In I Timothy 2:1-7
"all men" means all kinds of men, fathers and mothers, children, husbands
and. wives, poor and rich, Greek and Jew, bond and free, Barbarian and
Scythian. It makes no difference. In the kingdom of God it is no advantage
or disadvantage to be a Jew. There is also neither advantage nor disadvantage
in being a Greek. The elective love of God chooses out of every tribe
and tongue and people and nation, simply because God takes reasons out
of himself, and as the one God-Savior in our Lord Jesus Christ, he has
There are kings and noblemen among all men - not many; not many wise (I
Corinthians 1:26). Timothy does not say, "God hath chosen those
who are poor to be rich in faith." Thus no flesh can glory except in
the Lord; nevertheless, there may not be many rich nor many kings.
Do we sing, "The kings shall come from distant lands and islands of the sea; Oblations they shall bring to him, and wait on bended knee?"
Let's keep this star high! It is the star of the great work
of God in Jesus Christ, in his elective love! It is the work of God
in Jesus Christ as he gathers the church out of every tongue and tribe
and people and nation. I tell you, brethren, it is not an advantage
to be a Dutchman, and there is no disadvantage in being an Irishman!
God didn't save you and me because we were Hollanders in background.
He saved us because he loved us from before the foundations of the world.
He laid out the geography of the world and determined that we were to
be born in a certain country and nation, that He might gather us there
under a certain king.
Now when we pray for kings, we pray for them in the context as they are amongst
"all men", as taught by Paul in I
Timothy 2:1-7! From this viewpoint they are not to be excluded.
We believe that they too are amongst the "all men" that are saved.
There is more. There must be something here in the text which indicates that we are to pray for kings and all who are in authority - the reason? It is that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life!
Those who do not desire to pray for the king, as such, interpret this
to mean the inner quietude of heart and mind, which is the subjective
effect of praying, as follows: no, the king does not need my prayer,
but I benefit from the praying in that I lead a life, of inner quietude,
peace, contentment and bliss. I do agree with this opinion. I cannot
agree because the word in the Greek for "life" is not zooee,
but it is bias. This refers to the things that we have, our
houses, our goods, our fields, our labors, the things that belong to
our biological existence. It refers to this world, this life. Here we
need the quiet and peaceful life where the Son of God gathers His church.
Here we need this quiet and peaceful life.
I would like to assert that in that broad context we pray for kings and for all who are in authority.
The Son of God gathers His church here in this world. What the king on the throne does can have a great affect upon the preaching of the Gospel and the life of God's people. O I know that ultimately Jesus Christ has the victory! Yes, he causes all things to work for our advantage, but there are times in the life of the church when Satan prevents the work of the church and the preaching of the gospel. Paul affirms this repeatedly in his epistles. May I point out that Paul speaks here about prayers, askings, intercessions, and thanksgiving. Prayer doesn't change things. (God blessed Jacob upon his prayer. Jacob said to the Angel of the Lord, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.") God does not hear us because we pray, but he hears us when we pray, because he loves us.
Just think about this a bit. I think of Elijah, a man of like passion
as we are. James
5:16-18 speaks of him. He prayed that it might not rain, and it
did not rain for three years and six months; he prayed again and it
rained! The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. One man
and God together are an army. That is why, where two or three are gathered
in God's name, He is in their midst with them. When saints pray in a
certain situation, God doesn't take a vote. Don't forget that. God asks:
who prays after my will?
Daniel tells us that he had been reading in the book of Jeremiah concerning
the 70 years, the Sabbaths which were enjoined upon the land, and also
the duration of the exile of Israel and the destruction of the beloved
city, Jerusalem (Daniel
9:16). He begins to pray and to confess the sins of Israel - what
a prayer! What strikes me in this prayer is that, before he had finished
with the prayer, there stood the angel Gabriel in answer to this prayer.
It does my poor heart good to read this prayer (Daniel
9:16-19). Let us quote in part: "O Lord, according to all thy righteousness,
I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy
city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins and for the
iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach
to all that are about us... O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken
and do; defer not for thine own sake, O my God: for this city and thy
people are called by thy name." Daniel's concern is Jerusalem and the
people of God and the holiness and honor of God's Name.
I think of the case of Peter when he was in prison, and we read that the church was praying for him. We read that "while they were praying," Peter was delivered in a marvelous manner by the angel of the Lord, leading him forth to liberty, causing the chains of bondage to fall from Peter's arms. It was an answer to the prayer of the saints in Jerusalem.
