If the immigration policies that are in effect in this country right now were in effect in and around Israel during the apostle Paul's ministry, we wouldn’t have ANY of the letters from the Apostle Paul. Every one of Paul’s writings are the result of his reaching into FOREIGN territory.
This is a tremendous statement and needs to really be thought about and meditated on. Without Paul’s writings, we would have missed out on some of the most incredible and insightful teachings in God’s word.
But it wouldn’t have been Paul’s work these immigration laws would have impeded. It would have been the very work of Christ. The Bible warns us, “Be sure to welcome strangers into your home. By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2 CEV) Different versions say different things there. But if you can look at and study the original Greek words underneath the translation, you will see that the term “welcome strangers” is one Greek word. And it’s a very important Greek word. One we could base hundreds of messages on. And they would all tell us the same important thing: that we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Greek word I am talking about is the word φιλοξενία (philoxenia). “φιλέω” = “Love of”, and/or “close friendship” and “ξένος” = “foreigner”. Put these together and you have “show love for, or great concern for, a foreigner.”
“I am a foreigner in the earth; hide not Your commandments from me!” ~Psalm 119:19
“You must not exploit or oppress a foreign resident, for you yourselves were foreigners in the land of Egypt. You must not mistreat any widow or orphan. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to Me in distress, I will surely hear their cry. My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; then your wives will become widows and your children will be fatherless. ” — Exodus 22:21-24
The author of Hebrews is telling us to do something for our benefit, and the benefit of potentially so many others. This is part of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
And this isn’t the only time this word is used in the New Covenant writings. In Romans 12:12-14 we read, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persistent in prayer. Share with the saints who are in need. PURSUE (διώκω) LOVE FOR THE FOREIGNER (φιλοξενία). Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.”
Paul says “share with the saints” AND “aggressively chase, pursue with all haste [the] showing of love to the foreigner.” Two different pieces of instruction, of which Paul tells us, “I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:16-17
Paul tells us that his instructions to us are from God and shared with us so that we may become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the holy Spirit. Part of that instruction from God is to “show love to foreigners.”
This word I am talking about is the noun form of the word. There is also an adjective form of the word. The adjective form of the word is φιλόξενος (philoxenos) This word is very similar to the noun form. The noun form is “a thing.” The adjective serves as a modifier of the person to denote the quality of that same person. In this case, the person is to love the foreigner. God’s word tells us this is an important part of following Christ.
The three (total) uses of this word in the adjective form are: 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8, 1 Peter 4:9. So, all together we are clearly and directly told to show love for the foreigner, FIVE times. Once in Hebrews, three times by Paul and once by Peter.
As I said, philoxenia is made of two words; “love” and “foreigner”. The second part of the word, “xenos” is used many times in the New Covenant writings. One of the most severe and clearest usages is by Jesus Himself. In chapter 25 of Matthew, Jesus warns the world through a parable often called “the parable of the sheep and the goats”. Please read the following very carefully,
The Sheep and the Goats
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a foreigner (xenos) and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a foreigner (xenos) and take You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a foreigner (xenos) and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
And they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a foreigner (xenos) or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’
And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Now you know why Apostles Paul and Peter and the author of Hebrews told us to eagerly pursue love for the xenos! Because there is a great threat from God upon us in this regard. Why? Because WE were all foreigners to God’s household and through the death and shed blood of His Son, He accepted us. He invited us in. He cared for us and He loved us. And those who received this love of God will do the same. We will love the foreigner, as God loved us.
“Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and foreigners (xenos) to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and reconciling both of them to God in one body through the cross, by which He extinguished their hostility.
He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Therefore, you are no longer foreigners (xenos) and aliens (paroikos), but fellow citizens of the saints and members of God’s household,
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. In Him the whole building is fitted together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together into a dwelling place for God in His Spirit.” Ephesians 2:12-22
What more does one need to say on this matter? Is this really too hard to understand? Or are you just choosing a factious political cult over the blessed Word of the Lord? Which if you followed could save your soul and possibly many others. You may try and muddy the waters with your weak arguments, but those who know God can see right through your error. And it’s easy to see you are fulfilling Jesus' warning about “the blind leading the blind”. He says, “both will fall into a ditch.” Matthew 15:14
The verse right before that Jesus says, “Every plant that My Heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by its roots.” Matthew 15:13
It’s only a matter of time. And only God knows when that time will end. If you’re reading this message, I recommend you say the prayer below to God and turn from your ways and instead, do what God says!
You can be saved!
God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!
Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."