Political authority is from God and political authorities are appointed by God (Rom.13:1). In fact, God calls one of the secular political authorities as the anointed of God (Isaiah 45:1). A political administrator is called as God’s minister or servant (Rom.13: 4,6). Political authority in the world is usually secular (Matt.22:21; 1Cor.5:12,13). The Bible teaches us that when the just and righteous are in authority, people rejoice; but, when the wicked rule, the people groan (Prov.29:2). Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov.14:34).
Nature of Political Authority
a. Began after the Noahic Flood (Gen.9:6)
b. Will be brought to an end by Christ at the end of this age (1Cor.15:24)
2. Rules by Fear (Rom.13:3,4)
3. God-given and God-appointed (Dan.4:17,25; 5:21; Rom.13:1)
4. Represents God’s authority (Rom.13:2)
5. Moral – Law and Rule appeal to Conscience (Rom.13:5)
6. Secular – i.e., separate from religion (Matt.22:21; 1Cor.5:12,13; Rom.13:6,7)
7. Has God-given power to execute temporal justice (Rom.13:4; Prov.16:14,15)
8. Is not sovereign in itself, but accountable to and limited by God (John 19:10,11; Acts 12:21,22,23).
Forms of Political Government Seen in the Bible
1. Anarchy – anti-government; “might is right” versus rule of moral law (Gen.6:1,2; Jdg.17:6)
2. Patriarchal – Rule by the Head of a family or clan (Gen.9:24-27; 14:22-24)
3. Theocratic Judiciary- Mosaic Law (which included rule by Judges (Jdg.2:16-18). The main role of the Temple ministry was to educate the people in the Laws of God and to clarify questions regarding the application of law (Eze.44:23,24); but, the elders were executives of justice (Exo.18:21,22,25,26) ; temporarily sought in post-exilic period (Ezra 10:14)).
5. Monarchy (1Sam.10:19) – There came a point when kings could interfere with the temple, but not against the Mosaic Law (1Kgs.8:17-19; 1Kgs.2:27).
6. Oligarchy or Aristocracy (Prov.22:7)
7. Totalitarian (Dan.8:23-25)
8. Democracy (Matt.27:21,22 – Of course, the Roman government was not democratic, but the episode referred here has a democratic sense to some extent).