Diamonds worth millions of dollars can change hands based on trust. There are no contracts, lawyers, or signatures. All deals take place verbally. A person’s word is his bond. This trust is sealed with a handshake and the following words – “Good Luck and Blessing,” spoken in Hebrew.
Trust is a form of self-government. There is no outside force or law that mandates that these transactions take place. An individual’s goodwill, name, and reputation are all the collateral that’s needed for a transaction to take place. The Bible establishes a good name to be of great value:
A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold (Prov. 22:1).
A broken promise can tarnish a person’s good name and ruin his or her business career.
As we’ve seen in the article “Avoiding the New Secular Theocracy,” the most important government is God’s government over all things. The second most important government is not the government of the United States. It’s self-government under God.
In every transaction, God is the third party.
When people hear the word “government,” they most often think politics. Limiting the meaning of the word “government” to politics dilutes and often voids all other God-ordained governments and the authority and responsibilities that go with them. In terms of self-government, individuals lose their identity and only become significant when they are used by the State.
The individual is of no consequence unless he or she functions in service to those who hold political power.
Adolf Hitler said:
It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation; … the position of the individual … is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole….1
In the novel Crucible Island “the individual should have no thought, desire, or object other than the public welfare, of which the State is the creator and the [unchallengeable] guardian. As soon as the child is capable of learning, he is taught the Socialist Catechism, whose first questions run as follows:
Q. By whom were you begotten?
A. By the sovereign State.
Q. Why were you begotten?
A. That I might know, love, and serve the Sovereign State always.
Q. What is the sovereign State?
A. The sovereign State is humanity in composite and perfect being.
Q. Why is the State supreme?
A. The State is supreme because it is my Creator and Conserver in which I am and move and have my being and without which I am nothing.
Q. What is the individual?
A. The individual is only a part of the whole, and made for the whole, and finds his complete and perfect expression in the sovereign State. Individuals are made for cooperation only, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth.2
Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) said, “Everything for the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”
To many Americans, the civil government is the foundation of our Republic. It’s not. Self-government under God is the true foundation. In fact, when you study the 1828 Dictionary of the English Language developed by Noah Webster, the first two definitions of “government” begin with self-government, not civil government:
GOVERNMENT, n. 1. Direction; regulation. ‘These precepts will serve for the government of our conduct.’ 2. Control; restraint. ‘Men are apt to neglect the government of their temper and passions.’
It’s only until the third entry that government mentions civil government to restrain people who violate the rule of law:
3. The exercise of authority; direction and restraint exercised over the actions of men in communities, societies or states; the administration of public affairs, according to the established constitution, laws and usages, or by arbitrary edict. ‘Prussia rose to importance under the government of Frederick II.’
The fourth entry includes family as a government.
4. The exercise of authority by a parent or householder. Children are often ruined by a neglect of government in parents. ‘Let family government be like that of our heavenly Father, mild, gentle and affectionate.’ Kollock.
It’s only in the fifth entry that government is used for the political sphere:
5. The system of polity in a state; that form of fundamental rules and principles by which a nation or state is governed, or by which individual members of a body politic are to regulate their social actions; a constitution, either written or unwritten, by which the rights and duties of citizens and public officers are prescribed and defined; as a monarchial government, or a republican government. ‘Thirteen governments thus founded on the national authority of the people alone, are a great point gained in favor the rights of mankind.’ Adams.
Notice that Webster’s political definition of government is not centralized. The founding of the United States came by way of 13 sovereign state governments creating a national government with limited political power and government setting firmly on self-government, “founded on the national authority of the people alone.”
In terms of the Bible, the word “government” includes the following:
- God as the original and ongoing Governor of all things.
- The individual in self-government under God (a person who governs his own behavior without external force). Self-government does not mean autonomous government, that is, where they are a law unto themselves, doing what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6).
The positive: the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23, especially “self-control”).
The negative: the deeds of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21; cf. 2 Tim. 3:2-7).
- Husband, wife, and children in family government. “If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim. 3:5).
- Ecclesiastical officers in church government: “tell it to the church” (Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 6). Church government settles disputes among members.
- Political rulers in civil government who are described by the Apostle Paul as ministers “of God to you for good” (Rom. 13:4).
The domino effect of poor self-government leads to the corruption of the family and church and capitulation to the messianic State (Judges 17:6; 21:25; Deut. 12:8 and 1 Sam. 2:12, 22, 13; 1 Sam. 8; also see Judges 9).
Early American textbooks taught these principles, for example, Alex L. Peterman, Elements of Civil Government (1903). “This text‑book begins ‘at home.’ The starting point is the family, the first form of government with which the child comes in contact” (5). “The family … is a form of government, established for the good of the children themselves, and the first government that each of us must obey” (18). “The office of a parent is a holy office and requires wisdom for the proper discharge of its duties” (19).
Failure to make distinctions among the various forms of government can and often does lead to tyranny by giving to civil government alone an illegitimate monopoly of power, authority, and sovereignty.
Lech Walesa, the winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize and president of Poland from 1990 to 1995, said the following about Ronald Reagan and his strong stand against Communism: “He was someone who was convinced that the citizen is not for the state, but vice-versa, and that freedom is an innate right.”3
When individuals lose their identity when civil government becomes the only government and people live in service to the State, “the standard of living falls, refugees flee across borders in abject poverty, and barbed wire and walls go up along borders. The leaders of the revolution need to force people to stay inside the borders of [the promised] paradise” that turns out to be hell on earth.4
If you want to change a nation, the place to start is with the individual, you and me. Change won’t be realized at the top until there’s good self-government under God at the bottom. We get the civil government we deserve.
- Adolf Hitler at Buckenburg, October 7, 1933, in The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1929-39, N. H. Baynes, ed., 2 vols. (Oxford, 1942), 1:871-872. Quoted in Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America (New York: Stein and Day, 1982), 3.(↩)
- Conde Pallen, Crucible Island: A Romance, an Adventure and an Experiment (New York: The Manhattanville Press, 1919), 109-110.(↩)
- Lech Walesa, “In Solidarity,” The Wall Street Journal (June 11, 2004), A8.(↩)
- Gary North, Liberating Planet Earth (Fort Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 64-65.(↩)