Authority/Subject Relationship

Notes Outline


    1. The original intention of governmental structures: Authority and Government are God’s idea.

26And God said, “Let us make humankind in our image and according to our likeness, and let them rule27So God created humankind in his image, in the likeness of God he created him, male and female he created them. 28And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it… (LEBGenesis 1:26–28)

15May you be blessed by Yahweh, who made heaven and earth. 16The heavens are Yahweh’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of humankind. (LEBPsalm 115:15, 16)

3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet… (ESVPsalm 8:3–6)

    1. The distortion of the image and the corruption of government.

But like Adam, they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me (see Gen. 3). (LEBHosea 6:7)

5And Yahweh saw that the evil of humankind was great upon the earth, and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was always only evil. 6And Yahweh regretted that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was grieved in his heart. 7And Yahweh said, “I will destroy humankind whom I created from upon the face of the earth, from humankind, to animals, to creeping things, and to the birds of heaven, for I regret that I have made them.” 8But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh. (LEBGenesis 6:5–8)

4And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top reaches to the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” 5Then Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower that humankind was building. 6And Yahweh said, “Behold, they are one people with one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. So now nothing that they intend to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand each other’s language.” 8So Yahweh scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth, and they stopped building the city. (LEBGenesis 11:4–8)

    1. Discipline and testing for the sons of man ever since: A curse and death as ultimate limitation. 

Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! (ESVPsalm 7:9)

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. (ESVPsalm 11:4)

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts. (ESVProverbs 17:3)

You return man to the dust, saying, “Return, O sons of man.” (LEBPsalm 90:3)

    1. Promise and Hope for restoration of righteous government upon the earth.

4“As for me, behold, my covenant shall be with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5Your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. 6And I will make you exceedingly fruitful. I will make you a nation, and kings shall go out from you. (LEBGenesis 17:4–6)


3You have tried my heart; you have examined me by night; you have tested me; you found nothing. I have decided that my mouth will not transgress. 4As for the works of humankind, by the word of your lips, I have kept from the ways of the violent. 5I have held my steps in your path My feet will not slip. (LEBPsalm 17:3–5)

    1. As a member of the Jewish nation which was then subjected by God to the authority of Rome, He found himself in the crucible of a divinely preordained plan that required His ultimate trust upon the Father and the giving over of His life at the hands of wicked rulers and governors.  
    2. He stood His ground to overcome the temptation of resistance by restraining privilege and force on the basis of the Scriptures’ witness.

21From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, God forbid, Lord! This will never happen to you!” 23But he turned around and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a cause for stumbling to me, because you are not intent on the things of God, but the things of people!” 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (LEBMatthew 16:21–24)

51And behold, one of those with Jesus extended his hand and drew his sword, and striking the slave of the high priest, cut off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place! For all who take up the sword will die by the sword. 53Or do you think that I cannot call upon my Father, and he would put at my disposal at once more than twelve legions of angels? 54How then would the scriptures be fulfilled that it must happen in this way?” (LEBMatthew 26:51–54)

    1. Let’s keep in mind that crucifixion was the exclusive punishment of insurrectionists!
    2. He set his eyes on a Kingdom beyond this age and on the reality of ultimate authority. 

Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.” (LEBJohn 18:36

10So Pilate said to him, “Will you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you, and I have authority to crucify you?” 11Jesus replied to him, “You would not have any authority over me unless it was given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has greater sin.” (LEBJohn 19:10, 11)

    1. He forgave and prayed for His victimizers.

But Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothes. (LEBLuke 23:34)

    1. In this way, the only wise God who rules above all brought forth the unimaginable wisdom of a crucified King (pardoning the oxymoron!), through whom He would show the world, and the powers that be, the only legitimate way in which authority and subjection are to be implemented in His sight. 


