

Notice how this passage begins with a word of warning against pastors (i.e.- shepherds) who may want to use their assigned authority to lord it over God's people and extract personal benefit. The Spirit then commands pastors to be examples of submission and humility. In verse 5, the Spirit then exhorts the younger to submit (hypotasso in Greek) to the elder. As we have shared before, this is not referring to "rank by chronological age"; instead, it refers to spiritual maturity. Those who are "spiritual older" (young as they may be in the natural) are endowed with an exousia that those who are "spiritually younger" (old as they may be) must submit to and recognise as from the Lord. The fact that verse 5 is not a call to abide by "external ranks" is made evident by the fact that it also commands all of us to be "subject (hypotasso-ed) one to another". This means that submission in the Spirit is not ruled by external and fixed parameters but by dynamic and internal variables. At one point, God may be calling believer A to submit to the word believer B is sharing because B is more spiritually mature in that area, and, 5 minutes later, believer B may be called to submit to a word spoken by A because A is more spiritually mature in that area; 10 minutes later, believers A and B may both be called to submit to a word spoken by believer C, who may seem less "mature" than both A and B but who may have a special endowment from God in a given area that may allow him to utter deep mature words despite his relative "youth" (just as when the religious leaders sat around Jesus to listen to His words of wisdom when He was just 12 years old).

 

Notice also how the passage above uses the verb antitassomai to repeat the message stated in James 4:6 above: God resists (antitassomai's) the proud and gives grace to the humble. This is God's way of emphasising that He will proactively assign Himself the task of going against the proud. Wherever pride arises, those who are after God's heart will manifest the same zeal of proactive "antitassomai" opposition that He does.

 

Power ≠ authority

The word "power" after "resisteth" was mistranslated from exousia, which, as we said above, refers to invisible jurisdictional authority. It is very easy to assign yourself a post of opposition to true jurisdictional authority when that authority comes from a humanly weak source. This is what Korah did when he rebelled against Moses. As indicated in Numbers 16, Korah gave himself the assignment of opposing Moses' jurisdictional authority in an effort to replace it with his own. As shown by the "princes'" overwhelming support of Korah, and as shown by the people's reaction in favour of Korah (even after he had been judged by God through Moses), it is evident that both the "princes of the people" and the people themselves had "antitassomai-ed" Moses' exousia. Moses was in a position of great vulnerability, lacking both in popular and oligarchic support. This is why Korah felt emboldened to challenge Moses' exousia.

 

It is easy for evangelicals to say that Korah was wrong to rebel against God, yet it is a spiritual fact that an overwhelming majority of evangelical pastors and churchgoers would have sided with Korah, had they been there that day. Why? Because Korah's main indictment against Moses was that he was too "judgemental" and was not showing enough "mercy". Considering how unpopular "judgement" is amongst matriarchal pastors and their followers, and, considering how googly-eyed they get when they hear the word "mercy", it is safe to conclude that Korah's message would have "rung true" to most churchgoers. It is even safe to say that most churchgoers would have stood by Korah's message even after God killed him (just as the Israelites did), considering that most "Christians" do not believe in a God who executes harsh judgements and "kills people", as evidenced by the Church's misguided reaction to Katrina.

 

Trench warfare

The second word " resisteth" in Romans 13:2 above was translated from the Greek word anthistemi. The fact that two different Greek words (antitassomai and anthistemi) were translated as "resisteth" in the very same verse reveals the sloppiness with which the King James translators translated Romans 13. The word anthistemi is derived from the prefix anti meaning "against, opposite to, instead of" and the verb histemi meaning "to make firm, establish". Therefore, anthistemi has the connotation of someone who digs a trench against an oncoming force in an effort to prevent it taking a given territory.

 

The word anthistemi appears 14 times in 12 verses of the New Testament. One of its occurrences is in verse 11 of the following passage, translated as "withstood":

 

"11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Galatians 2:11-14)

[In this case, the translation of anthistemi as "withstood" is rather appropriate, given that anthistemi has the connotation of a trench dug in order to contain an oncoming force]

 

Notice how Paul, who was a "relative newcomer" at the time, chose to "entrench himself against" (anthistemi) Peter, who, at the time, was probably the most "eminent" of all the apostles. As you may recall, Peter was the apostle to whom Jesus was speaking when He said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, it is safe to say that Peter was a "major authority" in the Church, yet Paul had the gall to "anthistemi" his judgements, questioning his behaviour, to the point of even calling him a hypocrite in public (the word "dissimulation" at the end of verse 13 was foolishly translated from the Greek word hypokrisis, which, as you may suspect, means "hypocrisy"; this shows once again how the King James translators had serious problems translating verses that dealt with human authority).

 

From the above passage, it becomes evident that the verb anthistemi used by the Holy Spirit in Romans 13:2 does not convey the message that the traditional Church tries to deduce from it. To the traditional Church leadership, the use of anthistemi in Romans 13:2 certifies to them that no one should dare oppose any decree or attitude expressed or promoted by the "recognised leaders". The Holy Spirit, however, is talking about authority in a way that transcends visible parameters. When the Holy Spirit speaks of "authority", He is speaking of authority measured by the parameter of objective truth. This is why Paul says that He anthistemi-ed Peter when he saw that Peter "walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" (Galatians 2:14). Thus, truth trumps external authority. A "violation of truth" causes a shift in the "exousia magnetic fields", a shift that earthly believers are too slow to discern.

