The Bible is not definitive on this point, so each person, church, and movement must come to peace with its position. Certainly the Bible includes several stories of resistance to government, even armed resistance. Sometimes, as in this passage, no moral judgment is attached to the report of resistance. Warfare is constant throughout of the Old Testament, including warfare ordained by God.

The New Testament contains admonition to submit to civil authority (Romans 13:1), to render to government its due (Matthew 22:21), and to make an effort to be peaceable (1 Thessalonians 5:13). The triumphant mood of Old Testament violence gives way to the submissive posture of New Testament suffering (Matthew 5:9). Whereas in the Old Testament a nation was to be built, in the New Testament the very idea of national citizenship seems secondary compared to citizenship in the kingdom of God.

In view of these changes, is civil rebellion a Christian option today? It may be, under conditions of limited and controlled violence (or passive resistance, without violence) directed toward relieving oppression, when all reasonable negotiation has failed. In the above instance of the stoning of Adoniram, we know too little about the context. By New Testament standards, some other plan would certainly find greater sanction.

2 CHRONICLES 10:16-19 – 16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share do we have in David,
    what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
    Look after your own house, David!”

So all the Israelites went home.

Leave a Reply