Can the world get any more divided?
There are so many ways to divide: politically, socially, economically, geographically, nationally, racially, and religiously.
There are so many differences that cause (sometimes deep) divisions. Such as: Republican (conservative) or Democrat (liberal); upper class or lower class; capitalist or communist; city dweller or rural … an island paradise or slums; North Korea or South Korea; Jew or Arab … black or white; Christianity or Islam.
Then there are those universal distinctions which can and too often do create clashes.
Male/female … battle of the sexes; as experienced in the 20th century feminism movement. And now in the 21st century, some men in power abusing women, i.e. MeToo movement.
Young/old … generational gaps. A seemingly ever-widening gulf between parents and children. Never so obvious as in the attitudes and behavior over COVID-19 which has caused one new normal after another. Yet, the young seem oblivious to it because many have no or only mild symptoms. They continue to party with (imagined) immunity and impunity.
It does not take a geopolitical or socioeconomic expert to expose and explain the deepening divisions within virtually every level of life: families, communities, cities, states, nations, and internationally.
We talk about changes needed of “the system” as the only viable way to create mutual respect and unity within/between all the things that divide us. Unfortunately, we seem even more determined to solve the problems by treating the symptoms. Which often begs the age-old question: Can you legislate morality or unity?
Unity is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: “a condition of harmony; the quality or state of being made one; unification; the quality or character of a whole made up of intimately associated elements, parts, or individuals.” Synonyms are: Solidarity, integrity, agreement, unison, accord.
Yet after thousands of years of failed governments and societies and “systems” of all kinds (to “progressively” right the wrongs and lessen the ills of humanity), we are digressing in things that really matter. Not the least of which is morality. There is more disharmony, disagreement, disunion, discord than ever. The divorce rate tells us that, which is just one of many ailments of society.
(Do Black Lives matter? Of course they do. But anarchy is not the answer)
The Real Problem & Solution
We misdiagnose both the problems and the remedies because we define them horizontally … exclusively in human terms. Not vertically from God’s divine perspective. According to God’s very Word, the Bible, disunity in the world originates in the human heart because of sin and rebellion against God. That from the inside out the heart must first be transformed (made right with God) before our mind and behavior can/will be changed to the extent that we truly seek the welfare of others.
Listen to the Jewish Apostle Paul, who was miraculously changed by the risen Messiah (Jesus of Nazareth); thereby coming to terms with his own sin nature and all the wrong things that sin produces in people.
“Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one’” (Romans 3:9-12).
Paul then directs his primarily Jewish readers (at the time) to the New Covenant of Grace in sharp contrast to the former (Mosaic) Covenant of Law.
“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law (which no one can do as Paul also writes… we break one law, we break them all), as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:19-25, parenthesis mine).
Before all the differences and divisions that separate segments of society the world over can be dealt with, there must first be a supernatural change of the human heart which naturally is bent toward selfish (me, me, and me) desires.
Listen to the Apostle Paul as he explains this new life in Christ to new believers:
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirt wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:16-21, emphasis added to fit this week’s main theme of divisions).
For the record, Christians do sin. The huge distinction is that if someone is participating in one or more of the above listed “desires of your sinful nature” on a regular (lifestyle) basis, it’s highly unlikely that person is a believer. Thus, he/she will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Which means living forever in heaven, beginning with the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus upon his glorious return to the earth.
As Christians grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18), we will not be sinless. But we should/will sin less.
Repeating Paul’s instructions: So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
Paul goes on to say:
I believe it would take only one or two of these supernatural spiritual byproducts (fruits) to harmonize humanity. To unite the disunited. And to bind the broken. Can you imagine if all nine were working at the same time!
A Division That Is Essential
There is one schism vital to humanity: Truth vs. Error (Lies).
It is a split so obvious that we metaphorically compare these opposites to light and darkness … day and night. It would be unimaginable if Planet Earth were covered in darkness all day long. It would be intolerable for every living thing if night did not yield to morning. It would literally be a matter of life and death.
So, too, is Truth a matter of life … eternal life. Beginning with the soon-to-come Rapture resurrection of those believers in Messiah Jesus who have died and their transformation (along with living believers) into our immortal, imperishable bodies equipped to live forever in heaven.
I’m referring to much more than those things in life that are proven to be true versus those that are false. With a simple example: If someone tells you that a hot stove burner will not burn you if you touch it, is that the truth or a lie? A more complex case would be all the religions and cults of the world, each one claiming that it is right and true. Can they all be right when in fact their theology is so different and often mutually exclusive or contradictory. That is clearly a rhetorical question.
Truth by very definition is exclusive. Meaning it excludes and precludes its’s opposite … lies.
