The Bible on Refugees

Recently, the migrant crisis has caused a lot of Christians to display their holiness by calling other people to let migrants in to rape their daughters. Generally, as with this example, these are rather vague allusions to the exodus or Christian charity. I’ve written about Christian ethno-nationalism before, but what does the Bible actually say about allowing hundreds of thousands of invading immigrants into your country?

First, in Levitical law it is repeated often and is very clear that the sojourner is to be fairly treated; he is not to be oppressed, he is to receive fair justice, and he is to given charity and love.

You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
(Exodus 23:9 ESV)

For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the LORD. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.”
(Numbers 15:15-16 ESV)

And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.
(Leviticus 23:22 ESV)

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
(Deuteronomy 10:18-19 ESV)

On the other hand, the sojourner is to be forced to assimilate. There are repeated commandments that the sojourner must follow the laws and customs of his hosts.

Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. Whoever takes an animal’s life shall make it good, life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death. You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the LORD your God.
(Leviticus 24:16-22 ESV)

For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.
(Exodus 12:19-20 ESV)

but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
(Exodus 20:10 ESV)

This assimilation is not absolute though. He is not to be forced to engage in religious sacrifice/ritual, although he is free to join.

Thus it shall be done for each bull or ram, or for each lamb or young goat. As many as you offer, so shall you do with each one, as many as there are. Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in offering a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD, he shall do as you do. (Numbers 15:11-14 ESV)

The foreigner is different from the citizen, though. The sojourner could not own land.

And Moses commanded the people of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying, “The tribe of the people of Joseph is right. This is what the LORD commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: ‘Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father. The inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another, for every one of the people of Israel shall hold on to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. And every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the people of Israel shall be wife to one of the clan of the tribe of her father, so that every one of the people of Israel may possess the inheritance of his fathers. So no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another, for each of the tribes of the people of Israel shall hold on to its own inheritance.’”
(Numbers 36:5-9 ESV)

Here’s an interesting passage though:

And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. No foreigner or hired worker may eat of it. It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”
(Exodus 12:43-49 ESV)

This suggest a difference between foreigners and sojourners. I’m not a Hebrew scholar, but this Hebrew scholar deals with that verse and states that the sojourner is someone who who is essentially a naturalized citizen. I looked up the words Brian Webster mentioned. Ger (often sojourner) is the one to whom all these protections apply. On the other hand, nekar (often foreigner) is used almost entirely negatively. The protections above are only for the ger and are not given to the nekar.

Foreigners (nekar) are to be barred from Israel’s religious practices and there is a constant stream of warnings to Israel against adopting the religious and cultural practices of foreigners:

“Thus says the Lord GOD: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary.
(Ezekiel 44:9 ESV)

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only.
(1 Samuel 7:3-4 ESV)

There are warnings against intermarriage with foreigners:

In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?”

And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.

Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits.
(Nehemiah 13:23-31 ESV)

As well, God explicitly discriminates between different foreigners.

“No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever, because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loved you. You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days forever.

“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a sojourner in his land. Children born to them in the third generation may enter the assembly of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 23:3-8 ESV)

Aliens with whom have dealt kindly with Israel should be treated well, but Israel was actively commanded not to pursue the prosperity or peace of aliens that dealt poorly with them.

He also repeatedlt orders the extermination of foreigners and refers to those not exterminated as barb and thorns:

And the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. You shall inherit the land by lot according to your clans. To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. According to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”
(Numbers 33:51-56 ESV)

Although, these were specific to genocidal conquests, not to immigrants, the thorns and barbs remarks would likely still apply to hostile migrants.

Also interesting is that among the mountain of curses listed for violating the covenant is this:

The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
(Deuteronomy 28:43-44 ESV)


I might be mistaken, but as far as I recall, there are no specific commandments to the treatment of foreigners or immigrants, beyond the basic love your neighbours and help those in need commands which apply to everyone.


So, from all this, what’s the biblical Christian position on refugees:

Migrants you allow into your country as naturalized citizens and permanent residents are to be treated justly and charitably, but treating them justly also means applying the law against them (ie. the death penalty) when they commit crimes. All foreigners are to be assimilated into the dominant cultural and legal practices, although they can be exempted from strictly religious practices. They are not allowed to spread their religious practices to citizens. Although you can do so, there is no command to allow migrants into your country but there is a command to keep those migrants that would be harmful to your religion and traditions away from the assembly. You are to treat foreigners of friendly nations well in your country and can let them in, but you have no obligation to foreigners of hostile nations and should not let them in. Being ruled by naturalized foreigners is a curse and having hostile minorities is a thorn and a barb.


