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Romans 13

The Right to Choose


“You can fool all of the people some of the time and You can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time.” Abraham Lincoln.

When I first began to talk about government and the Bible in the same paragraphs, I heard people respond with quotes from Romans 13 probably more than any other verse. It Reads:

“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.” Romans 13 1

Of course we should honor true authority, such as our Father and Mother, or others that God places over us (or we go under by contract and agreement), but is that even what Romans 13 is talking about? Have we been completely misled about the meaning of that scripture by Paul?

The Greek word exousia translated in Romans 13:1 as power or authority actually means the "right to choose", the “power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases."1

It is also translated as the word "right" in Revelations.

“Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have [exousia] right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Re 22:14 ...

Paul is simply telling you in Romans 13 that you should remain subject to the better or higher liberty or right to choose.

Exousia is even translated as "liberty" in 1 Corinthians.

“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” 1Co 8:9

The word liberty in this verse is the same word translated power in Romans 13. ...

Which Power?

Dunamis, dunamai, didomi, arche, ischus, ischuros, kratos and energes all appear in the New Testament as forms of the word 'power' but have decidedly different meanings than exousia. ... What would happen if we take the word 'exousia' and translate it "liberty" as we see in 1 Corinthians 8:9 and place it where we find exousia in other of Paul's writings:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher liberty. For there is no liberty but of God: the liberties that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth (opposes) the liberty, resisteth (opposes) the ordinance of God: and they that resist (sets one's self against) shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the liberty? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.” Romans 13: 1,3

Liberty is the power to choose to do something. ...

Which Definition?

No translation of the Bible is perfect because words are not perfect. ....

Even the religiously skewed Strong's clearly states that the word exousia is used in the sense of ability and uses words like "capacity, competency, freedom..." By pointing out that exousia is translated in the King James Bible as power 69 times, authority 29 times, right twice and liberty, jurisdiction, strength once each, we still cannot establish what the prime meaning of the word was when it was written down. ...

Twisting or Straightening?

... There is fairly conclusive evidence that the modern Church has been steadily deluded and deluding others---through many years by either negligence or design, arrogance or ignorance.

To look at how the word exousia was used by the Greeks and Romans in the days of Christ and the authors of those sacred texts we can simply examine the scholars of that era. ...

The Greek Glossary of Aristotelian Terms states that exousia means "right".2

Aristotle actually exemplifies its use in the statement, "The right (exousia) to do anything one wishes..."3

And in Plato's notes "Greek words for freedom (is) eleutheros (liberal/Free), exousia (Freedom/Power to do something), ..."4

Again in Bryn Mawr's Classical Review we see, "Enomaos maintained that we are absolutely masters of the most necessary things (52-53). Brancacci notices that the term used by Enomaos to refer to human freedom is not the typical Cynic one (eleutheria), but exousia, which expresses 'the new concept of freedom in opposition to the already defunct and unhelpful eleutheria'."5

The evidence is clear that exousia does not mean governmental top down power, but rather undoubtedly means the right to choose. ...

We know that men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights or liberties. ... governments are created by the hands of men not by the hand of God the Father who desired us to have free choice from the beginning of creation.6 ...

“What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose; the right to create for yourself the alternative of choice. Without the responsibility and exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing.”7

The rights granted to governments are rights first granted to men by God. Governments are not instituted by God, but by men. ... It is the voice of the people8 that rejects God, at least by the suffrage of the people. ...

The Covenants of the gods9 outlines many ways in which we physically become subject to the world, but the reason we fall prey to such ancient schemes is that we fail to love the character of our Father in heaven and the kingdom that comes by obeying His will. Thy Kingdom Comes10 outlines the history of His kingdom. We are slothful and covetous and will not forgive and give of ourselves for the sake of our neighbor.

The spirit and power of the kingdom of God is always at hand. It is not of the world11 of Rome, Egypt, and Babylon but it is on this planet if it is in the hearts of the people....

What does the Bible say about being under tribute in Proverbs 12:24?

“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.”

Yes, we should do as Romans 13:7-8 states:

“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man any thing.”

But how is it that you owe Caesar? Have we sinned already? Jesus was king. The Pharisees said they had no king but Caesar. The apostles said there was another king.12 The Pharisees kicked the followers of Christ out of the system of Corban much like the Israelites were kicked out of Egypt.

Corban was a system of social security and welfare administered through the temple, a government building built by Herod. Contribution were not always freewill offering but were forced by ordinances passed by the Sanhedrin under the Pharisee's influence. These system were ruled by benefactors who exercised authority, one over the other. They made the word of God to none effect.

Mark 7:13 "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

The word tradition is als o translated ordinance.

People go under the authority of Caesar because they apply for the entitlements of Caesar. At that point Caesar gains an entitlement to the people. ... We become merchandise or human resources.13 We go under authority and come under the jurisdiction and power of these rulers.

In Luke 23:7, exousia is translated jurisdiction simply because they use it to describe Herod's right to decide an issue.

“And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.”

Is jurisdiction incorrect here? Doesn't the jurisdiction of government include the right to choose? ...

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1Co 6:12

This quote in 6:12 is consistent with Paul in 1Corinthians 7:21.

"Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather."

... Jesus did not preach a religion, but a kingdom. A form of government whereby people could live together under the perfect law of liberty. ...

“While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” 2 Peter 2:19

...We are to love the ways of God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. ...

Jesus preached His kingdom at hand in one word. In the Epistles of Paul it is translated Charity but in the Gospels of Christ the same word is translated as Love.

Parts of this article were deleted to shorten the presentation. For A Deeper look into ROMANS 13 verse 1, Snared and Hooked, The Fishy Tax Story, The Constitution of God, Deliver thyself from the hand of the hunter, Elements of the kingdom and the parts that were deleted [...] go to:

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1Hebrew-English and Greek-English Lexicons, OnlineBible.com


3Lawmakers and Ordinary People in Aristotle, by Paul Bullen (1996) http://paul.bullen.com/BullenLawmakers.html (VI. 4.1318b38-1319a4)


5Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2001.08.19 On this issue, see S. Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy, Oxford 1998, chap. 6 (not quoted by Brancacci, but listed in the bibliography).http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2001/2001-08-19.html

6Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,... Proverbs 22:26 Be not thou [one] of them that strike hands, [or] of them that are sureties for debts. Isaiah 10:10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;

7Archibald Macleish (1882-1982) Secretary of State under FDR.

11My kingdom is not of this world http://www.hisholychurch.net/sermon/world.HTM

12Acts 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, [one] Jesus.

132 Peter 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.