Friday, November 28, 2014

What Does The Bible Say About Illegal Immigration?

Does God Want Freedom For Illegal Immigrants Or Deportation And Severe Punishment For Breaking The Law?

Question : God said in Romans to obey the Government. Those that entered the US illegally did not obey the laws or the Government. They are law breakers and as such should be deported...

Read Romans 13 it says that a Government with Godly Authority will protect and laud those who do good and will punish those who do evil; when a governments protects the lawless and pernicious or becomes so themselves and ultimately punishes the law abiding then they may have power (as does a man with a gun to your head) but they do NOT have Godly authority; the individual then has the right to decide if indeed they will follow.

Further, you cannot strip Scripture from context to make a point neither can you ignore the rest of the counsel of God.

Was Paul oppressing, Onesimus when he sent him back (a slave) to Philemon (the slave master); telling them to reconcile in Christ, implying but never insisting or commanding that Onesimus should be freed? Read the book of Philemon if you have not, it isn't very long.

Note, throughout the NT, the Apostles are never told to bring people to the nation of Israel or Rome for that matter but rather to GO to the nations to bring the Gospel message so the family of God would increase.

Also for your consideration...

Lev 19:33-36 "33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."

sojourn [n. soh-jurn; v. soh-jurn, soh-jurn] Spell Syllables


Word Origin

noun 1. a temporary stay:during his sojourn in Paris.verb (used without object) 2. to stay for a time in a place; live temporarily:to sojourn on the Riviera for two months.

Ex 12:48, If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.

Ex 12:48 is just one biblical example wherein the foreigner/alien must adhere to the law of the land.

Further, even Moses asked to enter Edom, and when he was refused he went around. Numbers 20.

My interpretation of scripture is based on taking ALL of Holy Writ into consideration. Further, we are to submit to the government but the President is acting beyond his powers, he is not merely being unfair but is acting lawlessly regarding the GOVERNMENT and because we live in a Representative Republic I can speak out against that while I also pray to God to thwart the efforts of those who are in power (not authority). Further the Peter passage supports what I said regarding Romans; emperor, governors, etc. are to punish evil and praise those who do good, that is GODLY AUTHORITY, when they laud evil doers (or become so themselves) and punish those who do good they may have power but not GODLY AUTHORITY (1 Peter 2:14). Further, in supporting the lawlessness of the president, or in ignoring it, we use our freedom to cover up evil. Rightly dividing the word is important.

"It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors God’s ministers…. When magistrates rob and ruin the people, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare, they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God, and no more deserve that glorious character than common pirates and highwaymen." — Jonathan Mayhew (1720 – 1766), Congregational minister at West Church in Boston

So tell me, were the American Colonists ungodly in fighting against the despotic rule of the King of England? DID they WRONGLY interpret Scripture? Because their understanding was the same as mine, that when the leaders do not act as outlined in scripture then they can be rebelled against because they are wicked.

Scripture is plain and yet it is direct and specific; Vengeance and defense are not the same; conflating the two certainly shows a lack of discernment and Scriptural understanding.

Without debate I will tell you, pacifism is not biblical; Jesus speaks of Peacekeepers, those who would take action to ensure peace, as in dispelling wickedness from the midst of the people/community/nation so as to live under God's rule and command to His glory rather than peace-lovers who resist any and all action even capitulating to wicked men so as to uphold a standard of non-violence; you will see this, upheld with Scripture and through the teachings of Church Fathers...

I do thank you and pray that we both receive divine discernment so as to understand better the Lord and His Word that we may carry out His will, ALL to His glory. Peace and grace to you through Christ Jesus.

Answer : "33 ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. 34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." (Lev 19:33-34, NKJV). God's heart for all humans is to treat and love even other strangers as one born among the people of God if they are committed to a particular country and want to work hard for its excellence.

