God, Government and The Ten Commandments


When Professor John Wycliffe of Oxford University produced the first hand-written translation of the New Testament into English (in the 14th Century), he wrote in the preface: “The Bible is given for the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Education Affects Elections

American president, Abraham Lincoln, quoted from Wycliffe in his famous Gettysburg Address when he said: “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the face of the earth.” Lincoln also noted that: “The philosophy of the classroom will become the philosophy of the government in the next generation.”

The Bible Deals with All Areas of Life

Many people labour under the delusion that the Bible has nothing to say concerning social structures, constitutional models or political affairs. However, while approximately 29% of the Bible deals with spiritual matters and our personal lives, 71% of the Bible deals with social, political and national issues.

The Biblical Duties of Civil Government

The Bible is very clear that God has instituted civil government as “an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). The civil government is called to be a minister of God’s justice: “to punish those who do wrong” (1 Peter 2:14).

The primary duties and responsibilities of civil government are the protection of law-abiding citizens and the punishment of law-breaking criminals. Psalm 101 reminds us that the duty of God-honouring rulers is to destroy the wicked, to root out evil and to protect the law abiding.

The Heart of the Matter

While most groups today emphasise external solutions to our many social problems – salvation through politics, or through changed social structures and laws – the teachings of Christ emphasize the need for internal change – within our hearts and minds. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander…” Matthew 15:19

The Four Spheres of Government

God has instituted four spheres of government:

* Self-government – symbolised by our conscience.

* Family government – symbolised by the rod of discipline.

* Church government – symbolised by the keys of church discipline.

* Civil government – symbolised by the sword of justice.

The Ten Principles of Freedom

God also established, in the government of Israel, ten key principles of freedom:

1. A written constitution (covenant), based on the revealed Word of God, to clearly define and restrict the powers of government.

2. A separation of powers and functions into three branches of civil government: Executive (the king or judge), Legislative (the Council and Sanhedrin) and Judicial (the elders or judges in each community). These three branches of government are based on how the Lord revealed His Government (Isaiah 9:6-7): “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Law Giver, the Lord is our King…” Isaiah 33:22

3. An independent judiciary and the right to a fair trial (2 Chronicles 19:5-7). In Deuteronomy 19:15-19, the principles for a fair trial were set out: a) one is innocent until proven guilty, b) the right to due process of law, c) witnesses must personally confront the accused, d) a matter must be established by two or three witnesses, e) judges must be impartial.

4. A national legislature (law-making body) where one house was composed of representative judges or officials elected by the people (Deuteronomy 1:13-17): “But select capable men from all the people – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain – and appoint them as officials…” Exodus 18:21

5. A second house in the legislature was composed of two hereditary elders from each of the eleven tribes (or geographic areas) of Israel in addition to 24 priests from the tribe of Levi and two scribes from each of the 12 tribes. This formed the Sanhedrin.

6 .An executive officer (judge or king) elected under the guidance of God and with the consent of the elders (Deuteronomy 17:14-20; 1 Chronicles 11:3).

7. A decentralised state with most responsibilities and powers resting on the local government, the family and the individual. (Centralisation of power in a unitary state has always been a pagan tendency as seen in Nineveh, Egypt and Babylon.) Because power corrupts, it is wise to limit and divide the powers of civil government in a system of checks and balances. (Exodus 24:1; Deuteronomy 1:13-17; Acts 17:26)

8. A citizen’s army (militia) made up of trained citizens who have the right and duty to bear arms for the defense of their home, family, community and nation. (Numbers 1:2-3; Judges 3:2; Deuteronomy 20:1-4, 9)

9. A free market economy based on the private ownership of property and individual free enterprise. Any taxation of 10% or higher was defined as oppression and any taxation of property, or inheritance, was strictly forbidden. Institutions and individuals involved in the full time service of the Lord were not allowed to be taxed. Biblical economics also forbids unjust weights (unbacked currency) and measures (inflation). (Exodus 20:15,17; Deuteronomy 19:14; Proverbs 10:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Samuel 8:10-18; 1 Kings 21:3)

10. An education programme controlled by parents, aided by the Church, but independent of the state. (Deuteronomy 6:7; Ezra 7:23-24; Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 2:8)

Rights and Responsibilities

The Ten Commandments not only provide the foundation for all social order, but they are also the foundation for all our rights. Each Command deals with a specific area: God, worship, speech, time, authority, life, love, property, truth and conscience.

“The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precept of the Lord is right, giving joy to the heart. The Commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:7-8

The Ten Commandments cover our responsibility to God, our responsibility to our parents and our responsibility to people. Obedience to the Decalogue would result in a respect for God, respect for people and respect for property. “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7

Prohibitions and Duties

Each Command includes a prohibition. For example: “You shall have no other gods before Me…” forbids polytheism, pantheism, and atheism. However, each Command also includes an implicit right. For example, the first Commandment implies freedom of worship.

