The Remission of Debts

Deuteronomy 15:1-23

Every seven years the sons of Israel were to grant a remission of debts , not exacting what is owed from his neighbor and his brother because the Lord has given them remission. The sons of Israel were to freely give to the poor and needy without regard to the nearness of the seventh year, the year of remission, for the Lord promises a blessing if they give but considers it sin if they do not. The Lord allows poor to be in the land as a test. All Hebrew slaves are to be released from service in the seventh year and are to be provided well at their release; however, they may stay, not by coercion, but if it is their desire and an awl shall pierce their ear into the door and they shall serve that household forever. They shall not think it difficult to set a Hebrew slave free. Once a year, all the first born of the herd and flock were to be eaten before the Lord their God in the place that he chooses; however, if it has a defect, it shall not be sacrificed to the Lord but can be eaten at home.

Every seventh-day the sons of Israel were to rest from all of their labors and every seventh-year they were to release all debts and all Hebrew slaves. The sons of Israel were to have giving hearts and take care of the poor among them. The slavery in Israel was not to be a type of slavery in which a man is coerced into slavery but  a type in which he could work and eat during a difficult time. The main theme in this passage is giving; giving funds to the poor and giving work to the needy. However, debts could not be permanent, nor could slavery; this prevented evil men from abusing his neighbor and brother. 

These laws regarding the seventh-year, are thought of as civil law, by those who partition the law into moral, civil and ceremonial law. They believe that the civil and ceremonial law is done away in Christ, but the moral law is binding for the Christian. They use the words of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 5:19, as a proof text that the moral law is binding for the Christian; however, they assume that Jesus partitioned the law as they do, and meant the laws that they consider moral law, and not the civil and ceremonial laws. Here is the problem, Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets (The Old Testament) but to fulfill. (Mt 5:17) One of Jesus’ first sermons was in his hometown of Nazareth, he read Isaiah 61:1-2 in their synagogue on the Sabbath (seventh-day).

“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” (Lk 4:18-19)

After closing the book, Jesus gave it back to the attendant and sat down (the position of a Jewish teacher) and everyone waited for him to speak. Jesus said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus came announcing the sabbatical year, but this announcement was not for the Jew only, but for the gentile also, and this enraged the people in the synagogue. (Lk 4:20-30) The law cannot be partitioned, because it is one law, and Jesus came to fulfill the whole law. “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt 7:12)

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