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You Shall Not Speak Evil of the Ruler of Your People

Posted Jun 01, 2011 by Adrian Ebens in Family and Community
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After several years of preaching the gospel Paul feels it his duty to go to Jerusalem, even though he was warned through the prophetic gift that danger would befall him. (Acts 21:10,11) Paul possessed many gifts of the Spirit including the gift of apostleship and the prophetic gift. (Rom 1:1; 2 Cor 12:1-3)

The Christian Church was well established in many parts of the world and was well organized as evidenced by the Council of church leaders in Acts 15 concerning circumcision and the ceremonial laws of the Jews. Paul was a key leader in this movement and one of its most revered leaders.

With this in mind we find a most interesting event at the point Paul was bound and taken to the High Priest Ananias. Luke records the events in the book of Acts somewhere about 60 AD.

Act 23:1-3  And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.  (2)  And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.  (3)  Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?

At this point in the story many would believe that Paul was justified in saying what he did. The leaders of the Jews had crucified Christ and persecuted His followers. They were controlled by evil spirits and had been rejected by the God of heaven in AD 34. Add to this the fact that Paul was fully endorsed by heaven with many spiritual gifts and directly called by Jesus to serve Him. What transpires next is very interesting.

Act 23:4-5  And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?  (5)  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

Paul was not aware that the man he was addressing was the High Priest. This man was both the spiritual and judicial leader of Israel. When Paul is informed of his position, he quotes from Exodus 22:28

Exo 22:28  Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

The first point to consider is that Paul backed down and showed respect for this leader and recognized him as a leader of the people. This man who represented the very person of Satan himself; from the band of men who were guilty of the death of the Son of God; this man, Paul showed respect and courtesy.

Are there lessons here for us?

Our Church put the Son of God to death in 1980 with the statement:

There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. – From Fundamental No. 2 of Seventh-day Adventists

The introduction of the Trinity destroyed the personality of the Son of God and that of His Father. This idea is an idol of man’s imagination and is an abomination to heaven. It is Baal worship of the highest order.

Even as it was around 30 years from the death of Christ till the event where Paul confronted Ananias, even so it is around 30 years from the event where our beloved church crucified afresh the Son of God.

Is it right for those of us who have been called to the light of the Father and His precious Son to speak evil of the leaders of our people? Ought we not show them respect. Yes and much more so for we have not been endowed with all the gifts that Paul had and we are not in a position to speak of an organization that spanned the globe as Paul could boast; and our Father has not given any indication that our Church has been cut off as Israel was in AD 34.

How much more then should we show respect and love for our leaders within the Adventist Church. Do we pray for them and their families? Do we plead that our Father will bless them and grant them wisdom? We ought not to speak evil of the leaders of our people.

The second point that is of interest is the wording of Ex 22:28

Exo 22:28  Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

It states that we should not revile the gods. Most translations render this as

Exo 22:28 NIV Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.

So why did the KJV and some other translations render it “the gods” – The Bible commands us not to even mention the name of other gods nor serve them Ex 23:13

If you look carefully at this word it is the word Elohim (430 in the strongs) which is the word for God. Notice how it is used in a few other places in Exodus

Exo 21:6 Then his master113 shall bring5066 him unto413 the judges;430 he shall also bring5066 him to413 the door,1817 or176 unto413 the door post;4201 and his master113 shall bore his ear through7527, (853), 241 with an awl;4836 and he shall serve5647 him forever.5769
Exo 22:8 If518 the thief1590 be not3808 found,4672 then the master1167 of the house1004 shall be brought7126 unto413the judges,430tosee whether518, 3808 he have put7971 his hand3027 unto his neighbor's7453 goods.4399
Exo 22:9 For5921 all3605 manner1697 of trespass,6588whetheritbe for5921 ox,7794 for5921 ass,2543 for5921 sheep,7716 for5921 raiment,8008or for5921 any manner3605 of lost thing,9 which834another challengeth559 to be his,3588, 1931, 2088 the cause1697 of both parties8147 shall come935 before5704the judges;430and whom834 the judges430 shall condemn,7561 he shall pay7999 double8147 unto his neighbor.7453

The word Elohim can refer to judges and magistrates. Jesus recognized this truth when he said:

Joh 10:34-35  Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?  (35)  If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

So how can magistrates and leaders be referred to as Elohim? Isn’t that blasphemy?

Well obviously it is not because Jesus states clearly “If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came” This means those in leadership can be referred to as Elohim to whom the Word of God comes.

We must question again but how can this be? When we understand that our Father in Heaven is the source of all things and is in all and through all and in you all, you can begin to see that our Father can invest people with His authority; meaning the authority they hold is not their own but is granted to them on behalf of God. This means that to speak against one whom God has ordained is to speak against the source of that Authority. Notice carefully:

Rom 13:1-2  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  (2)  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

There is no power except that comes from our Father in Heaven. Those who are called to lead are representatives of God and lead by His authority not their own.

In our modern world, the word God usually only refers to supreme deity, it only refers to one who possesses in themselves divine power, but the Biblical meaning of the word God includes those who have been invested with authority from God. The implications of this truth are far reaching. I invite you to consider those implications.

So in summary we see Paul, a man clearly called of God and authorized to lead and also correct apostasy as an apostle and prophet. Yet still he shows courtesy and respect for the man who represented those who crucified our Lord Jesus. Let us consider well this story in light of our current circumstances.