Some people believe that democracy is a biblical concept because the Bible teaches that “God shows no partiality” and that “all are one in Christ Jesus.” But what does the Bible actually say about democracy and does it promote it?
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“For God shows no partiality.”
Many people believe that democracy is a biblical concept, rooted in the idea that all are created equal. However, while the Bible stresses that God created all, sees all as one and shows no partiality – the Bible does not mention democracy.
As noted Bible teacher John MacArthur points out in his recent sermon titled Our King Will Not Be Mocked, “The Bible doesn’t recommend, prefer, or even discuss democracy.”
“The Bible doesn’t advocate democracy,” MacArthur confirms. “The Bible doesn’t mention democracy. The Bible doesn’t comment on democracy. The Bible doesn’t define democracy.”
“There is no place in all of the Bible where you even find democracy,” MacArthur continues. “There is no country revealed in Scripture where it existed; it is never affirmed by God.”
“For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.”
“The ancient world had kings,” says Pastor MacArthur, who also serves as chancellor of The Master’s University and Seminary. “No other form of government appears either in the Old Testament or the New Testament. Kings were a common grace.”
MacArthur points out that the only types of government that was found in the Old Testament were monarchies.
“So common were kings that we find in the Old Testament no nation under any other kind of government,” MacArthur explains. “[Israel] was a theocratic monarchy and God was King. Yahweh was their King. The covenant God was their King. The Lord Yahweh was Israel’s King forever.”
“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.”
Both Jews and Christians only follow one true King, the Lord our God. The Bible teaches that the Son of Man, the Messiah will come and will have dominion over the earth.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of a child who would be born as the King of the Jews.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
– Isaiah 9:6-7
The prophet Daniel also wrote of a future king.
“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. To Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”
– Daniel 7:13-14
Is the idea of democracy is incompatible with the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam? The short answer is: In heaven yes, on Earth no.
All three religions believe that followers only serve one king – God. These religions worship God before all others and their ultimate loyalty is only to Him.
Some might ask, if God is our only king, then why does the Bible give us the following instructions:
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
This bit of Scripture does not override loyalty to God, but rather speaks to the duty of Christians toward adhering to the civil government and the laws of the country in which they live. Such are necessary for order.
The pulpit commentary at Bible hub reminds us that this verse is stating that it is God’s will that there be human governments and human laws. By submitting to them, we are submitting to God.