I think of Revelation
8:1-5, where we read of what precedes the trumpeting by the seven
angels with the seven trumpets - that there was a silence of half an
hour in heaven. An angel stands at the altar in the temple; much incense
is placed on the altar, which are the prayers of all the saints. Fire
is taken from the altar and cast upon the earth, there are thunders
and lightnings and earthquakes, and convulsions in the earth, wars and
rumors of wars. These are the answers to the prayers of all the saints!
I believe that our prayers are most closely associated with the decisions of kings. Let us not forget that this warfare which we battle (the battle of the Son of God in the gathering of the church) is closely associated with the battle in the heavens of the angel world. Satan and his angels are warring with Michael and his angels, as we must battle here on earth often against kings, princes and principalities and powers.
Paul is evidently very conscious in this passage (I
Timothy 2:6) that he must preach the Gospel amongst the Gentiles.
He had been arrested by Jesus Christ some thirty years before this on
the way to Damascus, when he yet breathed fury and threatening against
the church. There he had been converted, and a certain Ananias had been
sent to Paul after Paul's prayers. This Ananias had been told that Paul
was "to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children
of Israel." For this Paul was God's chosen vessel, and the Gospel course
of Paul would lead through the pretorium of Rome. In fact, it is quite
evident that, when Paul writes to Timothy, he had already stood once
before Nero and would soon have the second trial or hearing in which
he would be condemned to death! Yes, all things had indeed fallen out
to the furtherance of the Gospel.
Oh yes, Paul says elsewhere that Satan, through the king's evil and harmful
decrees, prevented him from executing his wishes and work as an apostle.
In I Thessalonians
2:18, we read, "Wherefore we would have come to you, once and again,
but Satan hindered us." Those usurpers of power in the heavens had so
worked through the hearts of kings that Paul could not come to Thessalonica.
Prayers, Intercession For Kings and All Who Are In
We now come to our third proposition.
It is small wonder that Paul says that prayers be made - askings, intercessions with thanksgiving - for prayer is fundamentally thanksgiving, and thankfulness is not merely a happy feeling, it is profound acknowledgement that God is on the throne, and that we are glad in joyful confession that He alone is God!! To acknowledge that God is GOD is thankfulness! It is to bow deeply before the divine majesty, to acknowledge that He is Lord, and that He is God.
He is the Savior who saves you, and He has all power in heaven and earth, providential power. In this thankful recognition there is first of all the element of justice. It is just that God be acknowledged. Then there is the element of truthfulness. It is truthful that He be acknowledged.
When we thus acknowledge God as being above the kings of the earth,
above the course of the Gospel, above your salvation; that He has all
things in His mighty power so that the devils cannot so much as move
but by His will, and that whoever is on the earthly throne comes there
by the foreknowledge and counsel of God, then you begin to pray, do
you not? Then you will have the salvation of the whole church at heart,
as she is gathered by the Son of God from every tribe and people and
nation. Then you truly have a world-wide vision of the church as this
spans the ages. O no, not a false ecumenical vision! But the true ecumenical
vision as given in the Apostolicum: I believe an holy catholic church!
Then pray - pray with thanksgiving! Pray with prayer of entreaty! Pray with the prayer of intercession. Do you know what the word "prayer" means? Prayer comes from the Latin word "precarious." That the church is in a precarious position in the world in relation to kings and all in authority means that she can only pray as did the church in the days before the Flood. Then men began to call upon the Name of the Lord!
We read in Hebrews
13:18,19, "I beseech you, pray for us, for we trust that we have
a good conscience in all things, willing to live honestly... I beseech
you the rather to do this that I may be restored to you the sooner."
Yes, restored the sooner "upon your prayers!" Pray for kings and all
who are in authority!
Yes pray! Pray as we have it formulated in the Heidelberg Catechism,
Question 123, where the petition Thy kingdom come is interpreted
as follows: "Rule us so by thy word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves
more and more unto thee; preserve and increase thy church; destroy the
works of the devil, and all violence which would exalt itself against
thee; and also, all wicked counsels devised against thy holy word; till
the full perfection of thy kingdom take place, wherein thou shalt be
all in all."
