1st Peter says to honor the emperor. Revelation says Rome is the whore of Babylon (Rome was the new Babylon because they had destroyed the second temple just as Babylon had destroyed the first). Further, the Beast of Revelation is a reference to Emperor Domitian. The group behind Revelation is telling the churches in Asia Minor to reject Roman authority and culture. The group behind 1st Peter is saying the exact opposite to the same churches at about the same time. Both are cannon. How do we reconcile this?
Paul goes into this as well in Romans 13
The fact is that governance, stemming from the political man, is a part of Natural Law & Human nature
So to be governed is necessary.
But as Augustine hints at there is the City of Man and the City of God… this is how we separate and rectify this teaching.
City of Man is temporal … its laws and dictums will eventually cease… but the more higher power is of the City of God… and these are eternal, therefore greater.
Perhaps you may be coming from a western, democratic perspective with a notion for rebellion…
Truth is, in Christianity, in the time of the Romans, the state of slavery did not justify rebellion … The slave was to rely fully on God’s promises … kind of in the way of a martyr…
So the systems in place do not actually RULE us, as our spiritual livelihoods are reliant on Jesus and His graces.
Jesus tells Pilot… My Kingdom is not of this world, otherwise my people would rebel.
It’s a paradox… One can be a slave even though slavery is counter to Natural Law, one can be a Roman citizen even though the law is at the core from a no good power.
So, we are to have confidence in God’s Law no matter in which scenario we find ourselves in this world… One could be Christian in North Korea and Saudi Arabia… even though much of their laws prevent one from being a Christian…
Which opens up the question… Was the Am Revolution a just cause in the eyes of the Lord? I think one can make a strong case that it was not… If you read church reactions to liberalism in the 19th century, i think you’d see the church was highly skeptical of liberalism
… Let’s put it this way as well… We are to honor our father and mother… what if our father and mother are non-religious, and maybe very immoral… does that alleviate the 4th commandment… NO, it does not… there remains in place a relationship a Christian is to honor… Why? Because God made us their child, just as God made us within a certain political authority…
We must respect God’s wishes, if he made us the child of a certain parent, and born under a certain authority… we can assume we are suppose at least respect who we are as God’s creation, a father and mother’s child, and as a citizen of a certain authority…
Anything contrary is a statement of denying oneself… denying God’s plan for us as the child of a particular parent, or a person of a particular place
That being, we can still see the evils of slavery, we can still see the spiritual ruin of one’s immoral parents or immoral governance
St Peter is telling us to obey laws as long as they do not violate God’s commands. Sowing discord and formenting resistance and revolution for things that do not violate God’s commands is not something a Christian should do. Of course when govts do violate God’s commands, Christians should never compromise on these items and should work to change the govt peacefully.
But from a historical perspective, how are we to make sense of these two Revelearly Christian groups who had very opposed ideas. A lot of what 1st Peter has to say, honor the emperor, household codes, ect., goes along with other earlier calls to be accommodating. Revelation is 180 degrees in the opposition the direction. So how are we to understand these two communities and two messages in their historical context from a Catholic perspective?
Are you sure?
You haven’t shown where they are in opposition. The reason St. Peter is instructing the churches is because they recognize that the Roman govt is not in accord with the Christian faith. The Pope is instructing them how to live in society while not being part of society. St. John conveys the message of the evilness of the Caesars and the govt, but he doesn’t advocate overthrowing it.
I think paragraphs 2234-2246 and 2254-2257 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which discuss “Duties of civil authorities” and “The duties of citizens” can shed some light on the matter. Also see paragraphs 1897-1904, which discuss “Authority” in the section on “Participation in Social Life.”
In Scott Hahn’s bible study on EWTN he says its Jerusalem not Rome that’s the whore of Babylon.