America is in deep trouble! Not since the Civil War has the United States been as disunited as it is today. For decades, Americans have become more and more divided in their beliefs, their attitudes toward the law, their views toward government. This increasing disunion has now violently broken out into the open. Many people are openly pushing for revolution: total change of government. Some have declared breakaway zones inside American cities. Some have demanded (and received) defunding of law enforcement. Nothing we can do can bridge this great divide! This is life-threatening, nation-threatening disunion.
The only way to create order, peace and prosperity is government, authority and law—yet monarchies, republics, tyrannies and all other human governments have proved for thousands of years how difficult this is to achieve. Most of them are incapable of even existing for more than a few centuries or even decades.
Man has experimented with every conceivable form of government. Many have been authoritarian forms like monarchies, oligarchies (the rule of the privileged few), plutocracies (control by the wealthy), dictatorships, kritocracies, kleptocracies and outright despotic tyrannies. Others have tried to implement the rule of the many, like representative democracies, parliamentary systems, polyarchies or constitutional republics like the one we see in the United States.
Yet the modern democratic forms of government are becoming more and more anti-government. This is nothing new. It existed in ancient Israel when there was no God-appointed judge to direct the nation. People ruled themselves! (see Judges 21:25). And their society was full of deep tragedy. (Request and study your free copy of The Former Prophets to understand the devastating results of this form of government.)
The Problem With Government
This year, our world has turned upside down as men have thrown off the restraint of organized government and pursued anarchy and ochlocracy (mob rule).
But whether it has been the rule of the many or the rule of the few, no form of human government has worked! Not perpetually, not for millennia, not even for more than a few decades, in many cases.
Why is that? Because human beings do not have the capacity to rule human beings. Only God does! And all human forms of government have rejected His authority.
Government is the solution! Yet there is no human solution.
Whether individual, metropolitan, national or international, all the multiplying problems you see in the world have resulted from wrong government! All human forms of government are heavily influenced by Satan: All reject God’s government!
From the very beginning of the Church, God focused on a government solution. Jesus Christ came to Earth to prepare for governance (John 18:37 ). He conquered Satan the devil and qualified to replace him on Earth’s throne (Luke 4:1-13). Immediately afterward, Christ began His ministry, preaching a message of good news that focused on the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15).
Jesus Christ’s main message was about government—the government of God!
The Kingdom of God is the central focus of Jesus Christ’s ministry (before and after His resurrection). It is the central focus of the Old Testament and the New Testament!
But what is the Kingdom of God like? How will it be administered? What form of government will it employ?
Satan leads an opposing government. He, not God, is the one who currently rules Earth (see Matthew 4:8-9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). He has fought to hide the truth about God’s coming government. In fact, even most Christians don’t realize that Jesus Christ’s main message was about government! This deception began soon after Christ’s earthly ministry ended: The Apostle Paul was perplexed and bewildered how that some Christians in Galatia had come to accept “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6-7).
How crucial is this understanding of the true gospel of the Kingdom of God?
Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages: “It is necessary to believe that gospel to be saved! And how can you believe it, unless you know what it is? And for 1,900 years, the world did not know. That gospel was suppressed and replaced by man’s gospel about Christ. … Because they rejected Christ’s gospel 1,900 years ago, the world had to supplant something else in its place. They had to invent a counterfeit!” In this end time we have again seen a falling away from the truth within God’s true Church (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 10). This falling away left one thing absolutely certain. Royal Vision editor in chief Gerald Flurry addresses this in his booklet God’s Family Government. He states in the quip: “[T]here is one issue that all of the Laodiceans are deceived on: God’s government! And it is the most important subject in the Bible!”
Recent events in the world have sparked fear and upheaval in people’s lives. Many who once knew the truth were moved to reflect on what they’d learned from God’s end-time Elijah. Yet for some that interest was short-lived as they resigned to a “new normal.”
In an address during the 2020 Herbert W. Armstrong College graduation weekend, Chancellor Gerald Flurry reminded the audience that “there is an urgent need for the education and government of God.” This is a truth we may acknowledge academically, but how does it translate into our daily lives?
