The illusion of a “free world” is evaporating. Governments around the world are abolishing freedoms, opportunities and basic rights, and establishing new systems of surveillance, control and oppression. The century or so of governments recognizing individual rights is over.
Today, very suddenly, we live in a different world. Unintentionally—and intentionally—those who hold governmental power have stopped even pretending to submit to the law. They are wielding their power however they see fit. As a result, liberty itself has been locked down!
There is a lesson to be learned here. It’s the lesson taught by all history to all generations. It’s the lesson of leadership, of civilization, of freedom’s fragility. It’s the lesson of human government.
The Lesson in Your Nightly News
The Critic interviewed several experts who show how governmental actions have superseded the rule of law. It quoted Lord Sumption, a former United Kingdom Supreme Court justice, pointing out that police “had no business doing anything in a national crisis except enforcing the law. They are not there to give effect to their own views on what a national crisis might require or to give effect to what a prime minister’s views might require in a crisis. They are citizens in uniform who should apply the law and nothing else” (September 2020).
That, on the whole, is what police officers in the free world used to do, all those many months ago. The police and the policed in our nations generally (if vaguely) understood that your rights are not something people in power give you but something you are born with. They understood that laws should protect those rights. They understood that even those who govern must themselves be governed by those laws.
How rapidly all this changed. “The rule of law is being so emasculated that when you actually need it you will find it is no longer there,” attorney Kirsty Brimelow told the Critic. “That then leads to arbitrary decisions, overreach and [the law] being used against citizens. We have become too used to being a liberal democratic country, and our rights are being pulled away by stealth. If we don’t have a strong legal framework, then we will move towards law by government and not law through Parliament, and the heart of democracy will be gone.”
The director of the group Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said, “The idea that one of the oldest democracies in the world could buckle under a coronavirus is chilling. The question of the lockdown was never democratically asked. … Our instincts on freedom are at risk of drifting.”
“The state decided without debate to restrict our rights and freedoms in ways that are unimaginable in a democratic system,” said Francis Hoar, another attorney. “This is not the way a normal liberal society operates. What is terrifying is that this wasn’t just imposed by governments—people wanted it. Of course, people can choose to stay in their homes, but they wanted it to be law, to impose these restrictions on others. … This is an epochal moment: It feels as if a barrier has been breached. One thing that is troubling is that people experience restrictions being lifted and talk of being ‘allowed’ to go to the pub or visit their family. Can you imagine saying that before?”
This is now reality in the “free world.” The governors—and the governed—think that a human being’s most basic rights and responsibilities are determined not by God but by whomever is currently in power.
During a September 3 press conference, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed his desires regarding indoor dining in New York City: “I’d like to see the restaurants open. However, there’s a but—B-U-T. The but is: Our rules and guidance on reopening [are] only as good as the compliance and the enforcement.” He went on to call out the New York City Council speaker, saying, “[P]ut together a task force of nypd, Speaker Johnson, and say, there are going to be 4,000 police who are going to be doing restaurant compliance.”
We need 4,000 policemen to make sure diners obey the new rules for face masks and social distancing before we can reopen restaurants! In this governor’s view, state and local government officials do not have enough power over citizens’ lives. Systems of checks and balances need to be eliminated. The principle of limited government needs to be erased. Government must become still more unlimited.
Yet consider this recent headline from the New York Times: “Finger-Pointing Continues as New York Sees Another Month of Violent Crime.” This article reports, “The steep rise in gun violence that has rattled New York City and intensified the debate over policing continued at an alarming rate in August, as shootings more than doubled over the same period last year and murders rose by nearly 50 percent, the police said” (September 3).
Even as government officials seek to control routine behavior of law-abiding citizens, these same government officials are working to defund and reduce law enforcement against actual crimes. And crime, violence and lawlessness are soaring in our cities!
Read this next statement closely. This was New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio commenting on the state of America’s largest city: “Look, we have had a perfect storm here. A million jobs lost in the city. People without work, kids not going to school, houses of worship not open, you name it, and then our court system hasn’t been functioning until recently, all because of the coronavirus. Let’s be clear. For the last six previous years, crime was going down steadily in New York City—safest big city in America. What changed it? A pandemic that knocked out so much of the life of this city and just created crisis after crisis” (September 3).
This mayor is blaming the lawlessness in his city on the lockdowns that he imposed following the pandemic! Such blame-shifting is now routine. So many of the real problems we are facing were not caused by the virus itself, but by governments’ response to the virus. Yet virtually nobody in a position of power will acknowledge his own responsibility for what has happened, let alone make course corrections aimed at undoing the damage he has caused.
