Jubilee of All Jubilees
When we break God's law we become slaves to sin and the consequence are unavoidable. The Bible says that all have sinned therefore all of humanity are slaves to sin. Our spiritual captivity prevents us from receiving our inheritance - eternal life. Fortunately God has a plan to redeem us from the yoke of slavery.
Adam and Eve rejected the truth of God when they put their faith in Satan's lie. They trusted their own judgment which led them to sin. Their sin cost humanity its freedom. They subjected all who followed to spiritual slavery, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant (slave) of sin.” (John 8:34) and ultimately death,“Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”(Romans 5:12).
Because of their sin human nature became a mixture of good and evil. That change severed their relationship with God and cut us all off from the inheritance of eternal life that God had prepared for us.
God's Plan Revealed
About four thousand years ago God revealed the future of all families of the earth through one family whom He chose. That was the family of Abram, also know as Abraham,“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3).
Significantly Abraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldees from an area in Mesopotamia later known as Babylon.
Because he obeyed God Abraham was promised an inheritance for his family. It was a two part promise, the first part physical and the second part spiritual:
- God promised Abraham that those who descended from him would become a great nation, and,
- that all the families of the world would be blessed through one of those descendants in particular.
One promise was to take immediately effect as his family began to increase, and to inherit the promised land some 400 years later, the other promise was not to come into effect until the coming of Christ the Messiah.
Salvation from Physical Slavery
When Abraham’s grandson Jacob took the family down into Egypt (Genesis 46) he unwittingly subjected them to slavery under the Egyptians. They started out as welcomed guests but when they started to outnumber their hosts (Exodus 1:8-9) the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites (verse 11) and forced them working in miserable conditions (verse 13-14). While in slavery their inheritance (land and nationhood) was temporarily out of reach.
It was from this slavery that God had Abraham's family released. At Mount Sinai God drew up a covenant under which He became their protector and provider, and restored their inheritance in return for their obedience. That inheritance including nationhood, land and the prosperity that had been promised through Abraham for his family over four hundred years earlier was completely fulfilled, “There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:45). It was a physical inheritance.
Through the physical enactment of this one family being redeemed from slavery and restored to their inheritance, God demonstrated what He is going to achieve for all families of the earth according to that promise He made to Abraham, “...and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3).
Salvation from Spiritual Slavery
Through one of Abraham’s descendents, Jesus Christ, all families of the world will be blessed as they are restored to their inheritance which is to become part of the very family of God for all eternity. This is a spiritual inheritance for all humanity, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16).
We are the heirs of that salvation, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14 ).
This is the true birthright of all human beings who are the heirs of salvation – to become sons and daughters of God in His Kingdom,“But as many as received him (Jesus Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12). This is the inheritance to which all families of the earth are to be restored.
Shadows of Things to Come
Through ceremonies, rituals and laws incorporated in the culture of ancient Israel God had them act out various aspects of His plan of salvation, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things,” (Hebrews 10:1).
The laws were shadows of what was to come. They portrayed future events and outcomes. Some of those shadows have already transpired into reality. For example many of the ancient ceremonies pointed toward a Messiah, or saviour who through the sacrifice of his own life would open up the way for mankind to be reconciled to God so they can receive their inheritance. His sacrifice fulfilled those laws – he became the substance of the shadows, but not all the shadows have been fulfilled, there more to come.
He goes on to explain that the sacrifices became redundant once Christ was sacrificed, “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:9-10). Other laws regarding the priesthood were superseded when Christ became our high priest (Hebrews 7:18-28)
One law that foreshadowed future outcomes was that of the Jubilee. From the beginning of his creation man was instructed to set aside every seventh day for worship. That day was called the Sabbath. It was a time to rest from their labours and to focus on their creator. But when God set up Israel as an example to the world they were also required to set aside every seventh year as a Sabbatical year and after seven such Sabbatical years, which totalled 49, came the 50th year, or Jubilee.
In the year of the Jubilee slaves were freed, indentured workers released and landsthat had been 'sold' returned to their owners. So throughout their generations they were meant to re-enact this liberation from slavery, “...ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you:” (Leviticus 25:10-11).