 

The word anthistemi also appears twice in verse 8 of the following passage, translated as "withstood" and "resist":

 

"1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was." (2 Timothy 3:1-9)

 

Notice how the King James translators chose to translate the same Greek verb anthistemi in two different ways (in the very same verse!), proving once again how sloppy the King James translators became every time they encountered verses related to authority. By translating anthistemi in two different ways, they allowed satan to hide the truth that the Holy Spirit was endeavouring to portray:

Truth and legitimate exousia authority are inextricably intertwined

 

When Jannes and Jambres resisted (antihistemi-ed) Moses, they did so because they resisted (antihistemi-ed) truth. It is worth noting that Jannes and Jambres were two Egyptian magicians who imitated some of the miracles performed by Moses (Exodus 7:11-8:7) in an effort to belittle him before Pharaoh. Humanly speaking, Jannes and Jambres were defending the authority of Pharaoh before Moses, the "virtual nobody" who was opposing him. Anyone watching the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh in the natural would have said that the "true authority" was Pharaoh, not Moses. Pharaoh was the one with the "crown" on his head, the large palace, the royal lineage, and the entourage of faithful followers. By contrast, Moses seemed like the "rebellious slave" stirring up unrighteous trouble against the established authorities. Yet, in God's eyes, the one with the true exousia was Moses, and anyone (like Jannes or Jambres) who "anthistemi-ed" Moses was actually resisting God, even if, by resisting Moses, he may have seemed to be the one upholding the "powers that be".

 

Most evangelicals would be quick to say that they would have recognised Moses' authority straightaway, yet they say this because they "already read the ending". It is worth remembering that Moses never had an "anointing ceremony" before the people officially proclaiming him as a "prophet of God". He was never ordained by any group of Jewish elders as "priest to the people". His only claim to "authority" was that a "burning bush" had spoken to him one day when he was by himself in the wilderness and that this bush had told him that he could overcome the most powerful man on the planet armed with nothing but a "simple" rod. I sincerely wonder how many evangelicals would have believed such a "fantastic, self-promoting tale"! Some might argue that his claim to authority derived from the signs that he performed. Yet, Jannes and Jambres performed similar signs for a while, and Scripture does not say that the Israelites waited until Moses' signs could no longer be imitated by the Egyptian magicians in order to believe. They believed in Moses' exousia because the words spoken by Moses had a ring of truth to them, a "ring" that the other "performers of signs" did not have. The fact that the Israelites were not ultimately moved by the signs per se can be seen in the way that they eventually rebelled against Moses after they left Egypt, despite all the wondrous signs that God continued to perform through Moses in the desert. When the Israelites lost their "zeal for truth", no amount of truth-enforcing miracles would convince them of Moses' authority. The only miracles that would sway them were the ones that enforced the likings of their souls.

 

The word anthistemi also appears in verse 15 of the following passage, translated as "withstood":

 

"14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: 15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. 16At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. " (2 Timothy 4:14-17)

 

The word "words" at the end of verse 15 above was translated from the Greek word logos, which, as we have studied before, is intimately related to judgements and truth. Therefore, it can be said that Alexander the coppersmith was opposed to the judgements that emanated from Paul's mouth, and he was against the truths that these judgements implied. Thus, we can once again see the spiritual connection between exousias and the concept of truth and judgements. To dig a trench of opposition against an exousia is to dig a trench against the judgements and truths that that exousia stands for.

 

The word anthistemi also appears in verse 8 of the following passage, translated as "withstood":

 

"6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: 7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand." (Acts 13:6-11)

 

Notice that the word anthistemi is used once again in the context of someone digging a trench of opposition against the words of another person. The word "word" near the end of verse 7 was translated from the Greek word logos, which, as we said above, is intimately related to judgements and truth. As Elymas opposed the words of Paul, he was opposing the judgements that were emanating from his mouth, for he knew that, as those judgements began to rule, his domination and authority over Paphos would end. This is why Elymas was struggling to prevent Paul's legitimate exousia taking hold.

 

The power mirage

The fact that Elymas in Acts 13:6-11 above was a "sorcerer" or "magician" has spiritual significance. As we saw above, it was the magicians who opposed Moses' exousia in Egypt. A spiritual "magician" is a person who uses dunamis power to gain control over others; through manifestations of exuberant dunamis power, the spiritual magician bypasses the laws and judgements of the exousias that are in his way and is thus able to establish the semblance of a legitimate exousia. It is this confusion between "power" and "exousia authority" that deceives most believers when they read Romans 13, a deception that also ensnared the royalty-revering King James translators when they chose to translate the word exousia as "power" in Romans 13.

 

Notice how the Holy Spirit makes a play on the two names of Paul when He declares "Then Saul, (who also is called Paul), filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him" in Acts 13:9 above. This is to contrast Paul's "external" name against his "internal" name. Most believers are unable to discern the spiritual authority of God because they constantly measure that authority by external names, whilst remaining completely oblivious to God's internal names. The name "Saul" here points to Paul's "natural heritage", to the Jewish "Saul of Tarsus" who had once persecuted the Church but who had been redeemed by grace. It refers to the former Pharisee who was now trying to serve God but who could not be "expected" to surpass the other apostles, like Peter, who had walked with Jesus for 3 years and had seen him crucified and resurrected. Whereas most believers could see "Saul", the "sinner saved by grace" who was now a "good Christian", few could see "Paul", the apostle through whom God would eventually pen 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament. The Christians who could see "Saul" but not "Paul" would have been scandalised by Paul's irreverent treatment of the "great apostle" Peter (Galatians 2:11-14), and they would have had a hard time understanding that the former Pharisee and Church persecutor had the exousia to speak to Peter and to judge him the way he did because his words had the authority of objective truth.

