Persians 13: Obey the Higher Powers?
hen Haman the wicked was promoted to the highest
position in Persia, and second only to the king, the book of Esther
tells us "Ahasuerus....set his seat above all the princes that were with
him" (Esther 3:1). The scriptures go on to say that "all the king's
servants....bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so
commanded him" (Esther 3:2).
Yet we see the Jewish Mordecai, who is clearly
an instrument for good in the tale, refuses to bow or revere Haman
in any way. This action comes into direct conflict with what is commonly
taught in corporate churches throughout the land, and I've called this
essay Persians 13 as an allusion to that popular teaching which is
usually based on a misread of Romans 13.
That passage flatly states that we are to obey "the
higher powers" because these "powers" are all "ordained of God" (Romans
13:1). We further see the passage says anyone that "resisteth" is going to
"receive to themselves damnation" (Romans 13:2).
Since Mordecai, and subsequently Queen Esther, are both
going to resist the evil plot of Haman, who clearly has the
legal authority to commit the heinous crime of genocide, if we listen
to the obey all things government mindset, we would have to
conclude Mordecai and Esther are damned. It is self evident that this is
not the case; and because the "scripture cannot be broken" (so said Jesus
Christ in John 10:35), the inconsistency must be in our interpretation.
Consider the similar example of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nego who
refused to bow to the image constructed by Nebuchadnezzar. What
about Daniel, who was thrown in the lion's den, for refusing to
obey the ill advised law of Darius forbidding worship of any God for a
month? How about Peter who, in direct coordination with an angel,
staged a jailbreak?
Most "Christians" would say it was acceptable for the late Corrie
Ten-Boom, a great Christian woman, to disobey the government edict
instructing them it was against the law to hide Jews from the Nazis, which
she and her family did most heroically. Ironically, those that say it's
acceptable to break the law when it involves the Jews are largely
dispensational, and believe the Jewish people are still the "chosen"
people -- which they are not.
Conversely, those same "Christians" will tell you it's
not all right for the Christians to disobey unholy
edicts -- unless it involves Jews! This incredible state of scriptural
misalignment demonstrates why the world is headed for devastation. The
issue really has to do with jurisdiction, authority, and spiritual
In a widely misunderstood verse, Jesus
encountered those that received the tribute money. The tax collectors
asked Peter if Jesus was going to pay them tribute money (taxes).
Peter was about to pay them when Jesus stopped him. Jesus said
"What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the
earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the
children free." (Matthew 17:25,26)
As Christians, we are the children of the great God
in heaven, so that "now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2). We are
not children of "Caesar" (read Ahasuerus in the Persian
example) and are only subject to him insomuch as "he is the minister of
God to thee for good" (Romans 13:4). We are not strangers in a strange
land either, because "all the earth is mine" (Exodus 19:5) saith the Lord
-- and God is our father and "we are the offspring of God" (Acts 17:29).
Mordecai understood that authority is only valid
to the degree that it comes from the LORD. When the evil are placed in a
position of authority, the children of the king are to "resist
the devil, and he shall flee from you" (James 4:7). We would do well to
learn from the wonderful example set for us in the book of Esther.
[The preceding was excerpted
from the book Hadassah Of Shushan]
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