Freedom of Speech

Similarly, when the Third Commandment forbids profanity, false prophecies and blasphemy, and when the Ninth Commandment forbids perjury, gossip, or slander, these are the only restrictions given to speech. Outside of those limited prohibitions, there is freedom of speech.

Freedom of Conscience

Aside from forbidding idolatry in the Second Commandment and covetousness, greed and selfishness in the Tenth Commandment, we have freedom of conscience.

The Sanctity of Life, Marriage and Property

Where the Sixth Commandment forbids murder, suicide, abortion and euthanasia, it entrenches the right to life. Just as the Seventh Commandment prohibiting fornication, adultery, or perversion, entrenches the sanctity of marriage. Similarly by the Eighth Commandment forbidding theft and fraud, it entrenches the right to private ownership of property.

Foundations for Freedom

The Ten Commandments are the foundation for all these rights:

* Freedom of worship.

* The right to know God’s Will and to do it.

* Freedom of speech.

* The right to work and to rest.

* Respect for authority.

* The right to life.

* The sanctity of marriage.

* Private ownership of property

* The right to be protected from slander.

* Freedom of conscience.

The Bible defines sin as “lawlessness” 1 John 3:4.

Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15

“Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts… let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!” Amos 5:15,24


As George Washington declared: “Religion and morality are the indispensable supports to good government.”

Those Who are Not Self-Disciplined Cannot be Entrusted with Government

“He knows not how to rule a kingdom, that cannot manage a province; nor can he wield a province, that cannot order a city; not he order a city, that knows not how to regulate a village, nor he a village, that cannot guide a family, nor can that man govern well a family that knows not how to govern himself, neither can any govern himself unless his reason be Lord, and his will and appetite his vassals; nor can reason rule unless herself be ruled by God and wholly be obedient to Him.” Hugo Grotius

For further information obtain: Biblical Principles for Africa, Make a Difference – a Christian Action Handbook for Southern Africa, or South Africa for Christ MP3 Set.

2019 Biblical Issues Voters’ Guide

The 2019 Biblical Issues Voters’ Guide – detailing the positions of 7 political parties on 8 key Biblical issues - is now available from www.SAVotersGuide.org.(The website has three additional parties and one additional issue).Download and email, or distribute quantities to your congregation, community and colleagues.

The two-page versions (with documentation) are available in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. The one-page versions of the Voters’ Guide are also available in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu. You can also download them as a jpeg (picture) for sharing on social media. Visit our Africa Christian Action Facebook page for updates. Like, comment and share.

The SA Voters Guide website also features relevant articles, helpful links, downloadable Voter Education PowerPoints, plus view responses of political parties to the Christian Action Network’s Policy Survey. You will find many other relevant audios, videos and articles on our www.ChristianAction.org.za and www.hmsschoolofchristianjournalism.org websites.

For further information obtain: Biblical Principles for Africa (also available in Afrikaans), The Ten Commandments – God’s Perfect Law of Liberty (also available in Afrikaans), The Rise of the GayGB and Pink Inquisition, Porndemic, and South Africa for Christ MP3 Set.

Educate Your Congregation – Download these PowerPoints on SlideShare:

Biblical Principles for the Elections

Biblical Principles Which God Would Bless In Any Country

Listen to the Biblical Principles for Political Elections presentation by Dr. Peter Hammond on Sermon Audio here and watch the video here.

Listen to Dr. Peter Hammond’s latest sermon from Isaiah 59, Your Iniquities Have Separated You From Your God on Sermon Audio here.

You can also listen to the following Salt and Light interviews on Sound Cloud:

The Biblical Path to Productivity and Prosperity

Why Are So Many Things Going Wrong?

See also:

National Repentance

Why Most Youth Did Not Vote in the Last Election and How We Can Change that in 2019

Buses, Trains and Police Stations Burn

God, Government and the Ten Commandments

God and Government

Think Before You Ink!

Biblical Principles for Using Your Vote

Why No Christian Should Support BBBEE Affirmative Action Racism

“Hate Speech” Bill Threat to Free Speech

Farms and Freedom Under Fire in South Africa

Fraud, Failure and Farce – Land Expropriation Hearings

Is South Africa Entering the Second Phase of the Revolution?

True and False Unity

Surprising Solutions in the Scriptures

God is Not Egalitarian

Dr. Peter Hammond

Africa Christian Action

PO Box 23632

Claremont 7735

Cape Town South Africa

Tel: 021-689 4480

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Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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