The laws of bondservants are particularly applicable to us today, because we are to be God's bondservants. For this reason Paul calls himself a bondservant (slave) of Jesus Christ in Romans 1:1. In other words, justification sets us free from the slavery of sin and (ultimately) death, but we are now slaves of Jesus Christ and righteousness.
In other words, we have not been redeemed so that we can do as we please; we are slaves purchased by Jesus Christ. Our new Master loves us, but this is no reason why we should take advantage of that love by disobeying His righteous laws.
The Law of Perpetual Bondservants
One of the more fascinating laws of bondservants is found in Exodus 21:5 and 6,
5 But if the slave plainly says, "I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man," 6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the door post. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.
In the seventh year--the year of land rest--masters were supposed to let their servants go free. We saw in our last issue that this prophesies of the 7th millennium, when God fulfills His law on a worldwide level. He is about to set the world free of an oppressor called "Mystery Babylon."
Everyone will benefit on some level, because the social and political upheavals in this time will allow men the freedom to decide which God or gods they want to follow, and which form of government they wish to have--whether of men or of God's Kingdom.
What will men do with this newfound freedom? That is where we must step forward. A second work of Christ is about to begin. It is the Joseph work. Even as Christ came the first time of Judah to claim His throne rights, so this time Christ comes of Joseph to claim the birthright. The religions of this world will be our competition for the hearts and souls of men. We will win, of course, because God is about to pour out His Spirit in a way never seen before. Jesus said that we would do "greater works than these" (John 14:12), and I believe that this prophecy will find its ultimate fulfillment in the unveiling of the sons of God, as they fully manifest Christ and His love to the world. This is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
When Moses was on the mount for the eighth time in Exodus 34, he received the second law (same as the first), and God said to him in verse 10,
10 . . ."Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth, nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you.
Moses' eight trips up the mount represent the eight days of Tabernacles. His eighth trip up the mount represents the eighth day of Tabernacles. So this covenant of miracles appears to be a reference to what God will do when we experience the fullness of the Spirit at the end of the feast of Tabernacles.
These miraculous things will draw all men to Himself, even as He said would happen if He were "lifted up," or put on the cross (John 12:32, 33). The true manifestation of Jesus Christ's character is irresistible to men. God does not need to convert men by force of arms or violence, though He certainly has the power to do so. It is the glory of God to conquer mankind by His love. Man conquers by force because he lacks the character to win the hearts of the people by love.
The same can be said of religions--even Christianity, which ought to know better. Force is a poor substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit. The question is: how do we obtain the perfect character of Christ? How do we ensure that we will do these "greater works"?
The Divine Awl
As we read earlier, the law says that bondservants who are set free are allowed to return out of a heart of love for their master. If they wish to remain as bondservants, they are to have the lobe of their ear bored to the door or door post. What a strange law! What does it mean?
This law shows us how to become the bondservants of God. Nailing one's ear lobe to the door of the master's house is done to signify the opening of the ear. That is, when the ear is "opened," the servant hears and obeys his master's voice.
The Hebrew word, shama, means "to hear" as well as "to obey." It is translated both ways in the Bible, because they mean the same thing. If one claims to have heard the voice of God, he has not really heard at all if he does not obey. Obedience is the evidence of hearing.
The New Testament Greek word, hupakouo, likewise means "to hear" as well as "to obey." Thus, in both the Old Testament and the New we find the hearing of the word tied to obedience. True hearing results in obedience.
This is what it means to pierce the ear with an awl. When dealing with the bondservants of men, this was the mark of hearing and obedience in ancient times. But when we deal with being a bondservant of Jesus Christ, the form of the law takes a different dimension. Because God is Spirit, we must relate to Him in Spirit.
The spirit of the law says that I must hear His voice and be obedient. His law must be written on my heart. If I love my Master and know that His laws are not grievous, I will want to return to Him and be His permanent bondservant.
Jesus Christ was our example. This is why we read of Him in Psalm 40:6-8,
6 Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; My ears Thou hast opened; burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. 7 Then I said, "Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me; 8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart."
In Hebrews 10:5-9 this passage is quoted and applied to Jesus Christ, our perfect Example. Because His ears were opened, He obeyed all that the Father commanded Him. In fact, because the Law was written in His heart, He delighted to do God's will--even though it meant going the way of the Cross. To delight in such a horrible death is only possible when one has a very special relationship with the Father.
We ourselves are called to have that same relationship to our Master. The law says that we are to have our ear bored to the door by the divine awl. Jesus said in John 10:9, "I am the Door." Are you nailed to the Door by your earlobe? Are you Jesus' permanent bondservant?
If so, then you are called to do the second work of Christ, for this work can only be done by those who are absolutely committed to hearing and obeying Him. The requirement is to have the law written in your heart so much that you delight to do His will. That is possible only if you are in agreement with Him. If you do not agree that His law is your delight, if you do not agree that His law is righteous, then you are not yet qualified for this work.
