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  • Writer's pictureRick LoPresti

Separation of church and state

Updated: Nov 28, 2021

“Separation of church and state” is a popular phrase among the enemies of Christ, especially in America. Groups like the ACLU, whose objective is to eliminate Christianity from public life and promote atheism, say this phrase and even claim it is in the U.S. Constitution. They claim the founding fathers intended for the government to be protected from all influence of religion, specifically the Bible. As usual, those on the political left lie about all of this and hope you will be ignorant enough to accept what they say without heeding the truth for yourself. As Dennis Prager says, “Truth is not a left-wing value.”

Here are some facts about this phrase. It is not in the Constitution. Something similar is found in a private letter written be Thomas Jefferson ten years after the Constitution. The phrase in the letter is “a great wall of separation”. However. Jefferson was not part of the writing of the Constitution and was not even in America at the time. He was in France. The first amendment of the Constitution reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Constitution forbids the government from establishing an official state religion and especially from compelling participation in it. This is what the colonists fled England over. You hardly ever hear the proponents of separation of church and state quote the second phrase of the first amendment, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The intent of the first amendment is not to protect the state from the church. It is to protect the church from the state. There is abundant evidence of this in the influence of the Bible on the founders and the incorporation of it and its principles into the founding documents and public life in early America. Contrary to revisionist history, the Bible is a central part of the founding of America.

When it comes to the Bible, there is a different set of parameters when it comes to church and state. The nation of Israel had no such separation as some people today try to prescribe for America. They did not have a secular government. In fact, their first official authority figure beyond the patriarchy was Moses who was in effect the head of “church and state”. The law of Moses encompassed moral, civil, and ceremonial areas. After Israel inhabited the promised land, they had no king or other civil leader for over 300 years. Their leaders were the prophets and judges. Their roles sometimes overlapped, especially in the case of the last judge Samuel. During his days the prophecy of Moses was fulfilled and they asked for a king (Deut 17:14-20, 1Sam 8). From that point on the prophets primarily handled spiritual leadership and kings primarily handled civil matters and led the army, although not exclusively. In the New Testament, the church is to primarily focus on spiritual matters and leave civil government to its job. However, this does not mean the church is to either voluntarily or otherwise be excluded from public life and discourse. Christians should have a voice in society in participate, including voting.

There are some notable exceptions to the above in the Bible. The first mention of kings in the Bible is in Genesis 14 where there was a war between four kings in alliance and five other kings. Abraham got involved because his nephew Lot as a resident of Sodom was taken captive in the war. After it was over, Melchizedek came to Abraham. Melchizedek is an obscure man. He is only mentioned in three passages – Genesis 14, Psalm 110, and Hebrews 5-7. We do not have many facts about him, but he plays an important role. His name means king of righteousness. He was the king of Salem, which is Jerusalem. This was about 1,000 years before David took the city from the Jebusites and made it the capitol of Israel (2Sam 5). Melchizedek was also the priest of God. His spiritual leadership was prominent enough that Abraham paid him tithes. His priesthood foreshadowed that of Jesus Christ Himself. Moses was “king in Jeshurun (Deut 33:5)”. Jeshurun is another name for Israel. He was over both the spiritual and civil aspects of the governance of the nation. He was king, prophet, priest, and judge. The leadership of David also had aspects of king, prophet, priest, and judge, although some debate the priestly aspect. He wore a priestly garment called an ephod three times (1Sam 23:9, 1Sam 30:7, 2Sam 6:14), and he ate the expired priestly bread (1Sam 21:3-6). Jesus referred to that incident (Mt 12:3-4). Other kingdoms such as Egypt and Rome also combined the spiritual and civil roles of their leaders, even worshipping them as gods.

All of the kings, prophets, priests, and judges no matter how great cannot be compared to the ultimate One – Jesus Christ Himself. As God the Creator manifested in the flesh (Jn 1:1-14, Jn 14:7-11, 2Cor 5:19, Col 2:9, 1Tim 3:16), He is the One who possesses authority over all the offices men could ever hold. He is King of kings and Lord of lords (1Tim 6:5, Rev 17:14, Rev 19:16). He is the One that all of the prophets pointed towards (Lk 24:24-45, Jn 1:45, Acts 13:27-34, 1Pet 1:11, Rev 19:10). He fulfilled everything the Levitical priesthood foreshadowed (Heb 8-10) as well as the priesthood of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4, Heb 6:20). He is the Judge of all (Acts 10:42, Acts 17:31, Rom 14:10, 2Tim 4:1). He is the One who has the right to all of these positions (Is 33:22, Eze 21:27, Zech 6:13). He can properly handle all these roles at once in righteousness. He is incorruptible. When He comes and sets up His literal kingdom on this earth, He will consolidate all of these roles in Himself and will reign over everyone and everything (Dan 2:44-45, Dan 7:26-27, Zech 14:9). The best decision we can make is to join His kingdom by repenting of our sins, being baptized in His name, and receiving the Holy Ghost (Jn 3:3-5, Acts 2:38). Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess He is Lord (Phil 2:10-11). It is far better to submit now voluntarily than in the day of judgment (Mt 21:33-46).

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