Jesus Christ brought a message about government. Like a broadcaster ahead of His time, everywhere He went, He preachedâHe announcedâthe coming of the Kingdom of God. He explained that it would be a world-ruling, divine government that would smash and replace all the governments of men.
But you have probably supposed that the governments of modern nations generally reflect Godâs Way. This is almost everyoneâs assumption. Yet, while God does, in fact, establish and remove nationsâand leadersâthis is not His world! This is why the Bible foretells the arrival of a supergovernment to replace the confused, competing, inefficient and ineffective governments of men that are so powerless to solve any of the worldâs biggest problems.
How did the world come to be as it is? Why so much poverty, disease, hunger, pollution, ignorance and confusion? Why can the governments of men not get along, avoid warâand find peace and agreement? Why such constant instability, scandal and division among leaders everywhere? Why so much favoritism, antagonism between parties, ethics violations, political arm-twisting and lobbying, infighting, poor judgment, corruption, bribery, misrepresentationâand outright lyingâin virtually all national governments? Why are there seemingly endless revolutions and military coups? Why no shortage of demagogues, dictators and revolutionaries, always promising to make things better, yet invariably bringing worse problems and conditions?
Look at the governments of this world. Generally speaking, there are three types todayâmonarchies, dictatorships and democracies.
Monarchies involve nobilityâroyaltyâwhere bloodline is the key to succession of power. Through the death of a king or queen, a prince or princess ascends the throne. This cycle can last for generations or many centuries. History records that monarchies are almost always replaced, either violently or peacefully, with the king or queen often allowed to retain minimal power.
Dictatorships and totalitarian governments are usually created through violenceâby coup or revolution. They are often short-lived, with something similar replacing them.
Democracies and republics are best described as collaborative, representative or parliamentarian, in that officials and leaders are elected, representing âthe will of the people.â This involves a voting or balloting process in the selection of one candidate in preference to one or several others. This form is generally considered to be the best of mankindâs governments. Yet, the great 20th-century British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, called democracy âthe worst form of governmentâexcept [for] all the other[s]...â This offers an amazing insight into how democracy really works, from an insiderâs view.
But, as bad as democracy may be, it is true that it is far better than any other form of governmentâwhen that government lies in the hands of men. Democracy does at least attempt to ensure more individual âfreedomsâ than other kinds of humanly devised government.
In the end, however, none of manâs governments work either very well or for very long.
Consider. God is calling people who are citizens of many different nations on Earth, and most who learn the truth in this age are privileged to live under the freedoms of a democracy. Of course, many have previously participated in the election of their local, state, provincial or national leaders.
Yet this question arises: Should the new Christian continue to vote and participate in the politics of his country?
A Christian is one who followsâwho copiesâJesus Christ (I Peter 2:21; Phil. 2:5). Again, what would Christ do if He were on Earth today? Would HE participate in the governments or politics of men? What does the Bible teach about voting to select leadersâeither in national governments or in the selection of leaders in various denominations? And what about the Church that Jesus built?
Christ would not vote, because He understands the origin of the governments of this world and who is behind them.
Where did the governments of men come from? How did they originate? Who is behind them? Why is there so much strife and competition in the world today? Is this Godâs worldâreflecting His way, and His direction and guidance?
Most theologians, religionists and clergy blindly assume that it is. Therefore, they conclude that, as they usually put it, if âall Christians work together, in love and unity, to make this world and its governments a safer and better place for everyone [or for democracy and freedom, as some emphasize] we can bring peace, happiness and prosperity to all.â Many naively believe that if they can âfix the worldââor even just improve itâthey can usher in Godâs Kingdom on Earth. Also, and even more naĂŻve, is that many believe they can influence governments to become more godly.
This is fantasyâa completely wrong view, and it is not what God expects or wants.
Nowhere did Jesus say, âGo you into all the world and strive to make it a better place by becoming part of it.â Instead, He said, âGo you into all the world, and preach the gospelâ (Mark 16:15).
Christ did not come to fix or make this world better. He announced the coming of a better world, made possible because of His government!
And the Bible also commands, âCome out from among them [the world], and be you separateâ (II Cor. 6:17), and further, speaking of societyâs Babylonish ways, âCome out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plaguesâ (Rev. 18:4).
World punishment lies just ahead for those who carelessly reject Godâs plain Word.
This world is a condemned building. Built on a wrong foundation from the beginning, its weak underpinnings have eroded to the point of collapse under its own weight. It will soon be demolished, scraped away and replaced by a vastly better world and governmentâone infinitely better than the best parts of menâs governments put together!
Blind, deceived men think they can bring about the Kingdom of God through human effort. They see certain evil forces at work and feel compelled to âdo something about it.â They assume that Jesus would be an âactivistâ striving to âmake the world a better place.â Be honest! Havenât you heard this many times? Havenât you heard religious groups urge people to âget involvedâ or âtake a standââor some similar thingâin order to improve national or world problems of one sort or another? (Read our booklet What Is the Kingdom of God? You may also read our book Tomorrowâs Wonderful World â An Inside View! to learn much more about the most important event that will ever occur on Earth. And to learn how God will intervene in world affairs, read How Godâs Kingdom Will Come â The Untold Story!)
Again we ask: Is this Godâs world? Does HE want Christians to âmake the world a better placeâ?
The Great Deceiver
The Bible speaks of Satan, âwhich deceives the whole worldâ (Rev. 12:9). Notice that it says, âthe whole world.â This is a staggering statementâbut there it is in your Bible!
How is it possible that the devil can deceive over seven billion people? Does he work primarily through human agentsâor does he influence the world in other ways? These are crucial questions.
This same verse concludes, âHe was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.â Notice that it says, âhis angels.â These fallen angels, subordinate to Satan, play their own role.
For now, letâs focus on one aspect of the enormous understanding within this passage.
If Satan has deceived the entire world, then how can it be Godâs world? Since the whole world is deceivedâand the apostle John also recorded that âthe whole world lies in wickednessââmodern civilization cannot be of God. It is actually cut off from Him (Isa. 59:1-2). This will become clear.
Now, if you do not accept Revelation 12:9 as revealed knowledge from God, then any hope of personally breaking free of this deception will be lost!
If you do, think for a moment! If the devil practices deception throughout the world, it would certainly include influence upon, and control over, the humanly devised governments of all nations.
The âgod of this worldâ
The Bible refers to the âgod of this worldââand it is not the God of heaven. II Corinthians 4:4 records, âIn whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospelâŚshould shine unto them.â
There is only one being who wants to âblindâ this world to the truth of the real gospelâSatan the devil. Understand. The true gospel is about the prophesied soon-coming Kingdom of GodâGodâs world-ruling government. Our booklet Which Is the True Gospel? explains how Christ is going to return and establish Godâs Kingdom, thus replacing the devil. It is not strange then that Satan wants to block people from understanding this marvelous truth. He wants no âlightâ shining on it, knowing that it depicts a time when he will be banished from his current position of worldwide influence.
