Liberty's Light

A Christian forum dedicated to the discussion of how a nation based entirely off of biblical principles ought to be like. We believe that Righteousness Exalteth a Nation, and that God's righteous hand is necessary for the blessing of any nation.
 
HomeHome  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Forms of Government

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Jonathan S.
Moderator
Moderator


Male Number of posts : 58
Age : 25
Location : Indiana
Registration date : 08/01/2009

PostSubject: Forms of Government   Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:33 pm

OK. We've decided on government's role, so what now? We have to decide what form of government to use. In other words, should it be a democracy, republic, dictatorship, or what; and why? The systems that have seemed to work well are democracy and republicanism. However, the primary examples of these from history are Greece and Rome. Each of these collapsed after a few hundred years. Russia has had a dictatorship for centuries, and is still around. What a conundrum!Smile

So the questions are:

What is the best form of government?

What does history "say" about this?

How can the mistakes made by similar forms of government in the past be avoided?

What does the Bible say about this?


Another thought: pure democracy worked pretty well in Athens, but could probably not function on a larger scale. What role, if any, should the history and setting of a particular culture play in deciding its form of government?

Happy thinking!

_________________
~Jonathan S.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power and love and discipline. --2 Tim 1:7
Back to top Go down
View user profile
caleb
Moderator
Moderator


Male Number of posts : 231
Age : 24
Location : Central Indiana
Registration date : 14/03/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:12 pm

I would like to address some of the issues that have been brought up in the discussion on the Definition of Crime post in regards to forms of Israeli government that God instituted and which forms are biblically applicable today. In the post on Old Testament Law, I will discuss how this affects the laws that should be instituted in a modern biblical government. So first of all, I will submit a brief history of Israel’s forms of government which were instituted by God. Note: All definitions come from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. I chose this dictionary because it contains the largest number of definitions using the Bible than any other dictionary. It is his original version of the dictionary in which he used the Bible as the source for his definitions. Webster even commented that “education [is] useless without the Bible”.  And again that “No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people."

First: Republic- A commonwealth; a state in which the exercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by the people. In modern usage, it differs from a democracy or democratic state, in which the people exercise the powers of sovereignty in person. Yet the democracies of Greece are often called republics. (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, 1828.sorabji.com)

Israel was a republic from the exodus out of Egypt, to her establishment in the Promised Land.

“Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:” (Exodus 18:21) “Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.” (Deuteronomy 1:13)

Here, we clearly see the commonwealth of Israel being commanded by God to elect able men to exercise sovereign power over the people. These passages cannot more clearly line up with the definition of a republic as stated by Webster. Not only that, but God was the One Who instituted it.

Secondly: Theocracy- Government of a state by the immediate direction of God; or the state thus governed. Of this species the Israelites furnish an illustrious example. The theocracy lasted till the time of Saul. (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, 1828.sorabji.com)

Israel was a republic from the settling in the Promised Land, to the coronation of Saul.

“And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7) “And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.” (Judges 8:23) “And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the Lord your God was your king.” (1 Samuel 12:12)

Here, the Bible makes it very clear that Israel was governed “by the immediate direction of God” Who is thus termed as reigning over Israel and being her king. Again, these passages cannot more clearly line up with the definition of a theocracy given by Webster who even himself recognized Scripture’s clear teaching of Israel being a theocratic nation. Mr. Von correctly pointed out that theocracy meant:

“'Theo' 'cracy'... rule by God.”

This goes in conjunction with Webster’s definition in saying that it is a “Government of a state by the immediate direction of God; or the state thus governed.” However, I would disagree with his conclusion that:

“Israel was never a theocracy. Eden was, but Israel no. Israel was ruled by a series of judges (beginning with Moses)before the time of the kings.”

The Bible specifically says that God reigned over, ruled over, and was king over Israel. (See the above verses.) Moses did not rule over the people; he was simply God’s mouthpiece. To demonstrate this further, when a man who had been caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath was brought to Moses for judgement, he went to God to determine what the punishment should be. Why would he go to God if he was the ruler? Because God was the ruler, not Moses.

Numbers 15:33-36- “And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.”

Thirdly: Monarchy- A state or government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a single person. Such a state is usually called an empire or a kingdom; and we usually give this denomination to a large state only. But the same name is sometimes given to a kingdom or state in which the power of the king or supreme magistrate is limited by a constitution, or by fundamental laws. Such is the British monarchy. Hence we speak of absolute or despotic monarchies, and of limited monarchies. (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, 1828.sorabji.com)

Israel was a monarchy from King Saul, to King Hoshea (Israel) and King Zedekiah (Judah)

“And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.” (1 Samuel 8:22) Books of 1 Samuel - 2 Chronicles.

Finally, the Bible clearly states that God instituted a king to supremely rule over all of Israel. Again, Scripture adamantly says that Israel became a monarchy which lines up with Webster’s definition.

