What Is Theocracy?

Theocracy means literally ‘the rule of God’ and the term was invented by Josephus (ad 38-c. 100) to describe the ancient Hebrew constitution and the role of Mosaic law. However, if you do not literally believe that the law has been handed down by God on tablets of stone, it may be difficult to accept theocracies on their own terms.

– Lincoln Allison

I make this small post to introduce an idea. Allow me to introduce you to a word which has greatly captivated my imagination of late, THEOCRACY.

The word can take on a variety of implications. One need only think of Iran, or Taliban controlled Afghanistan to see a purported theocracy in action. But this is not my meaning, when using the word.

The word theocracy originates from the Greek θεοκρατία (theokratia), meaning `the rule of God’ (Josephus). This in turn derives from the Greek words θεος (theos, from an Indo-European root occurring in religious concepts), meaning `god,’ and κρατειν (kratein), meaning `to rule.’ Thus the meaning of the word in Greek was `rule by god(s)’ or human incarnation(s) of god(s). (Wikipedia)

My usage of the word is to refer to the direct rule of God over man. Contrasted with `democracy (from Greek dēmokratiā : dēmos, people + -kratein, -to rule.)’, we can see two options: `God in charge’, or `Man in charge’. A.W. Tozer, in his sermon The Voice of Reform, mentioned the need to return to `the right human/Divine relationship’, which he described simply as `God on the throne talking, and man on his face listening’. This is the sense that I mean.

Essentially, by using the word `Theocracy’, I mean `allowing God the right to rule over your life’. In no way am I suggesting some kind of Dominionist or Kingdom Now theology (see my article `The Pontification of the `Modern Church‘ for some of my early comments on those theologies). After all, any attempt at man establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, by means of political influence, is mere Democracy, which still has man on the throne, albeit claiming to be in proxy for God. Theoretically one could say that the more people actively submit their lives to God, the more He will rule, in a secular sense, however history seems to suggest that the more secular power the Church wields, the more corruption infiltrates Christendom.

Scripture is clear about God’s Kingdom not being established, on Earth, until Christ’s Millennial Reign begins, upon his return. However, my reason for raising this theme is to suggest that we can obey Him, who is at present, invisible in preparation for His bodily return. Christ made many statements regarding those who will be be about his Father’s business when he returns, even implying that faithfulness in mundane things will establish an ability to be trusted with spiritual things.

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