Daily Tidbits 1/15/12 – Abraham Lincoln & Slavery

The predominating theme of Abraham Lincoln‘s life and Presidency was the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in America.

Much has been written about Lincoln and his beliefs but his fruits display a picture of a man who believed in God from youth but did not come to know Him until his son Willie died.

In the PBS documentary called God in America part 3: A Nation Reborn, the account of the death of Lincoln’s son is said to be the turning point in his life as a believer.  Lincoln came to know Christ and felt that he was raised up to end slavery which was a scourge from the Almighty for the sin of slavery in this country founded by men who believed and wrote in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal.’

“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” {Abraham Lincoln 3/30/1863}

Lincoln said regarding the framers of the Declaration of Independence: “These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures.  Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.” {Speech at Lewistown, Illinois, on August 17, 1858}

Following is an excerpt from the PBS documentary which paints the picture of Lincoln and his belief that He was being used by the Almighty:

NARRATOR: Then in February 1862, death visited the White House itself. Lincoln’s third and favorite son, Willie, died of typhoid fever. He was just 11 years old. Lincoln found a measure of consolation in the eulogy delivered by a Presbyterian minister, Phineas Gurley, at Willie’s funeral.

Rev. PHINEAS GURLEY: What we need in the hour of trial, and what we should seek by earnest prayer, is confidence in Him who sees the end from the beginning and doeth all things well. Let us acknowledge his hand and hear his voice and inquire after his will and seek his holy spirit as our counselor and guide, and all, in the end, will be well.

RONALD C. WHITE, Jr.: There’s no facile explanation as to why Willie might be better off in heaven. There’s none of that in this sermon. There’s this recognition of the mystery of God’s dealings, but there’s also the affirmation of the comfort God at times of loss. The comfort is in a loving God, a God who cares for us.

NARRATOR: Lincoln asked for a copy of Reverend Gurley’s eulogy.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: “What we need in the hour of trial, and what we should seek by earnest prayer, is confidence in him who sees the end from the beginning and doeth all things well.”

RONALD C. WHITE, Jr.: This sermon is a real pivotal moment in Lincoln’s life. Your son has died. You listen to this sermon. This pastor comes into the White House and suggests to you that you need to trust in a loving God with personality, who acts in history.

NARRATOR: A few months after his son’s death, Lincoln began to re-examine his relationship with God.

RONALD C. WHITE, Jr.: It was untitled and undated. It’s on a little slip of paper, lined paper. This is something Lincoln never expected any of us to ever see. He was not about to publish this. This was his own private musing and reflection.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The will of God prevails.

ALLEN C. GUELZO: Lincoln is working out on paper his own problem, his own difficulty. This is Lincoln’s own agony and sweat over the ultimate question, “What is the will of God in this crisis?”

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: In great contests, each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true, that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet, by his mere quiet power on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun, he could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.

JOSHUA WOLF SHENK: Lincoln is considering this epic and awful idea that the master of order and goodness is actually in favor, in some way, of the carnage and suffering because of some larger end. Lincoln’s mind is turned towards that question, “Out of this affliction, what good might come?”

NARRATOR: Lincoln determined that he must act.

ALLEN C. GUELZO: There must be something new and novel that God is interjecting here. God is doing something new in this war. What could that new thing be? Ah! Emancipation!

NARRATOR: In September 1862, the president called his cabinet together. Southern troops had been defeated after a fierce battle at Antietam Creek. It was a divine signal, he said, for him to issue a proclamation abolishing slavery in the rebellious states.

ALLEN C. GUELZO: It was so astounding that one member of his Cabinet actually asked him to repeat himself because he was sure he hadn’t heard it right.

NARRATOR: “God,” Lincoln declared, “had decided this question in favor of the slaves.”

RONALD C. WHITE, Jr., Historian: “I have been told by God to free these slaves.”

NARRATOR: On January 1st, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law, freeing slaves in the rebel states.

MARGARET WASHINGTON: “Jehovah has triumphed. His people are free.” This was indeed the coming of the Lord.  {The documentary begins speaking about the song now known as the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ and the imagery of the return of the Messiah.}

DAVID W. BLIGHT, Yale University: This was a religious moment. This was a moment to be experienced in biblical time, in religious time, in spiritual time. It was an event for the soul.

