We’ve heard a lot about the “two party system” during the past year. Everywhere we turn someone is commenting about “blue”states and “red” states. What do you believe God thinks about all this talk? What does God think about the two-party system in the United States? Is He a Democrat or a Republican? Do you think God might be an Independent or a Libertarian? What party do you think God would join if He were to run for office in our country? Well, God has a lot of experience with two-party systems through the ages, so let’s see what we can learn about what He might be thinking.
God established a Theocracy from the beginning. There was no campaigning to nominate the best candidate from among several possibilities. There was no election to see who would create the heavens and the earth. Only God existed, so He made all the rules. God is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Everywhere-Present-At-The-Same-Time, and Unchangeable. He was in the best position to Rule His creation. So, what happened?
The first two-party system in history was the “good knowledge” and “evil knowledge” parties.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
It’s pretty obvious which party God preferred, but He gave Adam a ballot and told him to cast it. No secret balloting in the garden. We know how Adam voted. He joined the evil knowledge party and things have not been the same since.
I’ve noticed before and since our last election that people line up on their side of the political street to say that their party is good and the other party is evil. How can both sides be good and evil at the same time? Are we missing something here?
Adam and Eve were not pleased with their choice once they found out what it meant to be members of the evil knowledge party. God re-introduced Theocratic rule to the first family, but with a change in the rules. He introduced them to His Mercy and Grace. Adam and Eve worked on following God’s new rules about offering sacrifices and seeking forgiveness. They tried to do better and taught their children about God and the difference between good and evil, right and wrong.
The first two sons of Adam and Eve grew up and God gave them a ballot. Each cast his vote: Cain for evil, Abel for good.
“For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:11-12
Cain voted for evil and lived, though under God’s curse as an ungodly person. Abel voted for righteousness, but died. Did that also mean the death of the two-party system?
“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, ‘For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.’ And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.” Genesis 4:25-26
The two-party system lived through a new generation. God gave Adam and Eve a third son, Seth. They trained him up in the right way and when Seth had a son he named him Enosh. It was at that time that people began to call on the name of the Lord. The “godly” party was born and there was once again a two-party system on earth with God the Head of one – Satan the head of the other.
Unfortunately, the “godly” party of Seth broke down and joined with the “ungodly” party of his older brother Cain. That meant there was no longer a true two-party system. There was no observable difference between the two, so God made a drastic change.
“All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.” Genesis 7:22-23
God started over again with a “godly” party and re-defined the meaning of Theocracy for Noah and his family (Genesis 8 & 9). However, it didn’t take long before the “ungodly” party showed up again on earth. Not long after Noah and his family got off the Ark we hear the sound of curses again. It wasn’t long before Noah’s descendants were trying to build a tower “whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4) God confused their language and scattered the families across the earth – the very thing they didn’t want to happen. (Genesis 11:5-8)
It appeared for a time that the human race might be back to just a one-party system with the “ungodly,” but God chose a man named Abram to start a new party. It would be the new “godly” line, but we could also call it the “blessed” party.
“Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
Everything that happened to the previous “parties” on earth are recorded in just the first 11 chapters of Genesis. The rest of Genesis and the entire Old Testament are about the new two-party system of the “blessed” party (Israel) and the “not blessed yet” party (all of the other nations on earth that will be blessed in the future). Members of the “not blessed yet” party could receive the blessings of God if they changed party affiliation and became members of the “blessed” party. It’s obvious that God loved the “blessed” party since He started it, chose the members, laid out the party platform, and kept it functioning for centuries despite the dysfunction of many members of the party.
God’s intention was to be the Head of the “blessed” party in a Theocracy, but most leaders and members of the party wanted someone else to lead them.
“But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:6-7
I always feel deeply for God when I hear those words. How sad that the people He saved from slavery in Egypt rejected God and did not want Him to reign over them.
The first king of the “blessed” party was not a good choice. The people got what they wanted, but they soon didn’t want what they got. So, God hand-picked a king (David) and things went well for the “blessed” party for most of his reign. Things continued to go pretty well for the “blessed” party during the reign of the next king (Solomon), but storm clouds were gathering.
