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The English word alien is derived from the Latin word alius which means another (the English word alias also originated from the same word as alien). Alien is used to refer either to people from a foreign country who are present in one's own country, or, as the Bible describes God's people in what is still Satan's world (see Who Still Rules The World Today?), that which does not belong in the environment in which they are found - the definition that ultimately applies to Christians until the time comes when the Kingdom of God exists (see The Coming World Dictator).

"I have been an alien in a strange land"

God and the people of Israel generally accepted non-hostile aliens in their land, provided that they conducted themselves according to Israelite religion and law. It was a hard-learned respect for aliens based on the experiences of how the Israelites themselves had been treated, and mistreated, when they were aliens (variously translated in the Bible as aliens, sojourners, strangers) in the lands of others, as The Lord Himself reminded them: "Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 10:19 KJV). Moses even named one of his sons "alien" i.e. Gershom means alien, or refugee:


"And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land: And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh" (Exodus 18:1-4 KJV)

Lot was an alien in Sodom just before The Lord rained hell fire upon them as an example of what is coming upon all who are evil:

"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds; The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (2 Peter 2:6-9 KJV)

Abraham (born in what is today Iraq; see also Abraham And The "Tradition Trap"), Isaac and Jacob were all aliens, or sojourners, for a time in the land that would later become their own (see also "Land On Which You Had Not Labored"):

"And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth [i.e. Hittites], saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." (Genesis 23:3-4 KJV)

"And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac [see also Isaac's Faith And Obedience] went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And The Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father" (Genesis 26:1-3 KJV)

"And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in The Land Of Canaan." (Genesis 37:1 KJV)

Aliens were to observe God's Commandments and Holy Days, the same as the people of Israel e.g.

"Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest [i.e. The Fourth Commandment]: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed." (Exodus 23:12 KJV) (see also The First Commandment, The Second Commandment, The Third Commandment, The Fifth Commandment, The Sixth Commandment, The Seventh Commandment, The Eighth Commandment, The Ninth Commandment and The Tenth Commandment)

"And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the Passover [see God's Holy Days] unto The Lord; according to the ordinance of the Passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land." (Numbers 9:14 KJV)

"And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, And bringeth it not unto the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto The Lord; even that man shall be cut off from among his people." (Leviticus 17:8-9 KJV)

God-commanded Israelite law prescribed civil rights (which are not the invention of the modern world, or any single nation in it) and responsibilities for aliens. Examples:

"Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear The Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 31:12 KJV)

"Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge: But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and The Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing." (Deuteronomy 24:17-18 KJV)

Fact Finder: Throughout human history, have God's people been "strangers and pilgrims" (KJV) on earth while they await the New World?
Hebrews 11:13-16

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