Tested on Government
Addressing the ministry at a conference in 1976, Mr. Armstrong stated: “[The] government of God is the whole thing—and it had better be in our lives!”
You must learn deeply what the government of God is and how to bring it into your everyday life! Mr. Flurry writes in Zechariah: The Sign of Christ’s Imminent Return: “All who have come to be a part of the pcg [Philadelphia Church of God] will be tested on government. Are we allowing God to lead us under any circumstances—no matter what? We must learn not to have contempt for God’s government. We must come to love it because it is God’s government! At this time, God’s government on the Earth is being administered by human beings. Human beings make mistakes. But these can be straightened out. However, we must never follow these men unless they follow Christ.
“We must keep guard over our attitudes. We can still fall prey to the Laodicean contempt for God’s government. We must not allow ourselves to get into the attitude of not liking the government in God’s true Church. Some are staying with bigger groups just to be free of government. In other words, they don’t want God to rule them. Do we want to be free of God’s government? If we do, then we want to be free of God! Do we understand the depth and seriousness of the Laodicean problem? Rebellion against government is the heart and core of the Laodicean problem.”
If you and I support God’s message, we will be tested on government!
Those few God has called into His Church are called not just to be saved before others, but to prepare to work in God’s government under Jesus Christ! (see Revelation 19 and 20). If you are part of the true Church of God, you must be ready to rule when Jesus Christ returns! This is the purpose of God’s Church!
Thankfully, God is going to end the disastrous experiment of human beings governing themselves. Many prophecies in the Bible focus on this, which will occur beginning with the return of Jesus Christ. But how will He rule? Who will be part of His government? How do you prepare for that future position of rulership?
Mr. Flurry writes: “The main way Christ gets His wife ready is to teach her family government” (God’s Family Government).
Man Rejected God’s Government
This goes back to the very beginning. Adam himself rejected the opportunity to join in the administration of God’s government on Earth (Genesis 3:1-6). This led to curses and sorrow (verse 17), ultimately leading to death (verse 19). Our dying world is the end result of that foundational decision.
Adam could have submitted to the government of God and been used by God to establish and maintain God’s rule on Earth.
What we see today is not God’s world. Christ made that very clear when He stood before Pilate (John 18:33-37). He said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (verse 36). The Greek translated “world” means the system of the age of man’s way.
When Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he rejected God’s command, God’s rule, God’s authority and God’s law. He followed instead in the footsteps of the devil. Lucifer had been trained at universe headquarters, but he chose not to surrender unconditionally to God’s rule over him (Ezekiel 28:13-17). Instead, he rejected God’s government (see Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:18). Like Lucifer, Adam thought he knew better than God and did not have to heed God’s instruction.
God had given Adam the opportunity to qualify to replace Satan on Earth’s throne. Instead, Adam and Eve subjected themselves to Satan’s government. They were brought under the jurisdiction, domination and control of another ruler. By pledging their allegiance to this government, they cut themselves off from the spiritual knowledge God desired to imbue them with. Had they subjected themselves to God instead by taking of the tree of life, they would have been brought into a direct relationship with God, been begotten of God by the Holy Spirit joining with their spirit to understand the spiritual in addition to material knowledge. They could have developed the mind of God.
Instead, like Lucifer, Adam wanted local autonomy, deciding good and evil. God sentenced Adam to develop his own form of government. In the final years of his life, Mr. Armstrong came to clearly see that this was not just a matter of “as Adam saw fit,” but of “as your god Satan shall mislead you.” A deceived mankind ever since has gone out, experimented, observed and eaten the bitter fruit of his own experiments.
Satan’s Spite Toward Government
When Satan disobeyed, betrayed and rebelled against God, he actually tried to stage a revolution in the government of the universe. He tried and failed to depose God Himself! But did you know that he again tried to take the throne of God—in our time? (Revelation 12:9). He again failed, and God cast him back to Earth and confined him here. Satan still has power on Earth, and he immediately targeted the only vestige of God’s government on Earth: God’s Church! (verse 13).
Those who survived Satan’s attack on the Church will remember his tactics well. He built resentment toward established history, protocol, principles and procedures. He spread a web of lies that trapped many. He enticed Church members to conform with the ways of his world. He used the new leadership to apologize for doctrines that had been established, proved and taught for decades. He used them to rewrite Church history and to assassinate the character of the man God had used to build the Church and restore the truth!