MARGARET WASHINGTON: “If we are right,” says Lincoln, “and if what we are doing is good in the sight of God, then we have to carry it through to its fruition because in the process of making African-Americans free, we are freeing ourselves. And once we free ourselves, then we can begin again.”

NARRATOR: The president articulated his new understanding of the war in November 1863 at the dedication of a cemetery for Union soldiers lost at Gettysburg.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

CYNTHIA LYNN LYERLY: Lincoln asks Americans who have suffered so much, and who are going to continue to suffer – he knows this – to re-conceptualize this massive death, like a minister might, to understand this in a theological way as redemptive bloodshed, like Christ’s redemptive bloodshed. The sacrifice, is going to be for a new birth of freedom which will be for all citizens in America.

DAVID W. BLIGHT: He has changed the very aim and purpose of the war. He has given it this holy quality now. It is now for a redefinition of human freedom.

NARRATOR: After four grueling years of war and 600,000 dead, by the spring of 1865, the North had prevailed.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes.

ALLEN C. GUELZO: Lincoln had no incentive, much less mandate, for talking about God in the second inaugural. If you look at the preceding 15 presidents’ worth of inaugural addresses, God makes nothing more than a perfunctory appearance. All that changes with Lincoln’s second inaugural.

NARRATOR: The war, Lincoln had come to believe, was God’s punishment of the entire nation for 250 years of slavery.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said, the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  {Psalm 19:9}

Psa 19:7  The Law of Jehovah is perfect, converting the soul. The Testimony of Jehovah is sure, making the simple wise.
Psa 19:8  The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart. The commands of Jehovah are pure, giving light to the eyes.
Psa 19:9  The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of Jehovah are true, they are righteous altogether.
Psa 19:10  They are more precious than gold, even much fine gold, and sweeter than honey and drops from the honeycomb.

STEPHEN PROTHERO: The second inaugural goes back to the first Americans, who understood they were in this relationship with God, where God would bless them if they did good and God would punish them if they did bad, and where they wouldn’t really know what God exactly was doing and they would try their best to be on the side of God and righteousness and justice. And that’s what he’s expressing.

NARRATOR: The crowd was mostly silent throughout Lincoln’s address until halfway through, when African-Americans in the audience began to repeat “Bless the Lord” after each sentence.  {Psalm 135:19-20}

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.

NARRATOR: Lincoln was shot on Good Friday, six weeks after his second inaugural address. That Easter Sunday, Northern ministers eulogized their fallen leader.

RONALD C. WHITE, Jr.: Ministers, pastors, preachers across the land quickly began to interpret Lincoln’s death. And they interpreted his death as, in Christian language, an atonement, that he had died for the nation’s sins, that his blood was a kind of offering. He was almost the last casualty of the Civil War.

NARRATOR: “The grave cannot hold him, and he is risen!” a Boston minister declared. “He was the well beloved Son of God.”

RANDALL M. MILLER, Historian: Lincoln’s assassination acquired very rapidly religious meaning. Lincoln was now to be lifted up through the clouds by the angels to sit at the side of God.

NARRATOR: “Jesus Christ died for the world,” a preacher in Hartford proclaimed. “Abraham Lincoln died for his country.”

STEPHEN PROTHERO: God’s righteous anger was called down upon the country. God sent this horrible conflagration to punish us for the sin of slavery. We deserve more punishment than we got, but Lincoln, like Christ, took the sin of slavery onto his own body and onto his own person.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS: It may be the blood of our beloved martyred President will be the salvation of our country. Though Abraham Lincoln dies, the Republic lives.

STEPHEN PROTHERO: From the very beginning, from the Puritans and the Pilgrims on, we’re trying to figure out what the national religious story is, and Lincoln gives voice to that. He articulates our sense of chosen-ness, but he also articulates the fact that we have not achieved what we should have achieved. The freedoms that we should be manifesting are always out in front of us.

Interestingly, Thanksgiving was proclaimed as a national holiday after the north and south came back together as one nation.  The Scriptures speak of the northern tribes and the southern tribes of Israel coming back together as a time of Thanksgiving as well.

