RESPONSE TO AUTHORITY
The issue of government is one of the most important issues there is. Government has the ability to take a mass of people and unite them into one. It has the ability to bring chaos into harmony, disorder into order. Government has the ability to empower and equip individuals to perform their maximum, even to perform far more than what they could as separate individuals. If one could put a thousand to flight and two ten-thousand, how many more could five or fifty or five-thousand or fifty-thousand put to flight? But the critical element is the uniting factor of government.
Government is to become like God, and this is not meant to be negative. When Yahweh looked down on the sons of men who had built the tower of Babel, He said – “Behold, they are one people, and they all have one language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:6). Their becoming one made them effective to the point that Yahweh said that nothing would be impossible with them. It is said that nothing is impossible with Yahweh (Mark 10:27, Luke 1:37), and the people of Babylon were approaching that same ability. Significantly, this is the same ability promised to those who by faith move the mount of transfiguration – “nothing shall be impossible to you” (Matthew 17:20).
Frankly, this is Yahweh’s goal for man, but not as flesh man who reaches up to God but is earth-based like the tower of Babel, but it is to be accomplished when man becomes one with Him. As Yahshua said – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). This is oneness. Then He adds – “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (vs. 8). But the oneness here is brought about by government – He is the master and we are His disciples.
In this writing we are going to address the matter of responding to government. It would be much simpler if we only had one government to respond to, but the fact is there are quite a number of governments that effect “dominion” over our lives. There is civil government, including federal, state, and local. There is the government of the home and the government of the church, the kingdom of God. Then there are other governments as well. There is the government of our job and the government of organizations and clubs of which we become members. These are all governments that unite us with others and make us one with them. These governments bring order and purpose and effectual results in our lives. But how is it that we can indeed relate to all of these, what we will call, collateral governments? This question is the subject of this writing.
The word “collateral” means “situated or placed side by side (with one another); running side by side, accompanying.” It is like unto parallel. But there is one important difference between “collateral” and “parallel.” Parallel is two things that run side by side but never meet. This is not true with something that is collateral. In this case the two may overlap each other, and when it comes to a response to collateral governments, this is when confusion can arise.
One of the purposes of this writing is to address the matter of how we can respond to the collateral governments of the home and the church, the kingdom of heaven, or frankly any government that collaterally overlaps with the kingdom of heaven.
To do this, we first have to see how Yahweh views the matter of submission, for it is submission that is at the very crux of what might arise as a conflict between two authorities. When faced with two legitimate governments, to which authority do we submit, and what are our options in doing so?
First, the ways of Yahweh are quite consistent and orderly. One of those ways is that His creations are often in threes, or one could say in trinities. To begin with, He Himself is a trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He created man as a trinity as well – spirit, soul, and body. And even each of these areas are trinities. The soul is – the mind, the will, and the emotions. And there is the trinity of faith – hearing, believing, and acting. Even as a man is dead when his body ceases to function, so faith is dead when hearing and believing are not followed by acting.
There is the trinity of the word of God, the Scriptures, or even His direct word to us. The word of God is – prophesy, government, and practical. And there is certainly a like trinity in submission.
The trinity of submission is – authority, honor, and obedience. And it is in considering this trinity that we can begin to understand how it is that we submit to collateral governments when they overlap. To understand this, we will consider what will be a most revealing example from the Scriptures – Joseph. By going through this example, as well as others, you will begin to understand each of these three parts.
Joseph was delivered into Egypt by the evil actions of his brothers; but, we read that Yahweh intended this evil for good. Following thirteen years of servitude, he was elevated to being in charge of all Egypt under Pharaoh. Thus, the realm of Joseph’s authority was all Egypt, as he himself served Pharaoh.
After two years his father and brothers and their families came to Egypt to escape a drought. It is here that we begin to see collateral governments. On the one hand, there existed the government of the home. The father, Jacob, was the head of the home; even though his sons were all grown men, he was still the home’s head. The other government was Egypt, and this was the government that Jacob’s family came under in order to escape the drought.
