Romans 13:1 - 7
ESV - 1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
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Yes, unless they contradict with the laws of God. You can find the Laws of God in the Bible. God gave us the Commandments, Judgements, percepts and His Word to keep things straight. Condensed, He said, "Love God" and "Love Man". We could not keep His laws, so He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as His Scraficial Lamb that through His blood we may have eternal life. God never changes, so His laws are above men's laws.
"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." If you read Romans 13:1-7 carefully, you will see that the "powers" are supposed to be good powers. Paul is talking about "God's ministers." Can the government in today's world be called "God's ministers"? No. Proverbs 8:15 By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; Proverbs 24:21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials, Daniel 2:21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. The Bible clearly tells us to only obey the governing authorities that are GOOD.
Paul is rather clear here, and it appears from this statement that there is to be no exception to this. God places these people in authority over you and it does not matter in the least if they are following God's law or not. All three of the previous answers seek to find some exception to this because Christians have always chafed at the need for such obedience (and clearly even the apostles did not always fully submit as in the example given by Mr. Houdmann, but there is really little to no room for argument here once one learns and begins to apply God's law -- something Christians really don't do since they would rather nail the law (not its penalty (handwriting)) to the cross. In the case cited by Mr. Houdmann this was a matter of contradictory orders by the judges of the Sanhedrin as well as counter to a direct command from Jesus. The temple leaders were speaking of the verdict from a previous trial. However, in that trial they would have evoked the law found in Leviticus 5:1 in which a judge calls any witness to come forward and provide testimony to the matter before the court. By that law anyone having witnessed the matter and refusing to testify is held guilty before the court and before God. His penalty would be the same as that of the malicious witness found in Deuteronomy 19:16. This would be a very serious matter because if the penalty of the crime being investigated is death the witness could be liable for a death penalty if he withholds evidence. So here you first have a judge demanding a witness give evidence, then demanding the evidence be withheld when it is discovered that evidence convicts the judge of the most serious of sins. Furthermore, Jesus had just recently commissioned the apostles to go preach (give evidence) before the entire world. God is the supreme judge, so in this case the apostles had to defer to the higher judge. This law is also part of why Jesus was silent in his trial before the Sanhedrin until he was "adjured" to give witness. Once that command was given to remain silent concerning any evidence to the matter at hand would have condemned him before God and man. To fulfill the law he had to speak. Yet there is another, possibly greater, matter that you must also consider when deciding if you have a right to rebel against the ungodly authorities who are placed over you. In this case the disciples had not been disobedient to God in any way, so they remained under God's direct authority. This was very often not the case with Israel and Judah, and is less often the case with the rest of the world. These (along with the church) are in open rebellion against God in many ways. Have you ever heard a pastor or other church official say, "Well this is our tradition even though it is not something the Bible tells us to do"? This is often said about doctrines that directly contradict scripture and even if it isn't it is still blasphemy, placing the traditions of men over the word of God. Of this every person, every denomination is guilty in some way. When we rebel God has the right to sell us into slavery to worldly authorities as he did many times in the book of Judges and later sold Israel to Assyria and Judah to Babylon. The legal basis for Paul's statement in Romans 13 is found in Jeremiah 25 among other places. Here God told Judah he had sold them and all their neighbors to the Babylonians since they preferred gods other than him. They were to obey them and serve Nebuchadnezzar, "My servant," until the time of their sentence was up. Later he revealed to Nebuchadnezzar and confirmed to Daniel that this "head of gold" was only the first of many parts of the beast system to which he had sold them. Until they were brought to repentance they were to serve these masters as obedient servants and failure to do so was rebellion against God bringing more severe penalties.
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