June 3, 1897
IN the beginnings of Egypt the same course was followed as in the beginnings of Babylon and Assyria.
At first they knew the one true God; and he was their only King, their only Ruler.
But they did not like to retain God in their knowledge; and therefore they went into idolatry, and from idolatry into monarchy.
The Egyptian records state that the first rulers of Egypt were the gods; after them the demigods; and after these the kings.
In Egypt, however, the king was not content, as in Assyria, to call himself the viceroy of his god; he claimed to be the very embodiment of the god itself—the god was personated in the king; from him, it was declared, the people “received the breath of their nostrils;” he was “the giver of life.”
And thus, though Nimrod was the first man to establish monarchical authority and assume the kingly title and crown, yet in Egypt his example was followed to the greatest lengths, as Egypt was undoubtedly the most idolatrous nation that ever was on the earth. There apostasy of every kind culminated: so that throughout the Bible the one word “Egypt” symbolizes everything that is contrary to God.
When the power of monarchy had filled the Mesopotamian plain, God called Abraham out of that country into the land of Canaan, where he could be free, and thus made a separation of Church and State, and preached the same to all people.
But in process of time, and by Egypt, the power of monarchy was spread over all countries, from Ethiopia to Ararat and central Asia. Then, as his people were obliged to live under the power of monarchy anyhow, the Lord put them where they could do the most possible good—he placed them at the very seat of the world’s empire, in Egypt itself.
And there, through all the time of the supremacy of the Egyptian Empire, with Joseph and Moses beside the throne, and Israel amongst the people, of Egypt, God held before all nations the knowledge of Himself. And as soon as the time came when the Egyptian empire must fall, God would place his people once more in Canaan, the pivot of the highways of the nations.
To this end there must be again taught to the world the separation of religion and the State, the separation of Church and State. God’s people must be called out of Egypt, in order that they and all the nations might be instructed in the great principles of the gospel, of supreme allegiance to God, of the separation of religion and the State, of church and country.
Moses understood this, and therefore he “refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter.” Moses was the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Pharaoh’s daughter was Pharaoh’s chief wife, and queen. Moses, therefore, by the most complete claim, was heir apparent to the throne of Egypt. And as the king was then more than eighty years old, it could be but a little while till Moses would possess and throne of Egypt. The throne of Egypt was at that time the throne of the world; for the power of Egypt then ruled the world. It was the supreme State, the governing empire over all.
For Moses to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter was therefore to renounce the throne of Egypt. To renounce the throne of Egypt was to renounce the power of empire. It was definitely to disconnect from the State.
At that time Moses was called to have charge over “the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” It was in obedience to this call that he renounced the throne of Egypt and the power of empire. It was because of this that he definitely disconnected himself from the State. And in recording it, God designed to teach all people that conformity to his will means the separation of Church and State; that it means the renunciation of the throne and the power of earthly empire—the total separation of religion and the State.
And it was through the faith of Christ that Moses did all this. It was “through faith” that “Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.”
Therefore, from that day to this, it has been made plain to all people that faith in God, the faith of Jesus Christ, the original principle of the gospel and of the church, means the absolute separation of Church and State; the renunciation of the throne and power of earthly dominion; the total separation of religion and the State.
And this is what faith in God, the faith of Jesus Christ, the fundamental principle of the gospel and of the church, means to all people in the world to-day.