97 The Government of God Part One
Have you ever wondered about God's government? The way our government works is the one with the most power carries the day. But God's government is very different because God is love and gives free choice to us. People can choose to not follow him. What then are the consequences? It this first part we review the typical ways if thinking about government. In part two we will propose a way of understanding God's government.
The Government of God
How could eating an “apple” change our planet so dramatically? What sort of government allows for such cataclysmic change to be caused by such an insignificant act? Is this a case of a malicious “virus” which infected the life we were given? Can the “virus” be removed? Can the planet be redeemed from the consequences? Can the planet be “rebooted”? Can the original operating system be reinstalled?
First we need to know a little about earthly governance systems which offset God’s Government.
Plato had a short description of the different possible forms of government.
Monarchy: One good man rules the country.
Aristocracy: A few good men rule the country.
Democracy: The people rule the country. Demo-cracy=people power
Oligarchy: A few bad men rule the country.
Tyranny: One bad man rules the country.
The government of Israel under Moses and Samuel was a Theocracy. One good God ruled the nation through a good prophet. Order was maintained by execution, usually by stoning, of those who rebelled or seriously disobeyed Is this the model which exemplifies God’s Government in heaven and which will prevail on the New Earth?
Here are ten Common Forms of Government. Which of these most resembles God’s form of government?
1. Democracy (Greece) / Republic (Rome). Compare: Business Meeting / Church Board
10. Military Dictatorship (See appendix for more detailed description.)
In a republic, an official set of fundamental laws, for instance: Canada has a Bill of Rights, the U.S. has a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, these prohibit the government from limiting or taking away certain “inalienable” rights of the people, even if that government was freely chosen by a majority of the people. In a pure democracy, the voting majority has almost limitless power over the minority. https://www.thoughtco.com/republic-vs-democracy-4169936
Some questions to ask:
Can we describe God’s governance using any of the above forms of government?
Does God vary his governance style to meet the situation?
Was Jesus meek and mild at the First Coming but becomes an avenging Dictator at the Second Coming?
Was Eden a form of democracy or communism or socialism until sin entered? Did God then have to change to one of the other more dictatorial forms of gevernment?
Can any of these government forms survive without the presence of force and violence such as the police or the military?
What does it mean to say, “God is love,” when addressing the issue of governance? Does this mean he is reluctant to use force but does so when it is necessary?
Is God’s governance described by Leviticus 26? He blesses us when we obey and curses us when we disobey?
Is God’s governance described in Matthew 5:43-48?
Does God’s governance ever follow the teaching of Jesus, “do not resist an evil person” (Matthew 5:39)?
Does God’s governance style change at the end of the Millennium? Does he then become a Military Dictator in order to destroy sinners?
Will there be penalties or punishments on the New Earth? Who will enforce any that might exist? Are there a “police force” or a military force in heaven?
Does God want to control us? Are the angels of God his “police force”? What shall we say about the apparent infliction of harm by God’s angels on this planet?
Here are a few examples:
1. In I Chronicles 21:15, the same "Angel of the Lord" is seen by David to stand "between the earth and the heaven, with a drawn sword in his hand stretched out against Hebrews's enemies". Later, in II Kings 19:35, the angel kills 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. (Bubonic plague? Mice? Virus?)
2. In 2 Samuel 24:15-17, the destroying angel kills 70,000 Israelites. Its called a plague. Did god send COVID-19?
3. Acts 12:23 An angel of the LORD struck Herod with a sickness (he was consumed with worms).
4. Revelation 14:17-20 describes the slaughter angels from the temple in heaven bring to the earth at the end of the world. The above examples are about the use of violence. Did Jesus use violence to cast out demons? Certainly not physical violence. He cast out demons by his moral authority.
God’s governance or leadership is dependant on the choices of the beings he created.
This is true because love means vulnerability.
If God insists on his own will all the time, he is an abuser like tyrants who enforce their will on their subjects.
When Adam and Eve chose to believe and follow the serpent in Eden this meant God was forced aside by their choice and the serpent (devil Reve 12:9) became the de facto ruler or governor, or prince of this world.