So, here is the biblical positions as applied to the current migrant crisis:

The foreigners migrating are generally from countries hostile to us, so we have no obligation to them, but, while we are inviting them to stay here, we should be treating them justly. Should they commit crimes (such as Rotherham) against our people and we should execute them. The current migrants have generally been thorns and barbs in our nations’ sides, so extermination is not out of the question. They are bringing foreign gods to our nations and should not be allowed to do so. Any we decide to keep should be forced to assimilate.

So, in sum, the biblical position is to feed the migrant horde, then send them back home, except for those who have committed crimes who should be executed. We should consider taking in Christian refugees and maybe Kurds and other allies who are friendly to us, but are not obligated to. Those foreigners who we’ve already allowed in should be treated justly, which includes expelling those groups who are committing crimes against our people and leading them to worship foreign gods.


Now, having said all this, it is debatable whether these laws cited are to apply only to the specific state of Israel or are more broad guidelines for all nations. I’m not sure myself, and probably, not being a theonomist, lean towards the former, but whatever the case, it is clear that the ‘let them all in’ doctrine is definitely not commanded by any honest reading of scripture and is in fact contradicted by many passages. In fact, scriptural remedies for the migrant crisis might be quite the opposite of what many Christians are now preaching.


  1. White Genocide is not okay. I don;t care what the bible might ‘say’.

    Destroying a people to excuse another’s failure is reprehensible. No arguments needed.

    ONLY White countries have unwillingly been forced by anti-Whites like you to bring in millions of non-Whites and assimilate. A White reservation or majority White area is not allowed to exist because all White people would move there – it’s called White flight.

    When the majority of White people flee an area because it becomes minority White, that’s because anti-Whites force and encourage these conditions of GENOCIDE.

  2. As someone who feels I am slowly drifting towards Christianity, this is a very helpful post. Generally the impression many people, including me, who don’t know much about the religion, is that it preaches all universal love, regardless if the people you are trying to help want to annihilate you (and your religion).

  3. It is good that you return to Torah for your guidance. This is atypical among those who consider themselves “the church”. Yes we are to not oppress those who seek refuge in our lands but we are not required to let them mingle in the general population nor are we required to extend them any ability to maintain their culture or laws or customs. Free to leave if they aren’t just happy with being in a place that doesn’t kill them outright as where ever they fled was going to do. If they do stir up a problem then Torah says deal with them according to the commandments. If they turn into a hostile army, then you wipe them out. Read the laws of war sometime for a better understanding of this. Islam has already used up any good will or benefit of the doubt as far as I am concerned.

  4. There are two groups that keep the Old Testament Law today; the northern Israelites called Samarians. And the southern Judaeans called Karaite Jews. Both groups agree that the Law itself is universal, for all nations. They base this on the words of the Law itself. Deuteronomy 4:6. The Judaeans also point to verses in Isaiah and the other prophets to the same effect.

    Any solution other than theonomy gives an unbalanced society. Theonomy is the most stable system possible. That is why the New Testament calls the Law “perfect”. James 1:25 says that any man who keeps this perfect law will be blessed. Now, maybe Christians don’t need to keep the Law. But… what kind of person turns down a blessing from the Almighty? No thanks Lord, I’d rather eat this bacon sandwich, I’m sure it is nicer than whatever blessing you had planned for me. Also Psalms 19:7 says The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul. Hm. Converting the soul. Like the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Law is Holy also, and following it makes you Holy.

  5. So my question Free Northerner, is this: why AREN’T you a theonomist? With regard to immigration, you divided the Word rightly, the way a Reconstructionist would.

  6. I believe the contemporary pro-“refugee” Christians are skimming the New Testament for their inspiration. I attend a church that asks the congregation to pray for the Syrian “refugees.” The words get stuck in my throat.

  7. “The foreigners migrating are generally from countries hostile to us, so we have no obligation to them, but, while we are inviting them to stay here, we should be treating them justly.”

    Except we aren’t inviting them. Our leaders are breaking our own laws to let them in without punishment. There’s no parallel with Biblical examples because Israel’s leaders never attempted to soft-genocide their own people. The mind boggles to imagine King David offering free housing, food and money to the scum of Egypt and Assyria, and imposing punitive taxes upon native Israelis to pay for it.

    Not only are illegal immigrants not our people, our leaders are not our people either.

    “Now, having said all this, it is debatable whether these laws cited are to apply only to the specific state of Israel or are more broad guidelines for all nations.”

    Israel was a theocracy and the West is not. Back then, not being allowed religious participation eliminated any formal standing newcomers could have in society because there was no distinction between secular and religious authority.

