So how should we vote?
You can’t vote for Jesus – he’s not on the ballot and writing His name in would be of no effect. He’s the coming King of Kings and won’t need or accept any votes. He’ll rule with a “rod of iron” and He can never be impeached or assassinated.
Christians should fully realize and accept this as fact – the only good and peaceful government that will ever exist is an absolute Monarchy ruled by none other than Jesus Himself. All other governments fall short, are corrupt and do evil to varying degrees. And, even America’s government is without exception. A perfect government can only exist under perfect leadership and Jesus alone fits that role.
Note: scripture references are from the New Kings James Version (NKJV), emphasis is mine.
Revelation 19:15-16 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (16) And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
See Revelation 17:4, 1 Timothy 6:15 for more “King of Kings” passages
See Revelation 2:27, 12:5 and Psalms 2:9, for more “rod of iron” passages
Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Position Statement on Voting
My position on voting is this – and I think it’s even more true for believers
Those with the right to vote are obligated to do so with prayerful and informed consideration of the choices and issues.
That’s carefully worded with the following perspectives in mind …
1.Rights are bestowed foremost by God
• Dismissing them is disrespectful to both God and those without the same rights
• We should therefore not dismiss them unduly
2.Prayer is an obligation and perhaps the same is true for voting
• Voting is a form of works, without which faith is dead
• Even if we like or dislike all choices equally, or consider all issues morally equivalent, that doesn’t absolve us from the obligation to pray, vote, etc.
3.Praying is much like voting for what you want God to do
• The outcome in either case isn’t guaranteed.
• It’s hard to separate the two: deciding not to vote is like deciding not to pray.
• An otherwise good candidate should possibly be dismissed based on their stance on issues.
• The choice between otherwise good candidates may depend on careful comparison of their stances on issues.
The Lesser of Evil Dilemma
We have to make lesser of evil choices all the time when living in this world. The only way to avoid voting for a lesser of evil candidate would be to vote for Jesus – but we can’t.
The case for all but Jesus being a lesser of evil choice for a leader is strengthened by the “Good Shepherd” story as told by Jesus Himself …
John 10:11-15 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (12) But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. (13) The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. (14) I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (15) As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
A substitute leader, or a hireling as stated in the verse above, will never be as good or care and sacrifice himself as much as Jesus.
Jesus also made it clear that only God (or Himself) is good …
Mark 10:18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
See Matthew 19:17 and Luke 18:19 for the same account.
Avoiding the Greater Liar
Choosing the lesser of evil candidate risks choosing the greater liar. No one wants to be deceived, but the risk can be minimized by wisdom and diligence for the truth.
Be wise, seek the truth and be not deceived
Jesus implores and empowers us not to be victims of deception.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
This is no easy task in an age of ever increasing deception and polarization of issues. It is very hard to know what news is factual or not, or whether it’s spun in a certain way or not.
We must therefore, be wise as serpents …
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
And, we must rely on the Spirit, who will lead us to all truth …
John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Praying and voting have a common goal – to choose what’s right based on knowing the truth.
But – what if I’m voting against God’s will?
We accept that risk all the time if we pray like we’re supposed to. What we pray for may be, or is possibly often, against God’s will for a given situation. God certainly knows this and yet scripture still implores us to pray for everything, without ceasing even.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (17) pray without ceasing, (18) in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Besides, we can trust God that neither our prayers nor our votes would diminish His control over human events.
God is in Control
It is God that ultimately chooses to establish or remove rulers. This is evidenced by the example in the story of king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon during the prophet Daniel’s time.
Daniel 2:36-38 “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. (37) You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; (38) and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold.
Daniel 4:28-31 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. (29) At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. (30) The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (31) While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!
Below is another verse that should give us much comfort, or perhaps more importantly, give us solemn reverence for our sovereign God.
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
So – if God decides anyway, then why bother voting?
By God being in ultimate control does not also mean that He limits man’s free will and decisions. He is sovereign and He alone decides whether to intervene or not according to His plans, goals, etc. That is alluded to in scripture and demonstrated by history. There are many verses that collaborate that, but the following verses possibly sum it up well – it has to do with spiritual warfare constantly raging around us that God currently restrains from getting totally out of hand. Despite all, we can trust that all things work together for good – for believers that is.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
But – what if I can’t decide how to vote?
