The God of Separation and Division
The other day I looked out my window and saw a lady on the street corner holding a sign that said, “Pray the rosary for world peace”. As I looked at her, I immediately thought of several scriptures that related to her sign. I decided to go talk with her and share with her what God’s Word says regarding the subject of God brining peace to the world.
For those who are unfamiliar with God’s Word, it might seem reasonable to assume that God wants the world to be in a state of continual peace; and that it would be a noble thing to labor for this cause through prayer. However, a careful look at the words of Jesus, and God’s dealings with man throughout the entire word of God, clearly show that God is interested in, and always working towards, bringing division and separation. As foreign as this concept might seem to some, it is the absolute truth regarding God’s purpose in His dealings with mankind.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people who claim the name of Jesus, this idea that God wants to divide people instead of unify them is a thought that they could never accept. It doesn’t fit with their understanding of the “Jesus” that they worship or claim to follow. And in all reality, they are right. This truth about God wanting to bring division and separation in the lives of people does not fit in with the Jesus they believe in. So this begs the question, If two people claim to follow Jesus, and the Jesus that they individually follow are fundamentally opposed to each other, which Jesus is the real Jesus? If one person portrays Jesus as the Son of God who came to bring unity and world peace, and another person portrays Jesus as the Son of God who came to bring division and separation, how do we know which person is portraying the real Jesus to us? There are all kinds of things said about Jesus today that are both true and untrue. How can one find their way through all this confusion so they might know the nature and character of the true Son of God? There is only one sure way for anyone to know who Jesus really is, what His nature and character are like, and that’s by knowing Him through what is written about Him in the Word of God. Anything we want to know about Jesus; His nature, His character, what He has said, what His purpose is, what He believes, etc, has all be recorded and preserved by God in His Word.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105)
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (Psa 19:7b)
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Joh 17:17
God has given us a foundation of solid rock, His Word, for us to build our understanding of Jesus upon. How easily people’s misunderstandings of Jesus would be cleared up if they simply took time to understand Jesus from the scriptures, and sought to know Him through them. Praise God we don’t have to be deceived by any man or even our own thoughts or ideas, we can know the absolute truth about Jesus from God’s Word!
When speaking to the Catholic lady on the street, I asked her if she had ever heard that Jesus came to divide families. She looked at me with the most puzzling look on her face. Obviously she had never heard such a thing. I proceeded to read her the Words of Jesus out of Luke chapter 12:
I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luk 12:49-53)
Jesus quite clearly says that He did not come to bring PEACE, but rather DIVISION. He says that He is going to take one of the most intimate and close knit institution, the family unit, and that HE is going to bring division to it. Obviously Jesus is not talking about a worldly division built upon anger and hatred. He is speaking about the effects that the GOSPEL will have in individuals lives and how it will affect their families. Why does this happen? Because when someone is born again, God does a supernatural work of division in the converted persons life.
DIVISION IN SALVATION
When someone is born again through faith in Jesus Christ they go:
1. from being spiritual dead to spiritually alive. (Romans 6:11, Eph 2:1)
2. from darkness to light (Acts 26:18)
3. from the kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God Son’s (Col 1:13)
4. from the power of Satan to the Power of God (Acts 26:18)
5. from loving unrighteousness to loving righteousness (Romans 6:18)
6. from loving wickedness to being ashamed of their wickedness (Romans 6:21)
7. from not loving the word of life to loving the words of life (John 6:68)
8. from living for the world and their carnal desires to living for Christ and His Kingdom (1 Cor 6:20, Col 3:2)
There is a radical transformation and new reality in those who are born again by God’s Spirit. It puts them at odds with everything that they loved, believed, and even the way they thought before they were converted. God separates and divides them from the life they used to live and love that was opposed to God and all His revealed truth. They begin to become like Jesus as they are transformed into His image. Jesus said about Himself:
So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (Joh 7:3-7)
And in John Chapter 3 it says:
And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ” (Joh 3:19-21) NLT
If you are a believer, you should be able to relate to these’s truths. When a person is born again, they are given a new nature that has new, godly and holy desires. They don’t love the sin that used to enslave them. Because of this, they no longer do the things they used to do, or participate in the actions and activities that they used to, as way of lifestyle. Nor do they speak with the same perverse and foul language that they used to. When a believe abstains from these things out of love for God and in accordance with their new nature, it testifies to their family (and others) that these things are wrong. When a believer abstains from these things, sinful actions and corrupt lifestyles, because of what God says, it testifies to others that God does not approve of their lifestyle, the very things they love to indulge in. It passes a judgment on their lifestyle and brings condemnation before God. This IS what brings the separation. It brings a separation between families, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. AND…this seperation IS the will and plan of God! God’s will is that the gospel would go forth, rescue people out of sin and darkness, brining them into the truth and light, and divide and separate them from all that is opposed to Him and destructive to our lives. God is not seeking to bring all of humanity into some kumbiya unity where we all believe what we want to believe, live how we want to live, and just get along. God’s unity and peace is ALWAYS founded on truth. God seek to, and does unify people based on truth, and that truth is IN Jesus Christ, and Him only. It is exclusive, it is narrow, and it IS the only way.
But this has been God’s way since the beginning of time. God’s purpose and working to divide and separate have been His mode of operation “from the beginning”. In fact even a quick overview of God’s workings from creation, to His dealings with man and His people, and even the coming judgment, show that from beginning to end God is always “dividing and separating”.
From Genesis to Revelation, from beginning to end, this IS the way that God works.