 

Notice how Elymas' power was broken in the visible realm when Paul spoke as he was "filled of the Holy Ghost" (v9). This is because the Holy Spirit releases "resurrection power" (Romans 1:4, Romans 15:13). As His extraordinary truth-based power was released, the emotion-based power of Elymas was shattered, and the mirage of his false exousia was finally exposed. Why was Paul able to release this power in this circumstance, as opposed to other circumstances (such as in Acts 16) where the false exousias seemed to overpower and prevail against the bearers of the true exousia? The answer can be found in Acts 13:7, which declares that the "deputy" of that area, Sergius Paulus, who was a "prudent" man, called for Barnabas and Saul because he desired to hear the logos of God. This means that there was a man in visible power in that area who was thoughtful and analytical; he was a man interested in gathering together and considering all the objective facts in order to reach a truthful conclusion. Instead of simply dismissing Barnabas and Paul as "silly speakers of new nonsense", and instead of putting his faith in the visible power of the renowned Elymas, he decided to listen to Paul and Barnabas because there was a "ring of truth" to the words that emanated from their mouths, odd as those words may have seemed at first. As a result of this, Sergius Paulus became a "bridge" through whom the true exousia (that comes from God) could cross the gap, going from the invisible to the visible realm. Sergius Paulus' position of visible power was a manifestation of a legitimate thirst for truth amongst many in Paphos. When a significant number of people in an area are interested in investing time analysing objective facts to understand new truths that are currently "invisible", the gap between the invisible and visible realms is bridged, allowing the exousia of God's Kingdom to march on in.

 

Ordinance

The word "ordinance" in Romans 13:2 was translated from the Greek word diatage, which is derived from the Greek prefix dia meaning "through" and the verb tasso meaning "to station, to assign a place", which we studied above. Therefore, diatage speaks of an assignment that applies or has effects throughout a certain region, which points to the "area of jurisdiction" that is always associated with any given exousia. This also correlates with the "anthistemi trench" of opposition that intends to stop the assignment becoming effectual in its designated area. It is worth noting that the King James translators translated two very different Greek words (ktisis and diatage) as "ordinance" in two related verses (Romans 13:2 and 1 Peter 2:13 above), which once again exposes the sloppiness with which they translated verses that had to do with authority.

 

Besides Romans 13:2, the only other time that the Holy Spirit chose to use the word diatage in the New Testament is in verse 53 of the following passage, translated as "disposition":

 

"51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. 54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul." (Acts 7:51-58)

 

In the passage above, Stephen is speaking very harsh words against the elders and against the council of Jerusalem (Acts 6:12, 6:15), which included the high priest (Acts 7:1). Notice how Stephen dares to call them "stiffnecked" and "uncircumcised" "betrayers" and "murderers". If Romans 13 is to be understood the way the Church and most believers teach it, wouldn't we have to accuse Stephen of being "disrespectful" towards God, given that all "authority" is from God? Wouldn't we have to indict Stephen for daring to speak such scathing words against people in positions of high authority? Wouldn't we have to agree that Stephen brought the stoning on himself for not toning down his "rhetoric" and for not showing more respect towards the elders, the Sanhedrin members, and the high priest? Interestingly enough, all of this happened right before Saul (v58), the very man who went on to write the words in Romans 13. If Paul had understood his own words in Romans 13 the way the Church and most believers understand them, why would he always speak of Stephen as a martyr, given that "martyrs" are people who die a righteous death on behalf of a just cause?

 

"20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles." (Acts 22:20-21)

 

Paul is speaking the words above to God Himself in prayer, and as verse 21 bares out, the Lord did not refute his assessment of Stephen. If God had been offended by Stephen's vitriolic words to the "authorities" prior to his death, wouldn't He have been offended by Paul's claim that Stephen was a "martyr"? Would God have allowed Stephen to see the "glory of God" and to see the heavens opened, with the Son of Man "standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56-57)? If Stephen were offending God by disrespecting the visible "authorities", would he have died "full of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:56)? Obviously not! If Stephen's behaviour was actually acceptable to God, and if the writer of Romans 13 was there to witness it, how can we honestly accept the Church's distorted understanding of that chapter? Thus, when Paul speaks of "authority" in Romans 13, he is evidently referring to a much deeper concept than the one most believers comprehend. We have already delved some into this deeper concept, but a clearer understanding of what God means by exousia authority can be discerned as we continue to read how God describes "authority" in Romans 13.

 

It is worth noting that, in Acts 7:53, Stephen is actually accusing the "authorities" of rebellion when he declares that they did not abide by the "ordinance" (diatage, translated as "disposition") of angels. It was these "authorities" (not Stephen) who were breaking God's invisible ordinances, even when they were the ones dishing out "ordinances" in the visible realm. Stephen was speaking with an exousia authority that stood on the ordinances of invisible angels; that is the reason why they saw his face as "the face of an angel":

 

"And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel." (Acts 6:15)

 

 That day, as Stephen was murdered, he was the only legitimate exousia authority there, for he was pronouncing objective ordinances from God against people who had the dunamis power to kill him (and could "get away with it" in the natural) but who did not have true exousia authority, even when they were the ones with the external "authority" titles and the "power" to decree ordinances of life or death.

