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Yes, God Does Tell Us for Whom To Vote

[COMMENT:  Indeed He does -- There is no area of life over which God is not Governor.  And that is compatible with a freemarket of ideas, and of legitimate pluralism

This is a super article on Biblical government, indicating the obligation imposed on all Christians to vote the mind of God for our elected representatives.   God owns the whole of creation, including the political part of it.  Any other opinion is either ignorance of the Good News, or rebellion against God.   Yes, it is part of the Good News of human freedom that God owns the whole creation, including the public arena. 

I disagree with Whiteman's language about the Gentiles "replacing" the Jews.  We are grafted onto the Vine with them.  Jesus, after all, was Jew.  As were all the disciples.  Otherwise, this is a superb article.  Not one user-friendly to our post-modern, self-centered, I-have-my-rights culture. 

God tells us (His people, not non-believers) for whom to vote -- in the context of a free-will covenant.  If we have signed onto the covenant, we have thereby obligated ourselves to trust and obedience to His will, in all cases whatsoever.  We still have freewill and can violate that obedience, but the obligation remains.  If we choose "no", we thereby have sinned against God. 

The advent of an honest pluralism was an invention of Biblical Christianity -- not of the secular folks.  Christians invented the "university" in those "unenlightened" Middle Ages, precisely to get going a freemarket of ideas.   Everyone is invited into the discussion (so long as they allow others), not because they are all "right", but rather to find out who is right for the given situation.  The public discussion is to find the truth, not to relativize it.  Dialogue to truth, not dialogue to consensus.

And we are also obligated to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to sign onto the covenant (be baptized) and so likewise to conform to the law and grace of God.    E. Fox]

With a Mormon, Mitt Romney, seeking the GOP Presidential nomination, the issue of the permissibility of Christians voting for non-Christians is heating up. So, Scott Whiteman’s excellent article here is more important than ever. Read it closely, store it, print it out, keep it at hand. Christians must be told the Godly/Biblical truths in this piece. JL.

by Scott T. Whiteman, Esq

Since every Evangelical Christian and man of worldly wisdom knows that God’s preferred mode of government is theocratic-monarchy, and that in a monarchy, the fiat will of the King rules, and the wishes of “the People” are irrelevant, you are probably already objecting to the premise, that God instructs us how to vote. 1.) God instituted a Monarchy, 2.) People don’t vote for kings; therefore, God does not regulate the vote. “The proposition is clear, because God’s law doth not regulate a non-ens, a mere nothing, or an unlawful power.”[1]

And we Americans, with the unbridled right to vote, may therefore vote for the candidate of our choosing, neglecting entirely any absolute standards God might have. Since He is silent on voting we are free to make any prudential or private determinations about voting for the “lesser of two evils,” the candidate with the best chance at winning, or even the candidate with the best hair.

But then, perhaps in a age of rampant Biblical illiteracy and ignorance, we don’t know what we purport to know. Is it true that God instituted a Monarchy? Or was the form of Government first instituted by God, through Moses, a Constitutional Republic and various levels of covenants (Federalism) with “the People” having the primary place in God’s heart, government being instituted for His own Glory for the Public good?[2]

It is true that “God’s law doth not regulate a non-ens,” but it is also true that God regulates for whom his Covenant people can vote. Therefore, 1.) if God regulates how we may vote, and 2.) God does not regulate a “mere nothing, or an unlawful power,” then voting for our magistrates must be in God’s plan for a proper civil government.

Consider, the Hebrew Republic did not have a King until King Saul, or 450 years after they first entered the Promised land. What did they have or do for nearly a half-millennia? The “magistracy of judge, regent or counsel was the true primitive arrangement of the Hebrew constitution.”[3]

So who constituted the Magistrate(s)? The People did. “A magistracy elected by the people, the public officer chosen by the public voice, was another of those great principles, on which Moses founded his civil polity.”[4] Nothing could be more plain than the institution of the Judges by the election of the people, at the suggestion of Jethro and the confirmation of God. Exodus xviii.13-26. Deuteronomy i.12-18. Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. The question, then, becomes, “By what standard did the Israelites elect their magistrates? The men chosen were to be 1.) out of all the people; 2.) able men; 3.) such that fear God; 4.) are truthful; and 5.) who hate covetousness. Exodus, xviii.21.

By out of all the people, we learn that God’s abhors aristocracy for aristocracy’s sake. The men were not to come from a privileged class per se. God’s preferred king, when Israel chose to constitute a king, was a shepherd boy of insignificant class. The King of Kings was born in a manger. We know that God is no respecter of persons. Acts x.32. If we are, we sin. James ii.9. The most important characteristics of a ruler is that he fear God, that he be able, truthful, and hate covetousness. “Moses demanded four qualifications in a civil ruler, viz. ability, integrity, fidelity and piety.”[5]

Further, knowing Israel would acquire a desire for royalty and a longing to be like the nations around them and reject God as their King, I Samuel 8, God, as early as Moses’ time, instituted a rule of election of the King. Deuteronomy xvii.14-20. By the words, I will set a king over me, we are to learn that “the People” constituted the King.[6] By God’s declaring that you must choose this person as king over that person as king, we learn that the People choose the king.[7] God forbade the Israelites from electing a King who was not a brother, would amass offensive weaponry to himself, had many wives, and would horde wealth. God also enjoined upon the King a duty to write out for himself a copy of the Mosaic Law Governing Kings, to read from it and learn to fear God, to do justice, and to remain humble before the People, from whom he sprang, over whom he had Magistracy, and to whom he had a duty to protect as God’s People. From such, we learn that God regulated both the election of the King and the behaviour of the King himself.

If Moses, when he commanded the Tribes to choose their rulers, enjoined upon them an obligation to pick only qualified rulers, are we permitted to do otherwise? I know the common response, “That’s Old Testament. We are free in Christ now. Certainly the statutes governing the Hebrew Republic passed away when God destroyed Israel for conspiring with the Romans to kill His Son.” Sure, we are free in Christ – we are free to obey God’s Commands through the power of the Holy Ghost, combating our flesh, dying to ourselves daily. We are also free from the pain and penalty of our sin because the price has been paid by the Christ on the Cross. But we are not free to sin that grace might abound. We are not free to commit sins of presumption, presuming upon the Grace of God, expecting Christ’s atonement covers such sins. Hebrews x.26ff.

As to the particulars of the Mosaic Constitution, we are released from the obligations of appearing in Jerusalem every seven years to hear the Law Code read to us, among other things. But as for our obligation of obedience to the general principles, we are not exempt from the necessity of obedience. The Westminster Confession is abundantly clear, that “To [the Hebrew Republic], as a body politic, [God] gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may require.”[8]

So the question for us is, “What are the rules of General Equity that we learn about voting, to which we must conform?” First, we must understand that we cannot vote for any man whom God has not chosen.[9] We know who God has chosen by measuring the candidate against God’s voter’s guide. We may lawfully only vote for such candidates who love God, are able, faithful, and hate covetousness. The Principles Governing the Election of Kings does not really alter the charge, but qualifies it. A Magistrate who hates covetousness would not amass wealth to himself, would not horde wives, and would not build an army for the purposes of invading foreign nations.

When we go into the ballot box, we must do so in prayer, constantly keeping in mind the Biblical history as it relates to the choosing of God’s Anointed, remembering that we Christians are not per se more able-bodied and faithful than the ancients. God’s Covenant People rejected Moses, the prophets, and the Christ. Samuel, before Israel constituted its first King, implored upon the people, describing to them the tyranny a King would bring. Samuel said to the People,

This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. I Samuel viii.11-18.

