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ARE YOU A SLAVE (SERVANT) OF JESUS CHRIST?

The original writings of the Bible uses the word "SLAVE", and not "SERVANT".

The King James version and many other translations translated the word "SLAVE" as "SERVANT." Strong's Concordance at 1401 gives the definition as a slave (lit. Or fig., invol. Or vol.; frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency); - bond (-man), servant. . The disciples understood the meaning of the word slave because there were provisions in the Mosaic law for treatment of SLAVES.

We must not look at this word "SLAVE" in the way we know of slavery, such as the treatment of SLAVES prior to the Civil War.

The apostles called themselves SLAVES of JESUS CHRIST. Romans 1:1 "From Paul, a bond SLAVE of JESUS CHRIST (the Messiah)..." 2 Peter 1:1"...a SLAVE and apostle of JESUS CHRIST...". James 1:1 "...a SLAVE of God and of the Lord JESUS CHRIST...".

Now let's look at the definition of the word "SLAVE" according to Smith's Bible Dictionary. This will allow us to understand what this word meant to the disciples.

The institution of slavery was recognized, though not established, by the Mosaic law with a view to mitigate (moderate) its hardship and to secure to every man his ordinary rights.

I. Hebrew SLAVES. 1. The circumstances under which a Hebrew might be reduced to servitude were (1) poverty; (2) the commission of theft; and (3) the exercise of paternal authority. In the first case, a man who had mortgaged his property, and was unable to support his family might sell himself to another Hebrew, with a view both to obtain maintenance and perchance a surplus sufficient to redeem his property. Lev. 25:25, 39. (2) The commission of theft rendered a person liable to servitude whenever restitution could not be made on the scale prescribed by the law. Ex. 22:1,3. The thief was bound to work out the value of his restitution money in the service of him on whom the theft had been committed. (3) The exercise of paternal authority was limited to the sale of a daughter of tender age to be a maid-servant, with the ulterior view of her becoming the concubine of the purchaser. Ex. 21:7. 2. The servitude of a Hebrew might be terminated in three ways: (1) by the satisfaction or the remission of all claims against him; (2) by the recurrence of the year of jubilee, Lev. 25:40; and (3) the expiration of six years from the time that his servitude commenced. Ex. 21:2; Deut. 15:12. (4) To the above modes of obtaining liberty the rabbinists added, as a fourth, the death of the master without leaving a son, there being no power of claiming the SLAVE on the part of any heir except a son. If a servant did not desire to avail himself of the opportunity of leaving his service, he was to signify his intention in a formal manner before the judges (or more exactly at the place of judgment), and then the master was to take him to the doorpost, and to bore his ear through with an awl, Ex. 21:6, driving the awl into or "unto the door," as stated in Deut. 15:17, and thus fixing the servant to it. A servant who had submitted to this operation remained, according to the words of the law, a servant "forever." Ex. 21:6. These wards are, however, interpreted by the rabbinists as meaning until the year of jubilee. 3. The conditions of a Hebrew servant was by no means intolerable. His master was admonished to treat him, not "as a bond-servant, but as an hired servant and as a sojourner,: and, again "not to rule over him with rigor." Lev. 25:30, 10, 43. At the termination of his servitude the master was enjoined not to "let him go away empty," but to remunerate him liberally out of his flock, his floor and his winepress. Deut. 15:13, 14. In the event of a Hebrew becoming the servant of a "stranger," meaning a non-Hebrew, the servitude could be terminated only in two ways, viz. by the arrival of the year of jubilee, or by the repayment to the master of the purchase money paid for the servant, after deducting a sum for the value of his services proportioned to the length of his servitude. Lev. 25:47-55. A Hebrew woman night enter into voluntary servitude on the score of poverty, and in this case she was entitled to her freedom after six years service, together with her usual gratuity at leaving, just as in the case of a man. Deut. 15:12,13. Thus far we have seen little that is objectionable in the condition of Hebrew servants. In respect to marriage there were some peculiarities which, to our ideas, would be regarded as hardships. A master might, for instance, give a wife to a Hebrew servant for the time of his servitude, the wife being in this case, it must be remarked, not only a SLAVE but a non-Hebrew. Should he leave when his term had expired, his wife and children would remain the absolute property of the master. Ex. 21:4, 5. Again, a father might sell his young daughter to a Hebrew, with a view either of marrying her himself or of giving her to his son. Ex. 21:7-9. It diminishes the apparent harshness of this proceeding if we look on the purchase money as in the light of a dowry given, as was not unusual, to the parents of the bride; still more, if we accept the rabbinical view that the consent of the maid was required before the marriage could take place. The position of a maiden thus sold by her father was subject to the following regulations: (1) She could not "go out as the men-servants do," i.e. she could not leave at the termination of six years, or in the year of jubilee, if her master was willing to fulfill the object for which he had purchased her. (2) Should he not wish to marry her, he should call upon her friends to procure her release by the repayment of the purchase money. (3) If he betrothed her to his son, he was bound to make such provision for her as he would for one of his own daughters. (4) If either he or his son, having married her, took a second wife, it should not be to the prejudice of the first. (5) If neither of the three first specified alternatives took place, the maid was entitled to immediate and gratuitous liberty. ex. 21:7-11. The custom of reducing Hebrews to servitude appears to have fallen into disuse subsequent to the Babylonish captivity. Vast numbers of Hebrews were reduced to SLAVERY as war-captives at different periods by the Philistines, Syrians, Egyptians and Romans.

