The rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls, argued Nehemiah, would demonstrate God’s blessing upon His people. Thus, Nehemiah, having been put in charge of Jerusalem, understood that he bore a responsibility to God to rebuild the wall.
By the end of Chapter 3, the wall had been completed. According to the narrative, God led Nehemiah to work on the walls, no less than he had led Ezra to work on the temple. We learn from this that both the sacred and the secular were necessary to fulfill God’s plan to restore the nation of Israel. If the walls were unfinished, the temple would have never been finished. Both were necessary.
The reason for this is easy to understand. Without a wall, no city in the ancient Near East was safe from bandits, gangs and wild animals – even though the empire might be at peace. The more economically and culturally developed a city was, the greater the value of things in the city, and the greater the need for the wall. The temple, with its rich decorations, would have been particularly at risk. Practically speaking, no wall means no city, and no city means no temple.
In Leviticus 19:34, God commands that
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God“.
This verse is often cited by Christians who would advocate for open borders. But, that’s not the end of the story. First of all, foreigners who lived with the Israelites or within Israelite communities were required to live as their hosts lived, including participating in the Israelite ceremonies, rituals, and celebrations. In other words, to remain within the community and be treated as a native, the alien must adopt and live by Israeli values. In other words, only the alien who is willing to live by their host’s customs were to be permitted to dwell within the community (Exodus 12:49, Leviticus 24:16, 22).
The biblical argument for the U.S. to open her borders is compelling only insofar as the immigrants agree to adopt American values and obey her laws – including immigration laws. Yes, they can retain the customs of their culture but only so long as those customs are not opposed to American values.
The Pope and other open-border advocates are insisting that we accept aliens who are unwilling to abide by our laws AND behave according to our customs. Were we to accommodate aliens to enter the country and not abide by our laws, as the Pope and other open-border Christians advocate, we would be breaking faith with the biblical narrative.
Now, go and study