It is not a matter of being perfected by the law. It is a matter of the attitude of the heart toward the Word of God. In our flesh we are a rebellious and stiff-necked people. We have always had a tendency toward lawlessness, and our flesh seeks new ways to justify disobedience.
The New Testament calls this problem anomia, using the word 15 times.
We may disagree on the interpretation and application of the law, but if it is in our heart to know the law of God and how to apply it by the teaching and leading of the Spirit, then He will lead us in the right way. But if we throw out any portion of God's Word, or relegate portions of it to the side, we are then no longer living by every word that proceeds out of His mouth (Matt. 4:4).
From Servanthood to Sonship and Friend
When a bondservant returns to his master, it is because he loves his master. He returns because he desires to be obedient. He no longer has to do the master's will--now his motive is love, and he wants to do the master's will. The bondservant of Jesus Christ is elevated to a position of rulership over His household (Luke 12:42-44). This is also the equivalent of Sonship.
Jesus referred to this law in John 8:34-36.
34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
When Adam sinned, he and his entire household were sold into slavery to sin (Matt. 18:25). Jesus redeemed us by purchasing us from the slave master called Sin. The law of redemption mandates that the redeemed must serve his redeemer (Lev. 25:54). But, as Jesus said in verse 35 above, "the slave does not remain in the house of his master forever." There is always a time when he must be set free, either when he has paid the debt or when the year of release comes.
"The son does remain forever." For a bondslave to return and have his ear bored to the door means that he becomes like a son--he remains forever in the house of the Master. Those who want to be free from obedience to Christ and His law will not obtain Sonship.
The same change in relationship is seen in the upgrade from a servant to a friend, which Jesus mentioned in John 15:14 and 15.
14 You are My friends, if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
A master would never confide in the slave who does not love him. His relationship is different with those servants who enthusiastically obey Him out of a heart of love. Such servants become friends. The master reveals his heart to his friends, even if they are technically just bondslaves.
So we see that the Scriptures talk about upgrading our relationship to Jesus Christ from servant to bondservant, or from servant to son, or from servant to friend. But these all are applicable to us in our relationship to God. Hence, they are all relevant to the law of bondservants in Exodus 21.
The Law of the Bondwoman
Exodus 21:7-11 reads,
7 And if a man sells his daughter as a female slave [amaw, a concubine], she is not to go free as the male slaves do. 8 If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her.
The context shows that this law refers to a daughter being given to a man as a concubine, or bondwoman, much like Hagar had been given to Abram. In fact, in Genesis 21:10 Hagar is called an amaw, translated "bondwoman," after she had been married to Abram for many years. At first glance, this law seems to discriminate between bondmen and bondwomen, but in actuality, this law was a marriage law. Masters did not purchase bondmen for the purpose of marrying them. That would have been a homosexual relationship, which is unlawful in the sight of God.
We conclude, then, that this law set the bondmen free every seventh year, but the bondwomen who were married to their masters were not given a rest year. God's law is unclear whether or not non-married bondwomen were to have a rest year. But in Jer. 34:9 we find that bondwomen were to be set free along with the bondmen. This refers to bondwomen who are not married to their masters.
Sarah was the freewoman; Hagar was the bondwoman. Both were wives of Abraham, but they had different legal relationships. The son of the freewoman was always to be the heir. And so we see Isaac as the heir of the promises to Abraham, while Ishmael was ultimately cast out.
This relationship later was repeated in a national allegory when God redeemed Israel out of Egypt. Israel had been enslaved in Egypt, but God purchased this bondwoman from Egypt in much the same manner as an individual man might purchase a bondwoman. God purchased her and then married her at Mount Sinai.
As God's wife, Israel was not supposed to leave her Husband in the rest year. No wife, bond or free, could take a year off from her marriage. Marriage is a full-time job.
Israel's marriage covenant was later called the "Old Covenant," or the covenant under Moses. It was a conditional covenant that based God's blessings upon obedience. Paul said the Old Covenant was Hagar in Arabia (Gal. 4:24). It was very much of a bondwoman's relationship to a husband who had purchased or redeemed her. It was a legitimate marriage, but it was not the kind of relationship that God was ultimately looking to have.
The leaders of Judaism who rejected Jesus Christ and the New Covenant chose to remain as Hagar in a bondwoman relationship with God. But God had no intention of continuing that relationship beyond a certain point. For this reason, the Scriptures say, "cast out the bondwoman and her son." Abraham had to cast out Hagar, because it prophesied of what God later would do with those in Judaism who wanted to remain under the Old Covenant in a bondwoman relationship with Him.
The New Testament Church under Pentecost was called into a new type of relationship with God. Unlike the Sinai covenant, which had been instituted on the day of Pentecost under Moses, Pentecost in Acts 2 brought the Church into the New Covenant. It was made possible by the fact that at the Cross Jesus Christ had set this "woman" free from slavery. By law, this now made her eligible to marry Christ as a freewoman.
