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From Matt Bell: Just a reminder it's been about a week since I sent this. You told me to remind you.

God in the Bible permits the owning of slaves many times and gives instructions for purchasing, as seen below. Yes God freed the Hebrews from slavery, but that was only because they were God's Chosen people. They are allowed to own slaves by God.

How can God allow this immoral and reprehensible act? Is that justification for slavery today? If not why not, has the morality changed? Is this a case where God gives immoral instructions?

Slavery did not end with Christianity, it ended with the Industrial revolution. Check the dates slavery ended for different European countries and you will find that they correspond to during the industrialization of that country.

God is not a dictator, Matt. He doesn't tell the world what to do. Instead, He offers His wise guidelines to those who will listen and His loving presence to believers who are suffering (through slavery, torture, persecution, illness or any other agonizing circumstance) within the world system.  While He may not intervene in the political or cultural circumstance, He does promise hope, peace and comfort to those who will trust Him in every difficult circumstance.

In other words, He doesn't promise to make this earthly world a better place. But He does promise to gently lead those who will follow Him. And -- by His indwelling Spirit -- He also promises to enable His people to live peacefully in the midst of turmoil. He also guides them in ways they might influence others and spread His kindness and compassion.

That's what happened when -- during the 18th century and 19th century -- Christian leaders such as William Wilberforce were driven by their conscience and conviction to fight for the abolition of slavery. The end of slavery around the world came through concerned Christians who prayerfully fought against this awful practice. Today, slavery is returning in nations that embrace paganism -- or militant monotheism. See Charts: Five Types of Religious Expressions.

Thank you for sending these Scriptures, Matt. See my comments below.

Exodus 21:1-4
"Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall
serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself."

21:5-6
"And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever."

21:7
"And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her."

These Scriptures sound strange in the context of today's emphasis on personal rights and freedom. But we need to remember that God allowed humans to choose their own ways. Back when He first called Abraham to start a nation, this faithful patriarch of Israel left a pagan culture and followed God's guidance to a foreign land. By that time, slavery had become a custom in the nations all around the Middle East.

Life was often short and fragile in those nations. Wars, famines, wild animals and disease would ravage the population and cause huge migrations of people. Captives in the various wars would often be enslaved. Debtors who couldn't pay might become slaves to the borrower. Poor parents who couldn't feed all their children might sell sons and daughters as slaves to someone who could provide food and shelter for them.

The conditions of any particular slave depended on the kindness of the owner. They ranged from unthinkable cruelty to a caring relationships in which the slave was treated almost as a member of the family. This might seem strange, but the rules for the "bondslave" (see verses 5-6 above) suggests that caring inclusiveness was not uncommon.  In such a situation, a slave who would -- according to God's law -- have been set free after a prescribed period of servitude could choose to stay with his master rather than leave as a free man. That slave had become part of the family and had no desire to leave those who cared  and provided for him as he served them.

But back to Israel.  In Old Testament, God would bless His people as long as they obeyed His laws and trusted Him. When, in their prosperity, they ignored God and turned to other gods, He withdrew His protection and allowed neighboring enemies to conquer and enslave His precious people.

The 400 years of slavery in Egypt was an exception. As the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob multiplied, they needed protection and isolation from the idolatry and corruption of ancient Canaan. By the time God set them free and brought them into the promised land, their number had increased from less than 100 to at least 2 million. The years of hardship had taught them to trust God, to count on His covenant promises, and to shun all other religious systems. In other words, God used the suffering of slavery to prepare the people to follow Him into the promised land.   

He promises to do the same, no matter what our struggle. The time of slavery in America was horrible, but the consequent pain and brokenness of many gave birth to a vibrant and enduring faith, which is memorialized in precious old gospel songs. That's no excuse for slavery, but it does show that no matter how hard our lives, God gives strength and peace those who put their faith in Him and set their hearts on eternity with Him. See My High Tower: Seeing the world from His perspective

In the end, He used concerned Christians in England and the United States to free America's slaves -- and then to end slavery around the world. Now with as Biblical Christianity wanes and faces all kinds of assaults and distortions, slavery is returning to some parts of the world, especially in animist and Muslim regions of Africa. It is simply one more abhorrent expression of human nature untamed by the kindness of God and power of His Holy Spirit. While there was little need for slaves in primitive hunter-gatherer cultures, the rest of the world -- irregardless of race or education -- participated in this inhumane practice.

Here are a few links that show the revival of slavery: 

Forcing Christians to fight for Allah: "The Sudan government's current practice of forcing Christian boys into slavery and conversion to Islam may appear to be a new phenomenon, but such religious persecution by ruling Muslims actually had its genesis many centuries ago with the creation of the mysterious Janissaries."

Sex-Trafficking Trade Likened to Slavery: "In a previous century, Africans labored in the tobacco fields and slaves were bred for strength and endurance. The fields have been replaced by brothels and sex shops, and the new trade is in young women and children.... As were the African slaves, these young women are tricked, deceived, lured, induced, kidnapped, and coerced into bondage."

       "...it is difficult to document this type of crime because of corruption among authorities in many nations, as well as the reluctance of victims to come forth because of trauma and shame."  Eze 22:29-31

 

Four Faces of Islam: 1990-2001: Over two million Christians in the Sudan have been killed and many more sold into slavery. [8]

Forcing Christians to fight for Allah: "The Sudan government's current practice of forcing Christian boys into slavery and conversion to Islam may appear to be a new phenomenon, but such religious persecution by ruling Muslims actually had its genesis many centuries ago with the creation of the mysterious Janissaries."

NoCastro.com (shows a nation that "owns" its children and trains them for service to the state): "Why is there so much contrast between the opinion of the American people  and that of Cuban exiles?  The difference lies in the lack of education  with respect to Cuba. The majority of the American people do not know of  the atrocities committed by the communist state in Cuba during its  41-year dictatorship. 

     "No father or mother has the right to  submit his child to a state of slavery; it is inhumane and is punishable  in any part of the civilized world.  One who is knowledgeable of the Cuban theme knows that in Cuba children are property of the state and  not to their parents -- they are the prime material for the  communist state. The lives of children are regulated since their  birth and their parents are obligated to foster the communist doctrine  in their minds.  Even at that, Elianís family has expressed that  they will follow the orders of a family court if it decided that the  father has the right and capacity to raise his child. 

 

In our post-Christian culture - and with the spreading hatred for Biblical truth -- we see a rapid return of the human cruelties and depravity that was evidenced by Hitler and others in bondage to occult forces. But Jesus Christ offers freedom through the cross. See  What it means to be a Christian

 


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