Tradition says that on July 8, 1776, the Liberty Bell rang from the tower of Independence Hall, drawing Philadelphians to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
In 1751, the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered the Bell to mark the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges that gave religious liberties and political self-government to the people of Pennsylvania.
The Bell’s inscription is from Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.”
God commanded the Israelites to proclaim a Jubilee Year every 50 years. This verse instructs the Israelites to return to the property of their ancestors. At the beginning of the Jubilee Year, debts were wiped clean, and slaves were freed. The year marked a new beginning in the Promised Land, a new beginning free of debt, free of bondage. It was also a year that was holy and of rest. The people were free to eat what the land yielded spontaneously.
The Jubilee Year was an Old Testament look at the freedom that Jesus provides to those who trust in Him. He wipes away the debt they owe for their sins, death, and frees them from their bondage to this world. They are now free to rest in His saving work because Jesus paid for their sins.
In the 1800s, the Bell reached iconic status as the “Liberty Bell” and was used as the symbol for the abolitionist movement. In 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King participated in a wreath laying at the Liberty Bell.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty 2 Corinthians 3:17
As we celebrate America’s Independence today, may we reflect on the message that the Liberty Bell sends–Liberty to worship as we please, Liberty to self-govern, Liberty from slavery.
Father of Liberty, thank You for Your redeeming love, a love that provides for a new beginning through Jesus. Thank you that we live in a land of liberty founded upon Your principles. Father, we repent of our sins, and we ask for Your forgiveness. May Your people humble ourselves, repent, and call upon Your name. Heal America, Father. Restore Your land.