The jurisprudential ( theory or philosophy of law ) concept of separating Church ( or religion ) and State, was meant to safeguard these two establishments from mutual interference, because the founding fathers believed that there could be no religious freedom or true secularism without this ‘wall of separation’ between the two. The law prohibited the government from favouring one religion over another or even favouring religion over non-religion but it was never meant to keep ones personal beliefs and convictions out of politics or public life because the constitution entitled every citizen the right to practice their faith.
The Law of God given through Moses also ensured a kind of separation between the Kingship and Priesthood in Israel by entitling two different tribes to administer this office, to prohibit any individual or community from usurping all authority and power in the nation. But the law was never meant to prohibit Kings from expressing their religious convictions in the public arena. King David was thought to be ‘notorious’ for his public display of faith and was unapologetic when confronted by his own wife. (2 Samuel 6:20-22) However he never violated the sanctity of the Priesthood by taking it upon himself unlike King Uzziah who usurped the authority of the Priests and was judged by God for doing so. (2 Chronicles 26:16-20)
On the contrary, Christ is both King and Priest like Melchizedek, who was King of Salem and the Priest of the Most High God at the same time, long before the Mosaic law was put into effect. (Hebrews 7:1,14-17) During the Millenial rule of Christ, we will witness this law separating Church and State being repealed because the Church is destined to rule with Christ. ‘You have made them to be a Kingdom and Priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.’ ( Revelation 5:10 ) There will be no more secularism because ,‘The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord and his name the only name.’ (Zechariah 14:9)
However this separation of Church ( or religion) and State did not hinder the ministry of the Prophets because they were the messengers of God, who were directly accountable to God. They were sent by God to Anoint kings or to depose them, when they corrupted themselves and led the nation astray and no one dared to question the Sovereignty of God and the authority of his Prophets to intervene in politics. Prophet Samuel was sent by God to anoint Saul as the first King of Israel but when God rejected Saul, Prophet Samuel was sent on a secret mission to anoint David as the next king and the elders of the town trembled with fear at the very sight of him because they knew his coming meant something was up. (1 Samuel 16:4) If it not be for the Prophets, who else would dare to go up to the King and confront him for having another man’s wife? (2 Samuel 12: 1-14) Prophet Nathan was a familiar face in David’s court as he was his personal seer but Prophet Elijah came out of nowhere to stalk the streets of Samaria with the message of God for King Ahab and then disappeared for three years, becoming the most wanted ‘fugitive’ because he alone had the power to bring rain. (1 Kings 17:1-3, 18: 1,10) Prophet Isaiah was a giant in Jewish history because he spent his days in the corridors of power as an adviser to four Kings of Judah and helped set the course of his nation. He even prophesied about other nations in relation with Israel and predicted nearly 200 years earlier, the ascension of Cyrus to the throne of Persia and that he would be the one to issue the decree to rebuild the temple. (Isaiah 44:28) The ministry of the Prophets of God extended beyond the borders of Israel because God was concerned about the Gentiles too. Prophet Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh to warn them of judgment but instead he fled to Tarshish because he couldn’t acknowledge God’s concern for a pagan nation! (Jonah 4: 2,11)
The Prophets not only revealed the will of God but also acted swiftly when they saw an attempt to overturn the will of God. When Adonijah proclaimed himself as the next King after David, Prophet Nathan was alarmed and he went to meet the aged King along with Bathsheba and confirmed God’s choice of Solomon as the next King of Israel. (1 Kings 1:5-35) Likewise when Queen Athaliah proceeded to destroy the whole royal family and proclaimed herself to be the next regent of Judah, Jehoiada the Priest hid young Joash, the son of Ahaziah and his nurse for six years in the temple and restored him to the throne after overthrowing the queen in a coup with the help of the commanders of the army. ( 2 Kings 11:1-21) They didn’t contend that, ‘whatever happens, God is still on the throne’ but we have Prophets and Pastors today who make that assertion. Rightly so! But isn’t that statement an unsolicited answer to an unwarranted question ? We should rather be asking these questions : What is the will of God and is it being done? Why else were we taught to pray: ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth ( by men ) as it is done in heaven ( by angels )’. At a time when the authority of Prophets to intervene in politics is being seen by many as an infringement of the law separating State and Church and many doubt the credibility of prophecies, it is imperative that we stand firm on the word of God concerning this matter. The word of God says that the Church is ‘built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone’. (Ephesians 2:20)
‘Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the Prophets.’ (Amos 3:7)
‘Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his Prophets and you will be successful.’ (2 Chronicles 20:20)
‘God is not man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?’ (Numbers 23:19) Amen.