Everyone must submit himself to the higher powers...
What does this mean? Does it mean what we have always been taught? Are we to blindly submit to ungodly leaders in our government? What if they tell us to do something against God's law? Who are the "higher powers"?
Study to show thyself approved.
Watch this short six part series and you might be surprised at what this scripture truly means.
Pastor John Weaver expounds the Scripture on the issue of the Christian & Civil Government from Romans 13. (Hear much more of Pastor Weaver at www.sermonaudio.com/weaver)
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMF04YRf0UU
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ONvhSHgoAk
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15xbZmQsNm0
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5iGYiADgm0
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW86Amct6dE
Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW86Amct6dE
Here is an interesting interpretation of this scripture:
(excerpt from LewRockwell.com by Chuck Baldwin
"Let every soul be subject unto the [U.S. Constitution.] For there is no [Constitution] but of God: the [Constitution] that be [is] ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the [Constitution], resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For [the Constitution is] not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the [Constitution]? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For [the Constitution] is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for [the Constitution] beareth not the sword in vain: for [the Constitution] is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for [the Constitution is] God's minister, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor."
Dale, great topic! I'm surprised no one has commented on it. I guess it's buried down too far on the forum index page. Sorry!
I haven't watched the videos you posted yet but would like to comment.
First the verses themselves:
Romans 13:1 Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God.  So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.  For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well.  Note The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong.  So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience.
 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid so they can keep on doing the work God intended them to do.  Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due.
So at least three things are being said here. One is that we should obey the government. The other is that we should do so because God put it there to help us. And the third is that good people don't have to be afraid of the government.
We also have to look at other scriptural references to government and see how they line up with this. Those other scriptures give us an outline of how these verses should be viewed.
First there were many men of God who were directly disobedient to their governments. Peter says in Acts 5:29, "We must obey God rather than men." So it would seem that putting this in context with other verses that there is no scriptural command to obey our government no matter what.
What if there was a government that made good people afraid? That's clearly not the type of government Paul is talking about here. He is talking about a God-instituted government that is righteous and upright. Not so with the Roman government of the New Testament age though. That government was anything but righteous. It made good men very afraid. In fact all of the apostles except one were executed for their unwavering belief in Christ. It is clear that the apostles disobeyed direct government orders to drop their belief in Christ and to stop preaching about it.
Therefore, we may conclude that we should obey our government as long as it doesn't ask us to do anything that contradicts God's Word. But the minute it steps over that line, then we are to obey God.
As I always like to say, let's get to the root of the issue.
Everything in this passage is built on the premise that every soul should be subject to "the higher powers". This has been interpreted in other translations as government. At the time that King James' version of the scriptures was translated the form of government that we have here in America did not exist so first let's look at what the original Greek words for higher powers actually mean.
The phrase "higher powers" comes from two separate greek words: ὑπερέχω ἐξουσία which are transliterated as: hyperechō exousia.
1) to have or hold over one
2) to stand out, rise above, overtop
a) to be above, be superior in rank, authority, power
1) the prominent men, rulers
b) to excel, to be superior, better than, to surpass
1) power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases
a) leave or permission
2) physical and mental power
a) the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises
3) the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)
4) the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)
1) authority over mankind
1) the power of judicial decisions
2) of authority to manage domestic affairs
1) a thing subject to authority or rule
2) one who possesses authority
a) a ruler, a human magistrate
b) the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to man, spiritual potentates
d) a sign of the husband's authority over his wife
1) the veil with which propriety required a women to cover herself
e) the sign of regal authority, a crown
Ok. WIthout getting any more drawn out and boring let me get to the point of this.
Hyperecho exousia basically means: the power of authority and right that is superior in rank. In other words, higher powers. Now ultimately that would be God but in the civil affairs of men typically that would mean the king or governing body who is the ultimate authority and determines what is considered a right or privilege. However,
In America we do not have a monarchy or oligarchy. We have a Republican form of government, or a Constitutional Republic, in which the governing body is generally considered to be the president and congress. But, in America, ultimate authority does not reside with the government but is derived from the Constitution which is the chains that bind the government to limited powers of authority. So, where did the Constitution get it's authority?
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
In other words, We the People are the hyperecho exousia or the higher powers in America, not the federal government and since that is the the case then the correct interpretation of this passage takes on a entirely different meaning than we are mistakenly taught by most well meaning church leaders and subversive politicians.
When our forefathers formed this nation they did not want to have a king in ultimate authority so they retained that authority to We the People. At the pinnacle of the hierarchy of authority is you and I, the masters, beneath that is the Constitution,our contract, and beneath that is the government, our servant. Somehow we have let the servants usurp authority that they do no lawfully have and therefore we are under no obligation to obey a fraudulent government but are duty bound to throw off such tyranny.
In Romans Paul also says the authorities are servants of God. Paul says this a few times while also telling the people to not rebel against said authority. We also need to look at what happened when the authority turned from God and the people followed. God punished everyone for following the authority and not following God. As long as the government does what is right in Gods eyes then we should honor those in authority, but if the leaders turn from God we should stand on what God says no matter the authority.
It is up to the people to put God fearing men into positions of authority and for those same people to take them who go against God, out of their position.
Resistance to Tyranny Is Obedience To God
by Paul Lyndon Johnson
"Samuel Rutherford, in his book titled Lex Rex suggested that when the State is deliberately committed to destruction of its ethical commitment to God, then resistance becomes appropriate. He goes on to suggest three appropriate levels of resistance.
First, he must defend himself by protest, i.e., legal action.
Second, he must flee if at all possible, and third,
He may use force if necessary to defend himself.
Force should not be used if flight can save him. Nor should running away be the answer if he can save and defend himself by means of protest. He further cautioned the distinct difference between lawless civil disobedience and lawful resistance. If possible, resistance should be under protection of duly constituted authorities such as local officials, bearing in mind that the local office is just as much delegated by God as the highest government official.
"When the supreme magistrate will not execute the judgment of the Lord, those who made him supreme magistrate, under God, who have under God, sovereign liberty to dispose of crowns and kingdoms, are to execute the judgment of the Lord when wicked men make the law of God of none effect."
In other words, and in reference to this country of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; the people have the power to topple and make anew the government which has gone astray."
(continued from above)
"From the writings in Lex Rex came the writings of John Locke which made four basic points:
These four points were instrumental in the view with which the American Founders who followed Locke came to conclusion which resulted in the birth of our country."