 

Judgement zones

In Romans 13:2 (quoted above), the Lord declares that those who "resist" (anthistemi) exousia authority "shall receive to themselves damnation". The word "damnation" was poorly translated from the Greek word krima, which literally means "judgement" and has the connotation of "punishment decreed for evildoing" (this is the word from which the English word "crime" is derived). As we shared above, the King James translators were biased in favour of King James and his "regal authority". Thus, it is not surprising that, once again, they exaggerated this verse by inserting the word "damnation", a word that is much harsher than what the Holy Spirit actually said (it is worth noting that the word krima appears 28 times in the New Testament; it is translated in the King James version as "judgement" 13 times, and it is only translated as "damnation" 7 times). The word krima has a legal connotation, and it denotes a system that objectively issues penalties and rewards based on a person's actions. By contrast, the word "damnation" has the connotation of "utter annihilation", which must have seemed appropriate to "king worshipping" men such as the King James translators because such men thought that anyone who dared to contradict the king was deserving of being struck by a lethal lightning bolt. Had the Lord wanted to give a connotation of "utter annihilation", He would have used a word such as anathema or katara (as He does in verses such as 1 Corinthians 16:22 and Hebrews 6:8).

 

The word krima, therefore, proves that exousias establish "judgement zones", i.e.- areas over which they issue judgements to ensure that righteousness is upheld and unrighteousness is brought down. As a believer, you are an exousia in the spirit realm, and, as you activate that exousia in the Spirit, you will issue judgements over your area of responsibility, and these judgements will weigh down on the unrighteous, even if they don't know that you exist, and even if they deem you "powerless" in the natural realm. Why can we claim this? Because Romans 13:2 certifies that those who oppose the exousias of God will receive krima, whether they want to or not, and, as we shall continue to see, the true exousias are not as easily discernable as the traditional Church makes them out to be.

 

"28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:28-29)

[The word "authority" was translated from exousia, the same word that is mistranslated as "power" in Romans 13:1-2. The word "sayings" is a poor translation of the word logos, which literally means (judgement) word (and the word "doctrine" was translated from didache, meaning "teaching"). Curiously enough, the word "astonished" was translated from the Greek verb ekplesso, which literally means "to blow out". In other words, the people were "blown away" as they felt the invisible wind of Yeshua's exousia blowing across that region, a region that was now a judgement zone under the exousia of Yeshua's invisible logos. Whilst the scribes retained the visible title of "teaching authorities", the authority was really in the mouth of Yeshua, the itinerant preacher from "worthless" Galilee (John 7:52) who came "out of nowhere" (John 9:29).]

 

Rulers

Notice how Stephen, in Acts 7:52 above, accuses the rulers of slaying the "Just One" (v52). This points to what the Spirit says about authority in Romans 13:3 and 4:

 

"3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." (Romans 13:3-4)

 

Notice how "rulers" are portrayed above as defenders of the righteous and punishers of the unrighteous. These "rulers" execute wrath on those who do evil, and they are not to be feared at all by those who do good because these "rulers" praise (rather than punish) the just. The word "rulers" in verse 3 was translated from the Greek word archon. The 5th time that archon appears in the New Testament is in verse 25 of the following words from Jesus (translated as "princes"):

 

"25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matthew 20:25-27)

 

The phrase "exercise authority" was translated from the Greek verb katexousiazo, which is derived from the word exousia that we have studied above. Notice how Jesus speaks of the exousia exercised by the "archon"s (i.e.- "princes") in negative terms, indicating that the "archon"s of this world abuse their authority, using it to oppress the "little ones". This contrasts with the "archon"s of Romans 13:3-4 that would never use their authority to oppress the just, "little" as they may be.

 

The word archon also appears in verse 24 of the following passage, translated as "prince":

 

"24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if satan cast out satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges." (Matthew 12:24-27)

 

Notice how Jesus does not deny that Beelzebub is the "archon of the demons", and He then goes on to declare that he is "satan" (v26). If we are to follow Romans 13:2 literally, should we then submit to satan and not oppose him, given that satan is an archon? Obviously not.

 

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

[The word "submit" was translated from hypotasso; the word "resist" was translated from anthistemi]

 

The word archon also appears in the following verse, translated as "rulers":

 

"And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God." (Luke 23:35)

 

Notice how the "archon"s derided the Messiah. Should we then conclude that the Messiah was unrighteous, given that the ones deriding Him were "archon"s and Romans 13 declares that the righteous have nothing to fear from the "archon"s? From this, it become evident once again that, if we were to understand Romans 13 literally, we would have to reach illogical conclusions, condemning the righteous and exonerating the unrighteous.

 

The word archon also appears in verse 13 of the following passage, translated as "rulers":

 

"13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: 15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. 16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him. 17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.) 18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: 19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) 20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him." (Luke 23:13-21)

 

The passage above shows how the archons wanted Jesus dead, and it shows how they would rather free Barabbas (a murderer and seditionist) than free Jesus. This once again begs the question, "If the righteous have nothing to fear from archons because they only punish the unrighteous, why would the archons described in Luke 23 punish Jesus instead of Barabbas?".

 

Knowing how stubborn evangelicals can be, I am sure that some would argue that Jesus' situation was a "special exception" to the general rule that they understand from Romans 13. Fellow believer, throughout my life, I have found that people who emphatically espouse a false general law resort to the "XX" ("eXception eXcuse") manoeuvre every time counterevidence is presented to them. They begin to amend their originally universal law with one specific exception after another, and the law that they were commanding others to unconditionally follow becomes a patchwork quilt of incoherent legislation (much like the legislation that the U.S. Congress produces every year). Instead of submitting to the truth, they prefer to bend their law until they wear out the person presenting the counterevidence. Why? Because they are not interested in the truth. They are out to promote an agenda that "sounds right" to their souls. They are not objective and independent thinkers who are out to gather and analyse facts in order to reach a truthful conclusion. Instead, they have vested soul interests in defending their flawed laws, for admitting that they were wrong would imply admitting that they had been following a false light for many years; it would imply that the leaders that they follow and who are dear to their hearts had it wrong all along; it would imply that their family members and the culture they grew up in are deceived and have been foolishly living an inferior life founded on a falsehood. Thus, if another person starts to use the "exception card" every time you present counterevidence, a warning flag should be raised in your mind, and you should ask the other person, "If you knew that there were exceptions, why did you declare your law as universal, and why didn't you include that exception in your law to begin with? What other exceptions are there? Is that the last one?". I must warn you, however, that these questions will generally not get you very far when it comes to enlightening the other person. When stubborn people are determined to be right, nothing you say or do will convince them that they are wrong. Thus, the only reason for asking these questions will generally be to leave them as spiritual testimony against them in the heavenlies' record books. Even though they may be unwilling to give you an honest answer to your questions, they will be forced to give an answer when they stand before the Lord, and your questions will hang over their lives like a cloud of judgement until they either yield to the truth or die in non-repentance under the unavoidable weight of your questions.