The pivotal point here is the source of all truth. Indeed, Truth itself.
Do you remember Jesus’s trial when Pontius Pilate questioned him as to whether Jesus was, in fact, a king (of the Jews)?
“Pilate said, ‘So you are a king?’
“Jesus responded, ‘You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true’” (John 18:37).
Then Pilate cynically asked a question that many have posed, whether out of sincerity or sarcasm.
“What is truth?” (Verse 38).
To simplify and clarify anything and everything that people perceive to be true; and to answer the critics who contend that (most) truth is relative or those who claim (religiously or philosophically) to have a corner on truth; or to those sincerely seeking answers to this life and the life hereafter, Jesus had previously made this stunning statement:
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father (one and only true God) except through me” (John 14:6, parenthesis mine).
It would be entirely appropriate and accurate if each of these three claims by Messiah Jesus were capitalized in this verse. Because Jesus said no one could come to Father (God) except through him, he was unequivocally declaring that he is the only Way, Truth, and Life. That he came into this world (as the Son of God) not just to show the way, tell the truth, and bring life (everlasting) to people. Oh, he has done all that.
No, he is more. He, “radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…” (Hebrews 1:3).
He IS (the) Way.
He IS Truth (itself).
He IS Life (both now and forever).
He proved this when he, himself, arose from the dead.
Just prior to raising Lazarus from the grave, Jesus said to Lazarus’s sister, Martha:
“…I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live even after dying. Everyone who lives in me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26).
Biblical salvation is both exclusive and inclusive. Redemption comes only through Christ, but everyone is invited to believe in and receive him as Personal Savior. But a choice must be made. There is no neutrality when it comes to deciding for or against Messiah Jesus. Otherwise, he died (willingly gave up his life) for no reason.
Do you believe what Jesus told Martha (and the whole world) is true? Do you believe that he is Truth itself? The only Way to eternal Life?
That’s all that God asks of you … of anyone. As Jesus said to a prominent Jewish religious leader Nicodemus who came to him searching for the truth about who Jesus was/is:
“I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Then Jesus told him exactly what must be done to be born again:
“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:14-19).
So, the only real and (ever) lasting solution to our sins that separate us from God and from each other is not found in any system. It is found in a Person. That is as clear as day is from night!
From Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God (published 1-17-15). In italics as follows:
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God; for example, comparing it to a mustard seed … the smallest of seeds that when planted grows into an enormous tree. Which is exactly what has happened to the body of Christ; an exponential growth down through the ages, to now consist of believers from virtually every nation and language on earth. It is the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of those who have been redeemed by the shed blood of Christ. Next, will come the final physical Kingdom of God on this earth; at which time all people, all governments, all nations will be brought under the authority of God’s magnificent Son. He will rule the nations with firmness, but fairness.
Isn’t that what most people want? They want law, order, equality, safety, peace. And they want someone who has the kind of authority to realize those dreams, but also someone who is kind and considerate with that authority. One who truly cares about people and what is best for them, who can rule and judge with impartiality and kindness. A truly wise and benevolent King whose attributes perfectly reflect who and what he is: Love, Truth, Justice, Mercy.
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together… For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).
Jesus stated assertively that he is the (only) Way. Which means that every person who doesn’t make a decision for Christ is deliberately driving into a danger zone marked, “Wrong Way, Do Not Enter.”
Said the Apostle John to believers late in his life: “So I am writing to you not because you not because you don’t know the truth, but because you know the difference between truth and lies. And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ (Messiah … God’s chosen one to redeem mankind). Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (I John 2:21-23, parenthesis mine).
John’s message here is both simple and profound. He is reducing all anyone wants or needs about knowledge (facts … such as 2 + 2 =s 4) and truth to the very essence of Truth itself … where it originated and where it is contained.
The peace that comes through believing in Christ’s (as the Lamb of God) substitutionary sacrifice has brought about the Kingdom of Heaven, in the hearts of all those who receive him as Personal Savior. But not until Messiah Jesus returns as King of all kings will the glorious Kingdom of God be established on Planet Earth. A Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and world peace.
Until then, we will continue to experience divisive rifts caused by disunity, disorder, discord, disarray, destruction and (unnecessary) death the world over.
How bad is it getting, and will it be? So bad that, despite overwhelming evidence during the (soon-to-come) Great Tribulation of God’s judgment on the entire world, “…they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:21)
One Of, If Not the Most Divisive Dichotomy of All
It is a proverbial bone of contention that has split society within nations and between nations, particularly in the 20th & 21st centuries. One that garners headlines more than just periodically.