The Life of a Democracy
It has been said that âeventually, all democracies commit suicide.â Since history bears this out, what is the average lifespan of a democratic society? How long will it typically last before forces within it topple or implode it? What are the limits beyond which it cannot survive? What forces threaten it?
The following quotes from well-known American patriots demonstrate the short-lived nature of democracies and why this is so. Wise King Solomon wrote that âRighteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any peopleâ (Prov. 14:34). If a democracy has any chance to survive longer than normal, it will only be character found in its citizens that permits this. Consider these statements in light of the severe, fast-increasing moral decay that looms as the very greatest threat to the democratic nations of the West.
â A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a [lousy] fiscal responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the worldâs great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From (1) bondage to spiritual faith; from (2) spiritual faith to great courage; from (3) courage to liberty; from (4) liberty to abundance; from (5) abundance to selfishness; from (6) selfishness to complacency; from (7) complacency to apathy; from (8) apathy to dependency; from (9) dependency back again to bondage.â
â Alexander Tyler, in his 1770 book, Cycle of Democracy
George Washington referred to the United States as âa great experiment.â And in his farewell address he said, âOf all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.â
âIs there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checksâno form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without virtue in the people is a chimerical [an illusion or fabrication of the mind] idea.â And âDemocracies have always been spectacles of turbulence and contention and as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.â
â James Madison
âOnly a virtuous people are capable of freedom.â
â Benjamin Franklin
âWe have no government armed with powers capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice [greed], ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net.â
â John Adams
âCan the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis? A conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not violated but with his wrath?â
â Thomas Jefferson
âMen are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the world.â
â Abraham Lincoln, March 15, 1865, letter to Thurlow Weed
one month before his assassination
Three times in the gospel of John, Christ Himself refers to Satan the devil as âthe prince of this world.â John 12:31, 16:11 and 14:30 make plain that in the future the âprince of this worldâ will be judged because, as Christ says in 14:30, the devil âhas nothing in Me.â Take time to read these verses. John 12:31 parallels the judgment of this world with Satanâs coming judgment. This is because this is his world!
But letâs make this crystal clear.
Matthew 4 contains the well-known account of Christâs confrontation with the devil after fasting for 40 days. The devil repeatedly tempted Christ through twisting scripture (one of his favorite devices). At one point, in verses 8 and 9, âthe devil took Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and said unto Him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me.â The devil departed.
This offer is more unusual than meets the eye! Why? Notice that Jesus rebuked Satan (verse 10), quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 in response, and answered, âYou shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.â
Yet notice! At no point did Christ say, âThese kingdoms are NOT yours to giveâ or âWho do you think you are, trying to offer Me what is already Godâs?â He said no such thing. Again, why? Because He knew that the governmentsâthe kingdomsâof this world ARE the devilâs governments. Christ knew that they belonged to himâWERE Satanâs to give. Therefore, He rejected the terms for receiving these kingdoms from the one who did have authority to offer them.
Also understand this! This account describes what is called the temptation of Christ. Obviously what the devil offered was designed to tempt Him. If both Christ and Satan knew that the kingdoms of this world were not the devilâs to give, then where was the temptation? Surely, the devil would have known what Christ knew. Of course, Christ, who was God on Earth, would have known who had the power and authority to offer those kingdoms. The temptation would carry no weightâwould be hollowâif menâs nations and governments were not the devilâs to offerâif they already belonged to Jesus.
So that there is absolutely no doubt that this is true, note the same account paralleled in Luke 4:6. The devil is speaking directly to Christ. Lukeâs account adds a key phrase that should hit you like a sledgehammer. Satan said, âAll this power will I give You, and the glory of them: for that [it] is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it.â Did you notice? It was completely within the scope of the devilâs power and authority to offer or withhold the kingdoms of this world. They were his to give or not to give. God had âdeliveredâ them to himâto his control!âand they are still his.
This worldâs nations and governments, with âall the glory of them,â are still under the control of the âgod of this worldââthe âprince of this worldâ!
Have you ever heard this before? Yet, this is the plain truth from your Bible, and it has a direct bearing on why the world is filled with overwhelming problems. This world, with its ways and systems, led by the devil, has much to do with whether a true Christian votes in menâs elections or seeks office in any of his governments. (Read our booklets A World in Captivity and Did God Create Human Nature? to learn more about the devilâs role and influence.)
Satanâs Kingdom Is Both Organized and Unified
Satan holds sway over all governments and nations. But is his own government, led by him and his demons, and ruling over human governments, unified? Is the devil himself divided? Allow Jesus to answer these questions.
Jesus and His disciples often had to cast out demons. I have done this on a number of occasions, and these can be very intense, dramatic encounters. They are not pleasant to witness, and those who do are often shocked by what they see. It becomes obvious that great power is presentâboth in the demon being cast out and in the greater power of God necessary to cast one out. Christâs accusers saw clear evidence that He was backed by real power! However, in Matthew 12:24-26, they accused Him of using the power of the devil to cast out demons.
Here is Christâs response: âEvery kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?â (vs. 25). Jesus was saying that Satan would never cast out demonsâthey are his! To do so would divide his own kingdom. The devil does have a kingdom. Since his kingdom does stand, it is clearly not divided! And it transcends the entire world.
Recall Revelation 12:9. It referred to Satan and âhisâ demons. This clearly means that they are hisâthey belong to himâhe controls them.
Here is the point. Not only does Satan govern the kingdoms of this world, through his power and influence, but he also does it in an undivided, unified fashion with the aid of hundreds of millions (Rev. 5:11; 12:4) of demons.
Further, Ephesians 6:12 explains how Christians wrestle âagainst principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits [the proper translation] in high places.â It becomes obvious that these âhigh placesâ are within the governments or principalities of this world!
Now for an incredible account that illustrates and explains the terms ârulersâ and âhigh places.â An actual spirit war, lasting three weeks, is described in Daniel 10! Michael, an archangel, fought with one called the âprince of the kingdom of Persia,â and referred to another upcoming battle with an arch-demon called the âprince of Grecia.â Archangelsâor any angelsâdo not need 21 days to defeat puny, little, physical men. The âprincesâ that Michael was battling were powerful fallen spirits that ruled nations within Satanâs governmental structure.
This is not Godâs world! It should now be evident that the devil governs a vast realm of fallen spirits. Together they deceive, confuse and exert far-reaching influence over all the governments and activities on Earth, including the many religions of men. Understand. These governments cannot be fixed or improved. They must be removedâby God!
