Rules are not the same as commands. When I was in the army I was subject to the commands of those above me. Being a Lance-Bombardier, with one stripe, I was able to give an order to a subordinate, i.e., any private. There was a chain of command - each soldier being under the rank of one above, up to the equivalent of today’s Chief of the General Staff, similar to a system of line managers.
Rules can be broken, but commands by their very nature are not to be broken. When a command is broken, those in authority and power can impose penalties or sanctions upon the disobedient. In some cases when rules are broken, such as ‘School Rules’, those making them have authority to impose punishments.
We can make up rules as we go along, and change them according to circumstances or at whim, but we are not in a position to ignore the laws of the land. As citizens we are bound by them. If we join an organisation, or work for a company, we accept their rules, and we may be asked to sign up to them.
Obedience to rules and commands is essential for the smooth working of any group enterprise. It is essential that members all sing from the same hymn sheet and work together for the common purpose.
Commands must always support rules and be subject to them, otherwise they are counterproductive. If rules are destructive, the commands will also be destructive. Rules are therefore best when constructive, and they are made for the positive good of an organisation or group, even within a household. Ethical rules are better for the wellbeing of those who are required to adhere to them.
Those who make rules are often the same as those who command others to obey them. A big bully or despot has power to make rules and to command people under his power to obey them. When Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq he did many bad things, but there was a degree of law and order. He was a bully and a despot. Today, because of a lack of strong government and leadership there is chaos. Isil controls large swathes of land with power to impose their barbaric rules and exercise their commands upon the inhabitants.
The commands of Jesus are loving and constructive. He never condones evil. They are summed up by the following verses from the Gospel According to Matthew: 22:37 ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,’ and 22:39 ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
Structure of the British Army
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Iraqi Christians Face Death