Human Rule Weighed in the Balances
Part 10—Perfect Government at Last!
Theocracy: from the Greek words “the·osʹ” (god) and “kraʹtos” (a rule); thus, a government by the direction or administration of God, at times through appointed representatives.
IF YOU could afford to buy a genuine pearl necklace or a diamond ring, would you settle for a poor imitation of the real thing? Probably not, unless you had been deceived into believing that what you were getting was the best that could be had.
As regards government, hundreds of millions of people have been deceived into believing that they are getting the best that can be had. In reality they are ending up with poor imitations. No wonder they are disappointed, dissatisfied, and frustrated.
The Search for Good Government
William Ralph Inge, onetime Anglican Church dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, wrote in 1922: “A good government remains the greatest of human blessings, and no nation has ever enjoyed it.” Why?
A partial explanation can be found in the words of John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States. “No government is better than the men who compose it,” he said. Since even the most gifted politician is imperfect, every government that humans set up is doomed to failure.
Seventeenth-century English playwright Philip Massinger was correct when he wrote: “He that would govern others, first should be the master of himself.” But what imperfect human is really master of himself? Really, no politician has sufficient knowledge and wisdom to control events and situations and thus ensure his own happiness and well-being, much less the happiness and well-being of millions of fellow humans. And even if he were always able to make correct decisions, he would not have the power to carry them out.
American essayist Brooks Atkinson, recognizing the problem, concluded back in 1951: “We need supermen to rule us—the job is so vast and the need for wise judgment is so urgent. But, alas,” he said, “there are no supermen.” Today, four decades later, there still are none.
Actually, God never intended for humans to rule themselves. In order to enjoy perfect government, humans need more than just government by supermen. They need theocracy, government by God.
What Kind of Theocracy?
Theocracy is the type of government that prevailed in Eden, where God placed the first human pair. As rightful Sovereign, God originally administered affairs and exercised authority.
When Jewish historian Flavius Josephus first coined the Greek word translated “theocracy” about 19 centuries ago, he used it to refer to the ancient nation of Israel. This was a correct identification, since Israel at that time was a nation chosen by God. It was actually ruled by him, even though his rule was administered through earthly representatives.—Deuteronomy 7:6; 1 Chronicles 29:23.
When the term “theocracy” was introduced into other languages, it was at first mostly limited to the meaning Josephus intended. But it later took on additional connotations. According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, it has been “widely applied to such varied cases as pharaonic Egypt, ancient Israel, medieval Christendom, Calvinism, Islam, and Tibetan Buddhism.”
Historian W. L. Warren says that there was “in the English monarchy an element of theocratic kingship—the king as the chief instrument in the divine scheme for the ordering of the world, the king as God’s representative and judgement-deliverer.” In modern times the word has even been used, explains Dewey Wallace, Jr., of George Washington University, as an expression of “‘enlightened’ contempt for ‘priest-ridden’ societies.”
The broad scope of meaning now included in the word allows for the existence of many kinds of theocracy. Which kind do we need?
The first human government in recorded history was founded some 4,000 years ago by Nimrod. This great-grandson of Noah made himself a king and became, as he is described in the Bible, “a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” (Genesis 10:8, 9) By setting himself up as ruler in opposition to Jehovah, Nimrod made himself a political god. As such, he had the backing of God’s chief opposer, the false god Satan the Devil. (2 Corinthians 4:4) So Nimrod’s rule was a counterfeit of the real theocracy.
When the inhabitants of Nimrod’s empire were later scattered throughout the earth, people continued to assume that their governments were theocratic, that is, deriving authority from the god or gods they worshiped. (Genesis 11:1-9) “Theocracy” thus came to be used, says The Encyclopedia of Religion, “to describe that early phase of ancient oriental civilization in which there was no distinction between religion and the state.”
In some cultures, such as Egypt under the Pharaohs, the king was believed to be the spouse of a great goddess or the son of a god. Other cultures said little about the king’s supposed divine qualities or descent, stressing rather the idea of his having been divinely chosen. In the Greece of Alexander’s time and thereafter, the king was considered divine, explains the book A History of Political Theory, “because he brought harmony to his kingdom as God brings harmony into the world.” This history book continues: “He possessed a divinity which the common man did not share and which brought to disaster the unworthy usurper who claimed the high office without the blessing of Heaven.”
