How Would Jesus Vote?
by Mark Jenkins
How does Jesus Christ feel about George W. Bush? How does He feel about John Kerry? As U.S. election years go, this one is fairly interesting for the religious observer. Both candidates are trying to claim the religious vote. The Democratic convention was rife with talk about values, religion, military strength and other traditionally Republican claims. In accepting the Democratic nomination, Kerry said, “I don’t want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God’s side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country. These aren’t Democratic values. These aren’t Republican values. They’re American values.”
Naturally, Bush also talks about those things as he did in the 2000 election.
In The Faith of George W. Bush, the author claims then-Governor Bush told a Texas preacher, “I feel like God wants me to run for president. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. … I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.”
Both Senator Kerry and President Bush are portraying themselves as religious men. So should Christians simply try to identify the more devout man?
What about judging by specific issues? Should we go down a checklist of specific items and see which candidate agrees with us on abortion, the death penalty, homosexual marriage, or whatever other issues we might deem most important?
In 1992, Bill Clinton ran on the slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Will economic indicators determine the voters’ choice this time?
Many might cast their vote based on who they think will make the country safer. Who can keep us safest from terror?
But for a religious person, there could be no more relevant issue than God’s stance on the election. Philippians 2:5 tells us: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” We have an obligation to act as He would act. So who would Jesus Christ support?
For most people, elections tend to be built around modern issues. But how could present-day concerns be relevant to Jesus Christ, who walked the Earth two millennia ago? After all, gun control wasn’t much of an issue 2,000 years ago. Health care was not debated in the public square. There was certainly no fear that terrorists would blow up buildings. Jesus Christ, however, has a historical perspective that we often lack; the issues that are important to Him have not changed. If we are to understand who He supports in this election, we need to get His perspective. So let’s go back to the beginning.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens
and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). That statement establishes God as the authority here on Earth from its inception. Ezekiel 28:12-15 tell us that He delegated the responsibility of ruling the Earth to an archangel who was perfect—until iniquity was found in him. The great archangel Lucifer became Satan the devil, deceiving one third of the angels and attempting to overthrow God Himself (Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 12:4). God cast Satan down to Earth in defeat, but note this: Satan is still ruler of the Earth, even today! 2 Corinthians 4:4 unequivocally calls Satan “the god of this world.” God did not remove Satan from that position. Satan holds the office of ruler of Earth just as surely as George Bush holds the presidency of the United States. When this next election finishes in November, Satan will still be in that position!
This is crucial information for deciding how to cast your vote. Why? Because Satan’s rulership reveals the origins of our modern society. Let’s move forward in the story.
When Adam was put on Earth, he had an opportunity that would shape the next 6,000 years. He could have taken of the tree of life. Instead, Adam disobeyed God, subjecting himself to the will of Satan the devil and failing to replace Satan as ruler of the Earth. Genesis 3:22-24 tell us Adam was driven from the garden so he would not partake of the tree of life and receive immortality.
By the time of Noah, mankind was so corrupt that all but eight people were wiped out by a worldwide flood sent by God Himself. The leaders of their day were still under the influence of Satan just like their parent Adam.
After the flood, it didn’t take long for Satan to get a foothold. After he gained influence over a man named Nimrod, the first city, Babylon, was established. Soon more cities were established, all with kings who wanted to conquer. Eventually empires began to form. The basic principle of Babylonian government was competition and strife, based on greed and vanity. Modern governments are still based on this system founded in Babylon. Whether we call it democracy, oligarchy, monarchy or communism, government has always been driven by this same satanic spirit of vanity and greed.
The problem is that modern Christianity looks at the world and falsely assumes
that it is God’s world. But God’s principles are almost nowhere in sight! History does not show us a godly, utopian world. While many understand that certain elements are wrong with the world, they miss the fundamental truth that this is Satan’s world! Scripture labels it “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4).
That is why, no matter who is in office, we always see appalling evils! Granted, some politicians may be less unrighteous than others. Some may embrace more biblical principles than others. None, however, try to run their governments by the law of God; if they did, they wouldn’t be in office very long! Rather, an enormous effort is made to keep church and state separate.
Jesus Christ cares deeply about government. In fact, He came the first time to preach a message about government. But He isn’t returning to Earth to reform modern government. He won’t descend from the clouds with the U.S. Constitution in His hand and a message about the Electoral College. His message was about the soon-coming Kingdom of God, a world-ruling government that will replace man’s failed governments.
While Christ was on Earth, He did qualify to replace Satan the devil in what Herbert W. Armstrong called “the titanic battle of the ages.” He hasn’t assumed that throne yet though. He told the Roman governor Pilate that He was “born to be a king,” but His servants did not fight because His Kingdom was not on Earth! (John 18:36-37). The Bible is replete with prophecies about the Second Coming of Christ, but until that happens, we still live in Satan’s world.
Ambassadors for Christ 2 Corinthians 5:20 calls true Christians “ambassadors for Christ.” Christians represent Him and His government. So ask yourself, as a citizen of your own home country: How would you vote in a Russian election? How would you vote in France? Simply put, you wouldn’t! Nor would Christ or His followers be active in the politics of this world’s governments!
But, you might ask, how can I expect things to get any better if I don’t do my part? If I don’t participate in the election—if, in fact, no religious-minded person participates in the election—how can we expect to ever have a godly leader? How can we expect this world today to get any better?
In the November 1960 Plain Truth, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “Most churchmen today, viewing everything from the perspective of THE WORLD TODAY, blindly assume this is God’s world. They see certain forces of evil in it, and these they feel they must oppose. They see the Christian duty to be that of working to make this a better world.
“That concept is a wrong viewpoint altogether.
“This is not a world of God’s making. This is SATAN’S world! Satan is the invisible god of this world. He is the author of its organization, its basic philosophies, its systems of government, business, society—yes, AND RELIGIONS!”
A Christian’s obligation is to follow Jesus Christ. He did not try to reform Julius Caesar. He “rendered unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s”—as should we—but He did not play an active role in man’s governments. No matter where you live, you should stand out as a model of how to live. Certainly you should pay your taxes, obey the laws of the land, and show proper respect to the authorities that are in place. But as ambassadors, Christians simply cannot play an active role in the government. Jesus Christ didn’t try to make this a better world through political means. Rather, He laid the groundwork for the beautiful world to come. He called His followers out of this world, warning us not to be a part of the sins of those around us.
We are not to follow the same customs and traditions as those around us; rather, we are to live by every word of God (Luke 4:4).
Do you want to be kept safe from terror? Neither George W. Bush nor John Kerry can promise you that. But God can and does protect His followers.
Is the economy your concern? God unequivocally guarantees economic blessings to His followers.
If Jesus Christ were in Washington, D.C., He would warn, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). He would preach the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God! Actually, He does do those things through His Church.
Christ would not, however, run for office. He would not vote for a candidate who is, after all, working in a system that will soon be completely removed and replaced by a perfect government with Him at the head.
When Christ returns, He will establish the government of His Father in heaven, one that will “break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). In the wonderful World Tomorrow, there simply won’t be any candidates to vote for!
While we can’t make this a perfect world today, we can give its people desperately needed hope by showing them the future that is just ahead! That is what Jesus Christ would do.