The Biblical solution to the migrant caravan preparing to invade the United States includes bombs and bullets.
As a pastor and theologian, the answer is clear to me. A nation has a right to sovereign borders. The invasion of sovereign borders by those who are not permitted therein should be met with judicial force. To use violent force upon foreign invaders is Biblical, ethical, and godly. This thesis shall be laid out in detail.
EVANGELICALS HAVE LOST THEIR WAY
Preemptively, let me say that American evangelicals have lost their way. The discussion on immigration among evangelicals has been just one part of an overarching internal conflict that has flared up in recent years thanks to the propagation and popularization of secular philosophies which have invaded our academies ever as much as the impending migrant horde threatens to overtake our southern border. Led by mainstream denominational liberals in rainbow-colored clerical garb and New Calvinist social justice warriors on the theoretical right, both groups have coalesced to teach young seminarians and religious activists the tenets of Critical Race Theory, Cultural Marxism, Multiculturalism, Intersectionality, and Victimology. In this bizarre union between the religious left and those ostensibly on the religious right, a potpourri of Arminians, Pelagians, practical agnostics and Calvinists are all seemingly in agreement that the Bible condones lawlessness done in the name of kindness to the sojourner.
[Editor’s Note: This article is longer than that which normally appears at Pulpit & Pen, so as to be informative and most substantive. Please have the patience to read with care]
On this subject, mainstream religious leftists like Rachel Held Evans and Jim Wallis are in perfect union with historically conservative Southern Baptists, Albert Mohler and Russell Moore. The latter have been greatly influenced by the personality of Tim Keller, a popular thought leader among the New Calvinists who use traditional Confessions of Faith like toilet paper. Keller, a Cultural Marxist (by any standard definition and by his own admission) from New York City, has had a powerful footprint among The Gospel Coalition, whose leaders have commandeered the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), that in an ideal world would be providing Biblical answers to such serious ethical questions as illegal immigration. Instead, that organization – the ERLC – directs the Evangelical Immigration Table, a front organization belonging to George Soros and his National Immigration Forum. In fact, in no place is the union between the left and right more noticeable, as the director for the ERLC, Russell Moore, serves as on the board of directors for the Evangelical Immigration Table along with Jim Wallis (who is famously progressive, denies the inerrancy of Scripture, and is a liberal on virtually every issue of ethical importance). Along with Soros’ funding of this Southern Baptist entity, Clinton globalist billionaire financier, James Riady, has funded New Calvinist institutions – like Westminster Philadelphia and Ligon Duncan’s Reformed Theological Seminary. Riady, who was expelled from the United States for trying to corrupt the American political system with obscene amounts of corrupt foreign cash, is now the financial sugar daddy of the seminaries pushing out Reformed graduates, most of whom are a part of the new Social Justice movement.
HOW LEFTISTS WON OVER THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
Those on the supposed right who are fully “woke” and fully committed to acts of “social justice” that diminish the rule of law and protection of the nation-state include the aforementioned Albert Mohler, Tim Keller, Russell Moore, Mark Dever, Thabiti Anyabwile, Ed Stetzer, Beth Moore, D.A. Carson, Matt Chandler, and David Platt. While Russell Moore and Chandler both serve the ERLC (Moore as its director and Chandler as a research fellow), neither seem aware that the nation-state is the world’s strongest bulwark for religious liberty. Likewise, Platt, now retiring from the International Mission Board as its president, signed an amicus brief on behalf of the IMB to get a mosque built in New Jersey under the guise of religious liberty (he’s since apologized), but seems blissfully unaware that it is the nation-state that protects individual liberty. Acting in tandem as a gaggle of useful idiots pushing the agenda of globalists like Soros and Riady, these evangelical leaders are subversively undermining the very governmental system that protects the religious liberties they hold so dear.
Simply put, Soros and Riady – along with other globalist elites – seek to dismantle the nation-state as a form of governance. A nation consists of three primary building blocks. These include sovereign borders, a common language, and a shared culture. All three of these have been under attack in America from the political left for decades. It is only recently that those claiming religious conservatism have become allies in the subversion. Without the nation-state, there is no government by the People and for the People, which is tasked to defend the rights of individuals (including religious liberty) in the face of claims for the common good. Many of these subversive leaders, like Russell Moore, are proud communitarians, championing utilitarianism over individual liberty. It is difficult to maintain that these evangelical leaders are ignorant or somehow not culpable for their participation in the eradication of liberty when they are knowingly taking cash from men like Soros and Riady.
