This article is a continuation of Jerald Finney’s systematic development of the doctrines, application, history, and legalities of “separation of church and state.” See En1 for more on this matter; See En2 for information on books by Jerald Finney which thoroughly examine “separation of church and state law.” This article is an edited version of Section I, Chapter 10 of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed). (Link to Contents of “Separation of Church and State Law” Blog which has links so that the new follower can start his study at the beginning. “Line upon line, precept upon precept.”).
God judges nations
God judges nations, both Gentile nations and the nation of Israel. God cast out the nations in the promised land because of their abominations (See Le. 18). He did not drive them out before then, because their iniquity was not yet full (Ge. 15.16). Before that point, as God promised (Ge. 15.13-14), Israel was a servant to the Egyptians who afflicted them four hundred years, after which time God judged Egypt and delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage (Ge. 15.13-14; 42-50; Ex.).
God then told Israel to go in and possess the promised land. Israel, except for Joshua and Caleb, did not believe God could give them the promised land (See Nu. 13-14). God sentenced all but those who were less than twenty years old and Joshua and Caleb to die in the wilderness because of their unbelief (Nu. 14.28-35). They wandered in the wilderness forty years, until all the unbelievers were dead.
God did not cast the nations in the promised land out from before Israel because Israel was righteous, for they were a stiffnecked people (De. 9.4-6). He did so because of their abominations (See Le. 18) and wickedness (De. 9:4); and so that He could “perform the word which [He] sware unto … Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (De. 9.4-6). He did not drive them out before then because their iniquity was not yet full (Ge. 15.16; Le. 20.23).
God commanded Israel to obey His commandments and judgments, not to follow and serve the gods of the nations being driven out (Le. 18, De. 12.30-32), and not to commit the abominations of the nations He was driving out. He commanded them to be separate (De. 7:1-11). He promised victory and blessings for obedience (De. 7.12-26; 12; 28). God warned and exhorted them (De. 8-12). He promised chastisement for failing to “hearken unto voice of the LORD …, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes.” He promised that continued disobedience would be punished by a world wide dispersion (De. 28.63-69).
Israel failed God and He judged them by sending Israel and Judah into captivity because of their repeated failure, despite many warnings from God, to keep His commandments and His statutes. His prophets repeatedly pointed out their specific sins and warned them of the consequences of their sins, He warned them of the seventy years captivity and their dispersion among all peoples. Here are a few of the many relevant prophecies of warning to Israel:
- He warned them of the seventy years captivity (Je. 25.1-14).
- “… [F]or the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away…. ” (Ho. 4.1-3). Israel was willfully ignorant: “… because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no more priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children…. (See Ho. 4.6-11).”
- God reminds Israel through his prophet Amos of all His judgments against Israel and in spite of those judgments, “yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.” God says, “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel” (Am. 4.6-13 (part of verses 10 and 12 quoted)).
- God wanted Amos to preach 3 things to Israel: (1) the people did not respect the preaching of the word of God (Am. 7.10-13, 16); (2) Israel did not honor the Sabbath (Am. 8.5); (3) they did not detest sin any more (Am. 8.14). God also wanted Amos to tell Israel exactly what he was about to do. They rejected his message. In fact, they didn’t even want to hear him preach. They rebelled at the message and the messenger.
- “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah” (Ps. 9.17, 20).
- “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet” (Ps. 47.2-3).
- Psalm 135.6-12. “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places…. Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings; Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan….” (Ps. 135.6, 10-11).
- “To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth forever; And slew famous kings, for his mercy endureth forever; [kings named]” (Ps. 136.17-21).
God, through his prophets, told of the coming judgments on all nations, and the reasons for those judgments:
- destruction of Moab (Is. 10.5-19);
- destruction of Damascus (Is. 17);
- burden of Egypt (Is. 19);
- prophecy that Assyria will waste Egypt and Ethiopia (Is. 20);
- burden of Tyre (Is. 23);
- woe of Ephriam (Is. 28);
- Armageddon: “the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them…. (Is. 34);”
- judgment of Babylon (Is.. 47);
- judgment on Israel’s oppressors (Is. 49.22-26; 51);
- all nations to be judged—many nations listed to be judged (Je. 25.11-14, 15-38; Je. 45-50);
- destruction of Egypt, Philistia, Tyre, Moab, Ammonites, Edom, Damascus, Elam, Babylon, Chaldea, etc.—read through Jeremiah 46-51 and notice the reasons given for destroying these nations;
- Babylon destroyed because Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, scattered Israel (Je. 50.17-18); because they [strove] against the LORD (Je. 50.24);
- the judgment against Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea because of the violence and evil done to Israel (Je. 51.24, 35-36);
- judgments against various nations in Ezekiel 25-32—the reason for each judgment given and the judgment;
- judgment of the Gentile nations in Joel 3.2-8 after Armageddon;
- judgments on people surrounding Israel prophesied in Amos 1.1-2.3;
- judgments on certain nations prophesied in Zephaniah 2.4-15;
- Zechariah, more than Haggai or Malachi, gives God’s thoughts about the treatment of Israel by nations surrounding Israel—He has given them their authority and will hold them to account, the test being their treatment of Israel. “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zec. 2.8).
