Originally, all civil governments were under the same guidelines. Although Gentile nations proceeded under the original plan as ordained by God in the covenant He made with Noah, God called out Israel, a nation for Himself. First, Abraham was called out and obtained a promise of God. Since man had failed to obey God on the basis of human conscience, the restraint by the Holy Spirit, and human government, God instituted a new economy, a new way of dealing with man. He made promises to Abraham and his seed, Jesus Christ, which were four hundred years before the law. The inheritance was not of the law which was added because of transgressions, “until the seed should come” who was Jesus Christ. God “sware” this promise “by himself.
God promised Abraham that He would bless him, make his name great, give him many physical descendants, make him the father of many nations, give him the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him.
God promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their seed everlasting possession of a physical land on the earth with prescribed boundaries. Israel’s government, working in conjunction with the Jewish religious leaders, was given the responsibility to enforce all ten of the Ten Commandments, as well as all of God’s moral law. The Gentile nations proceeded under the original plan laid down by God and their highest function was the judicial taking of life, from which all other governmental powers may be implied.
Israel was called by God for specific purposes: “Israel was called to be a witness to the unity of God in the midst of universal idolatry; to illustrate the blessedness of serving the true God;) to receive and preserve the divine revelations; and to produce the Messiah.
The Jewish patriarchs (heads of families) failed in the responsibilities God gave them, and judgment followed. Their responsibility was only to believe and serve God who provided all material and spiritual resources requisite to inspire them to do this. God gave them the Promised Land, and blessings were guaranteed while they remained in the land. In spite of this, their future was predominated by failure. Jacob eventually led his children to Egypt where they were enslaved. God delivered them and crushed their taskmasters.
After God delivered Israel from their Egyptian oppressors, He gave them the Mosaic Law. This was, of course, before they entered the Promised Land. He dealt with them now on the basis of that law in addition to conscience, the restraint of the Holy Spirit, civil government, and promise. God’s new economy for Israel was based on law. Promise and law are sharply distinguished in Galatians 3 even though the law did not annul the promise.
The law was written in stone and “was a totally external way of God’s administering His rule over Israel.” It was an external moral restrainer, a “schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.”
When God delivered Israel out of Egyptian bondage, their faith failed and God caused them to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Before God allowed Israel to enter the Promised Land, she operated under a covenant directed solely to the nation Israel. All other nations, the Gentile nations, continued under the covenant God made with Noah. Israel was given covenant declared in Deuteronomy 30.1-10 which gives God’s conditions under which Israel entered the land. Israel has never as yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, nor has it ever possessed the whole land. The seven parts to the covenant given in Deuteronomy 30 are:
Dispersion for disobedience, v. 1 (De. 28.63-68. See Ge. 15.18, note).
The future repentance of Israel while in the dispersion, v.2.
The return of the Lord, v.3 (Amos 9.9-14; Ac. 15.14-17).
Restoration to the land, v. 5 (Is. 11.11, 12; Je. 23.3-8; Ez. 37.21-25).
National conversion, v.6 (Ro. 11.26, 27; Hos. 2.14-16).
The judgment of Israel’s oppressors, v. 7 (Is. 14.1,2; Joel 3.1-8; Mt. 25.31-46).
National prosperity, v. 9 (Amos 9.11-14).
Israel in the land was originally a theocracy directly under God. God spoke directly to Moses and Joshua, and then chosen judges in Israel. God does not and never has spoken directly to Gentile nations as He did with Israel.
Israel was a theocracy. The word “theocracy” comes from two Greek words, theos meaning God and kratos meaning ruler. “Theocracy” means “Government of a state by the immediate direction of God; or the state thus governed. Of this species the Israelites furnish an illustrious example. The theocracy lasted till the time of Saul.”
The church, which God instructed to be directly under God and His principles only, is not a state, and therefore not a theocracy. Nor can a church take the place of God over a state; such an arrangement is not a theocracy.
Next, we will take a look at how Israel performed in the theocracy in the land, God’s judgments of Israel, and God’s grace.
Distinct Differences between Church and State Render Them Mutually Exclusive
Combining church and state has had dire consequences, as history shows (See (1) Section 4 of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application which is available free in both PDF and online form or may be ordered in softback and Kindle by going to “Order information for books by Jerald Finney”; (2)the section on the history of the First Amendment; and/or (3) An Abridged History of the First Amendment.). Catholic and Protestant theology historically justified (and continue to justify) the union of church and state by examining Scripture not literally, but allegorically or spiritually, when and where convenient to support a desired conclusion. Thus, those religious organizations interpret Scripture in such a way as to apply the principles for Israel and Judaism to Gentile nations and the established church of that nation.
Many of America’s founding fathers, most especially James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, understood that church and state should be separate. From a worldly common sense point of view they arrived at their understanding by studying the consequences of such unions both historically and also contemporaneously. Isaac Backus and some other Baptists understood both the problems created by combining church and state and the true reasons for those problems. Backus wrote: “Christians must be careful not to apply God’s principles for the Jewish religion and the nation Israel to church and state. The principles for the two are so distinct that they are mutually exclusive. The government of the Church of Christ is as distinct from all worldly governments, as heaven is from earth” (Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), p. 561)! Indeed, union of church and state is contrary to biblical principles; and, therefore, the consequences of church-state union have always been dire and will be so until the return of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom.
God gave both church and state certain powers. God gave the state earthly and temporal power within jurisdictional boundaries which He set out.
“EARTH’LY, a. Pertaining to the earth, or to this world.
Our earthly house of this tabernacle. 2 Cor. v.
“2. Not heavenly; vile; mean,
This earthly load
Of death called life. Milton. “3. Belonging to our present state; as earthly objects; earthly residence.
“4. Belonging to the earth or world; carnal; vile; as opposed to spiritual or heavenly.
Whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. Phil. iii.
“5. Corporeal; not mental. Spenser”(AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828)).
The power given a church was meant to provide a spiritual and eternal good.
“1. Consisting of spirit; not material; incorporeal; as a spiritual substance or being. The soul of man is spiritual.
“2. Mental; intellectual; as spiritualarmor.
“3. Not gross; refined from external things; not sensual; relative to mind only; as a spiritualand refined religion.
“4. Not lay or temporal; relating to sacred things; ecclesiastical; as the spiritualfunctions of the clergy; the lords spiritual and temporal; a spiritualcorporation.
“5. Pertaining to spirit or to the affections; pure; holy.
God’s law is spiritual; it is a transcript of the divine nature, and extends its authority to the acts of the soul of man.
“6. Pertaining to the renewed nature of man; as spiritual life.
“7. Not fleshly; not material; as spiritual sacrifices. 1 Peter ii.
“8. Pertaining to divine things; as spiritual songs…. Ephesians v. (Ibid.)”
Spiritual beliefs determine earthly actions. Much of God’s spiritual word deals with actions of individuals, families, churches, and nations here upon the earth. Civil governments are not given jurisdiction over many areas of life which are governed by the Word of God. A civil government which ignores God and His Word is setting itself up for judgment.
God ordained a church under God, not a business under civil government, an entity that is to work hand in hand with or perhaps over the state to bring in the kingdom of God, or an entity that is to work under state rules. Admittedly, the ultimate God-given purpose of both a church and a civil government is to glorify God, each acting under God, but neither acting with or under the other. However, the underlying purposes of a church and the state are significantly different: the underlying purpose of a church is heavenly or spiritual; the underlying purpose of a civil government is earthly.
The purpose of the Gentile civil government is fleshly or earthly. See the section “The biblical doctrine of government” for more on the jurisdiction and purposes of the various God-ordained governments including civil government. Gentile civil government, according to God, was ordained by God to deal with those temporal earthly matters assigned it by God. God gave man certain authority over man. He gave man the responsibility to rule over man under His rules. Gentile civil government has authority to punish those who commit certain crimes against their fellow man and to reward those who do good. The purpose of the Gentile civil government is to control evil men thereby maintaining some degree of peace in this present world. A civil government, as defined by God, is made up of men under God ruling over man in earthly matters.
A church is a local autonomous body of believers; and, as such, it is a holy temple for the habitation of God through the Spirit (Ep. 2.21, 22); is “one flesh” with Christ (Ep. 5.30, 31); and espoused to Him as a chaste virgin to one Husband (2 Co. 11.2-4). A church, under God, owes no allegiance to any tribunal in the universe, except to that of the Lord Jesus Christ unless she willingly and wrongly places herself under the jurisdiction of another (Mt. 16.13-18), and is the body of Christ of which He is the Head (Ep. 1.22, 23). See the section “The biblical doctrine of the church” for a thorough examination of the doctrine of the church.
Neither a church nor the state was given authority from God to rule over or with the other. Christians are told to obey civil government as regards certain earthly matters. But Christians and churches are not to be under the civil government with regard to spiritual matters, which include many activities and actions as shown in the Bible. God gave churches free will, and churches can therefore choose to disobey God and voluntarily put themselves under the authority of civil government.
