Four Forms of Government

It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands and I ordained all their host. (Isaiah 45:12)

Government is that institution that is established through which rule is carried out. Over the centuries, mankind has tried a lot of options in an effort to find a means of government, a mechanism of management, that would make life livable and deal with issues such as crime, social justice, education, the environment, and so on. Some of these are known as oligarchy, monarchy, and democracy.

Yet the Creator of all that exists has already established the governing bodies through which His rule is to be carried out.

In fact, God has four basic covenants, four mechanisms through which He has chosen to rule. These are the individual, family, church, and civil covenants.

We might also call these four forms of government self-government, family government, church government, and civil government. I am using the word government in the biblical sense of a jurisdiction, a specific realm of authority that has been delegated to us to accomplish a given task.

This concept involves sovereignty (legitimacy to rule), representation (accountability to the rule of another), law (a moral code by which to rule), jurisdiction (authority to enforce something in the name of the ruler), and continuity (stability and longevity). Each of these is determined by the all-encompassing rule of God.

When most people hear the word government, what they think of is city hall downtown or Washington, D.C. But that is not the basic definition of government in the Bible. Rather, government refers to a sphere of delegated authority.

As you come to understand God’s kingdom agenda and how it applies to your life, consider the rule He has already established and the order through which He has ordained things to function and to work.