Self Evident Truth the Foundation of Jubilee

 

Writing Declaration of Independence

Life and Liberty: The Self-Evident Foundational Truths of Jubilee and the American Revolution

Jubilee is based upon principles of self-evident truth, that are the very foundations of the Universe. These truths express the identity of God, Mankind, and the purpose of Government.

These self-evident truths, or “principles” are LIFE and LIBERTY.

The most memorable formulation of these truths was written in the American Declaration of Independence:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

That this formulation of LIFE and LIBERTY is derived from the Biblical Jubilee and is hardwired into American cultural DNA is no accident.

The founders of America were all very familiar with Biblical concepts and imagery, part of everyday culture in the early American colonies.

1.)  JUBILEE CELEBRATES ‘LIFE’ AND ‘LIBERTY’

Jubilee is one of the ‘sabbaths’ in the Bible.

Sabbaths celebrate two things:

1. CREATION – celebration of God resting after 7 days of Creation

“Having completed the work of creation, God rested.  It was the seventh day, and on account of God having rested, it is called the “day of rest”, or the Sabbath.  Such was His delight in viewing the completeness of His work, and in His resting, He blessed and sanctified the seventh day.”

2. LIBERATION– deliverance from the slavery of Egypt.

“We read nothing more of the Sabbath until Israel was brought out of Egypt.  Being a redeemed and separate people, God then gave them this day of rest as a sign between Him and them (Ezek. 20:12), making known to them, and to no other nation, “His holy rest” (Neh. 9:14).”

Benjamin Franklin's Design for Great Seal of the USA

Benjamin Franklin’s Proposed Design for the Great Seal of the United States

In 1776 Benjamin Franklin proposed that the Great Seal of the United States show Moses with his rod lifted and the Egyptian army drowning in the Red Sea.

Benjamin Franklin’s proposal is preserved in a note of his own handwriting:

“Moses standing on the Shore, and extending his Hand over the Sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh who is sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his Head and a Sword in his Hand. Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Clouds reaching to Moses, to express that he acts by Command of the Deity.

“Motto, Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

Thomas Jefferson also suggested allegorical scenes. For the front of the seal: children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

In Summary: The Sabbath is the 7th day of rest.
Every seventh year is a Sabbatical Year.
Jubilee is an amplified Sabbath that comes once in 50 years.
Sabbaths celebrate Creation and Liberation: Life and Liberty

2.) The First Two Books Of The Bible Are Genesis And Exodus: Signifying ‘LIFE’ and ‘LIBERTY’

The names of the first two books of the Bible are:

1. GENESIS (signifying creation, the beginning of life)
and
2. EXODUS (signifying liberty, deliverance from tyranny)

Genesis Exodus

Genesis and Exodus: Life and Liberty

GENESIS (i.e. Creation) deals with the story of the origin of LIFE, of CREATION.  According to the Bible, Humankind is made in the image of God, that is, we are CREATIVE beings, FREE, and since created in the Image of God, we are also do creative work which transforms our physical and social environments. We are thus distinguished from BEASTS.

EXODUS, the second book of the Bible, is about DELIVERANCE, FREEDOM from the  BONDAGE of Egypt). Exodus is about LIBERTY.

GENESIS, EXODUS = LIFE, LIBERTY

3. THE HEBREW VERB ‘BARAH’ HAS THE DOUBLE MEANING OF CREATING AND LIBERATING

In “God the Economist” by M. Douglas Meeks, in a footnote to Chapter 6, God and Work, Meeks states that the Hebrew verb BARAH has the double meaning of CREATING and LIBERATING:

Even though God’s creative and redemptive works are distinct, they are not radically different. When the Biblical traditions speak of God’s creating, they use the language of liberation; when speaking of the liberating work of God, they return to the language of creation, “the new creation”. The word Barah is used exclusively of God’s work and sets God’s work apart from all human work.. Barah had already been used in Israel’s theological traditions to refer to God’s liberating Israel from ‘the household of bondage’. Barah, God creates, means basically “God liberates”.

4. GOD’S ACTIVITY IS THAT OF CREATION AND LIBERATION

Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell with the Jubilee Inscription: Proclaim Liberty

In an essay entitled “Creation and Liberation”, USQR 33:2, Winter 1978, pages 79-89, George Landis writes concerning the text of Psalm 124, in the final verse, where it states,

“Our help (divine deliverance from oppressors and enemies) is in the name of Lord who made (created) heaven and earth”.

… In his concluding affirmation the Psalmist has succinctly brought together what very well may be the two most important themes in the entire Biblical witness: liberation and creation.

Landis asks the question why these two concepts are joined together, in a treatise of the creating and liberating God.

Our LIBERTY is in the CREATOR GOD WHO SETS US FREE.
In Hebrew thinking, the cosmic CREATOR is also the COSMIC LIBERATOR, whose actions are extended into history. Yahweh is the ever present one, active in breaking yokes of bondage. Israel was constantly reminded of God’s liberating actions in history. And liberation stories involve God actively using creative forces of nature to aid in deliverance.

In Isaiah 42:5-9 God states that He who created the Heavens will bring the prisoners out of the prison house:

5 Thus saith God Jehovah, he that created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
6 I, Jehovah, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7 to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. (American Standard Version)

FREEDOM, EQUALITY, INALIENABLE RIGHTS

“From their long nomadic history prior to their entrance into Canaan, and their many centuries of later wandering in the wilderness as as nomadic tribes wherein no sharp class distinctions existed, the Jews carried over into their settled life in Palestine a love of freedom and equality which survived through all the subsequent centuries.  They cherished a tradition which was bound up with the dignity of man fashioned in the image of God, and with his fundamental and inalienable rights.  It was that tradition, enshrined in the Bible, which more than any other factor gave sanction and inspiration to the Peasant Rebellions in Germany in the sixteenth century, the Puritan Revolution in England in the seventeenth, and the American Revolution in the eighteenth.”

pP. 236-7, Where Judaism Differed by Abba Hillel Silver (1972)