Wade's Weekly Word

Today, June 19, America celebrates “Juneteenth.” It is a national holiday that marks the end of slavery following the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865 and has been celebrated by Black Americans for decades. Still, it wasn't until three years ago that it was recognized as a federal holiday.

Most Americans don’t have a clue what it means or why we celebrate it.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture reveals the history of “Juneteenth”: On “Freedom’s Eve,” or the eve of January 1, 1863, the first Watch Night services took place. On that night, enslaved and free Americans whose heritage was African, gathered in churches and private homes all across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect. At the stroke of midnight, prayers were answered as all enslaved people in Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the Emancipation Proclamation spreading the news of freedom in Confederate States. Only through the Thirteenth Amendment did emancipation end slavery throughout the United States.

But not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as "Juneteenth," by the newly freed people in Texas. 

To celebrate this victory of Republican abolition policies over the Democrat pro-slavery policies is "Juneteenth," the day Union Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 from his headquarters in Galveston, Texas, June 19, 1865, announcing: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves."

The majority of those celebrating the holiday today, both black and white, are Democrats. However, without “playing politics” here’s what is revealing - the Democrat Party has a long history of enslaving blacks.

Democrat Senator Jefferson Davis from Mississippi became the President of the Confederacy. He stated: "African slavery, as it exists in the United States, is a moral, a social, and a political blessing."

Democrat state legislatures passed Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, enforcing segregation, intimidating black voters, prohibiting blacks from learning to read and write, making it a crime for blacks to own weapons. Southern Democrats participated in the KKK.

The Republican Party was the first major political party to have abolition of slavery in its party platform, June 18, 1856: "This Convention of Delegates ... are opposed to ... the extension of Slavery into Free Territory ...

With our Republican fathers, we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons ...

... Our Republican fathers ... abolished Slavery in all our National Territory (with the Northwest Ordinance) ...

It becomes our duty to maintain this provision ... against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery ... We deny the authority of Congress ... to give legal existence to Slavery ...

It is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism—Polygamy, and Slavery."

A Republican, Abraham Lincoln stated in Springfield, Illinois, June 26, 1857: "Two weeks ago Judge Douglas spoke here on the ... Dred Scott decision ... He finds the Republicans insisting that the Declaration of Independence includes ALL men, black as well as white ... 

He boldly denies that it includes Negroes ... I protest against that ... Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, admits that the language of the Declaration is broad enough to include the whole human family, but he and Judge Douglas argue that the authors of that instrument did not intend to include Negroes ...

I think the authors of that noble instrument intended to include all men ... Dred Scott, his wife and two daughters were all involved in the suit ... Judge Douglas is delighted to have them decided to be slaves ...

How differently the respective courses of the Democratic and Republican parties ... Republicans inculcate ... that the Negro is a man; that his bondage is cruelly wrong ... Democrats deny his manhood; deny, or dwarf to insignificance, the wrong of his bondage; so far as possible, crush all sympathy for him, and cultivate and excite hatred and disgust against him."

In 1861, Lincoln became the first Republican to be elected President. 

In 1863, after the Battle of Gettysburg, Republican President Lincoln met with his cabinet to draft the Emancipation Proclamation. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Portland Chase recorded Lincoln declaring: "When asked what he meant, Lincoln replied: 'I made a solemn vow before God, that if General Lee were driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves.'" 

The Emancipation Proclamation stated: "I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief ... do, on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three ... publicly proclaim ... that ... persons held as slaves ... are, and henceforward shall be, free ...”

Whether black or white, red or yellow, Republican or Democrat, American or any other nationality, outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, human existence is characterized as bondage - bondage to the law, bondage to the demonic elements dominating the world, bondage to sin, the flesh, and the devil. God sent his Son into the world to shatter the dominion of these slave holders.

When one bows to own Christ as His Master and savior, God sends his Spirit into the hearts of believers to awaken them to new life and liberation in Christ.

God's design for the Christian is freedom. His method for securing our freedom is truth. However, truth is not just informational facts or propositional truths, but Personal Truth as found only in the person of His Son - Jesus Christ - who is The Truth! Jesus said in John 8:32, “You shall know The Truth and The Truth shall make you free!”

Freedom is a life centered in Christ, controlled by the truth of His Word, motivated by agape love, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Everything About the Gospel is Freedom! And everything and every person who hasn’t received the gospel’s provision in Christ alone, is a slave to sin, self, and Satan.

There’s a story told from Civil War days before America's slaves were freed, about a northerner who went to a slave auction and purchased a young slave girl. As they walked away from the auction, the man turned to the girl and told her, "You're free." With amazement she responded, "You mean, I'm free to do whatever I want?" "Yes," he said. "And to say whatever I want to say?" "Yes, anything." "And to be whatever I want to be?" "Yep." "And even go wherever I want to go?" "Yes, you're free to go wherever you'd like." She looked at him intently and said, "Then I will go with you." That’s what gospel freedom compels believers to do – gladly go with Christ and become his bondslave. That’s gospel truth! This truth alone will set any person, anywhere, anytime – FREE INDEED!






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