Explanations: Christians and politics

Make the cross count.

(The title of a pamphlet re politics.)

The crux of the matter the brochure is dealing with in my opinion is threefold:

  1. How do you understand the so called Cultural Commision in Genesis 1:28, what are its implications? 
  2. How do you see the world before Christ? 
  3. How do you see the world we are now living in? 

1 Genesis 1:28.

In our country Christians that have been educated like I have been, in general did not vote. Of late it has changed – not all of them, I admit. 
Of an influential one I read in a pamphlet what he had written about Genesis 1:28 in order to defend that he was a candidate for a certain political party. He mentioned the words in that verse as the proof, that it would be wrong to abstain from politics. 
My answer to that has been, that the verse does not give the commission to subdue the world, but the earth, quite a difference, and that having dominion over fish, fowel and living creatures only decides about the place of human beings in relation to other living creatures. It has nothing whatever to do with politics in our wicked world. 
In Genesis 2:15 we find mentioned another commission: “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it”. 
It has been a commission indeed, which however was restricted tot that garden. It supposed an enemy and we know he has come, but again I must say that it has nothing to do with politics in our world or society. 

2 The world before Christ.

We do not read about government after the fall. It has been the period in which men had to live according to their conscience. It ended in overflowing sin and therefore in the overflowing flood. 
After that God gave the commission in Genesis 9:6 “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man.” 
That commission implicates judgment by man which means government. In the old times it has begun with the headship of a father in the midst of his descendants, growing into a tribe. It developed into kingship. Kings have been mentioned in Genesis 14, where Melchizedek is also mentioned, a God–fearing man. 

With Abraham another period began. It involved the government of God in and through Israel. Though Israel had kings, chosen by God, their real King was God himself. He had his habitation in the Temple in Jerusalem. In Ezekiel we read that the glory of the God of Israel departed from that habitation and from the town. Since then God has given the power to the nations. The first nation in full power has been Babylon with Nebuchadrezzar, about whom we read in Jeremiah 27:4-8. 
That time of the nations is still going on and will end when will be fulfilled the many prophecies about the coming of Christ and his Kingdom (See Daniel 2:44, and in Daniel 7:9-14 the same thing, but in another illustration.) 

Daniel has been mentioned as an officer, an official or administrator in the kingdom of Babylon. That is correct. But he still was not a governor after his own choice or the choice of the people. His position has been the same as the position of an official in a town, province, or department now, though very high. He and his God-fearing friends did not form a political party nor try to obtain power. 
Daniel cannot figure as a justification for political involvement. 

3 The world we are now living in.

It still is the world in which the power is with the nations, but then that world after it has rejected Christ, Gods King. 
There is however another most important point. It is the fact, that every real (reborn) Christian is a follower of Him who still is the rejected One. He had no position in the world, nor has He now. In heaven indeed He has been glorified of which we have the image in Joseph, who had his bride (the church) when exalted as a king. 
The image of the rejected King, his position in relation tot the earth, we have in Moses who had his bride Zipporah when rejected and living as a shepherd in Midian. 
In Luke 19 we read the following passage: 
11 And as they heard these things, He added and spoke a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem and because they thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear. 
12 He said therefore, "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 
13 And he called his ten servants and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, ‘Possess it till I come.’ 
14 But his citizens hated him and sent a message after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ 
15 And it came to pass that when he had returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 
16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.’ 
17 And he said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good servant; because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.’ 
18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.’ 
19 And he said likewise to him, ‘Be thou also over five cities.’ 
20 And another came, saying, ‘Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid away in a napkin. 21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up what thou layest not down, and reapest what thou did not sow.’ 
22 And he said unto him, ‘Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up what I laid not down and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then gavest not thou my money unto the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with interest?’ 
24 And he said unto them that stood by, ‘Take from him the pound and give it to him that hath ten pounds.’ 25 (And they said unto him, ‘Lord, he hath ten pounds!’) 
26 ‘For I say unto you, that unto every one that hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him. 
27 But those mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither and slay them before me.’" 

Why that parable? Because they thought that the Kingdom of God would immediately appear, Christ taking power. In the parable He made clear that it would not happen that time, because “his citizens hated him and sent an message after him, saying We will not have this man to reign over us” (verse 14). 
The parable is about Christ, the King, who has been rejected by his people. But…. He has servants who recognize Him (verse 13). To them He gave pounds and He said to them “Occupy till I come” . 
They are his disciples and all who since that time have believed in Him. Their commission is not to influence the country and the wicked citizens, to try to introduce the principles of their rejected King or to try to come to some power there. Their commission is to gain money with the pounds He gave them. It is the commission to be a light in the world and to gain souls for Christ. 
As long as the King does not reign, his servants of course cannot reign either. They are nor called upon to change part of that country into a territory that accepts the King. 
On earth things will be set right by Christ when He has come again. He then will reign and his servants with Him (verse 17). For them that reject Him it will be judgment (verse 27). 
The destiny of the church and the Christian is heaven. Here a Christian is a foreigner. He has no commission to set things right here. He has to be and to do right himself of course, but has no responsibility for the world and its rulers, except praying, giving advice if possible and be a witness for the Lord. A ruling church and ruling Christians will be contrary to their position as followers of a rejected King in heaven. 
Only those will accept this vision, who want to take Scripture as the rule of their life. Human reasoning points into another direction. But what is human reasoning compared with the wisdom of God? 

It is remarkable, that “making the cross count” is in direct opposition to the view expressed in the brochure. When Christians let the cross count, they except to be rejected in the world with and just as their Lord. Rejected ones have nothing to do with politics on earth as long as their Master still is the rejected One. 
In order to make the cross count we should act according to the words: 
Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Hebrews 13:13 and 14.)

J. Ph. Buddingh