The ultimate test for a Gentile nation, as always, is the way a nation treats Israel. “And I will make of thee [Israel] a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing; And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Ge. 12.2-3).” “Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee” (Ge. 27.29). “He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee (Nu. 24.9).”
Thus, nations that blessed Israel have invariably been blessed, those that have persecuted Israel have suffered ill (See Ge. 15.13, 14; De. 30.5-7; Is. 14.1, 2; Jl. 3.1-8; Mi. 5.7-9; Mt. 25.31-40). A careful study of ancient history and of current events reveals that disaster follows when a nation “curses” the nation Israel (See John McTeman and Bill Koenig, Israel: The Blessing or the Curse (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Heathstone Publishing, 2002), cited in William P. Grady, How Satan Turned America Against God (Knoxville, Tennessee: Grady Publications 2005), pp. 1-13.).
The “times of the Gentiles,” a period during which Jerusalem is under Gentile rule, began when Nebuchadnezzar carried Zedekiah into Babylon (2 Chr. 36.1-21; Je. 38.7; Mt. 21.24 (speaking of the time after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.)), since which time Jerusalem has been under Gentile rule. Only a remnant returned to Israel after seventy years in captivity. That remnant remained until Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were dispersed throughout all nations. Christ foretold: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Lu. 21.24).
The whole world system, made up of the Gentile nations after the dispersion of the Jews, fell into and will remain in confusion until the Lord returns (See 1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 2 to Is. 13.1, p. 724; Scofield is right about this):
In the prophets “Babylon,” when not referring to the city [as in Is. 13], is used symbolically to denote the confusion “into which the whole social order or the world has fallen under Gentile world domination.”), conquers the nations with a crushing blow (Da. 2.45, Da. 7.9-11; Re. 19.11-21), and sets up His kingdom (Da. 2.44).
Israel is “the apple of the eye of the Lord of hosts” “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zec. 2.8). In two other verses, God calls Israel the “apple of His eye:” De. 32.10; Lam. 2.18).
Ultimately, Christ will return and gather the Jews from all nations where He has scattered them, and bring them into the land He has given them: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness” (Zec. 8.7-8. See also, Zec. 8.1-8, De. 30.1-9 (God declared the Palestinian Covenant), Ps. 110, Ro. 11.25-27). He will establish His kingdom by power, not persuasion. This will be after the divine judgment upon the Gentile world powers:
- “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Da. 2.44 and 7.27; see also, Da. 2.34, 35, 45; Ps. 2.4-9; Is. 9.7; Zec. 14.1-9).
- In addition to His treatment of Israel at His return, Christ will destroy the present political world-system (Da. 2.34, 35; Re. 19.11-21) and judge the nations (Jl. 3.1-8; Mt. 25.31-46). Then there will follow world-wide Gentile conversion and participation in the blessings of the kingdom:
- “Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Ps. 2.5-8).
- “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Is. 2.2-4).
- “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Is. 11.10).
- “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Is. 60.3).
- “Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain…. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: … Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zec. 8.3, 20, 23).
- “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the king, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of the tabernacles. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the posts in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts” (Zec. 4.16-21).
- “For then [in context, after the Lord crushes the nations] will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent” (Zep. 3.9).
- “And to this agree the words of the prophets: as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things” (Ac. 15.15-17).
- “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had perceived his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that that part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Re. 19.19-20.6).
God will use Israel to “break in pieces the nations” (See Je. 51.19-23). The order of events [of the last days] is:
(1) We are now at the end of the times of the Gentiles. The end began in 1948 when Israel became a nation. A nation was born in one day. The return was a miraculous event fulfilling the scripture that a nation would be ‘Born in a day:’ ‘Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children’ (Is. 66.8). They returned in unbelief; the Prophet Ezekiel foretold this return of the Jews without God, trusting in their own strength. Without the Holy Spirit the Jews are nothing but ‘dry bones’ (Eze. 37.1-14). The yearning in the heart of the Jews for their land—‘Next Year in Jerusalem’—has been the watch cry of Jews for 2000 years. They started going back at the beginning of the 13th Century because of persecution. A trickle in the beginning has reached around 5 million today. Israel is returning to the land in unbelief. ‘Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away’ (Mt. 24.32-35). The fig tree is Israel (Jud. 9.11; Jl. 1.7; Mt. 21.18-19).” (Dr. Greg Dixon pointed out these insights to the author.).