So which of these three forms of government should we model a biblical nation after. Though God planned that Israel would become a monarchy, and thought He allowed her to, He never instituted it as the ideal government system for Israel. Israel was the one who demanded this form of government, which eventually lead to the splitting of the country and numerous consequences of wicked kings. So, this form of government should be scratched off of the list immediately.

In order for a theocracy to work, God must be the One to initiate it. Man cannot force God to be ruler of a nation. Besides, God only did this one time, and only to His chosen people Israel. It would not only be wrong, but dangerous to try to reinstate this form of government.

This leaves us with republic, which indeed turns out to be the ideal biblical choice for the form of government today. Samuel even tried to reinstate a republic instead of a monarchy when Israel asked for a king.

1 Samuel 8:12-19- “And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;”

This version of republic is not a republic in its purest sense of the term, that being representatives being elected by the people. In this example Samuel was saying that the king would do the electing. Nevertheless, it is a form of republic which was to be preferred over monarchy. Based on the republic that God instituted, which was a true republic, (see the above verses under republic) I submit that this form of government is the most ideal and biblical for modern application.

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
Back to top Go down
View user profile
caleb
Moderator
Moderator


Male Number of posts : 231
Age : 24
Location : Central Indiana
Registration date : 14/03/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:15 pm

Quote :
First, Israel was never a republic. Or if it was it was a very odd one.

First of all, Moses was a judge, and the top judge, and he was not elected.

Secondly, these lesser people were not chosen by the people, but appointed by Moses. True, he chose from among those that were sent forward, but he chose.

Thirdly, it is your democratic/republican bias that even suggests that it might be 'the people' that chose them even as far as the giving part. Almost certainly it would have been the elders of Israel who sent the names forward not 'the people'.

Thirdly, they came forward not as legislature members (as in what we normally think of as a Republic) but as judges.

So, I respectfully submit, Israel was never a republic.

You make some very good points here. I’ll have to do some further research on this issue to decide if I can find any better evidence that Israel was a republic or not. Thank you for your rebuttal.

Quote :
Secondly, Israel was never a theocracy. [caleb you might want to fix your typo, which I correct in my quote].

I don't have much time this morning, but neither of the verses/passages you post help. First of all, the idea of Israel rejecting God as their ruler had nothing to do with the 'form' of their government... they were rejecting God as their lawmaker, which he had been (and was, for that matter) and the rule of judges he had instituted. No one else had judges, thus they wanted a king too.

Secondly, you need to read the other verse:

Quote:
Num 15:34 And they put him under guard; for it had not been declared what should be done to him.


Israel lived in a situation where there were judges, who judged small matters... based on law already declared. ( From God and then from Moses). However in this case, the law had not been declared, and the lesser judges were powerless. Thus they came to Moses, who went to God.

This situation differed from the hundreds of times when they judged the law themselves.

If what you mean by 'theocracy' is that God made their laws... then fine. But then God has always made our laws, beginning with Eden. Not, it is true, quite so dramaticallly as writing them on stone... but God has and always will be the lawmaker. All any good government can do is follow those laws. (See Romans 13) So either we are all theocracies, or none of us are.

In the definition I submitted, theocracy was defined as “Government of a state by the immediate direction of God” Such is similar to the definition of monarchy, with the exception of God having the supreme power. The Hebrew word for 
“reign over” and “king” in the first and third verse that I submitted is malak, (Strong's Hebrew #4427) which is the very same word used for kings David and Solomon and all the other kings in the Bible. The Hebrew word “rule” in the second verse is mashal (Strong's Hebrew #4910) which is the same word that Gideon uses about ruling the kingdom himself in that verse. My point is, these verses actually do show that God was the actual king of Israel during this time as the words used for His position in the government are the same ones used about all of Israel’s other kings. Thus, Israel was rejecting their form of government by saying that they no longer wanted God as king over them, but a man to be king over them instead. There is a HUGE difference between God being the direct ruler of the government and man being such. This reversal would dramastically alter Israel’s government system. (Dramastically is a word I made up by combining dramatically and drastically. Feel free to use it yourself.)

God was not only the lawmaker, but also the supreme judge, as is shown in the example sited above. Just because Israel had other judges does not mean that Israel was not a theocracy. Theocracy does not mean a dictatorship in which God is the only Being in the government and decides every single matter in government. Including judges in the government in no way nullifies the definition of theocracy submitted by Webster. God can still immediately direct the government of a state while judges fill their offices in the government. This system would be similar to that in monarchies in which there is a supreme king, and many rulers over smaller providences in that kingdom under him. (Example: Joseph being made ruler over Egypt under Pharaoh; the supreme king.) Having other rulers under the king in no way whatsoever takes away from the king’s power or authority, or makes that form of government no longer a monarchy.

