Does God appoint the rulers of this world and does He control their decisions?

Howard Coles, Coleford, England

Category: Exposition


Does God appoint the rulers of this world and does He control their decisions?


It would appear from scripture that political appointments and the administration of the world are controlled by the Lord through a counsel of angels. Scriptures, which support this view, are:

1) Appointments made by the Lord

‘This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men’, Dan. 4. 17.

God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream communicating to him His decree as confirmed by a counsel of the watchers (angelic beings). The decree of the Most High was that he should be deposed but that his kingdom should be reserved for him once he had humbled himself. Daniel in his interpretation confirms that ‘The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will . . . after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule’, Dan. 4. 25, 26. It would appear from these verses that whatever form of national government exists it is God who decrees who shall have the rule, elections or no elections. Verse 17 also confirms that the Lord decides who shall rule ‘the basest of men’. This description being apt for many who have ruled through history up to the present day.

Romans chapter 13 verse 1 declares that ‘there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God’. The word ‘ordained’ means ‘ordering’ or ‘arrangement’. God sets rulers in their location, changes and directs them as He pleases. This does not mean that He ‘originates’ or causes the evil dispositions of rulers, but that He ‘directs’ and ‘controls’ their appointment. This also does not mean that He always approves their conduct; or, that what they do is always right; but the power entrusted to them is from God. He has the authority to remove them when he pleases and if they abuse their power, they do so at their peril. BARNES.

2) The administrative rule of heaven

‘And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so’, 1 Kings 22. 19-22. In these verses the curtain of heaven is drawn back and we are allowed to glimpse something of the administrative process that went on in heaven regarding an action upon the earth. In this case an evil spirit was allowed by the Lord to influence the prophets to lie to Ahab and Jehoshaphat and through this the divine will was accomplished.

3) Ruler’s decisions can be controlled by the Lord

‘The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will’, Prov. 21. 1. Executive decisions made by the rulers of this earth are under the permissive hand of God and if He deems it necessary to impose His authority and will, He will step in to control. This we believe has often been evidenced in time of war. Witness the illogical and sometimes irrational decisions of Hitler during World War II, which undoubtedly caused him finally to be defeated.

4) God removes rulers

‘But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end’, Dan. 7. 26. Daniel chapter 7 describes the course and history of four world empires, all of this history, past and future, being under the direct control of the Lord. Verse 26 refers to the removal by the Lord of the final world empire ruler. Ultimately His rule will be in Person. We await that Day with joy!

There are 31 articles in
ISSUE (2006, Volume 61 Issue 4)

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