For more than 200 years, other nations have looked to the United States as a bastion of democracy. In recent years, however, former allies have distanced themselves, and the spread of Islam has challenged Western values. Does democracy have a future? Your Bible reveals the surprising answer!
In his very first press conference after last November's election, United States President George W. Bush said: "If we are interested in protecting our country for the long-term, the best way to do so is to promote freedom and democracy." In that November 8, 2004 press conference, Bush spoke of pursuing, along with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, their "vision of spreading freedom throughout the greater Middle East."
Most Americans, and millions of others in the Western world, seem pleased with this approach. In fact, many believe that American voters gave President Bush—who received the most votes ever for a President, and was the first President elected with a majority of the popular vote since 1988—at least a limited "mandate" to pursue his major goals of conquering terrorism, improving education, keeping the Social Security program solvent, and making an effort "to promote freedom and democracy" in the Middle East and around the world.
These are all worthy goals, and it would be hard not to hope that President Bush would achieve success in reaching them. After all, we all want peace in the world, financial security for the elderly and good education for young people. But is it realistic to believe that President Bush will attain all of his objectives? Is it realistic to think that millions of people in the Middle East—many of whom are Muslims unfamiliar with democracy—will all learn and successfully practice a democratic form of government? And with its ever increasing, gargantuan national indebtedness, how can we imagine that "all will be well" within not just Social Security but indeed the whole American economy—that it will sustain the affluent lifestyle to which Americans have become accustomed?
Who is kidding whom?
In fact, partly because of democracy, America is headed for a financial catastrophe over the next decade unless major changes occur! As USA Today pointed out in a front page article last October: "American taxpayers have a hidden debt of at least $53 trillion in government obligations, mostly from Medicare, Social Security and the federal debt. This debt equals $473,456 per household, dwarfing the $84,454 in personal debt per household owed for mortgages, car loans and other borrowing. The federal government would have to double taxation or cut benefits in half immediately to make good on its promises of providing health care and pension benefits for retirees in the coming decades. Both major political parties and the presidential candidates have avoided confronting the problem for fear of angering voters" (October 4, 2004).
As the above article states, the "fear of angering voters" made it certain that neither candidate in the 2004 presidential campaign talked openly about the issue of America's massive indebtedness. So the voters were "kept in the dark." The voters were not even informed that a colossal financial "iceberg" is about to hit "Battleship America"—and possibly even sink it!
Because, in our modern "democracies" (whether pure democracies or representative republics), the politicians campaigning for public office must be very selective about which facts to tell the voters. Generally, they must tell the public only what the people want to hear—whether it is true or not. If the politicians confront the public with too much reality, it is equivalent to committing political suicide! Additionally, the successful politicians are usually the ones who promise the most: "I'll cut your taxes and still give you greater benefits."This is "democracy at work."
However, from a historical point of view, the "game" is almost over. As Eugene Steurele, a highly respected economist at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, stated: "It's a game of chicken, and nobody's moving even though we have a crash coming" (ibid.)
Top economists and financial experts agree about the looming catastrophe caused by our growing financial indebtedness. In the last few decades, the fiscal policy of Democratic and Republican administrations alike—from President Lyndon Johnson and his "Great Society" to the current President Bush—has contributed to the risk of the U.S. soon facing total bankruptcy. And the American people have certainly been complicit in this. For the public wants more and more. People will vote—in our "democratic" system—for the politician who promises the most "goodies," even though he completely avoids telling the public how he plans to pay for them.
In his informative book, America the Broke, economist Gerald J. Swanson explains: "History teaches that, sooner or later, all great nations perish. According to eighteenth-century Scottish historian Alexander Tytler, the average life span of leading civilizations is just 200 years. If true, the United States, at 200-plus years, may be living on borrowed time. Yes, we are still the world's undisputed superpower. But we are frittering away the economic strength that supports our dominance. In a very short time, we could go from being a superpower to becoming super-powerless. Tytler foresaw the explanation for our present plight. 'A democracy is always temporary in nature,' he wrote. 'It simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government,' because, sooner or later, 'voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the Public Treasury. From that moment on,' Tytler observed, 'the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the Public Treasury, with the result that every democracy will always collapse due to loose fiscal policy'…. Alexander Tytler, whose ideas are sadly neglected these days, made another observation worth pondering. Since the Athenian Republic two millennia ago, he wrote, all democracies have progressed through the same stages: 'From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again into bondage.'"
All democracies pass through these stages? Most Americans are not aware of this. Most Americans pay very little attention to history. For we want "fun" and we want it now!
"But really," most Americans will say, "in spite of all these potential problems, isn't democracy the best and safest form of government?" Certainly democracy has proven itself a better form of government than communism or fascist dictatorship. As Sir Winston Churchill said, speaking in the British House of Commons: "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time" (November 11, 1947).
