What should happen to undocumented people / illegal aliens?

What should happen to undocumented people / illegal aliens? That’s a difficult question, isn’t it? Or is it? For some, maybe many, it’s not hard at all. You know exactly what should happen. You think.

What should happen to undocumented people / illegal aliens?

The software I used to analyze my writing for being Google-friendly and allegedly for being interesting/eye-catching says the headline is negative. Does that software know something about people in certain countries? Like the U.S.? Like the UK? Probably others as well, but since I live in the U.S., but can’t stand very much of our “news” so I watch BBC News, those are the two I know the most about.

It feels like it knows a lot about many of the people in my home country that claim to be Christian but have a negative response to, seemingly, most people who want to come here if they aren’t white, well educated, and either have or will make, lots of money.

Of course, despite what some say about artificial intelligence, it doesn’t really “know” it’s negative.

What it does “know” is that the people who programmed it to analyze headlines have told it to call it negative when it sees combinations of words like undocumented, illegal, and aliens.

Ultimately then, it’s not that the artificial intelligence behind the headline analysis knows anything, let alone has a negative view of people who try to migrate to another country without the proper paperwork. It’s the people, real human beings, who wrote it that take that view. Therefore, before we blame something on artificial intelligence, let’s remember, the reason it’s artificial is because whatever it has that gets passed off as “intelligence” is actually from a living, breathing, human being.

Are undocumented people illegal aliens?

Of course, that’s a loaded question. There’s an assumption that people without documents are illegal aliens. Even the term illegal alien has a negative connotation. Forget about the word alien, just including the word illegal is pretty much three strikes against them right off.

Rather than asking that question, let’s try something with less of a judgment in it.

Since this is a site about Christianity, that seems like a good thing. Not judging.

By the way, if you think Christians should be – or are – judging people, you should check out the inset.

It may change your mind about what Christians should be.

And while you’re there, it may change your mind about undocumented people.

How did people in Biblical times know who was a resident and who wasn’t?

OK – this is a bit messy. There wasn’t anything like a passport back in Biblical times. But then, people probably did kind of know who “belonged” and who didn’t. The culture was different. Very family oriented. Smaller. People actually knew people.

You may have trouble with these being reasons for knowing who’s from an area and who isn’t. My own experience from living in small towns tells me this does make sense. People really do know everyone. When you move there, everyone knows you’re new.

One time when I was visiting my grandparents in their small town, I stopped in at a hardware store to buy some stuff to work on their house. The guy behind the counter says, you must be the one from California. Seriously. I didn’t know this person. I’m sure my grandparents weren’t in the store, since they couldn’t drive. And yet – not only did he know I wasn’t from there – but he knew where I was from.

The world was very different. And in some places, it still is.

If you’re into this kind of thing, Bing’s AI ChatBot found the article below for me to confirm what I wrote above, and go into a whole lot more detail: 53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically. The brief exchange went like this:

Me – Did people in Biblical times know when someone from another country came to their town?

Bing – It is difficult to say for sure. However, it is possible that people in Biblical times could tell if someone was from another country based on their clothing, accent, or language. The Bible mentions that people from different countries would come to Jerusalem for religious festivals. It is also possible that people in Biblical times would have been able to tell if someone was from another country based on their physical appearance.

Me – Did a family-oriented culture have anything to do with it?

Bing – It is possible that family-oriented culture played a role in identifying people from other countries. In New Testament times, families were patriarchal and usually lived together in extended family units. Parents were treated with esteem and honor. The Bible reflects the patriarchal worldview and often refers to the practice of polygamy. It is possible that people in Biblical times would have been able to tell if someone was from another country based on their physical appearance.

What is a biblical view of undocumented people for Christians?

I’ve read stuff about how Jesus wouldn’t have been allowed in the U.S. as a baby when Joseph and Mary were told to flee with Him.

The passages below are just after the Magi left Jesus.

First, on the escape to Egypt:

The Escape to Egypt

Mt 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

Mt 2:14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Mt 2:16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

Mt 2:18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

And then, when it was time to return from Egypt:

The Return to Nazareth

Mt 2:19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

Mt 2:21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Now, as the story goes, if some of our present-day leaders were in charge back in those times, Jesus would’ve been murdered as a baby.

Please! Does anyone really believe that? Especially, what real Christian actually believes that?

