presidential election of 2008 will likely raise some challenging
heavy questions in the minds of voters. One of those areas
of concern will be religious affiliation—and another
will be the impact of real or perceived differences between
Conservative and Liberal “values.”
elections in this first decade of the 21st Century have been
and will be highly visible and hotly contested. However, the
landscape of each is vastly different. “Change”
as a theme has captured the imagination today of many in the
US. “Change” has been the keyword, which saw supporters
of both a woman and a minority group man struggle for the
votes of their party to achieve a place never before attained
by either group. By contrast, “change” and “hope”
have been violently snuffed out in other lands. For example,
Kenya has suffered from stubborn and violent tribal partisanship
and Zimbabwe from fraud and thugs wielding the vicious arm
of political oppression.
2001, for various reasons, elections in Iraq, Afghanistan
and the Arab Middle East have been spotlighted for world media
consumption. Free democratic elections have been pushed to
the forefront of international news during this decade. Often
the media presents prepackaged images and gives the illusion
of a society free to decide and participate in honest elections.
One classic example of deceptive media coverage was the photo
image of Yassir Arafat raising his hand claiming to represent
his voting to remove from the PLO Charter the goal of the
destruction of Israel—a commitment as part of the Oslo
Peace agreement. In fact, he did no such thing. Nevertheless,
the world community were delighted to believe the lie that
he was an honorable peace partner.
false images are hard to erase from the memory. More recently,
an image lampooning Barak Obama printed in a magazine with
a relatively small circulation was given instant world-wide
visibility. Media did more to spread the caustic image than
did the original issue of the magazine! Whatever its intended
purpose, it placed in the minds of the electorate—and
the world community—a distorted, slanderous impression.
mistakes, deception, mismanagement, oppression, corruption
and abusive power dominate the political landscape—the
common folks suffer. Thomas Paine said, we do not live in
a perfect state of nature. He suggested some form of representative
government as best. Thus, in an imperfect society, without
honest, free democratic elections, the people remain shackled
to one dictator or another. One can only hope that democratic
electoral change would bring the needed relief—and not
merely the exchange of a “puppet” for a dictator
or visa versa.
Israel is faced with reticence on the part of its legislators
to call for new desperately needed elections (even though
they know they need to remove the current ruling party). Why?
Because they are fearful that they too will be voted out of
power themselves. This lack of political integrity is costing
that nation dearly.
promise of "Change" has been the slogan most associated
with the US primary elections this year. The entire battleground
for the nomination to the presidency has been unprecedented.
The US came close to handing the nomination to a woman. But
still equally unprecedented is the fact Senator Obama, whose
father was from Africa, has come so close to attaining the
However, all of these election issues pale in significance
to yet another election which has been in process for almost
2000 years: God's Elections. His elections will bring the
greatest change—a change all peoples have ever longed
Elections of the Past
the past God permitted certain powerful leaders to come to
power to serve his own purposes. A pharaoh, "which knew
not Joseph," arose in Egypt at the right time as Moses
speaking for God said to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose
I raised you up, to demonstrate my power in you and that my
name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth"
(Ex. 1:8; Rom. 9:17). Pharaoh served God's purposes. When
it was time for the Babylonian world empire to end, God overruled
that Cyrus came to power. "Thus saith the LORD to his
anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue
nations before him...to open before him the two-leaved gates
[of Babylon]...I will break in pieces the gates of brass and
cut in sunder the bars of iron...For Jacob my servant's sake,
and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name:
I have surnamed thee, though thou has not known me" (Isaiah
45:1-4). Cyrus did not know God, but God picked him for power
because He knew Cyrus would be generous enough to make a decree
that the Jews could go back to their Land and rebuild their
itself only needed God's one vote to be considered the "elect"
of God. "As touching the election, they [Israel] are
beloved for the fathers' sakes" (Romans 11:28). What
purpose does God's election of Israel serve? To the first
father of Israel, Abraham, was given the promise, "In
blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply
thy seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which
is upon the sea shore... .In thy seed shall all the nations
of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice"
(Gen. 22:18). Passed down to Isaac, then Jacob and then his
twelve sons the nation of Israel inherited this special choosing
of God. "O children of Israel...you only have I known
of all the families of the earth..." (Amos 3:1,2). This
election of Israel meant not only special care by God, but
also special responsibility and therefore special chastisements
Blessing of the Non-elect
is not generally comprehended is that the choosing of the
seed of Abraham was not just for the blessing of the seed
of Abraham. The selected "seed" was and is to "bless
all the families of the earth." In other words, Israel
was elected to be an instrument of blessing to the non-elect!
say Israel had lost their chance to be blessers by not accepting
Jesus Christ is to ignore the Apostle Paul's powerful discourse
in Romans 11. Yes, "the election hath obtained it, and
the rest were blinded" (Romans 11:7). Only a few accepted
the call to become Christians, but Paul concludes that this
blindness would only last until the Church was complete, "Blindness
in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles
be come in" (Romans 11:25). After that time, "Thus
all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, the Deliverer
will come from Zion, and he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.
