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DISPENSATION OF GOVERNMENT
Many theologians list 7 major dispensations mentioned in the Bible. A dispensation is a period of time in which God relates to man by giving man commands or instructions regarding a certain aspect of human behavior that affect the relationship between God and man. A common listing of these 7 dispensations include:
1. Innocence (Gen 1-3)
2. Conscience (Gen 3-8)
3. Human government (Gen 8-11)
4. Promise (Gen 12-Ex 19)
5. Law (Ex 20-Acts 1)
6. Church (Acts 2-Rev 20)
7. Kingdom (Rev 20-22)
GOD WAS DICTATOR
There was always government. God was the original government. God made the rules, God enforced the rules, and God issued punishment for breaking the rules. You might say it was a fascist theocracy. There was no separation of church and state, and God was the dictator. As far as man’s authority, there was anarchy. That is why God had to put a mark on Cain to protect him from being the victim of vengeance. After The Flood, God gave man the authority to rule over other men.
Of major interest is the end of Gen 9:5 along with Gen 9:6:
“And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.” "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. (NIV)
After the Flood, God actually gave government the power to take human life as punishment for murder. Modern translations correctly translate the 6th commandment (in Ex 20) as “murder”, not kill”. If kill were correct, then God’s instructions for capital punishment in the following chapter (Ex 21) would be a contradiction. The important lesson here is that God even gave human government the power to protect human life even if it means taking the life of the guilty to protect the innocent.
GOVERNMENTS DO NOT HAVE SOULS
The institution of government was given by God to keep evil in check and therefore government cannot be evil. It is people who make any of God’s institutions evil. Moreover, Governments don't go to hell; people do. God was the one who created both man and government. For example: God also created marriage, and marriage is not evil because of adultery. Nevertheless, adultery is a valid reason for divorce as a check against evil people.
God wants us to have Godly leaders. It is for this reason Jesus did not lead a revolt against the government. Instead, Jesus brought a revolt against Satan; to lessen his power and bring righteousness to all people and consequently to all God’s institutions. We are to obey government unless it violates God’s rules, because God is actually the head of all government. The Bible shows us how God punishes evil rulers and unrighteous nations.
PAUL CONTINUES THE SAME TEACHING AS JJESUS.
Paul wanted to make sure people knew Jesus did not come to bring a revolt against Government, but to make government pure. Then, at the End Times, God will be the only one in charge. Paul explained the role of government completely, so I’ll end with quotes from Paul:
1. 1Ti 2:1-2 NIV...... I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
2. Rom 13:1-7 NIV...... Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
3. 1Co 15:24 NIV...... Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
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