A common question believers have been asking lately concerns the thousands upon thousands of Syrian refugees who are flooding Western European countries and also trying to immigrate to the USA. Should we let them in?
I write as a former refugee. My parents immigrated to the United States when I was eight years old. When we arrived in this country, we were almost penniless, having only a few dollars given to us by HIAS, an American Jewish aid society which assisted Jews fleeing persecution in Europe to get jobs and become acculturated to American society.
But this did not come easily. We spent five years in various Displaced Person camps in the American zone of West Germany undergoing interview after interview, medical test after medical test, before we finally received our immigration papers to enter the United States. The main concern was preventing communists from entering the USA, and none of us were.
I wrote all of the above as a prelude to show I am not opposed to immigration to America, and I can sympathize with all people who were forced to become refugees due to war(s) in their country. This would include Syrian refugees.
Is any of what is happening relevant to Bible prophecy?
No, it is not, and the Bible does not speak of a vast migration of Syrians escaping the wars in their country. Should they then be brought in masses to the United States? Yes and no.
Here are some points that need to be considered:
1. The vast majority of the Syrians will be Muslims. They will probably be opposed to Israel. While their country is experiencing the cursing facet of the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 12:3, their opposition to Israel cannot be the issue which is used to determine their refugee status. Not all Muslims are radical, and most would just like to live in peace and quiet and be able to make a living.
2. There needs to be an intensive vetting process before any Syrian war refugees are allowed to immigrate, no matter how long that may take. It was five years before the American government was convinced that we were not communists. By the same token, the Syrian refugees need to be vetted to make sure that the Islam they follow allows them to submit to the overall rule of American law. This is especially true for spiritual leaders and young single men who would be most attracted to radical Islam. The separation of religion and state must be accepted by all immigrants. One of the participants in the recent attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed, was a terrorist who infiltrated Europe by posing as a Syrian war refugee. This should not be allowed to happen here.
3. The refugees waiting to immigrate need to be placed in a free zone where they can be housed and protected from outside attacks just as we were placed in free and protected zones under American administration in West Germany. Then the governments of those countries that are willing to take them in can proceed with a strong vetting process to make sure that no radical Muslim is allowed to enter.
4. It is dangerous to let numerous Muslims into any country without that vetting process, as a number of European nations have discovered in recent years. The attacks in France are just one example. Similar issues have occurred in Great Britain and Scandinavia where radical Muslims tried to use their freedom in these Western nations to impose Islamic rule on that country, thus interfering with freedom of the press, etc. The vetting process in a free safe zone provides opportunity to teach the nature of a free democracy and the freedom of speech to those who try to immigrate into another country. Each potential refugee will need to sign an agreement that states they will abide by American civil law. If they violate their signed agreement after having immigrated, they should immediately be expelled to their country of origin.
5. The refugees should be objects of the believers’ prayers, and evangelists and ministries should do what they can to get the gospel out to the refugees. It is the gospel that will change their lives and free them from the influence of radical Islam.
Yours for the salvation of Israel,
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
President and Founder
NOTE: For image credits and data map sources click the following links: Wikipedia article Refugees of the Syrian Civil War, Wikipedia article European Migrant Crisis, and U.S. Government Interagency Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU).