I don't fully understand why, but a thought just came to me to re-read the scripture on obeying the "higher powers", found in Romans 13:1-2... For some reason, I was inspired to read it to gain a better understanding of what it was actually saying.
I figured I already knew it was saying, that we are to obey the law of the land, right? Hmm, As I decided to follow the inspiration to re-read that scripture, the question came to me, 'who wrote that, and who were they speaking to'?
The answer is Paul was speaking to the Romans... I know some will say he was speaking to Hellenized Roman Jews, but that is neither here nor there right now in where I'm going with this. What I'm noticing is that no matter whether he was talking to literal Roman, or Hellenized Jews, he was teaching a people who had a gentile mindset. Paul, after all, was the Apostle to the gentiles...
Below I posted the scripture I'm referencing
13 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. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 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. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Many Christian preachers have taken this to mean, you have to obey the law of the land, even if it is the land of your captivity. This sort of reasoning has been used to justify slavery, lynching, police brutality, support for wicked rulers, and many more abominable acts throughout history since the rise of Christianity.
The funny thing is, many Christians do not themselves obey every law of the land when it goes against their own beliefs, or if they feel it goes against what they believe the word of G-d says, yet, they push this as a must do, no matter what, to others who've suffered under the weight of the misunderstanding of this scripture, esp "blacks". I mean, if everything the law of the land, or every power that arouse to oppress was from G-d, and you had to obey no matter what, you would actually be sinning if you didn't receive the mark of the beast if commanded to receive it. If American Christians actually believed you had to obey any and every authority or law of the land, how could they then justify going to war with other nations over the laws of their own lands?
Looking at the scripture, it says, "there is no power but of G-d: The powers that be are ordained of G-d. .. But what powers was he talking about, and to whom was he talking to at the time this was written?Again, I believe Paul was talking to the Romans about obeying the priest and apostles occupying the leadership position in Israel, in whom the gentiles were now being grafted in to.
Examples of "Ministers" in scripture
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
Notice the ministers were the priests, not Presidents or Police!
The Apostles and elders were ordained to execute the law and judgments in the new testament. Israel didn't have police in the same manner as the Romans did. Israel instead had those in higher powers, and authority, who were ordained by G-d to be priest and apostles, to handle the matters of the laws. Paul himself would often take an almost threatening tone with the gentiles he was over.
1 Corinthians 4:21
What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
1 Corinthians 5:5
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
There are also those who are not ordained of G-d, who try to exercise dominion over others, and are the ministers of Satan-
2 Corinthians 11:14-16
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
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: 28
Paul the apostle of the gentiles, was speaking to the gentiles about being orderly and how to conduct themselves with those in authority over them in Messiah. The Citizens under Roman authority already knew their laws and that they had to obey the Roman authorities, Paul had no need to teach them that, but he did have to teach the newly grafted in gentiles who were wild and unruly by nature, how to respect the G-d ordained authority they which was foreign to them. These same gentiles had to be taught basic things such as not eating blood, not to fornicate, not to eat things sacrificed to idols, things the Hebrews already knew. There would now be one law, to the "Jew" and for "Greek".
Love Yah with all your heart, with all your strength, Love your neighbor as yourself , by doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. by doing these, you will have kept the commandments. ..This is also love and it fulfills the law, and there are no laws against these things, except they be made up by ministers of Satan!
Live peacefully with everyone if it is possible! But don't be in bondage to man made rules and traditions concocted to make you a slave to wicked men!