The Bible talks a lot about government—the right kind and the wrong kind. The wrong kind has produced all the evils and troubles in this world today. But the right kind is destined to bring peace and happiness to this world—and Christians are called to be a part of it!
This aspect of the Christian calling is summarized essentially in a passage in Revelation:
Those God calls must be converted, changed and, in fact, reconstituted before they are ever given such authority on earth.
“They sing a new song: ‘You [Christ, the Lamb of God] are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; and have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth” (Revelation 5:9-10 Revelation 5:9-10 9 And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×, New Revised Standard Version).
This is surprising to many, and profound in its application. God is the Great King and Ruler of the universe. His children will by nature become kings and priests, ruling under Christ for a thousand years.
God will not give that authority to proud, self-serving men. Those whom God calls must be converted, changed and, in fact, transformed and glorified before they are ever given such authority on earth. All who are converted and attain the resurrection will come together in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Corinthians 15:52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
American King James Version×).
Keep in mind that though God’s Kingdom goes on forever, the millennial rule described in Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×is temporary. It will last only one thousand years! We should go into it knowing: 1) The very temporary nature of man and of this earth; and 2) The very eternal nature of God’s law of love.
Laws in motion
When I was working on aircraft carriers, my job was to keep aircraft flying. To do this one needs to understand how the engines provide thrust, and the wings provide lift. Two things apply: Newton’s Third Law of Motion (every force has an equal and opposite reaction) and the physical laws governing vacuum (in this case, pressure differences caused by the acceleration of air or gas through a restricted space).
It doesn’t matter whether you understand the application to flight; what matters is that we realize that there are laws governing these matters. We cannot see the laws, but we can see the results and we rely on them. We know that without these physical laws, nothing would work. The same applies to spiritual laws.
King David understood this and discussed it in Psalm 19. The first six verses explain how the reality of God’s law is clearly discerned in the physical creation, upheld by the power of God. The next four verses describe the spiritual aspects of the law that, when understood and applied, enhance interpersonal relationships between man and man, and man and God.
David then asks that God would give him the ability to see properly, and to be kept even from presumptuous and hidden sins.
Government throughout the Bible
It is interesting to note that much of the Bible relates to governance in some way or another. God inspired the Holy Scriptures to be written by men of practical experience.
Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible, was ruler over Israel when God formed that nation out of a group of slaves after He delivered them from Egypt. Moses had been taught first in the household of Pharaoh, as a son in that house, and as a prince in his own right. And then God gave him some very different training up on the hillsides with the sheep for 40 years!
After Moses, Joshua became governor of Israel, and the record is written in the book bearing his name. Although Israel was a theocracy, the priesthood did not rule. The priesthood and all the people were subject to Joshua. Joshua, in turn, attended at the tabernacle and continued to be taught—instructed in the Word of God—season by season as the feasts came around, and Sabbath by Sabbath.
After Joshua, the judges—who operated in much the same way—governed Israel. But over time the people increasingly began “doing their own thing.” The law was diluted and authority diminished. The common people came to recognize the fact, because it was they who suffered most at the hands of judges, priests and rich men of the land who bent the law to serve themselves. And so the people cried out for a king, much to Samuel’s dismay.
God gave them kings—first of all Saul and then David and Solomon, as well as many other succeeding kings. We read the records of their doings in 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles.
Two of these kings, David and Solomon, wrote most of four more books of the Bible—Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.
Since God is love, why would anyone imagine doing away with God’s law? Shall we do away with love?
Later, after the 10 tribes of Israel went into captivity, they were dispersed. But following Judah’s captivity, many of the Jews returned to the land under leaders such as Nehemiah, whom Artaxerxes appointed as governor. Records of this time under gentile kings are found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Esther is also concerned with this time in history. The book chronicles the queen’s intervention on behalf of her Jewish people.
Daniel, while he yet served in the Babylonian and Persian courts, gave detailed prophecies regarding the coming of the King and the times of His return! Daniel also recorded some good illustrations of the contrary ways of rulership in this world.
And what of the prophets? They were not kings, governors or rulers, but they were sent to the governments of the nations, usually to the kings in particular, but also to the priests, the leaders who at times were leading the people astray. They were sent to straighten things up, to warn of future consequences and to deliver God’s Word to the kings and priests. They often suffered because of their ministry, including being thrown out of town or executed for their word.
Ultimately, events led to the birth of Christ, who was an heir to the throne of David of the house of Judah. He came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, into which we are called.
In our hearts and minds
The law must yet be written in the minds and on the hearts of mankind.
Jesus Christ, quoting from Deuteronomy (which He did often), said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
American King James Version×). Our Father wants us to be completed, to become perfect. The law of God helps steer us to that. The law must yet be written in the minds and on the hearts of mankind (Hebrews 8:10 Hebrews 8:10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
American King James Version×; Jeremiah 31:33 Jeremiah 31:33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
American King James Version×). This is not merely intellectual, but emotional and loving.
The two cardinal principles of God’s law are love—love of God and love of fellow man (Matthew 22:37-40 Matthew 22:37-40 37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×; Romans 13:9-10 Romans 13:9-10 9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
American King James Version×). Since God is love (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×), why would anyone imagine doing away with God’s law? Shall we do away with love? The saints are called to help administer God’s law of love, as rulers on this earth for a thousand years—and beyond!