DIVISION IN THE BEGINNING – CREATION
When reading through the book of Genesis (which means “the beginning”) you cannot get through the first four verses without God dividing and separating and setting a pattern and standard for His most important work that He does with man.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (Gen 1:1-4)
The very first spoken words from God that we have recorded have to do with “light and darkness”. It not only has to do with light and darkness, but it specifically contains a declaration about the light. The declaration was that the light “was good”. What does God do in this very first act with the establishment and bringing forth of light? He then moves to divide the light from the darkness. The very first work of God contains a work of “division”. In it, God separated and divided the light from the darkness. While this obviously had to do with natural light and natural darkness, it also contains spiritual truth in the way God will be dealing with the human race as it relates to truth and the knowledge of God. Based on the actions of men, or the work and purpose of God; God will do a “separating and dividing” work in people and in the earth.
Let’s look at a few examples from the Old Testament.
DIVISION IN GOD’S DEALINGS WITH MEN
1. ADAM AND EVE SIN – EXPELLED FROM THE GARDEN
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Gen 3:22-24)
We all know the story. Adam and Eve dwelt in a literal paradise created by God. They had fellowship with God and could enjoy communing with Him. However, they sinned against the command of God and sin entered the world. Not only did sin enter the world, but God Himself expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden and thus separated them from access to the tree of life. Adam and Eve now lived in spiritual darkness and were separated from fellowship with God and from access to the tree of life. This is the very first work of division with God’s dealings with men. Darkness was separated from Light, sin was separated from holiness, man was separated from God.
2. ABRAHAM – CALLED OUT BY GOD
Abraham and his relatives live in the land of Ur of the Chaldees. The scriptures say of Abraham and his relatives, at the time they lived in Ur of the Chaldees, that they “served other God’s”.
And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. (Jos 24:2)
But God had a special purpose for Abraham and decided to reveal Himself to Abraham in a way He had not revealed Himself to anyone else. How did God begin His work? He called Abraham out and separated him from his family and his people.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (Gen 12:1)
God made a division. God took His chosen servant, separated Him from his pagan heritage and people, and began to reveal to him the truth about the one true God. God separated him from darkness and began to reveal to him the light.
3. ISRAEL’S DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT
For 430 years, Abrahams descendants had been slaves to the Egyptians. They lived in a country steeped in pagan idolatry and were subject to cruel taskmasters as they lived their slaves. Yet God heard their cry for deliverance, and according to His promise to Abraham, He sent a deliverer to bring His people out of bondage. God told Moses:
And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (Exo 3:7-8)
In this act of deliverance, God separated His people from the Egyptians by bringing them out of Egypt and making them His very own special people. Through the plagues brought on Egypt, God made a distinction and separation between His people and the Egyptians, and between the false powerless god’s that the Egyptians served from the One True God of heaven and earth. God essentially birthed His people as a nation by “separating”/”dividing” them from the Egyptian. It was another work of God separating and dividing the “light from the darkness”. God separated the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, the darkness of the pagan idolatry, and began brining them into a more perfect knowledge of the One True God; they were being brought “into the light”.
These are just a few OUT OF THE MANY examples of God’s dividing work found in the Old Testament. It clearly sets for a pattern of God’s dealing in the earth and with man.
SEPARATION AT THE END OF THE AGE
Just as God has done a dividing/separating work at creation, with the early account of history of man, and in salvation; we find God doing the same work of separating light and darkness at the end of the age. It’s easy to see the manner in which God’s work is consistent from beginning to end. Let’s look at a few parables that show the coming work of God in separating His people, the righteous from the unrighteous, the wicked from the just.
1. Wheat and the Tares
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Mat 13:30)
2. Good Fish Bad Fish
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 13:47-50)
3. Sheep and the Goats
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Mat 25:31-32)
In each of these parables, at the end of the age, we find God separating His people from those who are not His people. He separates the wicked from the righteous, portrayed as the wheat and the tares, the good fish from the bad, and the sheep from the goats. In each of these descriptions God is dividing the people into two categories, those who walk in the light and those who walk in darkness, those who are righteous and those who are unrighteous, those are saved and those who are not saved. It seems that even the very last act of God in dealing with all of humanity is an act of division. Notice that God does not unify all of humanity under some universal common peace. Instead, those who have found peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ are set apart for everlasting joy and peace in the presence of God, while those who die in their sins are separated for misery and eternal destruction.
God’s work from beginning to end is a work of division and separation. From creation, to God’s early dealings with man, to God’s supernatural work in salvation, to God’s final dealings with man at the end of this age at the judgment. God is always separating the light from the darkness. It is not, and has never been, God will and plan to bring about world peace in this age we live in. God’s goal and plan is to bring individual’s to peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ. God will then gather all these people who have peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, separate them from the wicked, and give them an everlasting peace in the presence of God where there is TRUE unity founded in and on TRUTH; founded in GOD alone.
I was never able to convince the Catholic lady that it wasn’t God’s will to bring about world peace through praying the rosary. Even when I took the time to show her the scriptures, she outright rejected them. She was convinced that what she heard from her priest was true, even though it disagree with God’s word. If she really did love God, she would have loved God’s word. The two are inseparable. However, like many today, since she does not love God OR His word, she is left in a state of willful delusion having loved the opinions of men over the Word of the Living God. The word of God brought division that day. It separated me from her, and ultimately her from the God she says she follows. Once again, the words of Jesus came true, He did not come to bring peace, but came to divide with the truth.
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (Joh 12:48)
because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Th 2:9b-12)