Edging Away from Egypt (VI)

When men deny God’s predestination, they then assert in one form or another predestination by man. Predestination by man is the fountainhead of all tyranny and slavery. On the other hand, as Boettner has shown, predestination by God is a doctrine which has proven to be a source of liberty and morality.[1]

The opportunity of freedom to travel internationally has a long but conflicted history. When God wanted to set His people free from Egypt, Pharoah and Egypt repeatedly stood in their way. Pharoah, right from the outset, rejected the notion of liberty for the children of Israel, for Egypt wanted slaves. This should tell us something about the overall notion of restricting people from travelling internationally.

Oppression can be religious, political, military or economic. In human history, there have often been occasions when people wanted and needed to flee from one country to another. Refugees want to get away from oppression, or it may be that they simply perceive an advantage in going to another country, temporarily or permanently.

When Jacob’s father-in-law Laban sought to enslave him, God told him to get out: “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you” (Gen.31:3).

When Moses killed an Egyptian in defence of a fellow Israelite, Pharoah wanted to kill him (Ex.2:11-15). Moses quickly escaped to Midian.

When Herod wanted the baby Jesus dead, God appeared to Joseph successively by dreams and angelic visitation, showing him how to evade the murderous tyrant (Mat.2), initially by fleeing to Egypt.

What Biblical principle is evident in these examples?

You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in Egypt (Ex.22:21).

North has commented,

This open invitation to immigrate to Israel was a means of increasing Israel’s wealth. Attracting productive people is even better than discovering valuable raw materials. Human creativity is more valuable in the long run than raw materials are, whose prices tend to fall in relationship to the price of labour in a growing economy.[2]

When people do migrate, they commonly take their family, their talents and resources with them. This is one of the prime reasons why international immigration should be generally welcomed.

A thousand years ago, people travelled widely in the world. Not only was there easy movement around Europe, but Europeans travelled widely into Russia, and further East. The Passport that we know today, was unknown then, and not because of technology. Freedom to travel, meant the opportunity to exchange ideas with people at a great distance, which included sharing the gospel. It also meant that trade could be undertaken; buying and selling with merchants who brought goods from a great distance. (This is recorded as early as Genesis 37:25). All of this created opportunities for people’s betterment.

Psalm 87 gives eloquent witness to the presence of Egyptians, Babylonians, Philistines, Phoenicians, and Ethiopians and others in the circle of the redeemed. Israel had a duty to the world to be a witness to God’s law and mercy.[3]

The passport is a relatively new invention in international affairs. It was only introduced during World War I to prevent the entrance of spies to warring nations, and the League of Nations encouraged a continuation of the process after the War. It is a means of governmental control, determining who can enter a nation. Before the passport’s introduction, people had almost complete travel opportunities anywhere around the world. It is no accident that the century that witnessed the introduction of restrictions to international movement, was also the one with the greatest bloodshed of human history.

Opening borders around the world, permitting the free movement of people would be a huge blessing. Tyrants couldn’t stop their people leaving; they would soon have no one to oppress. This was one of the main reasons people went to the United States, especially up to the 1920’s.

Does this mean that we welcome anybody who wants to enter a Christian nation, that there are no obligations or restrictions? No. The Gospel of Jesus Christ requires that there be one fundamental rule for those wishing to enter a Christian nation: the Trinitarian confession.[4] This does not prevent immigrants of a hostile religious faith making a deceptive confession in order to gain entry, but it is a means of demanding accountability. Anyone who enters the nation under false pretences, and then seeks to publicly practice an alien faith, risks deportation.

The Messianic promises of Isaiah 61:1-3, which Jesus Christ applied to Himself when He preached the Gospel in Nazareth (Luke 4:14-21), have plain application to people wanting to immigrate.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                       

The freedom that Jesus Christ promised His disciples (Jn.8:31-32) has many manifestations. The Church must understand this and teach accordingly, spreading the leaven of the kingdom of God,  so that the Gospel brings deliverance from bondage, leading to complete international freedom of movement.

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy (Prov.31:8-9).

 

 

 

 

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.349.

[2] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.25.

[3] Rushdoony, p.406.

[4] North comments, “Because Western nations impose only secular oaths on their citizens, immigrants who retain their alien religious oaths undermine the remnants of the Christian social order that created the West. They are allowed to impose political sanctions in terms of religious worldviews hostile to Christianity. The experiment in secular civil government is not yet completed. It will end badly.” (See “Inheritance and Dominion,” ch.25, footnote 16).