So what would happen if Jacob went to his son, Joseph, and directed him to take certain actions in Egypt? Joseph is commanded by Yahweh to obey his father; so given that command, if it was in truth in total, then Jacob could become the actual head of all Egypt. But here is an important error in that. These two governments are collateral governments; they each exist beside each other, but they have different heads, different structures, and different realms of authority.
There is no question that Jacob had ultimate authority in his home, but his home was the extent of that authority. The government of Egypt was a separate authority, and Joseph was obligated to submit to that authority as well and to serve in that authority for the best of Egypt and in his faithfulness to Pharaoh. And in reality, Jacob was actually even under Joseph when it came to his residence in Egypt. So if Jacob had come to Joseph and requested something per Egypt, he would have then stepped outside of his own realm of authority.
From Joseph’s standpoint, he would have two authorities to deal with – his father and Pharaoh. If Jacob’s request was per the family, then Joseph would have been obligated to listen to and even obey his father, even though civilly he was over him. However, if Jacob’s request was per Egypt, he would have been obligated to serve the best interests of Egypt. The family and Egypt were two realms of authority, and Joseph would have to respond appropriately as a man under those two distinct realms.
So what would Joseph do if his father’s request was not in the best interests of Egypt? His father was an authority in his life, but so was Pharaoh. And since his father’s request was relative to his responsibilities in Egypt, he could not simply do what his father wanted in this specific occasion. Thus, Joseph might seek to honor (the second part of the trinity of submission) his father in some other way. First, he might acknowledge his father’s rightful place and even praise him for the way he had fulfilled that role and express his gratitude. He might even discuss with him his request and help him see how he could not do what he asked, something that he would not do for just anyone, especially someone under his authority. To honor his father, he might even try to come to a compromise position, something that would work for both Egypt and his family. This might even be Yahweh’s way to effect something in Egypt that was for the good of Egypt. Yahweh would use Joseph’s collateral authority, his father, for Egypt’s good. Somehow Joseph, while not being able to obey his father, Jacob, could yet honor him in his place as a collateral authority in his life.
The other option is that Jacob could choose to obey his father. But in his role as head of Egypt, he could only do so if it was consistent with the good of Egypt.
Thus we see relative to this matter of submission the presence of authority, and the two options relative to our response to it – to honor it and to obey it. And it is this matter of collateral authority that not only demands a separation of one’s actions per each of the areas of authority, but also can alter how one might have to respond to one authority per another authority. Let us examine another example so we can better understand this.
In the relationship of a man and his wife, the wife is clearly under the authority of her husband when it comes to the family. But let us say that the husband wants the wife to do something that is civilly wrong. For example, let us say he wants her to falsify some records or, to take an extreme, he wants her to kill someone. Since the woman is under the authority of her husband, and Ephesians 5:24 says that she is to obey her husband “in everything,” is she then obligated to obey him and break civil law, and even God’s law? The answer to this question once again comes back to the issue of one’s realm of authority and collateral governments. There is no question that if the husband asked the wife to do something that did not violate collateral governments, she would be obligated to fully obey. This is within the realm of his authority. But if she is asked to do something that exceeds the realm of his authority and violates another authority, then she too has to consider how, based on the other two parts of submission, she can respond to her authority, her husband. Like our example in Joseph, she too could seek to yet honor her husband, but would not be able to obey him, for she would then be liable for violating a collateral authority/government that she is equally obligated to obey – the civil government or even the law of God. Here again her option could be to seek to honor her husband, but still obey the other authority. And who knows, maybe it would save or bring conviction upon her husband.
But let us take another situation here that is not so clear-cut or evident. Let’s say the wife is a believer and her husband is not, and let’s say the wife wants to go and have fellowship with other believers or study their teachings and the husband does not want it. So what is she to do? This one is not as clear-cut and brings out another important consideration/application of this trinity. On the one hand the husband definitely has authority over his wife; but on the other hand the wife is seeking to find her place within a collateral government – the kingdom of heaven. What is she to do?
