Hubby and I recently had a profound conversation (snicker) about ancient Israel and the Law and the Old Covenant and the New Covenant and so forth . . . because we’re all religious and intellectual like that.
I remarked on how frustrated I get at many Christians pulling out stuff from the Old Testament and God’s relationship to Israel and applying that to America today. Ancient Israel was a theocracy. God lived in the tabernacle, God gave them the laws, God spoke and judged through the prophets. In fact, it was the only genuine theocracy ever, probably – that is, direct rule by God.
The United States is NOT a theocracy. It is a democratic republic. Applying the practices of a theocracy to a democratic republic just doesn’t work.
But this brought us to an interesting question: what if we had to live in a theocracy? What if the only nations that existed were all ruled by the heads of religion? I would love to ask my non-religious friends, what religious theocracy would you choose to live under if you had to live under one? Do you want the Pope for your Emperor? Or a Muslim imam? The Dalai Lama?
Considering that Christianity is probably the most familiar religious system to most Americans and would perhaps feel the most comfortable, I kind of bet most of my friends would say they’d choose a Christian nation . . . IF that nation was actually legitimately run on actual Christian principles, on the genuine teachings of the Bible and not on the selfish, arrogant Pharisaic rules of sinful men pronounced in the name of Christ.
And there’s the problem with a theocracy, any theocracy. Apart from that brief moment in history when God lived in a tabernacle among his chosen people, theocracy on earth isn’t really “rule by God”; it is “rule by a bunch of fallible and sinful people who think they know what God wants”. Even if they legitimately wanted to run a country based on Christian principles, they would be fallible and possibly mistaken in their interpretation of those principles . . . and they would be sinful and subject to being corrupted by their power and warping it all.
Which is why we have a democratic republic where religious freedom is protected. Until the new heaven and new earth of revelation is here, and “the tabernacle of God is with men” once again, this is the best we can do.