Politics According to the Bible

George Washington, the first President of the United States of America said, “It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible.” Truer words have never been spoken.

The truth is that religion and politics, as well as religion and government, cannot be separated. Look at the verse that makes up the foundation of Biblical principles of government. Isaiah the Prophet said, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”
(Isaiah 33:22 KJV)

A judge represents the Judicial Branch of our government, a lawgiver represents the Legislative Branch of our government and a president (king) represents the Executive Branch of out government. Not only are these three branches part of the federal government, but state governments and municipalities follow the same established pattern and form of government.

The separation of powers of government, more commonly known as the three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial) we take very much for granted, but where did the principles of the separation of powers originate?  They originated in the Holy Bible.

The United States does not have a Democracy as a type of government. Since it’s birth in 1776, our nation has held a Constitutional Republic as a form of government, adopted in 1788 by our Founding Fathers with the signing of the proposed Constitution.  The Constitution was ratified with the last state (Rhode Island) signing in May 29, 1790.  While our government has a democratic style (citizens of voting age can choose their leaders except those appointed by elected officials, and occasionally vote on issues), it is important to recognize that the law of our land is a written agreement, administered by elected officials.  The rules of conduct outlined in the constitution cannot be ignored, even if the majority of the citizens feel otherwise.  It is also important to understand that our Founding Fathers developed a written form of civil government because of the example another form of written government, the Holy Bible.

Jedidiah Morse once said, “Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present form of government, and all blessings that flow from them, must fall with them.”

John Eidsmoe, the author of Christianity and the Constitution. said “The source most often cited by the Founding Fathers was the Bible, which accounted for 34% of all citations…” (The next 65% were cited from men, writings that cited the Bible).

“The Constitution of the United States,” declared the skeptical historian H.G.Wells, “…is indubitably Christian. Because the overwhelming majority of the creators of the Constitution were practicing Christians who derived their political philosophy from the Bible and other Christian sources, it should come as no surprise that they enshrined numerous Biblical principals in the Constitution.”

Because of their acknowledgment of the eternal God of the Bible, the source of all authority and to whom all people owe allegiance, in all places at all times, and because of an understanding of the nature of fallen man, the Fathers our nation recognized the importance of having a written ‘covenant’ that would bind both the citizens and those whom would be chosen to lead the citizens, to conduct their lives in agreement with the covenant of God.

Self Government

A.W. Tozer said, “Most Christians would be better pleased if the Lord did not inquire into their personal affairs too closely. They want Him to save them, keep them happy, and take them to Heaven at last, but not to be too inquisitive about their conduct and service.

Gary DeMar said, “The first principle of any government system is self government.  The individual must always be aware that God stands above him or her in authority, power, and holiness; therefore, when others do not stand over the individual to view their actions, he or she is always aware that God does. The first principle of any government system is self government.  The individual must always be aware that God stands above him or her in authority, power, and holiness; therefore, when others do not stand over the individual to view their actions, he or she is always aware that God does.The motivation of self government, the desire to do right in the sight of God without fear of external punishment, must begin in the heart.  A self governed individual is one who has been born again, where the heart of stone has been replaced with a heart of flesh.No nation can hope to survive without self governed men and women who seek to follow the laws of their Lord.  A nation without self governed individuals will seek to establish a regressive civil government in order to keep undisciplined people in check.”

Family Government

The family is the first governing institution and stands at the beginning of creation as the foundational institution for the ordering (governing) of society.  Self government is developed within the family.

The results of poor family government affects the entire society.  The children, becoming corrupt members of society, will incur the wrath of God for their civil deeds, and the nation as a whole will suffer.

Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
(1 Samuel 2:22-23 KJV)

Family government is the training ground for leaders. It is the place where a person gets experience on a small but ever increasing scale by applying Biblical principles to life’s situations.