 

Some may want to argue that Jesus' punishment by the "rulers" (archons) does fit into their understanding of Romans 13 because, at the moment in time described in Luke 23, Jesus was bearing our sins and was therefore "guilty" and "deserving of punishment". This may sound like a good argument, but there are two problems with it: For one, it does not explain away the fact that the archons wanted Barabbas, a murderer and seditionist, free; if their wrath against Jesus was objective indignation against the sins that Jesus was bearing for us, they would have never wanted Barabbas free; instead, they would have wanted both Jesus and Barabbas to be crucified. Second, this argument would absolve the "rulers" from any responsibility before God for having called for Jesus' crucifixion, yet Scripture clearly contradicts such a notion:

 

"24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." (Acts 4:24-28)

 

Interestingly enough, the word "rulers" in verse 26 was translated from archon. Notice how the passage above does not portray the "archon"s' actions against the Messiah as impartial actions of justice that were pleasant to God. Instead, it portrays them as actions intended to destroy the "holy child Jesus", not the "sin-covered Jesus". The "archons" were opposed to Jesus on account of His holiness, not on account of any sin that He may have borne on our behalf.

 

As can be seen from all of the above, any attempts to dismiss the rulers' actions against Jesus are utterly futile. However, given that evangelicals are so stubborn about their understanding of Romans 13, let us assume for one second that Jesus is an "exception" to their rule. They would then have to provide an answer for the following passage, where the word archon is translated as "rulers" in verse 5:

 

"4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5 And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them," (Acts 14:4-5)

 

If Romans 13 is referring to literal archons, why are the archons in Iconium bent on stoning the apostles? If the authority of literal "rulers" is to always be respected because it comes from God and is geared towards punishing the evildoers and praising the doers of good, why didn't the rulers of Iconium praise the apostles? Or should we now add the apostles to the list of "exceptions" so that the traditional understanding of Romans 13 may continue to hold?

 

Some may want to claim that the passage above is not valid in this discussion because it talks about the "rulers of the Jews" and not about the "official, secular rulers" of Iconium. Even though this argument is too weak and pathetic to stand up to scrutiny, let us assume for one second that it is valid. How, then, would they explain away the following passage, where the word archon is translated as "rulers" at the end of verse 19:

 

"19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: " (Acts 16:19-23)

 

Notice that the official rulers of Philippi and their magistrates ordered the beating of Paul and Silas under the false pretence of "insubordination to the Roman way". Why? Because Paul had dared to free a woman from an enslaving spirit of divination that had turned her into a profit-making deception machine for her taskmasters. If literal archons are always supposed to uphold the righteous, why did these archons punish Paul and Silas instead? Either the God who inspired Romans 13 is a fool and a liar, or the traditional and literal interpretation of Romans 13 is a worthless lie from the archon of demons, Beelzebub, lord of the flies (Matthew 12:24-27).

 

If Paul, the writer of Romans 13, wanted us to never "disrespect" any of the visible archons of this world, why would he turn around and say the following disrespectful things about them:

 

"6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)

 

The word "princes" in both verses 6 and 8 was translated from archon. Notice, therefore, that Paul is actually saying that the wisdom of the archons of this world is worthless (v6) and that the archons of the world, being unwise, crucified an innocent man, the Lord of glory. Does this sound consistent with what Paul wrote about archons in Romans 13? Just as when the Lord Jesus said that we had to pluck our eyes out if they ever became a stumbling block, the Holy Spirit phrased the words in Romans 13 in such a way that any intellectually honest believer would be able to discern that it was utterly absurd and contradictory to interpret them in a literal and simplistic way. When the Lord states something that is "literally absurd", He is challenging His people to search for the deeper spiritual meaning behind the literal exterior.

 

Consider now what Paul said about archons in the following passage:

 

"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2)

 

The word "prince" was translated from archon, and the word "power" was mistranslated from exousia. Therefore, the Spirit is declaring that there is an exousia (i.e.- a "jurisdictional authority") operating in the Earth's spiritual atmosphere, and that satan is its archon (i.e.- ruler). Furthermore, the Spirit declares that that archon and its exousia are "now working" in the sons of disobedience. Therefore, when a ruler in the natural inclines his heart towards disobedience, he will immediately come under the exousia of satan, which will begin to work through him to produce unrighteousness on Earth. He will then punish the just and exonerate the unjust, meaning that he will not act like the archons and exousias described in Romans 13, even if he continues to have the title of "archon" in the natural.

