Liberty and the Bible: Old Testament (KJV)


Leviticus 25:10 – The famous Liberty Bell rang out from Independence Hall in Philadelphia July 8th, 1776, to summon people to the first public reading of Declaration of Independence. Its’ inscription quotes Leviticus – 25:10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof:” It should lead one to read the whole verse: “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.” Might this raise issues of liberty in your mind?

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The foundations of law are widely acknowledged in Western societies to be rooted in God’s TEN COMMANDMENTS cited in Exodus 20. They were rendered by YHWH and delivered to the Hebrews by Moses. The commandments are inscribed in large letters on the wall behind the bench in the US Supreme Court House. Read the list, starting at verse 1:

1.You shall have no other gods before Me.
2.You shall not make idols.
3.You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
4.Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5.Honor your father and your mother.
6.You shall not murder.
7.You shall not commit adultery.
8.You shall not steal.
9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10.You shall not covet.

In a brief synopsis, to govern within the Ten Commandments renders liberty, law less than these commandments is licentiousness and law exceeding these commandments is tyranny. Jesus Christ summed these commandments in reply to a cunning lawyer in Matthew 22: 35-40. Christ had earlier stated the basis for his understanding of God’s law in his Sermon on the Mount, which is famously known as the “Golden Rule” cited in Matthew 7:12.

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Free people need to Keep and Bear Arms as illustrated in 1 Samuel 13: 19-20, wherein the people of Israel had been prohibited blacksmiths and metal weapons under Philistine tyranny. The Philistines demanded Israelis come to them to sharpen metal tools. Read:

19 Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears:

20 But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.

Of course, rising in rebellion against the Philistine tyranny, Israelis set up forges and began making their own metal weapons and tools.

To be secure in their own homes in returning from exile, Nehemiah led armed men to rebuild the wall around the ravaged city of Jerusalem. Watchmen and men with trumpets were ready to sound the alarm if invaders came. Read Nehemiah 4:17-19:

17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other held a weapon.

18 For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and builded. And he that sounded the trumpet by me.

Should we be secure in our homes and cities?

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Israel had been founded as a loose tribal confederation, with a system of judges traveling circuits throughout the land to settle disputes according to God’s law. The last judge, Samuel, was confronted by the elders of Israel in a time of increasing corruption, seeking a king and a new system of centralized rule. Read 1 Samuel 8:5-20 for God’s warning about a central government’s rulers. Israel’s elders came:

5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.

7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.

9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.

11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;

20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.

Readers! Must we “be like all the nations”, or live in God’s liberty?

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