America faces enormous challenges as it counts down the days to another presidential election. Considering the current national state of affairs, whom would Jesus Christ choose for high office?
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The United States is entering the final weeks of a hotly contested presidential election. The outcome will likely have a major impact on the direction of the country and America's position in the world.
Before making a major decision many professing Christians like to ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?" In this case, we might phrase it, "Whom would Jesus choose to run the government?"
The American political landscape has changed substantially since the republic's first president, George Washington, was unanimously elected in 1792. Presidential campaigns have evolved into a series of fiercely fought and often contentious contests.
Every four years, from caucuses and primaries to conventions and ballots, candidates take to the streets, airwaves and Internet to make their case. Both Democrats and Republicans are spending millions of dollars in what is likely to become the most expensive campaign in history.
They offer two competing and vastly different visions of America. Pollsters are showing a tight race where the leading issue has become how to fix the struggling economy.
Deep divisions in the nation
Today's political environment is characterized by stubborn partisanship and ongoing polarization that has drawn constant criticism from voters and pundits alike. With little to say that is positive, both parties are seeking votes with largely negative campaigns that tout the high stakes involved.
Republicans are courting their base and counting on voters that are not too keen on Mitt Romney to be galvanized by a sharp anti-President Obama message. Meanwhile, Democrats hope that the pro-Obama voters of 2012 who have become somewhat disenchanted can be kept in the fold by the prospect of a Republican president and Congress.
According to the latest polls, about half of voters approve of President Obama's performance, meaning half also disapprove. The growing political divide in the country has sparked increased turnouts in the last two presidential elections and may do the same this time around.
Some expect the number who will vote in the Nov. 6 election to exceed the 131 million people who voted four years ago, the highest since 1968. That amounted to just under 57 percent of the adult population.
One thing that seems certain in this election is that many voters won't necessarily be voting for a particular candidate, but instead will be voting against the one they dislike most.
Governance by gridlock
The United States constitution—the longest-surviving written charter of government—came into operation in 1789 as the supreme law of the land and guides American society in law and political culture. America's Founding Fathers purposely framed the constitution to set up a divided government so as to prevent any one person or branch of government from gaining too much power.
The first three articles of the constitution establish the three branches of government —the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. One could argue that it was set up to be deliberately inefficient so as to prevent the majority from being able to trample the rights of the minority.
So perhaps it's natural that the vast majority of Americans feel the legislative branch (Congress) has degenerated into a cumbersome and inefficient pattern of gridlock. Recent polls place congressional job approval at only 10 percent, with 83 percent disapproving. With more negative advertising on the way in the closing weeks of campaigning, approval ratings will likely drop even further.
And the sad reality is that no matter how hard the Founding Fathers tried to create a system of governance that was foolproof, it doesn't solve the underlying problem—which is that imperfect and fallible human beings are running it.
Whom would Jesus pick to put in power?
In light of the growing divide within the nation and its government, the person elected to office will face the daunting tasks of trying to bring more unity and economic growth. So what method would Jesus use in evaluating the best candidate for the job of government leader?
He has definite points of view regarding the issues facing governments. His perspective is based on the laws God established as the framework for how mankind must live to lead happy, productive and balanced lives. Christ would support only potential leaders or platforms if and when they were aligned with those laws.
A big problem now facing us is that political platforms are often a complicated array of different agendas and strategies that often do not align with godly principles. In fact, there is no political party, party platform or candidate that has an agenda fully compatible with all biblical teaching.
This means Jesus Christ would not belong to any particular political party. He cannot be pigeonholed as a liberal, moderate or conservative—or as a Republican, Democrat or Independent—as defined by today's political world.
While He might from time to time support specific issues, policies and practices, it would only be if they were aligned with God's will. But He would not be an activist pushing any humanly devised agenda or advocating that we vote for a candidate supporting such.