    Christianity doesn’t work as a theocracy because the New Testament is not a government system. In fact, one could easily argue that America’s point of no return was when we Christians voted to have the gov’t manage our charitable and moral obligations. Now our gov’t has weaponized charity and morality while the Church no longer has a role in society.

  8. Anonymous: you can pray, as I do, that strong Christian leadership will emerge to send the refugees packing.

    As for the article itself, I would add that the English word “sojourner” means someone who is passing through or staying temporarily. A sojourner is a guest on the way somewhere else. As far as I know, the notion of “immigration” as we understand it today is absent from both Old and New Testaments outside of the concept of invasion.

  9. Mycroft, you posted QUOTE/ the northern Israelites called Samarians/QUOTE

    Actually the Samaritans don’t keep Torah or at least not the Torah as given to Moshe. They were settled there by the Babylonians and have an altered Torah. It is why Y’shua even when recognized as Moshiac by the Samaritan woman and their elders wouldn’t keep the feasts with them on Mt. Horeb. Theirs is a twisting of the faith of Avorham, Yitchach, and Yaachov the same as the Pharisees and the “Church”. All of these groups added to or took away from simple obedience to what G-d commands. The Karaites do the best they can to observe that which Moshe taught and with the limitations forced upon us by the lack of the Temple they do the best that can be expected. No they do not recognize Y’shua but who can blame them under all the pagan mud that people have smeared upon His name?

    Gunner Q you posted QUOTE/Israel was a theocracy and the West is not. Back then, not being allowed religious participation eliminated any formal standing newcomers could have in society because there was no distinction between secular and religious authority./QUOTE

    I can see how it would look that way in modern eyes trying to look back on it. However there was a mixed multitude at the foot of Mt. Sinai. There have always been converts, ie. Ruth. Ancient Israel under Yahoshua ben Nun and the Judges was actually similar to a constitutional republic. Each tribe functioned on a tribal basis, the “Elders” of the tribes in consultation to the priests (Levi’s representation) decided anything that was needed on a larger than tribal level. No there wasn’t freedom of religion as we understand it but as long as you weren’t openly engaged in pagan worship you were fairly well tolerated. Even if you were, it took two witnesses of good character to convict you. If they were spying on you, then the law says they were not of good character. The burden of proof was high and you couldn’t “confess” because if you did then you wouldn’t be of good character and couldn’t testify against yourself. It wasn’t that they wouldn’t punish the guilty it was rather that they so protected the innocent that the Torah as the over all law of the land was not oppressive. No king but G-d. Sounds like what our founding fathers were hoping for. Then they demanded a king to be like the pagan nations around them. G-d said to Shemu’el the prophet they had not rejected him with this request but had rejected G-d Himself. So a long list of fallible human kings until finally we sit waiting for Moshiac to restore all things and return us to G-d as our King, and usher in the Kingdom.

    Realgary7 you said QUOTE/As far as I know, the notion of “immigration” as we understand it today is absent from both Old and New Testaments outside of the concept of invasion./QUOTE

    Not at all. People would come and stay and work and trade in the nation all the time. Sometimes for years. Some would then leave. Others would join themselves to Israel and become a part. This was quite common, oh not perhaps on the scale that America dealt with but it was handled in much the same way as early immigration was here in the US, you came in and adopted the over all culture and assimilated at least enough to function in the society. If you wanted to keep yourself separate from those then you were considered temporary and would typically live in the foreign quarter and in time of war, you might find yourself under increased scrutiny or even guard. As long as you conducted the business you said you were there to conduct and caused no trouble to the society as a whole you were pretty much left in peace. Think guest workers.

  10. Oh and Mycroft, as to Theonomy. It’s great if you have G-d to administer it. As all theocratic regimes are run by men, and men abuse their power and twist the laws to their own ends, I have found a completely amoral secular government to be the best place to be personally obedient to G-d’s commandments. If a government simply prevents others and itself from imposing outside views upon me then G-d and I can work out my personal behavior just fine.

  11. Christians supporting the immigrant invasions are reading the Bible with an overwhelming confirmation bias. They are not advocating for the application of other laws from Deuteronomy. You can’t understand what’s really going on here without exploring the issue of ethnomasochism among white Western Christians.

  12. To what extent should a modern Christian society follow Old Testament laws? The issue arises frequently. This is one issue where we have some direction in scripture. After debate, it was determined that gentiles should refrain from eating meat sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality. That is not to say that we should ignore Judaic laws such as that against murder but such laws are common among all civilizations and not unique to the law of Moses.

