By Chuck Baldwin
May 10, 2012
Let me start with a story. A man who had survived the great Johnstown
flood died and went to Heaven. And not long after, all of the
inhabitants of Heaven were allowed to take center stage and tell
everyone about the most significant event that had happened to them
while on Earth. The man couldn’t wait to tell everyone about his
surviving the great Johnstown flood. After a long wait in line, it was
finally his turn. The man was so excited to tell everyone his story.
But just as he was climbing the stairs to the platform, an angel
leaned over to him and whispered, “Don’t forget; Noah is in the
I am reminded of that story when I read the Scriptural passage in
Hebrews 12: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so
great a cloud of witnesses.” The witnesses the Apostle speaks of are
the great champions who have gone on before us, which are mentioned in
chapter eleven. Included by implication in the great “Hall of
Faith” of Hebrews 11 are the three young Hebrews: Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego (verse 34, “Quenched the violence of fire.”)
So, what was it that got these three young men included in this list
that along with the likes of Abraham, Moses, and David? You’ll find
their story in Daniel chapter three. In a nutshell, they refused to
bow down to the image of the king. In other words, THEY DISOBEYED A
CIVIL GOVERNMENT THAT HAD BECOME TYRANNICAL. And for refusing to
submit to the king, they were thrown into a burning fiery furnace.
Come to think of it, many of the people named in the Hebrews 11
“Hall of Faith” got there because of civil disobedience. Speaking
of Moses, the Scripture says, “By faith he forsook Egypt, not
fearing the wrath of the king.” So, when did Moses forsake Egypt?
When he killed the Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew slave
to death. That’s when!
Rahab is also mentioned in this Biblical “Hall of Faith.” Who was
Rahab, and what did she do? She was a prostitute who lied to
government soldiers and helped the Hebrew spies escape the city of
Jericho. Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthae are also listed. Who are
they, and what did they do? They were men who led armed rebellions
against oppressive governments to which they had been subject.
Daniel is inferred in Hebrews 11 when it says, “Stopped the mouths
of lions.” What did he do? He refused to submit to his civil
government when commanded to not pray aloud (for only thirty days).
And for refusing to submit to his government, he was cast into a den
of hungry lions. Yes, God delivered Daniel from the lions and the
three young Hebrews from the burning furnace of fire. But the point
is, they each DISOBEYED civil government, and God brags on them for it
in Hebrews 11.
So, what are all these “Romans 13-ers” going to say to Daniel,
Moses, and Gideon when they get to Heaven? What are they going to say
to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? What are they going to say to
those men who “overthrew kingdoms” (Heb. 11:33), “waxed valiant
in combat” (vs. 34), and “turned to flight . . . armies”?
(Armies are government-sanctioned, government-supported,
government-ordered entities–vs. 34.)
I cannot count the number of times I have heard some TV or radio
preacher say something to the effect, “Well, I’m glad we were
given freedom here in the United States, but our Founding Fathers were
wrong to rebel against the British Crown. According to Romans 13, they
should have submitted to King George.” Barf! Gag! Spit! What
To all of the Romans 13 Pharisees out there, I say, if you are really
going to believe and preach that garbage, at least be honest enough to
stop celebrating Independence Day on July 4. It was the day when men
became traitors to Great Britain and officially declared a
revolutionary war. And stop flying the Stars and Stripes in your
church auditoriums. It was the flag of rebellion. How dare you say
America’s founders violated Romans 13 in one breath and with the
next breath say you thank God for the freedom that was purchased AT
THE SACRIFICE OF THE BLOOD OF THE MEN YOU SAY VIOLATED ROMANS 13!
Pardon me, but I just cannot think of anything that is more
hypocritical than that!
And remember this about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: it was AFTER
they disobeyed their king and were thrown into the furnace of fire
that they met the Son of God. It was King Nebuchadnezzar who said,
“I see four men loose . . . the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Think about it: where did Moses meet the Lord? In the wilderness by a
burning bush after he had defied Egyptian tyranny by killing an
Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew slave to death. Where did
Gideon meet the Lord? In a threshing floor as he willowed his grain in
defiance of evil civil authority. When did Stephen meet the Lord? When
political and religious leaders were stoning him to death for refusing
to submit to their iniquitous injunctions. And think of this, too:
where did the Lord Jesus meet man? On a bloody Roman cross–being
placed there by the civil and religious rulers of His day.
Most Christians today are looking to meet the Lord in a heated or air
conditioned church sanctuary with padded pews and ornate windows, with
an orchestra playing and a choir singing, and fried chicken waiting
for them after the service. But that’s not where you’re going to
find the Fourth Man.
When you resist the religious Pharisees who are trying to intimidate
and coerce you into submitting to their legalism and tyranny, then you
will see the Fourth Man. When you resist the power establishment that
demands that you accept their politically correct philosophies and
ideologies, then you will see the Fourth Man. When you refuse to be
bought, bribed, or bullied by the “good old boy” network that
seeks to control you, then you will see the Fourth Man. When you
resist your family and friends who try to shame you into abandoning
the principles of liberty and freedom that God, Himself, has planted
in your heart, then you will see the Fourth Man. When you are
threatened and persecuted and you say, “I must obey God rather than
men,” then you will see the Fourth Man.
Do you really think you’re going to find the One who went to a
bloody cross in a meadow of roses? The only roses He knew were the
ones whose thorns were smashed on his skull. You won’t find him in a
garden, unless it’s the Garden of Gethsemane. You’ll find the One
who went to the Cross in the same place that Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego found Him: in the Burning Fiery Furnace.
God said told us that when we pass through the floodwaters, and when
we walk through the fire, we would find Him to be with us. (Isaiah
Of course, let me be careful to say that real Christians are
peacemakers. They desire to live a quiet and peaceable life with their
neighbors, their civil authorities, and even with other nations. They
readily recognize and respect lawful, God-ordained authority. But, at
the same time, they will not surrender that which is holy and give it
to swine! They absolutely will not become toadies for unlawful
government that attempts to usurp the God-given authority and
jurisdiction to which it has been divinely assigned!
I am often reminded of this quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “There are,
I am sorry to say, many Temples in our midst in this country which are
no better than brothels.”
Gandhi’s quote could be said of many so-called churches in America
today, for they, too, have become little more than glorified brothels
that pimp for the government. “Submit! Obey! Don’t resist!” they
constantly preach. I wonder what they will say one day to Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego?
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” ~Matythew 5:10-12
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” ~James 1:2-4
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” ~James 1:12