Spiritual anarchy—rebellion against the rule of God in the Church—was at the heart of the great Laodicean falling away.
Were it not for a small remnant holding fast to the biblical truths and teachings, Satan would have obliterated the only trace of God’s government on Earth.
Jesus had promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” the Church (Matthew 16:18). God never allowed that to happen.
But why this hatred?
On May 2, 1974, Mr. Armstrong wrote the members of the Church. He started out this long letter by stating, “It is vital that you read carefully every word of this letter.” He then explained the downfall of Satan and how knowledge alone will not guarantee right performance. He wrote that “possession of vast knowledge and endowment with free choice does not constitute perfect righteous character.”
Members of God’s Church are called out of season to develop holy, righteous character.
When the Earth was first created, the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:4-7). This happiness, joy and peace remained on the Earth as long as the government of God was administered. But when the government was taken away, Earth suffered violence, destruction and darkness.
In explaining the purpose for the creation of man, Mr. Armstrong noted its dual goal. It was not only so God could re-create Himself, but first and foremost so the government of God could be restored on Earth!
That letter continues: “One of the things Satan works overtime in injecting into any mind that will let it enter is resentment of authority. … Satan despises government, except as he himself harshly and in hate employs it.”
Read the entire chapter of 2 Peter 2 for yourself and see how applicable it is to today. Yet note the main concern Peter highlights: “chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government” (verse 10).
Are there times when we allow this mindset in? Will we, at times, harbor resentment toward the authority over us or “speak evil of dignities”?
In this end time, most of the members of God’s own Church have rebelled against God’s government—the very government they are called to submit to and become rulers in! They are experimenting with different governments because, like Adam, they have rejected the authority of God over them.
A New and Different World
In his penultimate letter to the members and co-workers of God’s Church, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “We are now very near the end of this present age. [N]othing is important any longer than to be close to God and assured of a place in His very soon-coming Kingdom” (Dec. 23, 1985). Mr. Armstrong made clear how useless this world is in its last days. Earlier that year, Mr. Armstrong had reminded the Church that “Jesus came to start a new and different world—an entirely new civilization ….” He reminded brethren that “God is not trying to save the world—not trying to make it a better world.” God will completely remove and replace the entire Satan-influenced, human-devised system of government (see the prophecy of Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45).
It is for this reason that true Christians are called to forsake this satanic world (1 John 2:15-17; 2 Corinthians 6:17). In doing so, we learn to honestly, humbly and with a childlike attitude do things exactly the way God instructs. We choose to let God’s government rule every facet of our lives.
To the Church Only
Mr. Armstrong listed the government of God as one of the major areas of doctrinal understanding restored to the Church of the Philadelphia era. In a sermon he gave on December 17, 1983, he said, “The government of God has been restored to the Church. And the government of God has been placed in the Church! You read that in Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12. … And the Church is restored in that form of government. [The] Sardis Church, even, didn’t have the right form of government.”
This form of government cannot be compared to any other form of government we find in the history books of mankind. It is not present anywhere but in God’s Church. It is not merely government from the top down, but government with God at the head! More than just a pattern of government, it involves a mindset that regulates our every doing. That mindset had been lost throughout the centuries, but God saw fit to help His true disciples of the end time understand the depth and importance of that subject.
Hunger for God’s Rule in Your Life
Do you really love God’s government? Only those who do will be part of the Kingdom of God, which is God’s government! In a June 3, 2006, sermon, Mr. Flurry said: “Do you … hunger and thirst after righteousness—which means hunger and thirst after God’s rule, His righteousness, so He’ll rule you and make you righteous the way He is? Do you hunger and thirst for government?”
God’s government is so much more than the man over you. It is surrendering to God. It is desiring His righteousness in your life. It means hearing the Good Shepherd’s voice and following Him wherever He leads (John 10:26-28).
Righteousness can be defined as the keeping of God’s law (Deuteronomy 6:25; Psalm 119:172). Keeping the law is living God’s way of life. That requires submission to God’s government. Jesus Christ showed us the perfect example of this (John 5:30; 8:28-29; Matthew 26:39, 42).
