Our Last Hope for Government That Works
What a difference a leader can make! “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2). Under righteous leadership, people’s lives are far better: Evildoers are restrained; liberty and prosperity flourish. But when the wicked rule, corruption spreads, taxes increase, wealth is confiscated, freedoms are curtailed, rights are trampled, evil goes unpunished, good people are oppressed.
Our world today testifies of the truth in this proverb. Truly, bad government can be a real curse.
The major reason this world’s systems of government fail is that they are concocted and administered by human beings under the sway of the devil. Yes, the evil being revealed in the Bible does indeed exist, and the destruction we are seeing in America and its brother nations is direct proof (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9-12). Satan has subjected humanity to oppressive, inept, selfish governments for millenniums.
At the same time, he deceives us into hating and resisting all forms of authority—especially God’s authority.
Human beings need righteous government—godly government. In the Bible, God has revealed a lot about what righteous government looks like, and just how different God’s government is from any other. God has a perfect system of governance. When it is administered, it truly does inspire people to rejoice! And thankfully, very soon, it will be the authority all over the Earth!
Author of Government
In his book Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong called God the “Author of government.” God is the supreme and only perfect Lawgiver (James 4:12), and “[t]he very fact of law presupposes government,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “Government is the administration and enforcement of law by one in authority. This necessitates authoritative leadership—one in command” (Mystery of the Ages). Even between God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son clearly spoke of how the Father holds higher authority (e.g. John 14:28).
Government is simply an organized system of administering and enforcing law. The law tells you how to live; the government administers and enforces that law. Men’s governments administer man’s laws; God’s government administers God’s law. A government that is not enforcing God’s law is not God’s government.
“The government of God is of necessity government from the top down,” Mr. Armstrong continued. “It cannot be ‘government by the consent of the governed.’ Its laws originate and are handed down from God—never legislated by the people—never dictated by the governed how the government over them shall rule them. …
“[T]he government of God is based on the law of God, which is the way of life of outflowing love, cooperation, concern for the good of the governed. And this law of God produces peace, happiness, cooperation through obedience.” The Bible reveals that that law can be summarized by the one word love—subdivided into love toward God and love toward neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). “Jesus magnified this law by showing how its principle expands to cover virtually every possible human infraction. [I]t is so perfect that, by applying its principle, it is a complete law” (ibid).
When Jesus Christ returns to Earth in supreme power and glory, that law will be taught and enforced worldwide (Isaiah 2:2-4). The results will be a world of strong and happy families, a world without murder and hatred, a world of honesty and truth, of giving and contentment, of prosperity and harmony, a world united in knowing and worshiping the one true God.
“The contrast between the beautiful results of God’s government and the wretched results of the governments of Satan’s world could not be more stark!” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in our companion magazine, Royal Vision. “Yet human nature, under Satan’s influence, rebels against and rejects God’s rule. Thankfully, this will change when Christ returns. The devil will be imprisoned, and his anti-God broadcasting will cease (Revelation 20:1-3). Men’s eyes will be opened to the glorious benefits of being ruled by God, and they will embrace it.” He then referred to the prophecy in Acts 3:20-21 about that time described as “the restitution of all things.” “God yearns to restore His government to Earth,” he wrote. “That is the most important aspect of this coming ‘restitution of all things’” (November-December 2019).
The results of this “restitution of all things” will be elaborated on later in the article. But first let’s study some specifics the Bible teaches us about God’s form of government. God’s law not only shows how to love God and neighbor, it also includes many provisions that explain how to administer and enforce that law properly. It tells leaders how to lead in a godly way. It also tells followers how to follow excellently. When God’s eternal spiritual law is obeyed, it produces a beautiful, harmonious relationship between leader and follower, government and governed.
The principle of God’s government is based on the fact that God is at the top. It is government for the people, but it is not by the people. The authority emanates from God, and He delegates it to whom He chooses in order to administer and enforce His law.