Ten Biblical Proofs Christians Do Not Vote
The next section covers ten separate biblical proofs Christians do not vote. Each summarizes a principle from the Bible explaining why Christians never participate in the governments of this worldâor in selection of leaders and doctrine within Godâs true Church. Not only does a Christian not participate in the democratic politics of this world, but he would also never bring the worldâs politics into Godâs Church and attempt to stamp it with His authority. As you examine these points, consider why each has a clear application, both in the civil governments of men and in the denominations of Satanâs world. It will also become obvious why voting is never practiced within Godâs Church.
Proof Number One
Proof one presents a central biblical understanding that few recognize. Consider these questions: Who is behind the selection of leaders over the many countries of Earth? Who actually chooses them? Ultimately, do men select presidents and prime ministers, who stand as the human leaders of nations today? We saw this is Satanâs world. But is this the whole picture? Does God play a role in menâs affairs?
Benjamin Franklin once said, â...the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truthâthat God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?â
Was Franklin correct?
A little known, but remarkable, passage flies in the face of what every voter thinks upon casting his ballot. This is part of a remarkable story and partly explains why more talented people are leaving politics than ever before. It contains an amazing statement. Notice: âThis matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will, and sets up over it the basest of menâ (Dan. 4:17). The word base means âthe bottom, under.â If a house has a basement, it is located at the bottom or under the house.
This part of Danielâs prophecy describes a king, Nebuchadnezzar, who may have been the greatest Gentile leader the world has seenâthe âhead of goldâ of the giant image described in chapter 2. As a result of his important role in prophecy, leading the greatest empire on Earth nearly 2,600 years ago, Nebuchadnezzar became lifted up with pride. Notice his words in verse 30: âThe king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?â
This worldly king was impressed with his own accomplishments and the grandeur of the spectacular ancient city (and kingdom) of Babylon over which he ruled. The account records that God humbled and punished him by giving him the mind of a wild beast for a period of seven years (vs. 32-33).
Nebuchadnezzar was an exception to the rule of Daniel 4:17âand there are a few such exceptions that God guides, for His own reasons. Think of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Winston Churchill. But He plainly states that He places âthe basest of menâ over the governments and nations on Earth. Also, Daniel 2:21 states, â[God] removes kings, and sets up kings.â
Now, typically, whom do people seek to put into office when they cast their ballot in an election? They try to ensure that the âbest candidateâ wins! No one votes for someone because they think that he is the âworst candidate.â However, if we are to believe Daniel 4:17, this puts them in direct opposition to Godâs purposeâwhich is that the worst, or basest, man wins. The weakest, basest, lowliest people are often those whom God, for His own purpose, installs into office. This effect is why more qualified leaders often choose not to be part of a system primarily composed of this kind of people. Nebuchadnezzar shows that God makes a few exceptionsâbut this is His prerogative, not ours.
It is not Godâs purpose that the âbetterâ people win. God determines the winners in advance. In the end, the âwill of the peopleâ has no power or effect, because God is in charge of the outcome of elections.
Do not misunderstand, however. The governments of this world are not somehow doing Godâs will simply because He selects their leaders. Many preachers completely miss the point, saying, âGod is working in this election and good Christians everywhere, if we can get out the vote, can put godly men into office.â This literally puts them in a position of fighting Godâs stated purpose. They do not understand why God says the basest people are elected. Just one reason is that God gives a world that rejects Him the leaders they deserve. Many religious leaders ignore this verse, believing it to be their job to work out Godâs purpose. Their efforts actually attempt to override Godâs true purpose.
God is working out a Master Plan that encompasses 7,000 years. He is allowing mankind to find out that its own ways, governments, religions, educational systems, values and purposes do not work. God has already picked the leaders who best work toward the fulfillment of His great plan of salvation for all mankind.
Here is the point. You and I do not know whom God has already selected, in advance, as the âwinnerâ that He wants in office. To cast a vote for someone other than the pre-selected winner is to fight Godâs purpose! That is seriousâand the Bible says that it is possible to âfight against Godâ (Acts 5:39)!
Further, if you are seeking to elect the best man, in an election where God has told you in advance that He is going to pick the âbasestâ person, you are directly ignoring His purpose and overriding it with your own. God has already picked the winner. Christians know they had better âget out of the way,â not âget out the voteâ! God does not need our âhelpâ installing who He has chosen. The âwill of the peopleâ has no power or effect, because God determines the outcome of elections.
Proof Number Two
Proof two involves a famous âconversation.â In John 18, Jesus was on trial before Pontius Pilate. In verse 33, Pilate asked Jesus, âAre You the King of the Jews?â The exchange continues until it climaxes in verse 36. Christ had determined not to resist whatever Pilate or the Jews had chosen as His fate. He answered Pilateâs question. Notice verse 36: âJesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence [here].â
Do you understand Christâs words? He said that His Kingdom (the New Testament term for government) is not of this world. Christians are part of THAT governmentâGODâs government. They await the coming of this government to Earth. Also, just based on this verse (there are many others), Christ explains that Godâs servants do not fight to defend His Kingdom. Grasp this. Since Christâs servants do not even fight to defend Christâs (Godâs) Kingdom, they certainly, then, would never fight to defend any kingdom led by men in any supposed âjust warâ!
Remember that Christâs Kingdom is not on Earthâit is from another place. It is not the job of His servants, through participation in menâs governments or through fighting in their warsâwhich the Bible plainly condemns, and in many passagesâto supposedly spread the Kingdom of God. It has not yet arrived. Since Godâs Kingdom comes from, and is headquartered in, heaven, His servants neither vote in, nor fight for, menâs nations or governments. Related to this, activist denominations, involved in and trying to influence this worldâs governments are not backed by Jesus Christ. No amount of human reasoning can make it so. (Read our booklet War, Killing and the Military, a companion to this booklet.)
So, the second proof that Christians do not vote is because they are part of another Kingdom not of this world. In Matthew 6:9-10, Christ told them to regularly pray, âThy kingdom come,â because His followers serve and look toward that Kingdom, now just ahead. It comes only when Jesus returns.
Proof Number Three
Proof three builds on number one and actually strengthens that point. We will see this with the next several points, as they interrelate with proof two. First read Philippians 3:20, which states, âFor our conversation [the Greek word here should be properly translated citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.â
This is a fascinating passage. It plainly states that a Christianâs âcitizenshipâ is in heavenânot on Earth. Of course, all true Christians are also citizens of at least one country on Earth (some few have dual citizenship), but this is not their primary citizenship.
This verse explains why Christ said, âMy kingdom is not OF this world.â It is from another placeâheaven! This verse complements John 18:36! Human leaders come from a certain city, state or province of the country that they represent. So does Christ. He comes from heaven.
The Greek word for citizenship is politeuma. Politics comes from this word! Christians do have a âpolitical agenda,â but it is not of this world. Politeuma technically can also be translated another way. It can mean a townsman. It is correct to say that citizens of menâs governments are townsmenâof particular towns on Earth.