And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."
Christians are very enthusiastic about the present regathering
of Israel, but their expectation is that only a small remnant
will be saved and up to 10 million damned. If that were true,
it would be a gross exaggeration for the Apostle Paul to say,
"All Israel will be saved." Then too, to say this
has already happened that "all the families of the earth"
have been blessed would also be a gross exaggeration on God's
The Elect: Two Parts
is also not appreciated generally is just who is this chosen,
elected "seed"? The promise is that the seed would
be as the "stars of heaven" as well as the "sands
of the seashore." The elect seed would be both spiritual
and earthly. Most Christians usually only appreciate half
the promise, that is, regarding the heavenly seed. But the
spiritual "seed" will work together with the earthly
"seed" to bless all the families of the earth. The
Christian elect will work through the earthly elect to bless
all the nations (Isaiah 2:1-4) God's promises concerning those
whom He elects are not an exaggeration!
can a Christian do now to "bless all the families of
the earth"? Or at least some of the families of the earth?
Wouldn't the best and most efficient plan be to exert good
Christian influence on the governments of this world, its
laws, its policies? Christian involvement in politics is nothing
new. Back in the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine legalized
Christianity thinking it useful for adding some stability
to his wobbling Roman empire. On the other side, grasping
Christian leaders who were eager for more power consorted
with his civil government. Why wait for Christ's kingdom when
we can help it happen?
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world, else would
my servants fight," he could have just as easily said,
My kingdom is not of this world, else would my servants vote...or
run for office... On the contrary, he taught his disciples
to pray for the coming kingdom, "Thy kingdom come, thy
will be done on earth as it is in heaven." But Christians
became weary of waiting, weary of being persecuted. Ambitious
leaders in the church rose to power. They violated the laws
of ordination laid down by the Apostles in the early church.
Members of each congregation were responsible for placing
their leaders into office. That responsibility was relaxed
and "wolves" were quick to swoop in and take advantage
of the flock. Paul had warned, "After my departing shall
grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock"
in the Church
of church leaders was the custom in the early church. "And
when they had ordained them elders in every church and had
prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord"
(Acts 14:23). The word for "ordain" comes from a
root word meaning "to stretch," and so means "to
be a hand-reacher or voter (by raising the hand)" (strong's
exhaustive concordance of the bible, #5500). Scripturally,
church government means, therefore, congregations electing
pastors! It does not mean appointments of church leaders by
some self-appointed board or body of people. If the early
church practice would not have been changed throughout the
Christian age, what a different history we would have of the
Christian church! Instead of getting involved in secular affairs
of state, Christians should have taken the responsibility
of electing their own leaders.
New Testament gives specific guidelines for election of the
office of "overseers" in the church (I Timothy 3:1-7;
Titus 1:5-11). The Apostle did not leave these regulations
as a quaint protocol just for his time for electing servants
in the church. The qualifications for office are clear: A
candidate must be apt to teach, not a novice; possessing a
blameless reputation, just, holy, able "both to exhort
in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict"
(NAS), etc. But gradually the bodies of believers from city
to city surrendered their responsibilities to hungry "wolves."
Soon the prominent bishops in each church yielded their allegiance
to the most powerful bishop in Rome. While later some Christians
rejected the Bishop of Rome, they still usually fell short
of claiming their scriptural responsibility for electing their
own elders or pastors.
what is a Christian to do? Yes, Christians are to vote. They
are to vote in their congregations as the Apostle Paul laid
down the inspired regulations. No, they are not to participate
in the governments of this world by voting or getting involved
in politics. But they are to be law-abiding and "render
unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things
that are God's." And yes, they are to have faith that
those whom God brings to power (Romans 13:1-3) are permitted
for a time to serve God's own purposes in the outworking of
His divine plan.