Civil government does not meet the qualifications needed to rule over a church and those matters assigned the church by God. Civil government does not have the authority given it from God to oversee or rule a church. Since civil government is usually led by the unregenerate, it does not have the nature or wisdom to handle spiritual matters; and, therefore, when a church combines with the state, both are corrupted. Christians do have such nature and wisdom, as proclaimed by Paul: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath proposed in himself” (Ep. 1.9).
Paul was a very well-educated man. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees. Before his conversion, he studied in Tarsus under Gamaliel (Ac. 22.3).
“Tarsus was actually the center of Greek learning to that day. The finest Greek university in Paul’s day was in Tarsus, not in Athens or Corinth which had passed their zenith. Tarsus was a thriving Greek city and an educational center. Undoubtedly Paul had been brought up in that university in Tarsus and had a Greek background, but he had also been in Jerusalem where he had studied under Gamaliel. He had worked on his doctorate in Jerusalem under the outstanding scholar of that day, Gamaliel” (J. Vernon McGee, Acts, Volume II (Pasadena, California: Thru the Bible Books, 1984), p. 258).
Despite his worldly education, which he obtained before his conversion, Paul declared:
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching wasnot with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world,nor of the princes of this world,that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, eventhe hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they knownit, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, becausethey are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Co. 2.1-16). [Bold emphasis mine].
Thus Paul first made clear that, as a spiritual man, he discarded his worldly education gained as a lost carnal man. After he got saved he relied only upon his knowledge of God; and he made clear that only the born-again believer, led by the Spirit, was qualified to handle spiritual matters. Paul also asserted that rulers, “the princes of this world,” do not possess spiritual wisdom, indicating that most leaders are not Christians (undoubtedly, almost all leaders, and almost all leaders of civil government when he wrote the above words, are not and were not Christians) and are blind to spiritual matters.
“InScripture theology, wisdom is true religion; godliness; piety; the knowledge and fear of God, and sincere and uniform obedience to his commands. This is the wisdom which isfrom above. Ps. xc. Job xxviii”….
“The wisdom of this world, mere human erudition; or the carnal policy of men, their craft and artifices in promoting their temporal interests; called alsofleshly wisdom. 1 Cor. ii., 2 Cor. i” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “WISDOM.”).
Persecuted Christians down through the ages have understood this and therefore have refused, even under penalty of torture, imprisonment, and/or death to submit the church and spiritual matters to the ungodly, usually the civil government, and/or the state-church. This was apparent under the Roman Empire at the time of Christ and after. Roger Williams correctly observed, as have other students of unrevised history:
“Scripture and all history tell us, that those Caesars were not only arrogant, without God, without Christ, &c.; but professed worshippers, or maintainers, of the Roman gods or devils; as also notorious for all sorts of wickedness; and lastly, cruel and bloody lions and tigers toward the Christians for many hundred years.
“Hence I argue from the wisdom, love, and faithfulness of the Lord Jesus in his house, it was impossible that he should appoint such ignorant, such idolatrous, such wicked, and such cruel persons to be his chief officers and deputy lieutenants under himself to keep the worship of God, to guard his church, his wife. No wise and loving father was ever known to put his child, no not his beasts, dogs, or swine, but unto fitting keepers.
“Men judge it matter of high complaint, that the records of parliament, the king’s children, the Tower of London, the great seal, should be committed to unworthy keepers! And can it be, without high blasphemy, conceived that the Lord Jesus should commit his sheep, his children, yea, his spouse, his thousand shields and bucklers in the tower of his church, and lastly, his great and glorious broad seals of baptism and his supper, to be preserved pure in their administrations—I say, that the Lord Jesus, who is wisdom and faithfulness itself, should deliver these to such keepers? …
“[W]hen the Lord appointed the government of Israel after the rejection of Saul, to establish a covenant of succession in the type unto Christ, let it be minded what pattern and precedent it pleased the Lord to set for the after kings of Israel and Judah, in David, the man after his own heart.
“But now the Lord Jesus being come himself, and having fulfilled the former types, and dissolved the national state of the church, and established a more spiritual way of worship all the world over, and appointed a spiritual government and governors, it is well known what the Roman Caesars were, under whom both Christ Jesus himself, and his servants after him, lived and suffered; so that if the Lord Jesus had appointed any such deputies—as we find not a title to that purpose, nor have a shadow of true reason so to think—he must, I say, in the very first institution, have pitched upon such persons for thesecustodies utriusque tabulae,keepers of both tables, as no man wise, or faithful or loving, would have chosen in any of the former instances, or cases of a more inferior nature…” (Roger Williams and Edward Bean Underhill, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed and Mr. Cotton’s Letter Examined and Answered(London: Printed for the Society, by J. Haddon, Castle Street, Finsbury, 1848), pp. 204-205).
“Christ never delivered His sheep or children to these wolves, his wife and spouse to such adulterers, his precious jewels to such great thieves and robbers of the world, as the Roman emperors were. Paul never appealed to Caesar as judge appointed by Christ Jesus to give definitive sentence in any spiritual or church controversy; but against the civil violence and murder which the Jews intended against him, Paul justly appealed. For otherwise, if in a spiritual cause he should have appealed, he should have overthrown his own apostleship and power given him by Christ Jesus in spiritual things, above the highest kings or emperors of the world beside…” (Ibid., p. 209).
“A civil magistrate may be a good subject, a good magistrate, in respect of civil or moral goodness, which thousands want; and where it is, it is commendable and beautiful, though godliness, which is infinitely more beautiful, be wanting, and which is only proper to the Christian state, the commonweal of Israel, the true church the holy nation, Ephes. ii.; 1 Pet. ii” (Ibid., p. 212).
How can it be that a Christian can be godly, while a non-Christian as a hopeless lost sinner can only have some degree of virtue? Once a person is born again, he becomes a new creature, a spiritual being who is instructed by God to walk in the Spirit:
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3.3).
“Except a man be born of water (SeeEN1) and ofthe Spirit (John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” Mk. 1.8. See also, Mt. 3.11 and Lu. 3.16), he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3.5).
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn. 3.6).
“Therefore if any manbein Christ, he isa new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (1 Co. 5.17).
The Word of God instructs the believer as to his walk:
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised usup together and made us sit together in heavenlyplaces in Christ Jesus” (Ep. 2.1-6).
“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which arethese;Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told youin time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Ga. 5.16-25; see also, Ep. 5.1-17, Jn. 6.63, Ro. 8.1-13).
Thus, the lost man, the man who has not been born again, is a fleshly man, who walks in the flesh without the indwelling Spirit of God. He is subject only to the law. The believer, a member of a church, a part of the body, is a heavenly man, and a stranger and pilgrim on the earth who is told to be led of the Spirit. He is told that if he is led of the Spirit, he is not subject to the law.
“Blessed bethe God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ep. 1.3).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made ussit together in heavenly placesin Christ Jesus” (Ep. 2.4-5).
“If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell youofheavenly things” (Jn. 3.12)?
“WHEREFORE, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (He. 3.1).
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Pe. 2.11).
The word “heavenly” signifies that which is heavenly in contradistinction to that which is “earthly”:
“‘The heavenlies’ [or ‘heavenly places’] may be defined as the sphere of the believer’s spiritual experience as identified with Christ in nature (2 Pet. 1.4[‘Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.’]); life (Col. 3.4 [‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.’]; 1 John 5.12[‘He that hath the Son hath life; andhe that hath not the Son of God hath not life.’]); relationships (John 20.17[‘Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.’]; Heb. 2.11[‘For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified areall of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,’]); service (John 17.18[‘As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.’]; Mt. 28.20[‘Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, evenunto the end of the world. Amen.’]); suffering (Phil. 1.29[‘For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;’]; 3.10[‘That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;’]; Col. 1.24[‘Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:’]); inheritance (Rom. 8.16, 17[‘The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.’]); and future glory in the kingdom (Rom. 8.18-21[‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time arenot worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.’]; 1 Pet. 2.9[‘But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:’]; Rev. 1.6[‘And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.’]; 5.10[‘And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.’]). The believer is a heavenly man, and a stranger and pilgrim on the earth (Heb. 3.1[‘Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;’]; 1 Pet. 2.11[‘Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;’])” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 2 to Ep. 1.3, p. 1249).
The church is made up of believers. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Ac. 2.47). The church, made up of spiritual beings, is a spiritual or heavenly body whose ultimate purpose is to glorify God. “The word ‘spiritual,’ found 23 times in the Bible, always means heavenly minded, godly, holy, never self-centered” (Questions and Answers, The Berean Call, January 2007, Volume XXII, No. 1, p. 5, available at www.thebereancall.org.). “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Co. 10.31). As was pointed out in “The biblical doctrine of the church” and further explained in “God Betrayed/Church Corporate-501c3 Status: Union Of Church and State”, a church, as the spiritual body of Christ, is told to be subject to Christ, the Head of the body, in all things.
