How should we respond to evil governments? We know that the Bible often tells us to Fear the Lord and follow him. We need to be on God’s side of a response. Let’s start by looking at various situations and scriptures. First off, in America as Christians in America to follow the government means we are on the side of the constitution and the governing documents. Those founding documents give us religious freedom and the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Those forces wishing to overthrow and destroy our constitution and government have taken control of almost every area of American life. So while an evil government that violates it’s own constitution has taken hold-I believe we are bound to first obey God and second our rightful government (the constitution). The reasons why it may be right for a Christian to civilly disobey, separate, flee, resist, or secede from an evil government. 1. God’s law is above man’s law. If a government commands or forces us to violate God’s law we cannot follow. Some examples could be demands to stop preaching against homosexuality, commands for pastors to have to perform such marriages (in the US has happened), commands that would force doctors to encourage or perform abortions, commands to stop preaching the gospel, etc. Scriptural examples of these are many. Peter, Paul, and the apostles continued to preach when told not to. Daniel continued to pray and worship God when the government told him it was against the law. These verses come after the apostles had been arrested for refusing to stop preaching the gospel.Acts 5:28-29 saying, e“We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you fintend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, g“We must obey God rather than men. 2. Secondly, God instituted government for our good. The institution of government is always good-while those in power of government are often evil. It’s always right to operate within the laws to try to make the government more godly. We should seek to put Godly people in power or people who will uphold justice (Ex. 18:21, Deut 1:15-16). God is against lawlessness and evil and cannot be in favor of those evil actions in government. The Bible says the government is to bring wrath on those who practice evil (Rom 13:4). In Isaiah it laments perversions of justice. God is ultimately opposed to evil rulers (Isaiah 1:23-26, Isaiah 10:1-3).
We are generally to obey rulers (Titus 3:1, Romans 13), but protection of an innocent life in defiance of the government is described as faith and this was done by defying and hiding from the government. Hebrews 11:23 “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the kings edict”. They violated the king’s command to save Moses and it was commended.
God appears to want people to intercede in times of injustice and oppression. We are to defend the oppressed, poor, needy, weak, and vulnerable.
Isaiah 59:15b-16a The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
Psalm 82:3-4 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Proverbs 31:9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
This application seems to surely apply to something like mask mandates, vaccine mandates, or unlawful lockdowns. Our body is God’s temple and we are to protect the health of our families. If we are convicted and believe that the masks, vaccines, or lockdowns would do harm to our bodies or families whom we are to protect-I conclude it’s our responsibility to obey God rather than government and not willingly comply with those orders that would be harmful. Let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind as Paul said and there is plenty of evidence it’s possible those mandates are very harmful to both our bodies and our families.
Self defense even from government has many Biblical examples. This includes defense of homes, families, cities, and peoples. This goes hand in hand with the right to bear arms. The Jews weren’t the ruling class but they were allowed to fight to protect themselves from genocide in the book of Esther. I think we would also be allowed and responsible to fight to protect our families from genocide.
Esther 8: 11 …the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included,
Esther 9:16 Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also gathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they laid no hands on the plunder.
In Esther’s time the people had permission from the government to defend themselves from conflicting orders much as in our time (evil leaders vs rightful constitutional law).
Proverbs 24:11A Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
Additionally, Isaiah 1:23, Isaiah 28:6 speak to these ideas. Abram had no problem rescuing Lot and his people with force (Genesis 14:13-16). In Luke 22:36, Jesus advised His disciples to take swords along with their other provisions. Exodus 22:2, also indicates it is okay to use self-defense.
Nehemiah also had the permission from the king-just as Americans are on the side of the constitution. Nehemiah had local authorities conspiring and perverting justice and had to resist. They took up arms to defend their work and even migrated into one area together. They weren’t overthrowing the entire kingdom-they were preserving their people. This example could be the best Biblical example and closest to America. In Esther they were given permission to rise up and defend against a Jewish genocide.
Neh 4:13-14 So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears,and their bows. 14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
In Chapter 7 the people return to the city and basically migrate or immigrate to the same region. They moved to the same region for reasons of strength and protection. They continued to rebuild and they begin returning to God’s law by reading the law in the public gathering.Other times such as in Ezekiel’s time he told Israel to not fight back because he was against them and judging them and if they resisted they would fall to the sword. If they went into captivity God would spare their life. Where are we now in America? How should we apply Biblical principles to our situation? Ultimately God will not allow any action to succeed if it doesn’t fall within his greater plan and purpose. I conclude it falls within biblical guidance to do what is needed to attempt to protect and preserve families, the body of believers, and communities. We can take actions in good conscience and good faith while leaving the outcome of any efforts in God’s hands.