Of course she can seek to honor her husband, as she should, and appeal to him. But if she chooses to not obey him on this, she can only do so IF the Authority per the kingdom of heaven directs her not to. Her husband is her head, and Yahweh might tell her to obey him. But Yahweh also has the right to direct otherwise, and as much as she would have to submit to civil authority, she would have to submit to Yahweh’s authority as well. The difference in these two authorities though is that civil government does not operate on the principle of faith, and Yahweh does. Frankly, there is no pat answer in this situation and it all depends on how He directs the woman, what she has the faith to do. Again, faith is hearing, believing, and acting. But, she has both options available per this particular matter – to obey him or not to obey him – for once again we are talking about two collateral governments – the home and the kingdom of heaven. But remember ladies, submission to your husband even when he is wrong has the ability to convert him (1 Peter 3:1-2), and most importantly makes him responsible before Yahweh.
Furthermore, don’t look at this kind of situation, or for that matter any such situation, as an inconvenience or great obstacle, but as an opportunity to do good and to learn and walk in the ways of Yahweh. The situation may be very uncomfortable and you may not know how it is going to work out; but remember, Yahweh knew from the beginning you would be here, and you will learn to trust in Him through it. These are faith builders. Don’t take things personal, but let this be your guide – “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right”(1 Peter 4:19). This is an excellent verse to always remember.
Now let us look at another aspect of this matter of response to authority. I will use some personal examples to address this. We read here – “in doing what is right.” So like Pilate asked – What is right, what is truth in a matter? One of the ways to know is to understand the ways and the government of Yahweh. What you are reading here will hopefully provide you understanding regarding His ways. This is certainly not an attempt to just provide you something that is purely intellectual, but something living, something that takes root in you and continues to grow from your heart.
It is absolutely impossible to try to put yourself in God’s place and figure out what He would do. But one thing He has given us is His government, and that is unchangeable structure. So when we see government, and if that government is being violated, one can have the confidence that something is amiss. Emotions are not reliable, popular opinions are not reliable, personal desires are not reliable, but government is reliable. (That is what courts are all about. They take you back to the law, to structure, to government.) Let us examine a real-life example of this – my family.
For the sake of her physical wellbeing, I sent my second daughter, Rebekah, to live with a Christian family where she was going to work for them in their home. The wife had had cancer and was recovering, and they had a daughter as well. I let her go based on two requirements: (1) the government of our home was to hold all things in common, and, at her offer, she would honor that government, and (2) if I ever called her back home she would come. Most certainly she agreed to these, for they were truths and principles that we all embraced as a family.
But after awhile this Christian family, the elders of her church, and friends, even mutual friends, convinced her that I was a “false prophet” and that she no longer had to keep her vows to me, and that is what she did. She refused to keep her commitments to me. (The term “vow” is used here because it is a scriptural term. One could equally say – a promise, or she gave her word, or to let your yes be yes and your no be no.) After considerable communication and even a personal trip on my part to talk with her about this, she in truth rejected me as her father and would not keep her vows to me, rejecting family government. I have not seen her since, which is almost four years at the time of this writing. Later, my wife, though supporting me at the time, came to the same position and moved out of our home, equally rejecting family government.
Now, the question is – Am I right or am I wrong in my position that both Rebekah and my wife are wrong in what they did? I can most certainly attest that if you went by emotions or popular opinion, I am definitely wrong. All of my previous Christian friends and family support my wife and daughter in their rejection of me as the head of my home. They justify it on the basis of emotions, feelings, opinions, and a compromised and distorted view of the Scriptures, and it is and has been basically motivated as a reaction to what I believe and teach. But what does government say?
Here once again we have collateral governments in operation. There is the government of the family and the government of the kingdom of heaven. To cut to the chase, my daughter (as well as my wife) is in violation of both governments. First, she made vows to her father and he has not released her from those vows. Was this within my realm of authority? Absolutely! As her father I am the one who has the right to bind or loose her vows to me (Numbers 30:2-5). Did the elders or friends have the right to loose those vows? Absolutely not! They do not have the authority as a collateral government to do so. Thus she and they violated the laws of Yahweh – they were lawless. Despite her age, which is always the argument of many, she is governmentally obligated to obeying me as her father and keeping her word.