  13. It’s well understood that OT laws are a mix of civil/ceremonial laws meant specifically for ancient Israel, which no longer apply because they were fulfilled for all time by Christ, and permanent laws which are revelations of God’s unchanging moral law, such as injunctions against sodomy. Given the overwhelmingly strong natural-law case against cosmopolitan empires, which are inevitably miserable, warlike, and chaotic, it’s utterly inarguable that the laws described in the OP are descriptions of eternal moral realities. God is not a God of chaos but of peace, and peace is best served by homogeneous, congenial societies with strong senses of identity and tradition, as surely as 2 and 2 make 4.

    Twisting Christian charity into suicidal altruism towards hostile outgroups is the work of the devil to undermine the church. As per 1 Timothy 5:8, true charity begins at home and radiates outward in concentric circles of lessening importance. The ignorant quote verses like “Neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free”, but that is a complete misunderstanding; the point of that verse is that the supreme power of the gospel transcends even these hugely important categories. To view it as a call for an open borders New Babel is to also deny that there are any meaningful differences between men and women (another part of the same verse), which is clearly absurd and contradictory to the many NT verses outlining the separate roles of the sexes. Our spirits are all united in Christ, but that is a transcendent, not immanent, reality. Calls for immanent unity are literally the work of Antichrist, seeking to deny and destroy the variety and order of God’s creation. The book of Revelation actually suggests that the nations will continue to exist as nations even in the age to come.

    As usual, Christianity turns out to be in perfect agreement with sober good sense. God’s design is in no way served by the destruction of all distinctions, borders, and traditional social mores. If anything the foreign invasion, barrenness, and loss of wealth currently being suffered by the West look suspiciously like the OT punishments God inflicted on Israel when they drifted away from Him.

  14. Vlad ben Avorham @ October 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm:
    “Ancient Israel under Yahoshua ben Nun and the Judges was actually similar to a constitutional republic. Each tribe functioned on a tribal basis, the “Elders” of the tribes in consultation to the priests (Levi’s representation) decided anything that was needed on a larger than tribal level. No there wasn’t freedom of religion as we understand it…”

    If each tribe functioned in consultation with priests and there was no freedom to practice other religions then it was by definition a theocracy. Judges (and Samuel) clearly describe God personally picking Israel’s leaders as late as King Jeroboam.

    “No king but G-d. Sounds like what our founding fathers were hoping for.”

    Recheck that. The historical context of “no king but Jesus” was a rejection of a king’s divine right to rule. This was a major issue post-Reformation and, for America, it came to a head during our war of independence.

    October 5, 2015 at 7:21 am

    “To what extent should a modern Christian society follow Old Testament laws?”

    Not at all. The OT law can teach us about God and morality but, as a model for government, it was a total failure from wandering in the wilderness to the Babylonian exile.

  15. Barnabas, [quote]To what extent should a modern Christian society follow Old Testament laws?[/quote]

    Completely. He kept them perfectly and told us to do as He did. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just twisting the text to his own destruction. Doubt me? I can walk you through it point by point, though this is probably not the best format for that discussion.

    Gunner Q:[quote] “No king but G-d. Sounds like what our founding fathers were hoping for.”

    Recheck that. The historical context of “no king but Jesus” was a rejection of a king’s divine right to rule. This was a major issue post-Reformation and, for America, it came to a head during our war of independence.[/quote]

    Actually I’ve already rechecked that, and you’re missing the point. We rejected “divine right of kings” dogma of a corrupt religious system. That is not the same as rejecting G-d but rather putting it to a personal level where the State stayed out of religion and no official religion would be established or prohibited. It is an amoral stance not an immoral one. Just as the difference between a separation of religion and political life doesn’t require that the political realm be devoid of religion or religious people as modern anti theists would like to make it.

    NZT: [quote]It’s well understood that OT laws are a mix of civil/ceremonial laws meant specifically for ancient Israel, which no longer apply because they were fulfilled for all time by Christ, and permanent laws which are revelations of God’s unchanging moral law, such as injunctions against sodomy.[/quote]

    That is a common misconception that is as old as the “Christianization of Rome”. It is there to prevent men from obeying their G-d and instead lead them into obeying their Church and Emperor. Remember “Christianity” as it is practiced today was a construct of the ancient Romans to be a unifying factor of their Empire not in any way a genuine attempt to please the G-d of Avorham, Yitzach and Yaachov. Once you realize this you begin to truly understand the great deception that has hit even the most well meaning of people.

  16. I think the Biblical situation is way too different for the lessons to carry over. The Bible is talking to a sort of nation-religion-state which is really different from the nation-states of the modern day, and I think a lot of the laws you’re citing are just plain religious laws which have more to do with Judaism than with general rules of good governance.

