Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. You say the Bible doesn’t teach civil disobedience! I would like to see you explain the acts of Jesus Himself when He drove the money changers out of the Temple. Why wasn’t He arrested for civil disobedience?

Today we have laws against gambling. Yet various churches hold bingo parties and the police do not raid them. I am certain that if I went into the churches and overturned the bingo tables, I would be jailed or fined for destruction of private property, and most certainly arrested for disturbing the peace.
A. Jesus never once encouraged civil disobedience! Consider these facts. Nicodemus was a religious ruler a member of the 70-man Sanhedrin in the Jewish religion (John 3:1). Yet Nicodemus addressed Jesus as Rabbi, meaning “Master.” He recognized Jesus as one sent with authority from God. Nicodemus said: “We (the Sanhedrin officials) know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2).

The Sanhedrin members recognized that Jesus had God’s authority, at least equal to the prophets of old. All through the gospel accounts they called Him “Master,” “Teacher,” “Rabbi.” Those Jewish rulers recognized that Jesus had the right to exercise authority in their house of worship. On occasion they asked Him to read and expound the Scriptures in the synagogues (Luke 4:16-19).

Jesus had the right as a Teacher to instruct and to exercise authority in the Temple! When Jesus drove out the money changer, He was doing neither more nor less than exercising His responsibility in purging corruption from God’s house of worship.

Jesus, as One whose authority was acknowledged, was not civilly disobedient. He was enforcing civil obedience which was His prerogative as a recognized authority in Jewish religious matters. Jesus instead drove out those who were practicing civil or religious disobedience. He put a stop to that particular civil disobedience!

The Jewish authorities were afraid to stop Jesus because they knew He was in authority, and they knew both the law of God and civil law were on His side.

Today, if civil authorities allow churches to have bingo games, they are not civilly disobedient when having such games. Any private individual who presume to go into a church building and break up a private party is himself civilly disobedient. He is invading private property without authority, which both the law of God and civil statutes condemn. He is not only liable to civil prosecution for disturbing the peace, but is also under God’s condemnation for meddling in other people’s matters. God commands: “let none of you suffer as a busybody in other men’s matters” (I Peter 4:15). God warns the world: “Every fool will be meddling” (Prov. 20:3); and “He that meddles with strife belonging not to him is like one that takes a dog by the ears” (Prov. 26:17).

Now is not God’s time to forcibly stop the errors of this world. God, during this age, allows each religion to proceed in error if it so chooses. But the time is coming when Christ will return to earth to enforce the truth. He will teach all men to put aside their errors and learn His ways of honesty, peace, happiness and righteousness. In the New World to come there won’t be anyone looking for excuses to brawl, riot and destory! There will be obedience to Law!
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