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Posts Tagged ‘Athaliah’

Queen Athaliah Orders The King’s Children to be Killed by Harmen Jansz Muller, Hadrianus Junius, and Gerard De Jode.

And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

“If their princes exceed their bounds, Madam, no doubt they may be resisted, even by power.”  Those were John Knox’s words in response to Queen Mary when she queried him about the rights of subjects to resist their princes. 

Was Knox right?  I contend that he was.  It is my contention that not only may an evil government be resisted, but it is in fact the duty of Christians to resist civil authorities when they, in Knox’s words, “exceed their bounds.”

Last week, we began our look at Christian resistance to an evil, usurping civil magistrate.  Part of the answer given was what Christians should not do:  engage in private rebellion.  One example of sinful rebellion we looked at in the Word of God is found in II Kings 12:20 where we read that King Joash was murdered by two of his servants.  When Joash’s son, Amaziah, came to power, he had the men responsible for the assassination of Joash put to death, and rightfully so.

But what is the positive duty of the Christian?  If Christians are not to engage in private rebellion by assassinating a ruler, even if the ruler is unjust as was Joash in his later years as king, what are believers to do?  We also explored that question last week in our discussion about the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate (DLM).  The DLM tells us that when a higher authority becomes corrupt, it is the right, indeed it is the duty, for lesser civil authorities to interpose between the corrupt higher authority and the people. And not only do lesser magistrates have the right and duty to resist, but that right and duty extends up to and includes removing from office and, if the situation calls for it, executing the offending higher authority.

This week I’d like to look at one very clear example of this found in the books of II Kings and II Chronicles concerning the evil, usurping Queen Athaliah.   

Although it is not the main purpose of this essay, it’s worth mentioning that the account of Queen Athaliah is an important text also for refuting feminism.  Many today, including many Christians, have had their minds so twisted by 200-plus years of feminist dogma that they find it strange that anyone would oppose women serving as rulers of cities and nations.  In fact, there a probably few ideas that can incite people to anger than to suggest that God has denied women the right to political leadership. But the thundering Scot John Knox was not so blinded and rightly argued against women rulers in his “First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women,” a work which this author considers among the greatest essays ever written by a Christian.

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The Declaration of Independence, an example of the Biblical Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate

And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • II Kings 11:1

After a two-week hiatus, I’d like to return to our look at the account in II Kings of Queen Athaliah of Judah.  This passage has a lot to say to Christians in America, perhaps especially at this politically charged time in our history. 

As did Judah under Queen Athaliah, likewise we in the United States have a hostile usurper in power. And the question I’d like to ask and answer is what are Christians to do?  How are we to respond?  How do we conduct our lives under an unjust and illegitimate government? 

There seems to be one school of thought among Christians holding to the idea that at no time are Christians to seek to resist an evil ruler or seek to remove an unjust government.  After all, Paul wrote to Timothy urging that supplications be made for kings and all who are in authority.  Romans 13 is another favorite of those who take this position.  There, Paul writes, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.”  The case seems clear-cut, does it not? Christians are to obey the government, whatever it says. 

The case for Christians simply having to put up with tyrannical rulers could be strengthened by appeals to the Old Testament.  For example, those holding to the idea that rebellion is always wrong could point to those who conspired to murder King Joash.  In II Kings 12:20, 21 we read, “And his [King Joash’s] servants arose and formed a conspiracy [yes, there are many examples of conspiracies in the Bible], and killed Joash in the house of the Millo, which goes down to Silla.  For Jozachar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, struck him.  So he died, and they buried him with his fathers in the City of David.  Then Amaziah his son reigned in his place.”  Was this a lawful act?  No, it was not as can be seen in II Kings 14 where we read, “Now it happened, as soon as the kingdom was established in his [Amaziah’s, the son of Joash] hand, that he executed his servants who had murdered his father the king.”  Clearly, this shows that there is no Christian basis for resisting the orders of a ruler, does it not?

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