But the argument has been raised by them that she/they can honor me but not obey me. That is OK IF there is a collateral government that justly overrules me. (This we saw with Joseph and Jacob.) But in this case this does not exist, for the government of the kingdom clearly gives me the authority in my home and says that one is to never break one’s vow (Numbers 30:2-5). So, not only is she violating the government of the home, but she is violating the government of the kingdom of God. Do their elders agree? Do their Christian supporters agree? No! But that does not make them right. They are clearly in violation of the Scriptures, but are blinded by their prejudices. They have no authority to annul my role as the head of my home, which is what they have sought to do. They seek to nullify me as a father and husband because they disagree with me. Thus, they are lawless in their actions. Though they can disagree with me, that does not give them the right or the authority to change or disregard family government. The fact is, they of all people should have honored it. But they are lawless.
Thus we see that the only time in which the two parts of this trinity of submission – honor and obedience – are separable, is when there are collateral governments and one government, especially the higher one, necessitates non-obedience to the other. Otherwise, to honor and to obey are inseparable! You cannot honor a father or a mother and not obey them when they instruct you in things relative to the family.
So am I right in my stance? According to the government of Yahweh I am indeed most right, and in this I, as the father, as the head of my home, take my stand.
Is my wife justified in leaving me? For her to leave me, the only way she justifiably could do so is for a collateral government to be in conflict with me. I have not violated any civil laws in my relationship with her, nor have I violated any of the laws of Yahweh, nor am I in conflict with any of His laws. The fact is she and her Christian friends disagree with me. But that is not sufficient grounds to violate Yahweh’s laws. But as it is written, Yahshua said that many would call Him “Lord, Lord,” but He does not know them. And what is their guilt? They are lawless (Mathew 7:21-23)! The fact is my wife and her counselors have taken a position of lawlessness. This is an inherent problem with Christianity.
Regarding my family, I take my stand on Yahweh’s laws, His government. That is structure, not emotions. I take my stand in doing what is right, and not allowing them to make the government of Yahweh immaterial and mutable and we be found lawless. The government of Yahweh is a standard, it is structure, it is the sturdy branches upon which the true fruit must grow. Anyone who rejects His laws and His government rejects the good fruit, and once again chooses to make the tree in the garden a vine that crawls on its belly in the dust, even as does the serpent. They seek to once again make the tree into a vine, reducing the laws and government of Yahweh into something that is more like unto them – creatures of this cursed earth. I will not modify the government of the family for the sake of their sins, their rebellion, their blindness, or their Christian friends, Job’s counselors.
Now that we have looked at a negative example here, and learned some important truths, let us consider two examples that are positive. Again I will refer to something personal, for frankly it is through these personal experiences that I have learned these truths.
Around 1980 Yahweh called me into the “pastorate.” He clearly spoke to me at that time and said three simple words – “Move to Dallas.” Immediately I placed our home on the market and the first person to look at it was a widow lady, and she wanted it at our asking price. But the elders in the church where I fellowshipped and served did not agree with the move. So what was I to do? What would you have done? On the one hand I had the voice of Yahweh telling me to move to Dallas, but on the other hand the elders told me “no.”
There was only one option for me – I submitted to the elders. Yahweh had placed them as an authority over my life, and by submitting to them, I was submitting to Him. If they were wrong, they would be held accountable, not me. I was obeying, and they were now responsible in this matter. (Remember wives, this is true as well per your husband.) For a year we waited, and finally the elders agreed that we could go and they sent us with their blessings. Quite interestingly though, right after this the church disharmoniously split into five separate groups.
After we arrived in the Dallas area, I eventually had to get a job. Yahweh told me that He was going to teach me the death principle, something that has been a lifelong learning experience. The job was cleaning carpets.