The word police comes from politeuma. So do policy and poll. It is not hard to understand how police, policies and polls are connected, in one way or another, to politics. Even the large cities of Indianapolis and Minneapolis derive their names from politeuma. They are large towns with lots of citizens. Minnea(polis) means the major city of Minnesota and Indiana(polis) means the major city of Indiana. Mystery is often stripped away when words are broken down into their most basic meaning. The root meaning of politeuma holds an important lesson for Christians regarding from whereâand by whomâtheir politics are governed.
Do Godâs people practice politics? YESâin a sense! Christians do have a âpolitical agenda,â but not of this world or in any government within it. I will tell you that I have absolutely deep political convictions.
This said, is God political? The answer is absolutely YES! But His politics are not of this societyâmanâs civilization of nations and governments. He has His own view of government, His own view of politics. Of course, while not of this world, God does have a government.
Proof Number Four
Proof four comes from II Corinthians 5:20: âNow then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christâs stead, be you reconciled to God.â
I attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, from 1967-1971, to prepare and train for the ministry. This was one of three colleges started and sponsored by the Worldwide Church of God, under the leadership of Herbert W. Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong saw II Corinthians 5:20 and decided upon this name, recognizing that it best reflected what Ambassador College students were intended to become.
Ambassadors for Another Government
The ultimate destiny of Christians is to become kings and priests, ruling with Christ in the Kingdom of God (Rev. 5:10). But every Christian has an important diplomatic job here and now. Godâs people represent a foreign government, because, as Paul declared, âOur citizenship is in heavenâ (Phil. 3:20, NKJV).
Ambassadorships are critical appointments, only conferred on those who can properly represent the ideals, laws, people, culture, government policies and political ideologies and interests of the country where the ambassador holds citizenship. They must also possess good judgment. If an ambassador fails to uphold all these standards, he can disqualify himself from representing his countryâand be recalled from his post!
As ambassadors for Godâs future government, Christians must exemplify His wayâHis âholy nationâ (I Pet. 2:9). They are to represent the peace, order, love and abundant joy inherent in the spiritual government to which they owe their true allegiance. They are, in Christâs words, to be lights to the world (Matt. 5:14-16). And the âFather of lightsâ (Jms. 1:17) will not permit His children (Gal. 3:26) to hide their good examples âunder a bushel.â
In the truest sense, real Christians have been âset on a hillâ for all to see, just as a light pierces the surrounding darkness so that people can see where to go.
Have you noticed that people have a way of immediately categorizing anyone they meet or any idea with which they come in contact? If you meet someone from the southern United States, you automatically fit the person into the image you have of the South, though you may have never been there. You may think of a Confederate flag, a steamboat, the Atlanta Falcons football team, hot, humid weather or âSouthern hospitality.â You assign the person to a certain âslotâ in your mind.
If someone drives a Cadillac, it means a certain thing to most people. Driving a Volkswagen communicates a different image. Everybody knows businessmen dress a certain way. Doctors, police, bricklayers and athletes also connote different mental images. Just the way a person carries himself can convey that he is cocky, refined, shy, confident or relaxed.
Of course, people are categorized, many times incorrectly, according to their religion, skin color, political preference, manners, friends, sports they like, books they read, jokes they tell, entertainment they prefer or even the kind of dog they own. Oneâs political preference also tells its own tale to observers.
Here is what this means to a Christian ambassador: People are analyzing your every word and action. Therefore, you must set an example that unmistakably identifies what you are and who you represent!
God intended that ancient Israel be a sterling example in obedience to Him, and that all the surrounding Gentile nations would not be able to help noticing how they too were intended by God to live (Deut. 4:4-8).
Tragically, the Bible shows that this never happened. Israel utterly failed their commission! In fact, they failed so miserably that, in the New Testament, Paul often referred to Israelâs example to show Christâs followers how NOT to conduct themselves (I Cor. 10:6). How much better it would have been had Israel written a positive, righteous record for others to copy!
One bright spot in their history was King Solomonâs early example of wisdom and understanding, which spread so widely that the Queen of Sheba could not believe it. She decided to check for herself (I Kings 10:1-10) and found that she quite literally âhadnât heard the half of itâ (vs. 7). Solomon must have been setting a wonderful example. But, though he was king, he was still one man. What if the entire nation had been as wise and righteous as Solomon? It would have had that much greater impact on Israelâs neighbors.
The early Church also had a difficult time learning to generate the right light. Paul must have had great patience as he dealt with the Corinthian congregation. Having much to say to them about their wrong conduct, he explained, ââŚwe are ambassadors for Christâ (II Cor. 5:20). The reference was not to the ministry or apostles alone, though these are ambassadors in the most direct sense. He sought to emphasize to Corinth the importance of the examples we all set (vs. 10) and stated that, ââŚif any man be in Christ, he is a new creatureâ (vs. 17). All who are ânew creaturesâ have received an ambassadorial appointmentâa very high office, carrying enormous responsibility in representing Godâs government.
Paul instructed the Philippians to âOnly let your conversation [Greek: âconductâ] be as it becomes the gospel of Christâ (Phil. 1:27). That gospel is of the coming government of God. Is your conduct âbecomingâ of that government, or do you cast a bad light on it? Are you an âun-becomingâ representative?
In Mr. Armstrongâs later years, during the period when he traveled abroad regularly meeting with world leaders, he referred to himself as âan Ambassador without portfolio.â He always strove to conduct himself as such, fully recognizing that he represented a âforeignâ government. He understood there was no escaping that leaders and others would evaluate the Worldwide Church of God by the message and conduct of its representativeâHerbert W. Armstrong!
Notice Paulâs instruction to the Colossians: âWalk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every manâ (4:5-6).
People outside the Church should not be able to miss your wisdom. Like Solomonâs, though to a lesser degree, it should stand out as unusual. Remember, God has chosen âthe foolish things of the worldâ to âconfound the wiseâ (I Cor. 1:26-31). Christians must grow in wisdom, discretion, tact and diplomacy, in order to retain their âcredentialsâ as ambassadors.
I Corinthians 6:2 shows that the saints will one day judge the world. If that day were here, and all those who knew you in this life could see you as a member of the ruling God Family, what would their reaction be? Would they, by remembering your outstanding exampleâin your home, family, neighborhood or job, find it easy to accept? Or would they collapse in shock that you could have made it into Godâs Kingdom?
Would they remember hearing you and your mate fighting? Would they recall the disrespect, foul language and unkempt appearance of you or your children? Would an image come back to mind of an uncared-for yard or off-color jokes? Would they remember your unfriendly, secretive manner, your unpainted house, your poor work recordâand on and on?
