Did you know that right now nearly 200,000 people are suffering in the modern-day equivalent of Nazi concentration camps? These horrifc work camps can be found in North Korea. This Asian country, officially and ironically named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is according to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights one of the worst offenders of all the nations when it comes to their appalling human rights record. North Korea’s government infringes on nearly all their people’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights such as the freedom to have an opinion and expression. Murder, torture, slavery, sexual violence, mass starvation, and other abuses are common methods employed by this authoritarian government to terrorize its population into submission.
When the Korean Conflict unofficially ended in the early 1950s, the dictator of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung, declared himself “Eternal President” and closed his nation’s borders to establish a totalitarian Communist government.
Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a persecution watch ministry, estimates that some 30,000 Christians suffer daily in these labor camps for the “crime” of not worshipping their “Dear Leader,” and many never make it out alive. VOM tells a true day-in-the-life story of Christian persecution in a little village there called GokSan. A pastor and 26 of his underground church members were bound and taken before a screaming crowd of Communists. Soldiers demanded that the Christians “Deny Christ or die!” Not getting the answer they were looking for, the soldiers then threatened to kill the children. The only response to be heard was a mother who leaned down and whispered to her young daughter, “Today, my Love, I will see you in Heaven.”
The Communists proceeded to hang the children. When the sobbing parents still refused to deny Christ, the soldiers rolled out a huge steamroller and proceeded to crush the remaining church members, all of whom were singing together, “More Love, O Christ, to Thee, More Love to Thee.”
God’s Purposes for Human Government
Regimes such as North Korea clearly do not understand the purpose of government. So, what then is the purpose of government?
United States Founding Father Thomas Paine, in his pamphlet Common Sense (1776), wrote that security is “the true design and end of government.” Another Founding Father, John Adams, in his book Thoughts on Government (1776), believed its purpose was to be found “in the goal of happiness through virtue.” Thomas Jefferson, in his writing titled Political Economy (1816) declared, “The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.”
Security instead of enslavement, justice instead of corruption, virtue instead of vice, and the preservation of the happiness of its people rather than the cause of their suffering — those were the godly ideals these men founded a nation upon. These ideals correspond to what the Bible says is the true purpose of government — namely, to provide an atmosphere in which believers can live, as 1 Timothy 2:2 teaches, “a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
Are nations like North Korea merely bad apples, or do they demonstrate that government is in and of itself inherently evil? Because they were steeped in the Bible, the Founding Fathers thought very poorly of human government. Thomas Paine wrote, “Government, even in its best state is but a necessary evil, in its worst state an intolerable one.”
The reason the Founding Fathers believed government was inherently evil was because they believed in the biblical teachings (such as Romans 3:23 and 10:10-18) that mankind is inherently evil and in need of a Redeemer. In fact, Jeremiah 17:9 reveals that there is nothing more corrupt than the human heart!
Therefore, the Bible warns over and over not to trust in Man. One of the strongest of these warnings is found in Psalm 118:8-9:
It is better to take refuge in Yahweh than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in Yahweh than to trust in nobles [politicians].
As another Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton confirmed,
Men are inherently evil, governed by greed and lust and love of power and a host of even less endearing passions.
America’s first President, George Washington, put it this way:
Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
The authors of the United States Constitution knew that while human government is a necessary evil, it remains prone to falling into villainy and corruption. Therefore, in their writings, they wisely taught that government must be limited. Government must constantly be checked by the population so that it can only extract the least amount of taxes to perform the most limited of functions — providing security for its people.
A government that isn’t constantly monitored will grow into a monster, one that to feed its endless thirst for power will consume its population’s money and trample on their God-given inalienable rights. In other words, the Founding Fathers knew that government is composed of people, and people are inherently fallen and evil. Inevitably, the more corrupt and evil a government becomes, the greater the people will suffer. As the former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. David Allan Hubbard, once remarked:
When the lawless, vicious men are the government, where do the people go for help? They must feel like a little child who flees from a bully into the arms of his father, only to have his father hold him while the bully beats him.
How Human Government Will End
To whom can we flee to when our own government is the bully? How can we, like those Christians from the little village of GokSan, maintain some semblance of hope when human government has utterly failed us at providing security, justice, and tranquility?
Our Lord provides the much-needed answer to this dilemma through a disturbing dream given to a troubled monarch.
The great King Nebuchadnezzar dreamt of a massive statue with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, two legs of iron, and feet a mixture of iron and clay. Nebuchadnezzar next beheld a great stone — one not cut by human hands — come crashing down out of the sky. It smashed the statue, blasting it into pieces, and its dust blew away. The stone grew and grew into a great mountain that quickly filled the entire earth.
Daniel interpreted the king’s dream. He explained that the head was Nebuchadnezzar himself, and each metal down was a successive empire: the Babylonian Empire, Medo-Persian Empire, Greek Empire, Roman Empire, and a Revived Roman Empire. The great smashing stone represented “the God of heaven” who “will cause a kingdom to rise up which will never be destroyed… it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms…” (Daniel 2:44-45).
While Daniel couldn’t begin to comprehend the breadth and scope of this vision, Jesus Christ centuries later would describe in detail to the Apostle John in Revelation 19-20 this very event—the coming of the King of Kings.
For thousands of years, human government has failed mankind. Government cannot keep war, poverty, hunger, and disease at bay. Corruption quickly rots its once noble core, and many of its leaders fall into villainy. Times of security, peace, and safety have been as fleeting as the life of a mayfly.
And yet, God promised the prophet Daniel that in one glorious day a “stone not cut out by human hands” would burst from the heavens and destroy the statue of Gentile world government, and His Son’s kingdom would fill the entire earth. This Kingdom will be ruled over by a perfect, divine Monarch, its administrators will be the resurrected saints in their glorified and sinless bodies, and its population will initially all be believers who are taught at the feet of their King.
Christ’s kingdom of peace, righteousness, and justice will be established. But first, before we can enter that long yearned-for age, King Jesus must return and destroy the failure that is flawed human government. And, with that joyous hope just barely over the horizon, we can only cry out: “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!”