“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write…” (Revelation 3:14, KJV)
Over the centuries, there has been an evolution of governance in this world towards a more sustainable and equitable form of rule. In comparison to dictatorships, monarchies, oligarchies and aristocracies, democracy has often been tagged as the most challenging but most appropriate form of government. Democracy is centered on the input of the people, having as its bedrock, a respect for the people’s right. The purest form of the definition of democracy comes from the Greek language. In the Greek language, Democracy comes from two words: ‘Demos’ and ‘kratos’. ‘Demos’ refers to a people who are bound together in a certain place for a certain purpose. ‘Kratos’ on the other hand, refers to might, rule, power or dominion. Thus, democracy essentially means “rule by the people.” As much as the superpowers of our age, in terms of governance, have hailed democracy, there is a need to find out which system of government God agrees with to run his kingdom.
It is imperative to know that it was never in the original plan of God for man to rule his fellow man. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26). God originally purposed for man to rule the creation. He was to submit to the rule of God in the heavenlies and establish that rule over the creation of the earth. God never intended for man to have rule or dominion over his fellow man or to rule by his own wisdom. It was after the fall of man that it was first written in Genesis 3:16, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” The consequent effect of the fall was that man gained authority to rule over the woman as well. The great problem of all ages in terms of governance has always originated from the fact that man lost consciousness of God’s original purpose. Consequently, the whole governing system of man after the fall has been a deviation from the original intent of God.
The depravity of man’s ruling system after the fall is made evident in the Church of Laodicea. Laodicea comes from two Greek words: ‘Laos’ and ‘dikea’. ‘Laos’ is a word that refers generally to a people. ‘Dikea’ is translated variously as right, rule or power. In effect, Laodicea refers to the ‘right of the people’ or the ‘rule of the people’. The Church of Laodicea in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ thus refers to a democratic church. Jesus warned this church saying, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and nether cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). They were lukewarm because they run the church on human sentiments and enticing words of man’s wisdom which affected their spiritual temperature – “Which things indeed have a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:23). Jesus further said to the Laodicean church, “To my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21). The democratic system in the church is a system that the believer must overcome, on his way to the throne of God where he is allowed to sit in the counsel of God, and offer his contribution to the theocratic rule of God since the governing system of God is never democratic.
Democracy is rooted in the lie that “…I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing…” (Revelation 3:17). When believers start to amass for themselves the goods of this world without any intention of laying up treasures for themselves in heaven, they begin to become proud and exercise authority that has not been given them. They start to think that their will is sovereign and so begin to exercise lordship over their fellow man. This was the state of the church in Laodicea. To this church, the Lord had this to say: “…thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:17–18, KJV). The church that practices democracy is poor, blind, miserable, wretched and naked in the eyes of God.
This truth is made even more poignant when the Korah approached Moses, saying that he and his brother Aaron, take too much in themselves as can be seen in Numbers 16:1-3 “Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?” (KJV). This action though physically was between Korah and Moses, in verse 11, Moses said it was against the Lord and by verse 12 through 13 had caused total anarchy in the nation of Israel, causing Dathan and Abiram to rebel and become insolent when Moses sent for them: “It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him? Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, We will not come! 13 Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us!” (NIV). As a result, Moses declared that Korah and his band should come under the severe judgment of God in verse 28 to 33: “And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation” (KJV).
Interestingly, at another time, Miriam and Aaron also spoke against Moses. It is recounted in Numbers 12:1-11 that “…Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it…And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words…wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned” (KJV). It is foolishness and a grave sin to speak against the authority that has been appointed by God to lead his people, and to think to oneself that their idea or that of the masses could better run the church or God’s heritage. Such an action always kindles God’s anger. Aaron and Miriam did not only express displeasure at Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman, they additionally questioned his right to govern Israel. They felt they had legal ground to share in the governance of Israel alongside Moses, because the Lord spoke to the nation through them as well. After all, Aaron was older and doubled as the High Priest and Miriam was the elder sister of Moses. However, when the Lord heard them, he was full of wrath against them. So displeased was the Lord that He struck Miriam with leprosy. Aaron was spared because he was the High Priest, and by law, he ought not to be unclean. God, evidently, is against the form of governance where everybody has a right to speak and direct the course of affairs.
God runs his kingdom and all his enterprises by his own wisdom to fulfill his eternal vision. With every dispensation, he imprints an aspect of this vision on the heart of a man of his own choosing. Such a man in turn carries the responsibility to transmit that vision to others who together with him, will fulfill it. Thus, God chose Moses to lead Israel and showed to him alone, the pattern of the tabernacle in the heavenlies. Clearly, a democratic system, where the people are consulted before any decision is made; where anybody and everybody can suggest what should be the state of affairs, is contrary to the pattern and wisdom of God for running his church, and for that matter, his kingdom. God’s anger is kindled whenever he sees democracy in the church. He does not take kindly to the voicing of various opinions when it comes to matters that relate to authority and the rule of his people. With democracy, everyone has a say, but with God’s endorsed system of rule, everybody does not have a say. The determining factor is His own vision which he transmits to one man, and the rest are to commit themselves and follow to ensure its fulfillment.
Hence, government for the people, by the people and of the people is never the will of God for all his creation. Democracy may appear to be working in the governing systems of this world along with all its idiosyncrasies, but it is not and can never be so in the kingdom of God. God does not in any way subscribe to the tenets of democratic rule.
Theocracy is the government endorsed by God. It is the government of God, for God and by God in the interest of his creation, and it is the true governing system that should run every establishment of the kingdom. This must be the consciousness of the believer because it is the reality of the heavenlies and of God’s throne. It is a rule of God, firstly in the hearts of men, through the lives of men and to the rest of all his creation and over all his creation. The kingdom of God is not a system of democracy, neither is it aristocratic. Autocracy is seen in the manipulation of believers regarding their fellowship with one another by one that has preeminence with the intent of fulfilling a personal ambition through the use of malicious words. “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” (3 John 1:9-11, KJV).
The Kingdom of God is the rule of God through the mature sons of the Kingdom who have learnt to bear fruits. The Kingdom of God is seen in the power of the Christ. It is the business of the Sons of God who are led by the Spirit of God to establish theocracy in the church, and not democracy or Autocracy. We must not engage the vain politics of this world in the church today but rather, we must know that “…our conversation is in heaven…” (Philippians 3:20). The word for conversation is ‘politeuma’ in the Greek which also refers to politics. Indeed our politics is in heaven and from heaven.
The epitome of democracy in church is seen in the harlot church system. In this system, there is church voting and people manipulation. Church voting in matters of directing the church is not of God. Voting may be carried out only in matters that concern and satisfy the physical needs of the people. God does not vote to make a decision. The mark of the governance of God is seen in the leading of the Holy Spirit. Those who overcome the ‘Laodicean condition’ are those who are submitted to the leading of the Spirit firstly in their life by not conferring with flesh and blood, and are ready to buy of the Lord, “gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:18, KJV). They are those that have gone through the rebuke and chastening of the Lord and have known that the only true authority is the authority of God. Shalom!!!