BEFORE Israel entered the land of Canaan the Lord said of them, “Lo the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” Numbers 23:9.
This said to them as plainly as it was possible to say that they, God’s people, were not to be formed into a nation, a state, kingdom, or government, as were the nations round. They were to “dwell alone,” a distinct and separate people, individually and collectively, in character and in government.
However, after they had entered that land and dwelt awhile there, they set their hearts on having a king, a state, a goverment, like all the nations. Therefore they said to Samuel, “Make us a king, like all the nations.” This greatly displeased the prophet, and he prayed unto the Lord.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “They have not rejected thee; but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them.” “Now therefore hearken unto their voice; howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them.” “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us: that we may be like all the nations.”
For Israel then to have any other king than God; for them to have any government than that of God; was to reject God. It was sheer apostasy. Of course Israel then did not believe it, and professed Israel now will not believe it. Yet the Lord said it; and it was true then and it is true now.
Israel was then the church. When they formed themselves into a state, that was a positive union of church and state. And when the church to-day form themselves into the state, or into a part of the state, that is also a positive union of church and state.
Perhaps the Christian Citizen will insist that there was not a union of church and state in Israel when the same identical individuals were members of both! This is its plea on such a condition in the United States; why will not the plea hold good on the same condition in ancient Israel?
The simple truth is that Israel had been called out of Egypt, separated from the nations, and formed into the church. And it was simply impossible for them to form, or have any connection with, any state, without in that very thing forming a union of church and state. It was impossible for any individual to do so without forming so far a union of church and state.
And still God is calling his sons “out of Egypt,” separating them from the nations, and forming them into his church. And still it is impossible for these to have active connection with any state without in that very thing forming a union of church and state. It is impossible for any individual church member to have active connection with any state without so far and in himself forming a union of church and state.
The whole history of Israel, the whole history of the church in the Bible as well as out, the whole Bible itself demonstrates that this is everlastingly the truth.
For the professed people of God to interfere in the politics and affairs of the nations and attempt to decide these matters and to “run things,” is to say to all people that the government of God is not enough for then; but they must make and run one of their own. They certify that the laws of God are not enough for them; but they must make a set of their own. It is only to say that the government, the kingdom, of God is not perfect, and that therefore its laws are not sufficient for them.
Of course all this is a clear repudiation of God as King, Governor, and Lawgiver; and a putting of their own selves in his place as all these.
Against the solemn protest of God ancient Israel did set them up a kingdom like all the nations. And the logical result was complete destruction.
Against the plain word and the same solemn protest of the Lord, the professed church of to-day persist in doing the same thing, And nothing can come of it yet but complete destruction.
So far as these “Christian citizen” folks are concerned, why was the Word of God written? What good are its lessons and warnings to them? “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?”
A. T. J.