PART I: HEAVEN'S CITIZEN IN WORLD
PART II: SEPARATION THROUGHOUT BIBLE
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.16
2 Corinthians 5:20
This is not simply the ordained minister, for all who receive the grace of God are ministers of that grace. So it is written:
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.17
1 Peter 4:10
Even if it were confined to the ministry, this text would not be out of place in this connection, because it is the ministry that takes the lead in promoting the beast and his image, and is managing the whole movement, leading the people under their charge into these devious and evil ways.
So then, "we are ambassadors for Christ." An ambassador is one sent and accredited by one government as the representative of that government to another country. Now the principle of ambassadorship prohibits him from any interference whatever with the political concerns of the government to which he is accredited. If the British ambassador to the United States - or the ambassador from France or any other of these countries - should express an opinion upon, or take any part in, any of the political concerns of this country, his sovereign would be immediately notified that he was no longer an accepted person here, and would be called upon to withdraw him from the position of ambassador in this country.
That has been done at least twice in my recollection. In one of Grant's administration, the Russian minister to this country - Catacazy was his name - touched in some slight way upon some political issue. It was an insignificant one so far as any particular turn of politics was concerned, yet he was sent out of the country at once - recalled.
In the first campaign between Cleveland and Harrison, the British minister to this country, Sackville-West, received a letter from a Mr. Murchson, of California. Murchson pretended - whether it was correct or not - to be a British subject. In the letter were some questions and observations upon the current issues of the presidential campaign. The British Minister answered the letter, and expressed an opinion. The letter was published, and a dispatch was immediately sent to the court of St. James, demanding his recall; and he was recalled.
These are cited merely to illustrate the recognized principles of ambassadorship among nations, among men: Ambassadors are prohibited from interfering in the political concerns of the government to which they are accredited.
"We are ambassadors for Christ." These church leaders who are building up the beast and his image profess to be ambassadors for Christ. Yet they not only express opinions, but they lay down laws, they manipulate campaigns, they mold politics, and shape the whole political course of the governments to whom they are accredited. Thus, they violate the first, the last, and every principle that is involved in ambassadorship.
The principles of Jesus Christ speak to the heart. They take hold of the heart and are of value only as they have hold upon the heart. If they do not have hold upon the heart, the man who professes these principles will violate them in his actions.
"We are ambassadors for Christ." An ambassador is not sent to another country to pry into the affairs, or attend to the political concerns, of that country; but to attend to the affairs of his own country as they arise in that country. "We are ambassadors for Christ." The whole attention of a Christian is to be upon the things of his own country, the affairs of his own kingdom, and to attend to these as they may arise in the country on the earth where they may be sojourning. For as certain as we are Christians, "we are strangers and sojourners;"18 Hebrews 11:13 our country is yonder, where we belong.
An ambassador, then, in the country where he may be sojourning, is to attend to the affairs of his own kingdom, as they may arise there, and as they may affect the subjects of his own kingdom. Therefore if that kingdom or that government, in which he may be sojourning, undertakes to enact any laws, or take a political course that will infringe the rights of the people of his own country, he has the right and it is his duty to protest. He has the right to call attention to the principles that will be violated by the government in passing such a law, and taking such a course. Yet that government is independent and sovereign in its own realm and may enact such laws as to it seem expedient. And these laws may affect the citizens of his own country; and may bring hardships upon them. But in the enforcement of these laws, the citizen or ambassador is to insist that the procedure at every step in the case shall be strictly in accordance with its own jurisprudence and with all the principles upon which the laws are based.
Every Christian has the right to protest against any earthly government making any laws on the subject of religion! that is out of their jurisdiction; that invades the realm of the kingdom of God. It infringes the rights of the people of the kingdom of God. Therefore every ambassador of Jesus Christ has the inalienable right to protest against any such thing by any government on this earth.
But, upon their power and their asserted right to make laws, these governments do go ahead and make laws respecting religion; and then they arrest us, and bring us before their tribunals for violating these laws. And when they do that, we have the right to insist that they shall strictly conform to their own laws, and the constitutional principles upon which their government rests. This the Christian, the heavenly citizen, has the right to do in addition to the right to protest against their right to make any such laws at all.
The governments of earth, on their own part, count us their citizens or subjects, even after we have become citizens of the heavenly country. Earthly governments do not recognize the transference of our citizenship from that government into the heavenly one; and this brings a conflict many times. If every government would recognize this transference of citizenship and drop every man that professes to be a Christian from its roll of citizens or subjects, there would not be so much difficulty on this point, nor so many controversies arising.
But these governments do not do that; they propose to hold on to the man even after he has transferred his citizenship, and sometimes they will assert their right to hold him. They assert their right to control citizens of the heavenly kingdom as though they were still citizens of their former kingdom. We have transferred our citizenship to another country and are citizens of the heavenly country. But on the part of the United States we are still counted as citizens of the United States, because the Constitution says that all persons who are born here or are naturalized "are citizens of the United States, and the States in which they may reside." Though by our own choice we are citizens of heaven, and not citizens of the United States any more, the United States still holds us as citizens.
One of these days we are going to come in conflict with United States law, as well as State law - not because we are doing wrong, but because they are doing wrong. We shall be arrested, prosecuted, and required to respect the law, and to obey the law. When this happens, God will take care of us under the realm of which we are citizens, and in the kingdom to which we belong. He will attend to that; and He will conduct all these affairs according to His own righteous ways.
Yet so long as the Church keeps herself entirely separate from the State, she can consistently and rightly disregard any and all legislative acts, judicial decrees, or executive powers, that touch religious practices because she ever denies the right of government to touch religion or any religious question in any way.