The Four Jurisdictions of Government & how They are Under the Authority of God

Let’s talk for a just a minute about jurisdiction…. The Latin word “Juris” means “law” and “Dicto” means “I speak.”  So, if a person, or an institution has “jurisdiction” over a matter, it means that the person or the institution has the authority to speak, or to say, what the law is regarding the matter.

Now, please, notice that this does not mean that having “jurisdiction” over a matter gives one the authority to make the law, just to speak it – to declare it – and to enforce it.

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In the America View of law and government, we recognize that the Law of Nature and of Nature’s God is a fixed, unchanging standard.  And “jurisdiction” – the authority to speak and to enforce the law – is given, by God, to four separate governments.

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We can visualize this delegation of God’s authority by thinking of the four walls of a room, each wall representing one of the four governments – the spheres of authority – that God has authorized in His Word.

First, there is self-government, in which we, as individuals, are required to control ourselves – to conform our behavior to the strictures of God’s commandments.  For example, the Commandments require that we positively discharge certain duties like worshipping the One true God and honoring our mothers and fathers.  The Commandments also compel us to NOT do certain things, such as steal or bear false witness. The Commandments address us personally and apply to us personally.

The remaining three jurisdictions are institutional in nature. They include the family; ordained by God in the Garden of Eden and charged with providing for the health, education and welfare of its members.  God designed and declared the family to be the primary institution of human society with the widest range of duties and responsibilities.

Next, we have the Church, whose head is Jesus Christ, and which is charged by Christ with the promulgation of His Gospel, the training of all church members in disciple-making, and the distribution of the sacraments.

Lastly, we have the Civil Government, which is charged by God with defending the borders and administering the justice system so that the Lord’s people might live in peace and harmony.

Overarching all these jurisdictions and their authority is God’s jurisdiction and authority, which by nature of His status as Creator of all, is all encompassing and universal.

Since He is the Creator and the Designer of each of the earthly jurisdictions, His authority flows from Him down to and through each earthly jurisdiction.

In this way we can see that while there is, in fact, a separation between the duties of the Church and the State, there is NO separation of God and His law from civil government.  To the contrary, there is an absolute duty on the part of the civil government to understand, promote, and enforce the law of the Creator.

Our founders, in the Declaration of Independence, referred to God as the Supreme Judge of the Universe because His jurisdiction supersedes every act of civil government.

So, if someone tries to tell you that God and His law don’t have anything to do with civil government then you can be sure that this person does not understand American history or American government.  He, or she, should not get your vote or your support. 

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