The government of Israel was a true theocracy. That was really a government of God. At the burning bush, God commissioned Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. By signs and wonders and mighty miracles multiplied, God delivered Israel from Egypt, and led them through the wilderness, and finally into the promised land.
There he ruled them by judges "until Samuel the prophet," to whom, when he was a child, God spoke, and by whom he made known his will. In the days of Samuel, the people asked that they might have a king. This was allowed, and God chose Saul, and Samuel anointed him king of Israel. Saul failed to do the will of God, and as he rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord rejected him from being king, and sent Samuel to anoint David king of Israel; and David's throne God established forevermore.
When Solomon succeeded to the kingdom in the place of David his father, the record is: "Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father." 1 Chron. 29 : 23.
David's throne was the throne of the Lord, and Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king over the earthly kingdom of God. The succession to the throne descended in David's line to Zedekiah, who was made subject to the king of Babylon, and who entered into a solemn covenant before God that he would loyally render allegiance to the king of Babylon. But Zedekiah broke his covenant; and then God said to him:--
"Thou profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." Eze. 21:25-27; see chap. 17:1-21.
The kingdom was then subject to Babylon. When Babylon fell, and Medo-Persia succeeded, it was overturned the first time. When Medo-Persia fell, and was succeeded by Grecia, it was overturned the second time. When the Greek empire gave way to Rome, it was overturned the third time. And then says the word, "It shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him."
Who is he whose right it is?--"Thou ... shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:31-33.
And while he was here as "that prophet," a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, the night in which he was betrayed he himself declared, "My kingdom is not of this world."
Thus the throne of the Lord has been removed from this world, and will "be no more, until he come whose right it is," and then it will be given him. And that time is the end of this world, and the beginning of "the world to come."
Therefore while this world stands, a true theocracy can never be in it again. Consequently, from the death of the Christ till the end of this world, every theory of an earthly theocracy is a false theory; every pretension to it is a false retension; and wherever any such theory is proposed or advocated, whether in Rome in the fourth century, or here in the nineteenth century, it bears in it all that the papacy is or that it ever pretended to be,--it puts a man in the place of God.