We should delve deep to understand this Phrase, Scripture tells us that "...we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger -- we were strangers once, too." (Exo 22:21). The earth is the Lord's and the fulness there of the world and they that dwell therein (Psa 24:1). God is the one who has drawn the boundary of all nations for the purpose that they might come to seek Him and find Him in their lives to go to heaven and be eternally with God forever (Acts 17:26-28). As Christians we should show mercy in a better way to those who are erring in their lives so that we could reflect of who are in Christ in a better way to the world that is in error. Personally God saved us from sin when we were His lawless enemies (Rom 5:8, 10), as God has shown His love to us who deserve nothing of it, we must have a tender heart of compassion personally towards those who sin and have become lawless in their lives because of their unregenerated heart condition as the natural sons of Adam. We too would have been there, if God in His mercy have not saved us and have caused our heart to be changed through His love and mercy towards us. So regarding illegal immigration we as Christians should not have a harsh attitude towards them, but instead we should concentrate to reach people with the gospel of Christ because that is the only reason God put a boundary and divided the nations, He wanted those individual nations to seek God and find Him which has no chance to happen when the world comes together to build a tower of Babel for themselves (Psa 33:12; Gen 11:1-9). The law of the land God has set up to judge the law breakers, so may the government take care of that (Rom 13:1-7). We as Christians should not worry too much about it because we should realize our short pilgrimage on earth and our eternal home in heaven which is our real country (Psa 84:5; 39:12; Heb 11:13-14; 1 Peter 2:11; Heb 12:22-24). As we have a dual citizenship now, we should not concentrate too much on the temporal aspect of our lives in the earthly nation we are born to miss the eternal blessing of heaven which is our permanent country of our eternal citizenship (Col 3:1-4). Our head must be in heaven, our feet only must be on earth but our hands must be working for God where ever we are living as God's child in any nation in the whole wide world. We are just in the world temporarily and not part of the world system because our heavenly Kingdom rules over us where Jesus is the King over us who are kings under him (Rev 19:16; 1 Peter 2:9).

Onesimus was sent back to Philemon not as a slave, but more than that as a beloved "friend and a fellow laborer" in Christ for Paul and also he expected more than that from Philemon (the slave master before but now expecting a changed man Onesimus in love as a Brother in Christ); thus telling them to reconcile in Christ. Paul is not only implying but also insisting and commanding in apostolic authority, but also appealing to Philemon for Christ's love's sake that Onesimus should be considered as a dear Brother both in the flesh and in the Lord (Phile 1:1, 8-9, 16). The apostles always expected a kingdom mindset to the people they entrusted the gospel and told them to expect the Kingdom Blessings right from the hand of the Lord.

The apostles never spoke about love but rather walked in love considering all their brothers in all other countries as one family in Christ under one Heavenly Father in heaven (Eph 3:14-15). So taking the gospel to a gentile land was no big issues because they knew God has his extended family and people of God in all the nations around the world who are His (Gal 3:28-29; Acts 18:10). The apostles mind worked beyond the national boundary with the love of Christ working within them (2 Cor 5:14; Rom 1:13-15), if they had a mind with prejudice the Lord broke it through much chastisement and made their heart tender to carry the gospel of Christ to all the nations (Acts 10:9-23; 10:34-35; Rom 15:15-16). God wants a apostolic mind set for all the children of God through whom He wants to make an impact in this generation like never before. Get ready for a paradigm shift in your thinking to carry the gospel to the world, and thus by thinking differently break out of your shell which limits you with nationalistic and regionalistic thinking that paralyses you to become ineffective Christians, which also keeps you away from fulfilling God's perfect will for your lives. As much as the gospel is carried to other nations, equally we also need to empower the various nationalities that come from other countries through the pentecostal fire of the gospel and thus help them also to make them reach their own people in their nations and raise up indigenous missionaries with in their land to reach their own people (Acts 2:5-41; 8:26-40; 6:1-7). Unless a nation gives a freedom to receive strangers in a particular land cordially and give them a special status equally to live among them, we cannot easily touch these people in other countries easily to affect their fellow citizens in their own native land with the gospel of Christ in their lives. So we need a better immigration policy to empower people of all nationalities around the world. They must be able to stay short or long term in the land where there are opportunities to work, educate and establish themselves.

The rules of interpretation of the Bible should be in three simple steps, first apply the meaning of the verse directly, if it makes sense even though it is hard to accept better understand that the direct meaning of the Scripture is right. Secondly, if the meaning of the verse cannot make sense and a hyperbole is seen, then take it figuratively, metaphorically, historically, etc... to relate it with other Scriptural meaning to apply it for practical living, and thirdly if it still doesn't make sense it will be good to spiritualise the text and use it for applying it practically in various areas of our lives. Keep your mind to read contextually after these three main rules are applied.