The proclamation of liberty meant that everyone could return to the land which was their inheritance. Lives and land were redeemed. This is where the word redemption comes from. After they were redeemed they entered a year of rest in which they did no servile work. They did not till the land that God had given them, nor sow it, nor reap it. It represented God’s Kingdom and eternal life, “ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.” (Leviticus 25:11-13).
There is no actual record of the Israelites ever actually keeping a Jubilee. Maybe their span of obedience did not last long enough at any one time to keep a jubilee before it was lost from sight, or they just lost sight of what it portrayed.
But it was part of the Old Testament law and its future significance can be seen when looking at a prophecy by Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
- To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, or jubilee. The acceptable year of the LORD is when Christ came in the flesh to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God and to prepare the way for mankind to be released from spiritual captivity.
- and the day of vengeance of our God. The Day of Vengeance of our God’ is none other than the Day of the Lord which will occur when Christ returns with his saints to this earth at the end of this age – at which time the first fruits of the saints will receive their inheritance.
Look at the language involved in the first event:
- to preach the good tidings – good news – the gospel to the meek.
- To comfort all that mourn.
- To bind up the broken hearted or poor in spirit and
- To proclaim liberty to the captives releasing them from their imprisonment.
Compare that with Christ's own words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3-10).
The Greek word translated as ‘poor in spirit’ implies the absolute and abject poverty of one who has nothing. The wealth, power and status of this world has no true value and cannot save man from the eternal death. The poor in spirit are those who come to see their own spiritual poverty. By turning to God they can receive the Holy Spirit that leads them to salvation.
Acceptable Year of the Lord
What did Christ say at the beginning of his public Ministry in the synagogue on the Sabbath in Nazareth,“... And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord…And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:17-21). Notice that after mentioning the first event that is recorded in Isaiah 61 he stops - because he had only come at that time to fulfil the first event.
He was going to come again to fulfil the second event - two thousand years later! Remember the law was a shadow of things to come, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things.” (Hebrews 10:1). Everything portrayed by the law and prophets is to be fulfilled – the enactment of the Jubilee is to be substantiated (fulfilled), “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18).
The law of the sacrifice along with all those ceremonial laws and rituals that pointed to Christ’s first coming were fulfilled – he was the substance of the shadow. After he was sacrificed the temple was destroyed and the sacrifices that foreshadowed his death ceased because they had been fulfilled.
But those events that will occur at his second coming have not yet been fulfilled, i.e. the 10 commandments are a shadow that portrays the righteousness that will become inherent in mankind once they have been glorified in the righteousness of God - once they have been resurrected to spirit. The law is a shadow of things to come. What the law depicts – man will become!
When Christ visited two thousand years ago He preached the gospel to the poor. “…went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 4:23).
He healed the sick, “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5).
And preached the good news, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14).
Day of Wrath
That was part of his ministry on his first visit – his second visit is what we are waiting for, “…the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;’ when God ‘will render to every man according to his deeds:” (Romans 2:5-6 ).
Here we see again the compounding of two events into one statement.
- “the day of wrath” which is the “day of the Lord” when he is dealing with those who resist his return, and
- “revelation of the righteous judgment of God” it is a time from that point through to the end during which Christ rules and everyone who has ever lived is given a chance of salvation.
He is talking about the reward at the end of this age when Christ returns – then comes the end, “and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:2-3).
It is the end when Christ will deliver his kingdom up to the Father, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:22-28).
Again compare this with - Matthew 5:3-10, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Particularly notice verse 12, “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:” This is the oil of joy for mourning. Those rewards are incredible. This is what the Jubilee foreshadows
Christ came to this earth 2000 years ago to preach about the coming Jubilee, or acceptable year of the Lord. That ancient ceremony foreshadowed a great event. God had set apart one family from all the other families of the world to demonstrate what He had in store for them. The Jubilee was an enactment the plan of salvation. It was about redemption. The redemption of mankind from spiritual slavery so they can receive their spiritual inheritance.
Christ was the one of that family, through whom all families of the earth will be blessed, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3).
That blessing is for us to be reconciled to God so we, the families of this world, can receive our spiritual inheritance which to become sons and daughters of God and to exist for all eternity in His Kingdom. Through Christ that yoke of slavery will be lifted and when mankind is redeemed from spiritual slavery we will witness the greatest jubilee of all jubilees.