Sir Winston certainly knew that modern democracy is a relatively new phenomenon. For thousands of years, nations all over the world got along without it. Many successful nations and empires thrived for hundreds of years without practicing democracy. But millions of younger Americans, Britons and Canadians perhaps just assume that a nation has to practice democracy in order to be wealthy and strong. Our booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy, thoroughly explains that the American and British-descended peoples became wealthy and powerful because Almighty God has specifically blessed them in these latter days, to fulfill His promise to the patriarch Abraham. Be sure to request and study this eye-opening booklet if you have not already done so. It will be sent absolutely free upon your request.
The American "experiment with democracy"—as it was called for many years—has been successful primarily because of this magnificent promise of national greatness that God has fulfilled. However, an additional reason for America's success is its founding fathers, who have been described as a most unusual group of men, uniquely qualified to establish and carry on the type of government America now has. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and many other of the original American leaders were extremely intelligent, highly educated and thoroughly familiar with English common law and the principles upon which American democracy was built. Therefore, totally unlike the vast masses of uneducated people in the Middle East, for instance, who have never had any experience with these institutions, these men were able to establish the kind of government we now have and make it successful. Many of our own early leaders deeply understood that not just any people, anywhere, could make democracy successful. In fact, John Adams, the second President of the U.S., stated: "We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
What constitutes a "moral and religious people"? Millions of Muslims in the Middle East feel that "American democracy" has generated and is now exporting wretched films, magazines and music that glorify illicit sex and violence, tear down the family structure and other institutions, and even blaspheme God. It is hard to argue with that!
Although democracy appears to give the people what the majority want, in practice it often turns out that a small select group of people actually control the government. George Will is one of the most highly respected columnists and news analysts in America, and has written of his fears that America is becoming a "judgocracy"—that activist judges are taking away legislators' power to write laws, and are instead pronouncing laws based upon their own political persuasions. This has been happening repeatedly in recent years, even to the great consternation of President Bush and other leaders.
Author Gene Edward Veith commented about this very matter: "This puts conservatives at a significant disadvantage. Liberal jurists can throw out laws they do not like, while insisting that people follow the laws they do like to the letter. This puts conservative jurists, who on principle follow all laws, at their mercy. This judicial stranglehold leads to constitutional crisis. When courts make laws—and not the people or their elected representatives—we have passed from democracy to oligarchy. When the courts are no longer bound by the Constitution, then their power is unbounded" (World, September 11, 2004).
Regarding "oligarchy," U.S. House of Representatives member Bernard Sanders (I-VT) wrote: "Oligarchy refers not just to the unfair distribution of wealth, but to the fact that the decisions that shape our consciousness and affect our lives are made by a very small and powerful group of people. The mass media (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, publishers, movie and video companies), for example, are largely controlled by a few multinational corporations that determine the news and programming we see, hear and read—and, ultimately, what we believe. While violence, scandal, horror, sports and Rush Limbaugh are given much attention, we are provided with virtually no in-depth analysis of the problems facing working people or their possible solutions. Economic decisions that wreck the lives of millions of American families are made by a handful of CEOs. While these corporate leaders bemoan the breakdown of 'morality' and 'law and order,' they close down profitable companies, cut wages and benefits, deny retired workers their pensions and transport our jobs to Third World countries. American workers, who have often given decades of their lives to these companies, have absolutely no say as to what happens to them on the job. They are powerless and expendable, which is what oligarchy is all about."
So, again, who is kidding whom?
America is not only in danger of becoming a "judgocracy" because of the activist judges changing our entire way of life. We are also increasingly becoming an "oligarchy" because of the domination of our thinking, our corporations and many facets of our lives by a very small and very powerful group of people. Although this is not what the "founding fathers" envisioned, it is what the U.S. is swiftly becoming.
Therefore, why should we possibly imagine that an American type of government ought to be imposed on the primarily uneducated masses of the Middle East—who have no familiarity whatsoever with this form of government or with democratic institutions, and who are often opposed to democracy on very strong religious grounds?
Professor Bernard Lewis is widely regarded as one of the most respected historians and analysts of the Middle East and its problems. In his landmark volume, The Crisis of Islam, he describes the dangers of trying to impose democracy on Muslims, and how Islamic fundamentalist regimes have often come into power through democracy and voting: "Similar problems arise in Egypt, in Pakistan, and in some other Muslim countries where it seems likely that a genuinely free and fair election would result in an Islamist victory. In this, the democrats are of course at a disadvantage. Their ideology requires them, even when in power, to give freedom and rights to the Islamist opposition. The Islamists, when in power, are under no such obligation. On the contrary, their principles require them to suppress what they see as impious and subversive activities. For Islamists, democracy, expressing the will of the people, is the road to power, but it is a one-way road, on which there is no return, no rejection of the sovereignty of God, as exercised through His chosen representatives, [the Islamist religious leaders]" (p. 111).
Many religious Muslims see the very practice of democracy as an act of turning against God. So they are often violently opposed to it, and will fight to the death to stop the continuing practice of any sort of genuine democracy, though they may use "democracy"—the act of voting—for a short time if it allows them to overthrow the current regime and set up in its place an Islamic republic which then becomes a totally undemocratic and dictatorial regime!
In view of the problems associated with democracy, is there a better way? Is there a better form of government that would bring real and lasting peace, prosperity and well-being for the inhabitants of this earth? Yes!
