Ex 21:5-6 A Slave Forever 10/6/2002
#1. The Hebrew Servant (Ex 21:5-6, Rom 15:4, II Cor 5:17)
#2. The Suffering Servant (Zech 3:8, Isa 42:1-9, 52:13,53:11)
#3. Bought With a Price (I Cor 6:15-20)
Please open your Bibles to Exodus, chapter 12, verse 44 (2X). God commanded Moses to speak these words of the Law to the children of Israel. The laws God was laying down were Moral laws, and Ceremonial laws, and Civil laws for the government of the nation. Here in Ex 12:44 God speaks about the definition of a servant. That is the first thing we need to understand:
Exodus 12:44 But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
God speaks here about partaking of the Passover meal. Only slaves who have become part of the family were eligible to eat the Passover. Do you see the words, "bought for money"? Most of the time OT servants were not people who had paid jobs like servants today have, but they were slaves. They were unpaid servants. Please turn now to Exodus chapter 21, where we come across a few more laws concerning slaves. If God would speak about servants who are being paid for their jobs, then God speaks about "hired servants". The title of our sermon today is "A Slave Forever" (2X).
Exodus 21:1 ¶ Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.
Exodus 21:2-3 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.
Exodus 21:4 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.
Exodus 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 (2X).
Now this is a strange story. We would like to dig into that. But did you notice that this could only happen to a Hebrew slave. Please turn about 90 pages to your right, to Leviticus, chapter 25 and verse 39 (2X). God commanded to give Hebrew slaves some special privileges, which foreigners and hired servants did not have. But how did some of the Hebrews become slaves? We read in Lev 25:
Leviticus 25:39-40 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee:
Leviticus 25:41 And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
Leviticus 25:42 For they are MY servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen.
Why were the Hebrew servants special? It was because God said, "They are MY servants". They
were special, because God took the nation of Israel out of Egypt. The exodus out of Egypt was a grandiose picture of what salvation is. Moreover, the Hebrews were special because they have heard the Word of God. We can compare them with people today who have heard the Word of God.
#1. The Hebrew Servant (Ex 21:5-6, Rom 15:4, II Cor 5:17)
Exodus 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.
We can sense that there is a deeper spiritual meaning here. Why would God command such a painful ceremony for a slave who loves his Master? Let me read to you what Rom 15:4 says about it:
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
In other words, whatever things were written in the OT were written to us, living in the NT time, so that we through studying the Scriptures patiently, draw from it the comfort of our salvation and the hope of eternal life forever with God. How do we draw comfort out of this passage in Ex 21? What can we learn from this passage? Listen to what this slave says. What are his priorities? He loves his Master first and foremost. He loves his Master more than his wife and children. He does not desire to stay with this Master because his wife and children are staying. We have seen from Lev 25:41 that his wife and children are allowed to go out with him. But this slave loves his Master so much that not only he, but also his wife and children are kept in the possession of this Master. Moreover, he would lose the inheritance that his father has left him. Other people would say: "What has come over this man? Has he lost his mind?" In one sense, yes, he has lost his mind and has received a new mind.
The Bible says that everyone comes into the world with a dirty mind. We all were by nature children of the wrath of God, because we all were born as enemies of God and hating God's commandments from the day we were born. If we grow up in this mindset, we cannot understand why this slave would love his Master so much that he would not go back to the possessions that his father has left him. But the Bible says that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him". What has happened to this slave is that he has been "Born Again". He is not out of his mind. He has received a new mind. God says in II Cor 5:17,
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This slave loves his Master, Christ, so much that he gives up everything for the sake of serving Christ. How could this happen? God does not give this change of heart to every human being. Well, in the first place he was not an ordinary slave; he was special in the sight of God, because he was a Hebrew. Therefore, he has heard the Good News that the Lord His God has delivered an entire nation of Hebrew slaves out of the land of Egypt, which was the house of bondage, a picture of having been born in bondage to Sin and Satan. He came under the hearing of the Word of God.
In today's language, this man has heard that he was born in the house of bondage to Sin and Satan, but he also heard that the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross has paid for all his sins. Which means that Christ paid the price to deliver him out of the house of bondage and set him free. His gratitude for Christ is so great that he does not want to go free, but he wants to serve Christ forever.
Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John, chapter 10 (2X). The Hebrew slave in Ex 21:5 says he loves his Master; he does not want to go out free, which is a picture of someone who became "Born Again" and wants to serve Christ forever. But how did that happen? And what must I do to become "Born Again"? And why does his Master take him to the door?