Instead, Jesus Christ's focus would be the same as it was nearly 2,000 years ago. He would do His Father's work of calling and training a group of followers to help build His future righteous government. And He would be actively proclaiming the gospel—the good news—that His government, His coming Kingdom, is the only real hope for good governance and true peace on earth.
God's perspective on nations and leadership
We can take comfort in knowing that God does at times choose national leaders even in this age. The prophet Daniel witnessed this firsthand. He said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons [the eras and events of history]; He removes kings and raises up kings [including presidents, prime ministers, dictators, etc.]; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding" (Daniel 2:20-21).
God's perspective is so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). And He has a master plan that He is working out here below that we may not fully understand (1 Corinthians 13:12).
God considers many factors when choosing leaders. He looks at the broad sweep of history, His prophetic timetable and His specific plans for peoples and nations.
At times specific leaders are put in place for them to move a government or society in a particular direction. This was often done when God provided specific judges and kings for ancient Israel. He then blessed or cursed the leaders and people according to how they obeyed His instructions (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28).
Sometimes God removes leaders for various reasons. A good example can be found when He caused calamity to befall King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and drove him out of office because of his arrogance and lack of respect for God's authority over him (Daniel 4:8-33).
Also, the types of people God chooses may sometimes surprise you. The dream that depicted Nebuchadnezzar's downfall was given "in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men" (Daniel 4:17).
At other times God may simply allow people to get whom they want and then live with the consequences, such as those spelled out in 1 Samuel 8:7-20. And sometimes He may just let time and chance play out (Ecclesiastes 9:11). God also ensures His prophetic Word is fulfilled by raising up specific leaders as needed to guide a country or people in the direction He has prophesied.
For example, over the last 200 years God placed in power many of the right leaders at the right time in Britain and America to bring the blessings promised to Joseph and his modern descendants through his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48; 49:22-26).
He also backed their leadership by providing many of the national blessings that were prophesied. (To learn more details of how this occurred, read the Bible study aid booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy . )
Sadly, He also promises to permit the kind of leadership that will bring the punishment decreed on these nations for drifting away from Him and His teachings.
A coming new world order
The good news is that the United States and the entire world will soon experience leadership unlike anything we have ever seen—for Jesus Christ Himself will return to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16). He will not need to be voted into office to exercise His leadership abilities and form a new government. The Kingdom of God will come to earth not because of human efforts but in spite of human efforts to stop it (Revelation 17:14).
Jesus has promised to return to save us from the corruption of human leadership, which will produce a terrifying time in which, if He did not return to intervene, the human race would be faced with extinction (Matthew 24:21-22).
The message from both history and the Bible is clear—we human beings are incapable of rightly governing ourselves. We need a perfect ruler—specifically Jesus Christ to show us how to establish the world's first truly great society.
When Christ establishes His new world order, it will dramatically surpass the most optimistic visions loudly proclaimed by politicians throughout the tiresome ebb and flow of history. And unlike their failed promises, all Christ's promises and Bible prophecies regarding His Kingdom will be completely enacted under His caring hand.
Notice this vision of life on earth under His government as described in Micah 4:1-4: "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
"He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken."
As His way of life spreads around the globe, a happy society will emerge, with peace, love and joy blossoming like a rose. Human development and opportunities will flourish (Isaiah 9:6-7).
And at long last, the underlying problem of every human government will be changed—selfish, self-serving human beings will be transformed as more and more are able to answer the question "What would Jesus do?" (see Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34).
Is God electing you?
While Jesus Christ will usher in His government soon, He may be calling you to be elected—chosen—right now. This election is not by the people or political delegates and is far more important than being elected president of the United States.
The apostle Peter explains, "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure . . . for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:10-11).
You can be elected by God now to one of the most important and crucial positions in the land—the position of a Christian. True Christians, explained the apostle Paul, are "ambassadors for Christ"—His representatives on earth here and now, representing His Kingdom and way of life.
In addition, those who are His true servants prepare themselves to be the kind of rulers He will be. As He promises in Revelation 3:21, "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." This is the awesome future He wants to share with you!