Christ gained âfavor with God and manâ (Luke 2:52). In this way, He set an example for His followers (I Pet. 2:21). Are you in âfavorâ with both God and people? A man or woman can be used by God to convert his or her mate purely by conduct (I Pet. 3:1), without (âtheâ) Word, the Bible. Take time to read this passage.
People should notice that, as a direct result of your beliefs, your conduct is different from the average person (I Pet. 4:4). Does your example convict them? It has been said that you may be the only Bible some people ever read. Can people âreadâ you clearly? Do you even âabstain from all appearance of evilâ (I Thes. 5:22)?
No error or fault could be found in the prophet Daniel (6:4). His conduct was so outstanding, in all respects, that a group of cunning, carnal-minded politicians could find nothing of which to accuse himâunless it was âconcerning the law of his Godâ (vs. 5). Think! He was not doing a single thing that they could attackânothing!
This is what it means to be the light of the world. This is what it means to be an ambassador for Christ and a member of the true Church of God in a world growing darker by the day!
Those who were accepted had to really know why they wanted to attend. And once they arrived, they were taught what it meant to be an Ambassador. I was told, during the time that I attended, that I was in training to hold this office, possibly on behalf of the Church. High standards were set so that high standards could be attained. Those standards touched upon all facets of student life: Studies, finances, health, appearance, work, athletics, clubs, dating and spiritual growth. All who did not strive to reach them simply did not remain an âAmbassadorâ at Ambassador College.
The Greek word for âambassadorââpresbeuoâis also interesting. While it means ambassador, the word president comes from it, as does Presbyterian. The most literal meaning of presbeuo is ârepresentative.â In the United States, we have the House of Representativesâwith 435 members. Together with the Senateâs 100 members, this forms the Congress of 535 elected representatives of the people. These elected officials answer to and, in fact, are supposed to represent the will of the people who sent them to Congress. All democratic governments, in which the people select their representatives, work similarly.
It is the same with Christians, who are ambassadors, or representatives, of Jesus Christ. In a sense, it could be said that I attended âRepresentative College,â because I was training to become His representative.
Consider why the leader of a country often carries the title of President. This is because he is the highest elected representative of the people.
The highest office in a country could just as easily carry the title of Representative. And the American House of Representatives could just as easily be called the House of Presidents. These words are interchangeable. A president is a representative and a representative is a president, but men have distinguished between them by picking two different words that mean exactly the same thing! Both come from presbeuoâand both mean ambassadors. Those who are ambassadors for Christ are ambassadorsâor representativesâin a foreign land. This carries implications.
Any nationâs representative knows that, as ambassador to, for instance, Mexico, India or Lebanon, or any other country, he cannot participate in the politics of that country. He is a citizen of a different nation. He participates in the politics of that nationâthe one he represents. He also cannot fight for the country to which he is sent. If he does either of theseâunder any circumstancesâhe loses his citizenship at home. In fact, he would be considered a traitor.
Of course, all ambassadors receive a certain âdiplomatic immunity.â This legal term is understood and practiced all over the world. One reason the practice developed was because ambassadors could be arrested and tried on trumped up charges. This meant that no one would ever accept appointments to countries where the government is corrupt, and functions on bribes, personal favors, nepotism and rampant injustice.
Here is what everyone should understand, but most do not. Ambassadors of Christ do not push or in any way involve themselves in the social, political or cultural agendas of their host country. They represent Godâs laws, ways, values, truths, government and goals. Christiansâtrue onesâare ambassadors for another, different government!
All Christians do enjoy obvious benefits as citizens in the country of their birth. They have certain immunities and privileges to enjoy the country to which God âassignsâ them as ambassadorsâwhile still representing their true government, foreign to where they live.
As ambassadors of Godâs Kingdom, Godâs people cannot participate in manâs systems of governmentâat all. Their citizenship is derivedâand held byâa different authorityâHEAVEN!
Proof Number Five
Proof five summarizes the previous three proofs Christians do not vote. Notice Matthew 6:24: âNo man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.â
No human being can give equal allegiance, or loyalty, to two different masters of any kind. Jesus was actually teaching about seeking God and the accumulation of money (mammon) at the same time. Eventually, one takes precedence over the other and dominates the thinking of a person. Christians are to be totally loyal to the heavenly government they represent as ambassadors of Christ. As with ambassadors of earthly nations, they cannot participate in the politics of any country other than their own. In the world at large, this can cause violators to lose their rights of citizenship. Christians are the same!
Acts 5:29 explains that Godâs servants must in every circumstance when there is conflict between the two ââŚobey God rather than men.â Understand this. If one is a citizen of a government waiting in heaven to come to Earth and replace all governments of Earth, then he cannot stand with his feet resting in two opposing governmentsâGodâs and manâs!
Proof Number Six
Proof six is based on Godâs view toward division and discord between people. He wants people to live together in unity and harmony. Notice Psalm 133:1: âBehold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!â It is a wonderful thing when people get alongâwhen they agree. God hates division and discord. Notice this powerful verse: âMark [meaning âtake note ofâ] them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid themâ (Rom. 16:17). Here is another strong passage: âTheseâŚthings does the Lord hateâŚhe that sows discord among brethrenâ (Prov. 6:16, 19).
Involvement in politics would bring division and discord into the Church! How?
It has been said that there are two things that should never be discussedânever mind debatedâreligion and politics! How true. Godâs people never push Jesus or His teachingsâin politics or religionâat people. Few things are worse, and Christ condemned this. Violating this principle invariably leads to arguing, strife, fighting and even war. We have learned that Satanâs world is cut off (Isa. 59:1-2; Jer. 5:25) from the God who teaches the way to peace, harmony and unity. So, after an argument has developed concerning religion or politics there can be no resolution, no unity, except by ending the discussion.
What if the brethren in Godâs Church voted in worldly elections? Two things could happenâone bad and the other worse. There is the slight possibility that everyone would vote for the same person. (That could still be bad, since it may not be the person God wanted.)
Worse, the moment voting is practiced in Godâs Church, division is introduced. Amos 3:3 asks, âCan two walk together except they be agreed?â Soon enough, most people learn that the painful answer to this question is No! The political disagreement that breeds division and eventually splits countries, states, cities, towns, neighborhoods and familiesâalso splits congregations and denominations!
Paul asked, âIs Christ divided?â The obvious answer is no! Christ is NOT divided and neither is His Church (I Cor. 1:10, 13). We have seen that Christ also said, âEvery kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?â (Matt. 12:25-26). It is interesting that even the devil has figured this out! Leading a vast kingdom of fallen spirits (demons), he recognizes that he cannot let his kingdom become polarized into camps.
A professional football team cannot be divided and expect to win the Super Bowl. A baseball team cannot be torn with strife and win the World Seriesâor a professional hockey team the Stanley Cup. All divided families will eventually separate. The same is true of countries. The Church of God could hardly be different. Christ would not say that all other kinds of organizations or entities cannot be divided and survive, while the most important one that He directsâHis Churchâis an exception. Christ would never exempt His Church from this principle. It should be the epitome of unity and harmony! This is one reason He said, âthe gates of hellâ (Matt. 16:18) could never defeat the Church.
Have you wondered why the denominations of this world are so manyâso dividedâand why they compete with one another for members? It is because they cannot agree on doctrine or administration. People must agree or there will be division in every endeavor. Politics is no different, and the only politics that Godâs servants should participate in are the âpoliticsâ of God!
If voting is practiced by, or introduced into, the Church, it would splitâand God hates discord (division)!
Proof Number Seven
Proof seven addresses the system that true Christians avoid, and at all costs. We read earlier that, speaking of the system of religious, political âBabylon,â Revelation 18:4 gives direct instruction to Godâs people: âAnd I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, MY PEOPLE, that you be not partakers of her sins.â Also recall He commands, âCome out from among them [the world], and be you separateâ (II Cor. 6:17). Babylon means confusion. The true servants of God have come out of this world, its Babylonish religions, governments and waysâthey have left behind its teachings, division, strife and confusion (I Cor. 14:33)!
In John 17:15-17, when keeping the Passover on the last night before He was crucified, Christ reflected a central spiritual principle to His disciples, by praying, âI pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Your truth: Your Word is truth.â
A Christian believes and follows the truthâthe whole truth and nothing but the truth of Godâs Wordâand not menâs ideas about it! This sets him apart (âsanctifiesâ him) from all those around him. He is not of this world and its ways, customs, beliefs and traditions. He has come out of it, leaving its values, ideas and personal philosophies behind. Thus, he would never seek or run for any political office within it.
Obviously, a Christian cannot live on Mars or in a cave. He cannot leave the planet or live as a hermit on a mountaintop, so that he is not âofâ the world. Some religious zealots misunderstand Christâs Words and live in monasteries or retreats to avoid contact with people. Of course, Jesus did not do this. He did not mean come out of the physical world, but rather its system of governments and religions. Christians practice and believe the truth (John 17:17)ânot popular ideas!
Proof Number Eight
Proof eight concerns the fruitsâthe byproductâof any system or leader. In Matthew 7:16, Christ stated, âYou shall know them by their fruits.â He repeated, âWherefore by their fruits you shall know themâ (vs. 20). Matthew 12:33 says, ââŚfor the tree is known by his [its] fruit.â These verses are primarily speaking about leaders, but the principle has broad application.
Letâs examine the fruits of the âtreeâ called politics, voting and democracy. It is based on the spirit of competition between political parties. Each party seeks to gain an advantage over the other and will even undercut good programs if it will cast a bad light on their opponents. During the political process preceding an election (often referred to as âelection year politicsâ), the challenger will invariably oppose the incumbent seemingly at every turn on virtually every issue, to present himself as different, in the best light, solely to get elected. Over time, this has a devastating effect on the unity of a country that is supposed to stand behind its government. This openlyâand sometimes bitterlyâdivides the citizenry of any nation.
Democracy is the form of government in three-fourths of the worldâs nations. Think of just some of its fruits: favoritism, endless debates and arguments, bribes, lust for power, corruption, lying and deceit, scandals and cover-ups, greed, exploitation, maneuvering and manipulation, aggression, relentless accusation, inefficiency, vanity, decisions based on polls, voter apathy, strife and back-stabbing. Remember that Winston Churchill said that democracy is better than all the other forms of human government! Democratic politics are shot full of division and disagreement, over nearly every issue that any society might face. (Read our booklet Why Man Cannot Solve His Problems. It explains why man and his governments are in the mess that they areâand why they will only grow worse.)
The fruit of the democratic way is chaos! Recall that national governments are led by the god of this world and his âwicked spirits [marginal rendering] in high placesâ (Eph. 6:12). These wicked spirits sit at the real throttle of power behind the visible governments of nations. The Greeks were much more right than they knew.
No Christian can participate in such a system!
Proof Number Nine
Proof nine is short and simpleâand easy to understand. Study the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you will not find a single instance where balloting of any kind was used to select a leader. Nowhere in the Bible can you find people electing New Testament ministers or Old Testament priestsâand the Bible is the pattern that Christians are supposed to follow in all matters. They are to âlive by every word of Godâ (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4). Godâs Word neither authorizes nor reflects any pattern of voting.
Proof Number Ten
Finally, proof ten bears consideration. Some candidates for office want to be a mayorâothers a congressmanâothers a governor, judge or senatorâor even a president or prime minister. Ask: What is every political candidate actually saying, between the lines, when he offers himself for the particular office that he is seeking? What is such a person saying about his qualifications?
Focus on a governor or a presidentâor perhaps the mayor of a city with millions of people. When a person seeks such a powerful office, that person is saying that he is qualified, in effect, to be considered a powerful leader. Such a person is actively seeking to exalt himself to a position of great authority. He is saying that he is sufficiently intelligent, talented, qualified, educated, experienced and wise to be entrusted with a great office of responsibility. Of course, no one puts it this way. But this is exactly what a candidate is declaring, whether or not he is honest enough to admit it. He is saying, much like Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:30, that he is a great person, a great leader and the voting masses should hand him GREAT POWER! Voters directly assist such power-hungry, self-serving egotists in their climb to authority.
Here is Godâs perspective. Jesus said, âFor whosoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exaltedâ (Luke 14:11). Several chapters later, in 18:14, He repeated almost the exact same thing. One look at the greedy, grasping demagogues who are modern politicians, with their pandering theatrics designed to play to the peopleâs concernsâand this is just as true of religious leadersâand you will see that Jesus understood the corrupting nature of self-exaltation! He sees through the guise of phony concern for the people whose votes these âleadersâ must get to receive the POWER they covet.
Some might look at Joseph and Daniel and claim that they sought the high offices they held. However, a careful reading of the accounts found in Genesis and Daniel reveal that they were appointed to their positions (Gen. 39:4; 41:39-44; Dan. 1:5; 2:48). There is no evidence that either of these men ever sought the high offices in which they served. In fact, before Joseph was given his new responsibilities, he was in prison, obviously unable to seek a position in government. These men were elevated to higher levels of service, they did not elevate themselves.
Christians are to humble themselves now, in this life (Matt. 18:1-4; James 4:10; I Pet. 5:5-6; Micah 6:8). This will allow God to exalt them later in His Kingdom, where they will rule alongside Jesus Christ in permanent positions of infinitely greater power and authority than any human office. Politicians exalt themselves and thereby ensure God will humble them at some later time, usually when they least expect it.
