Defining the Issue
With all the media hype and protest about the 90 day immigration ban from terrorist countries, sanctuary cities, immigration policy and building the wall. I have seen well meaning Christians on both sides of these issues.
In any issue that comes up, as Christians we need to go to the Word of God, the Bible, and see what God says about these issues. One of the problems in coming to a clear understanding of the immigration issue is what does the God say about the roles of the Believer, the Church and Government? They are distinctly different.
Role of the Government
First the Bible tells us that a government that exists, is one that is instituted by God (Romans 13:1). This one is hard to understand at times when you look around at some of the evil things that government has done. It is good to remember the context in which this was written. The Roman Empire at that time was persecuting the Jews and the Christians. Paul also provides a warning that “those who resist the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
The second aspect of the government is the protection of the people. In 1 Peter 2 It says that it is to “punish those do evil and praise those who do good”. The Bible also talks about having just laws and it is the responsibility to uphold them. As a part of that protection we see in the Old Testament was to provide protection to the native people in the form of building a wall to keep out invaders from other and create an army to ward off attacks from other nations.
Role of the Church
What is the role of Christians and the Church when it comes to foreigners coming into our land? The Bible is pretty clear on how the Christian and the Church are to treat the foreigner or stranger. The Bible defines them as a stranger or temporary resident in the context of a person who is not part of Israel. God’s heart is to have compassion on them. In Leviticus 19 and Exodus 23:9 He reminded Israel how they felt when they were in Egypt.
God commands the Israel not to oppress or mistreat them and they are to “love” them as yourselves. In 1 Kings 8:41-43 God defines why we are to love the foreigner. The Christian is to love the foreigner so that all the earth may come to know God. God also tells Israel to treat them as a native.
Putting it all Together
How are we to put these different roles together to form a biblical view of how Christians and the Government are to deal with foreigners wanting to come to this country from hostile nations? The Bible provides us with an illustration that parallels what our country is going through right now in the story of Nehemiah. Israel had been taken captive by Babylon and the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and the gates burned. And the remnant left were being taken advantage of by other nations taking their crops, their land and making them slaves. Because of Israel’s sin their nation laid in ruin and disgrace. Our nation is in a similar state. Our “walls” are torn down with a free flow of drugs, guns, terrorist and foreigners poring across our border. Our country is being taken advantage of by other nations economically and we have suffered numerous terrorist attacks by those nations whose goal is to bring us into slavery of the caliphate.
Nehemiah was one of the Israelites that was taken captive by Babylon and was the wine bearer for the king where he had gained favor. He had heard a report of what was happening with the home of his fathers and was broken hearted. Then God put it on his heart to petition the king to go and rebuild Jerusalem. The king could have easily put him to death for this kind of request but God had granted him favor and the king provided protection and the resources to rebuild the city.
Nehemiah went to Jerusalem to inspect the city. He then gathered the people, organized and led them in rebuilding the walls. When the Horonite and the Ammonite nations found out that they were going to rebuild the walls they were not happy because they would lose a resource. They began to ridicule and mock them they even used they media to spread lies about Nehemiah (Fake News) and the people to intimidate them. Nehemiah responded to the foreign nations by saying that they have no share in Jerusalem and that they have no historic right to claim their city.
The kings of the region then gathered together and plotted against Jerusalem to stir up trouble against it. They planed to infiltrate the city with solders that looked like everyone else and kill them when they were not expecting it in other words terrorist. Nehemiah responded by praying and having half of the people rebuild while the other half guarded the vulnerable areas of the wall. This sounds very similar to what the new administration wants to do with our country to prevent the terrorist from infiltrating our country.
Another similarity to our country was the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem had placed high taxes upon the people, which placed a great burden on the people. When Nehemiah learned of this he put a stop to this and had them return the excess taxes back to the people. Nehemiah also feed 150 people at his own table. Of those 150 people were those who worked with him and those who came to them from surrounding nations.
In this illustration we see that the job of the government was to provide protection for the people by building a wall to keep out those who intended harm, organizing and arming the people as a guard and responding to the foreign nations. We also see Nehemiah fulfill the law by taking care the foreigners that had come among them. Nehemiah both kept out the foreigners that meant harm but still welcomed those who came and wanted to become part of their country. This paints a picture for us that the Church is to welcome the foreigners that come to be apart of this country and to be a whiteness to the world of who God is. It is the job of the government to protect us from those who want to cause us harm.
Verses on the Role of Government. – Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17, Leviticus 19:15, Psalms 115:1-2, Proverbs 16:4
Verses on the Role of the Church. – Leviticus 19:33-34, Exodus 23:9, 1 Kings 8:41-43, Leviticus 24:22, Colossians 3:11, Hebrews 13:2, Matthew 25:43-44
By Paul Frala