What Is Theocracy?


godIran is a country that established a constitution in 1979 which gave birth to a system of theocracy. It may seem like this term is relatively new for most of our website visitors and it truly is so. You may be on your Amsterdam holiday right now and you would not know a thing or two about theocracy. It is because not many countries are run using the theocratic system. According to the World Population Review website, aside from Iran, six other countries have a theocratic system of leadership. These are Afghanistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, and the Vatican City.

Theocracy System

A theocracy is a form of government wherein God or another personification of the deity is the one who is ruling the country. He is the supreme authority of the nation. He gives the divine guidance that leads the people and the nation, in general, to the direction that, assumingly, God wants the country to go. In the case of Iran, the government has a president who handles the executive operations of the country. But it has a Supreme Leader that gives guidance to the people and the government. Ever since the establishment of the constitution in Iran, there have only been two Supreme Leaders. This is because the Supreme Leader has life tenure, meaning, there will only be a change of leadership when the leader passes away.

The Term Theocracy

Theocracy originates from a Greek word meaning “the rule of God.” Theos means God while krateo means to rule. The term theocracy was first used by the Roman historian Flavius Josephus when he was detailing the history and the present condition of the Jews. Josephus described the rule of the Jews as quite unique because it is originated from the rule of Moses in the Old Testament where Moses hears the Word of God and gives them to the people.


In some religions, it is the king or the prophet that rules the nation. In a pure theocracy, there is only one leader. This is signified by Moses for the Israelites and Muhammad for the Muslims.