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  • Writer's pictureRichard A. Jones

The Kingdom of Man—Government (Politics)

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

The Kingdoms of Man

Government (Politics)

In my last several posts, I have been exploring the imagery of the Genesis creation story as a glimpse into life on earth. Since these posts are available, I won’t give an extensive review of what I have said.

Suffice it to say that out of the first three chapters of Genesis, two story-lines diverge which weave their way through the entire Bible: The story of the kingdom, or purpose of God for his creation, and the story of humanitie's attempts to control life on earth on their own terms.

Although these stories are told through the eyes of the Hebrew people, their story is somewhat of an archetype of all humanity. Many of the details may be uniquely theirs, but I believe that the themes underlying the details transcend ethnicity, nationality, and time. In the next few post, I want to attempt to trace these two story lines through Scripture.


J.R.R. Tolkien, in his Lord of the Rings fantasy, has said, “Humans desire power above all else.” In an 1887 Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, British Historian Lord John Acton wrote the now famous statement, Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Power in human hands has been a problem ever since Eden, when the man and the woman chose to reject their Creator, be their own God, and seize life on their own terms. And again, when the man named the woman and declared his rule over her.

The human story of life on earth, to a great extent, seems to be the ongoing struggle for power. While the desire for power and control affects human relationships on all levels, the three main strongholds of power in human societies have been government (or politics), economy, and religion.

I realize that In being brief, I run the risk of oversimplifying. However, in this post and the two that will follow, I’m going to focus on how these institutions have been corrupted by power. And how God has, and continues to, call us back to his purpose.


In the Old Testament, the Hebrew prophet and Judge, Samuel, was a great leader. His sons, Joel and Abijah…not so much. ”His sons did not follow (Samuel’s) ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain, accepted bribes, and perverted justice.” 1 Samuel 8:3

The people got fed up with Samuel’s sons and wanted a king, like other nations. And so, God spoke to Samuel….”Warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” (1 Samuel 8:9)

To Paraphrase the rest of 1 Samuel 8: He will conscript some of your sons into his army and send them to war. He will take other sons and daughters and make them work for him. He will take the best of your farm land and one tenth of your crops and give them to his friends. He will take the best of your livestock, and anyone who works for you will now work for him. Do you think that he will fight your battles? No, you will fight his. Do you think that he will serve you? No, you will serve him………So go ahead, give them a king.

Some of Israel’s kings were better than others, but the corrupting influence of power always seemed to creep back into the system. Warnings were given in an attempt to keep corruption at bay and call the nation back to God’s purpose of equity, harmony, community, and peace.

“Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.

He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.’ So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red.

“Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? (Jeremiah 22:13-14)

The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself… He must not take many wives (I wonder how many wives were too many),… He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)

Let’s see how that worked out. The Hebrew king Solomon’s palace was over 11,000 square feet with so much cedar in it that he named it “The Palace of the Lebanon Forest.” He had 12,000 horses, and 700 wives. His throne was inlaid with ivory and overlaid with gold. His household articles and goblets were gold. And he received, about 25 tons (yes tons) of gold annually. Today’s price of gold is over $2000 per ounce. You can do the math, but don’t go to your calculator, it won’t compute that number. (See 2 Chronicles 9).

Does power corrupt? 2 Chronicles 26: 3-4, Uzziah became king at the age of sixteen, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-two years….he did what was pleasing to the Lord…Vs. 15-16 …until he became powerful. But after he became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God.


Thousands of years have gone by since the time of Samuel, Solomon, and Uzziah. What is the story of human government on the earth now?

Without going into detail, there are many different forms of governments in the world today and there is even disagreement on what label to attach to some of them.

If we want to see how dictatorships work, we could maybe ask the people of North Korea or Zaire. In many South and Central American countries, the oppressed rise up to overthrow their oppressors, and then they become the oppressors.

However, since I am most familiar with America, I will focus my attention close to home. I am thankful to live in America. I think our founders understood the danger of centralized power. By having a bill of rights guaranteeing personal liberties, and establishing the separation of powers with a system of checks and balances, our founders seem to at least try to curb corruption. How is this working today?


Lobbying is the system of either paying or enticing government officials in order to influence legislation that is favorable to the goals of the lobbying entity.

Throughout the 19th century lobbying was conducted mostly at the state level, however, in the 20th century lobbying migrated to the federal government and increased significantly. In 2022 lobbying expenditures in the United States exceeded 4 billion dollars.

When a bill is introduced into Congress it almost always comes with riders. By definition, a rider is…an additional provision added to a bill or other measure under consideration by a legislature, which may or may not have much, if any, connection with the subject matter of the bill. Simply put, the purpose of riders is to trade favors with other Legislators in order to get a bill passed.

Campaign donations are given to political candidates in an attempt to get them elected and influence them in matters that involve their office.

Lobbying, campaign donations, and riders on congressional bills—Now, I’m not a genius, but all of this sounds a lot like bribery. However, I guess I can rest easy because I am now informed that these are now called “government and legislative procedures.”

Maybe the familiar paraphrase from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is appropriate here. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” You can call it a legislative procedure, but bribery is still bribery.

And this offering of money, favors, and other benefits in order to get people into government office and insure legislation that is favorable to someone’s agenda is a large part of how our government operates.


It seems to me that the United States Government has now legitimized and normalized the age old practice of bribery and ushered in the corruption and injustices that accompany it.

The only ones who can engage in this bribery are those who have plenty of money to spend on such endeavors. This is the main reason that the poor have no real voice in government. They are incapable of paying for political favors.

When Samuel’s sons came into power…They turned aside after dishonest gain, accepted bribes, and perverted justice.” And these practices did not begin or end with them.

Pharaohs of Egypt, emperors of Rome, rulers, dictators, politicians presidents, and kings throughout history have accepted bribes, compromised truth, become rich, perverted justice, and even committed atrocities, by abusing power.


Yes, there have been good leaders also. And there is a difference between a good leader and those who exploit power. A good leader encourages independent thinking, listens, leads by example, and makes decisions with careful consideration and compassion, seeking the good of all those involved.

Those who exploit power view their opinion as superior to all others. They talk much and listen little. They lead by position and use it to manipulate people and circumstances. And they make decisions that primarily promote their own agenda. (Although they usually attempt to hide or disguise this).


From the end of King Solomon's rule, there were thirty-nine kings that reigned over Judah and Israel combined. Of the thirty-nine, there were only eight who could be called good Kings.

And so, in the ancient Hebrew history of kings the score was power exploiters—31, good leaders—8. There seems to have been no system of government devised by humanity that has successfully overcome the insidious lure of power.

But, power is not a problem of systems, It is a problem of people. Maybe there is some truth in John Acton’s statement, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

I will close with what could be called ten commandments for avoiding the corrupting effect of power:

—Be honest and speak the truth.

—Allow humility to crowd out all arrogance.

—Pursue the good of others.

— Refuse to manipulate people for your own advantage or agenda.

—Do not fall in love with the sound of your own voice, or make yourself the hero of all your stories.

—really listen to the opinions of others.

—Lead by example.

—Be willing to change your mind.

—Be a peacemaker where possible.

—And as Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God…”

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