 

Just to emphasise this point, consider many of the rulers throughout human history. Stalin was, without a doubt, a "ruler" with much "authority" in the natural. Let us then replace the word "ruler" with the name "Stalin" in Romans 13:3-4 to see how it looks:

 

"3 For Stalin was not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power [of Stalin]? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of [Stalin]: 4 For Stalin is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for Stalin beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." (Romans 13:3-4, according to the traditional Church)

 

We can do the same with renowned rulers such as "Hitler", "Nero", "Caligula", and "Mao ZeDong", along with bastards of today such as "fidel castro", "kim jong il", and "ah mani dejad", and, each time, Romans 13:3-4 will look like the words of an incompetent idiot. It is angering to the Lord that His words are so frequently distorted by the Church, to the point of making Him sound like a fool. Cursed be those who arrogantly and stubbornly adhere to their earthly paradigms, to the point of dishonouring the name of God in the spirit realm (Ezekiel 36:23).

 

"31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.33 This he said, signifying what death he should die." (John 12:31-33)

 

The word "prince" in verse 31 above was translated from the Greek word archon. Therefore, verse 31 proves that to be a "ruler" (i.e.- archon) in this world does not automatically qualify you as "worthy of submitting under". In fact, visible rulers who do not seek after righteousness become doubly susceptible to the "ruler of this world", which means that submitting unconditionally under them will lead you to become unwittingly submitted under satan. Notice that, according to verse 31, the "ruler of this world" is dethroned through judgement. In other words, as you exercise your spiritual exousia and pronounce judgements against the visible rulers, you are effectively resisting satan and submitting under the righteous authority of God (James 4:7).

 

From all of the above, we can conclude that, when Stephen accused the rulers of murdering the "Just One" (Acts 7:52), he was in fact declaring that they were not true "rulers" in the eyes of God, even if they had the dunamis power to kill him on the spot. True rulers do not murder the just, according to Romans 13:3-4. By pronouncing all the harsh words that he did against the rulers, Stephen was not breaking Romans 13:3-4; on the contrary, he was being fully submitted under God, exercising the exousia of God in him, releasing the judgements that are necessary in order to cast out the righteous-murdering rulers and institute rulers under God.

 

Defining, not describing

If the Holy Spirit was not describing the characteristics of literal rulers per se in Romans 13:3-4, what was He trying to convey? To answer that, let us consider a sentence such as the following: "Men do not run away from their responsibilities". Such a statement is obviously not attempting to describe the behaviour of literal men, given that many (if not most) men on Earth do not live up to their responsibilities. Instead, it is attempting to define who the "real" men are. In other words, it is trying to say, "A real man will not run away from his responsibilities, and those who do are not real men". Thus, this statement starts with the premise of an observed behaviour and then assigns a label based on the behaviour observed. If the statement is taken literally, you must start with the premise of an observed label and then assign a behaviour based on the label observed. This is what the Church has done with Romans 13. By taking it literally, they have started with the premise of a visible label that reads "authority", and they have assigned behaviour based on that label, even when that behaviour does not fit reality.

 

Romans 13 clearly declares that we are to submit to the "exousias that are" because they praise the righteous and punish the unrighteous. In other words, Romans 13 is establishing a linkage between the need to submit and the behaviour of exousias. Therefore, if the objective praising of the righteous and the objective punishing of the unrighteous is not taking place, then the submission requirement "falls apart" (in a partially limited sense) because the true definition of what an exousia is is not being met. Since the Church system liked the "submission part" of Romans 13, it was quick to ignore the linkage made in Romans 13 between submission and objective praise and punishment. The Church simply started with the visible label of "authority", bypassed the objective-praise-and-punishment part, and reached the desired conclusion of submission as a requirement. What the Spirit wanted God's people to do, instead, is to start with the observation of behaviour; once you observed a specific behaviour, you were to assign it the label "exousia", and you were then to submit to it. In other words, God is saying that exousias exist on Earth; that is the reason for the phrase "the exousias that are" in Romans 13:1 (which we studied above). Given that they exist and have been established by God, we are to be on the lookout for them, aware of their invisible presence at all times, and, once we detect them, we are to submit to them in righteousness, regardless of how much visible dunamis power they may or may not have.

 

The words of Romans 13 were intended for a spiritual audience that would understand spiritual definitions, not a literal audience trapped in a visible world. The audience that Romans 13 was intended for is the same audience that would understand the following passage and see that it is related to Romans 13:

 

"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Revelation 1:5)

 

The word "prince" above was translated from the word archon studied above, the same word translated as "rulers" in Romans 13:3. Thus, verse 5 above declares that Jesus Christ is the "archon of the kings of the Earth". The next verse then declares who the real "kings" are in God's eyes:

 

"And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:6)

 

From this, it is evident that, when God speaks of "kings" and "rulers", He is using a language different to the language used in the natural realm. Even though no evangelical would ever argue that Jesus Christ is the "ruler of the kings of the Earth", most evangelicals seem to forget that Jesus Christ is not visible. Has anyone ever seen Jesus Christ hold a press conference announcing new ordinances that all the presidents, prime ministers, and kings of the nations must follow? Jesus Christ's "rulership" and authority are so invisible that billions of people actually do not believe in Him or care to follow Him, and many millions even doubt that He exists at all. To follow Him, you must be willing to believe in invisible authority, authority that is utterly real, even when it is not holding visible power. The disciples believed in Jesus even when He was "nothing more" than an itinerant preacher from the lowly region of Galilee. The apostle John, who wrote the words in Revelation 1:5-6 above, called Jesus the "ruler of the kings of the Earth" as he was being held prisoner by the visible kings of the Earth in the island of Patmos, and even as these visible kings were actively persecuting those who associated themselves with the name of Christ. It is obvious, therefore, that the words in Romans 13 and Revelation 1:5-6 were written by people who believed in a level of authority that stood far above the natural, visible realm. Even so, the Church, which announces to the world that their king is an invisible man named Jesus, remains utterly bound by visible parameters of what true authority is! How sad! How shallow! How pathetic! No wonder Jesus' full authority remains unmanifested on Earth! And no wonder the Church remains the laughingstock of the spirit realm! The greatest hindrance to the manifestation of the Lord's Kingship on Earth is not the world, but the Church herself, which is the exact opposite of what she was supposed to be (Ephesians 1:22-23).