As a consequence, God can only work in the background with those who are willing to give him some say in their hearts.
1. Democracy: Democracy is a form of government that allows the people to choose leadership. The primary goal is to govern through fair representation and prevent abuses of power. The result is a system that requires discourse, debate, and compromise to satisfy the broadest possible number of public interests, leading to majority rule. Democracies advocate for fair and free elections, civic participation, human rights protections, and law and order.
Real-World Example: Iceland had numerous forms of government following its settlement in 874 AD. An independent commonwealth, monarchs, and colonial governments ruled the island for thousands of years. After signing a treaty with Denmark in 1918, Iceland became a fully independent and sovereign state. The country founded its republic in 1944 and has since risen to become one of the world's highest-ranked democracies through systems of social welfare, universal health care, and tertiary education.
2. Communism: Communism is a centralized form of government led by a single party that is often authoritarian in its rule. Inspired by German philosopher Karl Marx, communist states replace private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and communal control of economic production, such as labor, capital goods, and natural resources. Citizens are part of a classless society that distributes goods and services as needed.
Real-World Example: The Soviet Union was a one-party, communist state in Northern Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. Most modern communist states embrace Marxism-Leninism, a communist ideology based on Marx and Russian revolutionary and politician Vladimir Lenin's doctrines. Countries that retain single-party, Marxist-Leninist rulership include Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and the People's Republic of China.
3. Socialism: Socialism is a system that encourages cooperation rather than competition among citizens. Citizens communally own the means of production and distribution of goods and services, while a centralized government manages it. Each person benefits from and contributes to the system according to their needs and ability.
Real-Life Example: Socialism is the cornerstone of the Scandinavian nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. They all adhere to socialist policies that combine free-market capitalism with extensive public works, including free healthcare, free education, a comprehensive welfare state, and high percentages of unionized workers. This approach essentially combines the collective nature of communism with the private ownership and competitiveness of capitalism.
4. Oligarchy: Oligarchies are governments in which a collection of individuals rules over a nation. A specific set of qualities, such as wealth, heredity, and race, are used to give a small group of people power. Oligarchies often have authoritative rulers and an absence of democratic practices or individual rights.
Real-World Example: The government that ruled South Africa from 1948 to 1991 was a racially constructed oligarchy. The minority white population exercised dominance and imposed segregation over the nation's majority Black population, controlling policy, public administration, and law enforcement. Following an anti-apartheid movement, the country adopted a liberal democracy that ultimately gave all ethnic and linguistic groups in South Africa political representation.
5. Aristocracy: Aristocracy refers to a government form in which a small, elite ruling class — the aristocrats — have power over those in lower socioeconomic strata. Members of the aristocracy are usually chosen based on their education, upbringing, and genetic or family history. Aristocracies often connect wealth and ethnicity with both the ability and right to rule.
Real-World Example: Aristocracy originated in ancient Greece; the term derives from the Greek word, aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best." Aristocracies were the dominant governments during most medieval and modern periods across Europe. Aristocrats led major countries, including Britain, Germany, and Russia, until World War I, when other government forms gained popularity.
6. Monarchy: Monarchy is a power system that appoints a person as head of state for life or until abdication. Authority traditionally passes down through a succession line related to one's bloodline and birth order within the ruling royal family, often limited by gender. There are two types of monarchies: constitutional and absolute. Constitutional monarchies limit the monarch's power as outlined in a constitution, while absolute monarchies give a monarch unlimited power.
Real-World Example: Today, 45 nations have some form of monarchy, though the concept has become increasingly diluted with the evolution of democratic principles. In the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II's role as a monarch is largely symbolic. But monarchs in other countries, including Morocco, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, still have far-reaching political authority.
7. Theocracy: Theocracy refers to a form of government in which a specific religious ideology determines the leadership, laws, and customs. In many instances, there is little to no distinction between scriptural laws and legal codes. Likewise, religious clergy will typically occupy leadership roles, sometimes including the highest office in the nation.
