DIGEST OF DIVINE LAW
by Howard Rand (1942)
Why governments? The anarchist declares they are unnecessary, for he regards all governments as essentially tyrannical. It is a parallel attitude to that taken by the atheist towards Christianity and the Bible. Both anarchist and atheist are actuated in their beliefs by the shortcomings of men in their misrule and in their failure to recognize and understand truth. Such malcontents are therefore the product of the failure of men rather than the failure of principles which are fundamental and sound.
The dictionary defines government as "authoritative administration of the affairs of state." It is, therefore, the control, direction and restraint exercised over man in his community life. If that restraint is in conformity with just and equitable laws, then only the criminally inclined will find fault and oppose such administration.
As government is an authoritative administration, from whence comes this authority which grants men the right to administer law and exercise power over his fellow man? One of the marked evidences that a Power greater than man is responsible for granting unto men the right to establish orderly government is that history demonstrates the inevitable retribution which follows the abuse or misuse of the power to govern. For there is as much of a responsibility resting upon the shoulders of those who are charged with the affairs of state — to administer the law with equity and justice — as rests upon the citizens of the state to keep and observe the law. Seldom, if ever, does the break-down of government begin with the people. Disrespect for the law and opposition to those who administer it is usually the result of people becoming aware of corruption and inefficiency in high places.
Because this is so, there is perhaps nothing so important to the peace, prosperity and happiness of a people than the type and form of government under which men live.
People under tyrannical governments suffer oppression and are subject to unjust laws and evil administration, regardless of the national resources and wealth of the nation. On the other hand, a people living under a benevolent government — the administrators of which have but one thought in mind: to administer the law for the benefit of all, that righteousness and justice might be established, refusing to favor any one group of citizens or manifest partiality towards any class among its people —will keep peace within its own borders and have a loyal citizenry ready at all times to defend the rights of such a government.
Nowhere has man been given authority to make law! Perfection in government requires that men function in an administrative capacity only, for when men depart from this function, and assume the right to make law, the result is confusion and the inability of men to keep all the laws — many of which rulings are outmoded almost as soon as they are enacted into law.
We have already shown that it is as essential for men to observe the God-given laws of moral conduct, economic well-being and community relationships as it is essential for men to observe the physical laws necessary to an orderly universe. Just as surely as men suffer in the work of their hands when they violate laws governing chemistry, physics or mechanics, so surely do people suffer when governments depart from laws fundamental to righteousness in administration.
Purpose of Government
Our forefathers expressed the real purpose of government when they wrote the preamble of our constitution. "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America." While the desire was to give these blessings to our nation, the mere writing of a constitution, no matter how carefully drawn, would not, in itself, secure these blessings for a people, for they are the attributes of righteousness in administration.
It is impossible to establish justice unless those entrusted with the enforcement of law are just. It is impossible to have domestic tranquillity unless there be equitable taxation (which is not confiscation of property) and unless there is the proper distribution of the right to labor and possess wealth under a system of economics which would eliminate destitution and want, otherwise there will always be fear and an apprehension of the future. Certainly the general welfare cannot be promoted if one group of citizens is penalized in favor of another and more favored group. Thus the functioning of a righteous government is fundamentally administrative; that is, laws must be administered that are just to all, from the humblest to the greatest of all our citizens.
We cannot have the blessings of liberty for ourselves or for our posterity under a government which goes into business in competition with its own citizens. Governments in business and "business-controlling governments" destroy the very purpose of government!
Seeking the Kingdom
How, then, can the blessings of real peace, prosperity and happiness be secured which will assure liberty and guarantee freedom for all? Jesus answered this question when He said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God (the gospel of which was preached by both John the Baptist and Jesus), and His righteousness (which is the perfection of the administration of the laws of that Kingdom); and all these things (the needs of life of which He had been speaking) will be added (that is, given) unto you." (Matt. 6:33.)
This is a call to restore the administration which had been established over the Kingdom at the time it was organized at Mount Sinai. There God had given the laws of righteousness which His people were instructed to administer. This Divine Charter of National Administration recognizes the impossibility of establishing equity, justice and liberty until all His laws are kept. And while God never granted man (or any group of men) the right to make law, yet He has enjoined men to keep, observe and administer His laws.
