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The Exciting and Under-discussed Role of Angels in God's Government

God's basic government is called "Providence." He rules all things by His Word, and the universe is subject to His decree. When men are obedient to the inScriptured obligations of God's Law-Word, they are in harmony with Providence and their lives are blessed. Social order is preserved and by God's ordination, man's obedience reverses the curse on the earth and "natural" prosperity ensues, with lingering effects on future generations. This is true "Government." Angels play an essential role in God's Government.

When John Calvin suggested (Lectures on Ezekiel 1 and 10) that the angels were responsible even for the movement of the branches of trees in the "wind," he upset the rationalistic 19th-century editor of his commentaries, who suggested that we "distinguish between the theological and scientific explanations of (Calvin's) Lectures." But those who follow Calvin in his Reformation emphasis on "sola Scriptura" are not afraid to admit the great conflict between Scripture and modern "science." Nor are they afraid to recognize the blatantly supernatural character of a universe under God's Law.

Christian Reconstruction and Edenic Restoration

With the publication of recent studies on eschatology (future things), the Christian Reconstruction agenda has been taken back to the Garden of Eden and forward to its eventual restoration. We can only assume at this point that the reader is somewhat familiar with the Garden-ward direction of Biblical Law, and with the optimistic "postmillennial" view of the future which it promises. When we understand that every Word of God functions as Law for us, from the opening chapters of Genesis to the closing chapters of Revelation, commanding us as a Word from our Sovereign, then we can see why the evolutionary State is the antithesis of Edenic Government. We must choose between the Garden of God and the "asphalt jungle" of Babylon.

Let us open our Bibles and look up some verses which compare Edenic Government with Babylonian statism. (You will not fully understand what follows without reading the Bible verses).

Man's Ideal -- his norm -- is set forth in the Genesis description of the Garden of Eden. There, in the Presence of God, man and his Family worked to extend the Garden over the face of the earth. There were no "institutions" except the Family; no State, no typological priesthood. Man's obedience was fruitful and blessed. Here we have a glimpse of Godly Government.

In Gen. 1:2b, we read of the Presence of God's Spirit over the Garden of Eden: "The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." David Chilton, following Meredith Kline, the influential Old Testament scholar at Westminster Seminary, has noted the relationship between (1) God's Heavenly Throne (where the earth is His footstool) and (2) God's earthly throne-models (in the Garden, at the exodus, and in prophetic visions). The Heavenly throne is the Ultimate Source of cosmic government. Yet God often executes His creative and judgmental decrees through His Presence in "theophanic" manifestations of His Throne. These earthly replicas tell us a great deal about how God's government operates. Here is how Chilton describes these Heavenly Replicas:

The Cloud

God revealed His Presence to His people in the Cloud of Glory. The Cloud functioned as a sort of "mobile home" for God -- His fiery chariot by which He made His presence known to His people. The Cloud served as a Guide for Israel. (The cloud) was filled with innumerable angels (Dt. 33:2; Ps. 68:17). The Cloud is nothing less than a revelation of the invisible Heaven, where God is seated on His throne of Glory, surrounded by His heavenly court and council (Ex. 24:9-15; Isa. 6:1-4), and from which He spoke to Moses (Ex. 33:9; Ps. 99:7)."

The Tabernacle

When the Tabernacle was completed, the Cloud entered it and filled it with the glory of God (Ex. 40:34-38; cf. 2 Chron 5:13-14), and fire issued forth from it to consume the sacrifices (Lev. 9:23-24). The prophet Ezekiel looked up through the Cloud (Ezek 1) and saw fire, lightning and winged creatures flying below a "firmament" -- the "pavement" or "sea of glass" that is around the base of God's throne (Ex. 24:10; Rev. 4:6) -- and around the throne was the Glory in the form of a rainbow. While there are many phenomena associated with the Cloud (most are listed in Ps. 18:6-15), perhaps the most striking characteristic is the peculiar, unmistakable noise or voice: it can sound like wind, thunder, rushing water, a shout, a trumpet, a marching army, the rumbling of chariot wheels, or the fluttering and beating of wings (see also Ezek. 3:12-13; 10:1-5; 2 Sam. 5:24; 2 Kings 7:5-7); and Ezekiel tells us that the sound, in fact, has its origin in the beating of the wings of the myriads of angels (Ezek. 1:24).