If the above rules of interpretation is applied then our interpretation will be true to the context of the Bible for which God intended it to be used originally.

According to our rules of interpretation when the following Scripture speaks about, "34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt, " (Lev 19:34) does it not compare between a stranger and a local citizen and says the local government to willingly give the strangers a local citizenship status if the strangers are willing to dwell among the Israelites to serve them? Yes this is what this Scripture reveals, but also it says the local citizens must love these strangers as not only fellow citizens but as themselves. God's love for people of all nations was so great even in those days of the Old Testament that he was asking the citizen to be vulnerable enough to love even the strangers like that. Not only that he was referring to the Israelites status as strangers when they first inhabited the land of Egypt for survival where God took care of them through moving the heart of local citizens who were actually heathens to show favor and grace to make them survive as one family of God under Him even from the days of Abraham. God wants the same love to be show to the strangers of other nations around them who wanted to live in their land. So it not a temporary stay during his sojourn or a stay for a time of two months.

Yes foreigner/alien must adhere to the law of the land to avail the privilege of the land because one law was given both to them and the local citizens to follow (Exo 12:48-49). The Bible says, "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him." (Rom 10:12), so we as Christians with God's heart how much more we should have a heart for strangers to be received and well fed in our nations and tell them the gospel if opportunity arises as the boundaries of the nations are slowly beginning to diminish in this earth as it is becoming a global village through the internet communication and free travel and trade in this inter-dependent world of our generation. The Church should be in the forefront to receive strangers because God even told that He might test them by sending angels in disguise as He had done for the forefathers of Faith in the Old Testament times (Heb 13:2).

When Moses request was denied to let the Israelites who were their blood Brothers pass through their land by Edom who was Esau's Descendents, actually these Edomites were refusing not Moses but God's instructions given to Moses which was given to them as a test for them, to test whether they will be ready to help their Brothers who are passing as a strangers through their land. Not only they were not willing to help them temporarily, but they were even ready to fight them violently if they will come in to their land. Thus they failed the test miserably before God, after that Moses along with the Israelites did not fight against them because they knew vengeance belongs to God and that He will answer them rightly and fittingly in His time (Num 20:14-21; Deut 2:1-8; Ezek 25:12-13; Amos 1:11; Rom 12:19; Deut 32:35-39). But this does not in any way justify that the word 'strangers' are are those who pass a couple of days in the land they were in and will leave it because most of the slaves or servants who in modern term are skilled workers were kept in the houses of their master and stayed with them for years together after which if they wished to continue with their master willingly they were given the rights to be the part of the family of the house they served or else go as they pleased (Exo 21:1-11; Josh 9:21-27; Deut 20:10-11; 21:10-14). Lev 19:33-36, "33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." In the above verse when God talks about stranger who sojourns in the land of Israel and the native born of the land, God compared the days in which the Hebrews were living in the land of Egypt as strangers in which they stayed not just for 2 or 3 days but 400 years (Gen 15:13; Exo 12:40-41; Acts 7:6; Gal 3:17). This shows clearly that a stranger is any one who stays with the citizen as a worker earning wages for their living for a extended period of time or even indefinitely as the citizen of the land.

When a President commits error in his high calling and office, we can only pray and commit to God the President who is doing such a thing. God will soon intervene in to the matter because God is the one who says the He raises people from the dust (1 Sam 2:8), and by one's strength no man shall prevail against the Lord (1 Sam 2:9; Psa 75:7). Also those who are passionate for their country shall also pray that the next President might be a godly person who will stand for God's ways and righteousness.

There is no authority except God who in His sovereign will brings people to become the leader or President of a nation, state or even a town and villages. But just because we find error in the ways of a President of a country and we do not like him, should not make us rebel against the office God has instituted and have chosen the person to be put in to that high office. See here is what the Bible says, Romans 13:1-7 makes it abundantly clear that God expects us to obey the laws of the government. The only exception to this is when a law of the government forces you to disobey any command of God (Acts 5:29). Thus the only biblical reason to violate a governmental law personally in our lives is if that law violates God's Word. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was under the authority of the Roman Empire, led by perhaps the most evil of all the Roman emperors, Nero. Under that reign, there were many laws that were unfair, unjust, and/or blatantly evil. Still, Paul instructed Christians to submit to the Roman government because God is the one who instituted it. But it is completely within the rights of citizens to seek for change in immigration laws peacefully as countries like USA are representative Republic and a democracy.