II. Non-Hebrew SLAVES. 1. The majority of non-Hebrew SLAVES were war-captives, either of Canaanites who had survived the general extermination of their race under Joshua or such as were conquered from the other surrounding nations. Num. 31:26 Besides these, many were obtained by purchase from foreign SLAVE-dealers, Lev. 25:44,45; and others may have been resident foreigners who were reduced to this state by either poverty or crime. The children of SLAVES remained SLAVES, being the class described as "born in the house," Gen. 14:14; 17;12; Eccles. 2:7, and hence the number was likely to increase as time went on. The average value of a SLAVE appears to have been thirty shekels. Ex. 21:32. 2. That the SLAVE might be manumitted appears from Ex. 21:26,27; Lev. 19:20. 3. The SLAVE is described as the "possession" of his master, apparently with a special reference to the power which the latter had of disposing of him to his heirs, as he would any other article of personal property. Lev. 25:45, 46. But, on the other hand, provision was made for the protection of his person. Ex. 21:20; Lev. 24:17, 22. A minor personal injury, such as the loss of an eye or a tooth, was to be recompensed by giving the servant his liberty. Ex. 21:26,27. The position of the SLAVE in regard to religious privileges was favorable. He was to be circumcised,

Gen. 17:12, and hence was entitled to partake of the paschal sacrifice, Ex. 12:44, as well as of the other religious festivals. Deut. 12:12, 18:16:11,14. The occupations of SLAVES were of a menial character, as implied in Lev. 25:39, consisting partly in the work of the house and partly in personal attendance on the master. It will be seen that the whole tendency of the Bible legislation was to mitigate SLAVERY, making it little more than hired service, and to abolish it.

We, ourselves, must understand that we are to be "JESUS' SLAVES." 1 Corinthians 7:22 "For he who as a SLAVE was summoned in [to union with] the Lord is a freedman of the Lord, just so he who was free when he was called is a bond servant of CHRIST (the Messiah)."

Matthew 4:10 "You shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

Romans 6:18 "Ye became the servant of righteousness."

Ephesians 6:6 "..but as servants (SLAVES) of CHRIST, doing the will of God heartily and with your whole soul."

Revelation 2:20 "But I have this against you: that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and who is teaching and leading astray my servants and beguiling them into practicing sexual vice and eating food sacrificed to idols." Amplified Bible.

The Interlinear Bible uses the word slaves instead of servants. "Behold, I have a few things against you, that you allow the woman Jezebel to teach, she saying herself to be a prophetess, and to cause My slaves to go astray, and to commit fornication, and to eat idol sacrifices."

We should have the same understanding that the disciples had of being JESUS' SLAVE and that it does not mean that He is harsh and cruel, but that He is love and wisdom and understanding because His mercy for us endures forever.

JESUS IS THE DELIVERER

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