In the beginning of creation, we can see how God created man as a migrant with the mission to multiply and fill the earth. But the Bible is also the story of the fellow man, how in the fall man became xenophobic and began to treat his brother and fellow man as an enemy and stranger.
God calls Abraham to leave his homeland and live as a sojourner and stranger in the land of his future people. The Lord promises Abraham that he will be a blessing to all the peoples of the earth.
God rescues Israel from slavery and alienation in Egypt and allows them to live in the Promised Land. God gives Israel the twofold mission of treating the stranger within Israel’s borders as his beloved fellow human being (integration), and outside Israel’s borders to be a kingdom of priests and a light in the darkness for the foreign Gentile peoples to the ends of the earth (mission).
God sends Jesus from his heavenly abode to live as a guest and stranger in the world. Jesus shows how to treat his fellow man and invites both Jews and foreigners to the heavenly feast. Through his death on the cross, Jesus breaks down the wall of separation between natives and strangers, Jews and Gentiles, and creates from these different peoples a new people.
Jesus then gives the church the twofold mission of integrating within the church the native and the foreign, Jew and Gentile, Swede and immigrant, into beloved brothers and sisters in the family of God, and of going out as missionaries into all the world, preaching the gospel to all the foreign peoples to the ends of the earth.
At the end of time, people from all peoples and tribes and countries and languages of the earth will gather before the throne and worship our Lord together.
If you want to know more about what the Bible has to say about refugees, I have written the book Friend of Strangers, a Bible Study on the subject which you can buy as a Kindle eBook.
Among other things, you can read about:
– How God Created Man as a Migrant
– How to Turn an Enemy Into a Friend
– The Twofold Mission to Integrate the Stranger and to Go Out in Missionary Work to All Nations
– What a Stranger in a Foreign Land Should Do in His New Society
– The Xenophile Church Leader
You can buy Friend of Strangers as a Kindle eBook at Amazon.
You can read a sample here: Friend of Strangers.