Biblical Law And Immigration

What does the Bible have to say about immigration? I wish that more Christians would endeavor to search out this issue by going to the perfect Law of God rather than standing upon man-made documents and sentiments.

Paul Ryan, the new speaker of the house, has recently said that there will be no "religious test" for refugees but only a "security test." Is that moral? Is that righteous? How does one separate religion from a security threat? Should Christians be first in line to come here? Well, as a matter of fact, we have a history of doing just that regarding refugees.

Fox News reported that "Russian and Ethiopian Jews, Armenians Christians and Catholics from Vietnam have all been moved to the front of the line in previous eras based on their faith, according to historians. And giving one religious group preference is tantamount to sending others to the back of the lines, noted immigration experts." The report goes on to say that "under the 1990 law known as the Lautenberg Amendment, the federal government initially granted a presumption of refugee eligibility for Jews and Christians fleeing the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. Nowadays, the amendment, extended last year by Obama, prioritizes the resettlement of Jews, Christians, Baha’is, and other religious minorities who flee Iran."

Obama believes that NOT taking in Muslim refugees is religious discrimination. First of all, God's Law will always discriminate against lies, pagan religions, and false movements. There is not a neutral role in any of this. One is either with the Lord or against Him.

The "Religious Test"

"There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” - Exodus 12:49

One Law applies to all. This includes the very first commandment.

“You shall have no other gods before me." - Exodus 20:3

A sojourner would have to not only abide by God's Law, but also not worship false gods nor blaspheme the name of the Lord under penalty of death.

"Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death." - Leviticus 24:16

In addition, the sojourner was commanded to be circumcised in celebrating the Passover which was a commandment in the land.

"'A foreigner residing among you is also to celebrate the LORD's Passover in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for both the foreigner and the native-born.'" - Numbers 9:14

"The whole community of Israel must celebrate it." - Exodus 12:47

"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." - Exodus 12:48

These sets of laws easily deter large groups of pagans that would wish to go into a nation where God's Law was set as the standard.

Citizenship And Residence

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 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." - Leviticus 19:33-34

The Hebrew word for "sojourns" is "gayr" (gare) and literally means "a guest." Jewish scholar Dr Stephen Steinlight says that the word for "lives" is literally sojourns or a temporary stay.

The Old Testament granted protection to the sojourner and temporary status as legal residents and were seen as "guests" (Lev. 22:10) that were to abide by God's Law, however. The payment of debts from fellow Israelites had restrictions which did not apply to the foreigner which demonstrates the temporary nature of guests verses the fellow citizen.

"Of a foreigner you may exact it, but whatever of yours is with your brother your hand shall release." - Deuteronomy 15:3

The movement of foreigners, en masse, was used as a curse upon the people when they were being disobedient to God. 2 Chronicles 36 as well as other passages demonstrate this. Furthermore, the rising status of a foreigner within the nation was also a curse due to disobedience.

"The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail." - Deuteronomy 28:43-44

The City Of Refuge Provision

“Say to the people of Israel, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, 3 that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood. 4 He shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and explain his case to the elders of that city. Then they shall take him into the city and give him a place, and he shall remain with them. 5 And if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not give up the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unknowingly, and did not hate him in the past. 6 And he shall remain in that city until he has stood before the congregation for judgment, until the death of him who is high priest at the time. Then the manslayer may return to his own town and his own home, to the town from which he fled.’” - Joshua 20:2-6

This provision was for the individual who, after committing an unintentional death, could flee to and stay until the death of the high priest, which gave him pardon, and until he stood "before the congregation." John Gill comments that "until he stood before the congregation: either before the congregation, the elders of the city, or court of judicature in the city of refuge, or before the court of his own city, from whence he fled, if summoned thither."

That this was a temporary status is further seen here by John Gill: Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest,.... Nothing could give him his liberty but his death; so that though this was a merciful provision made in such cases for such persons, and was a considerable benefit and privilege, yet it carried in it some appearance of a punishment; since such a person was confined within the boundaries of one of the cities of refuge as long as the high priest lived; and this was done to make persons cautious how they were any way accessory to the death of another, though without design: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession; to that part of the land, and to that tribe to which he belonged, to his house and family, and to his possessions and inheritances, whatever he had, and to all the honours and privileges he before enjoyed, and under no danger from the avenger of blood henceforward: a custom somewhat like this has prevailed in some parts of Africa, as Leo Africanus relates, that if a man happened to kill another, all the friends of the deceased conspired to kill him, but if they could not effect it, then the guilty person was proclaimed an exile from the city, for the whole space of seven years; and at the expiration of the whole seven years, when he returned from his exile, the chief men of the city invited him to a feast, and so he was restored to his liberty: temples, groves, altars, and statues, were common among other nations for asylums or refuges, but whole cities very rarely with the ancients; it seems there were some.

Ethno-national Borders

While the Bible provides for the poor and other refugees, it has always maintained national borders which God early on set in place for all of mankind.

"When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God." - Deuteronomy 32:8

John Gill says of this passage: when he separated the sons of Adam; one from another; distinguished by the persons from whom they descended, by the tribes and nations to which they belonged, and by the countries they inhabited; for though they descended from Noah and his sons, they were the sons of Adam, the first man: or rather "the children of men", as the wicked of that generation were called, in distinction from the sons of God, or his people and worshipers; and may have respect to the separation of them at Babel, where their languages were confounded, and they were scattered about, and some went into one part of the world, and some into another, according to the appointment and direction of divine Providence; so the builders of Babel are called, and this was what befell them, Genesis 11:5.

This is reasserted in Acts 17:26 by Paul when He says:

"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place." - Acts 17:26

The tower of Babel is significant in understanding the ethno-national extant display of dispersement throughout the earth.

"Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you." - Proverbs 23:10-11

This distinction is also seen quite clearly in widowhood and marriage. A woman was NOT to marry a "stranger" but was rather to be wed through her husbands in-laws of the family, which also served to maintain the family heritage and property.

"If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel." - Deuteronomy 25:5-6

The Hebrew word for "stranger" here was "zuwr" (zoor) and literally means "to be strange, profane, to turn aside, and to be a foreigner."

Families which are nothing less than nations are maintained according to Revelations 7:9, not destroyed. It is interesting to note that families were not to allow a person into their home that were not bringing the correct teaching regarding Jesus Christ in 2 John 1:10.

A country and nation that wishes to abide by God's perfect law of liberty, will reap a nation that is not destroyed through en masse integration, but is maintained and sustained by the Lord, ethnically and nationally.

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from EVERY nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands." - Revelation 7:9


1. The "religious" test was the First Commandment coupled with necessary public covenant signs which included circumcision and participation in the Passover.

2. Foreigners, while subject to the law of God, were granted temporary residence and were to be treated with equity while being subject to God's Law.

3. The Refuge City allowed residence for individuals fleeing from vengeance and were to be set before the courts or until the high priest, which pardoned him, had died.

4. Borders are maintained through Scripture and are designed to protect ethno-nationals from theft of property/land.

5. Nations and borders are maintained by God's immigration law, not eradicated.

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