With the presidential elections behind us at last, responses to our new president-elect range from jubilation to despair to everything in between; some are bursting with enthusiasm while others are ridden with anxiety. Everyone has hopes or fears (or both) about changes the new administration will make—changes that will affect our lives and the life of our nation.
Meanwhile, I am currently in Israel where the political landscape is also about to change. People here are filled with uncertainty as the prime minister is forced to leave office, accused of corruption. The head of his political party has been unable to cobble together a governing coalition, so new elections have been called for early next year. Who will emerge as Israel’s next prime minister is anyone’s guess.
These are times of worldwide uncertainty and fear, and not just because of the financial crisis. On November 5, Dmitry Medvedev, president of Russia, threatened a military escalation with the United States that sounds like a return to the Cold War. In Iran, a bellicose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to fulminate rage, promoting the annihilation of Israel.
I am glad to live in a democracy like the United States and I am happy that Israel remains a democracy (the only true democracy in the Middle East). However, I don’t believe that any existing form of government can guarantee a peaceful and prosperous future for any of us in these perilous times. My hope for change, politically and economically, is grounded in the arrival of a very particular person, in fact, a dictator. Just hear me out.
The Psalmist asks, “Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1). Since the beginning of time human beings have struggled to govern ourselves effectively, have fought for ascendancy, have imagined that we alone are the determiners of our own destiny. The Tower of Babel is long gone, but the prideful attitudes that fostered that ill-fated building project are still prevalent. And how does God react?
The Psalmist declares, “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh” (Psalm 2:4a). This is not to say that God thinks our problems or our sins are humorous. He is not making light of what is happening on earth. As I read this passage, I imagine God laughs over our notions that our choices either escape his attention or threaten His sovereign control of the world He has created.
Time and time again God in His Word reminds us that He is the one who raises up kings and removes them (Daniel 2:21); that “the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and like rivers of water he turns it wherever He wills” (Proverbs 21:1). God was not surprised by the U.S. election results any more than He’s wondering who in the world might become the next leader of Israel.
We are indeed fortunate to be able to vote for our political leaders. I think that democracy is the best form of government we can contrive for ourselves, knowing that all are fallen and flawed and that it is dangerous to give too much power to any one individual. But thankfully (oh blessed relief), God can and will deliver something even better than democracy—a truly divine dictatorship is coming.
The Psalmist commands, “Kiss the son, lest He be angry and you perish in the way” (Psalm 2:12a). The best and final government that is soon coming to this earth is none other than the benevolent dictatorship of Yeshua Ha Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. While a mere human claiming to represent God represents the most frightening potential for corruption and tyranny, the reign and rule of God incarnate is quite the opposite. He will govern with absolutely incorruptible righteousness and justice.
His rule over all is an absolute certainty; yet in God’s amazing politics we still get to cast our “vote” for Him to govern our lives. We don’t punch a ballot or touch a screen; instead we kiss Him, that is, pay homage, submitting our hearts and our wills to His. Whoever thinks their vote doesn’t matter needs to hear that their own well-being is at stake. This is no four-year term; the consequences are eternal.
The Bible tells us that those who don’t submit to the Son’s lordship will most definitely incur His wrath and ultimately perish. That is why we are invited to campaign for Jesus each and every day with passion and persistence, “beseeching the world on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Finally, the Psalmist assures us, “blessed are those who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 2:12b). Since when is a dictatorship a blessing? Since the One in charge not only has a perfect love for His subjects, but also understands and decides everything perfectly, cannot be bribed (since all creation is His), cannot be pressured (since all power is His) and is completely incorruptible. The coming dictatorship of Jesus the Son of God is going to be benevolent, that is, it will benefit all those who willingly submit to it.
We have no need to pin all our hopes on temporal leaders, nor do we need to despair if they fail to measure up to our hopes or expectations. We know who will win in the end. In fact we are invited not only to be a part of His campaign, we have been offered a position in His administration: “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12a). That is no ephemeral political promise made in the heat of an election; it is a guarantee that we can count on now and forever.
I am not saying that we should not be involved and be concerned citizens when it comes to the decisions our democracy affords us. I’m only saying that whatever we may conclude about recent elections, there is another conclusion on the horizon.
In the end, God’s rule and reign is the dictatorship that will trump democracy. While that may terrify those who don’t know and trust Him, those of us who have experienced His goodness and grace can say, “The sooner the better!” Each and every day we have the privilege and responsibility to exercise our vote of confidence in His promises and His plan for this world. Let’s cast a vote of faith in the Son and let’s get out there and campaign for His coming dictatorship as though the future of each person we meet depends on it. Because it does.