THE DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS.
During the Jewish age Jehovah was Israel's king, the Most Holy apartment of the Tabernacle, and afterward of the Temple, representing his throne, from which he delivered his rulings through the priesthood. This arrangement was, doubtless, typical of the arrangement for the coming age of restitution.
But we read that the people murmured, and desired a king like the heathen nations about them; and God complied with their wish, giving Saul, David, etc. But while appointing these, God merely allowed them to represent him, as we read: "Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah as king instead of David his father." (1 Chron. 29:23.) Because of sin, God removed his throne from them (Ezek. 21:26), but promised that Messiah should come as the true King for Jehovah's kingdom, not only over Israel, but over the whole world. When he came to his own they, as a nation, received him not, as foretold. He then gave them up and turned from them to take out a cabinet of official assistants for the kingdom from among the other nations of earth whom they called Gentiles.
These who are called out of the Gentiles are to be the Bride, the Lamb's wife, and joint-heir in His kingdom, but are told that now they cannot reign, but, instead, must suffer and be cast out and despised for their Lord's sake, and be subject to, or under the power of, the earthly authorities; UNTIL the "time comes for the saints to take the kingdom," when "the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High." (Dan. 7:27.) But this may not be, until the Lord takes to himself his great power and reigns. His kingdom shall break in pieces and consume all these present evil governments. As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers. (See Dan. 2:44; Rev. 2:27; Psa. 2:1-9-12.)
For awhile these governments persecuted the church--the saints--as Jesus had foretold should be the case, saying, "Whosoever will live godly [as God directs] shall suffer persecution." But some thought to improve on God's plan, and, instead of suffering, got the church into a reigning position; so, by a combination with earthly empires, they succeeded, and as a result Papacy was exalted and became the "MISTRESS and Queen of nations" (Rev. 17:5and 18:8).
Results show, how much wiser was God's plan than man's. Everything was changed; instead of suffering came honor; instead of humility came pride; instead of truth came error; instead of being persecuted she became the persecutor of all who condemned her new and illegal honors. Soon she began to invent sophistries and theories to justify her course, first deceiving herself, and then the nations, into the belief that the promised Millennial reign of Christ had come, and that her Popes were His representatives.
It was but another step to declare the Church infallible, and but another step to claim that the Pope, as the head of the Church, Christ's vice-gerent, must be infallible also. Thus, for centuries, she continued to add to her claims and to invent theories of tortures, purgatories, etc., to add to her influence and to give support to her authority, until "She made all nations drunk" with her erroneous doctrines. (Rev. 17:2.) She succeeded in convincing, for the time, the whole world of the truthfulness of her false claims. Then the kings of earth could not accept of a crown without her permission, unless her ministers performed the ceremony, and thus gave it her sanction. Thus she crowned the kings of Europe, and her head, the Pope, blasphemously claimed the proud title of "King of kings and Lord of lords"--the infallible.
When Protestantism sprang up it protested against many of her vices, and spurned her indulgences, disregarded her anathemas, but the right to rule over and appoint kings, and thus reign, was too sweet a pleasure to be cast aside. It proved a snare which hindered the Reformers from seeing that it was one of Papacy's boastful assumptions, hence they clung to this among other marks of the Beast. Protestantism soon began to sanction and appoint earthly potentates in the name of God, thus continuing and countenancing this invention and assumption of Papacy. Following the example of the mother's unlawful union with the world, the Protestant sects were also termed harlots. (Rev. 17:5.)
The recent crowning of the Czar of Russia by the authority, and as the head of the Greek Catholic Church, is an illustration of this principle. Every crowned head in Europe reigns by sanction of some religious system. Indeed, since none object to the principle, it follows that present rulers and their claims are sanctioned by every prominent sect.
What are their claims? Blasphemies! They claim that they reign "by the grace of God"--that God's favor to the nation is shown by His appointment of these to rule their respective States. In the name of God wicked men are often raised to power; in His name they both make and break covenants; in His name they declare war against each other, slaughter thousands, and fill thousands of homes with misery. In God's name they attempt to overthrow each other, whom they admit were appointed of God as much as themselves.
We complain not at their appointment, we interfere not in their exercise of their power, remembering that now we are commanded to be subject to the powers that be, which God has permitted. But say not "By the grace of God,"-- countenance not in the name of Christianity those whose appointment comes direct from the prince of this world-- SATAN--and whose interests they advance. (John 14:30.) [R507 : page 6]
This grand fraud, practiced in the name of Christianity, goes almost unquestioned among Christians, and puts their interests and sympathies on the side of oppression, rather than on the side of human freedom. But the question cannot long lie dormant; the irreligious will soon begin to use their reasoning powers on this question and others, and will act out their convictions so much the more as they realize the imposition practiced by religionists in the name of the Prince of Peace and God of Justice.
As an evidence of the development of thought on this subject, we quote the following from the N.Y. Post of recent date. It says: "Among all the strange beliefs of the race, there is none stranger than that which made God Almighty select with care some of the most ordinary members of the species, often sickly, stupid and vicious, to reign over great communities under his special [R508 : page 6] protection--as His representatives on earth."
To see this evil, or other evils, and not to expose them, is to be partaker in the evil deeds, for silence is CONSENT. We well know that some would counsel prudence, for FEAR of evil results from any change. Yes, fear is a great snare. True, it is the beginning of wisdom to fear the Lord, but even this soon gives way when we come into harmony with Him; for "perfect love casteth out fear." As for prudence, as generally exercised by the world, it has greatly hindered the truth always. It is better termed policy; we want none of it; for we read that God hides His wisdom from the wise and prudent, and reveals it unto those who will utter it unreservedly. (Luke 10:21.)
As for a change, that must come, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. We could not prevent it if we would, and those who really appreciate the blessedness of the change, from the dominion of the prince of darkness to that of the Sun of Righteousness, can only desire it.