Spiritual matters include all things involving a church, such as the use of (not ownership of by the church) property for the assembly of the saints. These matters are all related to the primary purpose of loving and glorifying God and the Lord Jesus Christ who is likened to the Head, the Husband, and the Bridegroom of the church, and loving our neighbor as well. Jesus stated, concerning the commandments concerning man’s relationship with God, in response to “[A] lawyer, [who] asked a question, tempting [Jesus], and saying Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second islike unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets” (Mt. 22.37-40. See also, Mk. 12.28-34 and Lu. 10.25-28).
Love is shown by action—that is, it is an act of the will and not lust or just an emotion or a verbal profession. Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (Jn. 14.21). “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love…. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jn. 15.10, 14).
Only God’s people can exhibit God’s love. Again, the first and great commandment of God is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;” and the second, like unto it, is “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mt. 22.37-40. See also, Mk. 12.28-34 and Lu. 10.25-28). This is repeated to emphasize God’s greatest commandments. These commandments were also in the Old Testament (See De. 6.5, 30.6 and Lek 19.18). If one loves God and his neighbor as commanded by God, he will automatically keep the Old Testament Commandments. Thus, rulers, when they forbid a church and/or individual believers to perform their God given functions to love God and to love their neighbors and usurp that role for themselves, have not only assumed an illegitimate role not given them by God, but also have assumed a role they are unqualified to assume because of both a lack of spiritual wisdom and a lack of the most important ingredient—love given the believer by the Spirit of God.
“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Sonto bea propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world…. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 Jn. 4.5-14, 18-21). [Emphasis mine.]
John Robinson, one of those called Separatist (one who withdrew from the established Church of England), defined the difference between civil and ecclesiastical government leaders in 1610:
“Civil officers [are, and] are called in the word of God, princes, heads, captains, judges, magistrates, nobles, lords, kings, them in authority, principalities and powers, yea, in their respect, gods; and according to their names so are their offices. But on the contrary, ecclesiastical officers are not capable of these, or the like titles, which can neither be given without flattery to them, nor received by them without arrogancy. Neither is their office an office of lordship, sovereignty or authority, but of labor and service, and so they, the laborers and servants of the church, as of God. 2. Cor. iv.5; 1 Tim. iii.1. [This same principle applies to government entities such as incorporated churches which, by secular or earthly law, must have officers with certain non-biblical titles. See Section VI.]
“Magistrates may publish and execute their own laws in their own names. Ezra i.1 &c; Esther viii.8; Matt. xx.25. But ministers are only interpreters of the laws of God, and must look for no further respect at the hands of any to the things they speak, that as they manifest the same to the commandments of the Lord. 1 Cor. xvi. 37. [Officers of incorporated churches are subject to and must apply the laws of their sovereign, the state. See Section VI.]
“Civil administrators, and their forms of government, may be and ofttimes are altered, for the avoiding of inconveniences, according to the circumstances of time, place and persons. Exod. xviii.13 &c.But the church is a kingdom which cannot be shaken, Heb. xii.28, wherein may be no innovation in office, or form of administration, from that which Christ hath left, for any inconveniency whatsoever.
“Civil magistrates have authority by their offices to judge offenders, upon whom also they may execute bodily vengeance, using their people as their servants and ministers for the same purpose; but in the church the officers are the ministers of the people, whose service the people is to use for the administering of the judgments of the church, and of God first, against the obstinate, which is the utmost execution the church can perform…. But here it will be demanded of me, if the elders be not set over the church for her guidance and government? Yes, certainly, as the physician is set over the body, for his skill and faithfulness, to minister unto it, to whom the patient, yea though his lord and [or] master, is to submit; the lawyer over his cause, to attend unto it; the steward over his family, even his wife and children, to make provision for them: yea, the watchman over the whole city, for the safe keeping thereof. Such, and none other, is the elder’s or bishop’s government” (John Robinson,A Justification of Separation from the Church of England (1610), quoted in Isaac Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 19-20). [Bold emphasis mine.]
Mr. Robinson’s distinctions between civil and church government are relevant in America today.
A church is to sit together in heavenly places. God wants His churches to be run according to His spiritual principles. Sadly, most churches are not run according to God’s principles. A “church” run as a corporation, unincorporated association, corporate sole, or charitable trust with an Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) 501(c)(3) tax exemption is, to a greater or lesser degree, earthly. It is designed and operated, at the very least partially, under the earthly rules of man which are contrary to the spiritual rules of God.
The contrast between how God treats earthly and heavenly concerns is shown in many ways. This article will examine a few: first, the contrasts between the manner of redemption of the nation of Israel and the manner of redemption of the individual; second, the contrasts between the new law of Christ in the renewed heart and the external law of Moses; third, the contrasts between the weapons and means of nations to attain their ends and the weapons and means of a believer and a church to attain their ends; fourth, the contrasts between the different punishments ordered by God for the church and for the state; fifth, the contrasts between Old and New Testament prayer; sixth, the contrasts between the hope of nations as seen in the Old Testament and the hope of the church as seen in the New Testament; seventh, the contrasts between the promises to the nation Israel for obedience and the promises to the Christian for obedience; eighth, the contrasts between the position and fate of the nation Israel and the position and fate of the church; and ninth, the contrasts between the different houses of God for Israel and the church—the Old Testament tabernacle was earthly, the New Testament church is spiritual. A discussion of each of these contrasts follows.
First, the manner of redemption of the nation Israel and that of the individual are different. The book of Exodus teaches that:
“redemption is essential to any relationship with a holy God; and that even a redeemed people cannot have fellowship with Him unless constantly cleansed from defilement.
“In Exodus, God, hitherto connected with the Israelitish people only through His covenant with Abraham, brings them to Himself nationally through redemption, puts them under the Mosaic Covenant. In the Commandments God taught Israel His just demands. Experience under the Commandments convicted Israel of sin: and the provision of priesthood and sacrifice (filled with precious types of Christ) gave a guilty people a way of forgiveness, cleansing, restoration to fellowship and worship” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, headnote to Ex., p. 71).
In Galatians, Paul demonstrates: “that justification is through the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15.18), and that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after the confirmation of that covenant, and the true purpose of which was condemnation, not justification, cannot disannul a salvation which rests upon the earlier covenant.” Paul [also vindicates] the office of the Holy Spirit as Sanctifier.”
Second, the new law of Christ and the external law of Moses are significantly different:
“The new ‘law of Christ’ is the divine love, as wrought into the renewed heart by the Holy Spirit(Rom. 5.5 [‘And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.’];Heb. 10.16 [‘This isthe covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.[.]]’);and out flowing in the energy of the Spirit, unforced and spontaneous, toward the objects of the divine love (2 Cor. 5.14-20 [‘For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And thathe died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we himno more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he isa new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new….’]; 1 Thes. 2.7-8[‘But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children; So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.’]).It is, therefore, the law of liberty (Jas. 1.25[‘But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.’]; 2.12 [‘So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty..’]);in contrast with the external law of Moses. Moses’ law demands love(Lev. 19.18 [‘Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.’];Deut. 6.5 [‘And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.’]; Lk. 10.27 [‘And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.’]); Christ’s law is love (Rom. 5.5 [‘And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”]; 1 John 4.7, 19, 20[‘Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?’]), and so takes the place of the external law by fulfilling it(Rom. 13.10 [’Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore, love isthe fulfilling of the law.’]; Gal. 5.14[’For all the law is fulfilled in one word, evenin this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’]. It is the ‘law written in the heart’ under the New Covenant(Heb. 8.8,note)” (Ibid., n. 1 to 2 Jn. 5, p. 1326). [Bold emphasis mine.]
The old law kills, the new law saves. “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life…. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (2 Co. 3.6, 17). When God told Moses to get down from the mountain, he brought the law down, and three thousand were killed (Ex. 32.28). When Jesus rejoined his disciples after the resurrection, He told them to “wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Ac. 1.4-5). They waited, the Holy Spirit came down, and three thousand were saved (Ac. 1.6-2.41).
Third, the weapons of a church and Christians, who are fighting a spiritual warfare against a spiritual enemy, are spiritual, not carnal, and their goal is spiritual:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare arenot carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.)” (2 Co. 10.3-4).
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of he devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ep. 6.10-18).
“For the word of God isquick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and isa discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (He. 4.12).
The weapons of Israel as a nation were carnal, although the real secret to success in their earthly battles was obedience to and faith in God. Their goal as a nation was earthly—possession of and prosperity in the land promised them by God (See, e.g., De.). When they entered the land they had to take it by force. For example, they “utterly destroyed all that wasin [Jericho], both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword” (Jo. 6.21). The children of Israel, under Joshua, continued to do battle and “took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war” (Jo. 11.23). However, they did not expel all the inhabitants as instructed, nor did they possess all the land God had given them (See, e.g., Jo. 13.13). Joshua, before his death, instructed the children of Israel to expel those remaining of the nations in the land, with penalty of banishment from the land should they fail to keep his instructions (Jo. 23.4-16). They did not drive out all the inhabitants of the land as instructed nor did they take all the land the Lord had given them to possess (Ju. 1).
