Vice President-elect Mike Pence plans not only to use a very special Bible during his swearing-in ceremony on Friday, but he also intends to take the oath of office on a very specific verse.
On Inauguration Day, Pence will take the oath on former President Ronald Reagan's good book, which the beloved Republican used for both of his swearing-in ceremonies for president and for governor of California, according to Charisma News.
In addition, Pence will have the Bible turned to a very specific Scripture — 2 Chronicles 7:14.
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land," the verse reads.
However, not all Christians are on the same page about the meaning behind the verse, which is so often invoked by politicians seeking to tie their political perspectives to the Christian faith. In fact, Dr. Russell Moore, who heads the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote last year that using the verse to refer to the U.S. is "theological liberalism."
Rather than talking about America, Moore explained, the phrase "my people" in 2 Chronicles was a specific reference to Israel. In fact, the passage was intended to be a reminder to Israel of the covenant God established with Abraham many years before. "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you," Genesis 17:7 reads.
The verse is not talking about a nation, according to Moore, rather it is about the church and should not be applied to a country as a whole.
"We too often see America as somehow more 'real' than the kingdom, and our country as more important than the church," Moore wrote. "But 2 Chronicles 7:14 itself starts with the question of identity: 'If my people … called by my name …' This, or any other country, is not called by the name of God. The kingdom of God, on the other hand, is."
Nevertheless, the verse is frequently used by lawmakers, as is the case with Pence, and preachers seeking to share a message of patriotism.
As for why he chose to use Reagan's Bible, Pence said the ex-president "placed his faith in a loving God and the goodness of our country."
AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File
"In the march of history," the vice president-elect added, "Ronald Reagan's time in office was limited, but his legacy inspired a generation and will continue beyond."
Bringing Reagan's Bible to Washington, D.C., according to Charisma, was no small task.
For years, the book has been on permanent display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. In order to get it to D.C., it will be hand-delivered by Andrew Littlefair, a longtime aide to Reagan who now serves on the board of trustees at the Reagan Foundation and Institute.
Once in the nation's capital, the Bible will be placed under lock and key until the moment Pence takes the oath of office.
Pence will be sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, making him the first African-American to swear in a president or vice president. Pence said it will be "my honor" to take the oath under Thomas.
"I have long admired Justice Clarence Thomas and deeply respect his judicial philosophy, dedication to the rule of law and his historic service on the bench of our nation's highest court," the incoming vice president said.