According to Scripture, what are our responsibilities to our governments? The answer is found in the Bible. Joseph and Mary set an example of complying with government census and taxes (Luke 2:1-5). Jesus affirmed their actions to the religious leaders by His command, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…” (Matthew 22:21). Jesus referred to every coin that contained the image and superscription of the ruling power (see Matthew 22:20).

Paul confirms this idea, adding that we should support the government because they’ve been ordained of God to carry out justice. He argues further that we have nothing to fear from government as long as we are law keepers, which makes sense when it comes to civil laws that don’t conflict with God’s law (Romans 13:1-7). And civil law is exactly what Paul was talking about in verses 8 and 9, where he quotes several commandments, assuring us that all are comprehended in the command, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Romans 13:9). The clever point is that Paul not only left out “commandments,” but the ones he left out weren’t covered in, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” So Paul is crafting a strong argument for civil obedience to governments, except when obedience would violate the first four commandments of the decalogue that direct us to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul (Matthew 22:37-40).

…even when uttering a rebuke, Daniel spoke with the spirit of God.

Finally, we’re called to support our governments with prayers (2 Timothy 2:1-2). This last point is probably the most difficult and its failure is apparent wherever negative, demeaning criticism towards government is found and prayer is lacking. Here we could also turn to the Old Testament example of Daniel and his interaction with three government leaders, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius. In each case, even when uttering a rebuke, Daniel spoke with the spirit of God (Daniel 4:19; 5:17-29; 6:1-23).

This biblical instruction will serve well those who face the prophetic fulfillment of Revelation 13 and the mark of the beast, government enforcement of religious “worship” (Revelation 13:4, 8, 12, 15). We might add that the land beast of Revelation 13:11 has two lamb-like horns, which represent Christian principles associated with this earthly power. So, as far as is possible, we should do all we can to support and preserve those Christian principles, even if they are eventually overturned. Amen.

James Rafferty
Co-Director at Light Bearers

James is Co-director of Light Bearers, pastor of the Cascade SDA in Bend, Oregon and president of the North Pacific chapter of ASI. With a special interest in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, James has spent the last 30 years preaching the gospel around the world in revival seminars and evangelistic meetings. He and his wife Risë have two children, Jeiel and Kierra.