It is the real or perceived fracture between religion and politics. A demarcation demanded by many, especially the liberal among us. In the United States, Europe, and other Western Countries, it is mostly referred to as the division between church and state. Whereas in most Muslim nations, especially the non-Arab nations of Iran and Turkey, there is (to differing degrees) such a union, i.e. an Islamic state or regime that controls nearly every feature of life.
Because time/space doesn’t permit in this week’s article and because I’ve written about it somewhat extensively, and because the main purpose here is a reminder of how contentious this issue has become, we’ll examine some evidence more hurriedly … in deference to the ultimate remedy. Which, as indicated, is found in a Person, not a system. Certainly not one that constitutes and/or ends with an “ism.” Such as: Catholicism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Socialism, or Communism. Yes, communism is a religion (belief system) that also has a god. Its’ god is the state and sometimes the ruler of that state. And, of course, Islam.
For that matter, even Judaism, when only part of God’s Word is acknowledged … Old Testament. And reliance on keeping the Law of Moses to the exclusion of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 22:17-20) for right standing with God. Even Abraham was made righteous by his faith (Genesis 15:6), long before God gave the Law to Moses. Conversely, not recognizing the historical authenticity of the New Testament and its authors also inspired by the Holy Spirit.
I did not include Christianity because it is not a religion as such, i.e. a system of regulations, rituals, (impossible to keep) requirements, including a common denominator to all religions—good works outweighing bad deeds to merit the favor of their god or gods. Whereas the (true) Christian faith is based exclusively on a relationship to a Person and through him God the Father.
It is the only faith that says all people need to be redeemed (by a Redeemer) and, in fact, recognizes that Redeemer as the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
As examples of how much “intrusion” should be allowed of religion into politics, we will look at incidents/situations in three countries concerning this ongoing controversy.
In an article entitled: When rabbis should not keep quiet, posted in the online source of Jewish News Syndicate on September 10, 2020, British author Melanie Phillips begins with:
“The former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks, has come in for some stick over remarks he recently made about religion and politics. In an interview with JTA, he was asked what he thought about the observation by Rabbi Shmuel Kamenstsky, the head of the Agudath Israel Council of Torah Sages, that Jews should vote to re-elect President Donald Trump out of gratitude for the things he has done for the Jewish people.
“Rabbi Lord Sacks, who was made an independent member of the House of Lords in 2009, delivered an impassioned reply. ‘The division between politics and religion is absolutely fundamental,’ he said. ‘It’s one of the greatest things Judaism ever taught the world: Don’t mix religion and politics. You mix religion and politics; you get terrible politics and even worse religion. It’s an absolute and total outrage.’”
*Note: For what I think is a pretty balanced view of this church/state issue, you may want to read Eye of Prophecy articles: Separation of Church and State … For or Against? Part I & Part II (posted April 2016).
Melanie Phillips continued: “When he was chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Sacks drew some criticism from the Jewish community that he was politically timid. He always insisted, however, that rabbis had a duty to keep out of contentious political debate….
“As he said in his recent interview, politics was inherently divisive while religion should be about bringing people together. In Israel, the mix of politics and religion was ‘a catastrophe and may one day threaten the very survival of the state.’ As soon as religion became political, it, too, inevitably became divisive.
“The truth of that last remark was promptly demonstrated in the reaction to his comments. Jews who supported Trump and Sacks should have spoken in support of him. Jews who were against Trump and Sacks should have spoken against him. Ironically, therefore, Sacks denunciation of political divisiveness produced division.”
In her article, Ms. Phillips mentioned both Israel and (indirectly) the United States when speaking of President Trump in the greater context of the religion/politics enigma.
(Do you think both pictorials make valid points? My opinion … yes they do)
The United States
Just a couple of observations, the first general in nature, the second more specific.
General: I was born in Lawrence, Kansas, one of fifty states comprising the United States of America. The very reason for the formation and existence of the USA is because our ancestors revolted against England’s tyrannical rule. A British government that fit the classic definition of a State Church or a Church State (Anglican) that itself was formed when a couple hundred years earlier King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, whose popes controlled kings and queens and nations all over Europe.
Not in the entire history of our country has there been anything remotely resembling a religion church-controlled government in America. God forbid that would ever happen. God never intended Israel or the Jews to turn the truth of Torah (Old Testament) into a religion, as such. Rather, Israel’s very inception as a nation, both corporately and individually was based on a relationship with their Creator, not a religion, as such.
In a sweeping overview of what God really wanted for/from his people, we read:
“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
It was in Micah’s time and long before in Moses time and it is to this very day: a matter of the heart. Of trusting and obeying the Lord because we want to, not because we must, i.e. rote keeping of requirements and rituals.
