||It is clear that the actions of the State are in God's hands (Proverbs
21:1; Ezra 7:6); we must affirm God's total predestinating power in
history. But when God, in His secret decree, commands Assyria to
destroy sinful Israel, we cannot excuse Assyria for its actions.
To be sure, the State is God's sanctified deacon (Isaiah 13:3), the king
His anointed christ (Isaiah 45:1), but God will punish them for their
rebellion (Isaiah 10:5-14). In this vein, Paul calls the State
God's "minister" (Romans 13:4). Tornadoes, famine,
slavery, and the State all serve God's ultimate purpose.
Regardless of the evil intentions of the State, God "orders"
(Romans 13:1) it, that is, makes its actions conform to His predestined
God has given the State a command to execute His judgments upon the
sinful (Isaiah 10:6) and uses the State to order the lives of the
spiritually enslaved (Galatians 4:3; Acts 7:6); shall we now say that
the State is a perpetual good, a permanent and institutionalized
blessing which we should all want to see continued? Does God want
the world always to be rebellious so that He can raise up an Assyria to
chastise us? Does God forever want His people to be
irresponsible so that the State must educate their children and care for
the poor? I don't know anyone who would answer these questions
"yes," and yet that is why, according to the Bible, we have
As followers of God's commanding Word, we must steadfastly maintain
that God nowhere in His inscriptured Law commands us to form an empire
or a State. We must agree with James Benjamin Green who, in his
exposition of the chapter on the Civil Magistrate in the Westminster
Confession of Faith rightly observes (concerning Romans 13:1), "It
is not meant that God directly ordained the state by saying to man, Thou
shalt set up a government or organize a commonwealth."
Some Kind of "Christian Anarchism"?
This casts doubt on the notion that the State is "a Divine
Institution." If it sounds like advocating
"anarchy" we need only remember the root meaning of the word
and then ask ourselves, if we be "anarchists," who are the
There is, of course, no such thing as "anarchism."
The word comes from two Greek words, a, "without," and archon,
a "ruler." Every man follows a ruler or ruling
principle, even if it is himself. The chaos we picture when we
think of "anarchy" is actually the chaos of too many "archists,"
each competing for power. For the Christian, Jesus Christ is our
"Archist" (Col. 1:18; Acts 3:15).
But speaking in earthly terms, Christians are
"anarchists." They do not grant the legitimacy of rule
outside of Christ, and seek to overthrow it, not by revolution, but by
regeneration. The reason for this struggle between statism and
Christianity is not hard to find:
Jesus Christ explicitly forbids us to engage in statist
dominion. In so doing, He calls us to what the world will describe
as "anarchism." Pointing out the lust for power and rule
(Gk: archein) which characterizes Humanistic statists, our Lord
places this method of social order outside the parameters of Christian
life (Mark 10:42-45), thus placing His followers in the ranks of those
who oppose the "archist" principle. Our view of the
future (which some have called "Postmillennialism") is thus
explicitly "anarchistic," in that it looks forward to the day
when Christ shall have put down all "archists" (I Corinthians
This is not to deny that violent rebellion against demonic powers
(Jude 8-10) and their earthly followers (Isaiah 14:4-12,13-22; Ezekiel
28:2-13,14-19; Revelation 13:4; 16:14) is forbidden (Ephesians 6:12; 2
Corinthians 10:4; Titus 3:1), as we are to overcome evil with good
(Romans 12:21; Rev. 17:14). Men without the Spirit cannot function
without the structuring that even the demonic State (ultimately
controlled by God) provides. Regeneration, not political
strategies, will mend the torn fabric of life.
This sounds exceedingly unrealistic, if not heretical. How
would society operate without the State? Briefly, let us explore
the workings of
God's Supernatural 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." Idealistic to be
sure. But God's Word, the Bible, tells us we can trust in His
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
How God Governs the governors
We know that the hearts of political leaders are in the hand of the
LORD; He turns them wherever He wants (Proverbs 21:1). 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 operation of
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 political freedom 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. 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, 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 (Micah 4:1-5). His
Law promises peace and abundance, 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 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
But Satan has other ideas. Let us now consider the Biblical
evidence that the State, far from being God's prescriptive will for our
lives, is in fact a demonic, Satan-inspired replacement for God's
Providential government and His Law-Word for Man.