Jer 30:18  Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.
Jer 30:19  And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.

Isa 51:3  For Jehovah comforts Zion. He comforts all her desolations, and He makes her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness shall be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of singing praise.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.”
Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863.


The story of Lincoln’s life is portrayed in the meaning of his name.  Abraham means the ‘father of a multitude’ (Genesis 17:5).  Lincoln has multiple meanings.

Lincoln traces back to a Brythonic word ‘lindo’ meaning a lake or pool which traces has the same meaning as the English word ‘linden’ speaking of a tree by rivers of waters.  Lincoln also links back to the Latin word ‘colonia’ from whence comes the English word ‘colony.’

The (linden) tree by the rivers of waters is a picture of the tree of life:
Psa 1:2  But his delight is only in the Law of Jehovah, and he meditates in His Law day and night.
Psa 1:3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivulets of waters, which will give its fruit in its seasons, and its leaf will not wither, and all which he does will prosper.
Rev 22:2  In the midst of its street and of the river, from here and from there, was a tree of life producing twelve fruits: according to one month each yielding its fruit. And the leaves of the tree were for healing of the nations.
Rev 22:3  And every curse will no longer be. And the throne of God and the Lamb will be in it; and His slaves will serve Him.

Papyrus sheets were glued together to form scrolls in ancient times from tree bark such as lime (Latin liber).

Lime is an altered form of Middle English lind, in the 16th century also line, from Old English feminine lind or linde, Proto-Germanic *lendā, cognate to Latin lentus “flexible” and Sanskrit latā “liana”. Within Germanic languages, English lithe, German lind “lenient, yielding” are from the same root.

Linden was originally the adjective, “made from lime-wood” (equivalent to “wooden”), from the late 16th century “linden” was also used as a noun, probably influenced by translations of German romance, as an adoption of Linden, the plural of German Linde.  Neither the name nor the tree is related to the citrus fruit called “lime” (Citrus aurantifolia, family Rutaceae).

The Linden tree in Scripture:

The following passage of Scripture is speaking of the remnant of Israel, the olive tree who are in the image and likeness of Messiah.

King James Version
Isa 6:13  But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree (אלה ‘elah’ – linden), and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

teil tree: The teil-tree is the linden or lime-tree, a species very common in Palestine; the leaf of which resembles that of the laurel, and its flower that of the olive. But the original ailah which our translators render the oak (but here distinguished from allon the oak)

Keil & Delitszch speak of the linen and oak as ‘fitting symbols of Israel, on account of their peculiar facility for springing up again from the root (like the beech and nut, for example), even when they had been completely felled.’

“The root-stump was the remnant that had survived the judgment, and this remnant would become a seed, out of which a new Israel would spring up after the old had been destroyed  (Matthew 3:10). Thus in a few weighty words is the way sketched out, which God would henceforth take with His people. The passage contains an outline of the history of Israel to the end of time. Israel as a nation was indestructible, by virtue of the promise of God; but the mass of the people were doomed to destruction through the judicial sentence of God, and only a remnant, which would be converted, would perpetuate the nationality of Israel, and inherit the glorious future. This law of a blessing sunk in the depths of the curse actually inflicted, still prevails in the history of the Jews. The way of salvation is open to all. Individuals find it, and give us a presentiment of what might be and is to be; but the great mass are hopelessly lost, and only when they have been swept away will a holy seed, saved by the covenant-keeping God, grow up into a new and holy Israel, which, according to Isa_27:6, will fill the earth with its fruits, or, as the apostle expresses it in Rom_11:12, become “the riches of the Gentiles.”

The word for teil tree/linden tree in Hebrew is אלה ‘elah’ which comes from the root אל ‘el’ which is commonly translated as God.

The Scrolls were held together by lime/linden trees.  This is seen in creation as well.  It is Messiah who is holding all things together (Colossians 1:17).

Col 1:17  And He is before all things, and all things have subsisted (συνέστηκε ‘sunesteke’ – consist, stand) in Him.

In Latin Liber means a book, bark of a tree, treatise, letter
from Latin, in original sense: tree bark

Liber is also a rare name for “phloem”

A tissue in vascular plants that conducts food from the leaves and other photosynthetic tissues to other plant parts.