 

The American contradiction

Most conservative Christians who uphold the literal interpretation of Romans 13, especially when it comes to Church "authorities", tend to be very patriotic as well. Just as liberals in America get a tingly feeling up their legs when the presence of (fly-attracting) b.o. is in the air, conservative Christians get a tingly feeling up their legs when they hear the national anthem and when they see an American flag waving, with "Yankee Doodle" playing in the background. Yet, many of these Christians seem to forget that America was born from a deliberate rebellion against authority. If Romans 13 is to be interpreted literally, any intellectually honest believer would have to admit that the 13 colonies acted against God when they rebelled against the authority of the British king. Therefore, the conservative Christians who fervently quote Romans 13 to promote unconditional respect for Church leaders are unwittingly declaring America to be a rogue nation, a rebellious British colony that sinned against God by questioning the authority of the king, a false nation that should set things right with God by submitting to the British crown once again. You cannot believe in the legality of America as a nation and the literal interpretation of Romans 13 at the same time. To do so is to contradict yourself.

 

The patriotism falsehood

Even though this may seem like an unrelated topic, I feel the prompting of the Lord to add a comment about patriotism (if you analyse it in detail, you will see that it is indeed related to Romans 13 and to everything we have shared so far). Much of God's work in America has been stunted by the spirit of American patriotism that idealises America into a "great nation" where God was able to "reign supreme" until those evil "liberal humanists" took over and ruined it for everyone. This has turned the Christian conservative movement into a drive to return to the old ways, as if those ways were the "ideal way to go". To these defenders of "old traditions", there is basically nothing wrong with the American Church and its ways. When they look into the past, they see nothing missing. That is the reason why they are utterly useless in God's plans. God cannot send you to forge a future that you deem unnecessary because you are more than satisfied with a past that is either mediocre or incomplete in His eyes. You cannot grow anymore when you fool yourself into thinking that your growth is complete.

 

"Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.'" (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

 

The song "Those were the days" (sung by Mary Hopkin) is a wonderful song, and it happens to be one of my all-time favourites, but, wonderful as the song may be, its refrain is not one you should happily live by. If you do, you will one day see your reflection on the tavern's glass and realise that you grew old without growing up.

 

{You can read the above song's lyrics at lirama.net}

 

When conservative Christians who long for the "good ole' days" are told that America has never been a "great nation", they shake and shiver in utter repugnance and disbelief. This is because they have no idea what God means by the word "great". They have no idea what a country can be like when God is in complete control of that country's spiritual atmosphere. Their CNS-induced patriotism turns America into an idol they constantly bow before, making it impossible for them to see how incomplete and immature she remains. Traditional and Bible-thumping as these conservatives may claim to be, not a single one of them can justify their patriotism idolatry through Scripture. If you ask them why they see their patriotism as part of their Christian calling, they will recite a million platitudes, but they will never be able to quote a single passage of Scripture where God commands His people to be "patriotic". Why? Because there isn't one! There is no commandment or passage in Scripture that reads "Thou shalt love your country" or "Each man must love his own country of origin". Instead, God called us to love our "neighbour", which refers to all humans within our sphere of influence and responsibility. We are to love and care for others because they are fellow humans, not because they have a passport from the same country as you do! Ironically, the New Testament's best known parable on loving your neighbour is the parable of the good Samaritan, which involves a Jew being helped, not by his own Jewish compatriots, but by a man from a different country!

 

"46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. " (Matthew 5:46-48)

 

Yesterday, the Lord caused me to "stumble upon" the following quote from George Bernard Shaw:

 

"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it"

{This and other quotes are available at phnet.fi}

 

As evidenced by the quote above, patriotism is, at its core, an expression of narcissistic self-centredness. It is loving something simply because it is yours, and for no other basic reason. Your place of birth, and, even your ethnic origin, is a purely circumstantial matter. You are defined by the values and principles you choose to adopt in your heart. If you choose to love a particular nation, you should love it regardless of whether you were born in it. Is a country automatically "better" simply because you were born in it? What if you hadn't been born in that country? Would you still think it was "great"? Would you still care for it? If your answer is "no", then your patriotism is nothing but an expression of the soul, not the spirit, and it becomes a hindrance to God's spiritual purposes for your life, for it will eventually compete for your heart's attention.

 

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24)

[As we have studied before, the word "mammon" refers to more than money. It refers to anything earthly that gives your soul a sense of identity, including cultural background and nationality.]

 

The spirit with which most conservative believers utter the phrase "For God and country" makes that phrase an abomination before God, for it places "country" at the same level as "God" at worst, and, at best, it makes some "neighbours" artificially less important than others. It creates competing interests within your soul. If you are an American, you are not here to "make America great"; you are here to magnify God!!! If this word is too harsh for you, then you are not fit for God's army! God cannot build His kingdom on wavy jelly blocks!!!