    Yes, the foreigner is to be prohibited from spreading his foreign religion. But I don’t think Israelites who converted were allowed to spread their new religion either. The prohibition on foreigners spreading religion seems more like a prohibition on any religion except Judaism being spread.

    In Biblical times, the laws of the Jewish religion were the laws of the land. I’m not sure the Bible-writers would have made a firm distinction between “punish foreigners if they steal” and “punish foreigners if they desecrate the Shabbat”. I don’t think “foreigners can’t desecrate the Shabbat” is an aspect of “make them follow our customs” so much as “not desecrating the Shabbat is important and will be universally enforced.”

    Re: foreigners worshipping in Jewish sanctuaries – being Jewish is a matter of blood, or at the very least conversion. You have to be circumcised, you have to follow the ritual purity laws, etc. If some foreigner just waltzes in to the Holy Temple he’s going to be ritually defiling the whole place up.

    The prohibition against intermarrying with foreigners is pretty much just the prohibition against marrying non-Jews which all religious Jews still follow today. Intermarrying foreigners who converted to Judaism was a-ok – see for example Ruth. But this is linked with a lot of stuff around Jews being the chosen people and having different spiritual makeup and responsibility from Gentiles. This stuff doesn’t just carry over to a Gentile nation like America!

    I think that even granting the an assumption that we can look to the Bible for answers to modern day questions, this isn’t one of the times that has a good chance of working.

  17. It should be remembered, while Israel allowed some foreigners to sojourn among them, these sojourners were never considered part of the tribe (hence the name sojourners), and large numbers of foreigners were considered as invading armies.

  18. “I think a lot of the laws you’re citing are just plain religious laws which have more to do with Judaism than with general rules of good governance.”

    This seems a little obtuse; both the ancient Israelites and modern Christians do not view “God’s laws” as some extraneous branch of rituals with no connection with anything else. Rather these laws are just an accurate description of reality as God made it, and how we ought to respond to that reality for best results. Now, some of the laws FN quotes are clearly general moral commandments (to not oppress the sojourner, for example). Others have specific ceremonial requirements (such as the one about unleavened bread) that no longer apply due to the work of Christ on the cross, but FN is clear that he’s citing them for the general principles they illustrate: that Israel was to demand a considerable degree of assimilation from foreigners, even if they kept to their own gods.

    The concluding paragraphs of the OP sum up these principles. This is how a lot of Biblical analysis works; when a specific modern situation isn’t directly covered, you look at the general principles involved in the text and apply them to the specifics of today. You can confirm the accuracy of your conclusions by observing natural law in action, for example by noticing that homogeneous, culturally and religiously unified societies are pretty much better in every way than raceless, creedless, amoral multikulti empires, hence that is probably how God wants us to order our societies.

    A person could reject the value of the Bible as a source of wisdom, but that’s beyond the scope of the OP, which is specifically about whether or not Christians are obligated to open their borders to hostile immivasion.

    (lastly, please don’t refer to the religion of the proto-Christian OT saints as “Judaism”. That seems calculated to cause confusion with modern Talmudic Judaism, which is very different and traces its roots to the Pharisees)

  19. Gee, what is the Christian stance regarding refugees? Especially in light of the Old Testament judicial precepts noted above? After all, the Christian relationship to the Old Law is complicated; specifically, we’re not bound by any of it, but by the New Law of Christ. (This is not to say that it’s not in places admirable, or even potentially worth following, but that it’s not binding the way it was before the coming of Christ.)

    Let’s ask Thomas Aquinas!

    Summa Theologica > First Part of the Second Part > Question 105
    Article 3. Whether the judicial precepts regarding foreigners were framed in a suitable manner?

    Objection 1. It would seem that the judicial precepts regarding foreigners were not suitably framed. For Peter said (Acts 10:34-35): “In very deed I perceive that God is not a respecter of persons, but in every nation, he that feareth Him and worketh justice is acceptable to Him.” But those who are acceptable to God should not be excluded from the Church of God. Therefore it is unsuitably commanded (Deuteronomy 23:3) that “the Ammonite and the Moabite, even after the tenth generation, shall not enter into the church of the Lord for ever”: whereas, on the other hand, it is prescribed (Deuteronomy 23:7) to be observed with regard to certain other nations: “Thou shalt not abhor the Edomite, because he is thy brother; nor the Egyptian because thou wast a stranger in his land.”

    Objection 2. Further, we do not deserve to be punished for those things which are not in our power. But it is not in man’s power to be an eunuch, or born of a prostitute. Therefore it is unsuitably commanded (Deuteronomy 23:1-2) that “an eunuch and one born of a prostitute shalt not enter into the church of the Lord.”

