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Church and State

What does the Bible say about the separation of church and state? Well, we see that in Ancient Israel, there definitely was separation; kings were severely punished for assuming priestly duties (2 Chron. 26:16-21). We see, though, that in Christ, as prophet, priest and king, church and state are integrated. Also, the kingdom of God where Christ is king encompasses both church and state. In it, all believers are kings and priests (Rev. 1:6 and 5:10). The early ecclesias integrated both church and state in a single entity. They were the “called out” ones, separated from both Roman culture and Roman law. They were good citizens and, obeying God, gave unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s but God’s law and not Caesar’s governed their lives, civilly as well as religiously.

Prior to the time of the kings of Ancient Israel, there was no state as such. God was king and ruled both the religious and the civil aspects of His people’s lives through His law (1 Sam. 8:1-8). The kings were a later addition. God granted the people their request for a king but, for His own purposes, kept the church separate and independent of the king. This was the origin of the concept of the separation of church and state, but it came to an end with Christ and Christianity.

God gave His creatures only one law to live by. The Ten Commandments govern man’s relationships to both God and to his fellow creatures; both religious and civil injunctions were incorporated into a single law. That law was given to the people as individuals, not as members of institutions. The priesthood was not involved in administering the law; its primary function was to point to Christ and it was dissolved after He came. They were also the teachers of Israel and assisted the elders with respect to the application of Scripture. Neither was there any institution formed to administer the civil aspects of the law. It was done entirely by the people themselves, through their elders.

Christians today, after many centuries of government by churches and states, have lost sight of who they are and what their function is under God. The ecclesia concept of a called-out people, separated from the world and dedicated to the kingdom of God has been buried under a ton of falsehoods promoted primarily by churchmen that are all too ready to interpose themselves and their institutions between Christ and His elect. The kingdom of God, composed of independent, totally self-governed ecclesia bodies, needs to be re-established. This is the God-given form of the kingdom that one day will supplant all “the kingdoms of this world” (Rev. 11:15).

God’s people should be “kings and priests” (Rev. 1:6. 5,10); Christ is their King of kings and their High Priest and they have no need for church or state. These institutions should be tolerated to the extent they must be while they exist but should be avoided as much as possible and the goal should be their eventual elimination. Christians must learn that they have only one Head and that is Christ (1 Cor. 11:3. We are given here the entire scope of government, from the family to the Godhead and there is no provision for church or state.)

Churchmen may claim that they are not rulers but only teachers. However, when they control the content and source of virtually all the teaching, they effectively rule the people. This is the case in today’s churches where one man does all the preaching and the rest, having no voice and little interest, just sit and listen. It is a breeding ground for Christian sheep that are totally unprepared to do God’s work in the world.

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