Listen to this parable that the Lord Jesus told in John, chapter 10. We read here in John 10:7,
John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
We must believe the Bible literally. It is God speaking. But we must also use our minds when we read the Bible. When the Lord Jesus said, "I am the door" He did not mean that He was a piece of wood. He meant that He was the only entrance to salvation. There is no other entrance into eternal life. When Jesus said, "All that came before Me are thieves and robbers", He did not refer to every single human being who preached the Word of God. The OT Prophets who correctly pointed to Christ as the only hope of salvation are not included in these thieves and robbers. That word "all" must be understood within the context, and the context is: "But the sheep did not hear them". God gave the sheep grace and discernment to ignore the false prophets. And today, when someone says that you must depart out of your churches or else you cannot be saved, that man is a thief of sheep, a robber of the glory of God, and a perverter of the grace of God. The Bible is very clear on this. Salvation is given only by the grace of God, and it is not earned or deserved by departing out of your church.
When Jesus said in verse 9, "and shall go in and out", He did not mean that we can be saved and lose our salvation at our own will, and He did not mean that we can be in the faith and be a backslider whenever we want to, and He did not mean that we shall go into the church and depart out of the church at the whim and caprice of some spiritual leader. No! Look at the context. Jesus said, "and shall go in and out, and find pasture". This means through Christ we shall go into the Kingdom of God here on earth, and when our body dies we shall go out of the Kingdom of God on this earth and shall enter into God's eternal Kingdom in the life hereafter. We find good pasture in both places.
Literally Jesus said in verse 11, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his soul for the sheep". Here we see the intensity of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the cross He suffered in body and in soul for those He came to save. His sacrifice was a substitution for the penalty we would have to endure in paying for our sins. Since our penalty is the suffering in Hell for an eternity, both in body and in soul, the substitutionary suffering of Christ could not be any less than the equivalent of suffering for an eternity in a condition called Hell. Only this would satisfy the righteousness of God. This is the door to salvation. Christ crucified is the door.
Do you remember the parable of Ex 21? Please turn again to Exodus 21:6 (2X). Why did the Master, who represents Christ, bring the slave to the door? He brings him to the door to make him see Christ crucified and all the implications thereof. There hangs the man Christ Jesus, and whoever hangs on a tree is under the curse of God. But Christ is not only a man; He is also God the Judge who brought this sacrifice of Himself on behalf of sinful man; sinful man enslaved to Sin and Satan. Now look again at what Exodus 21:6, says:
Exodus 21:6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door.
Who are the judges? That word should not have been translated "judges" at all. That Hebrew word is "Elohim", which means God. Paraphrased, Ex 21:6 says, "Then Christ shall bring him to God, meaning Christ shall "present us to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that we should be holy and without blemish before Him", because at the cross He wiped out all the guilt of our sins. Then Christ shall also bring us to the door, and make us see the connection to John chapter 10 and make us understand the intensity of His suffering. And how will Christ carry this out? Look again at what Ex 21:6 says, "and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever". Why? What is the symbolism of this? We find in the NT:
Please turn to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, chapter 13 (2X). Amazingly, 16 times do we read in the NT that the Lord Jesus said, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear", or "If any man have an ear, let him hear". Why would Jesus say that? Well, we know and we see that everyone has physical ears, but not everyone can hear sounds. Some people are deaf because they were born that way. And so it is with spiritual things. Not everyone can hear spiritual things out of the Word of God. In fact, all people were born spiritually deaf, but through their lifetime some will begin to hear, while most people remain spiritually deaf. They will only hear what they want to hear. For example, why is it that some people will hear about the existence of Hell, and believe it, while others remain spiritually deaf to it? Well, they were born that way. It was not given to them that they would be able to hear spiritual things. God says in Prov 20:12, "The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them". God is responsible for some to be able to hear, and for many others to remain deaf. Let us listen to what God has to say in the last of the 16 times that we read in the NT, "If any man have an ear, let him hear", and let us listen to the context. We find this in Rev 13:8-9 (2X),
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Revelation 13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
This is the context in which we find this expression: There are people whose names have been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb, and there are others whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb. Since the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, all those for whom He has been slain as a substitutionary sacrifice have been written in that Book from the foundation of the world. The promise of Rev 13:8 is that all those, whose names were not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb, shall worship the Beast that comes out of the sea. That Beast is Satan. Do we understand that God speaks here about predestination? Are we willing to hear that? No! This is offensive to the natural man. What will God do to make us listen and believe His Word? This is what God will do. It was written for us 3500 years ago in Ex 21:6,
Exodus 21:6 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.
