God's Good Government

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God's Good Government

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Most people consider the inauguration of a new president to be very meaningful. How much more significant will it be when one Ruler is established over the whole world!

Each autumn, members of the United Church of God gather at sites around the globe to celebrate God’s Feast of Tabernacles and review what good government will look like when Jesus Christ returns to rule as king. The messages during this time motivate and give us insights into the millennial rule of Jesus Christ.

Although we cannot see the future (except where, when and as God reveals it), we can read God’s Word and understand the differences between the rule of man and the rule of God.

Some differences

My New King James Version Bible has the subheading “Israel Demands a King” above 1 Samuel 8. 1 Samuel 8:7 1 Samuel 8:7And the LORD said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
American King James Version×
then shows God stating, “Heed the voice of the people…they have rejected Me that I should not reign over them.” God was clearly telling Samuel that Israel’s choice or demand for a king was, in fact, a rejection of God Himself as sovereign Lord. But how so?

God continues in 1 Samuel 8:8 1 Samuel 8:8According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, with which they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also to you.
American King James Version×
, “According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also.” They wanted their own way. They did not wish to submit to God’s rule. They wanted to make gods of their own (Exodus 32:8 Exodus 32:8They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be your gods, O Israel, which have brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
American King James Version×
).

In 1 Samuel 8:9 1 Samuel 8:9Now therefore listen to their voice: however, yet protest solemnly to them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
American King James Version×
, God again repeats His incredible condescension: “Heed their voice.” Why? Why would God allow Himself to be rejected? The rest of 1 Samuel 8 reveals much about human government and why God allows it, especially in Israelite nations. It teaches us that only the rule of God will bring maximum happiness to the majority of mankind. Only submission to the Eternal will result in true freedom.

Please read 1 Samuel 8:11-22 1 Samuel 8:11-22 [11] And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. [12] And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. [13] And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. [14] And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive groves, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. [15] And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. [16] And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your best young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. [17] He will take the tenth of your sheep: and you shall be his servants. [18] And you shall cry out in that day because of your king which you shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. [19] Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, No; but we will have a king over us; [20] That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. [21] And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. [22] And the LORD said to Samuel, Listen to their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said to the men of Israel, Go you every man to his city.
American King James Version×
. Notice that not everything the king will do is bad. We could say that being a cook or a baker for the king might be a cushy job. (But remember the baker in the story of Joseph in Egypt? Maybe we wouldn’t want to suffer a monarch’s arbitrary displeasure.) Job titles and duties are not the point.

The point is that in the Eternal’s explanation of the king’s behavior, He showed that in a human government, people always serve the king. As Ronald Reagan said, “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters but they mean to be masters.” Masters require submission.

There is just no getting around that fact. How many masters can we have?

How does Christ want us to live?

The question is not simply academic. Christians have been called and chosen to become kings and priests. The book of Revelation clearly expresses Christ’s will for His Church. In Revelation 1:6 Revelation 1:6And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
American King James Version×
and Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×
, the idea is unmistakable that government rulership will be our #1 job in Christ’s Kingdom when He returns to earth.

This passage in 1 Samuel 8 will not be our model for how to rule. There are examples of good rulers in God’s Word. Joseph (already mentioned) and Daniel (a member of the worldly government of Babylon), among others, should be studied carefully. They served in high government positions and also submitted to higher authority.

But let’s summarize Jesus Christ’s method of governing by using one chapter in the New Testament—Ephesians 5. The subhead in my Bible reads, “Walk in Love,” but perhaps it could say, “Govern in Love.” Ephesians 5:1-2 Ephesians 5:1-2 [1] Be you therefore followers of God, as dear children; [2] And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling smell.
American King James Version×
read, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” These scriptures should be read, understood and followed. Then skip down to Ephesians 5:15-21 Ephesians 5:15-21 [15] See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Why be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; [19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; [20] Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; [21] Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
American King James Version×
and read them as a prelude to good government.

Ephesians 5:22 Ephesians 5:22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
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begins our government treatise. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” If a wife submits to her husband, it could be said that he rules over her. He governs. This verse has been used to abuse wives ever since Paul first wrote it. It should not be so used.

If we husbands would simply read Ephesians 5:25 Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
American King James Version×
, which states, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”! It is incredible that we could confuse the sequence of loving our wives “as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” with “let the wives be subject to their husbands.” Although Ephesians 5:22 Ephesians 5:22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
American King James Version×
comes before Ephesians 5:25 Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
American King James Version×
, Christ sacrificed Himself first before there was even a Church to be subject to Him!

Some human husbands hesitate about which should come first. But Christ would not and did not hesitate to die for all mankind before the vast majority of humans even understood what was taking place.

Without going into more detail, let’s skip to Ephesians 5:32 Ephesians 5:32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
American King James Version×
, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” I postulate that when Paul speaks of a “great mystery,” part of what he is talking about concerns our future rulership as kings and priests under Christ in the world beyond today.

We husbands are not just being given admonition about how to be good husbands. (Nor are wives just being given instruction about how to be good wives.) We are all being taught how to rule—how to rule as Christ will rule.

Government in today’s world is badly flawed; but it operates by God’s permission. He has allowed mankind this choice, which will reveal that only God’s government will bring true peace and lasting happiness to this world. For now, almost any rule is better than none at all. But the veneer of even acceptable government is stretched thinner and thinner, revealing chaos just below the surface. Satan really wants no other rule than his own, but he will accept chaos as a temporary substitute.

It therefore behooves us to practice and teach good government NOW.

Husbands, love your wives and give yourselves for them as Christ gave Himself for the Church. And wives, respect your husbands. Learn and practice God’s good government by visiting Ephesians 5:21 Ephesians 5:21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
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often. Paul understood the challenge but wrote by God’s Holy Spirit what we all must learn—“submitting to one another in the fear of God.”