The Old Testament often used the term Spirit as a synonym for the Cloud, ascribing the same function to both (Neh. 9:19-20; Isa. 4:4-5; Joel 2:28-31; Hag. 2:5). The most revealing instance of this equation of God and the Cloud is where Moses describes God's salvation of Israel in the wilderness in terms of an eagle fluttering over her young (Dt. 32:11). How did God "flutter?" Why does the Psalmist continually seek refuge in the shelter of God's "wings" (e.g., Ps. 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 91:4)? Certainly, God Himself does not have wings. But His angels do -- and the special revelation of God's saving and protecting Presence was by the Cloud of His Glory, which contains "many thousands of angels" (Ps. 68:17; 2 K 6:17): "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust. . . . For He shall give His angels charge over thee" (Ps. 91:4,11).

The Garden

Now, the fascinating thing about Moses' statement in Deut. 32:11 -- God's "fluttering" over His people by means of the Glory-Cloud -- is that Moses uses the word only one other time in the entire pentateuch, when he tells us that "The earth was without form and void. . .and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:2). Nor is that the only parallel between these two passages; for in Dt. 32:10 Moses describes the wilderness through which the people were traveling as a waste -- the same word translated without form in Gen 1:2 (and again, these are the only two uses of the word in the Pentateuch)."

The Garden of Eden served thus as a Tabernacle-Temple, a small replica of God's larger Temple (Palace) in which the "heavens" are His throne and the "earth" is His footstool (Gen 1:1; Isa 66:1) -- the invisible heavens together with the visible universe making up His great cosmic Temple. Close attention to the architecture of the Tabernacle and the Temple will reveal that they were modeled as copies, not only of the Garden of Eden, but of the original heavenly Temple; the Cloud-Canopy (cf. Heb. 8:5; 9:11,23-24)."

Thus, what the Garden was in miniature the whole earth is to become: God's Garden-Temple. In Christ, Man is restored to his original righteousness and Edenic Mandate. God's Government proceeds from this Heavenly Throne. With His angels, He Governs His Temple, the created cosmos. Yet God's vicegerent, Man, has not yet taken every area of the globe captive to Christ. The earth has not been tilled and brought to its full potential. Edenic conditions have not been obtained or restored because of Man's failure to implement Biblical Law in his own life. But God promises that obedience will reverse the curse (e.g., Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

For those readers who are not familiar with Covenant Theology and with the implications of Theonomy (God's Law), let us take a minute to examine

How God Governs the governors

Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Ezra 7:27 Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem,

Isaiah 44:28 Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid."'

Psalm 105:25 He turned their heart to hate His people, To deal craftily with His servants.

We know that the hearts of political leaders are in the hand of the LORD; He turns them wherever He wants (Proverbs 21:1). God is sovereign over the way His creatures think and act. Why does He turn them where He does? Is there any reason to His actions? While we can't plumb the depths of God's decree, He has given us much which helps us understand the progress of history. He tells us something about His plan in order to bring greater obedience in our lives (Deuteronomy 29:29).

In general we can say that God has political leaders do what He thinks is necessary in order to bring about the extension of Christ's Kingdom on earth (Ezra 7:27; John 19:11; Ezekiel 21:27). When considering any particular society we must consider the prevalence of obedience to God's Law in that land. When citizens are Godly and obedient to Biblical Law, their property is protected by God, their work is fruitful, and they are not tyrannized by a State. When a people take care of the poor, teach their children, and effect the mending of the torn fabric of life as commanded in God's Law, then as a result God blesses them and gives them "National Security" (political liberty, freedom from fear of attack, and social stability). The operation of Deuteronomy 28 and parallel passages is foundational in this respect. Take time now to read this passage with an eye for political implications.