In his commandments, the Lord tells us what is right. Such as love the Lord with all our heart and honor our parents. And what is wrong … stealing, adultery, etc. Yet, God never forces anyone to comply, which is why organized religion (such as Islam, Catholicism, Mormonism, or any Protestant denomination) should not mix with politics in terms of forcing or enforcing specific doctrines of that religion. Which is a misguided and sometimes a malevolent top-down institutional control of people.
Specific: On the other hand, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with certain leaders of a country who embrace a specific faith being elected by the people. Such as U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence on the same ticket (2016 & 2020) as Donald Trump, with Pence a professed Christian. In that regard, we have a bottom to top paradigm in which those governed choose (by voting) their leaders based on political platforms that (in the case of American voters) have a Judaic/Christian heritage, based in turn on Biblical truths and values.
The evidence is convincing: Were it not for the evangelical block of voters, it’s highly unlikely that Donald Trump would have beaten Hilary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Is that a mixture of religion and politics? Answer: Sure is. But not in the classical sense of church vs. state.
Which, by the way, infuriated Hilary Clinton. Do you recall what she said about some of those who voted for Donald Trump?
Was she referring to millions of evangelical Christians? No matter who she was referring to, what a deplorable thing to say.
Yet, it’s illustrative of the ongoing conflict between all things political and all things religious. Except that in the United States and European countries it is almost exclusively the Christian faith that is attacked and accused of “meddling” or even “peddling” in politics.
Rabbi Sacks observations that the rift in Israel between secular and religious Israelis could one day threaten the very survival of the state is only a slight exaggeration. There seems to be increased friction between these two groups, intensified even more because two of the parties in Israel’s coalition-style parliamentary government (Knesset) consists of observant Jews—mostly Orthodox or Ultra-Orthodox. They are the Shas party … 9 members. And United Torah Judaism … 7 members. Essentially, they support the right-wing Likud (of which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu belongs) which is the largest party.
Let’s pause here for an excerpt from my first book, a novel entitled O Israel … the end is the beginning for those left behind. One of the main characters, an American Jew Avram Levitt, is reminiscing about the paradoxical diversity and unity of Israel. In italics:
Avram marveled at Israel and its people. For a country not much larger than the state of New Jersey, with a population smaller than many of the world’s cities, Israel’s cultural, religious, and political diversity equaled that of many larger countries. No better expression of variance could be found than in the two cities that characterized Israel: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They balanced on distant points of the cultural and religious pendulum, yet both cities were distinctively Jewish.
…he proudly hailed Tel Aviv as one of the most modern, industrialized, high-tech cities in the world. It was Tel Aviv that best expressed and defined Israel’s remarkable progress … beautiful galleries, grand theatres, contemporary concert halls, modern restaurants, seaside skyscrapers, and luxurious beach hotels.
Jerusalem was always the ancient city … you will find the long, storied past of Israel, with its patriarchs, judges, prophets, kings, and divinely appointed destiny of land and people. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Temple Mount Wailing Wall or the Knesset. Take in some synagogues, yeshivas, Christian holy sites, and all four quarters of the Old City…
If a citizen of Israel preferred the label of Israeli, there was a good chance that person lived in Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem or surrounding towns, residents embraced the time-honored appellation of Jew. After all, the word Jew originated from Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob and ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel….
For Jacob’s descendants who practiced Judaism, whether conservative, orthodox, or ultra-orthodox, Jerusalem was the main attraction. The secular, the atheistic, and the liberals preferred Tel Aviv. For the Reformed? Either city would do.
But all Israelis passionately exhibited one unifying trait and defended one ultimate purpose: the survival of Israel as a people, as a sovereign democratic state, as a nation reborn from the floods of dispersion and from the fires of Nazi death camps.
Jews synthesized over another common denominator … an enemy who wants to reduce them to ashes, to drown them in the sea, to erase Israel from memory, from all maps of the civilized world (Pages 15-16).
The main (some say sole) reason that it’s taken three Israeli elections in about one year’s time to finally form a viable government is because Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Yisrael Beytanu party, bailed out of the Likud-led coalition after initially giving the support of his party. Which resulted in a less than majority (61 Knesset seats) coalition. In turn, requiring two more elections since then.
And the main reason (some say exclusive reason) that Lieberman and his party members withdrew from the majority coalition was over his demand that all (not just a select few) religious Jewish students studying Torah and/or to become a rabbi must serve in the IDF (military) was not acted on in the form of a vote. That and his disdain for the very idea of religious (especially the Orthodox) Jews serving directly in the Knesset.
