A Quick, Compelling Bible Study Vol. 68: July 4 Liberty and Freedom Edition

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Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.

Thanks for joining our study as we celebrate Independence Day with Bible verses referencing liberty and freedom. Those were the foundational principles upon which our nation was birthed, compelling the Founding Fathers to declare independence from what was then the world’s leading military power. The Founders wrote that such a declaration required “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” and were motivated by a bold, revolutionary idea.

Whereas traditionally, human rights emanated from kings, in the new nation, rights were derived from God. Thus, the phrase “endowed by their Creator” is famously part of the 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.”

Ultimately, God shined upon the new nation after five long years of battle when the British surrendered in 1781.

Today, 245 years later, we lead the free world “One nation under God” — as stated in our Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” displayed on all coins and currency.  Let’s take a moment to praise and thank President Dwight D. Eisenhower for his role in facilitating both these policy changes.

Eisenhower, the wartime Allied supreme commander elected president in 1952, sought to distinguish the U.S. from the “God-less communists” and the threat they imposed.

Accordingly, he requested that Congress add “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance so it would read, “..one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” Congress turned the change into a patriotic statement when on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, the legislation was passed.

Eisenhower’s patriotic mission continued when two years later, in July 1956, he signed into law “In God We Trust” as our national motto to be included on all paper currency. (Since 1864, the motto had appeared only on coins.)

History class is over, time to open our Bibles to verses mentioning freedom and liberty that could have inspired our Founders — known to be frequent readers of The Word. Let’s start with the Hebrew Bible and two verses from Leviticus Chapter 25 when God spoke at length to Moses on Mt. Sinai:

“‘Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan’ ”(Leviticus 25:10).

Here is why God is the real writer of this Bible study. I chose the previous verse because of the phrase “proclaim liberty.” Then my jaw dropped when I discovered part of this verse appears on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA.  So it’s back to history class courtesy of AmericanHeritage.com:

“When William Penn created Pennsylvania’s government he allowed citizens to take part in making laws and gave them the right to choose the religion they wanted. The colonists were proud of the freedom that Penn gave them. In 1751, the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered a new bell for the State House. He asked that a Bible verse be placed on the bell – ‘Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof’ (Leviticus 25:10). As the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House (today called Independence Hall) it rang many times for public announcements.”

Most notably, the Liberty Bell did not ring on July 4, 1776, according to USHistory.org:

“Tradition tells of a chime that changed the world on July 8, 1776, with the Liberty Bell ringing out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.”

Now we return to relevant Hebrew Bible verses unless I make another startling Independence Day Bible-related discovery:

“Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free” (Psalm 118:5).

The following verses from Isaiah were famously voiced by Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 and applied to himself:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor” (Isaiah 61:1-2).

We turn to the New Testament now where Jesus said the following two verses in John:

“‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:32).

“‘So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’” (John 8:36).

And Paul wrote the next two:

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

While researching this study, I read “How the Bible influenced the Founding Fathers,” an essay by Daniel L. Dreisbach, a professor at American University in Washington, D.C. His conclusion is apt for today:

“An awareness of the Bible’s contributions to the founding project increases knowledge of the founders’ political experiment and their systems of civil government and law. A study of how the founding generation read and used the Bible helps Americans understand themselves, their history, and their regime of republican self-government and liberty under law.”

Now, let’s go forth and celebrate together — eat hot dogs, jump in a pool, wave a flag, watch some fireworks. And this being the Lord’s Day, remember that the Bible influenced those who risked their lives to sign a Declaration of freedom and liberty that closed with this previously mentioned statement of faith:

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

I wish everyone a happy, safe, and blessed Independence Day. Amen!

Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. She is also Executive Director of www.SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to educating people about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.