What Does the Bible Say About Borders?

The international border wall between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico.

"He has made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God ..." (Acts 17:26-27)  
America is in a war for the wall and the womb; a battle for protection of unborn and newly born babies and for a secure sovereign nation.  In my previous post I focused on the war for the womb. In this post I will focus on the war for the wall

Nations were God’s idea. Boundaries for a nation were God’s idea. God created nations to worship Him and express their love for Him through their culture and identity. The Old Testament includes specific laws about non-citizens entering Israel. They were permitted to pass through or stay with permission of Israel. Lacking such permission they were to be refused entry or deported outside the boundaries. While national boundaries may change over the centuries, the central spiritual purpose of a nation, and the concept of a sovereign boundary to define geographic dominion have remained Biblically intact. 

The Church has a role through the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) which mandates that we ‘make disciples of all nations’.  Jesus recognized nations as a target of His great commission to the church. The great commission specifically says ‘go’ to all nations (vs. 19).  He didn’t say ‘come’!  

National boundaries exist to define the limits of governmental authority, the limits of internal legal systems and financial responsibility, the limits of responsibility to protect citizens, and the limits of other peoples and governments attempts to intrude, invade or infuse foreign laws upon a sovereign nation.  Nations create laws and systems to protect and promote the well-being of citizens within their boundaries. Nations can enter into beneficial inter-nation agreements be it financial, social or militarily to the extent such agreements reflect the core principle of benefiting and protecting the nation.

In ancient cities the gates and walls constituted a security system. For example, Nehemiah's return to Jerusalem was not only to rebuild Jerusalem's walls but also to restore its gates (Nehemiah 2). Guards watched from towers beside the gates. Elders, or community leaders, sat "in the gates" helping maintain the legal and commercial order of the city. Walls and gates are practical security and prophetic symbolism. They protect the people within and declare to those beyond that what is within is of great value. It is noteworthy that when Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to restore the walls and gates the tribes that surrounded Jerusalem ‘were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.’ (Nehemiah 2:10)

God's laws were to be written on the "doorposts" of one's home as well as on the gates to the city (Deuteronomy 6:9, et al.). The values of the family, city, and nation were to confront every "stranger" seeking entry as protection for those within the walls. In every nation the home is the example of a protected border with walls and doors designed to allow entry only to those the owner chooses. Gated and walled communities of the wealthy in the US often have walls and gates to keep uninvited and un-vetted people out.  Many corporate office buildings have security guards and electronic security to determine who enters the building. For example, anyone can knock on my door and request entry, but I do not have to let them in. I have dominion legally and morally over my home. In fact, if I or my family is threatened with home invasion I have the legal right to physically defend my border.

Paul the Apostle told Athenian philosophers that God Himself "made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God ..." (Acts 17:26-27)   Borders and boundaries defining a nation are key to being and remaining a nation. Without borders and boundaries there is no nation. Without a distinct culture and God ordained purpose you don’t need to be a nation!!

Some politicians and nominal Christians believe that immigration bans or restrictions are unbiblical. However, we see in the Bible that when there is open hostility or willful violation of a nation’s law such bans are required. For example, the people of Ammon and Moab were hostile to Israel as Israel came out of Egypt. God then forbade the nation of Israel to accept any immigrants from either of these people groups to "the tenth generation" (Deut. 23:3). Immigration exceptions were made for those who were properly and satisfactorily vetted. Ruth, for instance, was a Moabite but was not only allowed to enter Israel but to become a part of the line that led to the Savior of the world. It should be noted that Ruth was embraced as an immigrant because of her willingness to reject the religious practices of her native land and completely assimilate to her newly adopted homeland. She said; "Your people shall be my people, and your God my God" (Ruth 1:17). Immigration law for Israel included the integration into and embracing of the culture of Israel.

The Bible reveals that "gatekeeping" is a critical component in the theological concept of borders. Gatekeepers watching over the entry to the Hebrews' tabernacle and, later, the Temple, provide a historic example of those who are the sentinels of the nations' core worldview and values: they occupied an "office of trust." (1 Chronicles 9:17-22) Today the civil authority of gatekeeping is within the Customs and Border Protection division of Homeland Security. However, I believe the spiritual authority of gatekeeper for America is in the church. We hold the spiritual office of trust to intercede for, speak to, preach, vote and advocate for Biblical values and worldview regarding national borders and security.

In America we have between 12 and 20 million people living here who violated national laws and boundaries by entering without permission or by staying beyond the terms of their legal entry.  The President has proposed to protect the most vulnerable parts of the southern border of the US with a wall, barrier or other entry proof structure to prevent illegal entry into the nation. In February, 2019 border patrol agents apprehended 66,000 people including more than 36,000 in ‘families’ along the southern border, a record high in recent years. That brings the total number of arrested families over the past five months to more than 130,000. It’s an increase of more than 300 percent compared to the same five-month period in 2018. The Department of Homeland Security now projects that almost one million people will be apprehended this year. That would mean almost one million known criminal violations of national sovereignty and secure borders. Tens of Thousands of others will not be apprehended. And, approximately one million more will immigrate legally. 

A Gallup poll (2013) of people in 154 nations found that the USA is a desired permanent destination for over 138,000,000 people, the first choice among the nations.  The southern border is vast and porous. While many people from Africa, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent may desire to come to American their primary entry port is an airport where security is very high and they must have legal documents to enter. However vast numbers of Central American and Mexican people enter illegally through the land border with Mexico. . In recent months the Border Patrol has apprehended people coming across the southern border from more than 40 nations. It is commonly known that if you desire to enter the nation illegally the southern border is your passage way. Therefore, we have a war for the wall.

Supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration or eliminating national borders is a violation of God's principle of sovereign nations. The Church must not be part of supporting, enabling or encouraging illegal immigration or eliminating national borders. We are spiritual gatekeepers! 

Those seeking to immigrate to another country should always obey the immigration laws of that country. While this may cause delays and frustrations, these reasons do not give a person the right to violate a civil law or God’s principles of national sovereignty.  A wall is only needed if those desiring entry do not respect the rule of law and willfully violate the un-walled borders of a nation.

More next week on this subject...

Click here to read last week's post on the War for the Womb.


Danika said...

Thank you, Harvey. This really helps explain the biblical principles that support borders and distinguish between legal and illegal entry. Knowing I can stand on the Word helps me standfast on all grounds.

Harvey Wittmier said...

Thank you Danika! The cultural issues of the day often have spiritual principles from which to clarify where the believer can land on the issues. And most of the cultural issues affect all seven spheres of a nation, i.e. government, education, business, arts/entertainment, religion, family, and media.

Tbunas@yahoo.com said...

Very well said...Thank You!

Harvey Wittmier said...

Thank you Corliss! Great to know you are doing well. And thanks for commenting on this. It is interesting to see the class of 69 and the divergent worldview we all have on cultural issues of the day.

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