Weapons used for spiritual warfare are not suitable for earthly warfare and vice versa. Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, the first government in history to have religious liberty (See Section IV, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed) pointed out:
“[T]o take a stronghold, men bring cannon, culverins, saker, bullets, powder, muskets, swords, pikes, &c., and these to this end are weapons effectual and proportionable.
“On the other side, to batter down idolatry, false worship, heresy, schism, blindness, hardness, out of the soul and spirit, it is vain, improper, and unsuitable to bring those weapons which are used by persecutors, stocks, whips, prisons, swords, gibbets, stakes, &c., (where these seem to prevail with some cities or kingdoms, a stronger force sets up again, what a weaker pulled down); but against these spiritual strongholds in the souls of men, spiritual artillery and weapons are proper, which are mighty through God to subdue and bring under the very thought to obedience, or else to bind fast the soul with chains of darkness, and lock it up in the prison of unbelief and hardness to eternity” (Williams, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, pp. 119-120).
Roger Williams maintained that the civil power has five proper political means to attain its end:
“First, the erecting and establishing what form of civil government may seem in wisdom most meet, according the general rules of the word, and state of the people…. The magistrate has power to publish and apply such civil laws in a state, as either are expressed in the word of God in Moses’s judicials—to wit, so far as they are of general and moral equity, and so binding all nations in all ages—to be deducted by way of general consequence and proportion from the word of God.
“For in a free state no magistrate hath power over the bodies, goods, lands, liberties of a free people, but by their free consents. And because free men are not free lords of their own estates, but are only stewards unto God, therefore they may not give their free consents to any magistrate to dispose of their bodies, goods, lands, liberties, at large as themselves please, but as God, the sovereign Lord of all, alone. And because the word is a perfect rule, as well of righteousness as of holiness, it will be therefore necessary that neither the people give consent, nor that the magistrate take power to dispose of the bodies, goods, lands, liberties of the people, but according to the laws and rules of the word of God….
“Secondly, the making, publishing, and establishing of wholesome civil laws, not only such as concern civil justice, but also the free passage of true religion: for outward civil peace ariseth and is maintained from them both, from the latter as well as from the former.
“Civil peace cannot stand entire where religion is corrupted, 2 Chron. xv. 3, 5, 6; Judges viii. And yet such laws, though conversant about religion may still be counted civil laws; as on the contrary, an oath doth still remain religious, though conversant about civil matters.
“Thirdly, election and appointment of civil officers to see execution of those laws.
“Fourthly, civil punishments and rewards of transgressors and observers of these laws.
“Fifthly, taking up arms against the enemies of civil peace” (Ibid., pp. 212-213. See pp. 219-223 concerning the power of the magistrate in making laws.).
On the other hand, according to Mr. Williams,
“the means whereby a church may and should attain her ends, are only ecclesiastical, which are chiefly five. First, setting up that form of church government only of which Christ hath given them a pattern in his word.
“Secondly, acknowledging and admitting of no lawgiver in the church but Christ, and the publishing of his laws.
“Thirdly, electing and ordaining of such officers only as Christ hath appointed in his word.
“Fourthly, to receive into their fellowship them that are approved, and inflicting spiritual censures against them that offend.
“Fifthly, prayer and patience in suffering any evil from them that be without, who disturb their peace.
“So that magistrates, as magistrates, have no power of setting up the form of church government, electing church officers, punishing with church censures; but to see the church doth her duty herein. And on the other side, the churches, as churches, have no power, though as members of the commonweal they may have power, of erecting or altering forms of civil government, electing of civil officers, inflicting civil punishments—no, not on persons excommunicated—as by deposing magistrates from their civil authority, or withdrawing the hearts of the people against them, to their laws, no more than to discharge wives, or children, or servants, from due obedience to their husbands, parents, or masters: or by taking up arms against their magistrates, though they persecute them for conscience; for though members of churches, who are public officers, also of the civil state, may suppress by force the violence of usurpers, as Jehoiada did Athaliah, yet this they do not as members of the church, but as officers of the civil state” (Ibid., pp. 213-214).
Fourth,the Bible lays out different punishments to be administered by church and state. As to the church, there is no example in Scripture of the church physically punishing anyone for any type infraction or of the church turning either one guilty of sin (not classified by the state as penal) or one guilty of spiritual wrongdoing over to the state for punishment:
“But as the civil magistrate hath his charge of the bodies and goods of the subject: so have the spiritual officers, governors, and overseers of Christ’s city or kingdom, the charge of their souls, and soul safety. Hence that charge of Paul to Timothy, 1 Tim. v. 20, Them that sin rebuke before all, that others may learn to fear.This is, in the church of Christ, a spiritual means for the healing of a soul that hath sinned, or taken infection, and for the preventing of the infecting of others, that others may learn to fear, &c” (Ibid., p. 99).
Paul instructed the church at Corinth to deliver a church member who was guilty of fornication with his father’s wife “to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Co. 6.1-5). He goes on to tell them that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” and that they are not to “company with fornicators” “or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters” “or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner” (1 Co. 6.7-11). The Corinthian church did expel the man and he repented and was restored (See 2 Co. 7.8-11). As Roger Williams points out, “Where it is observable, that the same word used by Moses for putting a malefactor to death, in typical Israel, by sword, stoning, &c., Deut. xiii.5, is here used by Paul for the spiritual killing, or cutting off by excommunication, 1 Cor.  v.13, Put away that evil person, &c” (Williams and Underhill, p. 62).
Paul tells the church that members of the church are not to go to law against each other for non-criminal actions, rather to take wrong, to “suffer [themselves] to be defrauded” (I Co. 6.1-8). He tells the church that they are to judge among themselves (Ibid.). Titus was instructed by Paul: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject” (Tit. 3.10). Roger Williams’ insights into this verse are instructive:
“[F]or an erroneous and blind conscience, (even in fundamental and weighty points) it is not lawful to persecute any, til after admonition once or twice” (Williams and Underhill, p. 20).
“First then Titus, unto whom this epistle and these directions were written, and in him to all that succeed him in the like work of the gospel to the world’s end, was no minister of the civil state, armed with the majesty and terror of a material sword, who might for offenses against the civil state inflict punishments upon the bodies of men by imprisonments, whippings, fines, banishment, death. Titus was a minister of the gospel, or glad tidings, armed only with the spiritual sword of the word of God, and [with] such spiritual weapons as (yet) through God were mighty to the casting down of strongholds, yea, every high thought of the highest head and heart in the world, 2. Cor. x. 4.
“Therefore, these first and second admonitions were not civil or corporal punishments on men’s persons or purses, which courts of men may lawfully inflict upon malefactors; but they were the reprehensions, convictions, exhortations, and persuasions of the word of the eternal God, charged home to the conscience in the name and presence of the Lord Jesus, in the midst of the church. Which being despised and not hearkened to, in the last place follows rejection; which is not a cutting off by heading, hanging, burning, &c., or an expelling of the country and coasts; neither [of] which (no, nor any lesser civil punishment) Titus, nor the church at Crete, had any power to exercise. But it was that dreadful cutting off from that visible head and body, Christ Jesus and his church; that purging out of the old leaven from the lump of the saints; the putting away of the evil and wicked person from the holy land and commonwealth of God’s Israel, 1 Cor. v. [6, 7.] Where it is observable, that the same word used by Moses for putting a malefactor to death, in typical Israel, by sword, stoning, &c.,, Deut. xiii. 5, is here used by Paul for the spiritual killing, or cutting off by excommunication, 1 Cor. v. 13,Put away that evil person,&c.
“Now, I desire the answerer, and any, in the holy awe and fear of God, to consider that—
“From whom the first and second admonition was to proceed, from them also was the rejecting or casting out to proceed, as before. But not from the civil magistrate, to whom Paul writes not this epistle, and who also is not bound once and twice the admonish, but may speedily punish, as he sees cause, the persons or purses of delinquents against his civil state; but from Titus, the minister or angel of the church, and from the church with him, were these first and second admonitions to proceed.
“And therefore, at last also, this rejecting: which can be no other but a casting out, or excommunicating of him from their church society.
“Indeed, this rejecting is no other than that avoiding which Paul writes of to the church of Christ at Rome, Rom. xvi. 17; which avoiding, however woefully perverted by some to prove persecution, belonged to the governors of Christ’s church and kingdom in Rome, and not to the Roman emperor, for him to rid and avoid the world of them by bloody and cruel persecution” (, pp. 61-63).