When I applied for the job, my boss asked me to make a one year commitment to him, which I did. But in nine or ten months, a pastor friend whom I very much respected offered me a job at a church that he said was a prelude to a ministry position, which is really what I wanted. When I told my boss about the offer, he reminded me that I had made a twelve month commitment to him. I did not say another word and gave up that opportunity and continued to work for him, actually for a total of fourteen months.
So what can we see from these two situations? In both cases my obedience and submission to authority was Yahweh’s way of establishing His timing and direction in my life. My submission to the elders delayed our move to Dallas for one year, whereupon we once again placed the home on the market and once again it was purchased by the first person who came to look at it, and it was again a widow lady who paid what we asked. Then at the last minute Yahweh also provided a home for us near Dallas that we enjoyed for several years.
And by submitting myself to my boss and fulfilling my word to him, Yahweh kept me from another church split where my pastor friend served that took place shortly thereafter. And not only this, but that carpet cleaning job was the very thing Yahweh used to break my heart for the poor, speak to me concerning the corners of the field, and place me in the ministry that He wanted me in. Clearly, it was my submission to authority that protected me and led me to His timely provision and blessing. These two significant choices were critical Y’s in the road in my life, and Yahweh’s way was guided by my submitting to authority and keeping my word.
In both of these cases there was no conflict of collateral authorities. In each case I was within the realm of a sole government – the kingdom and my job. Thus, to honor meant to obey. I remember a call from a man recently who was complaining about his pastor teaching too much about tithing, and he did not agree with him. He assumed that I would agree with his criticism, but I did not. The fact is, if the pastor was calling him to tithe, then he should have tithed. Government is government, and any pastor has a right to set forth a specific government and make requests. That pastor is responsible for his actions, and will be judged for them, but so will those under his care who disregard him. Concerning all positions of authority, our regard is not for the man, but for the office and the One who established that office. As is true in the military, you do not salute and respect the man, but you salute and respect the office! Even when the pastor is wrong, as you saw in my own example, Yahweh uses it for good.
If you find it impossible to submit to a pastor or elders, then if Yahweh so leads you, you can go to one to whom you can submit. But guard your heart and never leave a church or even come out of Christianity unless you know you have Yahweh’s leading. Per the Bride, the reason we can come out of Christianity is because Yahweh calls us out – Revelation 18:4-5. We, of great necessity, leave the authority of Christianity, which is under the headship of Satan, and join ourselves to the Bride, and He legally makes the way possible. This is not rebellion, but obedience.
This is the same governmental testimony we find in Acts 5:17-42. The apostles had been Jews under the authority of that religious government, but when Yahshua restored the kingdom of heaven and made possible our entrance into it, they left Judaism and entered into that separate government. So when the angel came to them in the night while they were in jail and released them from that authority, of course they departed, for they were obeying a representative of that collateral government to which they had entered. And when the Sadducees sent officers to bring them back before them and gave them strict orders to not teach these things, the apostles appropriately replied – “We must obey God rather than men” (vs. 29).
My wife’s pastor met with me and asked me to submit to a group of men what I was teaching and let them review/judge it. My reply was governmental. I said that if I was a Christian, I would do so, for elders and pastors would be my authority. However, since I am not a Christian, I not only have no responsibility to do so, but it would be wrong for me to do so. Christianity and the Remnant Bride are collateral governments, and actually Christianity will bow down to the Bride, even as did Joseph’s brothers and as does the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 3:9).
Let us consider another example of the benefit of and even the covering of submitting to authority. Once my father picked me up at the airport at Tulsa, Oklahoma, and while we were there we stopped to look at some new cars. At my father’s encouragement, he made arrangements for me to buy a new car. I drove it off the lot and all the way home back to Texas. But there was something wrong. I knew that car was not mine and struggled with having it. Finally I said – “If this is so right, why does it feel so wrong?” I called my father and told him how I felt and that I had to take the car back. He agreed and paid for the return flight for me after I drove the car all the way back to the Tulsa dealership, which accepted it.
