And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
~ Deuteronomy 17:12
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
~ Ephesians 5:21
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
~ Titus 3:1
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
~ 1 Peter 2:13-17
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
~ 2 Peter 2:10-11
Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
~ Jude 1:8
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.
~ 1 Samuel 2:8
Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel: And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.
~ 1 Chronicles 28:4-5
By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
~ Proverbs 8:15-16
I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.
~ Jeremiah 27:5-8
And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
~ Daniel 2:21
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
~ Daniel 4:32
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6:13
Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
~ John 19:11
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
~ Revelation 19:16
Powers Ordained by God, by John Calvin. The following text is from his work, “God and the Civil Government”.
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.
With regard to the office of magistrates, the Lord has not only declared that He approves and is pleased with it, but He has also strongly recommended it to us by the very honorable titles He has conferred upon it. To mention a few:
When those who bear the office of magistrate are called gods, let no one suppose that there is little weight in that title. By this, we are shown that they have a commission from God, that they are invested with divine authority, and, in fact, that they represent the person of God, whose representatives they are. This is not a quibble10 of mine but is the interpretation of Christ. “If Scripture,” says He, “called them gods, to whom the word of God came” (see Joh 10:35); what does this mean but that the business was committed to them by God? He appointed them to serve Him in their office, and (as Moses and Jehoshaphat said to the judges whom they were appointing over each of the cities of Judah) to exercise judgment, not for man, but for God.
Wisdom affirms the same thing by the mouth of Solomon, saying, “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth” (Pro 3:15-16). For this is the same as if it were said that human perversity is not the reason why supreme power on earth is lodged in kings and other governors, but it is because of divine providence and the holy decree of Him to Whom it has seemed good so to govern the affairs of men, since He is present and also presides in enacting laws and exercising judicial equity.
Paul also plainly teaches this when he lists offices of ruling among the gifts of God which, distributed variously according to the measure of grace, ought to be employed by the servants of Christ for the edification of the church (Rom 12:8). In that place, however, he is properly speaking of the council of sober men who were appointed in the early church to take charge of public discipline. In the epistle to the Corinthians, this office is called “governments” (1Co 12:28). Still, as we see that civil power has the same end in view, there can be no doubt that he is recommending every kind of just government.
Paul speaks much more clearly when he comes to a detailed discussion of the subject. For he says that “there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Thus, rulers are the ministers of God, “not a terror to good works, but to the evil” (Rom 13:1-3).
To this we may add the examples of saints, some of whom held the offices of kings, as David, Josiah, and Hezekiah; others of governors, as Joseph and Daniel; others of civil magistrates among a free people, as Moses, Joshua, and the judges. The Lord expressly approved their functions. Therefore, no man can doubt that civil authority is, in the sight of God, not only sacred and lawful, but the most sacred, and by far the most honorable, of all stations in mortal life.
Those who desire to introduce anarchy would object that, though in former times kings and judges ruled over ignorant and unlearned people, yet that, in the present day, this servile mode of governing does not at all agree with the perfection which Christ brought with His gospel. By this they betray not only their ignorance but also their devilish pride, for they arrogantly ascribe to themselves a perfection of which not even a hundredth part is seen in them.
But be that as it may, it is easy to refute them. For, when David says, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth,” and “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry,” he does not order these rulers to lay aside their authority and return to private life (Psa 2:10-12). Instead, he commands them to subject the power they hold to Christ, that He may rule over all.
In the same way, when Isaiah predicts of the church, “Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers” (Isa 49:23), he does not tell them to abdicate their authority. Instead, he gives them the honorable titles of patrons of the pious worshippers of God, for this prophecy refers to the coming of Christ. I intentionally omit many passages which occur throughout Scripture (and especially in the Psalms) in which the due authority of all rulers is asserted. The most well-known passage of all is that in which Paul, when admonishing Timothy that prayers should be offered up in the public assembly for kings, adds the reason: “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1Ti 2:2). In these words, he commends the condition of the church to the protection and guardianship of the civil government.
This consideration ought to be constantly present in the minds of magistrates, for it will help to create a strong incentive to the discharge of their duty. It will also give them extraordinary consolation by smoothing the difficulties of their office, which are certainly numerous and weighty. What zeal for integrity, prudence, meekness, self-control, and innocence ought to sway those who know that they have been appointed ministers of divine justice! How will they dare to allow iniquity to enter their courts of justice when they are told that this is the throne of the living God? How will they dare to pronounce an unjust sentence with their mouth when they understand that it is an ordained organ of divine truth? How could they in good conscience sign ungodly decrees with a hand that they know has been appointed to write the acts of God?
In short, if they remember that they are the representatives of God, they must watch with all care, diligence, and industry, so that they may exhibit in themselves a kind of image of divine providence, guardianship, goodness, benevolence, and justice. And let them constantly keep this additional thought in view, that if a curse is pronounced on him who “doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully,” a much heavier curse will fall on him who deals deceitfully in a righteous calling.
Therefore, when Moses and Jehoshaphat urged their judges to the discharge of their duty, they had nothing by which they could more powerfully stimulate their minds than the consideration of which we have already referred, “Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts” (2Ch 19:6-7 cf. Deu 1:16-18).
And in another passage it is said, “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods” (Psa 82:1; Isa 3:14). This is written to spur them on to their duty, for they hear that they are ambassadors of God, to Whom they must one day render an account of the authority committed to them. This admonition certainly ought to have the greatest effect upon them. For, if they sin in any way at all, not only is injury done to the men whom they wickedly sin against, but they also insult God Himself, Whose sacred tribunals they defile.
On the other hand, they have an admirable source of comfort when they reflect that they are not engaged in a profane calling unworthy of a servant of God, but are instead in a most sacred office, for they are the ambassadors of God.
Some refuse to be persuaded by all these passages of Scripture. They speak against this sacred ministry as if it were something abhorrent to religion and Christian godliness. But when they do this, are not they attacking God Himself, Who is most certainly insulted when His servants are disgraced? These men not only speak evil of dignities, but they do not even want God to reign over them (1Sa 7:7). For, if this was truly said of the people of Israel when they refused the authority of Samuel, how can it be less truly said in the present day of those who allow themselves to break loose against all the authority established by God?
But they will declare that when our Lord said to His disciples, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve,” He in this way prohibited all Christians from becoming kings or governors (Luk 22:25-26). Such sly interpreters they are! A dispute had arisen among the disciples as to which of them would be greatest. To suppress this vain ambition, our Lord taught them that their ministry was not like the power and authority of earthly rulers, among whom one greatly surpasses another. I ask you, how can this be used to disparage royal authority? To the contrary, what does it prove at all except that the office of civil government is different from the apostolic ministry?
Besides, though different forms exist in civil offices, yet there is no difference in the fact that they must all be received by us as ordinances of God. For Paul includes all together when he says that “there is no power but of God,” and even the least pleasing of all was honored with the highest testimonial—I mean the power of one. When a single person rules, everyone else is in subjection to that person. This form of government was formerly disliked by heroic and more excellent natures, but Scripture expressly affirms that even this is given by divine wisdom. It is by God’s wisdom that “kings reign” (Pro 8:15). We are also specifically commanded “to honour the king” (1Pe 2:17).