Government was instituted by God to bring His laws to people and to carry out His will and purposes. In the Old Testament, government maintained the place of worship, provided judges to decide civil cases between the people, restrained and punished lawbreakers, and mobiled the nation for action against external enemies.
The first government was a theocracy, where God dealt directly with the people. When God was in charge of things, no other government was necessary. He worked through the family, clan, or tribe. The father or patriarch acted as the agent of God for the rest of the family.
During the period of the judges the people became rebellious, and clear direction from God was lacking. Both religious and civil life became confused, and “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). At the close of the period of the judges, God raised up Samuel, who was both a prophet and a judge. At that time, the formal religious life of the country was under the direction of the high priest. During Samuel’s administration, the people asked for a king, and God gave them a monarchy which rose to its height during the reign of David and his son Solomon (see 1 Samuel 8:4-5, 19-20, 1 Kings 9:3-5, 10:23).
When the perfect government is established during the Millennium, Jesus Christ will combine in Himself the offices of prophet, priest, and king. This will be a perfect theocracy, made possible because the perfect law of God will be universally accepted by all mankind, and “the earth shall be full of knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Perfect government comes from God and is controlled by God. Short of that, the next best government is a limited democracy in which the people acknowledge rights given by God but voluntarily grant government limited power to do those things the people cannot do individually. Contrast these forms of government with Communism, which maintains that the dictatorship of the proletariat is supreme and an essential evolution of history; that God does not exist; and that citizens have only those privileges granted by the state.