Though the United States presidential election happened only 6 weeks ago, it feels like a lifetime ago.
However, undiminished 6 weeks later is my shock that Obama won again, and with that, the terrible feeling that the US is under judgment.
I’ve been a political animal all my life. My father was politically involved in supporting candidates, and later as a candidate himself. I remember as a four or five year old, laying in dusty grange halls and admiring the colorful banners strung up. Later as a newspaper reporter I covered government, government officials, and took my duty seriously that we live in the greatest nation in the world and I needed to do my part in being an informed participant in elections and to be a journalistic watchdog of those who win them.
As a lover of history I feel deeply the sacrifices the Pilgrims made to dare cross an ocean in a tiny boat and start a new nation, and of the Revolutionaries who dared to poke a stick in the eye of the most powerful nation in the world, Britain, to separate and go our own way.
What American isn’t moved by the words in the Declaration of Independence, and who wouldn’t cherish the US Constitution? It hurts to see the government destroyed by man’s greed, sin, and God’s judgment due to the disobedience and opportunity we have squandered.
So government is always on my mind, and thus, when I read the famous ‘Christmas’ verse in Isaiah 9, I treasure these words:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
“Government shall be on His shoulders”
We usually focus on the child, or the titles for the child such as Counselor etc. But this blog entry is about government, on earth and in heaven; the present institution and the coming glorious eternity.
The Isaiah verse continues with the government theme:
“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:7)
The Hebrew word for government in the verse is misrah, meaning ‘rule, dominion’.
God is orderly. His orderliness extends to every atom in the universe, including the government of His temple and the hierarchy of His angelic host. Let’s look at the order of the angelic host for a minute.
In Nehemiah 9:6 we read of the host:
“Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.”
The word host here means tsaba: defined as army, war, warfare. It evokes the orderly organization of armies into cohorts, legions, companies, divisions, etc. as we know them on earth. Colossians 1:16 continues the idea that the angels are divided into divisions of hierarchical structures:
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him”.
No one is quite sure what those powers and principalities are or what they involve (except trying to thwart God’s plans as seen in the Daniel 10 verse below) because though the bible mentions the powers, principalities and thrones and dominions, they are not defined for us. Therefore there is much debate.
However we do know that the bible says that there was an angelic-demonic Prince of Persia who caused a delay in Gabriel’s dispatch to Daniel, and Michael had to come help break that resistance. (Daniel 10:13). Perhaps this is an indication of the fact that if angels are called “princes” in the heavenly realms, they also have “principalities.”
However since they are referred to as the host which means an army, one can perhaps safely say that they are a hierarchy. It’s just that no one is sure of the order from top to bottom.
Additionally, the bible mentions classes of angels such as seraphim and cherubim and archangels.
Isaiah 6:2 first mentions Seraphim. The word “seraphim” (singular is saraph) is probably a translation of ‘fiery ones’ and seems to stem from the fiery imagery in the Presence of God (cf. Ezekiel 1:27; Ezekiel 28:14).
The Cherubim seem to guard important things, like the Ark of the Covenant, and the Tree of Life. (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:20; Ezekiel 10:16). They may have four faces or two faces and wings and hands. Amazing creatures!
Michael is mentioned as an archangel (Jude 1:9) and the word archangel is translated chief angel.
Gabriel is an archangel too, identified so in translation of his name into the Hebrew, “man of El, archangel,” Strong’s 1403. Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21).
The verse 2 Peter 2:10 uses the word authority [some translations it is government] and the Greek translation refers to a hierarchy:
“But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.” KJV (lordship: divine or angelic lordship, domination, dignity, usually with reference to a celestial hierarchy.)
The word authority also indicates in the Greek, “dominion; a power exerting itself in a particular jurisdiction (“ruling”).
See how orderly everything is??
Though this survey of the angelic hierarchies and the dominions God has set up has been brief, I wanted to offer the concepts of order in established government as a comfort. God is orderly. Even though there is rebellion in heaven and rebellion on earth, what He has set up will be restored. Even though angels resist and try to thwart, and man is sinful and rejects, everything is still subject to His rule and He controls it.
If you love government at its best, all functioning perfectly for the common good, just wait until the government rests on Jesus’s shoulders! What perfection! What Good will come of it! What glory will shine upon Hm and through Him!
because He was born and lived and died and was resurrected, on His Day, He will restore all order and all the government will be on His shoulder. The government will function perfectly and in total harmony. Plus, no more elections and if there are no more elections there will be no more campaigns. Phew! His restoration of the government upon His shoulders is yet another blessing the baby Jesus as God-man gives us hope to look forward to!
Read this conclusion to Ephesians 1:15-23. I added the emphasis–
Thanksgiving and Prayer
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.