Yes, pray for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray, hearing the footsteps of the Son of God in history, in the Gospel course in the gathering, defending, and the preserving of the church. Hear these footsteps as he walks between the seven candlesticks in the church, and as he has the kings of the earth and the mighty ones in his hand. Pray then that he direct the heart of kings, either that they bow and worship at his footstool, or that he overrule their evil and antichristian decisions, taking the wise in their own craftiness and in their own deceit, until we shall stand before the Son of God in that Day, in heavenly joy and glory.
Thus we pray. We pray in the knowledge that the kings are appointed of God,
and God maintains the office of kings and order in the world; that He
will not take this order out of the world for His own elects' sake.
We pray knowing that this order is closely associated with the Gospel
course, and that the Lord hears us for His Name's sake. We pray for
the coming of the kingdom.
I thank you.
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by Rev. John A. Heys From the February 1, 1963, issue of The
more articles by this author
King Rehoboam lost the greater share of his kingdom because of a dispute over the matter of taxes. Indeed, there was much more to the argument that split the twelve tribes of Israel into two separate kingdoms and cost Rehoboam ten of these tribes. Solomon had taxed the people to the hilt to build the temple, his palace and the temples for the gods of his many heathen wives. This was certainly a large element of their complaint; moreover, he had also conscripted men to labor in the forests of Lebanon to hew trees, and to labor in the erection of these buildings. It was also this conscription that ten of the twelve tribes objected to and because of which they left foolish Rehoboam, who did not need these high taxes or the conscription.
The wicked Jews tried to trap Jesus by asking Him a question about taxes. They desired to lead Him into a self-indictment by having Him say publicly that the Jews should not pay taxes to Caesar. It was a cleverly laid plot. But they underestimated Him. He told them to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, after having them tell Him whose superscription was to be found on the coins that jingled in their pockets.
Jesus came not to destroy the law or the prophets. He came to uphold the fifth commandment as well as the first.
Today men jokingly say that there is nothing more certain than death and taxes.
We could add that there are at death even more taxes. The inheritance tax at death takes from the bereaved a large piece of what might be left upon the death of the head of the house.
Politicians, to gain enough votes to assure or reassure their position and office, will make big and bold promises to lower taxes. The expression, "Tax-free," is a welcome sound to the ears today. Tax-free means money in the pocket. It means more things that we can buy with our money, and what money we do have will go farther, whenever we can be told that the item we are about to pay for is tax-free.
O, but there are many wonderful things, many essential things, that are absolutely tax-free. There is so much of God's creation that is more than tax-free, so much that is absolutely free. The air which we breathe is free. The sunshine that streams down upon us and warms our air, causes our plants to grow and lights our day, does not cost us one cent, not even a penny of tax. The rain that nourishes our crops and gives us food and water for our thirst likewise comes without one penny being paid down upon it or without a bill of any kind being sent us after we received it. The sun rises every morning without a coin being dropped in a slot. The rain falls and cheers the earth, without a post card with so much as a four cent stamp upon it being sent to request it. The air is there for us to breathe the moment we come into this world, before we could sign on a dotted line. The delivery room may have a fee, which the parent is charged for its use. The bed in the ward, the care in the nursery all costs money. But that air is there; and no man has contrived of a way to sell it or charge tax for its use.
Time is also a creature. As we pass through time no one charges us for that time. No man has control of time, and God allots it to you and me tax-free. Talents, gifts, abilities and skills, friends and parents, love and being loved are also free and tax-free.
So is the Word of God. O, you may have to pay the printer and the binder for your Bible. You may have to pay men for their labors and pains in setting up the type and furnishing you with a neat, readable copy of the Word of God. But that Word is free and tax-free. No one pays God for the revelation which He gave. No prophets paid a fee for the vision and dream and trance which God gave them, and when God preached the first gospel promise in paradise to Adam and Eve, when God preached the first sermon to fallen man, He did not somewhere in the "service" pass the collection plate and exact from Adam and Eve any contribution to help along His cause. It was free and entirely tax-free as well. He charged Noah not a cent for that water of the flood, wherewith all the Church's enemies were destroyed. Noah received no water bill. All the mighty plagues in Egypt and the wonder of the Red Sea were not charged to Israel's account. At the River Jordan, as Israel was about to walk between those high walls of water to enter the land of promise, there was no sign that read, "Pay as you enter." Jesus charged Lazarus no fee, nor Mary and Martha, for bringing him back to this life. You and I paid not one cent for the cross. Even Pilate and Caesar did not pay for that cross, though God used them to furnish it. God caused that tree to grow and gave men the strength to chop it down and prepare it for a cross. God furnished those nails and created their iron in the beginning. God furnished those Roman soldiers, Pilate, the wicked Jews and Judas. We were not charged even a cent of tax for that whole wonderful cross. Salvation is tax-free! It is FREE. (But it is also tax-free.)