Guardians of Empire
The State is organized, institutionalized, theft (Micah
3:9-4:5). Its impetus is pride (Isaiah 14), the desire to be
applauded and honored by men (Isaiah 14:18), to profit from their sin
(Proverbs 22:7), and still be called a "public benefactor"
But Satan has other ideas. A survey of the "powers"
behind Empire suggests that the State, far from being God's prescriptive
will for our lives, is in fact a demonic, Satan-inspired replacement for
God's Providential government and His Law-Word for Man.
E M P I R E vs. P R O V I D E
N C E
The State and the War of the Powers Against Supernatural Government
From what we have already seen, it seems clear that the State is in
fact a creation of Satan and not of God. Of course, Satan himself
is a creature of God, and God's predestinating power extends over all of
Satan's machinations (Romans 13:1).
Satan's statist deception began almost immediately. In the
Garden of Eden virtually his first line was "ye shall be as
gods" (Genesis 3:5). What does it mean to be a
"god"? If you survey the Old Testament it soon becomes
apparent. The whole program of evolutionary Secular
Humanistic statism (boy there's a mouthful!) is an outgrowth of this
original temptation. Satan's temptation is to imitate the
government of God, with every man being his own god, surrounding himself
with the forces of cosmic powers.
Throughout the history of fallen man (and fallen angels) we see a
continual conflict between the urge to political power and the obedience
of Family service. While the hopefully-repentent Adam was trying
to build a Family, Cain murders his brother and then leaves the Family
simultaneously to wander and to build an empire (Gen 4:17). There
seems to be the influence of evil angels in Gen 6, or at least
tyrannical statists creating the conditions of empire, so God must
intervene and save the Patriarchy of Noah. Then comes Nimrod
(Gen 10:8-12) who, if Gen 6 is to be seen as a reference to evil angels
(compare Gen 6:2 with Job 1:6 and 2:1), may also have had contact with
Satan and his henchmen. His name literally means let us rebel
and draws interesting connections with occult powers (see I Sam 15:23,
Rev. 18:23). Let us examine the Babylonian conspiracy of Satan.
Evolutionary statism is often discussed in the Scriptures under the
label of Babylon. The evil angels seem to have been
particularly evident at the formation of Babylon, which not only has had
a domineering influence in the life of the people of God throughout the
Old Testament, but is the very epitome of statism and empires in the New
(in Revelation 12-13 and 17-18).
The State after Nimrod
After Nimrod, Babylon becomes a continual source of irritation (to
put it mildly) to the People of God. Babylonian Statism, in
whatever nation it has "evolved," is a continual threat to the
Spiritual growth of the Godly. The Patriarch Abraham has to fight
the kings from Babylon and nearby empires ("Shinar" = Babylon
(Genesis 14:1,9)). Eventually, the Patriarchal line ends up in the
demonic empire of Egypt, a result probably of faithlessness, in any
case, an undesirable fix.
It would seem that the Exodus is a type of Christ's work.
Christ leads His people out of slavery. God did not actually lead
the Israelites out of slavery, He merely protected them as children
under age (Galatians 4:2). While the evil angels were busy
inciting men to form empires, God through His angels formed a protective
church-state for the Israelites (Galatians 3:19). In this way the
Israelites had their lives structured and were kept from the empires
being established by the fallen angels. (At least the Israelites could
have been kept, if they were willing. They were not. Acts 7:53
(cf. vv 30, 38).) The involvement of angels in the government of
man, as contrasted with the Government of Christ, is set forth in
Hebrews 1 and 2.
