Human Government & God’s Kingdom

150525-mt-rubidoux-park-57-of-65I’ve remained fairly silent in regards to the upcoming U.S. presidential election. I’ll be honest, I don’t find affinity with any of the presidential candidates. So I’m not voting for any of them.

The arguments that I’m wasting my vote and my wasted vote will put a candidate into the White House who will then appoint Supreme Court justices doesn’t hold water for me.

That’s because I don’t think God’s kingdom is affected in the slightest by whichever person sits in the White House or any other branch of government. As such, I don’t think voting is a Kingdom obligation. It’s an American right. But that shouldn’t be confused with a Kingdom obligation. What matters to God’s Kingdom is how Jesus’ followers live.

In that light, I’m not against anyone voting or participating in the democratic process. I just don’t see it as having much weight in God’s Kingdom.

In fact, I believe human government should be viewed similarly to how Jesus viewed divorce in Matthew 19:8, “Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.’”

In a similar way, God permitted human government among his people because their hearts were hard. Remember in 1Samuel 8 how Israel asked for a king? God told them that they were to have no human king since God was their King. But because the people kept insisting on a human king, God relented.

But the original intention was that God would be King over his people. They were never to rely on a human government like the surrounding nations. In addition, God’s Laws should not be viewed as other societies’ laws. While providing a semblance of governance to God’s unique society, they were actually to be used in conjunction with his other gifts — Land and Temple — to train God’s people into the embodiment of God so they could restore Adam’s fall and bless the nations.

But human government is a reality. So how should we deal with it? Let’s look at Jesus, Paul and John.

How did Jesus deal with human government? He confronted it by embodying God’s New Creation in human form. He was launching a radically new world order that required a radically new way of being human. As he embodied, demonstrated and announced this New Creation, it naturally confronted the old order and false powers.

And when push ultimately came to shove, the old order and false powers killed him. That’s what false powers do. Death is their ultimate weapon. But God resurrected Jesus! God’s last word, his final confrontation with the old order and false powers is the launching of his New Creation smack-dab in the middle of this old broken one. The resurrected King Jesus now holds the keys to the old order’s ultimate weapon, death and hades (Revelation 1:18). By his death he has trampled down death.

How did Paul deal with human government? He planted outposts of God’s New Creation, communities of King Jesus’ followers throughout the greatest Empire at the time. Wherever he went, he proclaimed a counter-Caesar message right under Caesar’s nose. Jesus is the world’s True Lord and King! Give your allegiance to King Jesus! Live his New Creation life! And Paul lived it himself even to the point of house arrest and ultimate martyrdom.

How did John deal with human government? He encourages the communities of King Jesus’ followers with an incredible vision to overcome temptation, seduction and persecution. He pens a brilliant prophetic image-scape showing God on his Throne and King Jesus implementing God’s plan to rescue and restore Creation by being the sacrificial lamb. As King Jesus’ followers embody the Lamb’s sacrificial life, God ultimately confronts the world’s evil powers, restores creation and establishes his reign. Through the faithful living of King Jesus’ followers, Jesus’ prayer, “Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is answered and the New Creation comes in its fullness.

The U.S. presidential election will come and go as it has every four years. When the dust settles this year, someone will be sitting in the White House. Whoever wins, one side will proclaim victory and the other side will prepare to blame the state of America on the imminent folly of the new president. That’s how our broken system works.

But let God pull back the thin veil between heaven and earth so, like John, you can peer into earthly circumstances from a heavenly vantage. God is on the throne! All creation worships him! King Jesus is worthy of carrying out God’s restorative plan for creation! King Jesus holds the keys to death and hades! So embody sacrificial lives in allegiance to King Jesus! As a community, let our counter-Caesar, New Creation-launching lives stand in stark counterpoint and confrontation to broken human government.

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