NOTE: This is the 2nd of a two-part post. You can find the first part here.
So, after searching God’s Word for what we could find of His character and attributes, and reminding ourselves that Christ is still the same God of the Old Testament, my class turned to see what Scripture has to say about ‘refugees.’ The first thing we discovered is that Scripture uses different terms for such people. God’s Word speaks of sojourners (travelers) and ‘aliens’ (foreigners settled in the land). After this, we discovered some very interesting truths about how God’s people are to treat sojourners and aliens.
First, we discovered that God commanded Israel to remember that it was once a stranger in a foreign land. This is to remind Israel of how they were abused by Egypt so that Israel will know not to treat aliens in the same way. God’s Word also commanded Israel to actually provide for these sojourners and aliens: to provide for them in the same way God’s people are commanded to care for widows and orphans. But this was also because the ability to sustain one’s self in Biblical times was tied to the right to own land. Since sojourners and aliens were forbidden from owning land in Israel, this made it necessary for the people of Israel to ensure the survival of aliens in Israel.
It was from this that we discovered these civil commands applied only to Israel. The Scriptures have no such direct commands for those living outside of Israel. However, the commands to Israel governing how to treat sojourners and aliens do provide us with a guide, as well as Christ’s commands in the New Testament commanding us to care for the poor and our neighbors.
On the surface, this would all seem to indicate that God’s people are commanded to accept and even care for the Syrian refugees. But we discovered a crucial point most Christians in our society today have forgotten. I teach my class the whole of Scripture. God’s Word cautions us not to divide it; taking what parts we like and discarding those we find too difficult. In fact, those Christians who do this are practicing a form of idolatry: they follow a god and teaching of their own making — not the Word of the One true Living God. So our class looked to see if there was anything else in the Scriptures we needed to understand before we decided what to make of God’s Word in regard to the issue of the Syrian refugees — and we found that crucial command.
From the Old to the New Testament, God is clear: He hates lawlessness! If a sojourner or alien came into Israel, yet they refused to obey Israel’s laws, they were to be subjected to Israel’s laws — even to the point of being ‘cut-off.’ Today, we tend to soften the meaning of this phrase, choosing to read it as ‘put-out’ instead of what it really meant to Israel. By ‘cut-off,’ God means executed! And the Scriptures are clear as to why this was done, as well: so that the evil was removed from among the people.
You see, modern Christians have missed some crucial aspects of Christ’s Gospel. One of these is the fact that Jesus stresses the need to obey the civil laws as much as God did in the Old Testament. But another aspect is the corporal nature of the Gospel. Christians are good at seeing the individual side of the Gospel, a point most Jews miss. But the Jews see the collective side that many Christians miss. The Old and New testament both stress our duty to others and to society. Obeying the civil law is just one aspect of this duty, and God expects the sojourner and alien to obey the civil laws equally as much as He expects His people to obey.
So, given that a Muslim is sworn to obey Muhammad and Sharia’ law to the exclusion of all else, no nation that is based on the rule of law can accept Muslim refugees — much less a nation whose legal system (like ours) is based on Biblical principles. Now, this does not mean we should reject all Syrian refugees. There Syrians who are members of the Jewish and Christian faith. The problem is, our government is using religion as a factor in choosing who they bring to this nation. The government is refusing entry to Jews and Christians while allowing Muslims in with little to no screening. The government tells us these refugees are screened, but if my data base only has Frenchmen in it, and I ask the Syrians who they are and they give me an Arab name — and many times, it is a fake name — then I can screen them all I want. Unless my data base has them in it, I will never find them. And if all I have are French names, then the Arab name they give will come back as clean. This is intentional lawlessness by our government, designed to import refugees who our government knows are also lawless.
But again, my class knows that Scripture teaches Christians to follow the government — even if it is wrong. But this is where we must be wise as serpents so we can remain innocent as doves. In America, the Federal authorities are not ‘the‘ government. In fact, the federal authorities are only one part of the nation’s government. What’s more, the federal government actually has authority only over the States. This leaves State, then local government, as well. But even more, as we are a representative republic, the ultimate, final authority in this nation is us — the individual American. We are the final source of civil authority in this nation, and when the local, State or Federal governments start acting outside their assigned duties, the people have retained the right to change or abolish them.
All of this was set up by Christina people who were acting upon biblical teachings. The reason our system of government is breaking down is because those Christians who remain have been convinced they have no role in our government. This is yet another lie. This nation was founded so that people would be free to exercise their faith, not hold it in private, behind closed doors. So we do not disobey God when we refuse to support the Syrian refugees, who we know are not going to obey our laws when they arrive. We disobey God when we refuse to do what we can to ensure we elect Christian leaders and to watch over them to make sure they support and defend the laws as they were intended to be enforced. This is where the wrong is: not in refusing to embrace people sworn to wage war with God’s people; but in refusing to see to our civil duties.
God graced us with a land predicated on living free under laws founded on His teachings. If we turn our back on our duty to maintain it, we turn our back on this blessing and — ultimately — on the source of the blessing. God! This is why our founders told us to teach the principles of liberty and civic duty to our children: so that we could preserve the nation they gave us. We have not done so and now we suffer for it. But this is also in Scripture. God told His people to teach His ordinances to their children, but they didn’t do so and — eventually — Israel turned from God to idolatry and God destroyed them for it. If it is not too late already, the only way we will avoid this same fate is to turn back to God, repent (which includes making amends and restitution) and seek His will again. Anything less will have to end in ruin because anything less is us seeking after our own ways, not those of God. And one of the first steps to be taken in turning back is to do everything we can to resist the lawless attempt to bring in as many lawless people as possible (those just breaking the law to come here illegally) and especially those who are sworn to wage war with God’s people (devout Muslims).