An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 143 of 270
New Testament words are apoluo, 'to loose away' (Luke 6:37); charizomai, 'to
be gracious to' (Eph. 4:32); aphesis and aphiemi, 'to send or let off or
away'.  The word used in Ephesians 1:7 is aphesis, 'a discharge', 'a setting
free as of a prisoner', 'the putting away as of a wife' (Exod. 18:2 LXX), or
the 'remission of a debt' (Deut. 15:2 LXX).  In the New Testament aphesis
speaks of (1) the remission or forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:22;
Acts 26:18, etc.), and (2) deliverance, or setting at liberty of captives
(Luke 4:18).
Aphiemi from which aphesis is derived, has a greater variety of
renderings and usages.  Perhaps the most primitive of these usages is where
it is translated 'cry' (Mark 15:37) and 'yield up' (Matt. 27:50), the idea of
sending forth being uppermost.  Aphesis occurs many times in the LXX, and its
usage in the twenty -fifth chapter of Leviticus gives the Scriptural
colouring to every one of its occurrences.  The great theme of this chapter
is 'the Jubilee'.  'And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim
liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be
a jubilee (LXX a year of release) unto you: and ye shall return every man
unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family' (25:10).
Aphesis occurs fourteen times in this chapter, where it is usually equivalent
to the word Jubilee in the Authorized Version.  Land might be sold as a
temporary measure against need, but at the Jubilee, if not redeemed before,
it reverted to its owner.  An Israelite who became a hired servant might
serve until the year of Jubilee, but no longer, and at the year of release he
returned to his family and his possessions.  A Hebrew sold to a foreign
resident could be redeemed at any time, but at the Jubilee, under all
circumstances, he had to be set free.  Josephus states in his Antiquities,
that 'debtors are freed from their debt', which the reader will readily
associate with the clause concerning forgiveness in the Lord's Prayer.  The
better to appreciate what this 'forgiveness' of Ephesians 1:7 embraces, we
must acquaint ourselves with some features of the manumission of slaves that
were customary during the period prior to and during apostolic times.
Manumission obviously means, literally 'to send from the hand', where the
'hand' indicates the master, just as 'the soul' and 'the body' often indicate
the slave.  North, in his Plutarch speaks of the act of Valerius, who,
desiring to recompense the bondman Vindicius for his services, 'caused him
not only to be manumissed by the whole grant of the people, but made him a
free man of the city besides'.  The force of many passages in the New
Testament is blunted because the word doulos is mostly translated 'servant',
whereas it means a bond -servant or 'slave'.  The principal means of
enlightening us today as to the nature and ritual of manumission, comes from
the inscriptions at Delphi:
'Among the various ways in which the manumission of a slave could take
place by ancient law, we find the solemn rite and fictitious purchase
of the slave by some divinity.  The owner comes with the slave to the
temple, sells him there to the god, and receives the purchase money
from the temple treasury, the slave having previously paid it in there
out of his savings.  The slave is now the property of the god; not,
however, a slave of the temple, but a prot,g, of the god.  Against all
the world, especially his former master, he is a completely free man;
at the utmost a few pious obligations to his old master are imposed
upon him'.
The form in which this manumission was recorded followed a traditional
pattern of which the following is a fair sample: