Does the Bible Condone Illegal Immigration?

A rabbi and a priest led a protest gathering at the San Diego/Tijuana border. It was a Judeo-Christian defense of illegal immigration. The priest cited the principle of Christian charity while the rabbi compared it to Israel’s sojourn in Egypt (Exodus 22:21).

Catholic priest Roger Vermalen Karban posted an article this week titled,

The Bible Tells Us So: Concern for Immigrants is at the Heart of Faith

The title of the commentary reveals the author’s bias, and since I have recently posted an article on this topic I will only touch briefly on one or two points. Specifically, his citation of the prophet Malachi:

One of the last of the scriptural prophets — Malachi — couldn’t be clearer:

“I (Yahweh) will be swift to bear witness … against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says Yahweh of hosts” (3:5).

My response:

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that the issue is not about immigration, but unlawful violation of a nation’s borders?

As sojourners in Egypt the Jews were not illegal immigrants. They entered lawfully at the invitation of Pharaoh (Genesis 45:17-20).

Today, the issue is that 11 million foreign nationals have entered the United States illegally.

Illegally.

Ancient Israel did not have open borders. A sojourner in Israel represented one of three classifications — indentured servant, traveler, or proselyte (typically a Gentile who converted to Judaism.) Their residency was in accordance with Israeli law. Generally, a sojourner might best be described as a naturalized citizen.

In contrast, millions of “immigrants” have violated the laws and sovereignty of the United States by illegally crossing the border and residing in the country.

The author’s quotation of Malachi 3:5 is misleading. With regards to the “oppression of aliens” I would argue that the United States has been more than hospitable, generous, and tolerant. The Hebrew word גֵּר (ḡêr) can mean alien, stranger, foreigner, immigrant, or sojourner — all of whom were expected to abide by the laws of Israel.

Guwr, from which ḡêr is derived, means properly “a guest”. Illegal resident aliens are not exactly invited guests — certainly not like Jacob and his family.

To cite the Bible in defense of illegal immigration is, frankly, dishonest and deceitful.

Nancy Pelosi recently held a town meeting where, speaking in defense of illegal immigrants, she noted that they just wanted to come here and work hard.

What was that? They want to come here and work hard?

How can they obtain a job if it is unlawful for an employer to hire an illegal immigrant? Why did Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, withdraw his nomination? Because it was revealed that he hired an illegal immigrant. The Democrats feigned disingenuous outrage while yet clamoring for free and open borders.

No, illegal immigrants cannot be compared to the Jewish sojourners who dwelt in Egypt. Their story ended in Exodus out of Egypt. I don’t see 11 million unlawful residents parting the Rio Grande to return to Mexico.

Notes:

Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, she said that Americans can breathe a sigh of relief that Trumpcare which would have impacted them directly was withdrawn from a House vote.

Impacted them directly? Isn’t that what Obamacare has done? I can’t afford the premiums and deductibles. I can’t choose the plan I want. And I can’t see the doctor of my choice.

A caller to the Rick Roberts radio show complained that his son’s doctor visit cost over $1,000. The man said he couldn’t afford to pay, and asked if they had a cash price.

Yes, $200.

Why the difference? Because insured costs factor in a lot of paperwork, authorization and reimbursement.

For the record, I’m glad the Republican bill was not considered. The government — and insurance companies — have to get out of the health care business. We need a free market system like the guy who paid $200 for his son’s office visit.

Historically, medical care has been a target of totalitarian regimes. It’s all about denying you the freedom of choosing the best health care options for you and your family.

The insurance model tacks on a heavy premium because the insurers are in it to make money. That’s all well and good for their financial health, but not so much for your physical health.

I’m just sayin’ …

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

Judge Ye Not

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Do not judge so that you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1).

One of the most misunderstood (and misquoted) verses in the Bible is where Jesus commands us to not judge.

It is a convenient response to Christian expression that is otherwise deemed unfavorable by the one leveling the charge. To say that one is being judgmental is, in fact, casting judgment.

If I don’t like what someone says I am making a judgment on their expression. Now, their expression may be sound, but that doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s not even an expression, but a behavior. Let’s say my neighbor gets drunk every night, and I tell him he should stop drinking. I’m passing judgment on my neighbor, and that would be a sin according to those who say we should not judge. It would be a sin if I staggered over with a bottle of whiskey in hand, and told my neighbor to put down his can of beer. That’s the context in which Jesus is speaking. Reading further down in the passage Jesus says to take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5). In other words, sober up, put down that bottle of whiskey, then go to your neighbor and discuss his drinking problem.