 

Having said all of the above, there is a limited context in which what is labelled as "patriotism" is actually an expression of selflessness. An American soldier carries out an act of selfless sacrifice, for example, when he goes to Iraq to overthrow a ruthless "archon" such as Saddam Hussein and stays there to protect the Iraqi people from terrorists from outside Iraq who are bent on killing innocent civilians (with their excuse being, "America made me do it by coming here, and her liberals support my killings because they make Bush look bad"). As the American soldier does his God-assigned duty in Iraq, he is striking a blow for freedom and democracy that undermines terrorism in the region, allowing the people he left behind in America to live in a safer environment down the line. In such a case, the soldier is fighting for the freedom and security of strangers, both at home and abroad. He is not doing it to prove to the world how great America is; he is not doing it to benefit his personal family, given that, by putting his life at risk, his family risks losing both his financial and emotional provision. This example of so-called "patriotism" differs from typical patriotism because the "patriot's" heart is not being "pumped up" with pride; instead, it is being "deflated" as sacrificial blood (both figurative and literal) is drained out of him. This example of so-called "patriotism" is also different in that it involves fighting for ideals such as freedom, justice, and the well-being of others, ideals that transcend national barriers. By contrast, traditional "patriotism" turns the country itself into the "ideal", and anything that is officially declared as supporting the "country's interests" becomes "good" by default, regardless of what it is. This is when "patriotism" begets a subservience to human authority and paradigms that are abhorrent to God.

 

As we have shared before, the Vietnam War was inherently flawed because it was fought for selfish "national interests" that were arbitrarily defined by self-seeking men in power. The American soldier in Vietnam was not fighting to "liberate" a people and enable them so that they could live in democracy and prosperity. The American soldier in Vietnam was never motivated to fight for the well-being of the Vietnamese people, and, even if he had been, he would have quickly realised that he was fighting to maintain a corrupt and inefficient government that was itself not too concerned with the well-being of its own people. The American soldier in Vietnam knew that the American government's only motivation for being there was to keep the Communists from taking over another country. In America's domino game with the USSR and Red China, Vietnam was just another domino chip. As far as the American government was concerned, it was irrelevant what corrupt government the Vietnamese lived under, as long as it was not "red". America did not care for the historical backdrop behind the Vietnamese's struggle, and it was completely unaware of the spiritual forces that operated in that region. Because America went in for self-centred reasons, it became like meat to the spiritual animals in that area, and, despite all of her dunamis power, she was eventually defeated. Some 50 years earlier, in 1919, a poor immigrant from Vietnam who had lived in the US and Britain was then living in France, and he asked to see the president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, who was in Paris to sign the Treaty of Versailles that officially ended World War I. Due to the Jezebel spirit of Wilson's wife, who screened all the people before they could meet with Wilson, this "lowly peasant" from Vietnam was unable to talk to him. This peasant's desire was to speak to Wilson because he admired America's ideals of freedom and independence, and he wanted America to support Vietnam in a cause that was very dear to this "peasant's" heart: freedom for the Vietnamese people from French colonialism. Because he was shunned by the leader of the nation that proclaimed herself as the "defender of freedom", he eventually began to look east and towards ideologies that spoke more openly about "proactive liberation" of entire peoples. As this unknown and "powerless" peasant continued with his struggle, he slowly began to rise in prominence, to the point that he became the leader of the movement for Vietnamese independence. His name was Ho Chi Minh, and he became the North Vietnamese leader who eventually drove both France and America from Indochina. When Wilson's staff casually dismissed the lowly peasant in Paris, they were not aware that the exousia over the future of the Vietnamese had been placed on the shoulders of that frail-looking man. By not acknowledging that exousia (which is a figure of their unawareness of the inherent value of the people in Vietnam), Wilson's bureaucrats failed to win over the heart of the man who would then go on to inflict America's only war defeat.

 

Because the American soldier in Vietnam was not fighting for an ideal that transcended his country, he had no choice but to fight "for his country" and nothing more, which meant fighting simply because his government and his commanding officers told him to do so. Thus, all the moral exousia that the American soldier may have had to shape the spiritual future of Vietnam was lost, for he submitted himself to the false exousia of rulers who were being guided by visible and self-interested parameters. Therefore, when you are a "patriot" whose sole goal is to obey your "country", you lose the spiritual exousia to truly shape the world. By giving your unconditional loyalty to your country, you become no wiser than its visible rulers, and you become like the blind man who is led by other blind men into a hole of utter spiritual purposelessness and impotence.

 

"31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.33 This he said, signifying what death he should die." (John 12:31-33)

 

As we saw earlier, verse 31 above reveals the inherent influence of evil in this world's ruling system. Notice how the Lord then speaks of being "lifted up from the earth" and "drawing all men" unto Him in verse 32. This speaks of someone who rises above the visible and natural influences of this earth, influences such as nationalism and ethnicity, to focus on transcendental ideals that apply to all men. After this, the Spirit speaks of dying in verse 33. Thus, the Lord is declaring that sacrificial death is pleasant unto God when it is driven by righteous ideals that will more than likely go against the interests of the world's ruling system. Given all of this, it becomes evident that unconditional patriotism is an abomination unto God, even if it ends with the person "dying for his country".

 

"And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him." (Luke 24:20)

 

The word "rulers" was translated from the word archon studied above. Notice how the disciples of Emmaus (who are talking to the resurrected Christ without knowing it) refer to the "rulers" as "our rulers", which denotes a sense of personal identity. Even after these rulers had murdered the Messiah, these disciples continued to identify with these men, feeling a sense of responsibility to remain submitted under them. Because they remained submitted under the world's system of rulers, they were unable to discern the King of Kings who was walking alongside of them. They were struggling to recognise the spiritual authority of Christ because their eyes remained fixed on visible authority, to the point that they were beginning to question whether Jesus, the man killed by "their" rulers, had actually been the Messiah. When you are patriotic, you become susceptible to the ideas and paradigms of "your rulers", to the point that you become incapable of rising above earthly issues to discern the true authority of God, even when it is standing right in front of you.

 

There is more to say regarding Romans 13, but we will do so (if God allows it) in a future article.