Is God Opposed to Tyranny?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

UncleWaddyHead from YouTube asks: “Is God opposed to tyranny?”

Let’s go to a couple dictionaries for a definition of “tyranny” so that we are all on the same understanding of what tyranny is.

encarta.msn.com/dictionary

 

tyranny

noun

Definition:

1. cruel use of power: cruelty and injustice in the exercise of power or authority over others

2. oppressive government: oppressive government by one or more people who exercise absolute power cruelly and unjustly

3. state ruled by tyrant: a country or state under the power of an oppressive ruler

4. cruel act: a cruel or oppressive act, especially one committed by a person wielding great power

[14th century. Via French< late Latin tyrannia< Latin tyrannus “tyrant”]

dictionary.reference.com

tyranny

–noun, plural -nies. 

1. arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.

2. the government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.

3. a state ruled by a tyrant or absolute ruler.

4. oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.

5. undue severity or harshness.

6. a tyrannical act or proceeding.

Use tyranny in a Sentence

See images of tyranny

Origin:

1325–75; ME tyrannie  < OF < ML tyrannia,  equiv. to L tyrann

So from these two dictionaries we see that “tyranny is an arbitrary, oppressive, unjustly severe, cruel use of power by a government, ruler, or by one or more people wielding great power called a tyrant.”

From Wikipedia; Plato and Aristotle define a tyrant as, “one who rules without law, looks to his own advantage rather than that of his subjects, and uses extreme and cruel tactics — against his own people as well as others”.

From HuffingtonPost.com via the book “Tyrants: The World’s 20 Worst Living Dictators” by David Wallechinsky., we get a list of the top five (the book has 20 listed) tyrants living today.

  • Omar al-Bashir—Sudan
  • Kim Jong-il–North Korea
  • Than Shwe—Burma
  • Robert Mugabe—Zimbabwe
  • Islam Karimov–Uzbekistan

Let’s now get from Wikipedia some past tyrants.

  • Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi) (Holocaust)
  • Joseph Stalin (born 18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953.
  • Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung  (December 26, 1893  – September 9, 1976), was a Chinese revolutionary, political theorist and communist leader.

Note that the word, “tyranny” has its origin in the 14th century so the word “tyranny” will not be in the original Bible scriptures of the Old or New Testaments. What we do find in the Bible translations are the words, “abuse,” “abusive,” “oppressive,” “oppression,” “severe,” “cruel,” “power,” “ruler,” and “unjustly.” Some of the newer Bible translations of the Old and New Testaments do have the word, “tyrant” in them.

Now let us look at the Bible and see what it says about God concerning “tyranny” using words we find in the Bible that describe “tyranny” and the word, “tyrant” found in some newer Bible translations (I’m using the BibleMaster.com online bibles in my search for the words listed above. I am looking to find any of these words describing God or being used in a description of God’s actions. Note that there may be verses that I do not comment on because they do not describe God’s action or were used in describing God; meaning, the words are in the Bible but are referring to someone or something other than God. You are free to choose to do the search yourself and I suggest that you not just rely upon my doing it for you.)

New American Standard (NAS); Good News Translation (GNT); King James Version (KJV); American Standard Version (ASV).

Findings

Abuse
Not used to describe God’s actions or in describing God.

Abusive
Not used to describe God’s actions or in describing God.

Oppressive
NAS has one verse which talks about God and oppressive.

Oppression 
NAS has three pages talking about God and oppression. GNT has two pages talking about God and oppression. KJV has three pages talking about God and oppression. ASV has three pages talking about God and oppression.

Severe 
NAS has three pages with some of them talking about God and severe. GNT has two pages with some of them talking about God and severe.

Power 
NAS has 22 pages with some of them talking about God and power. GNT has 49 pages with some of them talking about God and power. KJV has 26 pages with some of them talking about God and power. ASV has 23 pages with some of them talking about God and power.

Ruler
NAS has seven pages with some of them talking about God and ruler. GNT has 9 pages with some of them talking about God and ruler. KJV has 9 pages with some of them talking about God and ruler. ASV has 7 pages with some of them talking about God and ruler.

Cruel
NAS has 2 pages with some of them talking about God and cruel. GNT has 5 pages with some of them talking about God and cruel. KJV has 2 pages with some of them talking about God and cruel. ASV has 2 pages with some of them talking about God and cruel.

Tyrant
NAS has 2 verses with the word tyrant used in them. GNT has six verses with the word tyrant used in them.

Unjustly
New American Standard has one page talking about God and unjustly. Good News Translation has four verses talking about God and unjustly. King James Version has three verses talking about God and unjustly. American Standard Version has one verse talking about God and unjustly.

Break it Down to get the Answer

Oppressive is mentioned in the New American Standard version in Psalms 66:11 “You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins.” Here “You” is referring to God and the verse states that God was oppressive. Let’s put this verse in context to what the whole passage Psalms 66:1-20 states. The whole passage is giving praise for God’s mighty deeds and for His answer to prayer. Tyrants don’t answer prayers nor do the people being ruled by them give praise to a tyrant.

Oppression is mentioned a lot in many of the versions of the Bibles searched. Here are a few examples:

  • NAS Psalms 62:10 – “Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.” Psalms 72:14 “He [God] will rescue their life from oppression and violence, And their blood will be precious in his sight;”
  • GNT Job 5:15 “But God saves the poor from death; he saves the needy from oppression.” Isaiah 61:8 ‘The LORD says, “I love justice and I hate oppression and crime. I will faithfully reward my people And make an eternal covenant with them.”’

The Bible says that God rescues people from oppression whereas a tyrant places people into oppression.

Severe is mentioned in the Bible referring to God inflecting punishment to people who broke the Law. Breaking God’s Law prescribes severe punishment. All the people who God severely punished for breaking the Law, knew the Law and what punishment would be for breaking the Law. God gave people free will to choose to adhere to the Law or not. God never punished nor does He punish anyone who didn’t break the Law. If God didn’t enforce the Law, God would be a tyrant. Tyrants punish people tyrants want to punish without regard for any law because tyrants are unjustly in their acts.

Power is mentioned a lot in the Bible referring to God. In summation, this verse from Exodus tells how God uses His power. NAS Exodus 15:6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.” Tyrants use their power to rule over their people unjustly.

Ruler is mentioned in the Bible and mainly this GNT verse sums up God’s idea of a ruler; Exodus 22:28 “Do not speak evil of God, and do not curse a leader of your people.”

Cruel in the Bible is summed up with this GNT verse from Proverbs: Proverbs 30:14 ”There are people who take cruel advantage of the poor and needy; that is the way they make their living.”

Tyrant in the Bible is summed up in this verse. GNT Proverbs 28:16 “A ruler without good sense will be a cruel tyrant. One who hates dishonesty will rule a long time.”

Unjustly is mentioned in the Bible and the main theme about God and unjustly is summed up in Deuteronomy 25:16 “For everyone who does these things, everyone who acts unjustly is an abomination to the LORD your God.” God is against everyone who acts unjustly so God is opposed to tyranny because tyrants act unjustly.

So UncleWaddyHead from YouTube, yes God is opposed to tyranny. 

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