How Rulers Think
Most professing Christians desire to be ignorant of the true nature of this World System. It is comfortable for us to remain deceived with a "Pollyanna" wishful thinking view of the Political, Economic, and Religious rulers of this world. If it "steals our joy" to know about the true nature of the World System, then our joy and our hope is in this world. If we are to have true joy and true hope then we must be set free from worldly idolatrous deceptions and turn again to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as our only hope and joy.
Professing Christians are being prepared for the ultimate worldly ruler: the Counterfeit Christ. Counterfeit Christians will worship him. They are being prepared for him by having been led to worship worldly rulers in society, whether it be in our political states and movements, our business enterprises, or our church and religious organizations. The rulers of each function in a similar manner.
Machiavelli and his writings give us great insight into his worldly thinking and the thinking of worldly rulers. It is Biblical to examine what men have said, compare it with God's Word, and declare what men have said to be false when it is contrary to the Word.
Machiavelli wrote that the purpose of political power is to maintain itself and to extend itself. It has nothing to do with the welfare of the people. It has nothing to do with principles or ideology or right and wrong. The welfare of the people, principles, ideology, right and wrong: these are related to the means to the end, but the goal is power. Do whatever it takes to keep your power and extend your power.
"This is Machiavelli's most conspicuous quality. He writes almost wholly of the mechanics of government, of the means by which states may be made strong, of the policies by which they can expand their power, and of the errors that lead to their decay or overthrow. Political and military measures are almost the sole objects of his interest, and he divorces these almost wholly from religious, moral, and social considerations, except as the latter affect political expedients. The purpose of politics is to preserve and increase political power itself, and the standard by which he judges it is its success in doing this. Whether a policy is cruel or faithless or lawless he treats for the most part as a matter of indifference, though he is well aware that such qualities may react upon its political success. He often discusses the advantages of immorality skillfully used to gain a ruler's ends, and the most part he is not so much immoral as non-moral. He simply abstracts politics from other considerations and writes of it as if it were and end in itself." 1
"Politics" is the endeavor of organizing and controlling people. Romans 13 tells us that God establishes worldly authority in civil government in order to restrain evil. But this is no endorsement of the men who serve in worldly positions of authority. It simply is a testimony to God's Sovereignty in working his purposes in spite of the evil intentions of men.
When men presume to rule over political, economic, and religious organizations they are setting about the business of organizing and controlling people. The New Testament teaches us how leaders are to serve in the Body of Christ - The Church of Jesus. The New Testament teaches followers of Jesus how we should relate to civil government authorities, no matter what their nature. The Bible teaches us that this world system is under the control of the evil one and in rebellion against God.
Machiavelli provides insight into the true nature of the thinking of worldly leaders. Followers of Jesus ought to acknowledge what the Bible says about this corruption and realize the patterns of the rulers' thinking and recognize these patterns in the leaders they have tended to worship in our day.
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 - 1527) served in government in the city state of Florence. He is considered a political philosopher because of his writings about political power. Many consider Machiavelli the "father of modern political science".2
His most famous work is The Prince written in 1513 and published in 1532. It was written to "ingratiate himself with powerful figures" who he hoped would return him to a position of power after his side had lost out in a political struggle.3
Machiavelli had great influence on the thinking of many that came after him, including G.W.F Hegel (1770-1831) one of the most influential of the German philosophers. Hegelian philosophy, in turn, was the basis for Marxism, Nazism, Fascism, and Western Progressive philosophy and social engineering.4, 5, 6, 7
Hegel considered Machiavelli to be one of the most heroic figures of modern politics. "The Prince he called, 'the great and true conception of a real political genius with the highest and noblest purpose.'" 8
Machiavelli taught that it was good to promote morals and ethics and religious convictions among the people. These were important in order to keep them under control and productive. Morals and ethics maintained stability and order and peace.
