Heidelcast 167: As It Was In The Days Of Noah (13): Submitting To Nero

Those who study such things tell us that, across the globe, no religious group is more persecuted than Christians. Those who profess the Christian faith have been all but driven out of Iraq. Christians in China suffer in untold ways. Christian in Nigeria are being martyred in significant numbers. The Christians in Asia Minor (W. Turkey), to whom the Apostle Peter wrote, were suffering too. Some of their brothers and sisters in Rome paid for their faith with their life. In the next century persecution would increase until it reached a peak in the second half of the 3rd century (AD 200s) when there were two major persecutions. In this passage, Peter calls us “strangers and aliens” and also calls us to submit to Pharaoh, as it were. In their case, Pharaoh was Nero, whose behavior was so wicked that it even scandalized the pagan Romans. Still, Peter calls us to submit to such authorities as instituted by God. This is a hard teaching but it is necessary for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.



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Show Notes

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  1. One of the challenges I have found being a citizen of the United States is that the U.S. Constitution and founding documents are the “Supreme Law of the Land.” And they give authority to the citizens to remove any attempt by what they would call “domestic or foreign enemies” from being in power in which such individuals attempt to remove the “Supreme Law of the Land” and the liberties enumerated therein with the aim of establishing a totally different form of government.

    What is your opinion of how Christians should live under the U.S. Constitution and founding documents that govern them above any attempt to overrule them and implement policies and laws that break the laws of the governing rule of the land found in the Supreme Law of the Land?

    Of course, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution and we might add the Federalist Papers according to the original intent of the authors and plain sense of the words should be undertaken in such an endeavor.

    This is a great service that you do. Thank you.

    • Hi Ron,

      I think that we need to help, as we can, Americans to re-learn civics, including our founding documents. I think it is a good thing for Christians to be involved in civil life and civil government. We need Christians studying and practicing law and engaged in shaping policy but we ought to do so mindful that the USA is not the Kingdom of God.

  2. Thank you for outlining the context of Peter, and for describing the two kingdoms to which we belong. This was helpful and provided a lot of clarity, especially in this time as we try and navigate what submission to our governors look like (and the motivation behind our submission during Covid).

  3. Dr. Clark,

    You present the case clearly regarding the civil government as works based structure that has begun regulating our obedience to its edicts. These individuals are anti-constitutional in the administration of civil government. Even though they have crossed the line in terms of the perfect Union the individuals swore to uphold, i.e. establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. When do we say, “no”?

    Regarding any pagan religion of darkness and oppression, saying “no” presents the cost: beaten, locked up, killed?

    Do Christians, elect sojourners, stand up?

    • Catherine,

      Reformed Christians in a democratic Republic may and probably should exercise their civil responsibilities and rights but we should do so graciously, humbly, and not as conquerors. The culture war is not a holy war.

  4. Great replies Dr. Clark,

    “The USA is not the Kingdom of God.” I have said such in various ways and formulations. I consider it a grave danger when any nation is set up as God’s nation. There is only one theocracy. Another danger is when the idea morphs into the establishment of nations uniting to become a global Kingdom of God in an attempt to Christianize the world through wealth distribution and the like. Sort of like a global communism. In the end, it seems little more than a vain attempt to rebuild the Tower of Babble.

    I would suggest we are a Constitutional Republic. The etymology of the words and the original intent of “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” (Article IV, section 4) serves to prohibit the ever increasing redefining of words and thereby changing the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

    “The culture War is not a holy war.” Thank you for that insight.

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