If it is your conviction that an immigration law is unjust, do everything that is legally within your power to get the law changed: pray, petition, vote, peacefully protest, etc. As Christians, we should be the first to seek to change any law that is unjust and harsh against immigrants. At the same time, we are also to demonstrate our submission to God by obeying the government He has placed in authority over us. "Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God." (1 Peter 2:13–16). It is God who will judge the government that presides over people and it is not our duty to rebel against the government when we find that the laws that the present government has brought or trying to bring someday in the future is unfair, unjust, and/or even blatantly evil.

We as Christians do not defend ourselves or take vengeance in the New Testament because God has told that it is His duty to do that, and those who do not adhere to this standard will bring judgment on themselves according to the Scripture (Rom 13:2; 12:18-19). Do not be overcome by evil of anger which leads to sin, but overcome evil with good thoughts and actions towards the enemy in Jesus name (Rom 12:20-21; Eph 4:26-27). Even the Antichrist kingdom and the man of sin who will lead in to captivity and will kill all saints with the sword would be able to do it because God will grant him with power to make war with saints and overcome them, so with the worldly government it is God who allows something to happen against which we cannot rebel against saying that they who are in the government or kingdom are using the power in a ungodly way and so there is not GODLY AUTHORITY for them (Rev 13:7-10). Power and authority cannot be separated, but according to God He has promised to judge each person who has used power in a wrong way in the future and also He has told that if He sees something wrong and evil, He will intervene at the right time to remove them once their calling time to rule gets over in the time table of God (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Peter 3:9). God expects even the king or leaders of the nations to repent and humbly look towards Him for the answer for all their crisis that they will face in their tenure. Christians should never raise up a militant army to fight against the government or terrorist to take law in to their hands in the name of God, because God has separated the Spiritual government and the worldly government separately from the beginning of time (Matt 22:21; Mark 12:17). Even when we form a Christian government over a nation, still the political outfit cannot come under the Church but under the world government only, that is why Jesus did not fight when he was unjustly denied justice but just declared that He is indeed a King coming from the government of heaven (Matt 27:11-14; John 18:33-38). Remember, we are to follow the footsteps of Jesus who became to us a example for us to walk and receive glory and honor for it one day from our Father God (1 Peter 2:21-23).

Just read the beautiful way in which Jesus suggested all Christians to maintain their attitude towards any person including their President or Leader whom they do not like may be because their behavior or policies that are neither right nor good in many areas of their rule, " 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:43-48). The President of a country is more than a neighbor, he is the first family member or in other words the head who represent all of its citizen. How much more we should apply the principles Jesus spoke to our lives to maintain a Christian attitude towards our countries President or Prime Minister who represents each on of us before the world. We must love, bless, do good, pray for those leaders whom we think are acting against God's ways, so that we too can be like our Heavenly Father and reflect His great Character now. The peace of the land where we live and the laws of the land are in the hands of God who has said that He will act if we choose to pray and not rebel by our own strength against the government God has put in place (Jer 29:7; 1 Tim 2:1-2; 2 Chron 7:14).

Many religious moments in the past have become a political movement once they took law in their own hands. Many murders in the name of God has been done due to hyper religious men who took law of God in their own hands to rebel against the local authority of the land. The Church and the Government are two different things, the Church is the government of God with in the world system but not of it (John 17:11, 16), while the government of the land is a system of God which has instituted the government of men to rule the earth (Gen 1:26; 9:3-17; Psa 115:16). If you try to mix both, then you can never understand the significance of the Church put by God within the world which is dark to affect the world with its light of the message of the gospel of the Kingdom, and fish for men in the world who are ready to believe and transfer themselves in to jurisdiction of the heaven's Kingdom authority and rule on earth over themselves and their families (John 9:5; Matt 5:13-16; 1 Tim 3:15; Matt 4:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 16:30-31).

