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Can a God follower initiate rebellion against a State?

 
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mohammad



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
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Post Post subject: Can a God follower initiate rebellion against a State? Reply with quote

In routine government functioning, no doubt every religion and common sense dictates the same i.e. obedience for authorities as in Quran: ATEULAHA WA ATEHUR RASUL WA OLEL AMAR MINKUM (obey God, then prophet and then the authorities among u). So ?give Caesar what belongs to him" is generally the course of life in every society. For example note
    And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey God and His Apostle. And God only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless. (Quran 33:33)
But the issue arises, what if the authorities are oppressive, what if a country is over run by some outsider hostile nation?

Here comes difference of opinion. Quran simply says: FAIN TANAZATUM...... (If there is dispute between authorities and common man, seek guidance and turn the matter to Allah and prophet), this very broad instruction led to different interpretations. Sufis and some clergy, associated with DARBARS interpreted that authority is given by Allah so it must be obeyed and even if crimes of government are evident, Allah will avenge himself and common man should never stand against sitting ruler.

The other opinion is that it is the duty of faithful to stop any wrong deed with his hand. So, as a result we have rebellion movements, Assassins as in 12th century (named as Hashishin-Qila-ul-Mout etc) or suicide bombings of today. We all know that these acts are approved by religious authorities with Fatwas as they are declared "as acts of struggle for independence"

Can you share with us what is the teaching of the Bible on this topic?

Thank you,
Mohammad.
Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:22 pm
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omar
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Joined: 30 Jul 2006
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Post Post subject: Reply with quote

The entire Bible is consistent that God is sovereign over all human authorities and we must work within its context, even if they are evil. God is the avenger, we must not avenge. Here are some scriptures that reflect this teaching.

    10"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" 11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." (John 19:10-11)

    1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Romans 13:1-7)
Note the above teaching was clarified by the Apostle Paul when he was in jail for teaching the message of Christ, and Christians were being killed for being followers of Christ all over the world, specially in Rome. During this time Neero was Caesar ruling Rome and he burned Rome and blamed it on the Christians, and in his palace garden, he would dip Christians in wax to light his garden.

Here are some scriptures of what we can do when the authorities are ?evil?. No place does the scriptures teach that we can use force or evil methods to accomplish good ? no matter how evil the governing authorities.
    17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay, "says the Lord. 20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
Now, lets see what reference is Apostle Paul is making when his refers to the Taurat scriptures when he says ?it is written? , From:

    35It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them."?.. 39See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. 40 I lift my hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever, 41 when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. 42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders." 43 Rejoice, O nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people. (Deuteronomy 32:35,39-43)
Now, let us take a look at how we may respond with specific examples from scripture:

    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

    Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:12)

    When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:23)


    3They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day?. 18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:3,18-20)

    57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep. 1And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. 1 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Philip in Samaria 4Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. (Acts 7:57-8:4)

    11To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (1 Corinthians 4:11-13)
Hence, if we rebel, we are rebelling against God, even if the authorities are evil. Now we are to trust God and do the right thing. If the authorities are ?evil? and doing injustice we may ?disobey? the law and pay for the consequences within the law, but we have no right to take ?power? into our own hands and use any force or evil means. The ends do not justify the means. God will avenge any wrong done to us. But we are to do right at all times and as a result we may end up being persecuted. Note two examples from Prophet Daniel :

    6 So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: "O King Darius, live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den. 8 Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered?in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed." 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing. 10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: "Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions' den?" The king answered, "The decree stands?in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed." 13 Then they said to the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day." 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. 15 Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, "Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed." 16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!" 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. 19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?" 21 Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king." (Daniel 6)

    4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." 7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! 10 You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon?Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up." 13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3)
Hence we see that according to the Word of God, we are to overcome Evil by Good. We may disobey if that is against God, but we have to respond with good, never evil. Nothing we may do must violate the Law of God, as Jesus so clearly summed it in these passages:

    21?Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."?.37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22)
I hope this clarifies the consistency in the whole of the Bible regarding the point that there are no circumstances that we may bear arms to overcome evil individually. The right to bear arms and overcome evil only resides with the State as mentioned earlier, and repeated here:
    3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (Romans 12:3-4)
Sincerely,
Omar
Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:32 pm
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