On Earth As It Is In Heaven
Study Guide, July 1, 2018
Pastor Clay Olsen
Also listen to the choir song “America Bless God”
So what all do you think of when you think of the 4th of July? How about ‘Christmas’? That’s what our 6th President, John Quincy Adams, thought about in connection with the 4th of July. Here’s what he said to the residents of the Town of Newburyport on July 4, 1837: “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? Is is not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the Progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is is not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before?”1
And the answer is: “Yes!”
And did you notice what President Adams said that the Declaration of Independence did? He said that it primarily organized the social compact in connection with Christ’s mission, or it connected our nation’s commission with that of Christ’s mission upon earth. Did you just feel the Earth shake a little bit? In our present social confusion about the separation of church and state, or, really, the separation of the church’s influence upon the state, President Adams words are earthshaking! Do you see what President Adams was revealing to the people about the connection between our nation’s commission with our Redeemer’s commission? You know the Great Commission. But think of it now in relation to what President Adams said was also our nation’s commission: Matt 28:18-20- “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” NASU
Now, certainly, we know that the Scriptures define the Government’s role as being different from the Church’s role. The Government’s role is to govern according to moral laws, and to protect it’s citizens from harm; either from outside the country or from inside the country, and to collect just enough taxes in order to carry out those two responsibilities. The Scriptures also reveal that it’s the Church’s role to directly carry out Christ’s commission; to make disciples of all nations…including the nation they are in of course. But, still, President Adams clearly pointed out that the Government at least had a connection with supporting and being cooperative with the Redeemer’s commission. In fact, did you notice what word he used instead of ‘separation’? He used the word ‘indissoluble’, as in, America’s very existence is indissolubly connected to Christ’s mission. As he put it: “….the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior.” Or, the founding of the nation was directly related to Christ’s coming to Earth. How so? Well, as the Founders stated it in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…” and so on. So the Founding Fathers knew that the very existence of our nation was directly related to the benevolence of mankind’s Creator and Redeemer. And also notice that President Adams clarified that mankind’s Creator is also mankind’s Redeemer. And therefore, though this new government’s role was certainly different from the church’s role, rather than being separated from our Redeemer’s mission, the government was to be supportive of it and to be cooperative in it…cooperating in, as President Adam’s put it: ‘in the Progress of the Gospel’.
Now, as Patrick Henry pointed out, this didn’t mean imposing the Christian faith upon the people of this nation, but it did mean that the foundation was based upon Christianity. Those are his words. And here they are: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason people of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”2 Freedom of religion was to be a central tenet of America; but not freedom from religion, nor freedom from the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind as the foundation for America.
How far we have fallen from the vision and mission of our Founding Fathers for this nation! And not only has our present culture completely lost sight of this vision of our country’s responsibility to promote and support the mission of our Creator and Redeemer, but even much of the church has lost the understanding of what all God wants to be done…to be done in any nation on Earth. And what’s odd about that, is that in the most quoted prayer in the Bible, God clearly spells out what He wants done in any nation. Matt 6:9-10- “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” KJV
Where does God want His will to be done? On Earth. You mean like even the part of the Earth that we call ‘America’? Yup! And when does He want His will to be done? Only in the future when He comes back to set up His Kingdom on Earth? No. God wants His will to be done now, all over the Earth. And how does He want His will to be done? ‘Just as it is in Heaven’. And how do we know what His will is? Well, because God has told us all about His will in His Book that He gave to all inhabitants of Earth.
That’s like God is claiming that He has all authority over Heaven and Earth now. Right. That’s exactly what Jesus said: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” So does Christ have all authority in all matters in, lets say, the Congress of America? Does Christ have all authority in all matters in the courtrooms of America? Does Christ have all authority in all matters in the classrooms of America? In the words of Abraham Kuyper: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”3 My, that’s quite a word picture, right? What if American’s went about thinking in those terms wherever they did life, from their home to their places of business, their places of education and entertainment, and to their places of government? They just went about thinking: ‘There is not one square inch of any of these areas of live over which Christ does not call out: ‘Mine’!” Or, as the Psalmist put it as clearly as can be put: Ps 24:1- “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” NASU The Psalmist really knew how to get to the bottom line on things.
But the point is, there was a time in America where many people did think in these terms, whether they were in their church sanctuary or their town courthouse. The Bible created a framework for daily life and thought. Guided by Biblical instructions for every arena of life people worked and intentionally lived their everyday lives ‘Corum Deo’, or ‘before the face of God’.4 Why? Because they knew that the earth is the Lord’s and all it contains. When they prayed “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”, they realized that this prayer meant that God wanted them to do His will wherever they lived or worked. And so, for example, the ethics and the morality promoted at the Universities of America were pretty much the same as those promoted by the seminaries and the churches of America.
Really! Most of America’s oldest universities were started by pastors and churches. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, and others were all founded by Christian pastors and church affiliations. How about Harvard’s original ‘Rules and Precepts’ for the university? “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore lay Christ at the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.” Even Harvard’s original seal states: “Truth for Christ and the Church.”5 That’s like a breath of fresh air. Separation of church and what again?
And how about using Yale’s original Student Guidelines for new college student orientations in our universities today. It goes like this: “All the scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, that fountain of Divine light and truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion.”6 What a great addition that would be to college orientation classes.
There is clearly a fog in the understanding of many in our culture and even many in our churches about the fact that we all live our lives everyday ‘Corum Deo’… ‘before the face of God’. And there is a fog in many churches because there’s a fog now in many seminaries. Many religious leaders have left the authority and centrality of the Word of God, and therefore many churches have drifted from the authority and centrality of the Word of God over their lives. As Dr. Hendricks used to caution… “Remember: wherever there’s a mist in the pulpit there’s a fog in the pews.” Many are praying the Lord’s Prayer, but are ignoring what the Lord is answering through His Word and through His Spirit. But remember, King Solomon put it like this: Eccl 12:13-14- “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” NASU King Solomon was a ‘bottom line’ kind of guy, too. But who did he say God’s commandments apply to? Every person! And where again does God want His will done? On Earth…as in ‘Every Town, USA’. And how do we know what His will is? He told us in His Book. And that’s why the first Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, said: “Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine…Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”
And even into the middle 19th Century the Supreme Court was still saying things like this: “Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in schools – its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” (Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, 1844) The Supreme Court was supremely right about that, because that was a time when they understood that there was no difference between the sacred and the secular. There is only a difference between those who are seeking to do God’s will and those who are not seeking to do God’s will, wherever they are, whether that is in their churches or in their courthouses.
The Founders weren’t calling for the separation of the church from the state. That would be like calling for the separation of Heaven from Earth. Yes, the Founders clearly called for a separation from any interference and control from the state upon the church. And we need to make sure we are still calling for that, because the encroachment by the state upon churches is getting worse and worse. But they clearly were calling for complete influence and guided direction from the church upon the state. They clearly wanted their Creator to have a place in their government, since they knew it was their Creator who had given them a place in this world to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And so they made a place for God in their government. They gave God a voice in Congress. They gave God a say in the Courtroom. They gave God a podium in the classrooms, and so on. And why? Because they knew what the Lord meant when He said: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
God’s people need to remind all people that we all are to give to our Creator and Redeemer what He wants. He wants His will to be done on Earth and all over the Earth and everywhere in the Earth, just as it is in Heaven.
- William J. Federer, America’s God and Country, p 18
- Ibid, p 289
- Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt, On Earth As It Is In Heaven, p 109
- Ibid, p 77
- The American Patriot’s Bible, p I-22