A heretic in the church who continues in his heresy after the first and second admonition “is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (Tit. 3.11).
The state, on the other hand, is to punish men for certain carnal infractions against their fellow man, not for spiritual infractions against God.
Fifth, Old and New Testament prayer are distinct:
“Prayer in the O.T. is in contrast with prayer in the N.T. in 2 respects: (1) in the former the basis of prayer is a covenant of God, or an appeal to his revealed character as merciful, gracious, etc. In the latter, the basis is relationship: ‘When ye pray, say, Our Father’ (Mt. 6.9). (2) A comparison, e.g., of the prayers of Moses and Paul, e.g. will show that one was praying for an earthly people whose dangers and blessings were earthly; the other for a heavenly people whose dangers and blessings were spiritual” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 2 to Hab. 3.1, p. 957).
Whereas, in the Old Testament, prayers were made for temporal destruction of those God had a purpose to pluck up, Christians are to pray for all men:
“Jeremy had a commission to plant and build, to pluck up and destroy kingdoms, Jer. i.10; therefore he is commanded not to pray for that people whom God had a purpose to pluck up, Jer. xiv.11, and he plucks up the whole nation by prayer, Lament. iii.66. thus Elijah brought fire from heaven to consume the captains and the fifties, 2 Kings i. And the apostles desired also so to practise against the Samaritans, Luke ix.54, but were reproved by the Lord Jesus. For, contrarily, the saints, and servants, and churches of Christ, are to pray for all men, especially for all magistrates, of what sort or religions soever, and to seek the peace of the city, whatever city it be, because in the peace of the place God’s people have peace also, Jer. xxix.7; 2 Tim. ii., &c (Williams and Underhill, p. 86).”
Sixth, nations as seen in the Old Testament and churches as seen in the New Testament have different hopes. Every nation is on probation (if it violates its probation, it loses its land and identity as a nation); believers in a church are a family awaiting glory:
“The scene that happened while Moses was on the mount where the children of Israel broke the law, made a golden calf, etc., affords a striking contrast between law and grace. Cf. Moses’s intercession with Christ’s (John 17). Israel was a nation, under probation [earthly] (Ex. 19.5,6); believers under grace are a family, awaiting glory [heavenly] (John 20.17; Rom. 5.1, 2). For them there is “an advocate with the Father,’’ whose propitiatory sacrifice never loses efficacy (1 John 2.1, 2). Moses pleads a covenant (Ex. 32.13); Christ points to a sacrifice (John 17.4)” (See Ex. 32 and 1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to Ex. 32.10, p. 113).
Seventh, the promises to the nation Israel and its people and the promises to the Christian are different. The Christian was promised, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Ti. 3.12). Israel was given conditional promises of material blessings for obeying God’s commands, for keeping His statutes and judgments. Under the Palestinian Covenant, they were told that they would prosper materially if they kept and did all the words of that covenant (De. 30.9). God repeated this promise to other leaders of Israel. For example, the LORD spoke to Solomon, King of Israel saying,
“And if thou walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, andwilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. Butif ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments andmy statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: And at this house, whichis high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done this to this land and to this house? And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil” (1 K. 9.4-9).
Eighth, the position and fate of the nation Israel and the position and fate of the church are distinct. God called the nation Israel the wife of Jehovah to be restored on this earth; the church is symbolized as the bride and wife of Christ:
“That Israel is the wife of Jehovah (see [Hosea 2.] 16-23), now disowned but yet to be restored, is the clear teaching of [Hosea 2:14-23]. This relationship is not to be confounded with that of the Church to Christ (John 3.29, refs.). In the mystery of the Divine tri-unity both are true. The New Testament speaks of the Church as a virgin espoused to one husband (2 Cor. 11.1, 2); which could never be said of an adulterous wife, restored in grace. Israel is, then, to be the restored and forgiven wife of Jehovah, the Church the virgin wife of the Lamb (John 3.29; Rev. 19.6-8); Israel Jehovah’s earthly wife (Hos. 2.23); the Church the Lamb’s heavenly bride (Rev. 19.7))” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to Ho. 2.2, p. 922).
Ninth, the different houses of God for Israel and the church are distinct—the tabernacle was earthly, the Christian and the church heavenly, a spiritual house, not an earthly house:
“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein wasthe candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary…. But Christ, being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building” (He. 9.1-2, 11).
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Co. 3.16-17. “In the N.T. the usual Gk. word for sanctuary(naos) is used of (1) the temple in Jerusalem (Mt. 23.16); (2) of the believer’s body (I Cor. 3.16, 17; 6.19); (3) and of the local church (2 Cor. 6.16; Eph. 2.21). But in all these instances the thought is simply of a habitation of God. No reference to the structure of the temple, as in the case of the tabernacle (Heb. 9.-10), is traceable.”
“Now therefore ye [church members] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone;In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ep. 2.19-22).
“Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make themthe members of an harlot? God forbid…. know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit… What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which isin you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? …” (1 Co. 6.15-20).
“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (He. 3.6).
“[Y]e are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Co. 6.16).
“To whom coming, as untoa living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, andprecious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pe. 2.4-5).
John the Baptist announced the coming of something new. He spent no time in the temple. With him, a new system that required a decision began. “Jesus’ real temple—as … with John the Baptist—was the desert” (Leonard Verduin, The Anatomy of a Hybrid (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Derdmans Publishing Co., 1976), fn W, p. 61). “Some of the negative miracles he performed (e.g., the cursing of the fig tree so that it withered) were a reflection of his attitude toward the temple and the concept of which it was the rallying point” (Ibid.). Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple (Mt. 24.2), and failed to endorse Jerusalem and the Jewish system of worship stating that the time was coming when she would neither worship in “this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem,” but that “the hour cometh, and now is when true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father seeketh such to worship him” (Jn. 4.21, 23).
The resources and manpower needed to build the temple (earthly and tremendous, provided by man) and the church (heavenly, provided by God) are distinct (He. 9.1-2, 11). In the Old Testament, we learn that the shekinah-glory of the LORD came to fill the house of the LORD, built by man’s hands. The Holy Spirit comes to live in the believer, who is born again by the spirit of God. As has been shown, the church is a spiritual building, made up of spiritual stones (believers) built on the cornerstone (Jesus Christ).
America has seduced most churches to submit to the state through incorporation and 501(c)(3) status. The civil government has convinced Americans, saved and lost, to embrace its illegitimate authority, and has taught them that people are to worship and glorify God and spread the Gospel only within the four walls of a building. Today, in America, the civil government has made it impossible for an incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization and Christians to exercise, in many instances, the second great commandment. For example, the state will not allow a corporate 501(c)(3) religious organization to run a home for children without being licensed and controlled by the state.
Observing most churches—with no civil law purportedly requiring state control of churches as in Communist China and other nations throughout the world—running to seek affiliation with the state, and born-again believers putting churches under state control is vexing to the Christian who knows that such actions displease God. A church in the United States is not required to affiliate with the state. No one will be persecuted if a church refuses to affiliate with the state unless the church, in some circumstances, attempts to exercise the second great commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Many, probably the majority of born-again church members, love the Lord and would reject civil government entanglement with the church if taught by their pastors and other teachers the biblical truths about the matter. Yet the vast majority of churches affiliate with the state. Why? Because of false teachers—“Christian” lawyers and unregenerate pastors as well as saved pastors who have never studied biblical principles concerning separation of church and state—and the itching ears of some of God’s people; because some church members love the world and what it teaches and offers more than they love the Lord and what He offers; and because some “Christian churches” led by false theologies such as Calvinism and Catholicism teach that church and state are to combine and work together. Of course, they dislike the present state of the church relationship because the state controls the church whereas they believe the church should control the state; they like to say, “Incorporation in America today is not what it should be or “Incorporation is not what it once was.” The Lord taught us:
“Love not the world, neither the things that arein the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that isin the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 Jn. 2.15-17).
EN1. The water which is spoken of here is the Word of God. This is consistent with all of Scripture, and is specifically stated in the Bible. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Pe. 1.23. Jesus, in talking to the Samaritan woman said, “If thou knowest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him and he would have given thee living water…. Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. But whosover drinketh of the water that I give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Jn. 4.10, 13-14. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Ep. 5.26
EN 2. 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, the author is vexed by what he reads 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.
EN 3 All books, except An Abridged History of the First Amendment, by Jerald Finney are available free in both PDF and online form. One may go toOrder information for books by Jerald Finney should he desire to order any of the books which are in print.
