A City Set On a Hill
Surviving the Seventieth Week by Reforming Fundamentalism and Establishing Cities of Refuge
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Second Step, Independence
Copyright 2010 by Raul E. Lopez, MD, MDiv

Ideally, Biblical law could be implemented in an independent country. However, unlike Ancient Israel, the cities of refuge would not have the ability to consult God on specific issues. Consequently, these cities would not be Theocracies, where God rules directly, but, rather, Theonomies, where the law of God rules. However, in a theonomy humans are the ones who implement the law of God. Since all humans, including whose who are redeemed, are sinners, care must be taken to create a system which insures a succession of righteous rulers, and also insures a proper balance of power.

During the days of the monarchy in Judah and Israel God was careful to maintain a distinction between the priesthood and the kingdom. Consequently, government should not be under the direct control of the church, the modern priesthood. Even the medieval catholic church recognized a measure of distinction between the church and the state. Unbelievers should have input into the policy of secular government. The Bible supports the right of people to petition government for redress of grievances, and supports the requirement that government seek the consent of the people to support its actions.

Jesus Christ presented Himself as the Messiah during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. However, when the people rejected His rule He abided by their decision. So too, Israel petitioned Rehoboam, king of Judah, son of Solomon, to address their grievances. When he refused to listen to their reasonable requests they refused to accept him as their king. After that they would not be reconciled and God then commanded the king of Judah to accept their separation. In order to insure that government operates with the consent of the governed and to protect the right of the people to redress of grievances, an element of representative democracy should exist. This democratic influence would be vested on a bicameral legislature, one legislature proportioned by population and the other according to the next lower level of government, similar to the United States congress. Suffrage should be open to all citizens, perhaps limited only by a requirement to affirm allegiance to the ten commandments. Since the decalogue is so foundational, most monotheists, including Jews and Moslems would have no problem affirming it.

However, a pure democratic republic would have the same problem as all other such governments in that it would dilute the influence of the Christian minority. Somehow the influence of the international church, whose light is being focused on the city, must also be represented in government. Zechariah's parable of the olive trees suggests a solution. This influence should be focused on one person who voluntarily represents the church. This person would function as a constitutional monarch.

As Americans, we tend to cringe at the idea of monarchy, finding it antiquated and ineffective. Sometimes, suggestions of monarchy are met with a smirch or a giggle. However, monarchy has several advantages over a presidential system. First of all it creates a balance to majority rule. Moses warned that mobs often can be wrong "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to [do] evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest [judgment]: "(Exodus 23:2). We see that Jesus Christ agreed with this assessment in His comment about the broad and narrow way. If this is the case, then, rulers picked by majority rule will not be the best possible rulers, but simply those whom the majority considers to be the lesser of several evils. If, at great effort, a righteous man is placed in power, it is better to allow him to rule for the duration of his life.

A problem arises at the death of the righteous ruler. We have seen that the selection of rulers based on majority rule will not yield the best results. Two other possibilities exist for selecting a ruler. One possibility is to allow the ruler to pick his own successor. We know that the ruler is already a righteous man, so he would be more likely to pick a righteous successor than a population composed of a majority of unbelievers. If the ruler is a good father, then his son would be the person most likely to preserve the righteous traits which made the father a good ruler. The other possibility is to have a small group of righteous men pick the successor. Solomon said that "Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety." (Proverbs 11:14). However, one then needs to determine how this group is going to perpetuate itself to assure that its composition remains pure. If its selection cannot be based on majority rule, then it must either perpetuate itself or it must be chosen by the righteous ruler. A combination of these two system will probably provide the greatest guarantee that a government that begins righteously will remain righteous. The ruler will pick his successor with the approval of a board of electors, and appoints new electors with the approval of that same board. The electors would be appointed for life.

Another check on the power of the monarchy would come by distributing power among several levels of government. If there were several cities of refuge and each city of refuge were the size of a small North American state, the regional state governments could take the form of a presidential republic . In such a system the governors would be popularly elected by the people. This is in distinction to a parliamentary democracy where the legislature elects the chief executive. The constitutional monarchy would operate at a level between the cities. This power sharing between two levels of government is the basis for the federal form of government. A federal constitutional monarchy with a self perpetuating board of electors and a bicameral legislature with one house representing the lower units of government and the other representing the people might offer the best balance of power.

Other arrangements for power sharing also exist. If the first city of refuge is the size of Puerto Rico (which is about the size of Connecticut or Rhode Island), then it could be divided into 10 to 20 counties or regions. Ideally, these could be about 12 like the twelve tribes of Israel, a country about twice the size of Puerto Rico.

Another way to set up the government is simply to establish a presidential republic similar to what exists in the United States and each of its states, and let the Theonomist university exert influence behind the scenes. The Theonomist university would be set up us a mini-kingdom and would influence the state by its promotion of Biblical law.

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