It is impossible to read Scripture without seeing that God insists on separation. The subject runs from one end of the Bible to the other:
· In the beginning, God separated the light from the darkness, the waters under the expanse from those above, the waters from the dry land, and the day from the night (see Gen. 1: 4, 7, 9, 14).
· Abram was called to separate from his homeland, his kindred and his father’s house (see Gen. 12: 1).
· Moses requested that Israel be allowed to go three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice and refused to sacrifice to God in Egypt. Eventually, Israel were irrevocably separated from Egypt by the Red Sea (see Ex. 5: 3; 8: 26; 14).
· Separation was prominent in the Law: “My statutes shall ye observe. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with another sort; thou shalt not sow thy field with seed of two sorts; and a garment woven of two materials shall not come upon thee” (Lev. 19: 19). Unclean and clean were to be kept separate: “Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together” (Deut. 22: 10).
· Israel were to be “a people that shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23: 9). When they came into the land they were to “make no covenant” with the inhabitants and they were to “make no marriages with them” for they “will turn away thy son from following me” (Deut. 7: 2–4).
· The Psalmist tells us that “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked” (Ps. 1: 1).
· The house of God was to be rebuilt by the people of God alone: “Ye have nothing to do with us to build a house to our God, but we alone will build to Jehovah the God of Israel (Ezra 4: 3). Later the “seed of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of theirs fathers” (Neh. 9: 2). Only then were they ready to worship (see v 3).
· God demands separation of his back–sliding people: “Therefore thus saith Jehovah: If thou return, then will I bring thee again, thou shalt stand before me; and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth. Let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them” (Jer. 15: 19).
· Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not pollute himself with the king’s delicate food” (Dan. 1: 8) and as thus separated to God, was then used of God. Chapter one of Daniel is the moral preparation of the prophet for what he was to later utter.
· In the kingdom the darnel and the wheat are allowed “to grow together unto the harvest” (Matt. 13: 30), but in the Assembly (or Church) the wicked person is to be removed “from amongst yourselves” (1 Cor. 5: 13).
· In “the completion of the age” the angels will go forth and “sever the wicked from the midst of the just” (Matt. 13: 49). Thus “two shall be in the field, one is taken and one is left” (Matt. 24: 40).
· The Christian is “not to mix” with “any one called brother” if he is a “fornicator, or avaricious, or idolater, or abusive, or a drunkard, or rapacious”. Paul asks the Corinthians “Do ye not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” and demands that they “Purge out the old leaven” (1 Cor. 5: 6, 7, 11).
· We are not to be “diversely yoked with unbelievers ... Wherefore come out from the midst of them, and be separated, saith [the] Lord, and touch not [what is] unclean, and I will receive you” (2 Cor. 6: 14, 17). We are to “walk as children of light” and not to “have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5: 8, 11).
· The brethren are enjoined in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to “withdraw from every brother walking disorderly” (2 Thess. 3: 6) and not according to the apostolic instruction.
· Every one who “names the name of [the] Lord” must “withdraw from iniquity” if he is to be “a vessel to honour, sanctified, serviceable to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim. 2: 19, 21). He is to “turn away” from false professors - those who have “a form of piety” but deny “the power of it” (2 Tim. 3: 5).
· We are to “go forth to him without the camp, bearing his reproach” (Heb. 13: 13).
Examples could be multiplied. He that has an ear, let him hear!