When one possesses public office, he or she possesses lawful authority.
Magistrates are all those who possess public office, whether through election or appointment. The authority all magistrates possess is delegated to them by God. Therefore they have a duty to govern according to his rule.
They are not to make law, policy or court opinion that is contrary to his law or Word. They are not to exceed the limits of civil government as revealed by Scripture.
But their duty goes beyond simply not enacting bad law, policy or court opinion. They also have a duty to interpose against the lawless actions of other magistrates. If the superior authority makes unjust or immoral law, policy or court opinion, it is the duty of lesser authorities to wield their authority to stop the evil of the superior authority.
This is known as interposition.
Tyrant government officials count on the compliance of the lesser magistrates to obey their evil edicts in order to get their wickedness down into the fabric of society. When they lose that compliance, the tyrant superior authority knows he has a problem on his hands.
The truth is Cuomo was the one acting like a dictator; the sheriffs were simply trying to restore order by not complying with his lawless, unconstitutional decrees.
The interposition of lesser magistrates forces the tyrant authority to come out of his lair and show his fangs. If men do not oppose his lawless actions, the tyrant authority is free to build the next plank of his tyranny.
There is nothing a superior tyrant authority fears more than the noncompliance and interposition of the lesser magistrates.
2. Interposition reminds the tyrant power that its authority has limits.
In the spring, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker released a draconian decree regarding COVID, prohibiting so-called “nonessential” businesses from opening.
Just weeks later, a lone county in western Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi River, Madison County, assembled its board of health and issued a resolution declaring their businesses were free to reopen and cautioned the governor and state authorities not to take action against the businesses that did reopen.
Gov. Pritzker responded by threatening to withhold federal funds for COVID relief from Madison County. But one week later, On May 19, the Illinois State Police sided with Madison County and announced they would not arrest any individuals under Pritzker’s “emergency declaration” order.
And the very next day, Gov. Pritzker rescinded an order he had filed just days earlier declaring it a misdemeanor offense for businesses to reopen “early.”
This is how the doctrine of the lesser magistrates is meant to work. The interposition of the lesser magistrates reminds the superior authority that their authority has limits and stops their lawlessness.
3. Interposition can abate the just judgment of God.
In all of America, the group most in need of interposition is the preborn. Yet, the lesser magistrates allow their slaughter.
In Ezekiel 22, God through the prophet points to how all four governments – civil government, church government, family government and self-government – are in utter ruin. All are promoting wrong and evil.
So the Lord declares in verse 30: “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
“Standing in the gap” is interposition. But the Lord could find no one to do right and interpose. So he says in verse 31: “Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath.”
This passage reveals that the interposition of the lesser magistrates can abate the just judgment of God. If they stop the evil, the Lord will relent of his judgment.
Innocent blood demands the interposition of lesser authorities against a lawless Supreme Court opinion that made the preborn open game to paid assassins.
In closing, understand, magistrates, your interposition is no small matter. Rather, it is a grave duty. Your failure to act emboldens tyrants, expands their tyranny, and assures the just judgment of God upon our nation.
May you do right by Christ.