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
(Matthew 25:21 KJV)

Church Government

The churches of our Lord Jesus Christ have governing authority because the institution of the church was instituted by Him. Jesus states that the institution is His.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
(Matthew 16:18-19 KJV)

The extent of the churches authority is no greater than what the Bible states.  One duty of churches is to keep themselves pure of sinful behavior and doctrinal error; and to make offenders realize their need of repentance.  Churches have the authority to discipline unrepentant members.

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
(Matthew 18:15-20 KJV)

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
(1 Corinthians 5:1-5 KJV)

Civil Government

All rulers and citizens must be aware that the establishment of authority and power among rulers and nations is the result of God’s sovereign decree, according to His pleasure. God has established civil government to be an avenger who brings God’s wrath upon those who practice evil.

Paul the Apostle said, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (Romans 13:1-2 KJV)

“The Constitution of the United States says nothing about separation of church and state.  That phrase does appear in the Soviet and French Constitutions. Nothing in our history indicates that the government should be independent of moral value or that religious people shouldn’t take an active role in our government. The first official act of the U.S. Congress was to select a chaplain. The second act was to authorize the purchase of 20,000 Bibles to give to the Indians.”
(USA Today: 2-16-1988)

Additional duties of civil government are the well ordering of society and the maintaining of peace so that Christians are free to worship God, unhindered by force hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Primary Purpose of Civil Government

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
(Genesis 9:6 KJV)

This is the Biblical basis of capital punishment. God requires that man, through civil government, take the life of any who commit capital crimes, biblically defined.  This action is not the right of the individual, only the government when something is taken that can not be given back.

Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
(Leviticus 19:36 KJV)

This is the Biblical bases for civil government having responsibility for oversight of coinage of money and protecting the integrity of the financial system.  Keeping businesses and ndividuals accountable.

Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
(Acts 5:26-29 KJV)

This verse speaks of the requirement of citizens to submit to civil authorities, but not unconditionally. Christians should always obey what God says to do, and then if need be pay the price of following the Lord.  When civil authorities over-step their proper sphere of responsibility, their commands must be ignored.

Care of the Poor

But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
(1 Timothy 5:4-8 KJV)

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
(Leviticus 19:9-10 KJV)

Care of the poor and handicapped is a personal, family, and church responsibility. There is no Biblical basis for transferring this responsibility to civil authorities.

William Booth walked among walked among the poor, hungry, sick, and lonely people of London, England.  The people were crammed into crumbling buildings that were full of rats. They had no jobs.  There was no one to help them. Worst of all, there was no one to tell them that Jesus cared.  They did not know Jesus died to be their Savior and lives again to be their Lord. William Booth told his wife, ‘I have given myself to work for God among those sick souls.’  The work that began at that time is today known as The Salvation Army.”

Education

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7 KJV)

Parents have the ultimate authority over children and this includes the realm of education; therefore, neither does government have the power to provide education nor do individuals have the right to education.  Government does not have a Biblical authority to provide education, according to the Scriptures, and individuals do not have an enforceable entitlement of education.

A Biblical worldview will recognize the limitations of government as well as of civil rights and will look first to the institution of the family and the church as the foundations for education, or secondarily to schools formed voluntarily by parents to better utilize the gifts of particular individuals. Only the family and/or the church are capable of providing the God-Centered education required by Scripture. Scripture speaks in terms of obligations and not in terms of  rights, particularly not a to government provided and government funded education.

2012 Presidential Election

Jesus Christ said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
(Matthew 7:15-20 KJV)

What are the fruits of the Democratic Party? Can a Christian actually vote for a candidate who is a Democrat? Anyone who votes for a Democrat knowing what issues they support have some serious soul searching to undertake. It may just be that their faith is also invalid.

Capital Punishment: A Biblical Perspective

Capital punishment is the sentence of death upon a person by a court order and carried out by the government as a punishment for a criminal offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences.

Whenever an execution is imminent, many questions are often raised Should capital punishment be acceptable in a civilized society? Is it morally right for a government to administer capital punishment? What is the purpose behind capital punishment, and is it accomplished? How do we find the answers to such questions? For Christians who believe in Biblical inerrancy and infallibility, we must look to the Holy Bible (the Word of God) for answers.