At times those who have rule over us may correct us or issue directives we carnally don’t want to comply with. It is then in particular that it may be easy to focus on the man rather than God and become offended. We may even doubt the love of God as extended through His government. But we are warned against such an attitude (Hebrews 12:11-15).
God desires to make us perfect. We can only attain that if we always hold the Head. Only through the government of God, from the Head down, can we be nourished, unified and grow toward perfection (Colossians 2:19).
A government implements law. God’s government stands up for, teaches and upholds the law of God. God’s law is His way of life. Thus the government of God helps us learn to live the same way God lives. No man can make it into the Family of God if he doesn’t learn to live the way God lives.
The Need for and Purpose of Shepherds
Christ gave the gift of the ministry as part of His government (Ephesians 4:11). God knows we need shepherds who care to lead us into green pastures beside still waters and who feed the flock (Psalm 23; Jeremiah 23:3-4; John 21:15-17).
Satan will attempt to hide this gift in your life, and he will succeed, if you let him. His deep hatred for God’s government pushes him to deceive us on this subject.
Why? “Satan knows that if he can destroy God’s government, he can also destroy God’s Work,” Mr. Flurry writes in God’s Family Government.
The way to not be deceived on this is to never forget why God gives us this gift: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). God’s ministers, as part of God’s government, are here to help us become converted. They help us to change and to grow spiritually (see verses 22-24).
God is looking to restore His government out to the entire creation to implement His inexorable, perfect and holy laws. For now, that government is only in place inside God’s true Church.
Christ’s ministers carry the heavy responsibility of being guardians of the law (Zechariah 3:7; Malachi 2:7). But they do so to help perfect the Church (Ephesians 4:12-13). That law is the lamp that lets us see in a dark world (Psalm 119:105). Sadly, the majority of ministers who once served God failed Him in upholding His law, causing people to spiritually stumble at the law (Malachi 2:8). They will have to pay a frightening price for such failure.
That in no way does away with the fact though that the ministry is Christ’s gift to unify and strengthen us spiritually.
The Whole World … and Beyond
The lesson we need to learn deeply today is that God’s government—His way of living and administering His perfect law—is what will bring about real change for humanity. It is the solution! If you fully grasp that, God will be able to use you in a tremendous way, both now and in the future.
Soon the time will come when the government of God will no longer be restricted to God’s Church. All mankind will soon be told, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out …” (Acts 3:19). It will be a time of refreshing. God “shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (verses 20-21). Jesus Christ will reestablish God’s government, refresh and restore all things to the whole world, and solve our unsolvable problems by using God’s power, God’s law, God’s government and God’s love.
All mankind will then experience the joy, happiness and blessings that come from the restoration of God’s government. That government has already been restored to God’s Church for the very purpose of preparing us to restore it across the globe and then across the universe! The history and the future of humanity revolves around government! Its only hope is God’s government. This is the solution to problems in your life and in this nation. This is what Jesus Christ means by the Kingdom of God. This is what He means when He tells us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come!”
Sidebar: The True Gospel
The gospel that Jesus Christ taught was not about Himself but about the Kingdom of God: God’s government! The Gospel records of Jesus Christ’s ministry (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) quote Him as referring to the Kingdom of God (or the Kingdom of Heaven) 82 times. And this subject is explained in many other passages throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14, 18, 22; Zechariah 14; Matthew 4:23; 7:13-14, 21; 9:35; 19:24; 21:31; 24:14, 30; 25; 26:13; 28:18; Mark 1:1-15; 4:11; 10:24-25; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15-16; Luke 1:31-33; 8:10; 9:1-2, 6, 62; 10:9; 16:16; 17:21; 18:16-30; 19:12-27; John 18:36-37; Acts 1:3; 8:12, 25; 14:21-22; 15:7; 16:10; 19:8; 20:24-25; 28:23, 30-31; Romans 1:15-16;
10:15; 15:16; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 9:14, 18; 2 Corinthians 10:14; 11:7; Galatians 1:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:11; Philippians 2:22; 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Peter 1:12, 25; 4:6; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21; 11:15; 19:11-16; 20:4