THE people of Israel in the wilderness was “the church in the wilderness.” Acts 7:38.
While they were yet in the wilderness, shortly before they entered the land of Caanan [sic.], God said of them, “Lo! the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” Numbers 23:9.
This was spoken of his church, when as yet it was a separate people: “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”
This was said of his church when they were about to enter the land of their permanent habitation. It was expressing his will concerning them, that they should not be reckoned among the nations.
Thus he never intended his people to set up a state, to establish a kingdom, or to have an part in any such thing. They were not to be reckoned among the nations.
His people then being the church, when he said, “The people shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations,” he simply said that it was his will that there should be forever a fixed separation between his church and any state or kingdom of the nations on earth. In that word he simply said that the separation which  then existed between that church from all nations, states, and kingdoms, should so continue forever.
That church, then, was never in his purpose to become a state or kingdom like the nations of the earth. It was not to be “reckoned among the nations.” The people were not to mingle with the people of the nations, to learn their ways or follow their customs. Nor was the church—the whole body of the people—to become a state or kingdom like the nations.
The only organization of the people in the wilderness was church organization. They had nothing comparable in any way to a state or governmental organization. They had government: but it was church government. Jesus Christ was then the head of the church, as really as he has ever been. They had a Ruler; but he was a religious ruler, and religious only. Thus everything about them, all with which they had to do in the matter of government or organization, was altogether religious and churchly.
Such being the only government or organization that they knew; and in that at the time being already separated from all the nations; when the Lord said of them, “The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations,” it was the plain declaration of the Lord’s purpose that thus they should forever remain—knowing no kind of organization but church organization, knowing no kind of government but that of God, which is solely religious.
Thus the Lord taught then and for all time that the members of his church, those who profess to be his people, shall never be reckoned among the nations, shall never have any active citizenship, or connection with, the nations of the earth.
And that word which was then spoken of his church, is yet spoken of his church. There still stands that sentence in the revealed will of God to his church. That word speaks just as distinctly to the members of his church to-day as it did to his church that day. Whether his church at that ancient day heeded this word or not, does not affect the fact that such was God’s plainly-declared purpose concerning them. And whether those who profess to be his church to-day regard that word or not, does not affect the fact that there stands the word declaring forever that the Lord’s people, the church of God, “shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”
Christian citizenship on the earth is a contradiction of the plain word of God. It is in fact a contradiction in terms.
Christian citizenship in heaven, even while sojourning on the earth, is the plain truth of the word of God. And it is a glorious fact in Christian experience.
A. T. J.