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Friday, July 1 2011

The Yoke Of Freedom

I grew up on a farm at a time when workhorses were still commonly used for a few things, particularly at harvest time (a "back to the future" experience that is coming for millions of physical humans after Christ's return i.e. the famous "swords into plowshares" of Micah 4:3-4). Before the invention of specialized machinery, horses were used to pull the "boats" between the rows as they were being filled by harvesters. When the sun came up in the early summer morning, those horses were ready and eager to go to work. To leave one in the barn, or to put one out in a pasture while the other horses went to work, would have caused a very loud and rambunctious protest from that horse. They didn't like to be left behind to do nothing.

At the end of the day, the horses were tired, but it was obvious that it was a good tired. The work gave them a sense of purpose and well-being, physically and psychologically. They were strong and healthy - well and properly cared for, never abused or neglected in any way. Their "yoke" of responsibility in return gave them health and freedom that they would not have otherwise experienced in the wild.

But imagine other horses, at some other farm, who did the same amount of physical work, but were treated badly - beaten, left hungry and thirsty, not provided with proper health care. Would they be eager to go out to be abused every day? Could they enjoy their earned rest (the most restful rest - no sleepless tossing and turning with them) at night, if they were left without food and water, in a dirty stall, in pain from being whipped by some fool all day? Surely not. Such horses would be living under a yoke of evil.

Those examples are in fact Biblical principles:

"12:10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." (Proverbs 12:10 KJV)

While other creatures may not have the same level of intelligence as humans, they aren't "dumb animals" either. Within their "instinct" is an awareness of the Creator that gives them, like those horses, the ability to distinguish genuine good from genuine evil.

"12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 12:8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. 12:9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? 12:10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:7-10 KJV)

"Think not that I am come to destroy the Law," "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light"

The ancient Israelites were a people of herds, flocks and pastures - the reason that so many Biblical lessons and teachings, Old and New Testament, directly involved topics of crops and animals. There were also incidents that involved only people, but with agrarian terms to explain them. "Yoke" is one of the best known.

Consider when and how a "yoke" was a bad thing - slavery under the abusive Pharaoh of that time (as opposed to the "yoke" of freedom, from hunger and poverty, that the Israelites experienced when they first entered Egypt; see The Goshen Refugees and Prosperity During The Depression).

Equally Yoked

"26:13 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright." (Leviticus 26:12-13 KJV)

But were those people set "free" from the yoke of the Pharaoh for no other purpose and reason than to thereafter do nothing? Were they to be like a horse left in the barn or in the pasture? Or did their freedom give them responsibilities that made them truly free? What did the LORD require of those who He set free from their yoke of slavery under a cruel master? Continue on from the verse quoted above:

"26:14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 26:15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 26:16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 26:17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.

26:18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 26:19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 26:20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.

26:21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins." (Leviticus 26:14-21 KJV)

Those things eventually happened to those people because their supposed "freedom from the Law" brought every imaginable calamity upon themselves. Living under God's Law would have kept them free of all of that trouble and misery.

It is very important to realize and understand that it was Jesus Christ (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') Who liberated those Israelites from their evil yoke. Consider also what happened to those who were set free, but who thereafter foolishly regarded themselves free from God's Law - and that they are an example for "Christians" now i.e. "these things were our examples."

"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:1-12 KJV)

Christ's famous "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" wasn't an invitation to Satanic lawlessness, as manifested in all sorts of Christ-rejecting "Christianity" (see Antichristians). Salvation is an offer to live free of the heavy burden that troubles and misery cause to those who are under Satan's lawless yoke, rather than God's Law of freedom i.e. The Ten Commandments.

"11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)

"5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-19 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) The Saviour was sinless. What made Him sinless? (b) According to the Holy Bible, what does "Christian" literally mean?
(a) See The By-The-Book Messiah and Works Means Obedience; also Was Jesus A 'New Testament' Christian?
(b) See Christianos; also Friends Of Jesus

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This Day In History, July 1

96: The accession of Vespasian, the 9th Roman emperor. He reigned 69-79 AD, during the time that Jerusalem was destroyed, as prophesied by Jesus Christ (see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?).

1097: The Crusaders defeated the Turks at Dorylaeum in the First Crusade.

1535: Sir Thomas More went on trial in England for treason.

1543: England and Scotland signed the Peace of Greenwich, providing for the marriage of Prince Edward Tudor and Mary, Queen of Scots.

1569: The Union of Lublin merged Poland and Lithuania.

1596: An English fleet captured and sacked Cadiz, Spain.

1690: England's Protestant King William III defeated Roman Catholic King James II in Battle of the Boyne in Ireland.

1690: French forces defeated the forces of the Grand Alliance at Fleurus in the Netherlands.

1770: Lexell's Comet missed the Earth by less distance than any other comet in recorded, a distance of 0.0146 astronomical unit (i.e. an astronomical unit is the distance between the earth and the sun).

1798: Napoleon took Alexandria, Egypt.

1810: Louis, king of Holland, abdicated after pressure from Napoleon.

1863: The 3-day Battle of Gettysburg during the U.S. Civil War began when General Robert E. Lee launched the Confederate attack.

1867: The British North America Act of 1867 created the Canadian Confederation. John A. Macdonald was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of Canada. July 1 has since then been Canada's National Holiday.

1878: The Albanian League was formed at Prizren, Serbia. The Albanian nationalist organization, initially supported by the Ottoman Turks, tried to prevent the Congress of Berlin, which was formulating a peace settlement following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, from partitioning Albania (then part of the Ottoman empire) and transferring some of its districts to Montenegro, Serbia and Greece (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The European World Wars).

1881: The world's first international telephone call was connected, from St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada to Calais, Maine.

1899: The Gideon Society (famous for placing Bibles in hotel rooms) was established in Wisconsin by 3 traveling businessmen.

1908: SOS was adopted as an international distress signal.

1919: The German Weimar Republic was proclaimed.

1958: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) began nationwide television broadcasting across Canada by means of microwave relay.

1962: Algerian independence was granted after a referendum in France and Algeria. Of the 210,000 Muslim Algerians who had served in the French army, only a minority took refuge in France. Estimates vary between 30,000 and 150,000 of those who stayed behind were executed or murdered.

1982: The new Canadian Constitution was signed in Ottawa by Queen Elizabeth II.

1990: The West-German Deutschmark became the official currency of the new united Germany.

2007: Smoking was banned in all public indoor spaces in England.


Copyright © Wayne Blank