(2) Invasion of Israel by Russia and Moslem allies –– Magog (Rosh), Meshech (Moscow-Eastern Capitol), Tubal –(Western Capitol), Persia – (Iran), Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer-(Southern Russia), Togarmah (Eze. 38-39). This alliance includes Russia, Iran (Persia) and their Moslem allies. These nations will be miraculously defeated by Israel (Eze.).
(3) The invasion of Palestine by Gentile world powers headed up under the Beast and false prophet (Jl. 2.1-10, 18-20; “Armageddon:” Re. 16.13-16; Zec. 12.1-9).
(4) The destruction of the invaders by the Lord’s army (Jl. 2.11; Re. 19.11-21), and the repentance of Judah in the land (Jl. 2.12-17).
(5) The answer of Jehovah (Jl. 2.18-27).
(6) The pouring out of the Spirit (Jl. 2.28, 29)
(7) The return of the Lord in glory and the setting up of the kingdom (Jl. 2.30-32; Ac. 15.15-17) by the regathering of the nation and the judgment of the nations (Jl. 3.1-16)
(8) Full and permanent kingdom blessing (Jl. 3.17-21; Zec. 14.1-21).
En1 Why should believers, and especially pastors, be concerned about the area of church and state law? Because only through knowledge can they avoid dishonoring the Husband/Bridegroom/Head of their local church body and thereby failing to achieve their God-given goal—glorifying God and pleasing Him.
These articles systematically examine the biblical doctrines of church, state, separation of church and state and the application of those doctrines in America. For believers and churches, the information presented is—according to God’s Word—of great importance to our Lord. By reading and studying each article using the Bible as the standard, a believer will discover that the biblical principles are correct as presented. By studying the historical and legal facts presented—without bias, prejudice, illicit motive, or an overriding opposing agenda which has a vested interest in maintaining a status quo due to loss of finances, support or something else—and examining those facts in light of biblical principle, a qualified believer (a believer who has the necessary biblical, historical, and legal qualifications and education) can understand that the conclusions are correct.
That said, understanding the biblical principles, relevant history, and legal principles and facts is, first, impossible for one who is not a born again believer who is walking in the Spirit, and, second, daunting for even the spirit filled follower of Christ. Years of honest, open minded study is required to achieve the correct knowledge and understanding of all facets of church and state law. First, one must interpret Scripture correctly (See 2 Ti. 2:15) as to the relevant topics. After mastering the biblical principles, one must then labor through the annals of history, and the intricacies of law. In order to be qualified to comment upon the law, one must have an extensive legal education. He must understand how to do legal research and how to reach correct legal conclusions. Legal commentary by a pseudo lawyer can sound good to the untrained, while he may be correctly understood as frivolous and unlearned and probably heretical by the educated believer.
This is not to say that a non-lawyer cannot understand the legal and historical aspects of spiritual matters. In fact, the author knows some pastors and other believers who, having already correctly divided the Word of Truth and determined to seek to please God in all matters, have open minds and who have eagerly sought truth in the historical and legal church and state law arena. He is working with such a young pastor at this very moment. He is a brilliant young man who had mastered the Scriptures and Baptist history before the author met him. He excels the author in those matters, as do some other pastors and believers known by the author. Unlike most pastors, he does not have the disadvantages of having gone to either a secular or ecclesiastical (Baptist or otherwise) institution of higher learning. Secular colleges and universities usually corrupt even the most devout child of God; and religious colleges, institutions, and seminaries generally (with few exceptions, one of which the author has personal knowledge of)—by either mixing an ample dose of humanism with whatever biblically correct teaching they dose out; or by having totally having abandoned truth—likewise usually corrupt their students to one degree or another.
On the other hand, I am vexed by what I read in some books and websites concerning church and state law; particularly by some vicious, unfounded attacks upon the Biblical Law Center Declaration of Trust by unqualified, biased assailants who are attempting to mislead believers and churches through incorrect biblical and legal analyses and personal attacks upon and outright lies about those with whom they disagree in such matters.
Being a believer alone, even a pastor, does not by itself qualify one to teach on church and state law. The author has been a believer and faithful member of independent Baptist churches since his salvation. He was called by God to go to law school for His glory and to please Him. As a result of that calling, he obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from one of the best law schools in the country and has practiced law for seventeen years. He has no motive for dishonesty. By design, he has never made a dime above expenses in his work in the church and state law arena. In fact, he has spent tens of thousands of dollars with total income of at most three to four thousand dollars in all the years he has worked in this area of law. Because of this he is beholden to no one and nothing but the truth and his Lord and Savior. Since becoming a lawyer, he has devoted untold thousands of hours in biblical, historical, and legal study and analysis of church and state law.
As always, he declares that if anyone can show him where he is in error, he will recant. Honest, loving believers have taught him much and caused him to modify some of his positions. He has also, in his continued studies, modified some of his conclusions and positions. However, he maintains his primary positions because neither he, through his continued studies, or others have shown him to be wrong about his basic church and state law principles and conclusions.
En2 God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from Amazon by going to the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.