In Deuteronomy’s first four chapters, Moses delivered a sermon to the Israelites about their history. Deuteronomy 1:9-10 show how Moses was acting as God’s sole representative, administering His government, but the job was too big for him. God’s solution was to create an organized system of leaders working under Moses in a pyramidal structure (verses 13-15). This is the pattern for God’s government throughout the Bible. It is government from the top down, with God at the top, working through one man, and people filling various offices under that man. The pyramidal government structure alone doesn’t make it God’s government—plenty of worldly organizations use that. What makes it God’s government is that it has God at the top!
In a May 2, 1974, member letter, Mr. Armstrong wrote about this administration of godly government: “Here is government from the top (God) on down. … Under the Eternal God in authority was Moses. Under Moses a number of rulers, each over thousands (it could have been several thousands under each ruler). Under each ruler of a thousand, rulers over hundreds. Under each ruler of a hundred, rulers of 50s, and under each of them rulers of 10s. It was rule from the top down—that is, from God—it was the government of God!”
To implement that government, each individual in office must be a righteous person who exemplifies godly character. Many people have come to believe that the character of a leader doesn’t matter—what matters is that he or she knows how to lead. To God, this notion is ludicrous.
Throughout the Bible, God concerns Himself with character most of all—not talent, not charisma, not ambition, not some magical “ability to lead.” Study, for example, the qualifications for the ministry the Apostle Paul discusses in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. What good are other leadership qualities if the leader draws people astray with a corrupt personal example?
The solution to all mankind’s failed, Satan-influenced governments is the Kingdom of God. That godly government will consist of God beings with perfect character who are submitted to God. Nothing else will work! Human governments often act in their own interests. That is why they tend to get bigger and bigger, demanding more and more of the people’s resources. God’s government is different: It doesn’t act in its own interest because God is at the top, and God is love! (1 John 4:8, 16). God has outgoing concern for the benefit of those under His authority.
When Jesus Christ was training His disciples for government positions, they began to bicker politically about who should have a higher office. Jesus took the opportunity to show them how utterly different, and entirely unselfish, God’s government is. He said, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:24-27; New Living Translation). Godly leadership is service. Those who implement it live and govern according to God’s law of love. If they prioritize their own interests, they are breaking that law (Matthew 22:36-40).
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God gave some laws for Israel’s monarchy. Verse 15 shows that the king was to be God’s choice. God didn’t institute anything like democracy—it was still God’s government. This verse also shows that God doesn’t want Israelites ruled by non-Israelites. In verse 16, God commands the king not to trust in his military. America has violated both of these laws in recent times.
Verse 17 underscores God’s concern with the character of the ruler. He wanted the king to turn his heart to Him—He didn’t want him led astray by a lust for women or riches. This again points to the New Testament counterpart where God demands that a minister be “the husband of one wife … not greedy of filthy lucre” (1 Timothy 3:2-3). A leader who is greedy for money is susceptible to corruption, liable to abuse his position at the people’s expense. Such weakness disqualifies an individual to lead, in God’s eyes.
In Deuteronomy 17:18-20, God commanded that the king be a diligent student of His law. This makes perfect sense when you remember that God’s government is a system of administering and enforcing God’s law. This is true wherever that government is administered, whether within a family, church or nation. Soon it will be true all over the Earth.
This is essentially the extent of what God’s government will be doing in the World Tomorrow: 1) educating people in God’s law; teaching people how to lead happy lives and to prosper and be blessed—individually, in their families, with their neighbors and in their nations; and 2) administering and enforcing God’s law, ensuring justice among the people by judging according to that law. (This involves bringing criminals to judgment and protecting the people from outside aggressors. Within God’s nation, this ultimately includes destroying any foreign aggressors.) Within a church or nation, God’s government also operates a centralized system of worship.
The purpose of God’s government is extraordinary for its beautiful simplicity. We need to realize just how revolutionary it is compared to all the flavors of government in Satan’s world.
What God’s Government Does Not Do
Anciently, when the Israelites demanded a king, God gave Samuel important insights into the pitfalls of human governments, which Samuel relayed to the people (1 Samuel 8:10-18). God warned that a human-led government would be oppressive. It would introduce burdensome taxes, becoming bloated and centralized. This is what human-led governments tend to do: They get bigger as they amass power, property and wealth—wealth that should remain in the hands of citizens.