    1. In the waiting for the arrival of God’s Kingdom disciples of Jesus are called to conform to a standard of life characterized by patient endurance and a very unique and set apart way of relating to others. We are not to function like everybody else but embody a life ethic that resembles the cross of Messiah and the certain hope of resurrection and eternal life. We are called to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice.”   

1Therefore I exhort you, brothers, through the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may approve what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God. (LEBRomans 12:1, 2)

    1. As Paul continues his exhortation, he elaborates on by mentioning several significant things that apart from the chapter division are directly interrelated:

14Bless those who persecute, bless and do not curse them. […] 17Pay back no one evil for evil. Take thought for what is good in the sight of all people. 18If it is possible on your part, be at peace with all people. 19Do not take revenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this, you will heap up coals of fire upon his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (LEBRomans 12:14–21)

1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except by God, and those that exist are put in place by God. 2So then, the one who resists authority resists the ordinance which is from God, and those who resist will receive condemnation on themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of terror for a good deed, but for bad conduct. So do you want not to be afraid of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from it, 4for it is God’s servant to you for what is good. But if you do what is bad, be afraid, because it does not bear the sword to no purpose. For it is God’s servant, the one who avenges for punishment on the one who does what is bad. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are servants of God, busily engaged in this very thing. 7Pay to everyone what is owed: pay taxes to whom taxes are due; pay customs duties to whom customs duties are due; pay respect to whom respect is due; pay honor to whom honor is due. (LEBRomans 13:1–7)

“What Paul teaches in this passage has to be understood against the background of the OT itself, in which Israel was instructed, especially in the time of the exile, to respect governing authorities, even to pray for them: Jer. 29:7 (“Seek the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you and pray to the Lord on behalf of it, for in its welfare will be your welfare”).”

    1. This accords with Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy 2:

1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. […] 8I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; (ESV1 Timothy 2:1–8)

    1. In context to severe persecution the apostle Peter also urged disciples as follows: 

11Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 13Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (ESV1 Peter 2:11–17)

    1. Tell the story of meeting the former mayor of my city at the barber shop.  


    1. Despite God’s desire for righteous governance and for every person, including those in authority, to come to the knowledge of the truth, wickedness and corruption continue reaching unsurmountable heights that will undoubtedly come to a final crescendo in the last days. Nothing less than a merciful faithful witness that includes martyrdom will be required from the church.

12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (ESV2 Tim. 3:12–13)

9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?11Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (ESVRevelation 6:9–11)

    1. Encouragement for moms: A provoking witness from the Jewish martyrological tradition that calls us to steadfast allegiance to God, His ways and His Messiah, even unto death. 

20The mother was the most amazing one of them all, and she deserves a special place in our memory. Although she saw her seven sons die in a single day, she endured it with great courage because she trusted in the Lord. 21She combined womanly emotion with manly courage and spoke words of encouragement to each of her sons in their native language. 

22I do not know how your life began in my womb, she would say, I was not the one who gave you life and breath and put together each part of your body. 23It was God who did it, God who created the universe, the human race, and all that exists. He is merciful and he will give you back life and breath again, because you love his laws more than you love yourself. 

24Antiochus was sure that the mother was making fun of him, so he did his best to convince her youngest son to abandon the traditions of his ancestors. He promised not only to make the boy rich and famous, but to place him in a position of authority and to give him the title Friend of the King. 25But the boy paid no attention to him, so Antiochus tried to persuade the boy’s mother to talk him into saving his life, 26and after much persuasion she agreed to do so.

27Leaning over her son, she fooled the cruel tyrant by saying in her native language, My son, have pity on me. Remember that I carried you in my womb for nine months and nursed you for three years. I have taken care of you and looked after all your needs up to the present day. 28So I urge you, my child, to look at the sky and the earth. Consider everything you see there, and realize that God made it all from nothing, just as he made the human race. 29Don’t be afraid of this butcher. Give up your life willingly and prove yourself worthy of your brothers, so that by God’s mercy I may receive you back with them at the resurrection. (GNT2 Maccabees 7:20-29)