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by Wayne Blank
"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)
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)
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)
Fact Finder: Throughout human history, have God's people been "strangers and pilgrims" (KJV) on earth while they await the New World?