“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
When people do not submit to the laws of either God or man, human relationships digress to instincts of survival. There is no love of one’s neighbor in a state of social anarchy. For this reason, God ordained the civil law of government.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority [of government] resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves“ (Rm 13:1,2).
It is interesting to note that the Holy Spirit wrote these words directly to Jewish Christians who were living in the seat of the “government authorities” who would, in about fifteen years, sign the decree to squash the aspirations of the Jewish nationalists in Palestine. Romans 13:1,2, therefore, was written as a warning in order to remind the Jewish Christians in Rome to stay away from the Jewish nationalists who were about to rise up in the Roman Empire.
Resistance against God-ordained government is exactly what the nationalistic Jews did, and subsequently brought upon themselves the God-ordained consummation of national Israel. Because the nationalistic Jews continually fought against the control of Rome, Rome eventually unleashed her judgment upon the anarchists. The nationalistic Jews were anarchist in reference their submission to the state of Rome, but antichrist in reference to their submission to King Jesus.
In preparing Timothy for the dark days that were coming, Paul reminded the young evangelist, “The law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane” (1 Tm 1:9). These words were written in the decade of the 60s with the behavior of the anarchists Jews in mind.
We must not think that Rome arbitrarily unleashed her military on the Jews. There was a reason, and that reason was the insurrectionist behavior of the nationalistic zealots of Judaism. The annual Passover and Pentecost feast became the gathering point of these insurrectionists. And thus, it was during the Passover that the Roman army arrived in Palestine in order to put down and insurrectionist Jews who permeated the Empire.
Since the nationalistic Jews had been recruiting for an inevitable confrontation with the Romans, the Romans wanted to have as many of the nationalistic Jews as possible gathered in one place before they encircled them in Jerusalem. It was actually a stroke of military genius on the part of the Roman army, specifically Vespasian who was the general of the army at the time these events were initiated.
In times of social chaos it is easy to fall from loving one’s neighbor as himself. Social chaos generates hate, and hate generates disobedience of law. In times of military conflict, the struggles of the time generate a sense of self-preservation. And when self-preservation kicks in, love of one’s neighbor is gone. When men refuse to submit to the authority of government, they will not submit to the needs of one another. Love grows cold and lawlessness abounds in times of war.
[Next in series: July 27]