The Meaning of εξουσιαι - "the Powers that be"
The Bible, when read from cover to cover, is an anarchist manifesto. Romans 13, in context, shows "the State" to be of demonic origin and character. The chapter begins by saying
"Let every soul be subject to the higher powers"
The phrase "higher powers" is sometimes translated "governing authorities," which has the connotation of "legitimate guardians of the peace, wise, benevolent, foresighted, public servants, and community-minded leaders." Or something like that. Rah.
But in the Bible, "the powers that be" are dark, menacing, evil, and malevolent. And "the State" is the product of evil, depraved rebels against the reign of God.
What Romans 13 says (continuing the thought from the previous chapter, Romans 12) is that we are not to resist evil. We are to overcome evil acts, chaos, and tyranny with good deeds, peaceful order, and service.
Here's a website that allows you to search for Greek words in the New Testament. Here are the results for a search of the Greek word in Romans 13:1, "εξουσιαι," "powers" (plural):
|2.||Romans 13||1 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.|
|3.||Ephesians 3||10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,|
|4.||Ephesians 6||12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.|
|5.||Colossians 1||16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:|
|6.||Colossians 2||15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.|
|7.||Titus 3||1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,|
|8.||1 Peter 3||22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.|
There is one passage that seems less clearly demonic: Luke 12:11.
Closer analysis shows the Satanic connection:
|1.||Luke 12||11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:|
Greek New Testament - Univeristy of York
This is a book-length website. Here are some pages which dig deeper into the background and meaning of Romans 13. They explore God's sovereignty over evil, the work of angelic beings in the Providence of God, and the necessity of abolishing evil in the world, especially the State. These are the lost themes of Romans 13.
We recommend reading them in the order below. The first three pages are foundational. The first page helps us cultivate the heart of a servant and Christian non-archist. The second page is critical to understanding Romans 13, and the reader is urged to spend some time perusing the rest of the pages on that site ("TOTAL Predestination"), particularly the pages on "Baalism" and "Radical Calvinism."
- Pray for a Servant's Understanding of Romans 13
- All Evil is Predestined by God
Reading all these verses puts Romans 13 in a completely new context.
- Christian "Anarchism" is Our Goal
For those who would like more detail, especially on the cultural background of Romans 13, the following are useful. These essays were written back in the early 1980's, and have not been revised since. We're counting on the reader being delayed by those first three pages (above) long enough for us to get the rest of these pages edited and revised. As you will discover, there are very few original thoughts on this website. Nearly all our ideas are plagiarized from other writers: Reformed, Dispensational, and even secular. Our contribution is putting them all together for the first time.
- Angels and God's Throne of Government
Providence - God Governs through Angels
- Stars and Idolatry
God Governs the Evil through demons
- Why the State Always Encourages Immorality
Theft, murder, vengeance, fraud, sexual immorality
- Unlucky 13 -- Romans 13, Revelation 13 and Isaiah 13
Isaiah 13 and Revelation 13 say the same thing as Romans 13
The State is evil, but God is sovereign over it.
- A Roman's-Eye View of Romans 13
• The State: The Religion of Man
• The Liturgical State
• The Supernatural State
• The Syncretism of the Universal State
• The Greco-Roman Background
• Views of Babylon, Egypt
• Main Currents in Greco-Roman Statism
• Power (dunameiV, dynameis)
- "Principalities and Powers" - Part One: The Old Testament
• Judaism vs. the Bible
• The Spirit World of Judaism
• Deuteronomy 32:8
• Daniel 10
- "Principalities and Powers" - Part Two: Powers in the New Testament
• German Liberals and Conservative Protestants
• Lords Many and Powers Many
• Exousiai is plural
- Lakes of Fire in "Smoke-Filled Rooms"
• "Demons" (daimones, daimoneV)
• Pagan Demonology
• Christian Syncretism
- Romans 13: The Burden is on the Archists
• Romans 13 is Not a Starting Point
• God's Law is Our Starting Point
• The State vs. the Family: Monopolization of Powers
• Why the Decline of Patriarchal Power?
• If the State is "Ordained," How Can it Be Judged?
- Taxation, "Consent of the Governed," and the Myth of the State
• The Myth of "Representative Government"
• Taxation and Biblical Law - Can the State tax too much?
• Taxation and "Representation" - Did Christians in Paul's day enjoy representation?
• Consent of the Self-Governed
- Why the State is not a "Divine Institution"
• Some Kind of "Christian Anarchism"?
• The State and the War of the Powers Against Supernatural Government
• The State after Nimrod
- Angels and Autarchy
• Angelic Government Before the Cross
• Autarchy and Anarchy
• Angels Watching Over Me
• The Church's Witness to the Angels
Famous Archists in History:
You'll recognize one of those archists above as Adolph Hitler.
Hitler did not kill six million Jews.
Name one Jew whom you can prove Hitler killed.
Six million Jews were killed by
six million Germans
who chose to wear a silly uniform, walk a silly goose-step, and follow the orders of a beyond-silly, pathologically evil man.
These Germans were archists. They were "ordinary people." Just like you.
If you don't take immediate steps to become an anarchist, then by default you'll be an archist. Plus, you'll be unable to resist the temptations, the bribes, the pressure and the threats by archists to become an archist. You'll become an archist just like those rows and rows of "good" Germans above. They are just like you. You are just like them. "Sensible." "Rational." "Practical."