How does God view those who come into political power in this world? God does not look at all human leaders the same. What the heads of the governments of this world do makes a difference in the eyes of God because every leader holds power only by God's EXPRESS PERMISSION: "The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will... " (Daniel 4:17). A human leader should remember the story of Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible. God judged this gentile leader — a man cut off from God in the spiritual sense — differently from other leaders similarly "cut off" from contact with God: "Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting" (Daniel 5:27), was God's judgment. By contrast, God referred to another leader of this world, Cyrus the Great, as his "anointed" (Isaiah 45:1). All world leaders, of course, ultimately serve God's purposes — but there are differences: some are vessels "unto honor" (like Cyrus) and some "unto dishonor" (like Pharaoh of the Exodus) (Romans 9:21). Which vessel a leader will choose to be is a very grave matter and a responsibility few are accorded.
A Sense of History
A leader must have a sense of where his nation and people stand in history. A Dartmouth English professor, Jeffrey Hart, has remarked that most college students today know where they are in space — but not in time. They don't have a sense of history. The same could be said for the leaders in this world — particularly of those nations that play an important role in Bible prophecy. For example, leaders in the Western world would find a sense of history and destiny in a most important book. It gives proof of where the United States and the whole English-speaking world is in history. Its title is The United States and Britain in Prophecy by Herbert W. Armstrong. Leaders should particularly read chapters 13 and 14. Indeed, HERE IS PROBABLY THE MOST VITAL INFORMATION ANY LEADER COULD HAVE IN SHAPING HIS ADMINISTRATION. The book demonstrates who are the physical descendants of the ancient ten-tribed House of Israel. The English-speaking world, northwestern Europe and their settlements worldwide would be sobered to find where they are in Bible prophecy. The significance of this is staggering! It means that a good bulk of the prophecies found in the Old Testament refer to these modern nations! Those prophecies reveal that the United States — as well as other nations descended from all the tribes of ancient Israel — is in grave peril. For any leader in the Western world, the knowledge revealed in Mr. Armstrong's book would make a vital difference in choosing policy! One example. A former senator from Oklahoma, Harold Hughes, who is now an evangelist, has derided some of President Reagan's own religious supporters by saying, "I have searched the Scriptures diligently and I have not found one word in them on Jesus Christ's position on the Panama Canal." If Mr. Hughes would read The United States and Britain in Prophecy he would be surprised! The God of the Old Testament — who later became Jesus Christ (John 1:1), made a prophecy to Abraham that his descendants would possess the gate of their enemies (Genesis 22:17). And the descendants of Abraham — specifically America did come to possess one such gate — the Panama Canal! How ironic that, in 1976, Ronald Reagan almost won the Republican nomination on the strength of the issue on the Panama Canal! The very first primary he won was the first one where he criticized the then-President Gerald Ford for being willing to give away the Canal. His campaign cry of "We bought it. We paid for it. We own it," made sense to many Americans. But Mr. Reagan's special concern for the Panama Canal should now give him pause. The man in office before him finally succeeded in giving the Canal away. What God had given was taken away.
Business as Usual?
There are GRAVE implications from the fact that modern nations are mentioned in Bible prophecy. Prophecy reveals that nations descended from ancient Israel — including America and Britain — will suffer famine, military attack, and eventual captivity by a foreign power! (See Ezekiel, chapters 5 and 6) No human leader wants the shame of being the last leader of his country when it collapses. But to prevent that, he must be willing to stop doing "business as usual" — stop following "the get way," the way of exclusive self-interest, vanity, envy and hostility toward others. Yet there are enormous pressures on every leader toward business as usual — toward doing things the way they have always been done — even if the ends thereof lead to destruction. The Bible reveals a principle of delay. In I Kings 21, there is a remarkable story. A leader of ancient Israel, King Ahab, had "sold" himself to "work evil in the sight of the Lord." The prophet Elijah went to him and told Ahab of impending desolation of Ahab's own family (I Kings 21:17-24). And then a surprise happened. "Ahab humbled himself, fasted, and cried to God in repentance." As a result, God said, "I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son's days" (verses 29-30). Had his sons similarly repented (they didn't), the evil would have been postponed indefinitely. Much the same story happened in ancient Nineveh. The prophet warned that ancient city-state of its impending fall, and, lo and behold, the king led the people in fasting and prayer! So God changed his mind. Nineveh was spared! (Jonah 3:4-10). A human leader should consider doing the same thing today — calling a day of prayer and fasting. Such days, interestingly enough, are not that uncommon in American history. The Continental Congress declared a day of fasting and repentance at least twice, George Washington did it once, and Lincoln did it twice during the Civil War. But declarations of prayer and repentance should not be done just to curry favor with religious voters. The national leader must himself set a good example for the nation.
High Personal Standards
A leader's personal life must continue to reflect personal moral standards that must be above reproach. The Bible says, "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God" (II Samuel 23:3). And yet some figures in high office have included liars, users of profane language and alleged adulterers. A president or prime minister who does these things may cause some people to think that such conduct is morally acceptable. The same requirement of fear of God should also apply to a leader's subordinates. They must be men and women of personal honesty and moral backbone — (see Exodus 18:21-22). The Proverbs say, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice" (Proverbs 29:2). The Plain Truth cannot give political leaders specific advice on this or that policy. But there are certain duties that the Bible does lay on human rulers. A leader is under a duty to see that his government does not actively attack the preaching of the true Gospel, the well-being of God's Church, or family life in general. The same verse in the Bible that says certain things are Caesar's also says certain things are God's (Matthew 22:21). For example, government bureaucrats in the central states in recent years have attempted to make the operation of independent church operated schools and colleges very difficult. The public schools have become a means to cram anti-God, antifamily, pro-evolution ideas down the throats of millions of children. Some bureaucrats have desired to have all children indoctrinated with their own secular humanist values. Leaders should see that the government stops doing its bit to destroy the family. There are tax laws, for example, which reward immorality and penalize marriage. There are sex education programs that ridicule the Bible's laws on sex. Some government leaders have even gone out of their way to teach people that homosexuality is morally permissible. Tax dollars still fund the murder of unborn children. The Bible exhorts Christians to pray that those who are in authority would so do their job that those who do God's Work could "lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (I Timothy 2:1-3). Part of this, of course, has to do with the crime problem. The Bible reveals that human political authority must be the "minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" (Romans 13:4). Today, much of man's criminal law mollycoddles criminals with light sentences and the easy possibility of parole. It hardly obeys the biblical requirement that human government is ordained "for the punishment of evil doers" (I Peter 2:4).
And yet, perhaps people should not be too optimistic about the political leaders of this world. The Bible says, "Put not your trust in princes" (Psalms 146:3). The many bureaucratic pressures against doing the right things often prove insurmountable. There is, however, still light at the end of the tunnel. Even if world affairs continue to take their staggering lurches for the worse, a better world would be no more than a few years away. The interim, of course, would not be pleasant. The Bible describes it as "Great Tribulation." But at the end Jesus Christ will return and establish his Government over all the earth. So if one party or another, indeed, if all human political leaders, fail, there is still hope for a better world — an immensely better world! Jesus Christ won't fail!