The “blessed” party fell apart quickly after King Solomon died. It went from one united party to two very divided parties (northern kingdom and southern kingdom) and stayed that way for a long time. Eventually, the party of the northern kingdom was wiped out and never heard from again. The party of the southern kingdom lost its headquarters and most of the leaders and members who weren’t killed were taken captive. Even after God brought some of them back to rebuild headquarters, the party had a tough time rebuilding its power base and was often subject to the “not blessed yet” party.
God was “quiet” for hundreds of years. He didn’t have any spokespeople (prophets) active during that time, so instead of following God’s previous commands members of the “blessed” party came up with their own political plan that grew into a sub-system with two major groups vying for power – Pharisees and Saducees. By the time God began speaking again through His prophets, those sub-groups of the “blessed” party actually opposed God’s will for His people. Here’s what John the Baptist had to say about them.
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matthew 3:7
John the Baptist announced God’s plan for the “blessed” party – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2) John also announced the coming of Israel’s King – “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Here He comes, Jesus, the Lamb of God, the promised Messiah and King of the “blessed” party. Would He be a Pharisee or a Sadducee? Certainly not an Essene! Jesus came into a volatile political situation during 1st Century AD. What would He do? The party He chose to join would certainly become the established leading group in the “blessed” party. So much at stake. What would He do?
Jesus Christ did not join any political party. He had not come to earth to join something created by people. He had come to call people to something far better – the “Kingdom of God.”
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15
Jesus had some very harsh words for the two-party sub-system in Judea. They pushed Him and He pushed back. Jesus did not appreciate what either sub-party had done to the people and didn’t mince words in expressing His displeasure with them and their political platforms. After many months of growing tension between Jesus and the sub-parties of Israel, the politicians had Christ crucified – the very thing God had planned to provide the “blessing” He promised to Abraham some 2,000 years earlier. God also did something else the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t expect; He raised Christ from the dead – that “we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
The Apostle Paul, a former leading member of the Pharisees, changed party affiliations and took the message of God’s Kingdom to the “not blessed yet” nations to offer them salvation through Christ.
“And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-22
“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.” Acts 19:8
“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.” Acts 20:25
“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” Acts 28:23
That message is still preached to this day, but it is not the message of human politics. It is the Divine message of God’s great Mercy and Grace that will save all who believe unto the “uttermost.” (Hebrews 7:25)
** I am not implying and do not want you to infer from what I have written that I think God does not want Christians to be involved in the politics of citizenship on earth. God says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1) Since the United States of America has established a system of government that allows its citizens to participate in political campaigns and elections, we should do our best to represent God in those areas. The key words are “to represent God.” Paul gave the Colossian Christians some excellent guidance in how to conduct themselves in every area of their lives, including politics.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
As I grow older and a bit more philosophic with age, I am concerned about what is coming to America. I see tough times ahead, probably tougher than anything we’ve seen as a nation in a long, long time. However, I’m not talking about the coming of socialism, communism or some other system of human government. While that does concern me on some levels, it is not my deepest concern. That would be the spiritual condition of the Church and how it is responding to the challenges and opportunities before us. I’m concerned about how we say things in a spirit and attitude that is often obviously not “in love.” We know the Truth and that Truth will set people free, but we must always speak the Truth “in love.” If we do or say anything without love, as God defines love through His Life and His Words in 1 Corinthians 13, we are wasting our breath. Love must be first in our hearts and attitudes – and that includes in our politics.
Christians have become so overcome by the ways of this world that we are no longer able to overcome this world. That’s what Jesus did for us (John 16:33). Isn’t that what He wants us to do? (2 Peter 2:19-21; 1 John 4:1-6; Revelation 2 & 3) How are we going to overcome? Simple – our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
May it be so in our lives and in the Church. May we look at politics, government, and the two-party system with faith in God and spiritual eyes opened wide to see the victory that will be ours. May our political affiliations and candidate choices be based on something much higher than selfish desire. May it truly be for the glory of God.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”