This leads to the question as to why these evangelical leaders are on the wrong side of these important Biblical and ethical issues, ranging from immigration to racialism (other than the cash they receive). The partial answer to this question – in their own words – is what they perceive demographically to be the “browning” of America. They suggest and perhaps are right, that the WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) will soon be the minority in the United States. If the evangelical church should survive, and by some chance even grow in coming years, its melanin count must rise. For that reason, the SBC has employed Affirmative Action in various of its institutions – like the Kingdom Diversity Department at Southeastern Seminary – and in its appointment of denominational leaders. Doctrinal fidelity has suffered greatly in the attempt to diversify the SBC, as heretics like Tony Evans and Sammy Rodriguez have been scraped off the very bottom of the theological barrel to fill speaking spots at denominational events. Their insistence that the church must change demographically in order to survive is not conspiratorial; it is overt and explicit.
The point in all the above is this; the rhetoric on immigration coming out of the Evangelical Intelligentsia is not shaped by a Biblical ethic or sound hermeneutical principles as it relates to immigration. The rhetoric on immigration coming out of the Evangelical Intelligentsia is singularly focused on future survival, and not doctrinal commitment or the work of Biblical ethics.
A BIBLICAL DEFENSE OF THE NATION STATE
Jeff Sessions cited Romans 13 earlier this year in his defense of sovereign borders and was skewered by the Social Justice warriors on the right, many of whom were previously mentioned (above). However, Sessions was right in his citation of Romans 13, and he used the verse properly in context. He would have been equally as justified should he have cited 1 Peter 2. Both passages clearly explain our role in relation to the Civil Magistrate. The government exists to punish the wicked and reward the good. It carries the sword (of punishment) for a reason. We are to submit to those governing authorities so long as it does not require us to rebel against God.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. (Romans 13:1-2).
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor (1 Peter 2:13-17).
God invented the nation-state and Citizenship. That’s right, it was God that invented the “nation-state” as the children of Israel came out of Egypt with a concept of social construct not tied exclusively to kinship or geography. While it is true that the three building blocks of a nation are (A) borders (B) culture and (C) language, the development of Hebrew identity as a nation came about in an interesting vacuum in which they did not have a border or a geographical anchor. Historical anthropologists recognize that the Old Testament Israelite nation may very well be the first people group in the world to form a “nation” not tied directly or exclusively to kinship and geography, but instead was a social Covenant between Yahweh and his people. The idea of nation via compact was born. Israel was Israel even outside the Promised Land, because Israel had a Covenant with Yahweh. Those obeying that Covenant were seen as Israelites and those disobeying it were seen as Gentiles, and the concept of “Citizenship” was born. This proto-Citizenship in the historical record is demonstrated in the clear delineation of how Israelites were to be treated under Sinaitic civil codes given by God through Moses and how non-Israelites were to be treated. While aliens and sojourners were to be treated well, Old Testament laws make it very clear that Citizens of Israel were unique and were to be treated with different privileges than those not of Israel. This is seen even in the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” constructed outside of the Temple. It took more to become an Israelite than to simply sojourn in the land. Citizenship requires adherence to the Covenant, and formal admission into the body politic by a special rite.
God invented national sovereign borders. God himself gave the boundaries for the nation of Israel in Genesis 15:18 and in Genesis 17:8. In this, God ensured that the nation-state of Israel had applied to it the first and most important aspect of its existence; borders. Encroachments upon these boundaries were to be met with hostility. God commanded the Israelites to protect their borders and boundaries, and they were given total and unilateral control of those boundaries. Rather than causing conflict with neighboring nations, the borders clearly delineated property lines, defusing potential conflicts and better enabling the Israelites to govern their affairs in accordance with their Covenant with Yahweh.
God invented the border wall. There is an entire book of the Bible devoted to the building of a border wall. Nehemiah 1:1-7:3 explains God commanding the construction of a wall around Jerusalem to protect its strategic interests and prevent foreign invasion. There is nothing unethical, unbiblical, or sinful, about protecting national sovereign borders. And by the way, that border wall was well-armed.