In other words, Christ will have to open our spiritual ears so that we can hear the Truth from the Word of God, and then we will believe it. This painful ceremony is a spiritual picture of Christ opening our spiritual ears. He does that by symbolically also piercing the Door, piercing Christ. It is because Christ was pierced that we have received the grace of hearing and believing His Word. And we shall serve Him forever. A true sign of salvation is that we want to give up everything we have for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God, and we want to serve Him forever. Have we then become perfect servants of God? O, No! There is no perfection on this side of the grave. Since we are talking about servants and slaves, let us not forget the one perfect Servant, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our example to follow. Is Christ then called a Servant? Well, in the OT Christ is called:
#2. The Suffering Servant (Zech 3:8, Isa 42:1-9, 52:13,53:11)
Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 42 (2X). While you look that up, let me remind you that two weeks ago we have discussed Zech 3:8, where God says, (Just listen.)
Zechariah 3:8 ¶ Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men of wonder: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
"The BRANCH" is another name for the Lord Jesus Christ. And there in Zech 3:8 Christ is called, "My Servant". Therefore, when we read about the Servant in Isa 42:1-9 we must see Christ.
Isaiah 42:1 ¶ Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put
My spirit upon Him: He shall
bring forth judgment to the
God speaks here about His Servant, Christ, and the word God chose for Servant is the same word used in Ex 21 for slave. Keep in mind that the title for the sermon today is "A Slave Forever". This title applies to the story in Ex 21:5-6, but it does not apply to Christ. He is definitely not a slave forever. God called Christ Mine Elect, because God elected the baby from the womb of Mary to be the body that God the Son adopted to come into this world. The Lord Jesus was the person in whom God delighted. On the Mount of Transfiguration the Father said: "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him". God's Holy Spirit rested on Him throughout His entire life. God demonstrated that at the time of Christ's baptism by John the Baptist. Christ was not born with original sin, and never committed He any sin. He who knew no sin became the perfect spotless Lamb of God to substitute for all those whom He came to save. "He shall bring forth judgment to the nations" means that He came to bring salvation to those who were elect of God, and to bring condemnation to those who remained enemies of God. Please turn about 8 pages to your right to Isa 52:13 (2X).
Isa 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Christ, as God's Servant here on earth, "shall deal prudently", which means He shall deal wisely. The Pharisees and the Sadducees tried to trap Him many times, but they were never successful. They did not realize that they were just creatures trying to be smarter than God who made them. It is as sinful as Satan trying to be smarter than God. Please turn to the next page, to Isa 53:11 (2X),
Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
What was "the travail of His Soul"? It was His suffering the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for our sins, while He was hanging on the cross. After that He died. How then shall He see of the travail of His soul? He shall see with His eyes the result of His atoning death on the cross. It means, God promised here the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. "He shall be satisfied". "By His knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many", which could be better translated, "by the knowledge of Him shall Christ justify many". This does not mean that Christ makes us morally perfect. But because of His suffering and His righteousness He makes us righteous in the eye of the Law, not referring to our moral improvement, but to imputed righteousness, or to accounted righteousness.
We looked at the Suffering Servant in the OT. In the NT Christ is called:
Please turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 10 (2X). You find Hebrews toward the end of your Bibles, in the last 5%. Here in Heb 10:5 the Lord Jesus said to the Father: "Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared for Me". Then Jesus said in verse 7,
Heb 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
Christ has been written about in the entire volume of the OT. And when He took the form of a
servant He said, "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God". Christ made Himself subject to the Father.
Please turn about 100 pages to your left, to Romans, chapter 15 (2X). You find Romans after Acts and before I Corinthians. Here, in Rom 15:3, we read that Christ as the perfect servant was not only pleasing the Father, but He was also serving us. He was our suffering servant also.
Romans 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
Our sins have insulted God; they have reproached God. When Christ came to this earth, our sins were imputed to Christ, with all the terrible consequences for Christ. He could not go back to heaven with such a record of sins on His name. He had to pay for those sins that which the Law required.
Please turn again about 100 pages to your left, to the Gospel according to John, chapter 6, and verse 38 (2X). Here in John 6:38 the Lord Jesus summed up His entire perfect life while He dwelt among men. It is this perfect life which is substituted for our life. Jesus said in John 6:38,
John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Christ chose to be a servant, perfectly of His own free will. That is why He is the unmatched perfect servant. How different was that from the first Adam. The first Adam was given the place of a servant in subjection to His Maker, but at the suggestion of Satan he rebelled against God.
