Democracy is a False Hope

Most Christians assume that democracy is a superior form of government, but democracy is rule by the people (demos kratos = people rule). The problem is that sin and the fall means that people can make terrible mistakes, so democracy is dangerous. Many of the worst political dictators were voted into power by large majorities. Democracy generally results in the majority group in a society ruling over minority group that loses their freedom.

Winston Churchill's statement is often quoted, as if it were true. He said,

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.

This is nonsense. The best form of government is the kingdom of God.

Most Christians would be surprised to learn that God has never placed his blessing on democracy. They have not noticed that the bible is actually hostile to democracy. Few have noticed that Daniel and Revelation warn of a time when an evil democratic empire will control the world.

Wounded Beast

Daniel and John saw a beast rising out of the sea. It was wounded, but did not die. The wounded beast is a democratic empire.

As democracy has spread, the power of the state has expanded enormously. Although kings had absolute power, the scope of their authority and ability to levy taxes was limited. The modern democratic state has far more power than previous empires. It can conscript any citizen, male or female, to fight in its wars. The democratic state can tax income and wealth at whatever level it wishes. A democratic parliament can pass any law it chooses. Democracy has given the political state unprecedented power.

An example of this enormous power is the American invasion of Iraq. An invasion from such a distance would have been inconceivable in Nebuchadnezzar's time. The Roman empire could not have achieved such a decisive victory in so short a time. This American victory is just one example of enormous state power in action.


The modern view is that democracy is the ideal form of government, but it does not get a good press in the Bible. The biblical evidence is that when the people joined together to make a unanimous or majority decision, they usually got things wrong. There are some examples.

The children of Israel frequently voted to return to slavery in Egypt, rather than follow God into the promised land.

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death" (Ex 16:2,3).

If Israel had been a democracy, it would never have got into Canaan. A democratic vote will often go the way of the world.

Even when they could see into the promised land, the people voted against going into it.

That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? And they said to each other, "We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt"

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: "How long will this wicked community grumble against me (Num 14:1-4, 26,27)?

The people wanted to elect a leader to take them back to Egypt, because they thought that obeying God would be too tough. This is typical of democracy. People will rarely vote for a tough option, even when it is needed. They will generally vote for the option that produces the most comfort.

Democracy often led to idolatry.

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him" (Ex 32:1).
Aaron took their jewellery and built a golden calf.
So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry (Ex 32:6).

Democracy produces leaders who pander to the desires of the people, so it cannot be counted on for leaders who will serve God. This pattern continued throughout the history of Israel.

This is what the LORD says about this people: They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet (Jer 14:10).

The people frequently voted with their feet for the worship of idols. In the modern world, we have made an idol of democracy.

Gideon understood this problem well.

The Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us-you, your son and your grandson-because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian." But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you" (Jud 8:22,23).
This is a good example of democracy getting things wrong. The people voted Gideon for president, but that was not God's will. Gideon understood the issues better and reminded them that God was their ruler.

The decision by Israel was to have a king was contrary to God's will, but it was a democratic decision.

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles" (1 Sam 8:19,20).

The people voted to be like the other nations, despite Samuel warning that this would not led to blessing. Democratic elections do not bring forth the best leaders.

Jesus was crucified by a democratic decision.

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified (Matt 15:15).

The representative of the evil empire wanted to set Jesus free. However, he agreed to put the decision to a vote, and Jesus was sent down. Democracy perpetrated the greatest injustice that has ever been done by sentencing the only perfect man to death for crimes he did not commit.

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge.. because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children (Hos 4:6).

Given that democracy gets things wrong so often, it is hard to understand why Christians are so enthusiastic about democracy.

Christians have tended to recommend democracy as a political solution, but there is no biblical reason for this enthusiasm. People power leads to oppression because the crowd is usually wrong.

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd (Ex 23:2).

We should be careful about recommending a system that does not have God's approval. Just as a thorn bush cannot produce apples, a system where man establishes the laws, can never advance the Government of God.

Most Christians believe that we can make the democratic system to work according to biblical principles. Their answer is to get more Christians elected, so they can pass Christian laws. Efforts in this direction have only had limited success. The true answer is that democracy will have to go, because it has no place in the kingdom of God.

End of the Beast

The book of Revelation tells the story of the rise and fall of the democratic state. Although it achieves power, it will eventually collapse under its own weight. When man ignores God, things go wrong on earth. The curses and plagues described in the book of Revelation are the consequences of rampant state power. The democratic state will demand more and more power to deal with these problems and plagues, but they will back fire. As they demand more power, the problems will just get worse. Eventually everything will collapse under the strain.

This will present a tremendous opportunity to Christians, if they are ready. Thing will get so bad that the kings and politicians will want to hide.

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains (Rev 6:15).

The powerful people will be so shaken that they will want to hide.

Mary prophesied the collapse of human government.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble (Luke 1:51, 52).

The birth of Jesus marked the beginning of the end for human rulers. They will be brought down from their thrones as their empires collapse.

The people of the world will be looking for a better form of government. They will have had enough of human government and be open to an alternative. If Christians are ready to present a alternative, it will be well received. People will be crying out for the government of God.

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever (Rev 11:15).

The collapse of human government will great a great vacuum that only the government of God can fill.

Christians must not use force against human government. They must wait for God to judge it. They should wait for it to collapse under its own internal weakness.

A lot of stuff might have to happen first. Christian communities will need to be restored in every location. During the transition, these communities may have to protect themselves from attack and provide economic support fore each other as the global economy breaks down, but that is another story.

When the kingdom of man collapses the kingdom of God will emerge.

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