    Objection 3. Further, the Old Law mercifully forbade strangers to be molested: for it is written (Exodus 22:21): “Thou shalt not molest a stranger, nor afflict him; for yourselves also were strangers in the land of Egypt”: and (Exodus 23:9): “Thou shalt not molest a stranger, for you know the hearts of strangers, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.” But it is an affliction to be burdened with usury. Therefore the Law unsuitably permitted them (Deuteronomy 23:19-20) to lend money to the stranger for usury.

    Objection 4. Further, men are much more akin to us than trees. But we should show greater care and love for these things that are nearest to us, according to Sirach 13:19: “Every beast loveth its like: so also every man him that is nearest to himself.” Therefore the Lord unsuitably commanded (Deuteronomy 20:13-19) that all the inhabitants of a captured hostile city were to be slain, but that the fruit-trees should not be cut down.

    Objection 5. Further, every one should prefer the common good of virtue to the good of the individual. But the common good is sought in a war which men fight against their enemies. Therefore it is unsuitably commanded (Deuteronomy 20:5-7) that certain men should be sent home, for instance a man that had built a new house, or who had planted a vineyard, or who had married a wife.

    Objection 6. Further, no man should profit by his own fault. But it is a man’s fault if he be timid or faint-hearted: since this is contrary to the virtue of fortitude. Therefore the timid and faint-hearted are unfittingly excused from the toil of battle (Deuteronomy 20:8).

    On the contrary, Divine Wisdom declares (Proverbs 8:8): “All my words are just, there is nothing wicked nor perverse in them.”

    I answer that, Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts. For the Jews were offered three opportunities of peaceful relations with foreigners. First, when foreigners passed through their land as travelers. Secondly, when they came to dwell in their land as newcomers. And in both these respects the Law made kind provision in its precepts: for it is written (Exodus 22:21): “Thou shalt not molest a stranger [advenam]”; and again (Exodus 22:9): “Thou shalt not molest a stranger [peregrino].” Thirdly, when any foreigners wished to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship. With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 1). The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people. Hence it was that the Law prescribed in respect of certain nations that had close relations with the Jews (viz., the Egyptians among whom they were born and educated, and the Idumeans, the children of Esau, Jacob’s brother), that they should be admitted to the fellowship of the people after the third generation; whereas others (with whom their relations had been hostile, such as the Ammonites and Moabites) were never to be admitted to citizenship; while the Amalekites, who were yet more hostile to them, and had no fellowship of kindred with them, were to be held as foes in perpetuity: for it is written (Exodus 17:16): “The war of the Lord shall be against Amalec from generation to generation.”

    In like manner with regard to hostile relations with foreigners, the Law contained suitable precepts. For, in the first place, it commanded that war should be declared for a just cause: thus it is commanded (Deuteronomy 20:10) that when they advanced to besiege a city, they should at first make an offer of peace. Secondly, it enjoined that when once they had entered on a war they should undauntedly persevere in it, putting their trust in God. And in order that they might be the more heedful of this command, it ordered that on the approach of battle the priest should hearten them by promising them God’s aid. Thirdly, it prescribed the removal of whatever might prove an obstacle to the fight, and that certain men, who might be in the way, should be sent home. Fourthly, it enjoined that they should use moderation in pursuing the advantage of victory, by sparing women and children, and by not cutting down fruit-trees of that country.

    Reply to Objection 1. The Law excluded the men of no nation from the worship of God and from things pertaining to the welfare of the soul: for it is written (Exodus 12:48): “If any stranger be willing to dwell among you, and to keep the Phase of the Lord; all his males shall first be circumcised, and then shall he celebrate it according to the manner, and he shall be as that which is born in the land.” But in temporal matters concerning the public life of the people, admission was not granted to everyone at once, for the reason given above: but to some, i.e. the Egyptians and Idumeans, in the third generation; while others were excluded in perpetuity, in detestation of their past offense, i.e. the peoples of Moab, Ammon, and Amalec. For just as one man is punished for a sin committed by him, in order that others seeing this may be deterred and refrain from sinning; so too may one nation or city be punished for a crime, that others may refrain from similar crimes.

    Nevertheless it was possible by dispensation for a man to be admitted to citizenship on account of some act of virtue: thus it is related (Judith 14:6) that Achior, the captain of the children of Ammon, “was joined to the people of Israel, with all the succession of his kindred.” The same applies to Ruth the Moabite who was “a virtuous woman” (Ruth 3:11): although it may be said that this prohibition regarded men and not women, who are not competent to be citizens absolutely speaking.