"He had nothing but admiration for the civic virtues of the ancient Romans and of the Swiss in his own day, and he believed that these grew out of purity in the family, independence and sturdiness in private life, simplicity and frugality of manners, and loyalty and trustworthiness in performing public duties. But this does not mean that the ruler must believe in the religion of his subjects or practice their virtues... Machiavelli offers an extreme example of a double standard of morals, one for the ruler and another for the private citizen." 9
So the ruler, himself, was under no obligation to live by these same morals and ethics and religious convictions. The ruler was above these things. He was beyond good and evil. The ruler had the obligation to do whatever was necessary to maintain and extend his political power.
Machiavelli, "openly sanctioned the use of cruelty, perfidy, murder, or any other means, provided only they are used with sufficient intelligence and secrecy to reach their ends" 10
Machiavelli promoted the idea that a ruler should be gentle most of the time, but when necessary the ruler must make use of any form of manipulation, deceit, and even murder to achieve his ends. Machiavelli writes:
"Alexander VI did nothing else but deceive men, nor ever thought of doing otherwise, and he always found victims; for there never was a man who had greater power in asserting, or who with greater oaths would affirm a thing, yet would observe it less; nevertheless his deceits always succeeded according to his wishes, because he well understood this side of mankind.
"Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite. And you have to understand this, that a prince, especially a new one, cannot observe all those things for which men are esteemed, being often forced, in order to maintain the state, to act contrary to faith, friendship, humanity, and religion. Therefore it is necessary for him to have a mind ready to turn itself accordingly as the winds and variations of fortune force it, yet, as I have said above, not to diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so, but, if compelled, then to know how to set about it.
"For this reason a prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his lips that is not replete with the above-named five qualities, that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious. There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality, inasmuch as men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, because it belongs to everybody to see you, to few to come in touch with you. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result.
"For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it; and in the world there are only the vulgar, for the few find a place there only when the many have no ground to rest on. One prince* of the present time, whom it is not well to name, never preaches anything else but peace and good faith, and to both he is most hostile, and either, if he had kept it, would have deprived him of reputation and kingdom many a time." * (Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor)
[The above is from CHAPTER XVIII of The Prince: CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP FAITH] From Machiavelli Online (This is not an endorsement of the website.) at www.sas.upenn.edu/~pgrose/mach/index.html 12/20/2001 This link is gone. Try the following link: The Prince
Machiavelli advocated that it was actually good to have opposing forces in conflict within a society as long as they were kept in check by the power of the ruler.
"The rivalry of patricians and plebeians in Rome Machiavelli regarded as the secret of Roman strength. From it was born the independence and sturdiness of character that supported the greatness of Rome. When directed by wise rulers, having great but lawful authority, the virility that made turbulence possible became a chief reason why the Romans were a war-like, conquering people. For this reason Machiavelli stated again the ancient theory of the mixed or balanced constitution... The balance which he had in mind, however, was not political but social or economic - an equilibrium of competing interests held in check by a powerful sovereign." 11
How often in our day are professing Christians being manipulated and deceived by demagoguery? A "demagogue" is, "a popular leader who stirs up the people by appealing to their emotions and prejudices. The chief aim of most demagogues is to get power and money for themselves alone." 12
When someone observes a conflict in society, the tendency is to try to figure out which side is the good guys and which side is the bad guys and then jump on board the bandwagon of the "good guys".
But if a powerful ruler thinks like Machiavelli, what is the most powerful means by which to control the outcome of any conflict in society? Control both sides! If Machiavelli is smart enough to think of such deceptions then certainly Satan and his demons are even smarter. And certainly they have inspired worldly leaders in this regard for centuries. Consider how Joshua was also caught up in such worldly, fleshly thinking:
"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so." Joshua 5:13-6:1
Our Lord Jesus calls us out of these worldly entanglements and deceptions. We stand on Holy ground, set apart unto Him, to be used for his purposes. We are called out of the world's philosophies and battles in order to represent Jesus to the world, to be an Ambassador from our sovereign Lord to this foreign land, to speak the Truth in Love.
We should submit to worldly authority according to Romans 13 and Acts 5:28, 29 without worshipping those in authority and without allowing ourselves, by the grace of God, to be deceived and manipulated by those in authority.