Church and State Relationships

God would have the rulers of the nations know that He is the supreme Ruler. Those who preside over the affairs of nations should realize that there is a King of kings. The man who does not know God as his Father, and Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of the infinite God, can not rule wisely. He who has been placed where he has authority over others should seek the Lord for wisdom, that he may govern wisely the subjects of God’s kingdom. An earthly ruler can not exercise authority wisely or set an example that is safe to follow, unless he obtains wisdom from God, who is too wise to err and too good to do injustice to His human subjects.

In the law of the kingdom of the God who rules the sinless inhabitants of heaven are to be found the principles that should lie at the foundation of the laws of earthly governments. The laws of these governments should be in harmony with the law of Jehovah, the standard by which all created beings are to be judged. No man should be forced to act in harmony with human laws that are in direct opposition to the law that God has given.

In the dream of Nebuchadnezzar the true object of government is beautifully represented by the great tree “Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation.” Now if God had called a man, or any set of men at Battle Creek to rule in any sense, that representation of the tree shows the only kind of ruling acceptable to Him—a government that protects, restores, relieves, but never savors of oppression. The poor especially are to be kindly treated…. Aid is to be given to the oppressed, and not one soul that bears the image of God is to be placed at the footstool of a human being. The greatest possible kindness and freedom are to be granted to the purchase of the blood of Christ.—

During the night season I was greatly perplexed. I wished to portray the responsibilities of the rulers of the nations and of those who are united with them. The Lord instructed me plainly how to do this. These men are the very ones who need most fully to realize their amenability to God’s law, and to obey all His requirements.

I am instructed to point every one standing in a position of responsibility, to the divine law as the basis of all right conduct.

The record of the corruption in our cities cannot be traced by human pen. Political strife, bribery, fraud, are seen on every hand. Men seem determined to rule or ruin. They are ready to ill-treat and even to kill those who will not be ruled by them. Who can doubt but that the evils which existed before the Flood exist today?….

Oh, that those who are rulers of nations would realize the responsibility resting upon them to be representatives of God, to set a right example, to shun the use of intoxicating liquor, that they may never be found off their guard. Judges, lawyers, senators, should give evidence to those who look to them for guidance that they acknowledge themselves to be under the control of a supreme Ruler, even Christ. They are to heed the invitation, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” No man who ignores his obligations to God has succeeded, or can succeed.—

The kings and rulers of the earth, however great their power, are to consider themselves under a Ruler who owns the world. No earthly ruler is to be looked upon as above the Ruler who made the world in six days, and rested on the Seventh-day, sanctifying and blessing it, and giving it to man to be set apart as holy, and observed to the glory of His name. But priests and rulers have set up the first day of the week to be observed by the beings God has made. They compel His creatures to transgress the law of their Creator. Man has set himself above the Lord of heaven, and has turned human beings aside from the observance of the day of God, as their Creator, declared to be kept holy, as a sign between Him and them throughout their generations forever.

We are every one of us to look from finite man to the Omnipotent God, who has the ownership of all to whom He has given life. They are under His government, and when finite rulers make laws that conflict with a plain, “Thus saith the Lord,” we are to obey the law of God. Shall man dare to take the place of God, setting aside the laws of the Ruler of the universe, and placing in their stead human enactments? Shall he dare to compel obedience to these human laws?….

Christ has a supreme right to present to the world the law that must be obeyed. Those who transgress this law, however high their position in this world, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.

What is the Sentinel for, but to be the voice of the watchmen on the walls of Zion, to sound the danger signal? We are not to cringe and beg pardon of the world for telling them the truth: we should scorn concealment? Unfurl your colors to meet the cause of men and angels. Let it be understood that Seventh-day Adventists can make no compromise. In your opinions and faith there must not be the least appearance of wavering. The world has a right to know what to expect of us, and will look upon us as dishonest, as hiding our real sentiments and principles out of policy, if we carry even the semblance of being uncommitted till the popular voice has pointed out the safe way. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which Christ said He would send into the world, was to bear an unwavering testimony.

Daniel in Babylon was placed in a most critical and trying position, but while he did the work assigned to him as a statesman, he plainly refused to handle any work that would militate against God. This course provoked discussion, and thus the Lord, through His providence, which is always at work in human affairs, brought Daniel into reasoning relation with the king of Babylon. God had light for Nebuchadnezzar, and through Daniel was presented to the king things foretold in the prophecies against Babylon and other kingdoms.

God’s people have been called out of the world, that they may be separated from the world. It is not safe for them to take sides in politics, whatever preference they may have. They are ever to remember that they are one in Christ. God calls upon them to enter their names as under His theocracy. He cannot approve of those who link up with worldlings. We are entirely out of our place when we identify ourselves with party interests. Let us not forget that we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We are soldiers of the cross of Christ, and our work is to advance the interests of His kingdom.

God has warned His people not to become absorbed in politics. We cannot bear the sign of God as His commandment-keeping people, if we mingle with the strife of the world. We are not to give our minds to political issues. God’s people are walking contrary to His will when they mix up with politics, and those who commence this work in the Southern States reveal that they are not taught and led by God, but by that spirit which creates contention and strife and every evil work. We are subjects of the Lord’s kingdom, and we are to work to establish that kingdom in righteousness.

The Lord has been greatly dishonored by His people’s catching up the issues that arise in this time of test and trial. His people are to keep free from politics. They are to stand as a separate, peculiar people; the name of God our Ruler is to be in their foreheads, showing to all that He is their sovereign.

Neither you nor any of your brethren had any work to do in arguing or writing or taking any part whatever in politics. God was dishonored by all who acted any part in politics. God has chosen a people who are to proclaim the third angel’s message to the world. They are to be a separate and peculiar people in this world of churches who are transgressing His commandments….

The Lord would have His people a separate and peculiar people, bearing the sign and seal of the Sabbath, in preserving the memorial, the seventh day, upon which the Lord rested after His work of Creation….

The redemption of men draws them away from political strife to rest and peace and quietude in God.

In all our great cities there will be a binding up in bundles by the confederacies and unions formed. Man will rule other men and demand much of them. The lives of those who refuse to unite with these unions, will be in peril. Everything is being prepared for the last great work to be done by the One mighty to save and mighty to destroy….

The condition of things before the Flood has been presented to me. The same binding up in unions that exists today existed in Noah’s day. But never before have such transactions taken place as are now carried on in the selection of officers to govern the people. Those who occupy the highest positions in governments reveal how little confidence God can place in their rulership.

This is a wonderful age in which we are living. God is beholding the deplorable state of society. He requires those who believe His gospel to come out from the world. “Be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.”

These unions are one of the signs of the last days. Men are binding up in bundles ready to be burned. They may be church members, but while they belong to these unions, they cannot possibly keep the commandments of God; for to belong to these unions means to disregard the entire Decalogue.

“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” (Luke 10:27). These words sum up the whole duty of man. They mean the consecration of the whole being, body, soul, and spirit, to God’s service. How can men obey these words, and at the same time pledge themselves to support that which deprives their neighbors of freedom of action? And how can men obey these words, and form combinations that rob the poorer classes of the advantages which justly belong to them, preventing them from buying or selling, except under certain conditions? How plainly the words of God have predicted this condition of things. John writes, “I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon…. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” [Revelation 13:11-17].

The forming of these unions is one of Satan’s last efforts. God calls upon His people to get out of the cities, isolating themselves from the world. The time will come when they will have to do this. God will care for those who love Him and keep His commandments.1White, Ellen Gould. 1964. MR 165 Vol. 3, [Nos. 162-209], pp. 37-43. Manuscript Releases. Ellen G. White Estate. Web.

References   [ + ]

The Watchman

The Watchman

In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light - bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, - the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. Evangelism, p. 119

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Words of Life

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

— Proverbs 18:13