Dual Citizenship in the Bible

written by A. L. Hart Havens on May 15, 2021

Discussions surrounding the value of second citizenship and second passports invariably focus on the prospective utility that an individual can derive from this resource in the present and future, often leaving pertinent examples from the past completely unexplored.

However, there are plenty of useful lessons to be learned from anecdotes concerning notable events related to the issue of second citizenship, including historical examples from epochs long past.

This article highlights one such incident recorded in the Bible that took place nearly two thousand years ago. It is the story of how the possession of a second citizenship saved the life of Paul the Apostle.

The Apostle Paul’s Roman Citizenship

The Apostle Paul had garnered the wrath of a hostile crowd near the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem due to his proclamations about Jesus Christ and it appeared that he would face an immanent stoning. However, the Roman tribune Claudius Lysias noticed the commotion and commanded his centurions to intervene and tie Paul down for a severe flogging for disturbing the peace.

The centurions shoved their way through the angry crowd and spared Paul what would have otherwise been certain death, but only for him to face a painful interrogation at the hands of the Romans. Acts 22:22-29 reads…

22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.

To be clear, the two citizenships in question here are Jewish and Roman. This verse does not invoke the concept of dual citizenship of Heaven and Earth as referenced by Paul in Philippians 3:20…

19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ […].

The Value of Second Citizenship Today

Among the numerous benefits of holding a second citizenship is that it can literally save a person’s life, as clearly evidenced in the aforementioned case of the Apostle Paul. And it still holds true today arguably more than ever before that financial and political diversification across national borders provides a set of options in dire situations that a single citizen would not have at his disposal.

A second citizenship can indeed serve as a place of refuge in today’s troubles times in which mandatory vaccinations, wealth confiscation, schoolchild indoctrination, and mob justice have become very real threats to the freedom, wellbeing, and prosperity of upstanding citizens throughout the western and English‑speaking world.

In light of these unsettling trends, we should appreciate and admire the preparedness and foresight demonstrated by the Apostle Paul nearly two millennia ago and make a point of proactively embracing his wisdom in today’s increasingly unfree world. And especially because a second citizenship cannot simply be obtained overnight, it would be wise to promptly begin exploring options in order to preempt the bleak and unpleasant developments that lie ahead.