A Biblical Anatomy of an Evil Government
By Mary Baird
Government is not a dirty word. In fact, God is the one who ordained human government and outlined how it should function. There are several places in Scripture that tell us how God intends man to govern other men. One such place is in Romans 13:1-7. These verses, in my opinion, have been greatly misunderstood, but we’ll set that aside for now. What we need to remember is that the guidelines in these verses are the ideal and not the norm. Just as teaching on marriage in Scripture is the ideal, but seldom reached. It does not mean, however, that we don’t try to obtain to the perfect.
In the Roman passages, we are told that the important function of any government is to protect the righteous (those who do what is right) from the unrighteous (those who profane what is right). And, the government is to minister swift action against all such unrighteous people. Notice that there is an acknowledgement between good and evil. And in case someone might ask who determines what is good from what is evil; God is the one who has already stated that in His Word. Just as God set out the rules for a good marriage, He is the one who has set out rules for a good government.
In Psalm 94:20, we see a succinct outline of what government should not be and the end of such government. Notice it asks a rhetorical question, “Can a throne of destruction (of the people) be allied with You (God). One which devises mischief (unrighteousness against the people) by decree (laws)?” The answer is a resounding NO.
In Psalm 94:21 we are told what this unrighteous government does. They put their heads together to come up with the perfect way to silence and destroy those who are righteous. “They (the governing body) band themselves together against the life of the righteous (through harsh unfair laws) and condemn the innocent to death (can anyone say abortion with me?)
In Psalm 94:22 we are told that this unrighteous government does not go unnoticed by God. “But the Lord has been my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.” Finally in Psalm 94:23, we are told what the end of the evil leaders will be. “He (God) has brought back their wickedness upon them, and will destroy them in their evil; The Lord our God will destroy them.” The destruction may not come about on our time table, but it will come about.
Often God gives a nation evil leaders because they prefer them. When a nation turns their back on God in order to pursue evil, God will give them exactly what they want. God may say, as he did to His people Israel in Hosea 8:4, “They have set up kings, but not my Me; they have appointed princes, but I did not know it.” In other words, when man launches out on his own to select men who will allow for evil behavior, God lifts His hand and lets them. It is then left to those who are righteous to pray that God will remove the evil leaders. That’s why we are told to pray for our leaders that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives (1Timothy 2:1-3).
Speaking out against the evil of unrighteous leaders is not anti-Christian. We are called to be salt and light in a lost world. Being in subjection to governing authorities does not mean that we sit back, wring our hands, and do and say nothing. Just as God does, we are to feel the same way about leaders who ignore their God-given duty.