(Members of the United Torah Judaism party)
The Priest/King Dichotomy
Here is an excerpt from the article, Separation of Church and State, Part II. Beginning with the profound but practical (Church-like and State-like) instructions that the Lord gave to his people when (not if … the Lord knew it would happen) Israel switched from the administrative blend of priests and judges to being ruled by a king.
“When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear (respect, hold in awe) the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20, parenthesis mine).
When God permitted Israel to change from a Kingdom of Priests to a Kingdom of Kings, he also made allowances for the faults, frailties, and failures of the people. Thus, the Lord’s instructions to the king did not, by compulsion, mandate that the people do the same thing. It would be much better for them individually and as a nation if they did seek and acknowledge God in both private affairs and affairs of state; but above all, God still gives the human race free will to choose. No better exemplified than America’s freedom to vote someone into office, but then accept the consequences (good, bad, or indifferent) of that choice.
With divine foreknowledge the Lord knew all too well that unrestrained, unconditional power corrupts and that the vast majority of national and international leaders throughout history would be or become malevolent monarchs instead of benevolent, he also told Israel that the same man could not be both king and priest.
In that respect, there was a (balanced) separation of kingly duties and priestly duties. What we would probably identify today as some semblance of Separation of Church and State.
For one thing, no one person had the time or energy to occupy both offices. Also, if a king was wicked—which the vast majority of Israel’s king were, as were nearly all Gentile kings—the priests and the people that faithfully followed the Lord could still live and prosper in the land because of God’s faithfulness to keep his promises (of blessing).
Listen again to the well-known words that vividly explain God’s grace and mercy if people as a nation turn to him:
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).
Make no mistake … this beautiful land of opportunity that we call the United States of America was, in fact, given to us by the true and living God. The surest way to lose our freedoms, if not the land itself, is to as a nation (all three branches of government) abandon, reject, and mock our Creator and Savior. Ironically, this is being done by many who claim they are protecting those liberties by eliminating all things shown, said, or done that smack of religion, with practically everything they do directed against Christians (true believers). Their real agenda is to eliminate the name of Jesus and take away the rights of those who name the name of Christ, including freedom of worship, speech, press, and assembly, in say a meeting room on a high school or college campus.
I firmly believe if we and especially our presidents, senators, representatives, governors, mayors, and judges adhered to (the basic) truths and principles found in Scripture, at least acknowledging God’s ultimate authority and thanking him for all of his blessings, there would be no need to debate the issue of Church and State separation. Our leaders would fully comprehend what it means to serve both God and the people. This service would not need to in any way, shape, or form result in a man-made religion or hierarchical religious denomination or institution to impose a distorted view of government ON the people.
Things to Ponder
When God approved Israel’s demand for a king, it was crystal clear that the king could not be a priest.
However, long before God’s people—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—became a nation, there was a man who was both priest and king. And there would be again.
He was the man called Melchizedek. We first read about him and his interaction with Abraham in Genesis 14. “And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High…” (Verse 18).
(Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article: Melchizedek … A Man of Mystery! Published 3-3-18).
Right after Abraham’s encounter with this mysterious man, God reaffirmed his covenant with Abraham (Genesis Chapter 15, as first found in Genesis Chapter 12). This included Abraham’s descendants inheriting Israel as their special perpetual possession; plus, not only Israel but the Gentile nations to be blessed. First and foremost, God’s blessings would be accomplished through His Messiah who would bring the ultimate blessing of redemption to Israel, individually and collectively as a nation. Individually as their High Priest. Nationally as their King (of all kings).
Listen to this spectacular prophecy of the coming Messiah in one of the most Messianic books of the Old Testament. One of many that makes yet another distinction between the Old Covenant of the Law and the New Covenant (through Messiah) of Grace.
“…Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles” (Zechariah 6:13).
Salvation for the individual, Jew and Gentile alike, via the New Covenant of Grace by faith alone (not good works) was implemented through the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth—a historical fact some 2000 years ago. This was/is his role as High Priest with one major difference. He offered himself (in our place) as the once for all sacrifice for sin.
It was in no uncertain terms: The greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid.
“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey (believe and receive) him. And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:8-10, parenthesis mine).
When Messiah Jesus returns to bring redemptive restoration and rescue to Israel (from her enemies) as a nation, Israelis and Jews the world over will finally recognize him as both High Priest (Lamb of God) and King.
“Together they (Antichrist and his coalition) will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him” (Revelation 17:14, parenthesis mine).
That massive defeat of the armies of the world which dare to take on God’s Son will usher in the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus.
At which time, there will be no more discussion of church and state separation!
There will be no more angst over mixing politics and religion! In fact, there will be no more religion(s).
“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).