In vascular plants, phloem is the living tissue that carries organic nutrients (known as photosynthate), particularly sucrose, a sugar, to all parts of the plant where needed. In trees, the phloem is the innermost layer of the bark, hence the name, derived from the Greek word φλόος (phloos) “bark”. The phloem is concerned mainly with the transport of soluble organic material made during photosynthesis. This is called translocation.

Interestingly, when looking at the cross section of a tree from the the tilia genus (such as the linden tree mentioned above), it is seen that it is divided into 7 sections…just like the Menorah

The Menorah = the Word = the Tree of Life = the Olive Tree = the Body of Messiah…

The other word from whence Lincoln derives is ‘colonia.’  The English word ‘colony’ traces back to this Latin word ‘colonia’ which traces back further to the Hebrew word גלגל ‘galgal’ which literally means a wheel but also has the meaning of a boundary around a parcel of land, hence a ‘colony.’

This word has an amazing connection to the Word.  גלגל ‘galgal’ has the numerical equivalent of 66, which is how many books are in the Bible.  The Menorah, which is a picture of His body is divided into 66.

Exo 25:33  three almond like calyxes on the one branch with knob and blossom; and three almond like calyxes on the one branch with knob and blossom, so for the six branches, those going out from the lampstand.

The following is from Richard McGough’s work on the Bible Wheel:

3×6+4=22…corresponding to the 22 Hebrew letters.

Each side branch has three sets of three items – three bowls, each with a “knop” and a “flower.” The central branch has four sets of the same three items. Thus, the numerical arrangement of these decorations follow a symmetric pattern on the seven branches:

9 + 9 + 9 + 12 + 9 + 9 + 9

The number of these “decorations” sums to 66, the number of books in the Bible. Furthermore, the sum subdivides into the sum of the first four (9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 12 = 39) and the last three (9 + 9 + 9 = 27) to give the number of books in the Old and New Testaments. Putting it all together, we see that the Bible and the Menorah have a large set of structural numbers in common:

  • 7 Branches [Canonical Divisions] symmetrically displayed
  • 3 Branches [Canonical Divisions] are paired, with one set apart.
  • 22 Bowls [Hebrew Letters]
  • 66 Decorations [Books] that subdivide into groups of 39 and 27

The divine integration is astounding. The Number 22 – the Number that unites the entire body of Scripture – is also the value of the fundamental Hebrew word Yachad (Yachad, Unite) used in Psalm 86, Yet there is more, the phrase “unite my heart” is numerically equivalent for the Hebrew

word for the Wheel, Gilgal. We have a pair of identities:

Unite My Heart!picYached Levavi = 66 =  galgal (Galgal, Wheel)

The triliteral root common to the two words rolled and Gilgal is galal () which expresses the idea of something round, circular, or rolling. It is the root of the word Galilee, the region of the Lord’s earthly ministry, so called because it consisted of a circuit (galeel ) of cities on the furthest outreaches of the Israeli kingdom. This root also gives rise to megillah () denoting a scroll, or roll of a book. The prophet Zechariah used this word when he wrote, “Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll ().” Likewise, it is used in Psalm 40, the prophetic Psalm of the Lord’s first advent, where we read: “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume () of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

All of these ideas come together in the meaning of the root pic (Galah, S# H1540) which is various translated as uncovered, discovered, opened, or revealed. It is used in Isaiah 53.1 “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” This is the Hebrew root – the root of the word Revelation – that governs the overall structure of Scripture!

The name of the place where the Lord was crucified is the Aramaic3 Gulgoltha ()  which became Golgotha () in Greek. It arose from galal through the Hebrew word for a skullgulgoluth (), so called because of its round form.

The name of the place where the Lord was crucified, therefore, differs from the Hebrew word denoting a wheel, galgal (), by the addition of two letters, the Aleph () and the Tav (). These are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet that govern the overall structure of God’s Wheel. They correspond to the Greek Alpha and Omega, by which the Lord God identified himself, saying, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Related Studies:

Daily Tidbits 2/12 – Abraham Lincoln

The Presidents Code – Abraham Lincoln




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