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To so cavalierly accuse Christians of being judgmental is really wearing thin. We live in a world where Christian expression is muzzled. We are not allowed to take a moral stand, have an opinion or quote the Bible without fear of being charged with hate speech. It’s preposterous, but if you level the charge often enough it becomes the truth; and Christians find themselves marginalized in a society that is predominantly anti-Christian. The lie becomes the truth — we are judgmental bigots.

Let’s examine more closely the Matthean passage. In the very next verse (Matthew 7:6) Jesus says:

Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Is Jesus telling us to judge? Clearly, there are unbelievers — characterized as dogs and swine — that we are to avoid. Dust off your feet, save your breath, exercise discernment (judgment) and do not share the Good News with such people.

Jesus said that? Seems kind of harsh in light of His earlier commandment to not judge. It’s only a problem if we don’t compare scripture with scripture, and in context. Obviously, we are to judge with righteous judgment which John Gill described as a sense and judgment of things, according to the truth and evidence of them. [1]

Paul, a chosen instrument of Christ, wrote:

The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one (1 Corinthians 2:15).

What is Paul saying? That the Christian man or woman who is endowed with the Holy Spirit shall judge (or discern) all things, but shall be judged by no one who judges by feelings like one who is blind.

The assembly at Corinth was a complete mess. Paul wrote three, maybe four letters of correction to the disordered church. The congregation was rife with shameful behavior — idolatry, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, greed, thievery, drunkenness and all manner of defilement including the man who was caught sleeping with his father’s wife. Not even the pagans, wrote Paul, tolerated such behavior.

How did the church descend into such chaos? No one wanted to judge another’s behavior. They subscribed to a live-and-let-live attitude. It was a truly bacchanal society. Do your own thing — don’t judge me and I won’t judge you.

Paul laid down the law (1 Corinthians 6:2-3):

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

Pastor John MacArthur:

It should be noted that this passage has erroneously been used to suggest that believers should never evaluate or criticize anyone for anything. Our day hates absolutes, especially theological and moral absolutes, and such simplistic interpretation provides a convenient escape from confrontation. Members of modern society, including many professing Christians, tend to resist dogmatism and strong convictions about right and wrong. Many people prefer to speak of all-inclusive love, compromise, ecumenism, and unity.

If this greatest sermon by our Lord teaches anything, it teaches that His followers are to be discerning and perceptive in what they believe and in what they do, that they must make every effort to judge between truth and falsehood, between the internal and the external, between reality and sham, between true righteousness and false: righteousness — in short, between God’s way and all other ways. [2]

Judgment can be defined as condemnation, or discernment. No one has the right to condemn. That is the Divine prerogative of Almighty God. But to say that Christians don’t have the right, or responsibility to exercise discernment is to strip us of our Divine calling to be light and salt. Light exposes, salt burns; And this is the judgment, saith our Lord, the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil (John 3:19).

Judgmental? Tell it to the Lord, but as for me I will continue to expose the darkness.

Notes:

1. John Gill, An Exposition of the New Testament (3 vols., 1746-8).

2. John MacArthur, Judging Others: The Verse Pagans Love to Quote, April 19, 2016.

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Copyright © 2016 Messiah Gate

The Most Difficult Verse in the Bible

Double fulfillment of prophecy makes no sense to a Jew. I am confounded by Dispensationalists, in particular, who explain away difficult Bible verses to the second and third degree.

Some would have Jesus return once to resurrect the saints, and again to judge the world; but this disagrees with the word of our Lord (John 5:28-29).

Jews believe that the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel the prophet was fulfilled at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Jesus, however, said that it was yet to be fulfilled — as interpreted by this author in 70 AD ( Matthew 24:15).

Some evangelicals see a more complete fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy when the Antichrist desecrates the Third Temple — a temple which does not even stand.

We might as well throw hermeneutics out the window, and discard all rules of proper exegesis. Absent sound principles we can make the Bible say anything.

Theodore of Mopsuesti (350-428 AD) wrote that it was unwise to apply scripture both historically and allegorically.

Milton S. Terry wrote that scripture must have one sense, or no sense at all:

… the moment we admit the principle that portions of Scripture contain an occult or double sense, we introduce an element of uncertainty in the Sacred Volume, and unsettle all scientific interpretation.

With that brief introduction let us now examine what I believe to be the most difficult verse in the Bible — Isaiah 7:14.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:22-23 declares that the prophecy was fulfilled at the birth of Jesus:

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold! The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means, “God with us”).

Here’s the context. When Ahaz was king of Judah, Israel (the ten northern tribes) and Damascus forged an alliance to conquer Judah (the southern kingdom). Ahaz sought an alliance with Assyria to resist the threat, but the LORD (speaking through the prophet) comforted the people with the assurance of Divine protection on the condition that they believe the word of the LORD.

