Jul 5, 2022
Democracy, Oligarchy, Monarchy, Tyranny, even Anarchy, are means of government, not government itself.
How is government like soft serve ice cream? – that’s easy! Government comes is just two flavors: Theocracy & Plutocracy. Democracy, Oligarchy, Monarchy, Tyranny, even Anarchy, are means of government, not government itself. God rules…or $$$ rules, period. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon (money).” (Mt. 6: 24)
The story goes that Benjamin Franklin, upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, was asked by a by-stander, “What kind of government have you given us, sir?” Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” I imagine God having a similar conversation with Moses: “Lord, what kind of government are you giving us?” – “A Theocracy, Moses, if you can keep it.” (Spoiler Alert: Moses did keep it and passed it on to Joshua and the Judges who followed; but in the end Israel did not keep it!)
“I will be your God and you will be my people.” (Gen. 17: 7 et al.) This same covenant formula is reiterated over and over again in the Old Testament. It is Israel’s political constitution…and therefore ours as well. God’s intentions are clear. He wants to rule Israel (his people, us) directly but through the agency of the people themselves: “Government of the people, by the people…” (Lincoln)
According to this view, the purpose of ‘government’ is to execute the will of God, period. There is no ‘legislative branch’ because there is no legislative function. All law has already been written for all time (Torah); from here on, it is ‘simply’ a matter of interpretation.
Yahweh’s lament: “I created heaven-and-earth and endowed it with freedom. Out of Egypt, I husbanded you across Sinai into Canaan, the Promised Land. I gave you 613 statutes (Torah) guaranteed to bring you strength, health, long life, fertility, and prosperity. Knowing you’re not always the best students, I created some study aids for you, and I encouraged you to use them, even though some would call that cheating. (It is your life’s work to reopen the gates of Eden…so do it by any means necessary!) I wrote the answers on the blackboard…and on the cuffs of your shirt: I emblazoned my will across the cosmos (Nature) and I planted it in your hearts (Conscience), and yet…”
In the Saini, God’s rule was mediated by Moses and Aaron and later by Joshua. After the death of Joshua, Theocracy evolved into Anarchy – but that’s not a bad thing! In fact, it was a necessary step toward rule by God through his people collectively. Without the leadership of God’s hand-picked patriarchs, a new social structure took root. To “provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the blessings of liberty,” Judges rose from the ranks.
Frequently, a Judge emerged to confront a specific crisis. The Judge’s mandate to govern came from three sources: (1) the Judge’s oath to uphold God’s law (Torah) and (2) the people’s consent to be ‘judged’ and (3) the urgency of the crisis itself. This style of Theocracy worked well (for the most part) for approximately 250 years (1250 to 1000 B.C).
Plutocracy, on the other hand, is defined as the rule of wealth. Wealth and power have a symbiotic relationship. Money is fungible. Wealth can be traded for power, and power can be used to amass great wealth. This is the paradigm of a ‘vicious circle.' Look around you!
So, to riff on Lincoln: “All government is government of the people, some government is government by the people, but only Theocracy is government for the people.” Theocracy is not a respecter of persons. Only from God’s vantage can we see that people are not only created equal, but are equal and will always be equal. From God’s perspective, whatever appears to us to be a ‘difference’ is “Vanity!” (Eccl. 1: 2)
“Do you know who I am?” – yes, I do; you're dust and ashes. Next… We are all ‘babes,' born of the self-same womb, but in the eyes pf the world, that begins to change almost immediately. Disparities of genetic programming and social circumstances lead to differentiated levels of wealth & power; but in God’s eyes, nothing changes, ever. ‘Equality’ is eternal! Therefore, God and only God is qualified to rule. Only God can rule for the people, all the people because it is only before God that we are truly equal. To paraphrase Deuteronomy, “I set before you Theocracy and Plutocracy; therefore, choose Theocracy.” Few do!
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