This chapter will prove from the Bible that God is the God of Israel and that nations who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse her will be cursed. That does not necessarily mean that nations should interfere with Israel in her foreign policy and actions against foreign nations. God was never pleased with Judah or Israel when they turned to other nations for military help. He always made clear that He would preserve Israel and assure victory if Israel would love Him, keep his statutes and commandments, and depend upon Him as their deliverer. So that the reader does not apply biblical teaching concerning the treatment of Israel by other nations to individuals and churches, this teaching will be prefaced by a summary biblical teaching concerning God’s directions to believers and churches concerning their treatment of the Jews and Israel. Many believers take verses such as those where God says to Israel that He would bless those that bless her and curse those who curse her to mean that Christians as individuals and churches are never to say anything against Israel and/or Jewish people and support Israel and the Jews in whatever they do. The words of God spoken to the Israelites through the Old Testament Prophets and the treatment of those prophets by non-believing Jews as well by the words spoken to the non-believing Jews by believers within God’s New Testament churches and the resulting persecutions of those believers by the Jews makes clear the God-given responsibilities of individual believers and churches towards the Jews. The author can understand how believers can misunderstand these matters because he believed the Christian revisionism he had been subjected to concerning these matters before the teaching of a dear Christian brother then and his new Pastor, Jason Cooley, along with many years of dedicated Bible study.
These prefatory remarks are intended to make clear that believers and churches should not laud present day Israel or individual Jews for wickedness any more than they should praise the nation and people of America or any other nation for their wicked teachings, laws, and deeds. The Bible makes clear the God-given commission of believers and churches. God Himself has made clear in His Word that the Jews were and are, like all people, wicked and a stiffnecked. The Old Testament is repleat with God’s continual warnings to Israel of the consequences of evil actions including rebellion against Him. As one reads through the Old Testament, he cannot miss the fact that the Israelites, except for an always present remnant, were rebellious, wicked, and stiffnecked. Here are a very few of many Old Testament verses which make that clear.
Exodus 32:9-10 “And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.” The Lord said this because of what the Jews did while Moses was on the mountain. They built an idol and offered a sacrifice to it. Upon returning 3,000 men were killed.
Exodus 33:3 ‘Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.”
Deuteronomy 9:6-29 (Moses recounts the transgressions of the Israelites) “6 Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people. 7 Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD….”
Isaiah 63.1-6. The day of vengeance. Isaiah 63:7-19 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him? That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
Believers within God’s churches continued to preach to the Jews Jesus, for which Jews, except for a remnant who believed, sought to persecute and kill them. Here are a few of many New Testament verses which show this to be true:
Acts 2:14-36 [Peter’s first sermon after Pentecost, addressed to lost Jews. He preached salvation through Christ to the Jews, as the apostles thereafter always did.] Notice thereafter that lost Jews constantly sought to persecute and kill Christians.
Acts 7 “… [51-53: Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. [see vv. 54-60 for the reaction of the Jews toward Stephen, a saved Jew] …”
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”
Thus, churches and pastors who put their names on Israeli missiles in the name of Jesus do not correctly divide the Word of Truth in regards to the Jews. The God-given role of believers as to treatment of the Jews is to preach salvation through Jesus, which includes being clear that the only way to salvation and all that follows salvation is through the blood of Jesus. Most Jews just like other non-believing pagans, as always, reject the Gospel, and persecute believers who proclaim the truth to them, when they get the chance. However, according to Scripture, a nation who blesses the nation Israel will be blessed and a nation who curses the nation Israel will be cursed. (See the teaching that follows).
God promised the nation Israel He would bless those that bless her and curse those who curse her. This promise was for all time. No such promise was ever given to any other nation. David understood this. He said to the Lord after the Lord proclaimed to him what is called the Davidic Covenant: “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God. And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said…. And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts isthe God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee” (2 S. 7.23-26).
To suggest that Israel has only the rights God has given to all nations is a shocking rejection of clear biblical teaching! God distinctly tells Israel that He has “separated [and] severed [her] from other people” (Le. 20.24, 26) and that she will not be “reckoned among the nations” (Nu.23.9) because He loved Israel and chose her to be a “special people … above all people:” “For thou [Israel] artan holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that areupon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharoah king of Egypt” (De. 7.6-9).
God promises repeatedly, “O Israel … I am with thee … to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee” (Je. 30.10-11).
“The Bible identifies the true god as ‘the God of Israel’ 203 times, ‘the God of Jacob’ 28 times, ‘the God of Abraham’ 17 times, and ‘the God of Isaac’ 13 times. Never is He called the God of any other ethnic group. These designations are foundational to everything the Bible teaches, including the character of God. To profess to believe in God and at the same time to hold a prejudice against God’s chosen people, the Jews, or against Israel, which turns these clear biblical identifications into meaningless titles, casts doubt upon whether one really knows the true God” (Dave Hunt, “God of Jacob, God of Israel,Part I,” The Berean Call, August 2006, Vol. XXI, No. 8, pp. 3, 5. See Matthew 22.29-31; See article for more good information on those who think the covenant with Israel was broken. See also, Dave Hunt, “God of Jacob, God of Israel, Part II,” The Berean Call, September 2006, Vol. XXI, No. 9, pp. 3-4).
The land of Israel was unconditionally given to Abraham and to his seed in the Abrahamic Covenant: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee 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. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran” (Ge. 12.1-4). God said to Abraham, “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever” (Ge. 12.1-4); “And he said unto him, I amthe LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it” (Ge. 15.7).
“The Abrahamic Covenant as formed (Gen. 12.1-4) and confirmed (Gen. 13.14-17; 15.1-7; 17.1-8) is in seven distinct parts:
“‘I will make of thee a great nation.’ Fulfilled in a threefold way: (a) In a natural posterity—‘as the dust of the earth’ (Gen. 13.16; John 8.37), viz. the Hebrew people. (b) ‘In a spiritual posterity—look now toward heaven …so shall thy seed be’ (John 8.39; Rom. 4.16, 17; 9.7, 8; Gal. 3.6, 7, 29, viz. all men of faith, whether Jew or Gentile.) Fulfilled also through Ishmael (Gen. 17.18-20).
“I will bless thee.’ Fulfilled in two ways: (a)temporally (Gen. 13.14, 15, 17; 15.18; 24.34, 35);(b)spiritually (Gen. 15.6; John 8.56).
“‘And make thy name great.’ Abraham’s is one of the universal names.
“‘And thou shalt be a blessing.’ (Gal. 3.13, 14).
“‘I will bless them that bless thee.’ In fulfillment closely related to the next clause.
“‘And curse him that curseth thee.’ Wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew—well with those who have protected him. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle (Deut. 30.7; Isa. 14.1, 2; Joel 3.1-8; Mic. 5.7-9; Hag. 2.22; Zech. 14.1-3; Mt. 25.40, 45).
“‘In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ This is the great evangelic promise fulfilled in Abraham’s Seed, Christ (Gal. 3.16; John 8.56-58). It brings into greater definiteness the promise of the Adamic Covenant concerning the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3.15).
“NOTE.—The gift of the land is modified by prophecies of three dispossessions and restorations (Gen. 15.13, 14, 16; Jer. 25.11, 12; Deut. 28.62-65; 30.1-3). Two dispossessions and restorations have been accomplished. Israel is now in the third dispersion, from which she will be restored at the return of the Lord as King under the Davidic Covenant (Deut. 30.3; Jer. 23.5-8; Ezk. 37.21-25; Lk. 1.30-33; Acts 15.14-17)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 3 p. 24 to Ge. 15.18. This notation was made before the Jews were restored to the land in 1948. But even then, there was not a complete restoration to all the land that God gave to the Jews nor did God Himself perform that restoration although Isaiah prophesied it (See Isaiah 66).).
Thus God made three kinds of promises in the Abrahamic Covenant: (1) personal promises to Abraham, (2) national promises concerning Israel, and (3) universal promises that would affect all the people of the world (Renald E. Showers, There Really Is a Difference: A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology (Bellmawr, New Jersey: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1990), pp. 57-58). Some of those promises have been fulfilled, but His promises “to give the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession to Abraham’s physical descendants (Genesis 17.8) and to give the Abrahamic Covenant for an everlastingcovenant to those same descendants (Genesis 17.7, 19)” have not yet been fulfilled (Ibid., p. 59).
The Abrahamic Covenant was an everlasting covenant dependent upon God and not upon what Abraham did. A theological controversy surrounds this issue, but the author is convinced beyond all doubt that the covenant is everlasting (Ibid., pp. 60-68: Renald E. Showers sums up the dispensational arguments against the conditional position.).
As pointed out above, Israel entered the land under Joshua after Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness under the conditional Palestinian Covenant. The Palestinian Covenant, which was established by God with Israel after He gave the Mosaic Covenant, was separate from the Mosaic Covenant. “These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb” (De. 29.1). In conjunction with the covenant, God made very significant promises to Israel: “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul” (De. 30.1-10).
