Principle Seven: Jurisdictional Government
The Bible has not been written as a textbook. Even though it is full of principles, truths, their numerous applications, and the history of people, cultures, and events spanning thousands of years, it is written as a story with multiple plots. Yet there is one major theme that stands out: Our Creator wants to connect with us on an absolute and eternal basis. In this Bible, He is telling humanity how to secure that connection, avoid obstacles, and how to think and live aligned with His ways and objectives. It is a simple book with common words and direct statements. Nevertheless, it is conceptually very deep and can only be “decoded” with help from God’s Holy Spirit. It is full of reoccurring lessons, themes, and “formulas” which recognize that thoughts and actions produce predictable consequences.
It can also be studied to reveal God’s patterns and plans for people and even nations. If you read it wearing your “magic glasses” (the insights and gifts God has given you to help achieve the work assignments He has given you; Ephesians 2:10), you will see things that can become a roadmap for you and your destiny. I read it first, and even now, as a book about God’s structures and principles for managing organizations and nations. I read it as a political economist because that was my academic interest and training. The Old Testament is especially full of governing principles and public policies. Many of the Twelve Master Principles came from there, especially the ones about government. Principle Seven: Jurisdictional Government is all over the Book once your eyes are trained to see it!
I have studied what the Scripture says about governing nations for more than fifty years. In 1987, I wrote my first book, Winning the Battle for the Minds of Men, which has sold thousands of copies. In it, I discuss the most essential truths I know about God, His plans for people and nations, and how to engage the same types of problems we are still dealing with today—though even more severe now than they were thirty-plus years ago—in terms of cultural, economic, and political challenges. I would urge you to read this book if you are interested in a biblical viewpoint on these issues, because socially speaking, we Christians have largely been “asleep at the wheel.” It addresses jurisdictional government, and thirty-five years later, I would not change a word. Permit me to share an excerpt from that book because we desperately need to understand these basic of truths concerning how to govern a nation from a biblical point of view:
God has broken down man’s kosmos order into more manageable units for governing. There are five natural governing units, or spheres, to the kosmos that comprise the kingdom of God’s government. All government falls into one or another of these five categories:
- The individual (Self-government)10
- The family (Family government)11
- The local church (Church government)12
- The commercial (Economic government)13
- The civil government (Civil government)14
God’s Word has set standards for governing each one of these units or spheres, and each one is blessed through obedience to those standards or suffers through disobedience. God holds man responsible to govern each of these five spheres of human activity according to God’s directions for it and expects the harmonious result to give God a good return on His investment.15 In other words, God doesn’t simply want order on the earth, He wants increasing blessing.
God is organized and orderly, governing through these systems. We must teach people and nations what God requires from them personally in their families, in the churches, in their economic stewardship, and finally in their civil institutions. The instruction of the whole man becomes the totality of the commission Jesus gave His Church.16 We cannot neglect any one of the five governing spheres without disobeying the Lord’s Great Commission. To disciple a nation is to teach its citizens to fully obey and reach their potential in each one of the five spheres. A nation of such people is a nation under God’s government and will experience His peace.
The kingdom or government of God is not simply goose bumps or angels’ wings or exciting experiences. It is God’s ordained order functioning harmoniously between the five spheres, the Holy Spirit maintaining the ecological balance of power with the attendant blessings of wholeness and peace.17
Tyranny and Balance:
The Word of God provides the only hope for the proper management of power among these five governing spheres. The world system is not only in rebellion against God, it is in rebellion against the balanced operation of these five units of government designed by God to bring order to his kosmos. The Church is supposed to teach the nations how to find the proper use of power and government. This is how the Church should bring correction to injustice within a nation and lead it into God’s desired order.
Let’s look at a diagram that helps explain this truth:
Notice that the Church is at the center of this diagram, Christ is over the Church, and God’s throne of justice and righteousness presides.19 The Church is to be the priestly, teaching, and prophetic voice to the world. Its responsibility is to correctly interpret the Word of God to all the forms of government. Its job is to hold that Word up to all other institutions, including itself, as a plumbline for human conduct.
And that is…
THE BOTTOM LINE.
Questions for Reflection & Discussion:
- Reasoning biblically, why is self-government the foundation of society?
- Why does the world system make civil government the ultimate point of focus?
- Why is the government of God pushed off into the future by so many Christians?
10 Proverbs 16:32, 25:28; Luke 9:23; Acts 24:25; I Corinthians 9:25; II Corinthians 10:5; Galatians 5:22-24; II Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 12:11; II Peter 2:9-19. 11 Genesis 2:18, 3:16; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Ephesians 5:21-31; Colossians 3:18. 12 Matthew 18:18-20, 22:21; I Timothy 3:1-15, 5:17-22; Titus 1:6-9; I Thessalonians 5:17; Hebrews 13:7, 17; I Peter 5:1-5. 13 Exodus 20:15-17; Numbers 27:1-9; Deuteronomy 8:17-18, 28:1-18; Proverbs 6:1-5, 10:2, 11:4, 13:22, 15:16, 23:4-5; Philippians 4:19: Hebrews 7:4-10; I Corinthians 9:6. 14 Exodus 18:19-23: Deuteronomy 1:13 -17; II Samuel 23:3-4; Psalm 2:10-12, 33:12; Proverbs 8:12-16, 11:11, 14:34, 29:12; Isaiah 10:1; Romans 13:1-7; I Timothy 1:8-10. 15 Luke 19:21-23. 16 Matthew 28:18-20. 17 Romans 14:17. 18 PRIEST (teacher-healer, on God’s behalf) and PROPHET (guardian of God’s vision and investment). 19 Psalm 89:14.