I’ve seen it posted many times on Facebook, the meme shared that reads, sometimes in varying forms: Heaven has a wall, gates, and a strict immigration policy; hell has open borders. Think about that. It’s a simple way to try to defend a certain political view on border security. The problem is, it’s both untrue and misconstrues scripture. And as if the meme weren’t enough, a politically vocal pastor stated in a nation interview recently: “The Bible says even Heaven itself is going to have a wall around it. Not everybody is going to be allowed in.”
So, let’s start with a simple fact: Nowhere does the Bible state that heaven has a wall around it. Now there are walls talked about in the Bible, built around cities, and perhaps this is what said pastor and the memes are referring to. For, in the book of Revelation, the New Jerusalem is described as coming down from heaven to the new earth with a wall around it and gates. But there is something counter to the point of the memes about this wall and gates.
John wrote, “By [the light of the glory of God and the Lamb] will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it; and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations” (Revelation 21:24-26).
Walls, yes; gates, yes; but the gates are never shut. They’re open so that the nations can come in and be a part. Walls around Old Testament cities represented security of various sorts. The gates being perpetually open in Revelation represents that in eternity no border security will ever be needed.
In this way, the gates of the New Jerusalem are a terrible illustration for a nation’s border security policy today.
Now, what about that “strict immigration policy”? Actually, when you come down to it, the immigration policy into God’s Kingdom is the least strict of all. There are no lines at security checkpoints, no background checks (indeed, he already knows our background perfectly and none of us, on our own, qualify to get in), no applying for asylum, no green cards, and so on.
God’s immigration policy is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
You want to make the move into God’s Kingdom, there’s one requirement: Trust in Jesus as your Savior-King. In God’s Kingdom, he looks at each of us and says, “You are not worthy to enter in and you have nothing to offer me or my country, so I’m coming out to you. If you will trust me, then I will bring you in with me and give you everything and it will be my absolutely free gift to you.”
In fact, it’s not hell that has open borders. Hell’s borders are shut quite tight. Without Christ, we don’t immigrate into hell, we belong there naturally due to our rebellion against God, as children of wrath. And in eternity, there is no walking back out of hell. Contrary to this, heaven and the New Earth are wide open to everyone from every place who will simply believe.
So, what is the point of all this? Should we follow the example of heaven and the New Earth and have open borders and an easy immigration policy? No, according to Romans 13 God gave governments the responsibility of protecting its citizens. Border security is an important issue in the current age of our nation-states, but it’s going to take politicians with attitudes of wisdom, compromise, and grace to truly fix our system.
The point is, however, that we need to stop making and sharing pithy statements that support a particular view but completely misrepresent the Bible. Whether you are for a plan like President Trump has laid out or whether you are for a different immigration and border security plan, it does us no good to misrepresent Scripture to make our point. Let’s place honoring God’s word above our politics.