These promises are to be fulfilled with literal, not spiritual, Israel, and reveal that God always leaves the way open for unfaithful Israel to be reconciled to Him. The final fulfillment of these promises to Israel is in the future. Since God intends to fulfill these promises to Israel when all the curse of Deuteronomy 28 concerning the nation Israel has been completed, this shows that literal Israel, as distinguished from the church (identified by some theologians as spiritual Israel), will survive the curse of God. God’s promise to restore Israel to the land which he gave to Abraham and his descendents when allthe curse of Deuteronomy 28 has been fulfilled is another guarantee of Israel’s permanent ownership of that land. The Word of God in the promises of the Palestinian Covenant guarantees that literal Israel will repent and become saved in the future (Bible teaching on this is outlined in this article, infra. See also, Showers, pp. 81-82).
The future blessing of Israel as a nation rests upon the Palestinian Covenant of restoration and conversion and the Davidic Covenant of the Kingship of the Messiah, David’s Son, and this gives to predictive prophecy its Messianic character. The exaltation of Israel is secured in the kingdom, and the kingdom takes its power to bless from the Person of the King, David’s Son, but also “Emmanuel.” The interpretation of “Emmanuel” is “God with us” (Mt. 1.23).
Later, after Israel rejected the theocracy and demanded a king, and after God anointed David as King, God made a covenant with David: “Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcoat, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: [a]nd I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that arein the earth. Moreover Iwill appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime. “And as since the time that I commanded judges to beover my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: [b]ut my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took itfrom Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David” (2 S. 7.8-17. “Although this passage does not call God’s promises to David a covenant, other passages clearly indicate that God was establishing a covenant with His servant (2 Sam. 23:5; 2 Chr. 7:18; 21:7; Ps. 89:3-4, 28-29, 34-37; Jer. 33.19-26).” Showers, p. 85.).
The Davidic Covenant, “upon which the glorious kingdom of Christ ‘of the seed of David according to the flesh’ is to be founded, secures:
“A Davidic ‘house’; i.e. posterity, family.
“A ‘throne’; i.e. royal authority.
“A kingdom; i.e. sphere of rule.
“In perpetuity; ‘for ever.’
“And this fourfold covenant has but one condition: disobedience in the Davidic family is to be visited with chastisement, but notto the abrogation of the covenant (2 Sam. 7.15; Psa. 89.20-37; Isa. 24.5; 54.3). The chastisement fell; first in the division of the kingdom under Rehoboam, and finally, in the captivities (2 Ki. 25.1-7). Since that time but one King of the Davidic family has been crowned at Jerusalem and He was crowned with thorns. But the Davidic Covenant confirmed to David by the oath of Jehovah, and renewed to Mary by the angel Gabriel, is immutable (Psa. 89.30-37), and the Lord God will yet give to that thorn-crowned One ‘the throne of his father David’ (Lk. 1.31-33; Acts 2.29-32; 15.14-17)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 2 to 2 S. 7.16, p. 362 (see also, 1 Chr. 17.7-15)).
Utterly violating the conditions of the Palestinian Covenant, the nation was first disrupted (1 K. 12) and then cast out of the land (2 K. 17.1-18; 14.1-25.11). The dispersion was for disobedience, as foretold by God:
“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (De. 30.1-3).
“The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth…. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone” (De. 28.25, 63-64. See also, Le. 26.32-39).
A temporary dispersion within was prophesied, to come before the extended dispersion. “The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone” (De. 28.36). This refers to Babylonian captivity of 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah: “And this whole land shall be a desolation, andan astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, thatI will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations” (Je. 25.11-12. God gives explicit details of what will happen in that dispersion in Deuteronomy 28.35-62.).
God, through Moses, told Israel that her continued disobedience would be punished by a worldwide dispersion: “And it shall come to pass, thatas the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, evenwood and stone” (De. 28.63-64. See verses 63-68).
The Lord Jesus confirmed Moses’ words: “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). After the siege and total destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. almost all Judea became a desert and remained that way for nineteen-hundred and fifty years until 1948. Of course, the 948 return of Israel is not the final return of the Jews which will be brought about by the Lord.
But the same covenant unconditionally promises a national restoration of Israel which is yet to be fulfilled. We see this in many prophecies, of which the following is a fairly complete listing:
“… The Lord shall “recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, From Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth…” (Is. 11.10-16).
Isaiah 12 describes the worship of the kingdom.
Isaiah 14: The kingdom set up and Israel restored and exalted. “For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob…. The whole earth is at rest, andis quiet: they break forth into singing…. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back…” (Is. 14.1, 7, 27)?
“And it shall come to pass in that day, thatthe LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, thatthe great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem” (Is. 27.12-13).
“Fear not: for I amwith thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Is. 43.5-6).
“But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end” (Is. 45.17).
Isaiah 48 explains that Israel will be restored & why. “Because I knew that thou artobstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass…. Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time thatthine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off…. For mine own sake,evenfor mine own sake, will I doit:for how shouldmy namebe polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another”(Is. 48.4, 8-9, 11).[Bold emphasis mine.]
Isaiah 49.8-21: Israel to be preserved & restored.
Isaiah 49.22-26: judgment on Israel’s oppressors. “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I amthe LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me…. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob” (Is. 49.23, 26).
“… For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody…” (Is. 51.3).
“… when the LORD shall bring again Zion…. For the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem” (Is. 52.8, 9).
Isaiah 54 describes Israel the restored wife of Jehovah & security and blessing of restored Israel.
Isaiah 61.3-11; 62: The restoration of Israel. Isaiah 65.17-66.24: The eternal blessing of Israel in the new earth.
Isaiah 65.1-16 tells of all the bad things Israel, the rebellious people had done. Isaiah 65.17-25 tells of the eternal blessing of Israel in the new earth. Verse 17 looks beyond the kingdom-age to the new heavens and the new earth, but verses 18-25 describe the kingdom-age itself. Longevity is restored, but death, the “last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15.26), is not destroyed till after Satan’s rebellion at the end of the thousand years (Revelation 20.7-14).
“[A]nd I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers” (Je. 16.15c; see Je. 16.14-16).
Jeremiah 23.1-40: the future restoration and conversion of Israel. This chapter tells the bad things the nation, the prophets, the priests, the people had done, and also states. “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase…. Behold, the days come saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this ishis name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Je. 23.3, 5-6).
Jeremiah 24 speaks of both the good and the evil and the good people who will be deported & the evil who remain in Judah and those who dwell in Egypt. God says he will remove the evil “into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to bea reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them … and will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and their fathers” (Je. 24.9-10). But He will “set [his] eyes upon them for good, and … will bring them again to this land: and … will build them, and not pull themdown; and … will plant them, and not pluck themup” (Je. 24.6).
Jeremiah 30.8-11, 16-24; 31; 32.37-44: Israel will be restored. “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, andwith them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither…. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day thatI took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people…” (Je. 31.8, 31-33).
“Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. [in verses 33-35 their abominations given]…. Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and` in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul…” (Je. 32.32, 37-41).
Jeremiah 33: God will restore Israel and Judah. “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me…. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the namewherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness…” (Je. 33.8, 14-16).
“But fear thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make himafraid. Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I amwith thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished” (Je. 46.27-28).
“And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, … for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” “For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel” (Je. 50.19-20, 51.5).
Ezekiel 11.17-21: Israel to be restored to the land and converted.
Ezekiel 16.60-63: The promise of future blessing under the Palestinian Covenant and the New Covenant. “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done” (Eze. 16.60-63).
“When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God” (Eze. 28.25-26).
Ezekiel 34.11-31. Israel to be restored and the Davidic kingdom to be set up. “… [I] will deliver [my sheep] out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and ina fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountain of Israel…. And I will set up on e shepherd over them, and he shall feed them evenmy servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it…” (Eze. 34.12-14, 23-24).
Notice the reason God restores Israel: “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; I do notthisfor your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that Iamthe LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. Not for your sakes I dothissaith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel” (Eze. 36.22-23, 32. One purpose for God setting aside the nation of Israel was to point other nations to God. Israel failed miserably. See Eze. 36 and many other passages in the OT. Man always fails. Only God succeeds. As was mentioned in Chapter 2 above, the God-given purpose of man is to glorify God, but man seeks his happiness, and seeks not the glory of God.). [Bold emphasis mine.]
“Jehovah gives [in Ezekiel 37] the method of the restoration of the nation. The “bones” are the whole house of Israel who shall then be living. The “graves” are the nations where they dwell. The order of the procedure is: (1) the bringing of the people out (v12); (2) the bringing of them in (v12); (3) their conversion (v13); (4) the filling with the Spirit (v14). The symbol of the 2 sticks follows. The 2 sticks are Judah and the ten tribes; united, they are one nation (vs. 19-21). Then follows (vs 21-27) the plain declaration as to Jehovah’s purpose, and verse 28 implies that then Jehovah will become known to the Gentiles in a marked way. This is also the order of Acts 15.16, 17, and the two passages strongly indicate the time of full Gentile conversion. See also Isa. 11.10” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to Eze. 37.1, p. 881).
“Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Eze. 37.26-28).