All the benefits promised by politicians are in fact the benefits of the Providence of God's Grace in honoring His Covenant to bless obedience in His People.   This is why Socialism is an economic failure. The more people use the State as an instrument of plunder and class war, the more God substitutes curse for blessing. Socialism is an economic failure because it is premised on immoral ideas, and God causes it to fail. Let us repeat this important truth: All the benefits promised by politicians are in fact the benefits of the Providence of God's Grace in honoring His Covenant to bless obedience in His People. It is the responsibility of individual Families to care for the poor, educate the young, employ the solitary, encourage the fearful, heal the infirm, befriend the imprisoned, and protect the weak. When these things are done in obedience to Biblical Law, social prosperity is assured by God through His Providence. It is the Covenantal operation of God's Law in society. His Law commands service and sacrificial restoration, not political domination and power (Mark 10:42-45). His Covenant Law promises peace and abundance to the faithful, and He achieves this through the operation of the Spirit-Cloud; Christ the King is with us in the Spirit-Comforter, and His Dominion is filling God's Temple (Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:9; John 16:7-11).

What the Old Testament political structures taught in picture, Christ achieves in reality. The desire for a State was contrary to Biblical Law (I Samuel 8), but God used the tyrannical kings of Israel to set the People's eyes on a future King (Psalm 72). The Psalmist's future King is now the present King (Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:31-36). Through His Spirit He makes His People obedient to God's Law (Hebrews 8:10; Romans 8:4) assuring the Blessings of Providence. This is God's Government.

Christian "Self-Government"

When combined with Providence (God's government through angelic hosts), the concept of "Christian self-government" suggests the prosperity and health of a society without a State. True Government is Spirit-empowered, with God's image-bearers obeying God's Covenant. God keeps His promises, and in response to this obedience, he orders society and makes it prosper. His angels make the crops grow in abundance. His angels defeat enemy States (II Kings 6:17; Deut. 28:7), bringing "national security." Peace, stability, and righteousness are not only the blessings of God in His providential honoring of His Covenant with His people, but they are the very requirements of that Law.

It is thus somewhat circular. God's Law commands us to work for covenant blessing, and our obedience brings more blessing through the operation of God's Providential government.

If, on the other hand, we spurn God's Law, either by adopting a neo-platonic disdain for social and economic blessing, or by pursuing social health through immoral/socialist means, the result will be war, crime, poverty and social fragmentation. If a husband is disobedient, God curses him by making his wife disobedient, or his neighbor disobedient, and the husband feels the effect as God's curse (Deut 28:30ff.).

It is again circular: If we suppress God's Law through evil deeds, God gives us up to our depravity; our evil works bring more evil works, and more cursing (Romans 1:24ff.).

The Source of Law and social order is the Throne of God. In the Old Testament, God's Throne was revealed in earthly manifestations: the Glory-Cloud hovered over creation, the Garden of Eden was a Temple-replica, the Tabernacle and the Cloud at the Exodus were also manifestations of God's Heavenly Throne. The angelic hosts executed God's decrees and covenant sanctions; angels, not some "natural law," is behind the blessings that accompany obedience. And in the New Testament, all the earth is becoming God's Garden Temple, and Edenic conditions are being restored.

It is not the State which prevents crime and ensures justice and social peace. It is the people who ensure blessing from the very Throne of God when they walk in His Ways. If they reject God's Law, God turns the forces of evil against them.

Government by the Spirit

Once we understand the concept of Providence and see it as the operation of the Spirit (and the great Cloud of angelic servants at the Throne of God [cf. Hebrews 12:1-2]), then we can apply the insights of men who are unwitting stewards of God's manifold wisdom. These men stand in what we might call the "Tradition of Spontaneous Order." Their insights are more popularly seen in what Robert Nozick has called "Invisible Hand" theories.