This concept that the king is divine was carried over into the so-called Christian era. After the Teutonic tribes were converted to Catholicism, the king’s prestige increased. The crowning by the church implied that God himself had chosen the king to rule. From this background, the doctrine known as the divine right of kings gradually developed.
Even before the “Christian” era, the Caesars of Rome had given their government a theocratic twist by claiming godship. In Roman eyes, human rule was the equivalent of god-rule, making their government, after the fashion of Nimrod, a counterfeit theocracy. So when Jewish clergymen of the first century C.E. rejected Jesus as prospective King, saying, “We have no king but Caesar,” they were, in effect, expressing preference for a counterfeit theocracy over the real one that Jesus was proclaiming.—John 19:15.
Since theocratic rule by Jehovah is vastly superior to every other form of rule, Satan has, not surprisingly, tried to incorporate some of its aspects into his man-made counterfeits—but unsuccessfully. All these self-styled theocracies have fallen far short of the ideal. In reality, none of them has been a rule by God or by his representatives. They have been poor imitations of the real thing, expressions of imperfect human rule under the control of a counterfeit god.
Appropriately, the Bible calls this god “the ruler of this world” and “the god of this system of things.” (John 12:31; 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4) That is why he was able to offer “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” to Jesus, a temptation Jesus resolutely rejected. (Matthew 4:8-10) Knowing that genuine theocracy is rule by the one true God, Jehovah, Jesus was not deceived into accepting man-made substitutes that are incapable of expressing in perfect balance the divine attributes found in the real thing.
Perfect Government At Hand
Some years ago, Hugh Brogan of the University of Essex concluded: “If man, the political animal, is to save himself and his civilizations, he cannot yet rest from seeking new forms of government to meet the ever-new needs of his times.” Since Nimrod’s day, humans have been doing just that, repeatedly devising new forms of government to meet the needs of the times. But just how much time is needed to prove that human rule simply does not work?
Happily, in 1914 the time came for senseless experimentation in human government to be challenged by the establishing in heaven of Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom!* Since 1914, human governments, although still clinging to life, have been living on borrowed time. (Daniel 7:12) We are living in the period that the Bible identifies as “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) The handwriting on the wall that bodes imminent destruction for human rule is so plain that no one can honestly overlook it. It can be ignored, but it cannot be erased.
Theocratic rule by means of Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom is represented in the Bible at Daniel chapter 2 by a stone “cut out not by hands” that “struck the image [symbolic of human rule] on its feet of iron and of molded clay and crushed them.” This means that God’s established Kingdom will soon strike bad human rule in its every form, crushing it. How completely? The Bible answers: “At that time the iron, the molded clay, the copper, the silver and the gold were, all together, crushed and became like the chaff from the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away so that no trace at all was found of them.”—Daniel 2:34, 35.
If evil human governments are to be swept away so completely that no trace of them will ever be found, it is obvious that advocates of human rule are in for difficult times. Millions of people, recognizing this fact, are seeing the wisdom of shifting their trust from corrupted human rule to something better. Only rule by Jehovah God, the Creator of the universe, can solve the problems caused by thousands of years of human misrule and mismanagement. Only true theocracy can meet the needs of our times.
Awake! hopes that the ten-part series “Human Rule Weighed in the Balances” has impressed upon you the importance of making a personal decision in this matter of government. And above all it is hoped that it will help you to make a wise decision. Human rule has been weighed in the balances and found deficient. What will you choose? Will it be a cheap counterfeit or the real thing? Will it be human rule or rule by the true God, Jehovah?—Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:10.
For proof that God’s Kingdom was established in 1914 and that this world has been in its last days since then, see chapters 16 and 18 of the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, published in 1982 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
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What Theocratic Rule by Jehovah Will Do
◆ Restore feeble old people to youthful vigor.—Job 33:25.
◆ Furnish every family with excellent housing.—Isaiah 65:21.
◆ Rid the earth of corruption, immorality, and crime.—Proverbs 2:21, 22.
◆ Assign everyone meaningful and rewarding work.—Isaiah 65:22, 23.
These are not empty political promises made by humans; they are promises made by God, and “it is impossible for God to lie.”—Hebrews 6:18.
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The eternal blessings of perfect government can be yours!