A Publication of Separation of Church and State Law Ministry.
If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.
Copyright © December 26, 2017
A basic definition of government is “direction, control.” God is the highest Ruler. His government is above all other governments; all other governments derive their authority from God. He, as the Sovereign of the universe ordained and rules over all other governments. “Ordain” means “to establish or order by appointment, decree, or law” (WEBSTER’S COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY 818 (10th ed. 1995)). Men know that God is in control because God put a God-consciousness in every person (See Ro. 1.18-32).
God teaches in many ways, throughout the Bible, that He is the Supreme Ruler and His is the Higher and Highest Power. As possessor of heaven and earth, God has and exercises supreme authority in both the heavenly and earthly sphere.
That God is supreme, the Highest Power, is revealed in the Old Testament through, among other things, His names. The Old Testament reveals the existence of a Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe and of man, the Source of all life and intelligence who is to be worshipped and served by men and angels.
As the Supreme Ruler, He has decreed that men may choose to be guided by His principles or not. However, choices are met by either blessings or judgment. In the final analysis He will either reward or judge all governments according to the degree they abide by His will.
The first government established by God was self-government. Every person exercises self-government, and decides whether he or she will receive the only true and eternal hope which is provided by God, that is the Lord Jesus Christ, as Savior. “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6.40).
After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, and man knew “good and evil,” God established family government. Every person within a family – father, mother, and children – in exercising self-government, chooses whether to submit to God’s guidelines concerning family government.
The next type of government ordained by God was human government or civil government. God ordained civil government at the time of the great flood. For the first time, He gave man the responsibility of ruling the world for God. Relatively quickly after Cain killed Abel, all mankind except Noah and his family, guided only by conscience (knowledge of good and evil or an awareness of right and wrong) had become totally corrupted. Civil government provided further and direct control over the evil nature of man.
Some time after ordaining civil government, God called out Abraham to be the father of Israel. Israel was established as a theocracy. All other nations were non-theocratic and were and are called “Gentile.” God established Israel to be directly under Him for specific purposes. Israel was to be the only theocracy that God has ever ordained. The Gentile nations can only look to Israel to see that God is who He claims to be, but God still desires every nation to choose to honor Him and His principles.
The Word of God teaches us that no civil government, Jew or Gentile, since it is made up of sinful men, will, before the return of Christ, ever follow the principles of God for any significant period of time. That both Israel and the Gentiles have governed for self, not God, is sadly apparent. Therefore, every civil government that has ever existed or which will ever come about prior to the return of the Lord will be judged by God.
God used a Gentile nation to take Israel into captivity, and He has already judged and is judging many Gentile nations. The Lord will return and crush the Gentile world-powers existing at the time of His return which, led by the beast and false prophet, will come and besiege Israel (Re. 19.19). The nation Israel will then be restored to the land which God gave them according to his covenant with them (Many verses in the Bible verify this. God will do this for His “holy name’s sake, which [Israel had] profaned among the heathen….” Then Satan will be cast “into the bottomless pit, that he might deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled,” the nations shall be judged, and God’s kingdom will be set up.
Throughout these studies, the student should keep in mind all governments: first, God’s Supreme Government, then the other governments which God has ordained—self-government, family government, civil government, and church government. Biblical principles of governments other than church government are dealt with in this section, Section 1 with an emphasis on civil government; and biblical principles of church government are dealt with in Section 2. God laid down the boundaries of the authority of each type of government and the principles by which every government should conduct its affairs. He will hold every government responsible for the choices it makes. The reader should also keep in mind that the God-given goal for all governments is the glory of God, not the happiness of man. Joy is a side effect of “loving the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
Many Bible verses back up the conclusions stated in this brief lesson. Only a few are given here. The student can go to Introduction to the Bible Doctrine of Government online or to Online PDF of God Betrayed pages 3-9 to find those verses.