Real-Life Example: Iran is perhaps the most important and powerful theocratic state in the world today. The ayatollahs — Shiite religious leaders — rule the country. Among them is a "supreme leader" who serves as head of state, delegates authority to other religious leaders, and presides over the elected president. The Sharia — the Islamic faith's primary legal doctrine — dictates the country's legal, judiciary, and administrative codes.
8. Colonialism: Colonialism is a form of government in which a nation extends its sovereignty over other territories. In other words, it involves the expansion of a nation's rule beyond its borders. Colonialism often leads to ruling over indigenous populations and exploiting resources. The colonizer typically installs its economy, culture, religious order, and government form to strengthen its authority.
Real-World Example: In the 15th century, European monarchies launched an age of nautical exploration that led to several notable colonial governments. British, French, Spanish, and Dutch colonists spread their influence and authority throughout the New World, dismantling and sometimes eradicating entire cultures and peoples in the process. One of the most familiar cases is the thirteen colonies, established after North America's colonization by Britain beginning in 1587 and later founded as the United States of America.
9. Totalitarianism: Totalitarianism is an authoritarian form of government in which the ruling party recognizes no limitations whatsoever on its power, including in its citizens' lives or rights. A single figure often holds power and maintains authority through widespread surveillance, control over mass media, intimidating demonstrations of paramilitary or police power, and suppression of protest, activism, or political opposition.
Real-World Example: Although North Korea labels itself as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, it acts as a totalitarian state. Kim Jong-un, the third "supreme leader" in the country's Kim dynasty, rules with singular and unchallenged authority, commanding his public without political opposition. Criticism of the supreme leader or protest against his policies are crimes punishable by death, as are countless other crimes for which due process does not occur.
10. Military Dictatorship: A military dictatorship is a nation ruled by a single authority with absolute power and no democratic process. The head of state typically comes to power in a time of upheavals, such as high unemployment rates or civil unrest. They usually lead the nation's armed forces, using it to establish their brand of law and order and suppress the people's rights. Dictators dismiss due process, civil liberties, or political freedoms. Dissent or political opposition can be dangerous or even deadly for the country's citizens.
Real-World Example: There are about 50 nations in the world with a dictator. One of them is Thailand, where General Prayut Chan-o-cha took power in 2014 following widespread protests against the government. Chan-o-cha declared martial law, dissolved the nation's senate, and placed himself in control. Since then, Thailand has persisted under dictatorial military rule. The military junta, called the National Council for Peace and Order, imposes nationwide curfews, forbids political gatherings, threatens arrest for political opponents or activists, controls the media, and enforces widespread internet censorship. https://thebestschools.org/magazine/common-forms-of-government-study-starters/
Herod asks, “Where is the king of the Jews?”
Pilate answers with the notice in the cross, “The King of the Jews.”
Jesus came to bide the strong man. Naves Topical Index defines kingdom and gives texts.
Kingdom is among you, within in.
OT points to something, NT shows how more than fulfilled in Jesus.
Messiah but no one thought it would be God’s son.
Abrahamic promise would be some land. No one expected that it would include the whole world.
The gospel of the kingdom must be preached.
Matthew 13 parables.
Can you have a kingdom without a king? Is kingdom an accommodation to our understanding?
The rule of God in our lives.
The beatitudes describe the citizens of God’s kingdom.
Easiest way to write law is in prohibitions. Jesus writes law in the possibilities in Matthew 5-Beatitudes.
Lucifer introduces the idea of obligation into the relationship between God and his creation.
Cross demonstrates God’s love: God is shown to be un-manipulative or vulnerable. He is our servant and Philippians 2 shows the depth of his servanthood.
When Gandhi and MLK understand that the death of They assumed there was something good in the British. No trade in salt edict by British. When Indians keep coming to be clubbed by soldiers the hold of the British is broken. When Jesus allows us to club him to death the hold if sin is broken in the corporate mind of the universe.
Sin is an attitude we have that is antagonistic towards God (Men love darkness rather than light). We must have a moral influence that changes this attitude.
GE Ladd The Kingdom of God John Wright The Kingdom of God.