I obeyed the heavenly Father in giving this car up at His urging; I would not hold onto it. But I was under the covering of my father when I did this, and He did not hold this as an error to me. Because of my obedience in this, I have never purchased a car since, and this has been the case for about thirty years. We have driven many cars since then, and some very nice ones, but they have all been given to me. Because I submitted to my father, because I submitted to Yahweh on this point and gave up that car, He has blessed me with cars.
But once again on the negative side, I have not always obeyed authority. In fact it has been my failures that have made me so sensitive to obeying. Like a good hard whipping on the back side, one does not easily forget the consequence(s) of the error.
My first failure to regard authority in my walk with Yahshua made the biggest impact on my life. When Yahweh called me to Him in 1971, shortly thereafter He laid on my heart to begin a Christian coffeehouse near the local college campus. But, I had other plans. I wanted the “security” of a college degree. My pastor at the time was working with me to start the coffeehouse, and when I told him that I was not going to run it but would only help start it, he replied – “If God’s called you to start it, He’s called you to run it.” I didn’t listen to him, and it cost me seven years of my life! I was out of Yahweh’s will for seven years, and the realization of that failure forever fixed within me the uncompromising desire to never miss Him again! And how did I miss Him? Because I was too independent and ignorant to carefully regard and submit to His ordained authority over me. Yahweh spoke to me through my pastor, but I would not listen. Yahweh speaks through authority, and even other people, and we will miss Him if we do not learn to listen, especially to authority.
When we moved after graduating from college, my father gave me some very brief counsel; he said it one time. In both cases these two men did not press me to listen to them. Like the wind gently blowing in the tops of the trees wherein Elijah heard Yahweh, they did not repeat themselves. One has to learn to listen for Yahweh, for He seldom speaks loudly. My father told me that when I went to our new location, I should not buy a home but rent. I didn’t listen to him and bought a home. So, we got what we came to call the “mouse house.” It was mice infested, scorpion infested, too little, an altogether ill experience, and to make it brief, we were absolutely miserable in that house for the year we had it before we could get back into harmony with my father’s counsel and rent. When we rented, our lives became far more fulfilling! Yahweh was teaching me to obey my father.
We did finally buy a home later with Yahweh’s blessings, and on an occasion when my father was visiting us, I laid my head in his lap and bawled like a baby, and made a solemn commitment to him that I would never see anything wrong in him. Never would I ever criticize him or fault him, though he was not a perfect man. But I would honor him. When I was very young, probably around eleven or twelve, my older brother entered into his rebellious years and I saw the hardship and sorrow that it caused my father. I made a vow then that I wanted to live my life in a way that would make my father happy. By Yahweh’s grace I never rebelled against him. I loved him and desired to honor him.
When I entered into the ministry to the poor in 1981, for eleven or twelve years I saw the hope of a sought facility for the poor come and go. One day when we were at my parents, my father expressed his concern at the amount of time that this work was taking, and I still did not have that which I was pursuing. Immediately I placed before him all the work I had put into this and told him that if he wanted me to lay it down, I would do so. But he didn’t. Right after this I was given the use of a ranch where we built a home for women and children; the fulfillment of all of those years of work finally came about. But first, I had to place it into the hands of the one who had the authority in my life to give and to take away – my own earthly father.
Like with Abraham, Yahweh used this to circumcise this work, and in so doing He fulfilled the promise. He used my earthly father to be the way I could give this long sought and yet-unfulfilled work to Him. By submitting this work to my earthly father, my heavenly Father fulfilled it.
Herein we see an example when two collateral authorities were operating in harmony, wherein Yahweh used the honoring of my earthly father in one realm, to effect His fulfillment in the heavenly kingdom realm. This was complete trust on my part that Yahweh would work through my father. This is what I have come to call my “God circle.” How big is your God? If you will not allow Him to use other authority in your life to speak to you and to direct you, then you have a very small God. Your God is only as big as you. You in fact limit Him in you. But I include others in my God circle. And the more I include for Him to use to speak to me, the bigger my God becomes. No man is complete in himself, and you will never be complete until you let Him direct you through others. Open your God circle and invite others to come in, so that He can more fully express Himself in and through your life.
