Friday, June 13, 2014

Twisting Scripture Regarding Immigration

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Immigration has become the current flash point in America. Unknown candidate David Brat defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in their Virginia primary election this week. While there were other issues, the big issue was immigration. Such a political defeat has never happened in the history of this Republic.

Nowhere is the immigration crises more poignant then in the pictures of children being dumped at our southern border, seeking entrance to the US.

Whose heart is not touched by these pictures?

But behind these pictures is another picture. One of children being sold into sex slavery after entering the country, or simply wandering the streets of our cities, with some children believing their 15 day pass is documentation to stay.

Human Health Services is announcing that it is spending hundreds of millions of dollars providing lists of services, including "family planning services," that are "sensitive to sexual orientation and gender identity."

In this chaos and confusion, there is yet another picture, one including our President and other politically motivated politicians from both parties, advocating for amnesty and essentially open borders in an attempt to advance their own political careers.

Jeb Bush has called illegal immigration an "act of love," joining other politicians who covet yet one more vote.

This is not "an act of love," it's child abuse.

Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the religious left organization "Sojourners," has written in an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times, "It's time for a moral religious conversation about immigration reform--not just a political one."


But his biblical interpretation regarding immigration is twisted.

"Love your neighbor as yourself" is a clear teaching, taught in the Old Testament ( Leviticus 19:18) and affirmed in the New Testament.

But in regard to immigration, "Who is my neighbor?

That answer is found in reading on in the Scripture.

"Reading on" is something the religious left and hyper self-serving politicians from both parties apparently have no interest in doing---yet they continue to quote Scripture to "guilt" well meaning Christians and others into supporting them, for fear of appearing to lack compassion.

Derrick Jeter has written much on this and related subjects. I used him as a resource on the following.

When we "read on" in Scripture, we discover that your "neighbor" is "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God."

However, the command to love the "stranger" is not open ended.

The Hebrew language of the Old Testament uses 3 words to describe strangers, aliens and immigrants. Two of those words---nekhar and zar---refer to foreigners whose allegiance remained with their native country.

These people were denied the benefits of citizenship in Israel and are not in view in Leviticus 19: 34.

On the other hand, the Hebrew word "ger" often translated "sojourner" or "stranger" as in Leviticus.19:34, is a person who has immigrated to Israel legally with the intention of becoming a citizen. Israel was instructed to treat these immigrates as if they were "native" born, granting them the benefits of citizenship.

Those benefits included:

  • The privilege to glean the fields. Lev. 19:10; Deut. 24;19-22
  • The privilege to receive a portion of the special tithe collected every 3 years for the poor. Deut. 14:28-29; 26: 12-13
  • The privilege to be paid in a timely way. Deut. 24:15
  • The privilege to rest on the Sabbath. Deut. 5:14
  • The privilege to receive fair treatment in legal matters, without discrimination. Deut. 1:16-17
  • The privilege of protection from being taken advantage of. Deut. 24: 17-18; 27:19

The religious left and other open border advocates are quick to point out that America is not Israel.

That's true.

The Old Testament distinguished Israel from other nations, as a nation chosen to testify to His greatness and grace and mercy.

The religious left and other open border advocates consistently quote Jesus' words in Matthew 25, because of their use, not His, of the words "sojourners" and "strangers".

They interpret the idea that we should care for the "least of these" as a parallel to the command to "love our neighbor."

They conclude that Jesus is teaching that America must accept all who cross our borders, regardless of circumstance or legality.

He isn't teaching that at all.

The passage in Matthew 25 is actually speaking to a judgement at the end of the future tribulation period in which Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, with the sheep being those gentiles who have believed in Him and the goats being those who followed the anti-Christ.

To suggest that America has a biblical or moral mandate to accept any and all who cross our borders is twisting Scripture.

Jesus' and other New Testament teaching does indeed instruct us to "love your neighbor" ( Luke 10:27, Gal. 5:14).

However, this is directed to the individual, not the State.

The State needs to get out of the way and let the church be the church. And Jim Wallis and his colleagues in the religious left need to focus their passion and compassion toward a biblical, not political model of serving the immigrant and the poor and the needy.

While our national immigration policies should reflect the spirit of biblical teaching, it is a failure in stewardship to advance an illegal open border and amnesty policy. Those actions promote and reward lawlessness. Nowhere does Scripture teach that as an act of compassion.

Is it compassionate to have immigration policies that lead to the picture at the top of this article?

Biblically speaking, the State is instructed to do the following:

  • Provide social order. Judges 17:6
  • Preserve human dignity. Genesis 4:9-15
  • Protect peace. Jeremiah 9:27, I Timothy 2:2
  • Promote Justice. Psalms 82:2-4; Daniel 4:27
  • Punish evil, praise goodness. Romans 13: 3-7; I Peter 2:13-14

The consequence of twisting Scripture to advance a political cause or policy, for what ever motive, is tragic.

It is indeed time for us to have a biblical discussion about immigration, but let's discuss the whole counsel of God on the matter, not selective Scriptures that appear to advance left wing social policies that further expand government, suppress the citizens and erode freedom and liberty.

Does the picture at the top of this article reflect God's will, or His mercy or grace?

It represents the decisions made by those who in fact do not love their neighbor above their own political career.

Let's seek out those running for political office who actually have a biblical concept on the subject of immigration and life and marriage and family and the proper role of the State.

Be Pro-Active. Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.