Scripture reveals that God has on many occasions dealt openly with civil authorities concerning their unrighteousness:
God warned Abimelech, the king of Gerar, that he would die if he would commit adultery with Sarah (20:3-7). God had graciously kept him from sinning in that way (20:6) and now demanded that he restore her to Abraham (20:7). Abimelech heeded God’s warning and was spared (20:8-18).
2 Samuel 12
King David committed adultery with Bathsheba. Although God forgave him and spared his life, he suffered great consequences for his sinfulness (12:10-12; 14; 13:1-19:33). He continued reigning over God’s people until he died except for the time when Absalom took over the kingdom (15:13-17:29).
King Nebuchadnezzar became proud and was warned by God’s prophet, Daniel. Daniel appealed to him to accept his counsel, break off his sins “by righteousness” and his iniquities “by showing mercy to the poor” (4:27). Nebuchadnezzar failed to heed Daniel’s warning (4:28-30). He was humbled by God until he acknowledged God aright (4:31-33). Following his abasement and repentance, God restored him and blessed him (4:34-37).
King Belshazzar defiled the vessels of God’s house and praised man-made objects of worship (5:1-4). God confronted his wickedness through Daniel and removed him from his kingdom (5:5-31).
John the Baptist, God’s prophet, rebuked Herod Antipas, the king, for taking his (Herod’s) brother’s wife (15:3-4). He declared that it was unlawful for him to have her. Herod had John murdered because he confronted him with his sinfulness. Scripture does not record Herod’s ultimate fate, but historical sources say that he “ended his days in exile” (New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., 481).
Herod Agrippa I, the king, failed to give God the glory on a public occasion and was immediately struck down by the angel of the Lord (12:20-23). He was eaten by worms and died shortly thereafter.
These accounts of God’s similar dealings with unrighteous kings who were over His people as well as with those who were over other peoples strongly imply that God demands righteousness from all civil authorities. Modern day believers should carefully take this evidence into consideration when deciding whether they will support a political candidate with a proven history of unrighteousness.