When the United States lets in more than one million immigrants a year to attain Citizenship and nearly that many more to work and attend our educational institutions, it clearly does not exhibit institutionalized bigotry toward the foreigner. A nation that lets in two million foreigners a year does not suffer from xenophobia. That is not systemic racism; it is a systemic kindness. That the United States has border crossings where anyone can seek legal asylum through an open and forthright and generous asylum policy, it makes it all the more criminal to instead choose to sneak across the border criminally. That parents aren’t separated from their children by death as America protects its sovereign borders by force (which is its right) is a testimony of America’s shining generosity. Any other nation in virtually any other part of the world would fire upon those invading their sovereign borders. Instead, America applies the rule of law while feeding them, clothing them, providing them due process, and putting them in a detained “time-out” until they can be returned to their home of origin.
THE BIBLE CALLS FOR BOMBS AND BULLETS
No, I’m not suggesting the Bible mentions either bombs or bullets. The Bible mentions swords and spears. The General Equity of those moral principles found in the Old Testament “positive commands” (meaning specific commands given to specific people), however, undergird and support the appropriate use of violence to dispel invading forces from sovereign nations. And the appropriate use of violence for invading forces into sovereign nations is, biblically, the application of deadly weapons. In today’s terms, these include bombs and bullets.
Just as Jerusalem’s border wall was being built in Nehemiah’s day by laborers working with one hand and carrying a spear in another, it is appropriate to prepare and utilize weapons for national defense. Although some would argue that Jerusalem was not a nation-state and therefore the comparison does not apply, it was – for all intents and purposes – a city-state, which is a fair equivalent. It was the state. It had a boundary. The boundary needed a wall. And, the wall needed to be protected by the use of deadly force. God did not only allow for this provision, but it was commanded by the prophet of God.
From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. – Nehemiah 4:16-17
Some might take exception with the parallel between the invading hordes of Nehemiah’s day and those traveling to our southern border on the grounds that the former was an army and the latter includes suckling babes and women. I take exception with their naivety. Artaxerxes, King of Persia, released the Jewish exiles to rebuild Jerusalem not because it was being invaded by armies (Jerusalem had already been conquered by the Persians), but because it was being settled by foreigners who had no rightful claim to the homes, orchards, vineyards, and infrastructure built by the Jews. Nehemiah’s invading hordes included the Samaritans, Ammonites, and Philistines, all of which were neighboring nations to Jerusalem who felt entitled to the greener grass on the other side of where Jerusalem’s border fence once stood. Surely a comparison is fitting to those coming from Central America and Mexico across our borders, many of whom are (as our Social Justice Warrior friends remind us) just “looking for better opportunities.” Families surely would have been in tow among these people-groups as well. Furthermore, it should be pointed out as a matter of fact that the so-called “migrant caravan” approaching our border consists of more than three-quarters of adult men. There is zero doubt that the invading nations upon Nehemiah’s Jerusalem contained considerably more women and infants than the mob approaching Texas.
The story of Old Testament Israel and Judah after the settling of the Hebrews in Canaan is little more than a history of its constant invasion by foreigners (redemptively, it’s about Christ, of course). The Book of Judges, in particular, focuses on the motif of foreign invasion. In each of these cases, even when the invasion of their sovereign borders was punishment dispensed by God, the Israelites were commanded and commended for picking up arms to annihilate their enemies. Gideon fought back the Midianites. Deborah fought Sisera of Canaan. Samson fought the Philistines. At no point was Israel commanded to stand-down and surrender their land or property in the name of misplaced kindness.
The United States of America is a Republic and union of 50 states that collectively and federally have a sovereign border. Our nation is autonomous and autocratic, under no binding international law. There is no ruler, power or authority over the United States other than the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which he enjoys over all the Earth. Our nation has a right to sovereignly declare our boundaries and borders and to protect them. Our nation-state must protect these boundaries and borders in order to protect the people therein and, even more importantly, the liberty of said people. To argue that the United States doesn’t have the right to defend our borders or that it’s somehow not right (in other words, immoral) to defend our borders, have taken away very little from the divinely orchestrated and infallibly preserved history of Israel.
GENERAL EQUITY, APPLIED
Here, Social Justice Warriors with a semester or two of seminary may cry out with an obnoxious and ill-disguised arrogance, “But the United States is not Israel!” No kidding, Sherlock. I’m a Reformed Christian, which means (in part) that I believe Israel to have been a typology of the Christian Church, and not typological of a future geopolitical nation-state. Dispensationalists would likewise acknowledge that the United States, very clearly, is not Israel. The principle at play here, however, is a term from the Westminster Confession known as General Equity. As the divines explained it, which they did in particular as it functions regarding the Civil Code of Israel, the General Equity is that which is “moral and universal” found within those positive commands. In other words, although details change (like exchanging swords and spears for bombs and bullets), the moral principles undergirding those details do not change.
