Love the Stranger

Study No. 57

We are Commanded to Love the Stranger

Exodus 22:21, "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Exodus 23:9, "Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Leviticus 19:33-34, "And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex [oppress] him . . . thou shalt love him as thyself . . . "

Deuteronomy 10:18-19, " . . . and [God] loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Deuteronomy 27:19, "Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow."

Jeremiah 7:5-7, "If ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow . . . Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever."

Zechariah 7:9-10, "Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother. And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor, and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart." They didnít do this, so captivity was the result, verses 11-14.

Malachi 3:5, "And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, . . . adulterers, . . . false swearers, . . . those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts."

 

Who Is The Stranger?

Basically, strangers are non-Israelites who have converted to Israelís ways. In the spiritual sense, it is synonymous with Gentiles who were once not part of the faith, but now are. In another sense, we are all strangers like Abraham, because we have not yet received the reward of the faithful, Hebrews 11:9, 13.

 

We Were All Strangers At One Time

Abraham was a stranger, Genesis 17:8, and Genesis 23:4, "I am a stranger and a sojourner with you." Also, "Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan" Genesis 37:1. Moses was also a stranger, Exodus 2:22, "I have been a stranger in a strange land." Israel in Egypt were strangers, Exodus 22:21. All the righteous men and women of faith were strangers. "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" Hebrews 11:13.

Before our conversion, we were all "strangers from the covenants of promise," Ephesians 2:11-13. Now, through Messiah, we "are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" verse 19. Deuteronomy 5:14-15 shows that the Sabbath helps us to remember that we were strangers.

 

Strangers Must Obey the Eternalís Laws

Strangers and foreigners were not to partake of the Passover without being circumcised, Exodus 12:43-49. Today, baptism is the requirement for taking the Passover emblems, Colossians 2:11-13.

When living among Israelites, strangers had to keep the Sabbath, Exodus 20:10, 23:12; put leaven out during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Exodus 12:19; fast on the Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16:29; not eat blood, Leviticus 17:12; live by all the statutes and judgments, Leviticus 18:26; and be put to death for blasphemy of the name of God, Leviticus 24:16. In short, there is one law for all, Israelite or stranger, Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 9:14, 15:15-16.

This Truth goes against the practices of many who claim to keep the Eternalís commandments. For example, Jews know that in the seventh year, Godís Word says their land must rest. In Israel today, Jews "sell" their land to Arabs just before the Sabbatical Year. Then Jews lease it back and farm it during the Seventh Year Land Rest. They reason that it is someone elseís land, and not theirís. Finally, at the end of the Seventh Year, the Jews "buy back" their land and continue as before. Here is an example of getting around the Almightyís provision for one law for both the Israelite and the stranger.

Another example strikes close to home. Sabbath keepers would not work in a restaurant on the Sabbath. Yet some think nothing of going to a restaurant on the Sabbath, since "strangers" work to serve them. The Bible says even the stranger must rest on the Sabbath. Donít hire people to work for you on the Sabbath.

 

We Must Make Special Gifts to the Stranger

We are to leave corners of the field and gleanings of vineyard for the poor and stranger, Leviticus 19:9-10. This is a statute relating to the Holy Days, Leviticus 23:22.

During the Sabbatical Year, "the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant . . . and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee," Leviticus 25:6.

Leviticus 25:35-36, "And if thy brother be waxen poor . . . then thou shalt relieve [strengthen] him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee."

Deuteronomy 14:28-29 shows that the third tithe is to go to the stranger, fatherless and widow within your gates. If you do this, you will be blessed, Deuteronomy 26:11-15.

Strangers are to be part of our Feasts, Deuteronomy 16:11, 14. The law is also to be read to them, 31:10-13.

Deuteronomy 24:17-22 details our requirements for giving to the stranger. Psalms 146:9, "The LORD preserveth the strangers; He relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked He turneth upside down."

 

Because of Sins, Almighty May Use Strangers to Punish

Deuteronomy 28:43 says, "The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low."

Hosea 7:8-9, "Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not."

 

Strangers Sometimes Follow Eternal

Of the ten lepers healed by Christ, only one, a stranger, gave glory to the Almighty. He was a Samaritan, yet had true faith, Luke 17:11-19.

Other examples of faithful Gentiles are: (1) the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8:26-40, (2) Cornelius the Centurion, Acts 10, (3) Simeon called Niger (Greek word for black) who was a prophet and teacher, Acts 13:1-3.

Israel has in the main rejected the faith, Romans 9:31-33, 10:1-3, 16-21. The Eternal hasnít cast off His people, Romans 11:1, there is a remnant according to the election of grace, 11:1-5, but the rest are blinded, verses 7-8. Through this blindness and fall, salvation is come to many Gentiles, 11:11, 25. It happened in the First Century, A.D. It is likewise happening today.

 

We Need To Be Diligent In Serving Strangers

If you do acts of service to one of the least of the brethren, even Gentile strangers, you have really done it to the Savior, Matthew 25:34-46.

III John 5, "Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers." (See also Job 31:32, and I Timothy 5:9-10.)

Hebrews 13:1-2, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

In times past we were not the Eternalís people, but now we are. Let us therefore, as strangers and pilgrims, set the right example that, even though others speak against us, they may by our good works, glorify God in the day of His visitation, I Peter 2:9-12.

 

Strangers Who Should Not Be Helped

Not all strangers are interested in serving God. Some of them are dupers who feign belief in the truth in an attempt to receive help. This kind of deception is what the Gibeonites did in Joshua 9:3-27. Many a sincere believer has been tricked into pouring a great deal of money into false causes to relieve strangers, who were insincere and only trying to obtain the best deal.

One correspondent who has apparently been burned before, writes that it is common for those publishing the truth and trying to help others, to "come in contact with many coloured peoples of Nigeria, the Philippines, India, and to a lesser extent Kenya. They write letters back trying to con you out of money for various and sundry purposes. Almost without exception, whatever you believe, they believe. You can buy their faith for almost nothing. So they generally work over gullible American Missionaries. I guess you get what you pay for."

These strangers have soured the desire of many to extend help and assistance. What these deceivers have done is to lend Satan a mighty hand, preventing the Almightyís people from fulfilling their spiritual obligation of loving the stranger.

 

A Lesson For Us Today

Today it is very common for people in various groups of the Church of God to look down on other Church of God groups, claiming that they are the only ones. This is an example of violating the principle of loving the stranger.

One minister, in a 1979 sermon, said:

"I donít know of any group . . . that has a more humble and more teachable spirit, that has unwillingness to compromise: youíre the ones. God said they were someplace. Like I heard somebody believing, what is it, they're over in Africa. In the first place, that is an absolute violation of a cardinal principle: that it would be initiated through Israel . . . . Thatís to absolutely accuse Christ of being derelict . . . of God being absolutely powerless, and to accuse the whole operation of the greatest corruption and perversion that could be conceived."

Not only is this minister ignorant of the fact that the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God were established in Africa by and through Israel, but also he is not even concerned about them, because they are not part of his "true and only" group.

Another tragic example is from a large Sabbath-keeping organization:

A listener in the heart of Africa wrote in to urge that a church be established among his people. But when two ministers from London went to visit the correspondent,

They found he was the only man of any education among them. The others were illiterate savages. They were so ignorant, it was impossible for them to comprehend anything about God, or Christ, or salvation. Sadly, one minister said such people would have to receive at least elementary education before they could be reached with the Gospel ("Wonderful World Tomorrow," page 62). 

Rather than loving the stranger, it is far easier to turn your back in disdain or distrust. Read Galatians 6:10.

Donít forget to love the stranger! W

 

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