Some two centuries ago, the concept of Spontaneous Order received renewed attention in the writings of such Scottish intellectuals as Adam Smith. Not a result of man's planning, State intervention, or rational human design, these theorists rightly pointed out that order and harmony in society are to be attributed to the "invisible hand" of the "free market." When men are working to meet their day to day needs, society benefits, even though these men may seek only their own advantage. Since Smith's day, an army of free market intellectuals have developed intricate theories of how the "invisible hand" works to produce order. Among the more notable of these scholars are Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek, and Thomas Sowell, whose book Knowledge and Decisions immediately received high praise from many Theonomists.

A Biblical theory of Providence very obviously explains the almost self-explanatory metaphor of the "invisible hand." We shall therefore simply note what the reader has already seen: it is the Spirit of God that brings order and harmony in society, not the rational planning of the State Commissariat, Department, Agency, Board, or Ministry of such-and-such.

But all of this is intensely practical. Its thesis is very much "day-to-day." It is at the heart of Jesus' "anarchistic" command in Mark 10:42-45:

Ye know that they which think it good to rule [archo] over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister. For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.

We are expressly forbidden to take upon ourselves responsibility for shaping a political "master plan." We are shown the example of the politically powerful and explicitly told to repudiate their example. Some will call this "pietistic." Some will say we have imbibed at the well of the Anabaptists. "How will order and prosperity be insured if we do not have Christians in the State?" Answer: service. If we carry on our day-to-day lives in strict accordance with God's Law, we will find ourselves ministering to the poor, serving as educators, providing services, networking with other believers, and overseeing it all is the Spirit of God, the Glory-Cloud which takes all our service and uses it to build the Kingdom.

With the work of the Law written on the heart of all men (Romans 2:15) and the bountiful blessings of the New Covenant overflowing and pouring out onto even unbelievers (John 1:9; I Timothy 4:10), the promise of world-wide peace, Edenic restoration, and Gospel harmony (Micah 4:1-5) are being worked out -- not because we are totally and intellectually perfect in our understanding of what that goal really even is, but because the Spirit is directing our paths and preparing His Temple.

While the Spirit is powerful enough to use even the works of the Gentiles (non-Christians who do the work of the Law but not to the Praise and Glory of God), this does not mean that we can do nothing, or worse, walk after the flesh (Romans 8), and expect the Spirit to order our pleasure and sin and produce life (cf. I Timothy 5:6). The Spirit is the author of the InScriptured Covenant which God has revealed to us and which we either break or keep. While the Spirit honors the covenant and brings blessing on our obedience, He also brings cursing and judgment upon our faithlessness. Our failure to serve will result in the judgment of chaos, riot, and fragmentation.

Thus, we must keep our eyes on God's Glorious promises, and we must keep diligently obeying the practical commands of His Word. The Spirit will accomplish His Spectacular work according to the all-wise plan of God.

Recommended Reading:

David Chilton, Paradise Restored, 1985.
This book has a couple of sections on the Throne of God, angels, and the Garden of Eden.

Chilton got many of his ideas from

James B. Jordan, Judges: God's War Against Humanism, 1985.
This book discussed "Baalism," a belief that natural forces cause crops to grow and societies to prosper, rather than direct angelic intervention from the Throne of God.

Jordan in turned learned from

R.J.Rushdoony, The Mythology of Science, 1967.
Note especially Appendix 1, "The Myth of Nature."


Christian "Anarchism" is Our Goal  | |  All Evil is Predestined by God   | |  Pray for a Servant's Understanding  | |  Angels and God's Throne of Government  | |  Stars and Idolatry  | |  Why the State Always Encourages Immorality  | |  Unlucky 13 -- Romans 13, Revelation 13 and Isaiah 13  | |   A Roman's-Eye View of Romans 13  | |  "Principalities and Powers"  | |  Lakes of Fire in "Smoke-Filled Rooms"  | |  Romans 13: The Burden is on the Archists  | |  Taxation, Representation, and the Myth of the State  | |   Why the State is not a "Divine Institution"   | |  Angels and Autarchy  | |  95 Theses Against the State   | |   Here is what a Christian Anarchist looks like after he has joined The Christmas Conspiracy.

Christmas Conspiracy


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