Christians understand the way God works. To participate in a system in which men exalt themselves, in the seeking of high office, is to endorseâto validateâto agree withâa corrupt system, with terrible fruit, emphasizing vanity, pride and arrogance. Democracy is completely opposite to what God expects of all people when He commands them to humble themselves!
Obeying Civil Authority
No part of this booklet is intended to suggest that Christians should ever disobeyâor resistâcivil authorityâunless that authority directly instructs them to disobey the higher authority of God (Acts 5:29). Christians never participate in protests or demonstrations, even non-violent ones, never mind violent onesâor participate in any form of war, which is of course always much more violent.
Here is just one thing Jesus said about this, speaking to Pilate while on trial, âMy kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence [meaning, from hereâthis world].â But understand. Participating in the governments of men and obeying or submitting to them are entirely different matters. Christians do not confuse the two! They yield toâas very models of obedienceâmenâs governments at every level. Romans 13:1-7, among other scriptures, make unmistakably clear what God expects. (Our article Should Christians Submit to Government Authority? explains much more.)
What Herbert Armstrong Understood
Carefully review this extensive quote from an article written by Herbert W. Armstrong just prior to a presidential election, âHow Would Jesus Vote for PRESIDENT?â I first read this nearly 35 years ago:
âWe call ours the ârepublicanâ form, or, erroneously, âDemocracy.â But it is a man-made form of administration of the babylonish system.
âISRAELâthe United States, Britain, the âDemocraciesâ of northwestern Europeâmodern Israel is in babylon today, just as prophecy states (Jer. 50:1, 4-6, 8, Isa. 48:1, 12-20, etc.). It is because of thisâbecause our sins are increasingâbecause we have made alliances with heathen powers instead of relying upon our Godâthat the Eternal warns us our nations are soon to be invaded and conquered, in order to bring our people back to God (Isa. 47:1-6; Jer. 30:7-16, 24; Micah 5:8-11; Ezek. 3:1, 4-7, 17, 5:12-14; 6:11-14).
âYes, israel is in a âbabylonishâ system today, and God calls us out! (Rev. 18:4, Jer. 50:8; 51:6-9.)
Jesus Would Not Take Part
âWhat, then, would Jesus doâŚ? He would warn our people Israel: âcome out of her (Babylon), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues!â The plagues of God are soon to fall upon babylon and all who choose to remain a part of âBabylon.â Jesus calls you out!
âWhat would Jesus do? he would be too busy proclaiming the good news of his own coming world-ruling kingdom, and the way of salvation, to take any part whatsoever in the politics of this present evil world, or in any man-made form of government that is doomed very soon to be destroyed and replaced by the Theocratic government of the kingdom of God!
âOur mission is, as Ambassadors of Christâas advance emissaries of His kingdomâto warn Israel of her plight and present danger, to proclaim to all nations the Good News of the kingdom of God!â
What About Church Government?
The question arises, âI realize God doesnât want us to participate in the politics of this world, but isnât it alright if our denominational leaders, doctrines and traditions, and budgets, are decided by ballot? Is it not proper to vote on these things, particularly as long as we pray about it in advance and ask for Godâs guidance?â
We already saw the Bible says nothing whatsoever about voting to elect leaders, decide doctrine, spend moneyâor on anything else. Asking God to guide a process, which He plainly explains is not how He works, is foolish. To do somethingâanything!âthat is wrong, and then ask God to bless it, is bald hypocrisyâa charade He sees through. It asks God to endorse what He has explained in numerous verses is wrongârebellionâsin!
In regard to politics and voting, denominations are no different. Many of the ten proofs listed earlier also have direct application to religious groups. They need not be repeated and re-explained because the way these principles apply is obvious.
While the universal religion at Rome uses a designated âcollegeâ to elect its leader to a lifelong term, other denominations similarly elect, thru âcongregationalâ or âpresbyterianâ style government, but just for shorter periods. In all cases, underlings elect the leaders over them. This means they retain the power to remove or âun-electâ leaders who do not âdeliverâ on the expectations of those who installed them.
Pastors can be hired and fired by councils of deacons, elders or others under them. Such pastors must preach what the people want to hear in lieu of what they need to hear or they will join the unemployment line.
The tail wags the dog.
In most denominations, on the national or international level, election of leaders and approval or rejection of doctrine is invariably subject to votes by councils or conferences of ministers. Since these groups do not practice Godâs hierarchical method of government from the top down, it is of no use that they âprayâ about decisions or ask God to âblessâ their actions. Running for office in a denomination, tacitly asking for votes and practicing degrees of politics in order to get them, and voting are no less practices of Satanâs world, with its forms of democratic government, than are these practices when used in a civil setting. The honest person will admit that such councils, conferences and boards reflect the same fruits of democracy as civil governments.
Christ did not build this worldâs many divided, competing, disagreeing groups, any more than He built the worldâs divided, competing and disagreeing earthly nations with their governments. God is not leading them. The denominations of this world do not have, and do not practice, Godâs truth on the matter of government or anything else. They are led by conventions or conferences of ministers, who meet regularly to ballot about matters that include who THEY wish to be their âpresidentââTHEIR leaderâfor a humanly-set limit of time. They have not selected GODâS chosen leaderâthey have selected THEIR OWN! Such chosen leaders are governed, in every respect, by the âwill of the peopleâ or, in this case, the âwill of the collective ministryâ or the âwill of a church councilââinstead of Godâs Will!
If God selects the leaders of this world, as part of His own great Master Plan and purpose, then how much more would He personally select the leaders of His church? God would never employ a process that results in the âwill of the people (or collective ministry)â being expressed, when it is His will that must determine what leader, or leaders, He will work through as His servants, in His Church!
Christ and His one Church are not divided. The fruits within this Churchâfound all over the worldâare unity, harmony, happiness and zeal, among other positive effects. Godâs people do not participate in menâs governments, andâsanctified by the truthâhave come out of the world and its denominations built on the ideas of men. They represent and await the arrival of the greatest government the world has ever seenânow coming soon!
Recent Church History
We have seen that Christians do not participate in politicsâin the democratic, political process of either this worldâs governments or its denominations. But this does not mean that men will not periodically attempt, sometimes successfully, to bring democracy, voting and other elements of Satanâs forms of government into Godâs own Church. Satan will never give up trying to overthrow the government of God within the true Church.
Several brief quotes are included here to help understand how Mr. Armstrong, in the 1970s, dealt with a time of subtle rebellion in the Worldwide Church of God. He had been traveling around the world, visiting many kings, presidents and prime ministers, approximately 300 days out of every year. In his absence, a group of liberal ministers rose up and sought to water down the doctrines of God within His Church. Similar efforts have occurred over the 2,000-year history of Godâs Church.
One of the false doctrines these leaders tried to bring into the Church was that voting, either in worldly elections or within the Church, was nothing more than a personal preference that each individual must decide for himself.
