A Revelation of a Violation against Revilation

April 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Exodus | 3 Comments
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Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

Exodus 22:28

The second part of this verse is pretty self-explanatory. It would, for the Israelites, prohibit them from speaking disrespectfully or insultingly about Moses or any of God’s appointed representatives: priests, judges, parents, etc. The principial part of it would also apply to New Testament Christians today. We may disagree with the policies, and even the personal beliefs and opinions, of those in authority over us, but we must respect the “office” they hold. We must recognize that it is appointed by God even if those who hold it are misusing it. We should speak respectfully of them, or say nothing at all if we can’t say something good, or if we can’t call evil what it is in a Christ-honoring way. This is one reason why I don’t say much at all about politicians or judges!

The first part of Exodus 22:28, though, is more problematic. To “revile” carries the same basic meaning of “curse,” so it is possible that there is parallelism going on here. Hebrew parallelism uses repetition for emphasis and impact. But why would the true God outlaw reviling little “g” gods that aren’t even real? The word translated as “gods” is elohim, which sometimes means the capital “G” God. Other times it means rulers or those with power – even supernatural power, such as angels or demons. So, the Holy Spirit might be telling Moses to tell the people not to talk bad about authority, and then reiterating it through emphatic parallelism in the second part of the verse.

One the other hand, He might be saying, “Don’t make false gods part of your cursing (which would imply that you believe they’re real).”

A third option is that the first part of the verse might prohibit speaking presumptuously or lightly about beings more powerful than you, even if they’re wicked. Doing so would be a sign of a false prophet or a false teacher.

Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Jude vv. 8-9

It’s not our place to get into a cursing match or even an argument with beings that are stronger than us apart from Christ, nor with beings whose status and activity we don’t even fully understand. Humility should be our default attitude toward any type of authority – even when we oppose it.



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