Did you notice that the tax man came a little later this year? Instead of our income tax returns being due on April 15, we all received a three-day extension, until April 18.
The reason seems to be there is a little known holiday, Emancipation Day, which is observed in the District of Columbia, every April 16. Because that fell this year on a Saturday, it was legally celebrated on Friday, April 15 and treated in D.C. as a federal holiday, for tax filing purposes.
The holiday marks the anniversary of the day, in 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, freeing about 3,100 slaves, who were living in the Federal District, and compensating their former owners. The following year, he would sign an “executive order,” the Emancipation Proclamation, giving freedom to over three million slaves.
It seems fitting that, this year, the observance of Lincoln’s freeing the D.C. slaves precedes the Jewish annual observance of Moses freeing the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, some 3,000 years ago.
The biblical account of the Exodus begins with a lamb being sacrificed for each Jewish home and its blood being applied to the doorposts and lentil on the entrance to each home. God’s Death Angel came that night and killed the first-born child in each home in Egypt. However, the angel “passed over” the homes where the blood of the lamb had been applied. The Jewish festival which “remembers” that special night is known as the Passover (Pesach).
The Egyptian Pharaoh relented and urged Moses and the Hebrew slaves to leave, in hopes the Hebrew God Jehovah would end the plagues/judgments, on the Egyptian people. But then, Pharaoh and his army pursued the Hebrews (and converts to their faith), who were miraculously saved, as they were able to cross the Red Sea on dry ground. Shortly afterwards, the Hebrews watched as Pharaoh and his army drowned, as the water-walls collapsed over them.
This Jewish “emancipation day” is a picture of Jesus’ sacrificial and substitutional death on the cross. The Hebrews’ miraculous deliverance from the enemy army pictures for us our emancipation from the slavery of Satan’s control and into the freedoms of God’s Kingdom!
Hallelujah! Let’s celebrate! “…if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed!”