In the Book of Genesis, we have an account of the first murder in history. Cain killed his brother Abel in a fit of anger and jealousy after God was pleased with Abel’s offering and displeased with the offering made by Cain. The punishment that Cain received from God for killing his brother was not death. Cain received exile from being in the presence of God and was sentenced to be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. God then protected Cain from receiving harm or death at the hands of any man.

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
(Genesis 4:3-16 ESV)

Lamech was a descendent of Cain and the father of Noah. The scriptures tell us that Lamech killed a young man at one point for hitting him (Genesis 4:23) Throughout the generations wickedness continued to flourish and increase on the earth until every intention of the thoughts of mankind’s his heart was only evil continually. This made God sorry that he had made man, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them (Genesis 6:7).”

Noah found favor in the eyes of God. Noah and his wife, their three sons, and their son’s three wives were spared from the flood that destroyed the rest of mankind. Only eight people were selected for salvation. That is the problem with a society without just punishment for criminals. Lawlessness abounds and spreads like a disease until all of society is corrupted.

Immediately after the flood, God blessed Noah and his family saying to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood (Genesis 9:1-4).”

But they were also given a new and awesome responsibility. God told Noah and his family, “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image. (Genesis 9:5-6).”

God now is requiring mankind to account for their actions. He requires murderers to be put to death by mankind. This new requirement is based on one fact, the fact that God had made mankind in His image. To murder someone who is created in the image of God is a serious offense that is punishable by the death of the offender. Also, because mankind was created in the image of God, he possesses the ability and responsibility to exercise justice and righteousness. Mankind is capable of administering the sentence prescribed by God.

It would appear that before the flood people may have taken God’s protection of Cain as a license to murder without any consequences. With the flood, God administered a form of capital punishment upon a violent and corrupt society. After the flood, God gave mankind the obligation and responsibility to take the life of those who committed the crime of murder.

The Torah, or Laws of Moses, prescribed the administration of capital punishment for many additional offenses. These laws were both civil and religious laws and they have served as the basis for criminal justice in many other civilizations since first given by God. The Torah prescribes capital punishment for premeditated murder, kidnapping, striking an expecting mother which causes the child to be born prematurely and die, failure to keep a killer animal from killing, killing a thief in revenge, sorcery or witchcraft, bestiality, adultery, incest, homosexuality, being a medium or spiritualist, and even breaking the Sabbath among many other offenses.

Were the laws of the Torah good laws? The Apostle Paul said that they were “holy and righteous and good” (Romans 7:12). While the religious aspects of these laws were temporary (Galatians 2:23-25), the civil laws served their purpose well to govern and preserve a nation. Who would be so presumptuous to say that they could improve upon such a civil code of ethics? Many have arrogantly presumed they could do better, and crime has gotten worse, not better. In conclusion, capital punishment was ordained by God in the laws of the Torah.

Unlike the Old Testament, the New Testament is not designed to govern or regulate civil governments. It is designed for those in Messiah Yeshua’s kingdom, which is spiritual in nature (John 18:36). The purpose of the New Testament is to help mankind achieve and maintain a relationship with God through Yeshua,  His only begotten Son. So for the most part, it does not concern itself with telling mankind how to righteously regulate their civil affairs as these commandments had already been given to mankind in the Tanakh. However, in defining our relationship to civil authorities while subject to a higher law, there are references which reveal God’s attitude toward capital punishment

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
(Romans 13:1-7 ESV)

The Apostle Paul tells us that governmental authorities are established and instituted by God and that they serve as ministers of God, as “an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” When a government fulfills its responsibility upon those who are evil, it “does not bear the sword in vain.” This is a clear allusion to the administration of capital punishment. Therefore, the New Testament supports the government’s right to exercise the death penalty on those who commit capital offenses.