But not every Christian wanted to have this type of relationship as a freewoman. Some wanted to retain the sign of the Old Covenant--physical circumcision--and remain as a bondwoman married to Christ. There were many who retained the Hagarite view that God desired to inhabit buildings of wood and stone, rather than "living stones" who were people.
This problem has persisted to the present day, where it is common to speak of "going to Church," instead of the Church assembling at a building in a particular location. Christians confuse the Church with a denomination. Ministers perpetuate this confusion by speaking of a building as "the house of God," as if God continues to dwell in buildings.
All of this implants in Christians the mindset of Hagar and perpetuates the marital relationship of a bondwoman. It is not surprising, then, that many evangelicals support the building of a physical temple in the old Jerusalem. This rebuilt temple, they say, will first be the house of the Antichrist, and then later Jesus Christ will kick him out of the house so that He can dwell there and rule the earth from that temple in the millennium.
A bondwoman cannot bring forth the heir, even if she is married to the master. This is well illustrated in the story of Abraham and Hagar. This means that the bondwoman Church today cannot and will not bring forth the Manchild. The son of the bondwoman cannot and will not inherit and fulfill the promises to Abraham of being a blessing to all the families of the earth.
The bondwoman can only bring forth more slave children--slaves to the denominational systems. This is not "bad" in itself, for God has ordained that this take place. However, God has also ordained that some Christians be the son of the freewoman. These are called to a better marriage relationship that can and will set men free. Ultimately, the whole of creation will be set free into this glorious liberty of the sons of God.
There are, therefore, two types of Christians, even as Abraham had two sons (Ishmael and Isaac). Both types of Christians have the same heavenly Father, but they have different mothers here on earth. Christians who remain under the Passover or Pentecostal anointing have the faith of father Abraham, but are enslaved by Pharaoh through mother Hagar and her denominational systems.
On the other hand, Christians whose goal and focus is the feast of Tabernacles can have not only the faith of Abraham, but also move in the freedom of Sarah. It is not the type of freedom that frees us from the bonds of the marital relationship with Jesus Christ. Obedience and submission to His authority and law is still as necessary as ever. It is "liberty in law." Our marriage to Jesus Christ did not set us free to be disobedient. Instead, we were set free by the Cross in order to marry Christ as a freewoman.
Christians whose focus is the feast of Tabernacles must be prepared for marriage by practicing the principles of the Jubilee. The Jubilee comes before Tabernacles. The law of Jubilee tells us that we personally must be forgivers. If we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. If we do not set men free, we will not be set free to enter into this marriage as a freewoman Bride.
The law of Jubilee tells us our job description in the earth. It is to set men free, to cancel debt (sin). In this past Age we have been able to point back to the Cross as the basis of this cancellation of debt. Under the anointing of Pentecost, we have been limited in our effectiveness in reaching the world. We have been limited in the number of people we have been able to reach; and we have been limited in the quality of relationship that we have been able to establish between Christ and His Bride. For the most part, the relationship has been that of Hagar.
However, as we come into the Tabernacles Age, we see God doing a new thing in the earth. We see Him bringing forth a company of overcomers who are collectively the Isaac company, the son of the freewoman. Prepared by the Jubilee and empowered by Tabernacles, the overcomers of all past ages are prepared as a freewoman Bride, as Sarah, to be the New Jerusalem that is the desire of all nations that have groaned under the yoke of man's religious and political systems.
Are you prepared for this new work?
Jesus came of the seed of Abraham to redeem Israel as a near kinsman. He also came of flesh and blood, not taking upon Himself the nature of angels, in order that He might be the near kinsman of all flesh and blood (Hebrews 2:11-16). He did so in order to have the lawful right of redemption specified in Lev. 25:48, 49. The slavemaster, Sin, has no rights in this. If Jesus Christ could pay the price of redemption, then He, as a near kinsman, has the right of redemption, and slavemaster has no right to refuse.
The life and blood of Jesus Christ was worth far more than all the debts that mankind has ever accumulated through sin. So 1 John 2:2 clearly says,
2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
If Jesus Christ had the lawful right to redeem all the world, and if He were willing and able to pay the price to redeem the whole world--would He do so?? Do you believe that Jesus would save all mankind if He were capable of doing so? It really boils down to a question of whether or not Jesus Christ loves the whole world. For me, John 3:16 is sufficient--"God so loved the world."
If Jesus paid the penalty for the sin of the whole world, as John tells us, would He allow Himself to be cheated by the devil out of 95% of mankind? What would YOU do, if you paid for 100 bushels of wheat, but then you received only 5 bushels? Would you be satisfied? How much more than wheat are men worth?
It is too much for some to believe that Jesus Christ would really redeem the whole world. We have been taught otherwise for so long. Our Hagar mentality cannot comprehend such a glorious liberty for all of creation. Our experiences of Passover and Pentecost are insufficient and fall short of the Jubilee and the realm of Tabernacles. This is why it is helpful to know the law of God, which prophesies all these things.