That, in fact, is what the "Gospel" of Jesus Christ is all about! For Jesus Christ came to this earth not only to die as our Savior, but to bring the Good News of the coming Government of God that will soon be set up on this earth and bring peace and joy to all humanity! "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel'" (Mark 1:14–15).
The word "kingdom" means government. And although it is terribly neglected by most professing ministers of Jesus Christ, one of the primary emphases of Jesus' message was the coming Government of God. As the Apostle Peter preached the Gospel, he spoke of "Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:20–21).
Jesus told the Apostles: "And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:29–30). So the Apostles will be given thrones upon which to sit and rule over the twelve nations of Israel in Tomorrow's World. They will be assisting Jesus Christ in ruling and carrying out righteous judgment. For after the "seventh trump" is sounded, "the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
In Revelation 19:16, we find that one of Jesus' titles is: "King of kings and Lord of lords." So Jesus will be King of the other kings who will be ruling under Him and helping Him manage the affairs of the entire earth. As Daniel was inspired to tell us: "Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him" (Daniel 7:27).
In the parable of the minas (or "pounds," as the King James Version has it), Jesus described how the "overcomers" will be granted ruling authority over cities in the coming Government of God. The servant whose mina had become ten minas came to Jesus and was told: "'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' And the second came saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' Likewise He said to him, 'You also be over five cities'" (Luke 19:16–19). The true saints of Jesus Christ, who understand and are willing to genuinely obey His teachings, are now "in training" to become kings and priests under Jesus Christ in His coming Kingdom. As Jesus promised His followers: "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'—as I also have received from My Father" (Revelation 2:26–27). The Apostle Paul was inspired to describe how true Christians should now be preparing to assist Christ in ruling this world. Please read carefully this New Testament instruction in 1 Corinthians 6:1–5: "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?"
Notice that in God's Church, Christians should learn to "judge" the different problems that come up between them—not resort to dragging a brother before a worldly court. Then Paul reminds us that "the saints will judge the world" and thus should learn to judge the human difficulties and arguments that arise among ourselves.
All through this passage, Paul is clearly telling Christians that their future responsibility is to judge the world, and even to "judge angels" (v. 3). Why are professing Christians not being taught that this is their actual goal? The genuine future of true Christians is to assist Christ in ruling this earth—not floating off to heaven with nothing to do!
The Apostle John tells us in God's inspired word: "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6). And in Revelation 5:9–10, we read the "song of the saints" praising Christ and saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
Throughout the entire Bible, it is made very clear that there will be no "democracy" and no "voting" in Christ's Government. For as we read in Hebrews 13:8: "Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever."
As the "Rock of Israel" (1 Corinthians 10:4), Christ guided Moses to appoint the leaders under him in governing the entire nation of Israel: "Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens" (Exodus 18:21). This was definitely practiced through all the history of ancient Israel.
When Samuel was told to select a king to replace Saul (who had disqualified himself), he was tempted to anoint one of David's older brothers who looked more impressive. But Christ explained why this was wrong: "For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).
In our democratic system, a small group of insiders usually guides the situation so that the public is only told about a few potential nominees for office. Then, the campaigns for the nominees of each party are carefully orchestrated, and finally the public is allowed to vote for someone "acceptable" to those insiders. When they finally vote for one of the presidential candidates, for instance, the "Joe Publics" may know very little about the actual ability, personal habits and sins, problems or even the actual strengths of the person for whom they are voting. How many people would have voted for John F. Kennedy if they had remotely realized the extent of his alleged womanizing, and that through vote fraud the names of thousands of dead people buried in the cemeteries of Chicago and West Texas would be used to put Kennedy into office?Of course, it is well documented that each political party has committed various political shenanigans like this at one time or another. But the point is that the average voter often knows very little about the candidate for whom he is voting. The party insiders make sure that "bad stuff" does not come out until later!
How much better it will be in Tomorrow's World, when Jesus Christ—who "knows the hearts" of men—selects leaders who will function under His direction as King of kings! For Jesus Christ is very God. And He has perfect wisdom, total power and infinite love. He has great compassion for every human being, and will exercise total outflowing concern for our good. "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:11–14).
The inspired word of God tells us: "But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4). Also: "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (v. 9). So there will be no more war! And God's knowledge—God's approach to all things—will fill the earth.
In another prophecy for the "latter days" (Micah 4:1), God tells us: "But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken" (v. 4). God's word clearly describes a time of prosperity when each family will own its own property; when God will bless the weather and the crops and men will learn a way of life based on God's law of love. God describes that His people will be prosperous and happy when He redeems them from the soon-coming Great Tribulation: "Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs" (Isaiah 61:7).
The current practice of "politicking" and voting for leaders whom we really do not know or understand will soon cease. Although democracy may be one of the best humanly devised forms of government, it is not the "wave of the future" by any means. Truly, we all need to learn and understand God's form of government, for the true saints of God will soon be called on to administer that form of government in Tomorrow's World. All genuine Christians—and all men of goodwill—should learn to pray, with understanding: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).