In case you forgot, or never knew, here’s a passage from Job. Job questioned God. God responded, without really answering. And then there’s Job’s reply to God. One we need a reminder of right now.

Job (Job’s reply to the Lord)

Job 42:1 Then Job replied to the LORD:

Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.

Job 42:3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

Job 42:4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’

Job 42:5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.

Job 42:6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”

I suggest you go back, read that again, and remind yourself before each verse if you just said God couldn’t protect Jesus from one of today’s leaders. From any leader. After all, which of any human leaders was more powerful than Satan? God protected His Son, even as a baby, from before His birth birth, through His death and resurrection, until His ascension back to Heaven.

How dare we think anything we do could prevent God from achieving His objectives.
How dare we blame our own selfish non-Christian behavior on God.

If not for God, then why should we care for undocumented people?

OK let’s get down to it.

That last heading – If not for God, then why should we care for undocumented people – is a bit misleading. Intentionally. You see, the issue isn’t that God can’t care for undocumented people. Or that He doesn’t care for them.

No, the issue is us. We call them illegal aliens, because it gets people stirred up about the law. I find that incredibly ironic, twisted, and downright weird, because as a people we appear to care less for the law than at any time in my life.

We call them undocumented, because it sounds better than illegal to the liberal progressives.

What we don’t call them is aliens. Maybe it’s because they aren’t little green men from outer space? Or is it because, conservative or liberal, Christian or not, that’s just too close to what the Bible says? At least, it’s what some of our English Bibles say.

Here’s what the Hebrew word we’re going to look at means, and various ways it was translated in the Authorized Version:

1616 גֵּר [ger, or (fully), geyr /gare/] n m. From 1481; TWOT 330a; GK 1731; 92 occurrences; AV translates as “stranger” 87 times, “alien” once, “sojourner” once, “stranger + 376” once, “stranger + 4480” once, and “strangers + 582” once. 1 sojourner. 1A a temporary inhabitant, a newcomer lacking inherited rights. 1B of foreigners in Israel, though conceded rights.  1Strong, J. (1995). In Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Oh. That’s pretty general, isn’t it? And yet, for the vast majority of us, who default to reading either the 1984 NIV or the New King James translations, we read alien.

Uh oh.

Here’s why that’s so bad. Let’s look at a book in the Bible that many know better than to read, because it’s too much about who we really are and what we’re really like.

The Day of Judgment

Mal 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words.
“How have we wearied him?” you ask.
By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

Mal 3:1 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.

Mal 3:2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.

Mal 3:5 “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.

It’s hard to read that passage, isn’t it? Just look at that list of things God has for us, and asks which of us can stand when we appear before Him. We/you think Jesus will be there for us. But I have to wonder and ask, If Jesus is our excuse for mistreating aliens, then do we really know Jesus? And does Jesus know us?

The Narrow Door

Lk 13:22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

Lk 13:26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

Lk 13:27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

Lk 13:28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Just in case you missed it:

Lk 13:27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

Do you see what I mean?

Conclusion – What should happen to undocumented people / illegal aliens?

The commands to God’s people to care for aliens goes all the way back to when they were aliens in Egypt. After God had Moses lead them to freedom, they were told:

Social Responsibility

Ex 22:16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.

Ex 22:18 “Do not allow a sorceress to live.

Ex 22:19 “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death.

Ex 22:20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.

Ex 22:21 “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.

Ex 22:22 “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

Ex 22:25 “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it to him by sunset, 27 because his cloak is the only covering he has for his body. What else will he sleep in? When he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

Ex 22:28 “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.

Ex 22:29 “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.
“You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 30 Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.

Ex 22:31 “You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.

Once again, the entire passage is there to see the kinds of things God wants us to do. The way He wants us to live. As a reminder though, here’s the verse for today’s topic:

Ex 22:21 “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.

A final thought on Christians as aliens.

If everything above didn’t get to you, or through to you, here’s one final thought, from when Jesus appeared before Pilate.

Jesus Before Pilate

Jn 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Do you realize, for us as Christians, that means we are aliens here on this planet – no matter what country we live in?

Further, do you realize, for us as Christians, this planet, everything in/on/above it, including every country,/state/city, belongs to God?

For that matter, as Christians, we belong to God. At least, that’s what we promised when we got baptized.

So, who is it that should be our example and inspiration on how to treat aliens?

Image by DALL-E / Bing – words and red lights added by me

  • 1
    Strong, J. (1995). In Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

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