Is Christianizing the government God’s thinking or is it man’s thinking? At the time of the composition of this article (June 2012) many believers are highly incensed by statements and actions of the chief ruler and other leaders of this country. We are in the midst of a national election cycle. Some believe that Christians are to enforce the Kingdom of God on the government and to Christianize the government. Often many think that those who are not Bible-believing Christians should not be rulers or if a person has a believable testimony he/she is automatically qualified for an office. However, experiences from the past have often disappointed the hopes of Christian citizens. Many other Christians believe in a separation of the government from religion; i.e., government is to be a secular exercise while religion belongs to a sacred and private arena.
Attempts to enlighten the role a Christian should play are often ambiguous. The Word of God shines light on this subject. It is the light of God’s word that gives direction and clarity to our path (Psalms 119:24, 105).
God’s intention in the beginning was that all civil government operate under the governmental philosophy of His kingdom as suggested in Genesis 1:28. God commanded the blessing of subduing an earth that was filled with the fruit of man. The Hebrew word translated “subdue” is consistently used to speak of ruling people. That was the purpose for which God created man but something occurred that removed that blessing from Adam. When Noah and his family exits the ark (Genesis 9:1) God reiterated the blessing-command given in Genesis 1:28 with one major exception. He says to Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” These three imperative verbs are the same as in 1:28 but in 9:1 the fourth imperative verb has been deleted. The only explanation for this deletion is found the fall of man. The right to rule the governments of man was the estate granted to Adam. He was to manage all government for God using God’s philosophy of authority, rule, and the value of man. Adam sold that right for a bite of forbidden fruit. Satan took advantage of man’s abandonment of his destined role in regards to government and usurped that role. That is, he set up his kingdom to guide man’s government through a philosophy of government that is hostile to the Kingdom of God and God’s people. The scripture refers to the philosophy of government instituted by Satan’s kingdom as “the kingdom of this world” (Revelation 11:15).
There will be a time when the “kingdom of this world” is subjected to our Lord and His Christ. It occurs as the last action in the opening of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation. When the seventh seal is broken seven trumpets sound their messages. The message of the seventh trumpet is the declaration that the kingdom of this world is now a part of the Lord’s kingdom. This transition will not be the results of human effort but is the result of the Lamb taking the book found in Revelation 5 and breaking the seals thus opening the book. It has never been God’s intention that His people set up His kingdom by forcing people to choose to live under God’s grace rather than God’s law (1 Timothy 1:9).
Influence is the key word to consider when thinking of the Christian’s role in government. At the current time the role God’s people are to play in government is more implicit than explicit in scripture. We are to seek to influence government leaders through the Spirit by prayer. Paul exhorts God’s people to pray for their rulers (1 Timothy 2:1-2) so that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives.
Throughout history God has placed people in spheres of influence in kings’ courts. More than once, their elevation to that sphere of influence was precipitated when the counselors of the king were darkened in their understanding. The enlightened insight the king needed was provided by God’s man or His woman.
Joseph was a slave in prison but when the advisors of Pharaoh could not provide insight into his dreams the butler remembered how Joseph interpreted his dream. Pharaoh asked Joseph if his reputation as one who could interpret dreams was true. Joseph replied, “It is not in me, God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (Genesis 41:16). After Pharaoh related his dreams Joseph had this insight to offer him, “God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do” (41:25). Joseph proceeded to offer the king wise counsel and as a result he was elevated to the chief overseer and manager of the land. All of this was so God’s people may be preserved.
Daniel interpreted dreams for Nebuchadnezzar and advised both Babylonian as well as Persian monarchs. His status in those kingdoms was a direct result of God granting him this large sphere of influence. Esther was informed by her uncle that her sphere of influence was something God had arranged in order that she might preserve the people of God.
God gave Daniel a vision of what would transpire among the people of God from Daniel’s day until the first coming of the Lord. The vision trouble him so he requested help from the Lord. He fasted 21 days until the Angel of the Lord appeared to him. This is recorded in Daniel 10. The Angel explained that the “Prince of Persia” had fought him and the delivery of the interpretation of the vision sent by God.
In the last two verses of chapter 10 the Angel informs Daniel that he will deliver God’s reply to Daniel’s prayer, but he was going to return to the battle for he said, “the Prince of Greece is coming.” Furthermore, no one came to his aid in the battle except Michael, the Prince of Israel. He continues the dialog in Daniel 11 and into chapter 12. In 11:1 the Angel continues to speak of himself by using personal pronouns. The Angel said that during the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede he stood up to confirm and strengthen him.
How did the Angel of the Lord do this? God normally speaks to rulers and authorities through human intermediaries. In fact, that is the method that Satan uses to get his message and agenda to those rulers and authorities as well. People use their spheres of influence to motivate rulers to accept and implement their agendas. The only legitimate agenda the people of God can have is the welfare and promotion of the Kingdom of God. It is unimaginable that the Angel the Lord could call for help and only Michael show up for the battle. In the war with the dragon reported in Revelation 12 we are told that Michael and his angels waged war. Where are his angels? Perhaps it was not angels that was to come to the war. Maybe he expected help from God’s people. The Angel stood up for the king and strengthened him through Daniel and Daniel’s friends.
God calls His people to exercise any influence they might be able to exert on their rulers so they may be guided to enact rules and laws that will be beneficial to the Kingdom of God and God’s people. For most of us our primary sphere of influence is our vote. We are to vote for those candidates that are most sympathetic to the cause of Christ and Christians.