My father was always in my God circle. If I made an important decision that affected the family, the extended family, I went to him. My pastor and elders were in my God circle. Brothers were and are in my God circle. My boss was in my God circle. People that I serve in my work are in my God circle. I let God work through people. That makes Him bigger in my life and makes me more complete and trusting. No man is complete in himself. Who are you going to let into your God circle? If you do not let authority in, then your God is little.
As a father and husband, I recognize that there needs to be a process whereby my family can appeal to me to change my position. Likewise, the elders at the church where I was attending and serving who kept me from moving the first year, also changed their minds a year later when I appealed to them.
When my son went to college, he called me and made a request of me. But upon considering it, I denied his request. However, a week later he re-presented his request. I realized that it was more necessary for him than I first considered and granted it. The appeal process is quite viable; even our legal system has appellate courts. If a person’s heart is right, an appeal is most welcomed. But there are some times when appeals must be rejected. In the existing case with Rebekah, I will not and cannot compromise the position I have had to take. I did all of my compromising up front when I was trying to save the relationship but was rejected. So at some point the rejection of an appeal simply has to be accepted. That is the nature of authority. You may not like it, but that is the way it is and that is the discretion and responsibility of authority.
In my own case I have even delayed a request just to see how much a family member really wanted it. In the Scriptures, that is called endurance. Three times Elijah told Elisha to stay behind, but he persevered on with the prophet. Eventually Elijah told Elisha – “You have asked a hard thing,” but he received it! This is even the kind of endurance that Yahshua said to have when praying, the ultimate appeal process. Read Luke 11:5-10 and 18:1-8. But on the other hand, don’t be a nag either, even as it warns in Proverbs 21:9 and 19 and 27:15.
There is no pat answer in this matter of an appeal versus accepting authority. If you push it hard enough, you might even get something that you later wish you did not receive. Consider Balaam. Walking with and obeying Yahweh is a learning process, a walk – one step at a time. The most important thing is to have a heart of submission and a desire to do the will of the Father, and the appeal option works itself out. If you tend to be rebellious, you probably just need to learn to submit. But the appeal process is open to the pure of heart who are truly seeking Yahweh’s will.
As was said earlier, this writing is not an attempt to give you something purely intellectual, but something living, something that takes root in you and continues to grow from your heart and produce good fruit. If you are trying to figure a way out of authority, you’re the very person who needs it. One who submits under authority has learned to draw a healthy God circle and is coming to know and to walk in the will of the Father.
The purpose of authority is best seen in the first instance in which it is set forth in the Scriptures – in the garden of Eden. Relative to the government of the home, we see that when Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Yahweh placed upon the woman both a curse and a protection. The curse was that in bearing children she would have pain. The protection was that her desire would be for her husband and he would rule over her (Genesis 3:16). Some might assign the dominion of the man over the woman as being a part of the curse, but it is not, any more than a woman having a desire for her husband is in any way a curse.
Why did the woman fail in the first place? 1 Peter 3:7 tells us that the woman is the weaker vessel. 1 Timothy 2:14 reminds us that the woman was quite deceived, while the man was not deceived. Thus in order to protect the woman, Yahweh caused her to desire her husband and placed her under his government.
Thus we see that the first ever purpose of established government was for protection, guidance, continuance in truth, and deliverance from evil. This is echoed in Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”
Is government perfect? Yes, government is perfect; but man who fills those places of governing is not. But these imperfections in man do not justify throwing out Yahweh’s established government. The answer to inherent failures is not to change the government, but to improve the governing. Despite the fact that there are flaws in the military, there is no way a military could effectively operate without established authority. Yahweh is the one who set up the home and the church (and for that matter civil governments – Romans 13:1-2), and the one who wants to alter that government is, once again, wanting the tree to crawl on its belly like a serpent, becoming lawless. This writer is not making a case simply for the sake of authority, but for the sake of that which is right and is proven to work.
