Immigration, Salvation, and Our New Hometown
Bad company corrupts good morals, and good fences make good neighbors. When Pope Francis judged then U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump to be an unbeliever because of his views on immigration, especially building a wall between Mexico and the United States, the Pope exposed himself as a hypocrite because he lives within a walled city/nation. Was he right about what makes a person a Christian? Was he right about immigration? Was he right about wall builders?
Heaven is viewed, in the Bible, as a beautiful city (Rev 21–22). The imagery includes beautiful walls, seventy-two yards wide (Rev 21:17), great and high, made of precious stones (Rev 21:12, 18). God is the builder of the walled city known as “heavenly Zion” and “New Jerusalem” (Heb 11:10). Therefore, if one proposes and then does as God has done, is he therefore disqualified as being one of God’s children? The Pope’s charge against Donald Trump was ludicrous and regrettable. Whether one builds a wall or does not build a wall does not determine one’s faith in Jesus Christ.
The Bible is filled with walls and walled cities. There are some 236 references to walls, and they stand upright from Genesis to Revelation. David implored Yahweh, “By Your favor do good to Zion, build the walls of Jerusalem (Ps 51:18).” There is even a blessing, “May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces (Ps 122:7).” A curse exists, too, “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit (Prv 25:28).” Joe Biden, take note.
Without a wall, a city is easy prey, as in the case of Laish (Judges 18). This is in contrast with Lachish (Is 36, 37), a fortified city that withstood the onslaught of Assyria and Babylon (Jer 34:7). History itself proves that walls around cities are prevalent, but they do not prove to be invincible, as in the case of Jericho or Constantinople. Modern warfare, especially from the air, deems walls irrelevant. However, walls do reduce terror attacks, as in the case of Palestinian Arab Muslims terrorizing Israel. Bad ideas, like socialistic communism, keeping citizens trapped in a tyranny of poverty, will eventually have their walls crumble (see Berlin, Germany in 1989).
The walls of our Christian home, heavenly Zion, represent great security. The precious nature of the stones means our home city is gloriously prosperous. The open gates add even more emphasis to the reality of security in the eternal city. Those who do not belong to Zion are never a threat (Rev 22:15) because they have been consigned to their eternal home in a fiery hell far, far away (Mt 8:12; Rev 20:14–15).
The devil is the author of confusion, and we must be clear on the issue of how a person becomes a Christian. First, he must be predestined elect from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4–5), with his name written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 13:8, 17:8). He must be appointed to believe (Acts 13:48), so as to hear of the Word of God, which gives him faith (Rom 10:17). He must have his heart opened to respond (Acts 10:44; 16:14), by the now indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9, 11), who regenerates him (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13; Titus 3:5), causing him to be born again of God (Jn 3:5; Gal 4:29; 1 Pet 1:3).
Then, he must examine himself, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test (2 Cor 13:5)?” Finally, a Christian, having experienced all of this grace from God, also bears witness of the eternal salvation he has received as a gift of God (Acts 1:8; Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29; 2 Pet 1:1). The fruit of a Spirit-filled Christian’s lips is the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev 19:10).
Immigration has been an issue since God judged humanity at the tower of Babel (Gen 11). Language and space, often linked to economics, have been great causes of division, requiring an army of polyglots. The division of races from the time of the sons of Noah has also fostered frumious hostilities (Gen 9). God’s command to man was to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (Gen 1:28; 9:1). Man, at enmity with God, tends to do just the opposite. He gravitates toward the city, to build a tower, and make a name for himself in the quest for prosperity and security (Gen 11).
A Christian’s strong tower is Jesus Christ (Prv 18:10), the name above every other name (Phil 2:9). In Him, the wall of division is broken down (Eph 2:14), and together as all nations (Rev 5:9; 7:9), we come together in love and peace to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Pet 6:15; Rev 19:16). Only within the walls of the universal church do we fit together in harmony (Eph 2:11–22), finding the unity in the Holy Spirit, as our bond of peace (Eph 4:3). On earth these outer walls are often breached; but like Nehemiah, the wall builder, Christ has gone to secure our city of refuge in heaven (Jn 14:2–3).
Until all men are ready to bow the knee to King Jesus and confess Him as Lord of all (Phil 2:11), they will wrangle over walls and borders. In their fallacious accusations, they will judge one another to be pawns, popes, or impenitent. Therefore, it behooves Donald Trump, Pope Francis, and Joe Biden to heed the call of God, issued by the apostle Paul at Athens, “God is calling all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).”
Paul would also add some advice for those engaged in petty and perennial differences, “Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved (1 Cor 10:31–33).”
Walls, or no walls? Closed, or open immigration? Saved or unsaved? How about repent of your hypocrisies, repent of your irresponsible words, repent of your bad behavior, repent of your bad theology, and turn in faith to Jesus Christ, our Rock, our Fortress, our Cornerstone, and the Builder of mansions of glory. And may He grant you a passport to live legally, by His grace, as His adopted immigrant child, within the walled city of heavenly Jerusalem…our eternal Christian home.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 24, 2021