Others might insist that the coming of the New Covenant somehow changes the General Equity principle of protecting a nation’s borders. This logic does not follow. The installation of the New Covenant – as spoken of in Jeremiah 31 – brought a Covenant of Grace into time and space to redeem believing mankind by grace through faith in Christ. The New Covenant does not change moral principles. Reformed believers in particular, who should already believe that the Moral Law is immutable, must grasp this basic concept. It has always been wrong to steal. And while everything you currently own may in some way be the consequence of “hook and crook” by someone from whom you received it, it does not justify taking what belongs to another man currently. Those who seek to invade a nation for the purpose of consuming its resources, contrary to their national law, are thieves. Biblical principles have always upheld the use of force to protect property.
What the New Covenant did not change is Biblical ethics. We (that is, Reformed believers) would strongly resist the notion that Jesus gave new law in the Sermon on the Mount and his various discourses. We would argue that the newness of his commands are found in the motivation for our following them, chiefly resting in his divine example. Loving your neighbor, for example, is a citation of Old Testament law (Leviticus 19:9-18) and was not unique to the Sermon on the Mount. The defense of Israel’s sovereign border was not antithetical to loving neighbor, and neither is protecting America’s sovereign border. In relationship to this debate, it should best be understood that proper love between neighbors (which is a command given to individuals and not nation-states) is best preserved by the maintenance of good fences. As the old adage among the ranch communities here in Montana goes, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
BEING KIND TO THE ALIEN AND SOJOURNER
Of course, the various Scriptural admonitions of kindness to the alien are brought out frequently by opponents of the rule of law, often by those with little to no understanding of Biblical law. Nonetheless, the frequency with which these commands are repeated and the level of ignorance among those who often repeat them do not negate their surety and soundness in our modern age. What are these commands, exactly?
We are commanded not to exploit the sojourner traveling through our territories (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33; by the way, this would apply to using illegal aliens as a cheap labor force, as many proponents of illegal immigration do). We should provide a level of charity for the sojourner and destitute (Leviticus 19:10). Even those who are not Citizens, if they are residents, should be treated with a degree of legal rights (Ezekiel 47:22). Various admonitions of this variety appear throughout the Old Testament. Simply put, God does not want anyone abused or mistreated.
Does this then mean that invading caravans of illegal immigrants must be treated as the “alien and sojourner”? Absolutely not. Invading forces are not lawful aliens and sojourners, and should be treated as enemies rather than as neighbors.
Ezekiel 47:22 informs us of this common sense division.
You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.
Non-Citizen permanent residents in Israel (Gentiles who lived within its sovereign borders) were not allowed to purchase land except through a temporary lease that would be ended or renewed at the Year of Jubilee every seven years (Leviticus 19:34). This would ensure that Israelite Citizens maintained control over their land. However, apparently a large number of non-Citizens had accrued by Ezekiel’s day, and they had proven their faithfulness and obedience to Israel, despite not belonging to the Covenant with Yahweh. While foreigners could not have land-rights, their children born within Israel’s sovereign borders could have land-rights.
In Old Testament Israel, distinctions were made between foreign invaders, temporary residents (sojourners), and permanent non-Citizen residents (“foreigners” or “aliens”). Foreign invaders were to be killed, travelers were to be treated hospitably, and resident non-Citizens were to be given property rights. While leftist religious leaders may make a case from Ezekiel 47:22 that the 14th Amendment, which according to the Supreme Court (their judicial opinion and legal precedent is often rightly challenged on this point) gives Citizenship to the children of immigrants and such is Biblical and ethical, it cannot be done without making special note that Biblical law differentiates between kinds and types of aliens. The distinction between an illegal alien (an invader), a temporary resident, and a legal permanent resident is unnecessarily blurred by the religious left, who have proven to have very little regard for a thoughtful analysis of Biblical ethics.
APPLYING BIBLICAL ETHICS TO THE MIGRANT CARAVAN
Seven-thousand active-duty troops are heading to the Mexican border to protect American lives and property from approximately seven-thousand foreign invaders (mostly adult men) who are intent on disobeying our laws and disrespecting our national sovereignty. A careful analysis of Christian ethics indicates that it is the full prerogative of our military to use deadly force after giving them every possible warning that a step across our border will be their first step into the world to come.
[Contributed by JD Hall]