Government

Authority for human government dates from the flood when God expressly established it on the earth. This is well indicated, again, by Dr. C. I. Scofield:

"The Third Dispensation: Human Government. Under Conscience, as in Innocency, man utterly failed, and the judgment of the Flood marks the end of the second dispensation and the beginning of the third. The declaration of the Noahic Covenant subjects humanity to a new test. Its distinctive feature is the institution, for the first time, of human government—the government of man by man. The highest function of government is the judicial taking of life. All other governmental powers are implied in that. It follows that the third dispensation is distinctively that of human government. Man is responsible to govern the world for God. That responsibility rested upon the whole race, Jew and Gentile, until the failure of Israel under the Palestinian Covenant (Deut. 28:1-30:10) brought the judgment of the Captivities, when 'the times of the Gentiles' (See Luke 21:24; Rev. 16:14) began, and the government of the world passed exclusively into Gentile hands (Dan. 2:36-45; Luke 21:24; Acts 15:14-17). That both Israel and the Gentiles have governed for self, not God, is sadly apparent" (Ibid., p. 16).

The government of God must be supreme since His authority over the universe is that of Creator. His plans must usually be realized through providence. The Christian is called upon, then, to recognize human government as of God (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17; cf. Matt. 22:21). Any organized people must have some form of government, as did Israel in the Old Testament and the local church in New Testament times.

There are three forms of church government which correspond to the familiar three forms of civil administration: strictly democratic, government by the voice of the people as in the congregational form of church organization; monarchial, government by chosen leaders as in the Methodist and Episcopal Churches; and republican, or government by representation as in those churches governed through elders and deacons.

In Luke 4:5-6 it is clearly indicated that the governments of this world system (cf. Matt. 4:8-9) are under Satan's authority. So also in John 5:27 and in 1 Corinthians 15:27 it is revealed that all authority has been committed to Christ by the Father. Eventually, Christ will put down all finite rule and authority (1 Cor. 15:25, 28).

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