In the last writing, 2004 Year-end Report, page 2, we noted that Yahweh uses evil to effect good. This is true in government as well. Recently the United States carried out attacks on two nations in order to stop an evil that was taking place. But from a standpoint of government, Yahweh used an evil – war – to accomplish good. Yahweh did not take government away from Afghanistan or Iraq, but He replaced tyrannical oppressive governments/rulers. Frankly, this is what happens when Satan is overthrown. He has been the prince of the world and has dearthed the people. Yahweh is the one who establishes and tears down governments and nations (Acts 17:25-26), and He will tear down the oppressive government of Satan.
Even in my own case, the only reason I have been able to see many of the truths that you are reading here is because of the evil that has come upon me through and by my family and Christianity. This was equally true once before when Kyle Nixon afflicted me, and out from the rock came the waters of the writing, Joab, which also deals with this matter of the government of a father. Unfortunately, Yahweh uses evil to accomplish good.
Let us emphasize again that this writing is not intended to bring one to just an intellectual formula. All of this is about learning to walk in the ways of Yahweh, and it is just that – a walk! It is learning to put one foot in front of another, one step at a time. The end in all that is presented here is one thing – to do the will of the Father, to walk in His ways. But we see that His way is formed on the framework of government.
In the latter years of my father’s life, I had to do something that caused him sorrow. At Yahweh’s direction, I moved my family to Washington state. He did not oppose it; in fact he helped me load the truck and even rented an additional trailer for us. But my heart was for him and I had to trust that though it would cause him temporary sorrow, in the long run it would provide him exceeding joy.
Only in pure kingdom John do we find Yahshua saying over and over that He did only the will of the Father. This needs to be our heart and will as well. Nothing should take priority over this. Nothing! In order for Yahshua to do this, as most assume, His earthly father was taken away. This prevented any possible conflict between two collateral governments – His Father and His father. Whether you do the will of the Father by obeying your father, or you do the will of the Father by honoring your father and obeying the Father, your heart should always be to do His will. And I must say, it would have broken my heart if I had ever been placed in the position of directly disobeying my father in order to have done the will of the Father. Yahweh never tested me in this, and I do not know if I could have taken it. I am certain that Yahweh molded or expressed in my life the desire to do His will and to give Him pleasure, by first placing in my life the desire to do my father’s will and to give him pleasure. To have had a conflict in this would have been shattering.
Today my father is gone; I watched him take his last breath and kissed him goodbye. His last coherent words to me (he had Alzheimer’s) were – “Gary, you have a beautiful face; Gary, you have a beautiful face.” It was quite amazing he could have even said that, even to know my name. (This is in a writing by that title, “Gary, you have a beautiful face.”) I am glad he is not here now, for he would have been deeply troubled and hurt and would not have understood at all what I have had to go through in the last few years in my life and with my family. It would have troubled me deeply and given me added sorrow. My mother has Alzheimer’s as well and she too is delivered from any sorrow. The desire I had as a young boy to give my father pleasure after seeing the affects of my brother’s rebellion, is now fulfilled in my desire to please my Father, to give Him pleasure. I desire to do nothing but the will of my Father. My heart longs to know Him and to walk in His ways. This is not easy as a flesh man, for we are so limited in so many ways, but my heart and my will is to do His will and to please Him.
And one of the sure ways to please Him and to follow Him is to acknowledge and walk harmoniously in collateral governments and to not be lawless, the very reason Yahshua said He would reject those who, even so, call Him “Lord, Lord” and perform works in His name. Even as His desire is that we be sanctified entirely, “spirit and soul and body” (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and that faith have its complete fulfillment, to hear, believe, and act, so let submission be sanctified entirely and have its complete fulfillment – acknowledging authority, giving honor, and obeying.
Let us close this section by noting some revealing testimonies from the Scriptures regarding authority.
Continue to page 2 of Response to Authority for ELIJAH