These are only a couple examples of many glaring failures in leadership within this nation. And this is the nation that has set itself up as an example of liberty, equality and prosperity to all nations. These failures reveal that even the “free world” is succumbing to the problems of governance that have plagued human beings throughout history.
New Leadership Prophesied
The catalog of history is one of thousands of years of oppressive and corrupt governments. As we wrote in our February issue, “For millennia, kings and princes and emperors and caesars and sultans and czars and kaisers have paraded and strutted around, abusing their power; populations have suffered under corruption and deceit and fraud and nepotism and greed and wickedness and injustice. Mankind has witnessed dictatorship, despotism, tyranny, oppression, persecution, genocide, unrest, uprising, coup, assassination, mutiny, revolt, rebellion, revolution, government after government, generation after generation” (“The Riddle of Government”).
Historically, genuine freedom under the rule of law has been an exceedingly rare privilege. Its modern establishment in the Anglo-American world has been remarkable for its relative universality and longevity. But as we have seen, even this is rapidly fading. Our “free” governments are falling back into chaos and embracing oppression.
What is happening today underlines a lesson mankind has been writing for some 6,000 years, mostly through suffering: that human beings, apart from God, are incapable of justly ruling other human beings.
This inescapable conclusion points you directly to Jesus Christ and His gospel message! Read the book of Matthew, read the Gospels, read what Jesus Christ said. He was focused on government!
The only solution to our worst problems—for our generation and for all human generations, past and future—is right government.
And the only individuals capable of right government are God beings!
This is why Jesus Christ repeatedly talked about the Kingdom of God, which is the government of God administered by the God Family. This is why He talked about true Christians ruling over cities (e.g. Luke 19:16-19). This wasn’t just a metaphor—it is the one and only solution to the human condition!
In Revelation 2:26-27, Christ promises, “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” In Revelation 3:21 He says further, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
From the beginning of the biblical record to the end, God and Jesus Christ have been focused on law, government and rule!
True followers of Jesus Christ submit to the government of God and the law of God. That is how they qualify to administer that government themselves.
Most Christians do not understand or believe this truth! They don’t really know what Jesus Christ’s gospel was. Many think it was to tell people that He would die to pay the penalty for their sins. But the stark truth is, Christians who do not understand Jesus Christ and do not understand His gospel are not true Christians!
Throughout the ages, God the Father has drafted a small group of people into His true Church, led by Jesus Christ. They then have the choice to submit to His government and keep His law, or not. Only those who submit their belief, their attitudes and their actions to God can truly become Christian, can truly understand Christ’s gospel, and can truly fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. Only then can someone be trained to rule God’s way—to govern a city or a nation with Christ and bring it order, safety, peace, abundance and the fulfillment of each person’s incredible human potential.
When true Christians read the Bible, this theme of government leaps off the pages again and again. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, describes the future. And it repeatedly focuses on the theme of government—literal, actual, world-ruling government! Revelation 5:10 describes God’s people being “kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 20:4 and 6 state, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto 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 upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. … Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
This theme of right government, God’s government, appears repeatedly through Jesus Christ’s ministry, and throughout both the New Testament and Old Testament.
The vision of Daniel 7 describes this same future reality: “Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. … And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (verses 22, 27).
We need to recognize the lesson staring us in the face in downtown Portland, Seattle, Chicago, New York and across the United States: There is no replacement for good government. And human beings have never administered good government. It has always been flawed with incapacity, corruption, evil. It has always been fatally flawed.
We need the Kingdom of God! We need the government of the Most High! We need the government of our Creator! We need the government of God! Only God’s government, administering God’s law, can finally end the self-righteous, self-destructive insanity of human misgovernment.
Jesus Christ is returning. And He is returning for the purpose He stated in His gospel message: to implement government. He will rule, and He will rule for the benefit of those ruled. Even when allowed to rule ourselves, mankind simply does not know how to do it justly and beneficially. We need individuals in government who have been prepared to rule not for their own benefit, not for their own glory, not in the interests of a certain group, but for the purpose of putting every man, woman and child under the loving authority of God the Father, helping them turn away from their own self-destructive sins, and raising them to understand the laws of cause and effect that govern human life, to realize the causes of good, the sources of evil, to learn their purpose for being, and to love God’s joyful, abundant, dazzling way of life!
When you see reports about human government, think about that. Government was the mission of Jesus Christ. Government is the mission of Jesus Christ. And that government is the mission of true Christians. This is the lesson of our generation and all generations: The government of God is the only way to establish a true “free world.”