The Apostle Paul also said he was willing to die if he committed anything for which he deserved to die (Acts 25:11). This is a clear implication that in Paul’s opinion some crimes were worthy of the death penalty.Although the New Testament focuses on the responsibilities of the followers of Yeshua in His spiritual kingdom, there is certainly no indication that it is wrong for government to administer capital punishment when deemed appropriate. The principle established in Genesis 9:5-6, given to all of mankind before the saving grace that is provided by Yeshua’s atonement for our sins remains a responsibility placed upon the governments of mankind.

Some opponents of capital punishment will tell you that the Holy Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” This is actually a mistranslation of the Hebrew word ‘ratsach.’ Ratsach is literally translated to murder. This commandment forbids killing with malice and premeditation (Exodus 20:13). Throughout the following two chapters of Exodus, God prescribes the death penalty for nine different crimes. The commandment not to murder is directed toward individuals; one must ignore the context and twist the Scriptures to apply this verse to the issue of capital punishment.

Ezekiel wrote that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:32). However, one must consider the context of this passage of Scripture which states that the soul that sins shall die and no one else will bear the iniquity of any other person (Ezekiel 18:4). It also states that certain sins make one worthy of death (Ezekiel 18:10-13). God encourages the wicked to repent and do what is right (Ezekiel 18:21-23), but states that even the righteous person who begins to do wickedness shall die if they do not repent (Ezekiel 18:24). The entire contextual discourse of the passage is that mankind should repent before it is too late because God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that will not prevent Him from carrying out capital punishment when appropriate.

Some opponents of capital punishment claim that it does not work as it does absolutely nothing to deter crime. That is only true when the sentence is not carried out quickly. King Solomon said, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil (Ecclesiastes 8:11 ESV).” Capital punishment does keep an offender from killing again, escaping from a life sentence in prison, or possibly being paroled or pardoned in the future. The ineffectiveness of capital punishment in deterring crime by others is an argument against our system of administering capital punishment. It is not an effective argument against capital punishment itself.

Capital punishment is not just a deterrent. There is also the issue of justice, and justice always demands that the punishment fits the crime. This is what is meant by “an eye for an eye.” It is a reference to equal and just punishment, not the actual plucking out of another person’s eye. Some crimes are so heinous that any punishment other than the death penalty is an injustice.

Other capital punishment opponents argue that innocent people are executed occasionally. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. But as before, this is an argument that pertains to a system in which capital punishment is administered. It is not an argument against the idea of capital punishment itself. The Holy Bible states that capital punishment could not be applied unless the crime was seen by two or more witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6). If a single witness made an accusation that proved false, the penalty for the crime could be applied to the false witness (Deuteronomy 19:15-21).

Capital punishment should be applied to criminals that are convicted in cases in which there are two or more eyewitnesses, and there is no doubt about the guilt of the defendant. When the conviction is dependent upon laboratory evidence and there are no eyewitnesses, then the maximum penalty should be life in prison. Sometimes laboratory evidence is later proved faulty as it did in the case of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito who were convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher on the witness of Rudy Guede (who had already admitted to the crime and was brokering a deal with prosecutors) and tainted forensic evidence. In these type of criminal proceedings that rely almost entirely on circumstantial evidence, a convicted person can later be released from prison if the laboratory evidence is later proved faulty.

Does God approve of capital punishment? I have demonstrated that God gave mankind the responsibility of carrying it out after the flood, God’s own illustration of justice in the government He gave to Israel, how believers today are to acknowledge the right and responsibility given by God to governments to be His ministers in avenging wrath on wrongdoers. Obviously, any civilized nation detests violence and bloodshed. However, civilization cannot exist with violence and corruption running rampant. or when government fails to administer justice with punishment that fits the crime.

How does God view governments that fail to carry out their responsibility to execute wrath upon the wrongdoer? As with anything that takes away justice, with sorrow and distress (Isaiah 5:20-23), and as with anyone who fails to fulfill their responsibility, they are cursed (Jeremiah 48:10).

Many people may refuse to accept what the Holy Bible has to say about capital punishment, but let those who profess to be believers and accept the Holy Bible as the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God acknowledge that capital punishment is ordained by God.