Greetings my friends, welcome to this new article on an old subject; Godly Government. The world is full of various kinds of man’s governments—the various different forms & types, which I will not take the time to name. However, what I want to write about in this article is God’s way of governing, revealed in the Bible for true & believing Christians. Many versions of governing and various observations have been made about leaders in religious organizations, now also including the COG with its many splits and groups. Any true Christian however, should know that any other form of governing—anything apart from the way God directs in His word, is not Godly Government but is instead the way of the world in some form, guided by Satan the devil. (Rev.12:9) Check the Scriptures for how God & Christ have governed in the past and then believe your bible instead of the way of only men. False Christianity—that is, the way of this world including its religions not following God & the bible, also do not worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:24) as Christ said—which is the only way leading to eternal life. That life comes from God, through Christ and the Holy Spirit, which only comes after a proper repentance; rejection of going the wrong way and then proper baptism. Acts 2:38-39 is a familiar passage for the believing bible student, which says; “--Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (I am using the NKJ, unless otherwise noted.)
Once a person has truly received the Holy Spirit, it will lead him/her into the right understanding of the truth of Scripture and to learn Godly Government. Christ, when speaking to His disciples in John16:12 said; "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Why? Mostly because they were unconverted—not yet internalizing the Holy Spirit—more carnal minded than Spiritual. (Rom.8:7) They had only begun to be guided by the Spirit and the teachings of Christ, which was at that time only working with them. Note John 14:17, where Christ says of the Spirit that it; “dwells with you (At that time and for those disciples as well as many today who are being called) and will be (later, at the receiving of it by the laying on of hands) in you.” So going on with V.13 of John 16, He says; However, when—(And for them it was when Pentecost in 31 AD came) the Spirit of truth, has come, it will guide you into all truth” and that also applies to every true Christian when they receive the Holy Spirit after a proper baptism. But one can lose that Spirit by recklessness and compromise or let it go dormant by lack of use, even after receiving it! It works with one to bring one to the point of receiving it internally; only when one makes the effort & choice to be committed to truth and acting on that. (See article “Committed to Truth” for more on that subject)
So now, to pick up on something mentioned before, when talking about the COG in Laodicea. That has to do with the COG today and the most obvious way of governing for the body, found in Scripture. This has to be looked for and then acknowledged when seen. Many in this era of time have deviated from many things previously taught, plus the Godly or the Biblical form of governing restored through HWA. Many but not all, have gone after the way of the world with its voting methods for choosing leaders. Can one be keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days, tithing and so forth and still not receive salvation in the first resurrection? Does “GODLY GOVERNING” hold a key or play a part? Many have come to disbelieve this by their very actions and conduct—not just the ministry either. Again I remind you of what Christ revealed on this very subject. First notice; Luke 11:42 "But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, (The smallest things) and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” To love God is to also welcome Godly Government. What about the Sabbath and Holy days? Can we have a lukewarm approach to some things of God and still be “OKAY”? Luke 4:16 says; “So He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” This was a synagogue of the Jews who regularly gathered on the Sabbath and there is ample evidence throughout the four NT gospel accounts that they thought they kept the Holy Days or festivals of the OT. They went through the motions. John 6:4 says; “Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.” So they acknowledged the Passover and days of UNLB—called by them the feast of Passover, recorded in Lev.23 as the first two festivals of each year. What about any others that are listed? John 7:2 records another incident where the Jews feast was kept, saying; “Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.” They were obviously following the Holy Days of God as they understood them and still are, but according to their own choosing—not strictly following what the Scriptures reveal. They had determined with their own ideas when and how to do the Passover and count for Pentecost, among other things; so they were not really being governed by God nor did they believe or understand the Scriptures about many things, including the first coming of Christ. Their understanding on these things had become obscured because they had abandoned God’s way in ALL THINGS, going their own way in some things. The spirit of God was not leading them, because they did not have it!
That brings me back to the governing issue that affects many today in almost all COG groups. Christ, in giving a parable symbolic of the Jews as well as all Israel, knew their attitude toward Him. He revealed that inwardly they “hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man (The true Son of God) to reign over us.' (Luke 19:14) Many developed that same attitude for HWA and His authority as an apostle. (Granted, he was human and made some mistakes, like all humans do!) That wrong attitude passed on to some Evangelist ranked ministers, as well as many others in the ministry today. Some few however, have tried to hold fast to the same truth of the Bible, governing structure, type of leadership and approach to the proclamation of the Gospel.
