God’s Warning About Governmental Oppression

Everyone has their own opinion about politics and government. It is one of the topics frowned upon during family events such as thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Even God himself has something to say about it. As a matter of fact, God gave Israel a warning and that warning was ignored. That same warning is still true today. Let’s see exactly what God warned Israel about.

Israel Rejects God

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 

5 and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

1 Samuel 8:4-5

Israel has a lot of freedom at this point in time. They are also unique as a result of all of this freedom that they have. If you know anything about how governments in recent history have been formed they start off in a very similar manner. Israel was not satisfied with their current governmental system. They were very quick to point out the problems with it. There is no doubt that it did need fixing. Samuel’s sons were judges over Israel. They were corrupt judges however. When corruption enters into even a good political system people are sadly way too quick to want to throw it out and start something completely different instead of fixing what they have.

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

1 Samuel 8:7

God was opposed to Israel having a King. Notice God’s words, “that I should not reign over them”. God did not want a government to reign over Israel. That was for him alone. A monarchy is a form of government. Any government that reigns over the people is putting itself in God’s position. This is what God is saying. The judges however had responsibilities that differed from the judges we have today. They did adhere to disputes as one would think of a judge to do. They also were responsible for military duties such as protecting the nation. The judges as with the Kings were not elected. God chose who would serve. Samuel’s sons were his successors.

God’s Warning

Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

1 Samuel 8:9

The people did not trust God. That is what it boils down to. Instead they wanted a man they could see, to rule over them. Israel had problems with the Philistines on top of it all. Israel had turned to worshipping Baalim and Ashtaroth. Turning from God to sin causes spiritual blindness. Israel was incapable of making any good decision while in that state. It is just like today. Look at the insane policies that are created by governments that oppose God and his word. The blindness is so thick that they are incapable of making any long-term logical good decisions for the nation. God uses this to allow their enemies to overtake them. God tells Israel over and over that their enemies will pursue them if they sin.

10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 

11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 

12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 

13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 

15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 

16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 

17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

1 Samuel 8:10-18

God’s Warnings to Israel

  1. Their sons will be drafted into the military. This is at the Kings will.
  2. Forced labor of the women. This is at the Kings will.
  3. Confiscation of property. He will take the best of them. This refers to the wealthiest and or the most desired of them. The government will confiscate any land deemed necessary or desired for any reason and redistribute them.
  4. A 10% tax on gain that will go to the King. God was warning Israel that this was a bad thing.
  5. He will create forced labor, not just for you and your sons and your daughter but also for your animals.
  6. Another tax on your livestock property.
  7. You will be a servant of the government.
  8. Because you have forsaken God and rejected him, God will not hear you when you cry out to him because of the oppressive governmental you are in.

The Blindness that leads to Oppression

Israel wanted a monarchy. They wanted that over freedom. Let’s take a look at the issues that brought Israel to this place.

1. Backsliding

They turned their backs on the true and living God and instead worshipped false gods. (Baalim & Ashtaroth)

2. Fear

They were living in fear of war. They were willing to give away their own freedom for security. They had the judges which would lead them into battle. That was not enough. They had the mentality, “If you will protect us, we will give you our freedom”.

3. Government Corruption

They had entered an era of governmental corruption. The only law they had was God’s law. It was the judges job enforce the law fairly and to handle disputes. This was the best type of government they could have had. It was what God wanted. It just needed fixed because of the corrupt judges.

Oppressive Governments

A monarchy is not the only type of government that will oppress their people. Many others will do the same using similar tactics. Let’s take a look at what Karl Marx believed.

The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.

Communist Manifesto, Chapter 2

Bourgeois is defined as middle class self-employed business owners. Communist sympathizers will say that this only refers to businesses. Many middle-class business owners work out of their house. Many farmers sell off of the same land they live on. To God, your property is your property regardless of if you also have a business on it. It is your right to own it.

There is no such thing as collectively owned property. It is impossible to do so. Why? People will not comply. What happens when they do not comply? By force it is taken leaving the property owner dead or in a labor camp. What happens after that? Who actually owns the land? It is the government that actually owns the land. The people do not own anything. Through the guise of “collective ownership” the government actually owns it all. The government can lie and tell the people, “It is you that own everything and share everything equally”. Of course, this is a bold face lie. It is the government that owns everything and that oppresses the people.

In China the government can shut down a church regardless of the say of the people. Through oppression they keep the masses in their place. If anyone speaks out, they are harshly punished. This is what God wanted Israel to avoid. God wanted them to be free to serve God exactly how he saw fit, not according to any King, tyrant, oppressor, or any government.

There are too many cases to list them all but after the confiscation of all private commercial property, privately owned houses are then confiscated. This is what happened in Romania in the 1940’s. The Venezuelan government is guilty of stealing private property.

In the 1930’s Stalin confiscated privately owned small farms from peasant farmers. Obviously, the poor peasant farmers did not agree with their small farms being taken by the state. In retaliation Stalin murdered, exiled, tortured, and threw in prison camps thousands to millions of innocent people. Afterwards Millions starved to death. All this was done under Communism.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.

Communist Manifesto, Chapter 2

All of these sound completely insane, which they are. Many of them can be easily compared to the things God considers oppression in 1 Samuel. The rest are addressed as being inconsistent with what God wants throughout the Bible. This is just parts of one chapter from the Communist Manifesto. There are many other forms of government such as Fascism that are just as evil and opposed to God’s desire for us that I have not even mentioned.

The Results of Stubbornness

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 

20 that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. 

21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. 

22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.

1 Samuel 8:19-22

The people refused to listen to God via his prophet Samuel. They wanted to copy the pagan nations and have a king. The assumption is that the king would judge fairly and that he would be a champion for the people and fight their battles for them which would lead them to victory. God gave them what they asked for.

If you have read the Bible you already know that Israel went through countless Kings that worshipped Baalim. These kings caused Israel to sin and turn away from God. This is what God did not want. The judges had limited power. Even with corruption Israel was better off with no king than with a king. When a king is corrupt it can divide or destroy the entire kingdom. We see this play out numerous times

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