Ezekiel 39.25-29: Vision of restored and converted Israel. “Then they shall know that I amthe LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there” (Eze. 39.28).
Ezekiel 40.1-48.35: Israel in the land during the kingdom-age. Vision of the future temple. Vision of the glory of the Lord filling the temple. The place of the throne of the future kingdom. The measure of the altar. The offerings. 43.19-27. The gate for the prince. The priests of the future temple. Etc.
Ezekiel 43.7-12: The place of the throne of the future kingdom. “And he said unto me, son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst to the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neitherthey, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places…” (Eze. 43.7).
“That Israel is the wife of Jehovah (see vs. 16-23), now disowned but yet to be restored, is the clear teaching of the passages [in the book of Hosea]…. Israel is, then, to be the restored and forgiven wife of Jehovah, … Jehovah’s earthly wife (Hos. 2.23)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to Ho. 2.2, p. 922). [Bold emphasis mine.]
Hosea 2.14-23: Israel, the adulterous wife, to be restored.
Hosea 13.9-16: The ultimate blessing of Israel in the kingdom.
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem” (Jl. 3.1). Joel 3.17-21: The kingdom blessing. “For Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation” (Jl. 3.20).
Amos 9.13-15: Full kingdom blessing of restored Israel. “… And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their lane, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God” (Am. 9.14-15).
Micah 4.6-8: Israel to be regathered. “… and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever” (Mi. 4.7b).
Zephaniah 3.14-20: The kingdom blessing of Israel. “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem…. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD” (Zep. 3.14, 19-20).
Zechariah 2.4-13: Jerusalem in the kingdom age.
Zechariah 8.1-8: Jehovah’s unchanged purpose to bless Israel in the kingdom. “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 righteousness” (Zec. 8.8).
Zechariah 8.20-23: Jerusalem to be the religious center of the earth. “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of host in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD” (Zec. 8.22).
Zechariah 9.10-17: The future deliverance of Judah and Ephriam, and the world-wide kingdom. “And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shallbe asthe stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land” (Zec. 9.16).
Zechariah 10: The future strengthening of Judah and Ephraim and the dispersion and regathering of Israel in one view. “And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and placeshall not be found for them” (Zec. 10.9-10).
Luke 1.26-38 (Here the angel Gabriel says to Mary): “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lu. 1.32).
Zacharias, filled with the Holy Ghost, prophesies… “And he raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promisedto our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life” (Lu. 1.69-75. See verses 67-80).
When Jesus taught the apostles after he was risen, they “asked of him saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Ac. 1.6-7). Notice, Jesus indicated that this would happen, but would not tell them when.
“… Taken together, the N.T. teachings concerning the return of Jesus Christ may be summarized as follows: (1) That the return is an event, not a process, and is personal and corporeal (Mt. 23.39; 24.30; 25.31; Mk. 14.62; Lk. 17.24; John 14.3; Acts 1.11; Phil. 3.20, 21; 1 Thes. 4.14-17). (2) His coming has a threefold relation: to the church, to Israel, to the nations.
“(a) To the church the descent of the Lord into the air to raise the sleeping and change the living saints is set forth as a constant expectation and hope (Mt. 24.36, 44, 48-51; 25.13; 1 Cor. 15.51, 52; Phil. 3.20; 1 Thes. 1.10; 4.14-17; 1 Tim. 6.14; Tit. 2.13; Rev. 22.20).
“(b) To Israel, the return of the Lord is predicted to accomplish the yet unfulfilled prophecies of her national regathering, conversion, and establishment in peace and power under the Davidic Covenant (Acts 15.14-17 with Zech. 14.1-9). See “Kingdom (O.T.),” 2 Sam. 7.8-17; Zech. 13.8, note; Lk. 1.31-33; 1 Cor. 15.24, note.
“(c) To the Gentile nations the return of Christ is predicted to bring the destruction of the present political world-system (Dan. 2.34, 35; Rev. 19.11, note); the judgment of Mt. 25.31-46, followed by world-wide Gentile conversion and participation in the blessings of the kingdom (Isa. 2.2-4; 11.10; 60.3; Zech. 8.3, 20, 23; 14.16-21)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to Ac. 1.11, p. 1148).
“… Peter, in his 1st sermon [recorded in Acts 2.14-36], preaches that Christ is the Messiah, an unwelcome message to the Jews because they were expecting as promised, a regathered Israel established in their own land under their covenanted King (e.g. Isa. 11.10-12; Jer. 23.5-8; Ezk. 37.21-28).] Instead of explaining, as Rome 1st taught, followed by some Protestant commentators, that the covenant and promises were to be fulfilled in the church in a so-called ‘spiritual’ sense, Peter shows (vs. 25-32) from Psa. 16 that David himself understood that the dead and risen Christ would fulfill the covenant and sit on his throne (Lk. 1.32, 33). In precisely the same way James (Acts 15.14-17) met the same difficulty. See ‘Kingdom (O.T.),’ Zech. 12.8; (N.T.). Lk. 1.33; 1 Cor. 15.24” (Ibid., n. 1, p. 1150 to Ac. 2.14).
“A distinction must be observed between the ‘last days’ when the prediction relates to Israel and the ‘last days’ when the prediction relates to the church (1 Tim. 4.1-3; 2 Tim. 3.1-8; Heb. 1.1, 2; 1 Pet. 1.4, 5; 2 Pet. 3.1-9; 1 John 2.18, 19; Jude 17-19). Also distinguish the ‘last days’ (plural) from ‘the last day’ (singular); the latter expression referring to the resurrections and last judgment (John 6.39, 40, 44, 54; 11.24; 12.48). The ‘last days’ as related to the church began with the advent of Christ (Heb. 1.2), but have especial reference to the time of declension and apostasy at the end of this age (2 Tim. 3.1; 4.4). The ‘last days’ as related to Israel are the days of Israel’s exaltation and blessing, and are synonymous with the kingdom-age (Isa. 2.2-4; Mic. 4.1-7). They are ‘last’ not with reference to this dispensation, but with reference to the whole of Israel’s history” (Ibid., n. 1, p. 1151 to Ac. 2.17).
“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began…. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (Ac. 2.21, 25, taken from Peter’s second recorded sermon (Ac. 2.12-26)).
Acts 15.13-17: James declares the result of the council at Jerusalem which considered the issues of whether it was “needful to circumcise [the Gentile believers], and to command them to keep the law of Moses” (Ac. 15.5). The outcalling of the Gentiles agrees with the promises to Israel. Peter had argued, “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he didunto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Ac. 15.8-11).
Romans 9-11: The Gospel does not set aside the covenants with Israel. 9.4-5 gives the sevenfold privilege of Israel. “I SAY then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, ofthe tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew…. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, and I shall take away their sins” (Ro. 11.1-2, 26-27).
“That Israel has not been forever set aside is the theme of [Romans 11]. (1) The salvation of Paul proves that there is still a remnant (v. 1). (2) The doctrine of the remnant proves it (vs. 2-6). (3) The present national unbelief was foreseen (vs. 7-10). (4) Israel’s unbelief is the Gentile opportunity (vs. 11-25). (5) Israel is judicially broken off from the good olive tree, Christ (vs. 17-22). (6) They are to be grafted in again (vs. 23, 24). (7) The promised Deliverer will come out of Zion and the nation will be saved (vs. 25-29). That the Christian now inherits the distinctive Jewish promises is not taught in Scripture. The Christian is of the heavenly seed of Abraham (Gen. 15.5, 6; Gal. 3.29), and partakes of the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15.18, note); but Israel as a nation always has its own place, and is yet to have its greatest exaltation as the earthly people of God. See ‘Israel’ (Gen. 12.2; Rom. 11.26); ‘Kingdom’ (Gen. 1.26-28; Zech. 12.8)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 2 to Ro. 11.1, p. 1204).
This is where we are in prophecy at the present time: “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).
God told Israel, “If my people [Israel], which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chr. 7.14). Israel will repent in the future while still in the dispersion: “And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul” (De. 30.2). God will then forgive them, restore them to their land which He gave them, and heal them.
All books, except An Abridged History of the First Amendment, by Jerald Finney are available free in both PDF and online form. One may go to Order information for books by Jerald Finney should he desire to order any of the books which are in print.
One cannot understand the biblical principle of separation of church and state without first understanding the biblical principles of government and the biblical doctrine of the church. Below are links to Jerald Finney’s teachings on the biblical principles of government using the information in Section I of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. All of Jerald Finney’s writings are now on this website. These broadcasts were prepared for radio broadcasts 6 or 8 years ago. The website, churchandstatelaw.com mentioned in the broadcasts is no longer available.
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For His Glory,
Christian and practicing attorney
Churches under Christ Ministry of Charity Baptist Tabernacle of Amarillo, Texas. A Christian Lawyer explains how a church in America can remain under the Lord Jesus Christ and Him only. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church" (Ephesians 1.22).