After a turbulent year of curtailed freedoms and riotous mayhem around the world, a disputed U.S. election, another divisive second impeachment, and aggressive silencing of political and ideological opponents, a great many are waking up to the failure of human government. The depth of corruption, hypocrisy, lying and injustice across the political spectrum is profoundly frustrating and almost defies comprehension.
If we could only fix these problems! But we can’t. Political leaders and intelligentsia at all levels share the delusion they can save us from our own foolish ignorance, and we all suffer for it. Power corrupts. Even what seem to be caring intentions, whether sincere or subterfuge, can end in totalitarian nightmares.
Representative government too often has become a mirage, beset with so much cronyism, graft and pernicious conformity and groupthink. Some officials of integrity still try to stand up for what’s right—but they too are flawed and too few. Efforts to “drain the swamp” are doomed from the start—for the swamp, as events of the last few years have shown, is everywhere.
All this has demonstrated once again that mankind is incapable of sustained governance for the good of the governed. Why? There are two big reasons for our dilemma that go together—people are not right in the heart, and the world is led by Satan the devil.
At this time of year, the biblical festivals of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are powerful reminders of these factors. They also point to the solution. Jesus Christ died for the problem at Passover. And He did so looking ahead to the answer that would spring from that moment and vital steps to follow, coming to full fruition in the future. Jesus at His return will take over the reins of world government. Yet the real conquest to save us must and will occur on the inside of people everywhere.
Wayward hearts held captive
The formation of the United States as a constitutionally limited republic has been of great blessing to the world. Yet its promotion of liberty and justice has been dependent on the character of the citizenry. As founding father and second president John Adams said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
As morality has waned, so has the government. With wayward people accepting worsening representation, the checks on abuses of power matter less and less. Corrupt leaders promote further corruption of the people, who accept greater evil.
This vicious cycle happens everywhere to varying degrees. Governments in nations of high morality have been the most beneficial. But the reality is that no nations have been of high enough and lasting morality to persist in what’s right and endure.
Consider even the nation that God Himself set up, ancient Israel. Greatly blessed and directed by God, it was to serve as a model nation of law and wisdom in following His ways (see Deuteronomy 4:5-8). He warned the people repeatedly not to turn from that, yet they still did. They broke their covenant relationship with God, making a new covenant necessary (Jeremiah 31:31-32). The problem was not the Old Covenant but the people, God explained (Hebrews 8:8). He knew they did not have a heart to faithfully obey Him (see Deuteronomy 5:29).
Scripture further tells us that all mankind has a corrupt nature and that the human heart is desperately wicked and incapable of remaining subject to God’s law (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 8:7). None is truly righteous (Romans 3:10-12, 23).
Of course, the more righteous people are, the better the outcome for them and others will be. Righteousness in governance is a cause of rejoicing (Proverbs 29:2). But there’s no guarantee of earthly rulers continuing in what’s right.
As mentioned, a big part of human waywardness is the influence of Satan the devil, along with his demonic minions—angels who rebelled against God, having been corrupted into evil. Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has roped humanity into their rebellion. Now, “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).
The devil is the unseen ruler of this world, the spirit at work in disobedient mankind (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Ephesians 2:2-3). His demons occupy positions of power behind the scenes (Ephesians 6:12). They are active in so much of the evil we see in man’s governments—and in the broken lives of people everywhere.
Thankfully, God intends to ultimately break Satan’s iron grip on human society through a change of rule and a change of heart—as, again, these go hand in hand.
Change of rule through change of heart—now and in the future
To free us from the tyranny of Satan and sin with its penalty of suffering and ultimately death, Jesus first had to die in our place—“that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). He died in our place on the Passover day as the fulfillment of the symbolism of the Passover lamb sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7; John 1:29).
He then rose from the dead to lead us out of sin, as pictured in the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows. In receiving Christ’s sacrificial death in repentance, our slavery to sin is broken, as we instead give our lives into God’s dominion (see Romans 6:1-23).
Jesus becomes our Lord and Master—our King on behalf of God the Father. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13, New American Standard Bible). We are now subject to the rule of that Kingdom even though it is not yet established throughout the earth, as it will be.
Through our receiving the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus then lives His life in us to help us live in accordance with God’s will (Acts 2:38; Galatians 2:20). As part of the terms of the New Covenant Jesus initiated with His disciples at His final Passover meal with them, God begins writing His laws in their hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10). Thus, those individuals who respond to God’s calling in this age experience the needed change of rule and change of heart. It is this changed heart that enables us to continue in following God as our Ruler—and His reign in our lives helps us to continue submitting our hearts. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Today only a few experience this process, not the world at large. These few make an impact, but not enough to fundamentally change the world. In fact, they are often persecuted by the world. Yet they are the ones who will be given immortality and power at Christ’s return to help Him in establishing and ruling the Kingdom of God on earth (Daniel 7:13-14, 27; Revelation 5:10; 20:4, 6).
For indeed Jesus will come back and take over the rule of all nations (Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15). “The government will be upon His shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6). Satan will be ousted from rule and banished (Revelation 20:1-3). Many prophecies describe the wonderful changes that will come throughout the world. Under Christ’s rule, the transformative process will expand rapidly. God will pour out His Spirit the world over (Joel 2:28), and all will come to know God and His ways (Isaiah 11:9; Hebrews 8:11).
Under the perfect righteous rule of Christ and His glori-fied followers of this age, the world will at last know true peace, justice, joy and love—as He transforms people's hearts to receive His rule within them, not just over them.
Enduring the cross for the joy to come
At the end of His human life on the eve and day of Passover, Jesus was looking toward the future. When He sat down with His disciples for that last Passover meal together, He told them it would be fulfilled in the Kingdom to come (Luke 22:14-18).
He told them He would be going away to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house, referring to their becoming part of God’s family and Kingdom through Him (John 14:1-6). He prayed to be restored to divine glory with the Father, joined ultimately by all His followers (John 17).
Holding on to this wonderful hope of the coming Kingdom brought Jesus through the horrible suffering of the hours that followed: “. . . who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2, New Revised Standard Version).
What was He going through all this for? For the joy yet to come. To free us from sin and death and lead us in transformation for what will follow. For His return to save the world and set everything right. For us to be part of His divine family and the new government He will bring.
In the annual Passover service, we remember not only that Jesus died, but that He is coming again: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26, emphasis added).
As we recall what Jesus did for us in His great sacrifice, let’s also remember why—for the future He will bring for us all. For a transformed world. For the Kingdom of God through a change of rule and a change of heart—both now in preparation and ultimately at Christ’s return. That’s the new government we all need!