Previous to the Deluge men had not the power to administer law. Each individual was duty bound to keep and observe the Divine Commands but there was no human organization to bring to judgment those who refused to observe and keep the law. The very conditions the anarchists would emulate did exist in the antediluvian period, for during that age there were no governments to restrain men. Each man settled for himself his individual conduct without fear of any earthly tribunal before which he could be brought to answer for his misdeeds. The biblical record gives the result of this freedom to exercise one's will without human restraint, "The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. . . . The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." Men who despise governments, if they had their way, would restore the antediluvian evils of corruption and violence in their desire to destroy the administration of the law.
Organization of Governments
Following the account of the Deluge, we have the record of the original charter authorizing man to administer the law and bring to justice the criminal who violates its provisions. The terms of this ancient document have been preserved in Scripture for our instruction. It is mandatory for men to bring to justice those responsible for violence and murder. Because evil men would disegard the moral persuasion of God's commandments, men were now charged with the following responsibility: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." (Gen. 9:6.) This very command necessitated the organization of a governing body to administer the law and was responsible for the beginning of government.
The provision of this original charter of administration sets forth the one and only purpose of government, which is to prevent violence, and crime and to enforce the keeping of law and order. Nowhere do we find any record of an enlargement of this charter to include other than the power to administer law. Governments have departed from these requirements and have assumed rights never intended to be exercised by a governing body — with the result that there has been tyranny and oppression as evidenced in the records of history and in current governmental activities, and as shown by the evils of bureaucracies.
Governments were originally organized in accordance with the provisions of the Divine Charter, but history shows that, in the process of time, the authority which had been granted them to administer law was assumed to be a license which was used to oppress and dominate men. The right to govern was seized upon by aggressive men as a means of control — with the result that there came into being the spirit that might makes right and to the strong belongs the spoils! With this as a premise, there arose a civilization centering in the Euphratean Valley, the rulers of which demonstrated their philosophy of government by aggressive warfare against all those who opposed their methods or stood in the way of their ambitions.
Individual acts of violence and crime in the antediluvian days had now given way to the violence of aggressive governments. And due to the fact that governments had now become evil it was necessary, in the plans of God, to establish an administration of righteousness to oppose this aggression and whose purpose would be the ultimate destruction of government by violence. In order that this might be brought to pass God chose a man and his family through whom His plans were to be worked out. Abraham was called and to him and his seed was assigned the task of opposing evil aggression. To this race of people, in the providence of God, there was granted an enlargement of the original charter in that they were to ultimately come into world rule and destroy all governments responsible for maladministration.
Ultimate World Rule
In order that this world-wide program might see final fulfillment the seed of Abraham was organized into a Kingdom at Mount Sinai and given authority to administer God's laws, which became the basis of their national life and the foundation of their governmental authority and constitution. Here, then, was organized a Kingdom by Jehovah, the God of Israel, and by virtue of that fact it is the Kingdom of God upon earth: the laws of which Kingdom will yet be enforced throughout all the earth in the ultimate world-wide administration of those laws by this Kingdom.
We have already touched upon the organization of this Kingdom, but let us again emphasize the purpose of that organization — to administer the law in righteousness, to establish equity and justice throughout the earth and to oppose all evil aggression —bringing to judgment evil men and ultimately destroying the power of those governments bent on evil aggression. This is the task to which the Kingdom of God, organized at Mount Sinai, is dedicated; and the citizens of that Kingdom, under Divine compulsion, will finally carry out all the provisions of the charter granting them national existence as His Kingdom people.
Type of Men Holding Office
Inasmuch as the object and purpose of the Kingdom is purely administrative, it is essential that the proper type of men be chosen for office or else there will be unrighteousness in administration. Such men must not be subject to the acceptance of bribes nor be in league with criminals. They must be in sympathy with the purpose of the Kingdom, keeping His laws and adhering to all the requirements for righteous administration. The rule to follow in choosing those who are to have the responsibility of administration is as follows: "Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness." (Exodus 18:21.)
For a while Israel was able to choose such men, but in the process of time the people departed from the observance of the law with the result that men of violence came to office and maladministration followed. Jesus referred to such evils in His day when He said the Kingdom suffered violence and the violent take it by force.