"By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God" (Ephesians
2:8). It is the gift of God. Salvation is free because that faith
through which God realizes it in you is free. You cannot buy it. There
is no store that sells it, and you cannot induce God to sell it. God
is not in business. He is no merchant. He has nothing to sell. Remember
that! God has NOTHING to sell. He has salvation to GIVE! He will give
You cannot pay the spring that has given you refreshing water to drink. You cannot reimburse the sun for the light and warmth it has given you. That spring is there to give and not to receive. That sun has been made to give off light and warmth and not to receive anything from us. The light rays and the rain come down upon this earth. But we put nothing back on the sun and do nothing to fill the rain clouds. That is all God's work. This is much more true of our salvation. God is the overflowing FOUNTAIN of all good. He is not a well that we must replenish. He is not an open pit that must collect the fallen rain or be filled with it. He is the fountain, the GIVER of every good and perfect gift. Salvation flows from Him and is not drawn out of Him. Faith is His gift to us, as is that cross, as is His SON, as is His SPIRIT. On the day of Pentecost He POURED OUT His Spirit; and again we read of no fee that He charged, no dotted line that He first requested the Church to sign, no slot was there for coins to be inserted into in order to let loose this flood of spirituality and revelation. Salvation is free. It is also tax-free.
Oh, it all cost something. It cost the precious Son of God's blood. The price was exceedingly high, so high that all men together could not begin to make the smallest down payment upon it. It cost the eternal excruciating pains of hell. It cost the curse of the cross, death and the grave. But that salvation is free to you and me. Christ paid the ransom price to the Father; but you and I have not one cent to pay for it, not even use tax, sales tax, inheritance tax or what have you?
It IS an inheritance. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ
8:17). We are begotten again unto a lively hope, to an inheritance
incorruptible and undefiled (I
Peter 1:3, 4). But we pay no inheritance tax. In the New Jerusalem
there will be no taxes either. There may be nothing more certain in
this world than death and taxes; but it is also true that there is nothing
more certain after death than that the saints in the new Jerusalem will
pay no taxes. Of necessity we have to pay taxes to the government of
men. The kingdoms of this earth cannot exist without a taxation program.
They are not self-sufficient and self-sustaining. But the Kingdom of
Heaven is not supported by its citizens. Its King supplies everlastingly
all its needs.
That means that also TODAY, while you and I are still on this earth,
we pay NO taxes to that kingdom. There is NO entrance fee, no cover
charge, no contributions of any kind. Oh indeed, we do contribute to
the cause of God's kingdom here below. But that is after we are in it
and not in order to enter it or receive its benefits. These are not
to be viewed as tax upon a free gift. Paul tells us in Ephesians
2:10 that our good works are before ordained by God that we should
walk in them. He tells us in I
Corinthians 4:7 that we have nothing that we have not received.
John the Baptist says in John
3:27, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."
Even if we had to pay tax upon our salvation and an inheritance tax
to enter the new Jerusalem, that tax would have to be given to us by
God, and that would nullify all idea of tax. We do not support that
Kingdom of Heaven, but receive support out of that kingdom. We do not
repay or reimburse or contribute to God's cause, but He gives all that
which we have free of charge.
The gift does not depend upon your and my will. That is not something
that you and I still contribute. The very desire for salvation is likewise
a benefit of the kingdom which God gives to us. Arminianism of every
sort makes our will the entrance fee, the tax we must pay before we
can take home the "free" gift of salvation. But nothing is farther from
the truth. Through His servant, the Apostle Paul, God says in Philippians
2:12,13 that we can work out our salvation only because God works
in us both TO WILL and to do. All this comes to us by God's grace. We
are saved by grace, not by our works. That means not by the work of
our will, whereby we desire and seek salvation. This is also plain from
Jesus' words to Nicodemus, to the effect that a man must be born again
before he can even see the kingdom. No one desires that which he cannot
see and does not believe to exist. No one signs a dotted line, drops
a coin in the slot, fills out a request or formulates a desire in order
to be born either the first time or again with the life which is from
God asks nothing of you and me. God gives everything to you and me.
As far as our salvation is concerned, it is as true as with our natural
life: OF Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him are all things. In His fear
let us render ALL the glory to HIM!