After thousands of years of abuse, corruption and misrule, finally there will be a government that is always for the people—truly serving with everyone's best interest in mind. Part three of a series.
The statistics, and the human stories behind them, are horrifying. Dictators, tyrants and leaders of every stripe have cheated, robbed, starved, repressed, jailed, tortured, raped and murdered their own subjects.
• Some estimates claim Kim Jong-II is responsible for the deaths of 4 million or more of his own people, an incredible statistic considering North Korea has only about 23 million people. While he required his malnourished people to watch the public executions of people caught stealing food or trying to flee the country, he continued to spend extravagantly on his own lavish lifestyle.
According to the UN World Food Program, the average 7-year-old boy in North Korea is almost 8 inches shorter than a South Korean the same age, and more than 20 pounds lighter (David Wallechinsky, "The World's 10 Worst Dictators," Parade, Jan. 22, 2006).
• Saparmurat Niyazov, who named himself Turkmenistan's president for life and father of the Turkmen, also renamed the month of January after himself and April after his mother. He commissioned a revolving gold statue of himself that rotates to face the sun, and made his book the Ruhnama the universal textbook for his people. He considered all criticism treason and punished dissenters with imprisonment, incarceration in psychiatric facilities and torture. He ordered the doctors to give up the Hippocratic Oath and to swear allegiance to him instead (Wallechinsky).
• In Equatorial Guinea, "human-rights groups report detention without trial, torture, the disappearance of opposition activists and the plunder of the country's vast oil resources." In the 1996 election Teodoro Obiang Nguema received well over 100 percent of the vote in some parts of the country, and in 1994 he expelled the U.S. ambassador who was "accused of using witchcraft to try to help the opposition win elections."
More than $700 million was funneled into accounts he controlled, while most of his people live on less than $1 a day. "On one occasion, his wife deposited a suitcase containing 30 kilograms of $100 bills at a Washington bank" ("The World's Top 10 Dictators," Sept. 4, 2006, www.newstatesman.com ).
Sadly, there are many more stories like these today, as there have been throughout history. Think of Suharto, estimated to have embezzled $15 to $35 billion during his rule of Indonesia, and Stalin, who killed thousands in his purges of "enemies of the people," and starved millions more Russians with "the worst man-made famine in human history" (www.infoplease.com; www.pbs.org ).
Before them were countless others—from Nimrod to Nebuchadnezzar to Nero to Napoleon—with power and the corruption that seems to inevitably ensue.
An image destroyed
Since so many leaders seem to set up idealized images of themselves, it is only fitting that a prophecy of the end of human misrule includes the toppling of a huge statue.
One night God gave the great Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar a vivid dream that troubled him so much he called all his experts together to tell him the meaning. To ensure they didn't just make up an interpretation, he insisted they first tell him exactly what he had dreamed.
They knew he wasn't kidding when he threatened, "If you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap" (Daniel 2:5).
No one could do what the king demanded; but Daniel, a Jewish captive serving in Nebuchadnezzar's court, asked God to reveal the dream and its meaning to him.
With God's inspiration, Daniel was able to remind the king of the great image he had seen in his dream. It had a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar, "You are this head of gold" (verse 38). The other parts of the image were revealed to be other human empires to follow him—Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman—all the way up to Christ's return.
"You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces… And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (verses 34-35).
The towering image of human government and corrupt rulership will finally come to an end and "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed" (Daniel 2:44).
It seems this vision did little to squelch the pride and arrogant anger of Nebuchadnezzar, who went on to command his people to bow down to a 90-foot gold statue or be thrown into a blazing furnace (Daniel 3:1-6, NIV). But Daniel's prophecy has given hope to millions of oppressed people through the ages. Regime change is coming! The despots and petty bureaucrats will no longer cheat and abuse them.
A dream come true!
Jesus Christ promised to return and not simply clean up the corruption of ongoing earthly rule, but completely replace all temporal entities with a completely new and perfect government—one that truly serves the people.
This is more than "day one" after an election or a coup, but a completely astounding intervention by the Kingdom of heaven now brought to this earth and imposed on a desperate population in need of relief from human nature. In other words, man is going to be saved from himself, by none other than his Creator. Are you ready?
The beloved apostle John foresaw the time when the returning Christ will destroy those who destroy the earth (Revelation 11:18). He heard a loud announcement of the best news this troubled world could hear: "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (verse 15).
This begins the time of refreshing, the time of restoration that the apostle Peter and all the holy prophets had proclaimed (Acts 3:19-21). It was not to be a restoration of some idyllic golden age of man, but a restoration of the perfect government of God that had been lost when man rejected God in the Garden of Eden.
Actually, it seems this earth lost God's government even earlier when Lucifer arrogantly rebelled against his Creator. He started the pattern of selfish government that the Bible identifies with Babylon and that has continued to this day (Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 18:1-5).
Real civil service
Why will God's government be different from all that have gone before? Christ described the contrast in a gentle rebuke to His own students, who had been themselves vying for power.
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:25-28).
Jesus Christ led the way. He gave up all the power of the universe to come live as a humble carpenter and teacher (Philippians 2:5-8). He never took advantage of others, but freely let everyone take advantage of what He had to offer. He looked out for the poor, hungry, sick and disabled. He took the role of a slave to wash His disciples' feet, and took the role of a martyr willing to die in our place (John 13:12-15; Romans 5:6-8).
This is certainly not to say that God's government will not exercise power when necessary to prevent people from harming each other. But the difference will be that all decisions will be based on just laws that are for the real benefit of those governed (Psalm 119:172; Deuteronomy 6:24).
Love is the underlying foundation of all God's laws (Matthew 22:37-40), and these good and fair laws will be administered by perfect leaders and judges who have learned to apply justice with mercy (Matthew 12:7; 18:23-35; 23:23).
In the human realm, even the best leaders are too often stymied by red tape, corrupt bureaucracies and humanly insolvable problems. And, sadly, too many of them also get trapped in the web of corruption and scandal.
But God has been working with people today to form in them His own righteous character so that He can make them incorruptible in every way at Christ's return. Those who have been faithful, some even to death as martyrs, will be changed or "raised incorruptible," with godly power and immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
Christ promised His people: "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21). They will assist Him in fairly, mercifully and effectively serving those who survive the catastrophes of the end of man's age.
With the power and love of the Creator behind them, these resurrected servants of God will be able to clean up the corruption and cut through the Gordian knots that have had humanity in a stranglehold.
Who will rule with Christ in His Kingdom? The Bible actually mentions a few people with their specific job assignments in God's future government.
For example, in Ezekiel 34 God compared His nation of Israel to a flock of sheep. (This includes both the people of Judah and the northern 10 tribes that had previously gone into captivity and become lost in history. See the booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy for more about this fascinating part of the story.)
During this time of man's misrule, the people of Israel have been mistreated by their "shepherds" and been preyed upon by those around. But God promises to save them at Christ's return. "I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David" (verse 23). David will be resurrected and will again serve as king of the whole nation of Israel (Jeremiah 30:9).
The Bible also reveals who will serve with David as leaders of each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matthew 19:28).
The Bible doesn't tell the exact job titles of most of the saints. But it is clear that Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, Moses and Rahab, and many more heroes of faith in the Old and New Testaments and beyond, will serve with Christ in bringing a fair and compassionate government to a world that so sorely needs it (Hebrews 11). WNP