Myth of the OT Hierarchical Government Mandate

Herbert W Armstrong and those who came after him often emphasized that the Kingdom of God is the restoration of God’s government on earth. After all, a kingdom requires land, a people, a leader and a law. The Bible speaks of Jesus returning to the earth to setup a kingdom.

HWA also believed in later years that the Church, as God’s representation on earth, was to be setup like a kingdom. It was to be hierarchical in nature, with God’s apostle at the top. We have seen in recent articles that he did not always believe this. Circumstances and experiences he had caused him to begin to view things quite differently.

One of the arguments in favor of a hierarchical government is the OT Kingdom of Israel. Under David and Solomon, the twelve tribes of Israel were united under a king. The argument is that this is the Biblical model of government, and then the argument is further stretched by some to a one-man rule within the Church.

So, let’s explore this and see if it is valid. I want to do something different today. I’ll ask some questions, point to a passage, and then leave it up to you to decide the answer.

How Many Rulers?

Q. According to Halley’s Bible Handbook, there were approximately 300 years during the Book of Judges. During that period of time, how many kings ruled Israel?

A. Jdg 17:6; 21:25

Q. Was Saul anointed as the first human king in Israel?

A. 1Sa 10:1, 24

Q. Was David anointed as the second human king in Israel?

A. 1Sa 16:1, 11-13

Q. Was David anointed as king while Saul was still alive?

A. v2

Q. So, how many kings were in Israel at that time?

A. See above.

Q. Was Solomon anointed as the third king in Israel?

A. 1Ki 1:38-39

Q. Was David still alive when Solomon was anointed as king?

A. vv 32-35

Q. How many kings were in Israel at that time?

A. See above.

Q. What was prophesied to happen after Solomon’s death?

A. 1Ki 11:30-35

Q. So, there were two kingdoms? Doesn’t that mean there were two kings?

A. 1Ki 12:1, 20

Q. Was God willing to work with both men?

A. 1Ki 11:36-38


Q. Did God set up a hierarchical government for Israel after bringing them into the Promised Land?

A. Jdg 17:6; 21:25

Q. Why did God setup the first king?

A. 1Sa 8:5

Q. Did the people desire it because it would please God, or did they desire it so they could be like the pagan nations around them?

A. 1Sa 8:20

Q. OK, but what about the Church? Wasn’t Peter in charge?

A. Gal 2:6-7

Q. So, did “headquarters” seek to control Paul’s teachings, or did Paul go up there on his own to compare notes?

A. vv 1-2, 9-10

Q. Wasn’t Peter the one given primacy? Wasn’t he in charge? Wasn’t he Paul’s boss?

A. v 11

Q. Was Peter in charge of the others at Jerusalem?

A. v 12; Ac 15:13

Q. Weren’t they organized hierarchically? Didn’t the Apostles just assume they were in charge or did they start out doing menial labor?

A. Ac 2:44; 6:2

Q. But, surely they were all centrally controlled, right?

A. Ac 8:1, 3-4

Q. OK, so where is the verse that says Jesus organized His Church to be centrally controlled in a tight hierarchy controlled by one Apostle?


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