The LORD instructed the prophet to assure the king that his enemies would be laid waste within 65 years.

Ahaz was prompted to ask of the LORD a sign, but the king answered, “I will not test the LORD”. This angered YHWH who, ignoring Ahaz, then gave a sign to the house of David that a virgin would give birth to a son.

The Rabbis do not believe that this is speaking of the Messiah — that the missionaries (Christians) have corrupted the meaning of the text.

‛Almâh (עלמה) is derived from the Hebrew word ‛âlam (עלם) which means to hide, or conceal; and though it may be interpreted as maiden the context dictates that it be understood as virgin for in ancient days unmarried girls of marriageable age were hidden from the general population.

That Christians corrupted the true meaning is an invalid charge. New Testament writers referenced the Septuagint which was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. In Alexandria (Egypt), 270 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, 72 Jewish scholars (six from each of the twelve tribes) translated the Hebrew Bible into Koine Greek. It was an accepted translation for 300 years — that is, until the crucifixion of our Lord.

Rabbis believed that the birth of Mashiac would be a supernatural event. The “72” translated ‛almâh as virgin (parthenos) in the Greek translation — for a common, ordinary birth would be less than a miraculous sign.

Additionally, the original Hebrew includes the definite article so that the passage should read, the virgin shall conceive

This is seen also in the story of Rebekah drawing water from the well — when the virgin (hā·‘al·māh) cometh forth to draw water

When the evangelist Mattityahu (Matthew) interpreted the prophet Ysha’yah (Isaiah) he referenced the Septuagint and saw the fulfillment of the prophecy in the virgin birth of Christ.

Ellicott wrote:

It is not so easy for us, as it seemed to St. Matthew, to trace in Isaiah’s words the meaning which he assigns to them.

Jesus would not be born for 700 years. How would His birth be a sign to Judah and King Ahaz in the imminent threat posed by their northern neighbors, Israel and Syria? Not to mention that before the child came of age — that is, was able to know right from wrong — the enemies of the southern kingdom would be laid waste.

When we turn to chapter 8 of Isaiah we read that the prophet has conjugal relations with his wife (the prophetess) who conceives and bears a son.

And the LORD speaks to the prophet that before the son is old enough to cry out ‘My father’ or ‘My mother’ Damascus would be taken away by Assyria.

To summarize, YHWH assured Judah that Israel and Damascus would be laid waste within 65 years. When Ahaz refused a sign from the LORD, Jehovah gave a sign to the house of David — that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son. Before he came of age the enemies of Judah would become a wasteland.

Isaiah’s wife then conceives, and gives birth to a son who — before he can speak — will be a sign of the Assyrian conquest of Judah’s enemies.

Assyria, with whom Judah was allied, conquered Syria (Damascus), and carried Israel into captivity.

Dilemma?

Calvin believed as some Rabbis that the birth of Isaiah’s son in chapter 8 was a fulfillment of the birth prophesied in chapter 7, but not in the sense of a double fulfillment. The prophetess was neither a virgin nor a maiden. It is Jewish tradition that Isaiah’s wife was the mother of his first-born son, Shear-jashub (whose mane means remnant returns). Thus, there would be nothing supernatural about the birth of a second son.

When the prophets received a vision or word from the LORD they understood it provincially. Some expositors believe that Isaiah received the prophecy of the virgin birth in a vision not understanding what he was seeing. Moreover, the sign was not to King Ahaz — for he angered the LORD — but to the house of David to which the LORD had an everlasting covenant.

Be mindful that the LORD had promised Judah deliverance from their enemies if only they would believe:

… If you will not believe, you surely shall not last (Isaiah 7:9).

We know further that the birth of Isaiah’s son was not a sign of salvation as the remainder of chapter 8 reveals the LORD’s displeasure with Judah, and it’s eventual fall to Assyria with whom Ahaz had allied in disobedience to the providence of the LORD.

So, then, what remains?

The answer to this difficult problem is found in Isaiah 9:6-7 where the prophet recalls the promised son whose birth is yet fulfilled:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this …

The LORD’s (יהוה של) promise to the house of David (דָּוִד), thus fulfilled at the birth of Christ (ישו) — and nowhere else in the Holy Bible — confirmed by Mattityahu (מַתִּתְיָהוּ‎) that Yeshua (ישוע), born of the virgin Miryam (מִרְיָם), and by His own testimony is the spiritual and literal fulfillment of the Law and Prophets.

Just as He told His disciples:

Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44).

One sense … one fulfillment … one Messiah.

Copyright © 2016 Messiah Gate