It seems the path of man in the OT was continually downward. It
was sad enough that God had to treat the children of Israel as slaves in
the time of the exodus, and, through the angels, set up a rigid system
of government which often paralleled the systems of the fallen angels
(Galatians 4:3-8-11). God's condescension was increasingly
demanded until Israel succumbed to the nations around them and wanted a
full State (I Samuel 8). God's permissiveness in allowing
the formation of a State is both to teach them about the Messiah
("pedagogical law" is thus an appropriate term) and to judge
them. They never learned the truth of Isaiah 33:22.
Satan hasn't either, and continues to attempt to gain the authority
which is God's. But he and his demonic legion, although
active in the empires and States of the world (Revelation 16:14), have
been defeated by Christ, and have been disarmed with respect to those
who have the Holy Spirit. As the Gospel is spread and the Holy
Spirit poured out upon more and more men, the influence of the fallen
angels will wither.
The key word in Romans 13 describing power and "the
powers" is #1849 in the back of your Strong's
concordance. Exousia. Let us look at some of
the occurences of this word.
Matthew 7:29; Mark 1:22; Luke 4:32,36: Jesus' Word has
true (Godly) power
Matthew 8:9; Luke 7:8: the soldier is under the power
of the empire deriving a subordinate power from the State.
Luke 4:6: Satan tempts Christ with power. Satan says
that Christ could get a lot more done by "taking dominion in
politics." Satan says he is in charge of politics and puts
whoever he wants into office.
Luke 12:11; 20:20; 23:7: Mention of pagan States and their
John 19:10: Pilate says he has power.
Christ says God's power is greater than Pilate's (Satan's) v.11.
I Corinthians 15:24: All of Satan's powers will be
conquered by Christ because
Ephesians 1:21: in His resurrection Christ was exalted
above them all.
Ephesians 2:2: The prince of the powers of the atmosphere
(i.e., between earth and the invisible heaven) now works in those who do
not have the Spirit.
Ephesians 3:10: The people of God are to tell the powers
that the jig is up. It's time to serve.
Are you looking up these verses?
Ephesians 6:12: We fight against these powers
Colossians 1:13: because we are no longer in the empire of
darkness, but in the empire of Christ (a Spiritual empire, of course),
Colossians 1:16: even Satan and the fallen angels were
created by God (they are creatures, not creators).
Colossians 2:10: Therefore Christ is the head of the powers
now, and has
Colossians 2:15: disarmed them.
I Peter 3:22: They are all subject to Christ.
Romans 8:38-39: It's all over. ("creature"
in v. 39 is translated "ordinance" in I Pet 2:13.)
Nevertheless, because men without the Spirit have no power to live
without the structure provided by the powers, we are not to engage in
revolutionary deconstruction (sometimes called "Christian
Reconstruction" Romans 13:1-4; Titus 3:1) nor treat the
fallen angels lightly (2 Peter 2:10). Men must remain in
bondage until they are placed in Families (Psalm 68:6) and given the
Gospel so that they can be delivered by the Spirit from these
slave-systems (Galatians 3:19,21, 23,24-4:11). We cannot eliminate
tyrannies unless we have the faith to replace them with Providence.
The State: A "Divine Institution"?
The New Testament seems to confirm our suspicions from the Old
Testament: that Satan gives incentive to men to form the State, and that
men come to worship both the emperor (or empire) and the fallen angel(s)
behind it: Revelation 12 and 13 are compelling, esp 13:4, where
the dragon is Satan (12:9) and the beast is Empire (cf. also chapters 17
and 18 for the economic and religious links.)
The book of Revelation is particularly unavoidable because the entire
conflict is (a) between the Body of Christ and the State, and (b) also
of cosmic dimensions.
James B. Jordan has made these comments on the involvement of angels
in society and on matters patriarchal:
"The most basic government is self-government and family or
household government. This situation seems almost
anarchistic to the modern centralist mind, and it could degenerate
into anarchy. . . . The proper solution to such disorder is to
recognize that the LORD is King, and for good men to pray for and
exhort others to recognize Him as such and to bow to His gracious
Law. Preaching and missionary work are given as cures for such
disorders. The Christian may relax in this because he knows that
the eternally active God is in control of the situation, and that His
angels are present guiding the affairs of men. If judgment is
needed, He is capable of executing it."