A clear understanding of, and firm faith in, the coming of God’s Kingdom
means that we will recognise that human Government is unable to bring about
perfection. Jesus prophesied that things would degenerate from bad to worse
in “the last days” just prior to his coming (Lk. 21:9-11, 25-27). It is not
possible to believe his words and at the same time hope to radically improve
the world’s position through human politics. On an individual level, we are
simply to do good to all men as opportunity may allow (Gal. 6:10).
The record of the early believers shows them to have been committed to living a spiritual life in anticipation of Christ’s return, chiefly manifesting their concern for the surrounding world through preaching to them.
“... the way of human beings is not in their control ... they ... cannot direct their steps” (Jer. 10:23 NRSV); giving these words their weight means that we will recognise that human leadership is something which God’s children will never seek. Voting is therefore inconsistent with a true understanding of this. “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Dan. 4:32). He is the power that is above the high ones of the present governments (Ecc. 5:8 NIV). Human rulers are thus ultimately given their power by God (Rom. 13:1); to vote in a democratic system may therefore involve voting against one whom God has chosen to be in power. Thus it is recorded that God gave certain nations into the control of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (Jer. 27:5,6).
Because of our recognition that God has given nations into the hands of their rulers, we should be very careful to be exemplary citizens, abiding by the laws of the country where we live, unless they conflict with the law of Christ.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities ... the authorities that exist are appointed by God ... for because of this you also pay taxes ... render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due ... honour to whom honour” is due (Rom. 13:1-7).
The involvement of Christian organisations in forms of political protest and tax boycotts is therefore an indication of their studied disregard of these basic Biblical principles. However, Peter’s example of continuing to preach Christ when forbidden by the Government to do so, is an indication of how we can only obey human commands when they do not conflict with the law of Christ: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge ” (Acts 4:17-20; 5:28,29).