Definition: The arrangement for making and administering laws. Governments are frequently classified according to the source and scope of their authority. Jehovah God is the Universal Sovereign, who confers authority on others in accord with his will and purpose. However, Satan the Devil, the foremost rebel against Jehovah’s sovereignty, is “the ruler of the world”—this by God’s permission for a limited period of time. The Bible depicts the global system of political rulership as a wild beast and says that “the dragon [Satan the Devil] gave to the beast its power and its throne and great authority.”—John 14:30; Rev. 13:2; 1 John 5:19.
Is it possible for humans to establish a government that will really bring lasting happiness?
What does the record of human history show?
Eccl. 8:9: “Man has dominated man to his injury.” (This is true even though some governments and rulers have started off with high ideals.)
“Every civilization that has ever existed has ultimately collapsed. History is a tale of efforts that failed, or aspirations that weren’t realized. . . . So, as a historian, one has to live with a sense of the inevitability of tragedy.”—Henry Kissinger, political scientist and professor of government, as quoted in The New York Times, October 13, 1974, p. 30B.
What hinders human efforts in the field of government?
Jer. 10:23: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (God did not authorize his human creation to chart its own path independent from God.)
Gen. 8:21: “The inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up.” (Not only the rulers but also those ruled are all born in sin, with selfish inclinations.)
2 Tim. 3:1-4: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . not open to any agreement, . . . puffed up with pride.” (The problems facing mankind today cannot be lastingly solved by just one nation; they require complete international cooperation. But selfish interests prevent that and also seriously hinder any real cooperation among the various organizations within nations.)
The Bible also reveals that superhuman forces are manipulating the affairs of men. “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) “We have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against . . . the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) “Expressions inspired by demons . . . go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.”—Rev. 16:14.
How can people get lasting relief from governmental corruption and oppression?
Will putting other men in office solve the problem?
Is it not true that where there are free elections the men in power are usually voted out of office in a relatively few years? Why? A majority are not satisfied with their performance.
Ps. 146:3, 4: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.” (So, any programs for betterment that rulers institute soon pass into the hands of others and are frequently abandoned.)
No matter who the ruler is, he will still be part of this world that lies in Satan’s power.—1 John 5:19.
Is violent revolution the answer?
Even if corrupt rulers are ousted and unjust laws are discarded, the new government will be made up of imperfect humans and will still be part of the political system that the Bible clearly says is under the control of Satan.
Matt. 26:52: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Jesus said this to one of his apostles at a time when governmental authority was being used unjustly against the Son of God himself. For what more worthy cause could a person have fought, if that were the right thing to do?)
Prov. 24:21, 22: “My son, fear Jehovah and the king. With those who are for a change, do not intermeddle. For their disaster will arise so suddenly, that who is aware of the extinction of those who are for a change?”
What, then, is the answer to the problems of corruption and oppression?
Dan. 2:44: “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom [a government] that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”
Ps. 72:12-14: “He [Jehovah’s appointed king, Jesus Christ] will deliver the poor one crying for help, also the afflicted one and whoever has no helper. He will feel sorry for the lowly one and the poor one, and the souls of the poor ones he will save. From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul, and their blood will be precious in his eyes.” (His concern for such people when he was on earth—his healing them, feeding multitudes, even laying down his life for them—shows that he will truly be the kind of ruler foretold in the prophecy.)
Why should we seriously consider what the Bible says about the future of government?
Human rulers are not providing what mankind urgently needs
Consider these things that people everywhere need, that human governments are not providing but that God has promised: (1) Life in a world free from the threat of war.—Isa. 2:4; Ps. 46:9, 10. (2) Ample food for everyone.—Ps. 72:16. (3) Comfortable housing for everyone.—Isa. 65:21. (4) Satisfying employment for all who need it, so they can provide for themselves and their families.—Isa. 65:22. (5) Life that is not marred by sickness and disease.—Rev. 21:3, 4. (6) Justice; freedom from religious, racial, economic, and national prejudice.—Isa. 9:7; 11:3-5. (7) Enjoyment of security, without danger to one’s person or property from criminals.—Mic. 4:4; Prov. 2:22. (8) A world in which qualities most highly prized include love, kindness, concern for one’s fellowman, and truthfulness.—Ps. 85:10, 11; Gal. 5:22, 23.
For thousands of years, political rulers have been promising their people better conditions. With what results? Although the people in many nations have more material possessions, they are not happier, and the problems confronting them are more complex than ever.
Bible prophecies have proved completely reliable
A century in advance God’s Word foretold Babylon’s position of world dominance, also how its power would finally be broken, and the fact that, once desolated, its capital would never again be inhabited. (Isa. 13:17-22) Nearly two centuries in advance, even before Cyrus was born, the Bible foretold him by name as well as his role in international affairs. (Isa. 44:28; 45:1, 2) Before Medo-Persia became a world power, its ascendancy, its dual nature, and how it would end were all foretold. Over two centuries in advance the course of the Grecian world empire under its first king was foretold, also the subsequent division of the empire into four parts.—Dan. 8:1-8, 20-22.
The Bible foretold in detail the world conditions of our day, and it puts us on notice that all human governments will come to their end at the hands of God and that God’s Kingdom in the hands of his Son, Jesus Christ, will rule over all mankind.—Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14.
Is it not the course of wisdom to heed a source of information that has proved to be so consistently reliable?
Government by God is the only real solution to the problems of mankind
The problems that need to be resolved require power, abilities, and qualities that no humans possess. God can free mankind from the influence of the Devil and his demons, and He has promised to do so, but no human can. God has made provision to do what medical science could never accomplish—remove sin, thus ending sickness and death and making it possible for people to be the kind of persons that they really want to be. The Creator has the needed knowledge (of the earth and of all life processes) to solve the problems of food production and to prevent dangerous pollution, but human efforts often create more problems. God’s Word is already transforming lives so that those who respond to its leading become kind, loving persons with high morals, a society of persons who refuse to take up arms against their fellowman and who live in genuine peace and brotherhood although they are from all nations, races, and language groups.