When this plan came to Mr. Armstrongâs attention, he dealt with it swiftly, emphatically and based on the Word of God. Here is what he wrote:
â[The liberal] wants to be free to vote, at least in local elections.
âThe argument was made to me that our Church people actually outnumbered others living in Big Sandy, Tex., but (what a big word is âbutâ) you see, if they did not vote, the minority would vote to incorporate the Ambassador College campus into the town of Big Sandy, and weâd have to pay big taxes. It never seemed to occur to the liberal mind that christ will solve our problems, and we do not have to go contrary to His attitude!â
âWhat Is a Liberal?â Good News magazine, March 1979
âThis means the local churches would be precisely like the Baptist churches in organizational structure and government. That concept is TOTALLY UNSCRIPTURAL. Godâs Church is now established GODâS WAYâthe BIBLE WAY, under the biblical pattern, with Jesus Christ the living Head, under God the Father, and next under Christ those on earth He Himself has called and chosen, and through whom He has raised up this Church, and USED IT TO CARRY ON HIS WORK FOR THIS END-TIME as covered in the prophecy for OUR TIME in Matthew 24:14. GODâS Church is organized the BIBLE WAY as directed in the Bibleâthrough those HE has chosen and set in the various offices to get HIS WORK done.
âThose now advocating this Scriptural HERESY want to abolish all authority which Christ as our Head SET in His Church. Their contentions would lead to VOTINGâthe âdemocratic wayââthe very OPPOSITE of Godâs Way. They want to be âLIBERAL,â and soon this liberality would lead into general and widespread SIN. They would become just a few more churches OF THIS WORLDâSatanâs world.
âSome ministers, [are] getting confused between this worldâs politics in the American âdemocraticâ system, and THE WAYS OF GODâŚ
âThese dissenting ministers want to desert Godâs authority and ASSUME IT THEMSELVES. In other words they want âDEMOCRACYâ, VOTING which is TOTALLY un-scriptural. They want to be part of THIS worldâSatanâs world.â
Letter to Brethren, Feb. 25, 1974
The next quote is included to demonstrate that voting was never practiced in Godâs Church when ministers came together to counsel, discuss and make decisions:
âIn every instance where Godâs ministers in this Philadelphia era of the Church have come together to make a ruling, our minds have been put in complete accord. There is no voting.
âWe ministers know that we serve a dynamic, living, all-powerful supernatural God! We fear to disobey, or to fail to be submissive. We know well what would happen to us if we should ever permit self-will to sway us in any decision.â
âChrist Did Put Authority and RULE In His Church,â
Good News, Jan. 1957
Does Godâs Church Elect Its Leaders?
Jesus told His disciples, âI will build My Churchâ (Matt. 16:18). He is the Head of that ChurchâHis Church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18)! (Read our book Where Is the True Church? â and Its Incredible History! It carefully explains how to identify where that Church is now, and shows where it has been for the 2,000 years since Christ built it.)
Throughout history, God has appointed His servants and His leaders. This has always been the Bible pattern. God selects, trains and raises up the men through whom He works. Christ called, chose and ordained His apostles to preach the gospel and to lead the early Church. They were not voted into office, except for the lone âvoteâ cast by God, which was enough to make their selection unanimous. They did not make themselves âavailableâ to an electorate and then, either subtly or overtly, âpoliticâ their way to victory by greeting the right people, shaking the right hands or offering the most popular platform.
I have seen many such âleaders.â While attempting to portray themselves as men of strong doctrine, ethics, integrity and principle, they must use flattery to âposition themselvesâ to advance their own candidacy. They often act as though they will âacceptâ office, if âdrafted,â to not appear to be seeking personal advancement. Wishing to appear humble and godly, they are invariably filled with a covetingâa lustâfor power and prestige! When a man sets out to be elected to any office (in a civil or religious setting), no matter how it is spun, he is seeking to promote and exalt himself!
God never works either through men like this or a system that promotes them. He knows that political elections corrupt people, and He cannot work in a process where men must corrupt themselves in order to rise. God does not need menâs votes to elevate His choice to higher office. Democracy, in either a civil or religious setting, is a human invention not of God!
Many Old and New Testament verses plainly show that God works from the top downâalways starting with ONE MAN, who in turn appoints others, who themselves sometimes appoint others, and so on. It is always done without votingâwithout balloting.
Those who vote usually label it âGodâs will being done,â but the results of their elections are still merely the âwill of the people.â The twelve apostles did not choose or âvote inâ ChristâHe chose them. A large conference of ministers did not pick the twelve apostlesâthe apostles, with Christ guiding, picked the ministry under them (Titus 1:5-9; I Tim. 3:1-7, etc.).
The Church of God always has a leader appointed by God. That man seeks to follow Godâs will in all matters. He never concerns himself with, âWhat will the people think?â He never asks, âWill the people like me if I do this, or dislike me if I do that?â Nor does he ever have to concern himself with âre-electionââreceiving the peopleâs approval so he can stay in office!
Christ, under the Father, still selects and raises up His leaders today! Then God blesses the efforts of His chosen leader, who then selects others, who in turn select others, and so forth, as this ChurchâGodâs Churchâgrows in size!
An Incredible Dream
This final quote describes an incident, in which Mr. Armstrong had a dream he felt was intended to reveal an important lesson to him and the Church. It occurred shortly after the period in the 1970s (referenced earlier, when liberal leaders sought to inject democracy into the Church), and inspired the title of one of my first books Except the Lord Build the House:
âI awakened considerably impressed with the dream. Was God revealing to me that too many within the Church membership are leaving God out of the picture?âin their own minds putting God out of the Church?âŚthat the people should say to God, âThis is our Church, God, we want you to get out of the Church and leave us alone. We will run this Church our way!â I awakened impressed that too many of our people are leaving God and Christ out of His Church, and trying to make it our Churchâthe church of the people, and not the Church of God!
â[In the 70s] There were at least six or seven in top offices next to Christâs apostle in authorityâmen trusted and honored. But they were going to make it âthe church of people,â instead of the Church of God. They could not see God nor Christ in their mental picture of Godâs Church. They were liberals!
âNow churches or works of their own have been started. But they overlook one thing: âExcept the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.â
âGod is not building their houses!â
âShall We All Leave the church of god and join âthe church of peopleâ?â
Good News, Sept. 1980
Christians participating in the governments of Satanâs world, through voting, military service or activism in social causes, is far more serious to God than most realize. It is disloyaltyâa form of spiritual fornication and spiritual treasonâto the government of God and His complete authority over a Christianâs life.
At the center of the gospel of the Kingdom of God is a message about Godâs soon-coming, hierarchical government. The followers of Jesus Christ practice this leadership structure now. Any group that participates in the democratic politics of this world or that elects its leaders and makes other decisions by voting is not a house built by God! (Psa. 127:1).