Not knowing how to pray, or what to pray for, doesn’t exempt us from the obligation to pray. Sometimes you need to get right up to the moment of decision before you feel comfortable enough to finally decide.
I suggest praying earnestly and going so far as to entering the voting booth to see if your decision becomes clear to you then.
Think about how many times you’ve had the experience, or have heard testimonies, where one makes a final decision right at the last possible moment. So, don’t miss out on that experience and don’t dismiss the opportunity for God to speak to your heart then and there, if not before.
Back to Works – they are not only necessary, but commanded
It’s worth re-emphasizing that voting is a form of works. Works are important because without them our faith is dead. Works also serve to justify us and perfect our faith …
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
James 2:20-26 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? (22) Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (23) And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” And he was called the friend of God. (24) You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (25) Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? (26) For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Furthermore, we’re told to perform good works for the sake of others and the glory of God.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Occupy with Love
We can’t ever vote for Jesus, but we can’t sit back and do nothing either. In fact, we’re told to “occupy” (hold fast, do business, etc.) until He comes, …
Luke 19:11-13 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. (12) Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. (13) So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’
Revelation 2:25 But hold fast what you have till I come.
But, we must love in all we do, regardless of how knowledgeable and wonderful we think we are …
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Realities of the World today
There are some realities today that are important to interject because they are factors for how people decide to vote.
Fundamental to how we deal with reality is that we are “in the world, but not of the world”. That’s a popular phrase that doesn’t appear literally, as such, in the bible. It is, however, well represented by various passages and they give the Christian important and practical perspective and purpose on living in the world.
John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
John 17:14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
See also 1 John 2:15, James 4:4
We’re implored to act as both salt and light, while we strive to do good works …
Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (14) ”You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
A Dog Named Patches – A fun but relevant story
A friend of mine that volunteers his time making campaign calls had a recent encounter that was perfectly timed and contextualized for this article.
A woman told him that she “hates all politicians equally” – a sentiment I often share myself. She then went on to say that she’s gonna write in her dog’s name. My friend asked what her dog’s name is and what he’s like. She told him his name is Patches and “at least when he poops on something he doesn’t lie about it.” My friend said that he laughed so hard and long that the woman just hung up. After all, she made her point and is apparently firm in her conviction.
I thought that was a great point that I just had to work into this article. It’s one thing for a politician, or anyone, to make a mistake, but it’s quite another thing to lie about it. Patches doesn’t lie, even if he “poops” on something, and neither should anyone else.
But more to the point for this article – all politicians lie to some extent because at a minimum they don’t or can’t always tell the whole truth. It’s practically required, if not absolutely necessary, to lie if a politician is to function as a viable candidate.
So, should we and could we ever justify voting for a liar? It takes me back to not having a choice because everyone other than Jesus is a liar to some extent. Someone once said – if you tell me you never lied, then you just did it again and are therefore a liar. Point being – we’re all liars when it comes down to it. Furthermore, it stinks that we have to vote for liars, but sometimes the best we can do is to try to vote for the lessor of liars.
Also, it might give us some temporary satisfaction and make for a good story, but it simply isn’t wise to throw a vote away – although I could be tempted to write in Patches, I’m sticking with my argument to vote for the lesser of evil major party candidate – until such a time comes that a better, viable third party candidate exists, as proven out through the primary election process.
How then should we view our leaders here on earth?
Scripture tells us to pray for our leaders …
1 Timothy 2:1-2 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, (2) for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
and we’re even to love our enemies, besides just praying for them …
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
So might those instructions on prayer be relevant to voting? Is not voting like, or a natural outcome of, praying for our leaders?
You can’t ever vote for Jesus. He’s the ultimate leader and when He sets up his Kingdom there’ll be no worrying about voting Him in or out. So what do we do in the meantime?
Simply put …
Pray, vote and trust in Jesus
But, as voting age adults we’re no longer simple minded children …
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
So, more appropriately put …
Be informed, guard against deception, be as wise as a serpent and rely on the Spirit of truth – to enable your best, effective prayers, actions, votes, etc. Trust in Jesus always for everything, while you “occupy” until He comes.
If you’re not able to do all that, then perhaps it’s best if you don’t vote at all, but otherwise it’s arguably shameful, neglectful and disrespectful to God and others not to vote.
By Ted Nienstedt
Ted’s Trumpet – October, 2012
 The term “occupy” is commonly used so I wanted to include it, but not all bible translations use it.