I believe that what we call church was originally intended to be a democratic *Theocracy — an organic body of Jesus’ disciples, ruled and led directly by the living, resurrected Jesus. Jesus established it by saying, “On this rock (of direct revelation from God) I will build my ekklesia (which is usually mistranslated as church).”
A democratic Theocracy is the kingdom of God. It is God the Father/Jesus/Holy Spirit governing the body of Christ by living inside of and speaking through all of His people. It’s democratic because all can share, but it is Theocratic because people aren’t sharing their own opinions and feelings, but what the living God is speaking inside of them.
God led Israel into the promised land and established them to be a Theocracy — directly ruled and governed by Him. God gave them His law so that they would know what He wanted and He gave them His judges and prophets to rescue them when they got off track and to return their focus to God as their ruler, their invisible King.
Rather than having a national government, Israel was originally established as a loose confederation of tribes to be ruled by the living God, Himself. The tribes were united, not by politics or governmental structures or human hierarchies or a one-man king; but by their commitment to follow the living God as their King and to obey His law.
This made them a very odd country in the ancient world. The almost universal form of government among the ancients was the kingdom — a country or tribe ruled by one man — the king (or the tribal chief). Over several generations, Israel began to ask that God give them a king. God warned them that a king would abuse them and their children and their children’s children, but Israel continued to insist on a king. So God eventually allowed them their desire to be ruled by a king.
A kingdom was basically a dictatorship where one man was the final authority and had no checks or balances. He wasn’t accountable to anyone or anything. If the king’s heart was to do good, a kingdom would experience some degree of justice, however, because the king was human and had his own personal agenda, the justice was always flawed by the kings personal flaws. However, if the king’s heart was to promote himself and his own power, injustice would prevail.
Besides, Israel, I’m only aware of one other ancient country or tribe that didn’t have a king or tribal chief. That was Greece, which was established as a loose confederation of city-states. Originally in Greece there was no strong national government, but each city was a full democracy.
(What we call democracies in the modern world are really republics. In a full democracy, laws and decisions are made by a vote that is open to all of the citizens and there is no head of state. In a republic, however, laws are made by a vote of elected representatives of the people, while daily decisions are made by a chief executive — a head of state.)
The ancient Greek city-states invented full democracy. All the citizens of a particular city were called to gather regularly in an open forum called the ekklesia (city council). In the ekklesia they freely discussed the needs of the city and made decisions by majority vote. Every citizen who wanted to could share his views in the ekklesia.
I believe that one of the reasons that God came in the flesh as Jesus was to establish the kingdom (the direct rule) of God. Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you.” God wants to rule individuals from the inside out — by His presence living within them and flowing through them, out of their innermost being.
Jesus also wants God’s direct government to go beyond ruling within individuals to ruling His body of believers and and making them the salt and light that influences the surrounding human society toward God and His goodness. That’s why Jesus chose to use the term ekklesia. (His choice wasn’t an accident.)
By choosing that ancient Greek government word, Jesus combined the two forms of ancient government that weren’t human kingdoms, into the kingdom of God. He takes the Theocracy of Israel and the democracy of Greece and unites them as a democratic Theocracy.
In His democratic Theocracy God governs by speaking within the hearts of many people and by promting them to share what He tells them when they gather in Jesus’ name. Unfortunately, church has replaced ekklesia with a hierarchy and attempted to rule over the body of Christ with the human authority of making one man the practical head of a local church while still proclaiming Jesus as the mere figurehead. However, in the body of Christ, the kingdom of God “comes without observation” or pomp and circumstance, because King Jesus rules invisibly from within the various individuals in a gathering of His body, as they humbly obey His internal promptings.
Nowadays, Christ is restoring His democratic Theocracy. The ancient Greek ekklesia met when a herald called the people to gather in the city center. Today the Holy Spirit is heralding for God’s people to gather around the living, resurrected Jesus; to listen to His voice in their hearts; and to say and do whatever He tells them.
After writhing this I went to Facebook and the first thing I saw was this “Memory” that I wrote a year ago today:
“The working of God in and through everyday people is hidden and ignored in church. The living God is doing amazing things in the lives of all of the people present, however, only one person is allowed to speak, while the rest must politely listen. Thus the living message of God speaking through His many people is eclipsed by putting all the attention on the same man, week after week.”
–If you want to know more about ekklesia go to http://amzn.to/2zPlXvt
*I choose to capitalize Theocracy in this post because Theo is the Greek name for God and ocracy is the Greek term for government, making Theocracy mean the government of God.