Perfect Government

By: Jim O'Brien 

Hi Friend,

As I write we are in Florida for a short break from the cold winter up north. Traveling around the country, finding suitable housing, and eating at restaurants can be an educational experience. One of the trends in the hospitality industry is the plethora of workers from Jamaica.

By circumstance, I was privileged to become friends with Ian Boyne, a popular media personality in Jamaica who was a household name across the island until he died in 2017. The mention of his name to a Jamaican working here creates an immediate relationship of friendship and trust. They openly talk about their family back home and what life is like in the country they love.

Why would so many Jamaicans leave family and friends to come to America to work? The hostess of a local restaurant in Destin, Florida, explained that Jamaica is an ideal place for tourists but awful for citizens. "The government is against the people," she declared. They make so many rules that it is impossible to find work, or the wages keep us in poverty. She described the crime that has taken over the country and the lack of protection for honest citizens.

Then, my new friend made an astounding statement. "We need to eliminate government. If we could just remove the people from office so they would leave us alone, we would be fine."

If Jamaica were unique, it would not be worth commenting. But it is a worldwide characteristic. Dennis Prager recalled an encounter he had while walking down a street in Russia. A Russian citizen came close to him and said, "We hate our government." The man was a stranger to Prager, but he had to tell someone from America how he felt about the leaders of his country.

It's a similar story in Egypt. Milton Friedman once reported that 90 percent of the businesses in Egypt are illegal. The country has so much political corruption that it is nearly impossible to start a business. For the average person to get approval to open a legal store, there is too much red tape and too many people he must bribe. The solution for Egyptians is to stay beneath the radar of public scrutiny. No one will notice if a craft stays small, and the government will leave them alone.

My backyard has needed significant repairs, so this summer, I hired a man who moved here from Costa Rica. He brought a landscape crew to build a wall, bring in dirt and plant grass. We became friends, so I asked why he moved here from a country he loved. The answer was the same as others. There was so much crime in his country that he was not safe. The government is corrupt and will not protect its citizens. He praised America in the most eloquent terms expressed with sincere emotion. "This is a great country," he exclaimed. "People who don’t like this country won’t like anyplace."

Wherever you go, there is a problem with leaders who govern. History records very few good leaders. When John was King of England, he fought wars, built castles, dressed in extravagant clothes, and ate sumptuously. A civil war was averted when the Lords forced John to sign the Magna Carta. The grand charter was a protection for citizens to prevent the king from levying onerous taxes on the people.

But documents and constitutions contain words that are only as effective as the citizens are formidable. A couple of centuries after John, King Edward III employed sixteen seamstresses whose only job was to make gowns for the queen—while his citizens lived as serfs burdened with high taxes. And Edward was considered one of the best kings the world had known.

The Bible addresses the solution to this sin, but churches are reluctant to discuss it. The most overlooked teaching of the New Testament is that Jesus Christ will return to the earth to establish a perfect government. Isaiah tells us, "Unto us a child is born,"—we know that Isaiah is speaking about Jesus Christ—"Unto us a Son is given,"—we also know that Jesus is the Son of God, but notice what Isaiah says next. "The government will be upon His shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6).

Churches often teach of mercy, of salvation, of love of fellow man, but rarely talk about Jesus establishing a government that will rule the earth. In verse 7 Isaiah says, "of the increase of His ‘government’ there shall be no end."

The disciples were so convinced that Jesus would establish the Kingdom of God on earth that they questioned Him about their role in His government. Peter asked, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?" (Matthew 19:27) Jesus replied, "I bestow on you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:29-30).

In moments of deep reflection, we ask, what is the purpose of life? Jesus revealed the answer to the Apostle John. He has "made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10).

We began our discussion by describing the dilemma faced in every age of mankind. The world has suffered under oppressive governments by men who care little for their citizens. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, talks about the establishment of a good government that will be a blessing to citizens. The King will be Jesus Christ and the leaders under Him will be the converted followers who are led by the Spirit of God.

The prayer Jesus taught His disciples began with a request central to God’s plan. The core desire of Christians is, "Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10).

Until next time,

Jim O’Brien

January 26, 2024

Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati

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