For those that have not; that goes right along with rejecting the governance that was placed in the COG by Christ, through the revelation from the Holy Spirit & through Mr. H. Armstrong. (Note Exo.18:17-24) Here is verse Ex 18:23 from the ASV: 23 “If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people also shall go to their place in peace.” (ASV)
The Holy Spirit comes from both the Father and His Son (God of the Old Testament) and is not to be thought of as fickle. What do I mean by that? James 1:17 shows that “Every good gift and every perfect gift (Including the Government of God) is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation (meaning Fickleness) or shadow of turning.” From “shadow of turning” or IMMUTABILITY—we can find this; “A characteristic of God's nature which means that He does not change in His basic nature. In Him, "there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17). God does not "mutate" from being one kind of God to (eventually) being another,” and it goes on, but that makes the point. (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers) See also Heb.6:17-19) Godly Government has not changed in direction from the creation of the first two humans! It comes from the top down—never by voting and politics, but by appointment only. (Acts 6:3---whom we (the apostles) may appoint over”---
So what it comes down to is IF HWA (an apostle by ordination) was right on what he established on God’s Government from Scripture. Did it come from the bible and if so; why have so many changed from that and gone their own ways with their governing? They will have to answer that. So now let us ask ourselves; Did Christ allow for differing kinds of (and sometimes apposing) Government in His Church; the one body? The clear answer should be NO—Christ remains the head and director of the WHOLE BODY! That should be a simple answer for any true Christian, reflecting back on what the Bible reveals — one who believes and has proven it for themselves from the Bible many times, over many years. Christ would have had to change His approach on governance; from being the God of the OT, when becoming flesh and the Son of God. Did this happen? Once again, what does the Scripture reveal? Rev 1:8, He tells John "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." He is now alive as Jesus Christ, an eternal being born of a resurrection from the dead. (Col.1:18) He came once in the flesh and died as our sacrifice and will come a second time. (Heb.9:28) When He was the Word God and creator (John1:1-4) God of the OT, the Almighty who spoke to Abraham, He had also previously given the governing structure and way to live at the beginning with Adam and Eve, then again to Israel. His way of Government and authority was rejected on both counts by the vast majority. If Adam and Eve had obeyed God and rejected the devil, the Government of God could have been restored soon after creation, sparing humanity from all evils, death and suffering brought on by Satan.
This point on Godly governance my friends, also relates to what a Kingdom is made up of, as we know it; being 4 separate and distinct things. First off is a King, which Christ will return as, ruling with His first fruit Family made spirit; (Rev.11:15&19:7) then #2 laws to govern the Kingdom by (which are the same laws of God and ways that have always existed.) #3 is having subjects to rule over, (all of humanity on earth during the 1000 year rule—Rev. 20:4-6) That Kingdom last of all, (#4) is also comprised of a territory (which will be the whole earth at that time)
What was HWA inspired to come to understand about the Government of God and how it relates to the COG? Without going into a lot more detail, he came to understand and taught that a true Christian is in training to learn this same form of Godly Governing, so they can teach it in the kingdom to and for humanity. He often quoted this passage in connection with true Christianity and proper governing; 1 Peter 2:21 “For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (RSV & ASV) God instituted His Government for man’s benefit at creation, placing the same Government in Israel as well as His Church, Christ being the head. 1 John 2:6 “He who says he abides in Him (Christ) ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” That is by Godly Government which is by appointment in qualified men, not by any human form of voting that can wrongly be influenced by partiality & Satan, as we have already seen.
What about people voting/balloting to elect their own leaders in the now scattered COG, supposedly guided by the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is of God and only guides in God’s ways! Here is what HWA wrote in the MOA (Pg.335) for tomorrow’s world and how it will be governed. Remember, he taught we are to be learning this same government today, as a true Christian. Quoting now, emphasis on his words mine; he said of this government: “We know it will be government from the top down. There is to be a definite chain of authority. No one will be elected by the people.” He said back on Pg. 49 that God’s Government is “never legislated by the people”. There is much more that could be said on this issue, but this brings me to what was recorded through Jeremiah the prophet and applies to us in this last era of the COG today; Jer. 6:16 “Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.” Israel could not enter their rest because of unwilling-ness to be governed by God in all things and neither can we. Heb. 3:18-19 reminds us, saying; “And to whom did He (God/Christ) swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
Deviating from any source of how God works and intends for us to work as the one body/church, or even watering it down to suite the ego of ourselves or of others— can become a waste of our time of working out our own salvation. Godly Government is essential for any true Christian to learn; then to teach, both for the Church and the human Christian family. Rev.3:19 tell the lukewarm to repent and be zealous, but will that happen in time to avoid the tribulation and perhaps martyrdom? Maybe even salvation? That is the choice at hand for the majority.
This is the editor for TCOGMSO.COM and this articles page. (Be sure to listen to Why do we need the Holy Spirit in conjunction with this for a better understanding, found on the Commentary page.)