    Reply to Objection 2. As the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 3), a man is said to be a citizen in two ways: first, simply; secondly, in a restricted sense. A man is a citizen simply if he has all the rights of citizenship, for instance, the right of debating or voting in the popular assembly. On the other hand, any man may be called citizen, only in a restricted sense, if he dwells within the state, even common people or children or old men, who are not fit to enjoy power in matters pertaining to the common weal. For this reason bastards, by reason of their base origin, were excluded from the “ecclesia,” i.e. from the popular assembly, down to the tenth generation. The same applies to eunuchs, who were not competent to receive the honor due to a father, especially among the Jews, where the divine worship was continued through carnal generation: for even among the heathens, those who had many children were marked with special honor, as the Philosopher remarks (Polit. ii, 6). Nevertheless, in matters pertaining to the grace of God, eunuchs were not discriminated from others, as neither were strangers, as already stated: for it is written (Isaiah 56:3): “Let not the son of the stranger that adhereth to the Lord speak, saying: The Lord will divide and separate me from His people. And let not the eunuch say: Behold I am a dry tree.”

    Reply to Objection 3. It was not the intention of the Law to sanction the acceptance of usury from strangers, but only to tolerate it on account of the proneness of the Jews to avarice; and in order to promote an amicable feeling towards those out of whom they made a profit.

    Reply to Objection 4. A distinction was observed with regard to hostile cities. For some of them were far distant, and were not among those which had been promised to them. When they had taken these cities, they killed all the men who had fought against God’s people; whereas the women and children were spared. But in the neighboring cities which had been promised to them, all were ordered to be slain, on account of their former crimes, to punish which God sent the Israelites as executor of Divine justice: for it is written (Deuteronomy 9:5) “because they have done wickedly, they are destroyed at thy coming in.” The fruit-trees were commanded to be left untouched, for the use of the people themselves, to whom the city with its territory was destined to be subjected.

    Reply to Objection 5. The builder of a new house, the planter of a vineyard, the newly married husband, were excluded from fighting, for two reasons. First, because man is wont to give all his affection to those things which he has lately acquired, or is on the point of having, and consequently he is apt to dread the loss of these above other things. Wherefore it was likely enough that on account of this affection they would fear death all the more, and be so much the less brave in battle. Secondly, because, as the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 5), “it is a misfortune for a man if he is prevented from obtaining something good when it is within his grasp.” And so lest the surviving relations should be the more grieved at the death of these men who had not entered into the possession of the good things prepared for them; and also lest the people should be horror-stricken at the sight of their misfortune: these men were taken away from the danger of death by being removed from the battle.

    Reply to Objection 6. The timid were sent back home, not that they might be the gainers thereby; but lest the people might be the losers by their presence, since their timidity and flight might cause others to be afraid and run away.

    tl;dr: The Church pretty much exactly agrees with the Jews. Non-hostile foreigners who are moving through to get somewhere else should be shown kindness. Non-hostile foreigners who are hoping to stay should be shown kindness but required to assimilate, and kept out of public life until they show proofs of having done so. (Non-hostile foreigners who come from normally-hostile people have higher burdens of proof, sometimes to the point of never being admitted to public life – and we’re talking generations, not individuals.) Hostile foreigners should be given reasonable opportunity to repent of their hostility, but if they don’t, or if their repentance is shown to be false, they should be extirpated, whether they live among us or no. Still, we should show mercy to a degree so long as that degree does not inhibit us from disabling them – e.g. kill all the men, but spare women, children, and the like – unless God has called us to genocide (which he might very well do).

    Anyone preaching anything else is a heretic. (And, coincidentally, should be turned over to the local authorities to be burned at the stake. Sadly, local authorities are no longer willing to do so – which ultimately means they aren’t our local authorities, and we should be at a state of war with them as hostile foreigners, see above.)

    tl;dr the tl;dr: Christianity not only admits of ethno-religious states, but requires them. Intentionally trying to live elsewise is probably a sin, and at least is very likely to lead you to Hell.

  20. Slatestarcodex: [quote] This stuff doesn’t just carry over to a Gentile nation like America![/quote]

    It doesn’t carry over to an amoral nation like America who’s founding fathers determined that men will always corrupt any legal system and more so if they can hide behind religion to do it. They wanted a place where religious persecution was minimized by not having an official state religion. No where else in the world at that time could a man meet his G-d on the terms he thought his G-d demanded without risking the angry mob of his neighbors or the soldiers of either the State or the Priests. In this open environment people could worship G-d without the corruption that ALL of the mainstream religions have as dogma (don’t deny it or I’ll pull up historical evidence and everyone can be embarrassed). Not having an official State sponsored religion doesn’t mean that every man shouldn’t consult his religious teachings before he casts his vote. It is an indirect national religion. When that changed from Christianity (which for all of its flaws can fulfill it’s function of a social unifier as Rome and Constantine designed it to do) to secular humanism is when we’ve seen the worst of our cultural rot.

