The Author of Liberty
In what words does the Bible describe the bondage of Israel in Egypt?
"And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage." Exodus 2:23. Compare with James 5:1-4.
Who heard their cries for help?
"God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." Exodus 2:24.
What did God tell Moses to do?
"Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt." Exodus 3:9, 10.
In giving His law to His people, how did God describe Himself?
"I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Exodus 20:2.
What did God do to protect Israel against slavery?
"And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day." Deuteronomy 15:12-15. "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." Exodus 22:21; (See 2 Corinthians 1:2-4.)
What was one of the reasons that Israel should keep the Sabbath?
"And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day." Deuteronomy 5:15.
What proclamation was made every fifty years?
"And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." Leviticus 25:10.
NOTE: The year of jubilee was a unique institution found in no other religion. It was a sort of exalted Sabbatical year which was to be kept every fiftieth year, being announced at the sound of the trumpet on the Day of Atonement. During this year all slaves who were Hebrews were to be liberated, and all lands restored to the former owners.
Because Israel failed to do this, became oppressive and forsook the Sabbath, what did God do?
"Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ye have not harkened unto Me, in proclaiming liberty, everyone to his brother, and every man to his neighbour; behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." Jeremiah 34:17. (See also Jeremiah 17:24-27; 2 Chronicles 36:19-21.)
What fault did the God of heaven find with Israel's religious gatherings?
"Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness." Isaiah 58:3, 4.
What does God set forth as the fast acceptable to Him?
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?" Verses 6.7.
NOTE: All this shows that God loves liberty and hates bondage.
Why did Christ come to this world?
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." Luke 4:18.
NOTE: The Gospels show that a large part of Christ's time even on the Sabbath was devoted to relieving the oppressed and distressed.
In what condition are those who commit sin?
"Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." John 8:34.
NOTE: Servant may here be rendered slave.
Why was Christ's name to be called "Jesus"?
"And thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21.
What lies at the root of all sin?
"When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin." James 1:15. "I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Romans 7:7.
NOTE: Lust, covetousness, and unlawful desire are only different names for selfishness. Selfishness lies at the root of all sin; and selfishness is simply the love of self to the disregard of the equal rights of others.
Which passage of Scripture reveals that all men should have an equality of human rights?
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Leviticus 19:18.
What rule of life has Christ Himself given to guide us in such unselfish living?
"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Matthew 7:12.
NOTE: Selfishness,then, must be uprooted from men's hearts before they will recognize the equal rights of their fellowmen.
Who alone can remove the selfishness from the hearts of men?
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12.(See also 1 John 1:9.)
Who, alone, then, is able to give to men genuine freedom?
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36.
What was the attitude of Christ toward unbelievers?
"If any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." John 12:47.
What attitude did Jesus say should control all of His disciples?
"But Jesus... saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark 10:42-45.
Wherever the Spirit of God is guiding in men's lives, what is always present?
"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Corinthians 3:17.
What kind of worship can alone be acceptable to God?
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." John 4:23, 24.