Bible verse and the Spirit of Prophecy insight
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
But today in the religious world there are multitudes who, as they believe, are working for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ as an earthly and temporal dominion. They desire to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts and camps, its legislative halls, its palaces and market places. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. Since Christ is not now here in person, they themselves will undertake to act in His stead, to execute the laws of His kingdom. The establishment of such a kingdom is what the Jews desired in the days of Christ. They would have received Jesus, had He been willing to establish a temporal dominion, to enforce what they regarded as the laws of God, and to make them the expositors of His will and the agents of His authority. But He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36. He would not accept the earthly throne.Ellen G. White – The Desire of Ages p.509.2
Present day application
Each time the US presidential elections are near, we get a chance to listen to the candidate’s election speeches. Have you noticed that they almost always end with: “God bless America”? In certain countries, having a “blessing” of a bishop is considered a significant advantage over the other political candidates. In others, one political party rules without being challenged only because they have the support of the nation’s main Christian denomination. There are plenty of other examples of church and state intermingling.
The words of Jesus are plain – His kingdom is not of this world! The Lord himself always avoided being dragged into supporting any side of the temporal power. Most of His disciples wanted to crown Him king of the Jews so that He can use his powers to overthrow the Romans. The Jewish religious leaders, on the other hand, tried to get him in trouble when they asked Him if they should pay taxes to the Romans. His answer straightened the issue forever – church and state should be separate.
No Christian should try to take any part in the establishment of the so-called Kingdom of Heaven through the help of civil governments and their legislation. This is not how God operates. He wants to live in our hearts and in our minds. He wants to use our bodies as His temple. He wants to dwell in us so that through our good works He can be glorified. It is not His intention to establish an earthly kingdom. He desires to make us fit for His kingdom while there is still time. Once His Kingdom is within us, then He will return and take us to the New Jerusalem.
Image courtesy of Brooklyn Museum / FreeBibleimages.org