We Christians are told to stand individually for righteousness of God in our personal lives and be a light in the darkness of the world, and that blessedness of God will follow us who are spiritual individuals to be blessed on earth and be a blessing in our lives to others (Luke 6:22-23, 32-36; 5:6). So may we in the end time not be ruined by a political movement of religious Christianity but rather let us grow spiritually to be blessed and be a blessing to our generation.

If you think vengeance and defense are different in the New Testament term, how will you be able to explain away the passage Jesus told, ""But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matt 5:39) which actually means ye resist not evil but overcome evil by doing good towards the one who act as your enemy or whom you think as your enemy. The Spirit of the New Testament is different from the Spirit of the Old Testament. The Old is based on law and the New is based on love. I speak to you seeing the Old through the Spirit of the New. When John the apostle was immature in his young spiritual life when he was initially learning from Jesus of how to love people who are different, he actually wanted to call fire from heaven against the Samaritans who were indifferent in their thinking towards them and did not receive them when passing through their area with love and respect due to the prejudice and animosity the Jews showed against them for centuries together for their wrong belief (John 4:19-22). But Jesus told him to learn how Jesus the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives harshly for their mistakes but to save them from it through showing the Love of God to them (Luke 9:51-56). Seeing Jesus demonstrate His love for these unworthy people drew them greatly towards the true God of Israel, having learnt to value the priority that should be given to the love of God to reach people of all nations with the love of God, Apostle John later became to be know as the Apostle of Love within Christendom. Having learnt these lessons of the mind of God Apostle Paul said, "28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal 3:28; C.Ref Col 3:11). In other words, Paul wants all Christian nations or Church or families to establish their life of law based on spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all mankind as the prime purpose of their existence and that includes any kind of immigration law too which should work towards furthering the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ in all the lands of the earth.

Pacifism is the belief that war and violence are unjustifiable and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means. If Christians do not stand for non-violence and peace making as the most preferable way of solving all issues in life as much as possible, then who will stand on earth to show the Character of God to those people who are in darkness and who do not know God in the world (Matt 5:9, 43-48; Rom 12:18)? The government of the land are put by God, and therefore when they think that evil is done by someone who need to be stopped from increasingly affecting others, they will initiate wars to keep peace in this world as all the government of the world are indirectly used by God to judge evil and wickedness in the present world (Rom 13:1-4; Eccl 3:3; Exo 15:3; Prov 16:7; Isa 45:7). The Church government should stand for peace always and should neither speak for or against a government of the land, but rather pray that whatever government comes in the land it must execute God's righteousness and stand for truth of the Word of God to thus not promote evil against it. As the Church on earth, we should pray always that whatever government comes to rule over the land we live, it must be supporting the gospel to move freely in the nation to affect the world with its eternal benefits and blessings. The Church will start to rule over the government of the world only when it stands on its knees before God who will start to rule over the nations through His sovereign hand of power through His Church on earth as it is in heaven (Psa 22:28; 47:8; Eph 3:8-9, 10-13; Matt 6:10; Eph 2:2; 6:12, 19-20; Col 2:15; 1 John 5:19; 2 Cor 4:4). When we demonstrate and try to use our mind instead to stand against wickedness, we will fail repeatedly. I am not saying that we should not peacefully demonstrate and show what we think about any issue together as a Church and show to the local government, instead I am emphasizing that the prayerful leading of the Spirit's guidance is necessary and mandatory for definite victory for the Church on this earth.

So the bottom line is God does want freedom and mercy to be shows to Illegal Immigrants and not deportation or severe punishment for breaking the Law of the land if they are genuinely seeking for the good of the land. If our Christian life is any indication of how God thinks towards strangers and His enemies, also considering His earlier instructions which He has given to the Israelites as a political nation in the Law of Moses on how to treat and show mercy to strangers, definitely God does wants any government of the world to show mercy to strangers if they seek for asylum or permanent residentship for working hard and raising their economic standard to live according to the law of the land. America is such a land where men from all nations have come to establish one nation under God and proclaim the freedom of Christian living to the whole wide world.

I pray that you also come to know the difference and be benefited by the way we should see it. Thanks that you will pray that God might show me more by opening up my lack of insight in to the Scriptural areas where I still do not understand as I ought to, as I have always been a student of the Word of God and still will be until the end of my life. God bless you and your family and all your friends!!!! 

Much Blessings..... 


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