Scripture is pretty clear that God's People have been set to rule on the earth! Don't believe me; just read Psalm 2! Okay, you might say, Jesus is King of our Hearts, He rules 'in Heaven above' ,within the four walls of the Church, but 'outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.' ( Revelation 22:15 ) 'We have no business judging those who are outside!'' Should not even those who are outside the Covenant of Faith be held accountable for their ( wrong ) actions? Why shouldn't we judge them guilty? If we, as the People of God, can't judge them, how will they be judged? 'Well', you might say triumphantly, 'God will judge them!' Yes, we agree; God WILL judge them, but how, with lightning bolts from Heaven?!
Put simply, a magistrate is an officer of the law, one who makes sure that a law is followed, or kept! This officer is given the authority to administer a punishment of some sort, whether it is to deliver the law-breaker to a higher authority, or whether he is to mete out the judgment himself. Depending on the severity of the crime, he is called to be judicious, as to whether to call upon that higher authority or to reek the situation himself. Either way, the magistrate's job is to judge between right & wrong, good & evil!
The Lesser Magistrate, in this day & age, refers to one who is most often found on the State level, whether it be a Clerk of Court, a Judge, or a Sherriff! The Duty of this Lesser Magistrate is to uphold the Law, especially in opposition to a higher authority, such as on the federal level, when that Higher Authority is judged guilty of wrong-doing, or even issues a command that is opposition to the Law, or what is right & good!
The problem with the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate is that it assumes a Higher Magistrate! Now, I'm not even a student, really, of jurisprudence, much less an expert, but I would say that magistrates ( judges ) should be neither Lesser or Greater, Lower or Higher; if you can judge between wrong & right, good & evil, that should be enough! I realize that there are different levels of punishment in our judicial system for different levels of crime, or law-breaking, but cannot one judge them all? Why must there be one judge or magistrate for one certain level & another for a different sort? Is there truly a Lesser & a Greater crime?!
When one person murders another, that is most definitely a Greater crime than that of stealing a loaf of bread, whether it's to feed his hungry family or not! Should stealing stealing a loaf of bread though ( this is only for example ), though it be Lesser crime, be judged by a Lesser, or Lower authority? Cannot One judge between what is good & evil, right & wrong?,
The Federal Government has no Higher, or Greater authority than the State Government! The Governor of any given State has no more authority than the County Superintendent ( more responsibility, maybe, but not more authority ); both officers are called to uphold the Law & to judge between right & wrong, good & evil! They are both equally Magistrates, just with different spheres, or realms in which they are called to judge!
The Christian, or little Christs, is called to judge! God has given us His Law, written on our hearts, as well as the ability to judge for ourselves between good & evil, right & wrong; why do we need another law to tell us which witch is which? 'Okay', you may say, 'but not everybody is a Christian, not everyone will follow the Law of God'! True, so in such cases, we must judge for them! Right is right & wrong is wrong, no matter whether one is in or out, whether that one obeys or disobeys the Covenant!
Whether we agree or not, as little Christs, we are Officers of the Law! Having been given the authority to judge, we must judge, especially within our own spheres, or realm, between right & wrong, good & evil! Jesus told His disciples, 'all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth' ( Matthew 28:18 ). Clearly, ALL Authority truly belongs to Him & Him alone! He has delegated authority, yes, but it is to US, in the New Covenant, to whom He has delegated it, not to those who don't even acknowledge His Authority!
In conclusion; if there is any such thing as a Lesser Magistrate, WE are it! With our Heavenly Father as the Ultimate & Only Higher Authority, we are called to judge ourselves in matters of right & wrong, good & evil. In our earthly, finite wisdom, we have elected to delegate authority to those who do not exercise it according to that Law which we uphold. Because of this decision, we face what could be a very messy, though glorious revolution in this nation! Politics must be completely revamped & nine out of ten ( if not more ) people in this country will have to be re-educated! Our whole manner of life will have to be re-examined & corrected where necessary. We must unplug ourselves from this insidiously failing & false system, and begin to live again under the Providence, Protection & Authority of the One who alone has True & Absolute Authority!
Charles Haddon Shank