jesus-and-bordersPMT 2017-013 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The refugee immigration debate is a live topic of international consequence today. Many well meaning Christians believe it is wrong to keep refugees out on a temporary basis because they believe borders are man-made constructs lacking biblical warrant. Besides the contradiction obvious in their having homes with walls and locked doors, their argument does not hold.

Established borders are biblically warranted as we see in two clear scriptural examples. Though other arguments are available, these are quite potent.

First, the garden of Eden.

The garden was distinct from the rest of the world, which meant something must have distinguished it from the broader world. God created Adam then “placed” him in (Gen. 2:8) / “took” him to (Gen. 2:15) the garden.

Then when Adam sinned, God “drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24). From this point on, Adam was not forbidden to dwell in the rest of the world, but only in the specific, guarded region of Eden. Eden had borders.

Second, the promised land.

The promised land had God-designated boundaries (Num. 34). God’s special ritual laws for “the land” (such as the Jubilee law) prevailed within this border-defined region.
Political Christianity

Political Christianity (book)
(by Christian Citizen)

Christian principles applied to practical political issues, including “lesser-of-evils” voting. Includes chapter on borders as a national defense mechanism.
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In his commentary on Leviticus (pp. 423, 424) Gary North writes:

The Israelites “would police the land’s boundaries, keeping stranger’s out except on God’s terms.” “To be a perfect stranger to the covenant-breaking world outside the geographical boundaries of Israel . . . “ “For as long as they dwelt within the land’s geographical boundaries under the terms of the original distribution, Israelites had to keep strangers from inheriting agricultural land.”

Nations have legitimate needs for borders, just as cities and counties do for purposes of police jurisdiction, taxation determination, judicial administration, and so forth. No one in Greenville, SC, likes it when a policeman from Juarez, Mexico, pulls them over on I-385 for lacking a proper license tag. Nor are we pleased when a tourist from Gaborone, Botswana, votes in our Presidential election.

And in a world of sinners, those borders need to be protected — as we see in principle from Adam’s original expulsion from the borders of the garden.

Israel had God-defined borders to a particular land area that God gave them (Num. 34:2ff). The means by which God gave it was through war (Deut. 7:1–2, 16-24). God commanded that the Canaanites driven out “shall not live in your land” (Exo. 23:33). Obviously, the Canaanite response would be to try to retake their land, against which determination Israel must protect it (i.e., the land within her borders, Exo. 23:27-31; Deut. 28:7).

Israel’s borders were God-defined, she was given a particular land, and no other. Therefore, she was not to engage in foreign wars of land acquisition. But her warning from God was that if she did not obey God’s covenant: “The LORD shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth” (Deut. 28:25). These would be invading enemies, enemies from outside the land (Deut. 28:32-33, 47-50). Therefore, Israel would be in danger of being taken from her God-defined land (Deut. 28:36, 41, 63-65). Her danger of being conquered would be a danger “throughout your land” (Deut. 28:52) in “all your towns” (Deut. 28:55, 57).

God's Law Made Easy NEW

God’s Law Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)

Summary for the case for the continuing relevance of God’s Law.

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Just as Israel would have her own borders, the Bible recognizes that other nations have borders, such as the Edomites (Num. 20:23), the Amorites (Num. 21:13), and the Moabites (Num. 21:15). The Israelites recognized those borders and sought permission to “pass through your land” (Num. 21:22). Israel would expect the same for her borders.

And I did not even mention heaven’s “gates,” an image demonstrating God’s keeping intruders out while his people are safe within (Matt. 7:13–14; 16:18; Rev. 21:12-15; 22:14). Nor the gates of the temple walls (Eze. 10:18; 40:5-8). In a world filled with sinners, borders, walls, and gates are essential for well-being.

At the height of the advance of the kingdom or in the eternal realm people will be able to leave their gates open and unattended: “Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession” (Isa. 60:11). But until then . . . gates and borders are a necessity in a fallen world.


Click on the following images for more information on these studies:

Beast ID

Before Jerusalem Fell

He Shall Have Dominion



  1. Jason February 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you so much for this article. You have the gift of putting the cookies (truth) on the bottom shelf where the rest of us can access them. As you commonly demonstrate, the Bible is clearly relevant and speaks to our issues today. It is for this reason, however, that I have been so bewildered by the objection to borders and vetting by an alarming number of Christians. I don’t know that I could say they are well meaning, insofar as they have not demonstrated the desire to tap their brakes and take an objective look at what the Bible says. That being said, I have certainly been guilty of letting my cultural matrix define me, in more ways than I’d like to admit sometimes.

  2. Jay Culotta February 14, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    The shameful and at times willful ignorance of the Bible by well-meaning people is very dangerous.

    Ken Gentry refutes all objections to those who suggest this country should admit anyone who wants to come in.

  3. Karen Blackwell February 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you, Ken Gentry! Christians MUST defend their beliefs from God’s Word or else ours is just another opinion. Thanks for showing us how!

  4. Brandon February 15, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Excellent piece, Dr. Gentry!

  5. Isaac February 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Dr. Gentry,

    Just curious regarding this post, would you then disagree with Bo Marinov’s argument for open borders here:

    I guess the retort that might come back to you in this article would be this. Granted, protecting private property is warranted in scripture. And granted, “nations” had “borders” in scripture. However, in Israel, was the civil government given the authority to police those borders? Or was the policing done by private citizens?

    And if the policing was done by private citizens, which today would be considered “open borders”, shouldn’t that be our standard for today?

    Thank you for your work. I enjoy reading your articles.

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