The Scripture reveals that the People responded, “Nah.” God told Samuel, they have not rejected thee [Samuel], but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. I Samuel viii.7. Are we, as a People, any better? Is your governor, are your judges and congressmen, or is the President able, faithful, hateful of covetousness, incapable of being bribed, loving God, not haughty with a feeling of being above the People and unaccountable to God for the way they rule? Hasn’t your President increased the size of the army to invade foreign nations? Haven’t taxes increased? Haven’t the laws changed for the worse since 2000? The Ten Commandments have been removed from Courts, Sodomites marry or are given other forms of legal sanction for their crime, abortion is on as sure a foundation as ever, with the current President actually supporting and signing a law securing the exemption from prosecution of the doctors and women who conspire together to murder unborn children.[10]

Oh, Christian. Are you really more obedient than the Jews? Do you believe you are capable of obedience better than the ancients? Are you so bigoted as to believe that you possess a greater ability to obey God as compared to the Jews? The Jews were rejected for their disobedience, and we Gentiles were chosen to replace them, grafted into the Olive Tree which is Christ Jesus. But Scripture is plainly clear on this: no more did the merits of the Jews cause God to choose them,[11] than was it due to the merits of the Gentiles[12] that God chose us to replace the Jews. If God rejected the Jews, the natural branch, for their disobedience, is it really impossible that discern that He too will reject the Gentiles, the wild branch, for ours? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits. Romans xi.25.

Observe, and discern, Christian, your duties as a citizen of the City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, for whom may we lawfully vote – and vote accordingly. No more voting for the lesser of two evils. If no one qualified is on the ballot, voting is not an obligation. Non-participation in a fixed election is always permitted; or go to the ballot box to write in or vote “None.” Perhaps we ought to recognize “that when the nobles themselves favour manifest tyranny, or at least do not resist it, hypocrites reign through the sins of the people and by the permission of God; that these hypocrites may not be overthrown by any device, unless the people themselves turn to God in their hearts; and that is a task for bended knees, not arms and legs.”[13] “When tyrants sit in the throne of justice which under pretence of executing justice are hypocrites and oppress the people, it is a sign that God has drawn back his countenance of favour from that place.[14]

But there is always hope. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. II Chronicles, vii.14.

Scott T. Whiteman is a Reformed Christian, husband, and father. He is a practicing attorney in the State of Maryland in the law firm of Peroutka & Peroutka.

[1] Samuel Rutherford, Lex, Rex, or The Law and the Prince; A Dispute for The Just Prerogative of King and People, Question IV. London. 1644. at 7. Reprinted by Sprinkle Publications, Harrisburg, Virginia. I have taken the quote out of context, however. Rutherford issues this statement in a conclusory fashion, having already established what this author has yet to assert.

[2] Westminster Confession of Faith, ch. XXIII.i

[3] E.C. Wines, The Hebrew Republic: Originally Published as Book II of “Commentary on the Laws of the Ancient Hebrews,” (1853). American Presbyterian Press. Massachusetts, 1980. at 156.

[4] The Hebrew Republic, at 13.

[5] The Hebrew Republic, at 14.

[6] Stephanus Junius Brutus, the Celt, Vidicae Contra Tyrannos, Third Question, “Kings are Made by the People.”

[7] Lex, Rex at 6-7.

[8] Westminster Confession of Faith, ch. XIX.iv

[9] The Hebrew Republic, at 158.

[10] Unborn Victims of Violence Act

[11] Deuteronomy vii.

[12] Romans i.

[13] Vindicae, Third Question, “How Much is Conceded by Right Against Tyrants by Practice.”

[14] Geneva Bible Note for Job xxxiv.30. Emphasis added. In the LXX, Job xxxiv:29-30 reads, And he will give quiet, and who will condemn? and he will hide his face, and who shall see him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man also: causing a hypocrite to be king, because of the waywardness of the people.

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Date Posted -  11/12/2008   -   Date Last Edited - 09/15/2012