What Does the Bible Say about Executive Power?

“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”  —Thomas Jefferson


Isaiah 33:22 & the Affirmation of Three Forms of Governance

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.  —Isaiah 33:22

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The Separation of Powers in the US Constitution

The Founders of our republic knew the Bible intimately.  They read Isaiah and, thus, knew that three forms of governance were necessary.  Trusting only God to be able to do all three, they wisely did not put their trust in human beings to do the same.  They, therefore, chose to create a system of checks and balances, wherein a broad consensus would be needed, across townships, states, and the nation, before any functional decisions could be made that would have an impact on the people.

The office of president—the chief executive—was created on the model of the Israelite king, who was not above the law.  This is why the President of the United States is not regal, but common in how he is treated legally.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 on the Election & Duties of Kings

14 When you are come unto the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15 you shall surely set a king, whom the Lord your God shall choose, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not set a stranger over yourselves, which is not your countryman.1 16 Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, You shall never again return that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.2 18 And it shall be, when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write himself a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites; 19 and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them, 20 that his heart be not lifted up above his countrymen3, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left4, to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.5  —Deuteronomy 17:14-20


obama-hand-on-bible1A person who is elected king—or chief executive—must be born a citizen of that country which has chosen him to lead.  This is to ensure that the person shares and values the culture of those who are entrusting the office to him.  This is why the President of the United States must be a natural born citizen, in order to stand election.

2High office, once attained, is for doing the people’s business, not for getting the people to do yours.  The president’s focus is to be on matters of state that are to the benefit of everyone among the people, and not solely his own.  He is the servant of the people; they are not his.  He is there to safeguard their freedom, not to be enriched at their expense.

3The chief executive is not above the law, nor does he enjoy any special legal privilege or protection.  He must know the law intimately and abide by it faithfully, for he is no better than his fellows when it comes to legal matters.  What is wrong for the people to do is also wrong for the executive.  The president must know the Constitution and take an oath to uphold what is written in it.

4The chief executive must follow every single law to the letter, in order to lead by example.  He also must enforce the law, whether he likes the law or not, for as long as it is the law of the land.

5The chief executive must maintain the state in the same condition in which he found it upon taking office, so that all who come after him will have the same chances at health, wealth, and happiness that he was blessed with.  The president must leave the country in as good a shape as he found it in, more or less.

Laying a Wise Foundation

It is more than a little remarkable just how closely the Founders read and studied the Bible.  Finding themselves in their own Land of Milk and Honey, and valuing religious freedom to the extent they did, perhaps it should come as no surprise that those who grew up in colonial America noticed some relevant parallels between themselves and the Israelites of biblical times.  And modern-day America is all the better for its foundation having been firmly laid upon the time-tested wisdom of the Bible.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

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