God’s government is far more generous, far less intrusive, and far more interested in the prosperity and happiness of the people. Consider some things God’s government does not do—things that become very problematic when governments do them.
God’s government does not manage people’s money—neither for health care nor retirement. (Those programs are bringing America and many other Western nations down. The socialistic mindset—that government will provide for you—contravenes God’s law. That is why it fails.) God’s government does not own or run businesses that compete with businesses run by private industry. God’s government facilitates wealth creation rather than interfering with it.
God’s government does not legislate new laws. God only has about 600 laws. Man’s governments, by contrast, constantly create new laws. In God’s system of administration, there is no legislature. In ancient Israel, if Moses needed guidance in a matter he could not discern from the existing law, he appealed to God, who gave him judgments in accordance with the existing law. That is the way it was in ancient Israel—and that is how it will be in the World Tomorrow under Jesus Christ’s rule! James 4:12 says there is one Lawgiver: God. Governmental positions under the Lawgiver are administrative—administering the law of God that already exists.
God’s government is so simple. It teaches the law, and it administers and enforces the law. That is why God’s entire government—whether over a church or a nation, or the entire world—can operate on such a limited budget. It stays out of people’s business as they strive to keep the law. In the Millennium, people will tithe and give offerings the same as God’s people do in God’s Church today. Wealth will grow. Justice, equity and peace will spread!
As God’s government teaches, administers and enforces God’s law—His way of life—the whole world will be able to enjoy the affection and love, the cooperation, the harmony, the serving and helping way of life—the way that God and the Word have enjoyed forever. And they truly will rejoice!
The Beautiful Fruits
Jesus Christ is about to return and take His place as King of kings, governing all the Earth. You can read about this in the wonderful prophecy of Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting father, The Prince of Peace.” What wonderful titles! What a wonderful picture of the blessing this government will be.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (verse 7). God is zealous about this! Mr. Armstrong said the “restoration of God’s government is the one great purpose uppermost in God’s mind.”
The Bible is full of beautiful prophecies describing conditions that will result when this government is restored. Mr. Armstrong describes these in inspiring detail in The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like (free upon request).
“Now notice just how the new world government will function!” he wrote in Chapter 4, “The New World Government.” “All officials will be appointed—and by the divine Christ, who reads and knows men’s hearts, their inner character, and abilities or lack of ability. You’ll find a description of Christ’s supernatural insight into the very character of others in Isaiah 11:2-5. … Think of it—no money wasted on political campaigns. No splits in political parties with quarreling and hatreds. No political parties!”
Christ and His governing Family will bring about this utopia through two basic courses of action, Mr. Armstrong continued: “1) All crime and organized rebellion will be put down by force—divine supernatural force. 2) Christ will then set His hand to reeducate and to save, or spiritually convert, the world.”
On the first point, the most important step Christ will take is to depose and imprison Satan the devil, “the god of this [present] world,” whose evil influence manifests itself in human nature in all of mankind’s interactions. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Revelation 20:1-2.) The end of his malevolent broadcasting will immediately change the course of the world. But whatever of man’s stubbornness and unteachability remains, Christ will confront by ruling with a “rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15).
As for the second action, once human nature is eliminated, God will be able to put His law into people’s minds and write it on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10; 10:16). “When God’s laws are in our hearts—when we love God’s ways, and in our hearts want to live by them, human nature will be put under subjection—people will want to live the way that is the cause of peace, happiness, abundance, joyful well-being!” Mr. Armstrong continued.
With the Prince of Peace overseeing a government of righteous, incorruptible leaders administering a perfect law of love, with satanic broadcasts stopped and true education universal (Habakkuk 2:14), with all individuals worldwide developing a loving, personal relationship with the one and only true God, a truly utopian world will result! Scripture amply describes life brimming over with pure water, nutritious food, favorable weather, fertile deserts, agricultural abundance, robust health, satisfying work, efficient economies, universal literacy, elegant cities, spectacular architecture, clean energy, happy families and harmonious communities. God’s government will produce all these conditions and lead all human beings to fully realizing their incredible God-given potential! With the righteous in authority, all people the world over will exuberantly rejoice!