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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Freedom

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(חֻפְשָׁה, chuphshah', manumission, Leviticus 19:20; entirely different from πολιτεία, citizenship, Acts 22:28; "commonwealth," i.e., polity, Ephesians 2:12). Strangers resident in Palestine had the fullest protection of the law, equally with the native Hebrews (Leviticus 24:22; Numbers 15:15; Deuteronomy 1:16; Deuteronomy 24:17); the law of usury was the only exception (Deuteronomy 23:20). The advantage the Hebrew had over the Gentile was strictly spiritual, in his being a member of the ecclesiastical as well as the civil community of Jehovah. But even to this spiritual privilege Gentiles were admitted under certain restrictions (Deuteronomy 23:1-9; 1 Samuel 21:7; 2 Samuel 11:13). The Ammonites and Moabites were excluded from the citizenship of the theocracy, and the persons mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:1-6. (See FOREIGNER). The Mosaic code points out the several cases in which the servants of the Hebrews were to receive their freedom (Exodus 21:2-4; Exodus 21:7-8; Leviticus 25:39; Leviticus 25:41; Leviticus 25:47-55; Deuteronomy 15:12-17). (See SLAVE). There were various modes whereby the freedom of Rome could be attained by foreigners, such as by merit or favor, by money (Acts 22:28), or by family. The ingenuus or freeman came directly by birth to freedom and to citizenship. The libertinus or freedman was a manumitted slave, and his children were denominated libertini, i.e., freedmen or freedmen's sons. (See LIBERTINE). Among the Greeks and Romans the freedmen had not equal rights with the freemen or those of free birth. The Roman citizen could not be legally scourged; neither could he be bound, or be examined by question or torture, to extort a confession from him. If, in any of the provinces, he deemed himself and his cause to be treated by the president with dishonor and injustice, he could, by appeal, remove it to Rome to the determination of the emperor (Acts 16:37-39; Acts 21:39; Acts 22:25; Acts 25:11-12). Christians are represented as inheriting the rights of spiritual citizenship by being members of the commonwealth or community of Jehovah (Ephesians 2:12; Philippians 3:20). (See CITIZENSHIP). The Christian slave is the Lord's freedman, and a partaker of all the privileges of the children of God; and the Christian freeman is the servant of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:22; Romans 6:20-22). Paul acknowledges that freedom is worthy of being eagerly embraced; but the freedom which he esteemed most important in its consequences was that which is given through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 7:21-23). The Jews, under the Mosaic law, are represented as in a state of servitude, and-Christians as in a state of freedom (John 8:31; Galatians 4:22-31). (See SLAERY).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Freedom'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/f/freedom.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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