Because these conditions existed in a world governed in the most part by unregenerated men even in the midst of the Kingdom people, Jesus found it impossible to secure an honest hearing or sincere cooperation from the rulers of His time. Instead, they sought His life and were responsible for His death. But as a result of His life, ministry, death and resurrection men and women are now being prepared for the day when they will take over and administer the affairs of the Kingdom. Such will completely qualify for office and come into conformity with the requirements of Exodus 18:21 and will be above bribery, covetousness and all other temptations that now beset men. This is the group to whom God is going to entrust the administration of Kingdom affairs and the establishment of order and peace throughout the entire earth when His Son takes over the throne of His Father David and reigns over the House of Israel forever.
Government of Administration
What, then, will be the form of government that will be established over His people in the perfection of Kingdom administration? It will be a government that will function in accord with the Israel constitution and the members of that government will not exercise any legislative prerogatives in the making of law. Their task will be to administer the Divine law, for God alone is supreme in the making and giving of law. As Moses appealed at times for Divine guidance in cases not adequately covered in accord with the human concept of the revealed law and received judgments instructing him in the matters of administration so, also, Divine revelation will be forthcoming when necessary to enlarge the scope and application of the Divine laws.
Under the Divine law no legislative authority is vested in any county, state or nation which allows men to enact or create new laws.
Two Major Functions
Under the Divine Constitution the government has two major functions, executive and judicial. Executively the government administers the law, collects the taxes, establishes the financial and monetary system, provides for the national defense to secure the state against aggression within and without, carries on diplomatic relationships with other nations and is responsible for the making of treaties and covenants: all of which acts must be in accord with the Divine charter.
Judicially the government hears complaints, tries cases, and renders just, equitable and impartial judgment in all matters that come before it. It moves against the criminally inclined and brings to justice all those who violate the Divine law. It protects the family and a man in his possessions and punishes those who fail to respect the rights and goods of his fellow man. It instructs the people in the law and its righteousness that they may be law-abiding citizens.
Perfection in government, both in its executive and judicial functions, makes government the great arbitrator and adjuster of the affairs of men that they may conform with the law in their personal and business activities and live at peace one with another, That, and that alone, is the purpose of government. When a government fails to adhere to these principles it fails in the purpose for which governments were established.
(WE MUST BEAR IN MIND THAT THE ANCIENT GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL, HAD MANY LAWS PERTAINING TO A BASIC CARNAL PEOPLE, AND ONLY THE RELATIVE FEW WERE GIVEN THE SPIRIT OF GOD ...NUMBERS 11; THEY DID NOT HAVE THE HEART [SEE DEUT.29:4 WITH 5:29]. THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD DURING THE AGE TO COME, WILL BE GOVERNED THE A NEW HEART, A SPIRITUAL HEART, AND WILL HAVE THE LAWS OF GOD WRITTEN IN THEIR HEART, THE NEW COVENANT. CHRISTIANS TODAY ARE UNDER THE NEW COVENANT INDIVIDUALLY, IN THE WORLD TO COME, IT WILL BE NATIONALLY - Keith Hunt)
King or President
The head, or executive holding the highest office of state, whether he sits upon a throne or is president of the nation, is instructed to write or copy all the law in a book and he shall keep it with him and read there in all the days of his life. The purpose being, "That he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel."
Not only was it necessary for the leaders of the people to study the law continually, but Moses commanded the priests — the sons of Levi (not the Aaronic order of priesthood) — who had charge of state affairs, as follows: "At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God." (Deut. 31:10-13.)
To be continued
THIS WILL STILL BE THE SAME FOR ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE EARTH DURING THE NEW AGE TO COME. IT IS ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD (MAT.4:4). THE BIBLE WILL BECOME THE CONSTITUTION FOR ALL NATIONS DURING THE 1,000 YEAR REIGN OF CHRIST. NOT EVERYTHING IN ANCIENT ISRAEL HAD A WRITTEN ANSWER TO EVERY SITUATION THAT AROSE IN DAILY LIFE. HENCE THERE WERE "JUDGES" SET UP WHO WOULD CONSIDER THE MATTER AND BRING A VERDICT (SEE DEUT. 17:8-13). I BELEIVE SUCH WILL BE THE SAME CASE IN THE MILLENNIUM AGE.