Please turn about 20 pages to your left, to the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 22, verse 27 (2X). Here in Luke 22 there was strife among the disciples, which of them would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Christ. Then Jesus said to them in Luke 22:27,
Luke 22:27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at meat? But I am among you as he that serveth.
Christ says, "I am among you as He that serveth", which means that Christ was serving them.
Please turn to the Epistle to the Philippians, chapter 2. Remember: go eat popcorn. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians. Then turn to Philippians, chapter 2. There we see that Christ came from the place of highest authority, and He came to take the place of a lowly servant. We read:
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
How low did He stoop? The word "servant" in verse 7 is the Greek word "doulos", which means a slave. He came from the highest place possible, and He took the place of a slave, the lowest place on the social ladder. What an awesome condescension of God the Son to become a slave of men. He actually was our slave in bearing the guilt of our sins. The more we probe into the incarnation of Christ, and His subsequent atonement for our sins, the more we realize how little we actually understand how great this gift of salvation is. God became a man to serve us. The Almighty Creator of the universe could have solved the problem of sin by snuffing us out at any moment. But He chose to become the Servant of His creatures in bearing the guilt of their sins and to suffer for His creatures an awful suffering both in body and in soul. That is actually how we were:
#3. Bought With a Price (I Cor 6:15-20)
Please turn in your Bibles to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 6 (2X). In this chapter God is not afraid to name a number of specific sins. Paraphrased God says: Be not deceived. Anyone who is still enslaved to these sins cannot be a child of God. And then God singles out one from this list of sins: Sexual Immorality. He says beginning in I Cor 6:15 (2X),
1 Corinthians 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
1 Corinthians 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
1 Corinthians 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
We know that sexual immorality is one of the driving forces in this nation's entertainment industry. Think about that before you buy another movie ticket. It is also a major driving force in the cable TV industry, and in the Internet, and in the abortion industry, and in many other wicked things for which we have developed calluses over the past 70 years. But God says: Be not deceived. Either you are enslaved to these gross sins, or you have been bought with the price of Christ's blood. You cannot be both. And is that not also what our Heidelberg Catechism teaches us? Let me quote to you Q/A #1.
Q: What is your only comfort in life and death? A: That I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my Sin, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, wherefore by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready, henceforth to live unto Him.
Is that not a beautiful statement of faith? And yet there are people who despise these words from
the Catechism, and they are ready to throw their Heidelberg Catechism in the trash. But there were two things that this passage in I Cor 6 and this first Q/A from the Catechism bring out. The first is:
1 Corinthians 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Which means, one spirit with Christ. Do you remember the Hebrew slave in Ex 21:5-6 who had his ear pierced with an aul? This slave is a picture of each one of us who have become saved. God promised that each one of His elect shall be saved. Christ will send His Holy Spirit to each one of His elect to open their spiritual ears, not with an aul, but with something that is far more effective in opening spiritually deaf ears: It is the grace of God at the time of hearing the Bible, which is the Word of God. But the symbolism of the aul piercing the ear and the door at the same time is perfect. The moment we were pierced, we became saved and we were made one with the Door, which means we were made one with Christ in the Spirit. O, the joy of realizing this makes me sing the words of:
Philippians 1:21 ¶ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
You see, when we realize this we will live happily, and to die is gain. You cannot live happily until you realize that to die is gain. The second thing this passage in I Cor 6 brings out is:
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price.
We have learned that the whole body of believers is one temple of God. But by ourselves, we are also individually temples of God. It is the principle of a Synecdoche, where a part is representing the whole. I have written this difficult word on the board, in case you have missed it the previous times.
Likewise, all the believers are called the body of Christ, and individually we are called members of that one body with Christ. Remember the parable of the Vine and its branches in John chapter 15. God explains it again in I Cor 12, where He says in verse 12,
1 Corinthians 12:12 ¶ For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
So also is Christ one body with us. We are His fingers and His hands and feet and mouth. God has foreordained our good works, because He is working in us and through us. We read in verse 27,
1 Corinthians 12:27 ¶ Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Since Christ bought me with His precious blood, He will also preserve me and keep me in His presence forever. Therefore, we shall not only live happily as servants of the King of kings, but we shall also die happily. Our physical death is only a stepping-stone into a glorious eternity with Christ.
Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.