Quote :
(side note. Not that this discussion matters in the sense that Caleb is trying to make. I really don't care if you call Israel at any point a democracy, a theocracy, a republic or a bannana republic... except that I care for the truth. It makes no difference at all as to the eternal verities of Gods Law.)


Agreed. The only reason why I am making such a big deal over Israel being a theocracy is for when it comes to law making. What OT laws do we need to still enforce? As you can see in my post on OT Laws, it matters significantly in the area of the purpose of those laws. However, I deviate from the purpose of this post. My original point in my first reply to this post is that a republic is the most biblical form of government for modern application. Mr. Olhman brought up some good points to refute that, so it may take me a little while to do the research I need to do to better establish my point. I got most of the information that I used in writing my article from verse references that Mr. David Barton from Wallbuilders posted on one of his articles. He is actually coming to my church at the end of this month, so I hope to talk with him and see if he has any other information on this topic.

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
Back to top Go down
View user profile
von



Male Number of posts : 166
Age : 56
Location : Texas
Registration date : 16/02/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:11 am

Ok, this is officially annoying.

How many posts did I lose :(
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://vonstakes.blogspot.com
von



Male Number of posts : 166
Age : 56
Location : Texas
Registration date : 16/02/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:14 am

Quote :
Mr. Olhman brought up some good points to refute that, so it may take me a little while to do the research I need to do to better establish my point. I got most of the information that I used in writing my article from verse references that Mr. David Barton from Wallbuilders posted on one of his articles. He is actually coming to my church at the end of this month, so I hope to talk with him and see if he has any other information on this topic.

There is much to refute in the earlier posts, but I will wait until Caleb finishes his research until I write more (unless I suddenly feel led Smile ) However, while I owe him great thanks for the respect he shows me, I must again correct my name (which perhaps I sent him wrongly when we chatted).

Vaughn Ohlman

(the 'h' comes before the 'l' Smile
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://vonstakes.blogspot.com
Jonathan S.
Moderator
Moderator


Male Number of posts : 58
Age : 25
Location : Indiana
Registration date : 08/01/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Fri May 29, 2009 9:46 pm

My mom found this Government video. online. It is not from a Christian perspective, but it gives you something to think about.
Another resource that could help this discussion would be "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. I started reading it, but didn't have time to finish.

_________________
~Jonathan S.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power and love and discipline. --2 Tim 1:7
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sir Emeth Mimetes
Admin
Admin


Male Number of posts : 446
Age : 27
Location : Cork, co. Cork, Ireland
Registration date : 07/01/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Sat May 30, 2009 2:01 am

Jonathan,

I have watched that video, and although it gives a somewhat simplistic view of a Republic, it is pretty good.

A warning about Thomas Paine: he was rejected by the founding fathers for the most part because of traitorous premises and attacks. What were those attacks? Attacks on the God of the Bible. Although he was knowledgeable, and did say some things that were good, he was on the wrong side of God.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://siremethmimetes.wordpress.com
caleb
Moderator
Moderator


Male Number of posts : 231
Age : 24
Location : Central Indiana
Registration date : 14/03/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:54 pm

Based off of the other threads on this forum, I came up with some conclusions for this post.

1. The Bible teaches that all men are subject to the Law. (Lex Rex- Law is King.)

2. Therefore, the form of government cannot include a branch or group of people whose responsibility or job is to make laws. This would put some men above laws.

3. That means that this form of government should be based off of a Constitutional Law by which everyone is governed.

4. This law must be enforced and upheld, which requires men to form a governing body. The governing powers must be kept in check and accountable to the Law. History has shown that a three branch governing system accomplishes this task best. This is best done when the responsibilities of one branch must be checked or affirmed by at least one other branch.


The three governmental branches will be determined and defined along with their responsibilities in LL2. Also, please see other posts such as (but not limited to) Legislature, OT Law, and NT Definition of Crime to see discussions of some of the conclusions listed above. Everyone agreed, or do I need to be more specific somewhere?

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sir Emeth Mimetes
Admin
Admin


Male Number of posts : 446
Age : 27
Location : Cork, co. Cork, Ireland
Registration date : 07/01/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:35 am

Greetings,

Thank you Caleb. I agree with that conclusion. I would suggest that we start a thread on the concept of Representation (a very important principle) to follow this thread up.

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://siremethmimetes.wordpress.com
Hannah Marie
Moderator
Moderator


Female Number of posts : 99
Age : 25
Registration date : 15/01/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:14 pm

I also agree with this conclusion; thank you, Caleb!

Blessings,
Hannah

_________________
If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding; and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Duchess Daisy
Moderator
Moderator


Female Number of posts : 20
Age : 27
Location : Florida
Registration date : 11/08/2009

PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:19 am

I, too, agree with this conclusion. Great job, Caleb!

God bless,

Carissa

_________________
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://duchessdaisy.wordpress.com
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Forms of Government   

Back to top Go down
 
Forms of Government
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Liberty's Light :: Archives :: Discussion archives-
Jump to: