What Is Immigration?

Although by definition, the word immigrate means to remove into a country for the purpose of permanent residence, what is it? Let’s face it, people move from country to country, does that make them an immigrant? Are refugees “really” immigrants? Who determines if someone is an immigrant?

Just by the definitions the church and many others may have their understanding of immigration wrong. In the Middle East we see people fleeing areas because of persecution. On the southern border in America, we see people trying to enter America illegally.  Are these people immigrants?

A refugee is defined as a person who, in times of persecution or political commotion, flees to a foreign county for safety. But an immigrant is a person who removes them self from one country to a different country to establish permanent residence. When foreigners want to come to your country they are one of three types of people:
A Visitor
A Refugee or
An Immigrant
Under all three of these conditions, can the person bring their laws? Their rules into the new country? No. They must abide by the laws of the country or kingdom they enter. Sure people bring their cultures into their new country but they can not require their new country to treat them under the laws of the country they left.

Scripture identifies countries as thrones or dominions, nations and kingdoms. And God set things up with different thrones, dominions and countries. Colossians 1:16 KJV  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

America’s foundation was set up under the authority of God Almighty with Scripture being the cornerstone of our land. Culturally, America has been a beacon for freedom and liberty. People were welcome to come but those coming had to follow the laws and rules of the land which are set up under God and the scriptures. You would not go to Egypt and expect to follow American law. You would have Egyptian law. And Americans do not have the right to force Egypt to accept American laws, in Egypt.

Foreigners who come to America can not expect America to follow the laws from the land the foreigner came from. And herein lies the difference between a refugee and an immigrant. The refugee and immigrant must follow the law of the land they go to. But there is a distinction between the two. One, the refugee, is fleeing persecution and turmoil and they are looking out to preserve themselves. Where the immigrant, by defintion, makes a decision willingly to leave their country and go to another. Immigrants know they are leaving everything behind and starting a new life in a new land. Believers make a decision to give up their country for the kingdom of God.

People understand they can not just march in to the President’s office, or the King’s office, there are protocols that must be followed. So let’s compare what we see and know about refugees and immigrants to God’s word. We know God told Abraham to leave his country and God would lead him to a new land. Question: Was Abraham a refugee or immigrant? Abraham decided to do what God told him so he was an immigrant.

We saw how Esther had to follow protocol. King Ahasuerus reigned from India to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces according to Esther 1:1-5 KJV
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
[2] That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,”

Question: When a person decides to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, is that person a refugee or immigrant in God’s kingdom? Scripture calls us “children” of God. We become ambassadors for our King.

Unlike the world, when Jesus stood before Pilate he told Pilate, John 18:36 KJV  “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

Kings rule and reign from a throne. So where is God’s throne?   Acts 7:47-50 KJV  “But Solomon built him an house.
[48] Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
[49] Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
[50] Hath not my hand made all these things?”

Peter explains Jesus to Israel saying,

Acts 2:29-36 KJV  “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
[30] Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
[31] He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
[32] This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
[33] Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
[34] For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
[35] Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
[36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Just as you would not barge in to the President ‘s  or King’s office to see them, we can not barge into God’s “office”. Yes, we are told to
Hebrews 4:16 KJV  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

But when we come before God’s throne, God has protocols, like all kings or presidents. Remember when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray? Jesus said when you pray, pray like this, ” Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” then you ask for provisions or your request, then notice, ” for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory”?

The word hallowed means reverence. Most of the time people yell to God HELP.  But scripture tells us,  Psalm 100:1-5 KJV  “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord , all ye lands.
[2] Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
[3] Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
[4] Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
[5] For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

When a person gets saved our citizenship changes, just like an immigrant seeking citizenship in a new country. The protocols God has is show reverence and you enter his gates, not with a passport or papers, but with thanksgiving. You go into his court with praise. Be thankful to him and bless his name because he is good and merciful.
Until next time.

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