    NAT: [quote](lastly, please don’t refer to the religion of the proto-Christian OT saints as “Judaism”. That seems calculated to cause confusion with modern Talmudic Judaism, which is very different and traces its roots to the Pharisees)[/quote]

    Well I can certainly give you that as it is half right, they certainly wouldn’t be “Christian” either because that means all the lawlessness and paganism that came into that through Rome. This is where we have a miscommunication, you understand (as do I ) the corruption of the Pharisees, what you do not yet know and certainly won’t find unless you seek it out is the corruption and paganism and sin that is openly taught as doctrine when “Christianity” was concocted by Rome to help hold a crumbling empire together and then further bastardized by countless “reformers” all of whom failed to go back to being obedient to G-d’s simple commandments that we were given on Mt. Sinai because they had all absorbed the first poison of Rome that the law was gone or no longer applied. The text will easily show this to be false if you just read it without a preconceived notion but who can do that after 2000 years and some very ‘convenient’ word choices when translating. I have sympathy for your position as I once was deceived by the lies as well and it took years of study to get most of it out. Occasionally I still have to check my assumptions when translating words because the old word choices don’t fit the context.

    My point is that the modern “church” now teaches as doctrine the very accusation the Pharisees used to slander Y’shua. Same that they used to slander the one you call Paul so much so that the one you call James and Peter had him give an animal sacrifice in the Temple to prove that he wasn’t teaching that they were done away with. So David and Moses aren’t “Jewish as in Pharisaic” but they certainly aren’t “Christian Neopagans” either.

  21. Rhetocrates, I thought the only reason women and children would be spared (particularly women) was because of breeding reasons. And if that is not the case in the bible then what is the point of eliminating the men and then just leaving the women and children?

  22. Ergeniz: the point of eliminating the men is to break the enemy’s capability of resistance, both military and cultural. As for marrying the women and adopting the children, it’s pretty clear from the Old Testament that this should only be done, if at all, which great caution – see comments above about the reactions of righteous Hebrews to others taking foreign wives.

    Where does that leave said women and children? It’s a good question. Perhaps they can be assimilated and thereby become worthwhile members and prospects of the civilization. Perhaps you don’t kill -all- the men, but rather just enough to convince the rest to convert and assimilate, along with their wives and children and relations. Perhaps, if everyone in the hostile city is especially intractable, you kill them all, down to the oxen and other livestock, a la God’s direction to Saul. The examples given highlight the difference between cities promised to the Israelites as executors of Divine Justice and those cities which were not to be completely destroyed because the Israelites were not to inhabit them, but which were nevertheless to be convinced to stop harming the people of God. See the Reply to Objection 4. Further, these examples are not meant to be understood as complete. It depends on the exact situation and the nature of the war, and has a lot of room for practical wisdom.

  23. “To what extent should a modern Christian society follow Old Testament laws?”

    Generally put, the Old Testament law is classified into three groups. Moral law, ceremonial law, and civil/judicial law.

    Moral law is anything that directly relates to the holy nature of God. In this sense, the moral law is very much in force for the Christian, as “thou shalt not murder”, “thou shalt not steal”, and so forth is still very much confirmed for the Christian from Jesus on through most of the rest of the Epistles. Or as Paul relays to us, freedom from the Law is not a license to sin (Romans 6:15).

    Ceremonial law has to do with ordinances and functions – i.e. ritual. This is anything that more or less has to do with the Temple or any specific ordinances that do not make literal common sense. For instance, animal sacrifices, circumcision, the Sabbath, “uncleanness” ceremonies, specific observances of festivals, and the like. In other words, anything that was meant to distinguish the Israelite nation from the surrounding nations. All these have the common thread of shadowing Christ in some way, and since the shadow has been made known, are not required of Christians (Galatians 3).

    Civil/judicial law has to do with restitution or responsibility of a party when a specific wrong is committed. These are generally taken to be extensions of moral law and taken as guidance, but are generally not taken to be prescribed by the Christian. More specifically, this can be thought of as the laws of the nation of Israel. One would hope the laws of a specific nation at hand would mirror these in nature, but many examples have been given that this is far from the case, and not a genuine necessity.

    The key to what needs to be done in using the Old Testament as Free Northerner does is to extract the moral precepts from the civil prescriptions and then evaluate from there. Of course, any ceremonial law would have to be omitted. I’ll leave an evaluation of how well he does that to the average commenter, but it seems that’s already been done.

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