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The Year of Jubilee
You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month — on the Day of Atonement — you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. (Leviticus 25:8-10)
Every seventh year in faithful Israel was to be a sabbath year, when the land would lay fallow, debts would be forgiven, and slaves would be released. Every seven sevens of years was even more special, demanding far more from the hearts of the Israelites than even the sabbath years. That monumental time in the life of Israel was the Year of Jubilee. We know very little how it (or even the sabbath years) would actually affect a people, because old Israel always found some way around the righteous requirement of the law, but it is very dear to our Father’s heart. There will be a people who keep this command and who do so because they take on His heart.
The land in modern Israel can now be “sold” to someone else for the Sabbath year for a token amount of money, and then bought back after the year is over. This allows them to still benefit from the produce of the land without “breaking the Law” by farming it themselves. They get around the Law in that way, which is to say they get around trusting our Father in that way. Keeping the Law and trusting our Father is the same thing. There are two other things that go together, also.
Love and Justice Go Together
In Leviticus 25:10, God Most High commanded that the trumpet would be blown in all the land when the fiftieth year, the year of Jubilee, had come. The fiftieth year was to have been a time to restore the way our Father called Israel to live. God commanded that all land be restored to its original owners in Leviticus 25:10.
There is no such command anywhere in the world.
All the buying and selling of the previous forty-nine years was to be undone. At the Year of Jubilee, all the land was to return to the families Yahweh had given it to when Israel conquered their land. Doubly so was it the Promised Land — promised to Abraham in Genesis 15:18, and promised again to the individual families when Joshua divided the land. Israel never understood how close the two promises were in our Father’s heart.
No other religion of men has dared to address the hold that possessions and lands have on men’s souls. Indeed, they cannot, since all prosperous religions depend on the good will of rich and powerful men. They could only obey such a radical set of commands as Yahweh gives in Leviticus 25 if they actually believed in Him.
Our Father commanded that they forgive all debts from their brothers. All those born into slavery or sold into it must be freed.1 He proclaimed liberty to all in the moving words, “Each of you shall return to his family.”
Above all else, the fiftieth year was a time to remember the One to whom the land belonged. This is why He said they could not sell the land permanently to anyone.
The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you are but aliens and My tenants. (Leviticus 25:23)
What a celebration that would be! This is the society the God of Israel intended, one where love and justice would rule every human relationship. There is no true justice unless it arises from real, heart-felt love. Love and justice go together like man and wife. Love is the motive; justice is the result.
At every Jubilee celebration, the whole people were to come together to celebrate the greatest accomplishment any nation had ever known: the triumph of love-based justice. They were to restore what the poor had lost to their more gifted or even more aggressive brothers. As Moses said in Leviticus 25:17, “Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God.”
They only bought the land until the next Jubilee.2 Just think how rich would be the land that a true Israelite would give back to its original owner! That is, if he realized who the real and permanent owner of the land was — Yahweh Himself. Oh, if only they had such a heart!3 But they never kept this law because they did not truly fear their God.
Only a society of people determined to carry out these two commands — the greatest commands in all the law — would be able to obey Leviticus 25:
Hear, O Israel: the Sovereign our God, the Sovereign is one. Love the Sovereign with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)
Any society determined to put these words into practice will have the help of Heaven and a life of faith to produce it. This help and this faith will produce a brand new culture.
Once long ago and almost forgotten…
Once, a long time ago, there was a band of Jews who lived this way. They followed the teachings of Yahshua. As a man’s spirit inhabits his body, so Love lived and expressed itself on the earth in Him. The fruit of His life was a completely new society. There were literally thousands of men, women, and children living together in peace. They had true peace, with no needy among them. Thus, they fulfilled Deuteronomy 15:4-8, that there were no poor and needy in the land.
His Spirit enabled them to love, and justice was the result. But what happened? That life waned. Love could not stay where He was no longer welcomed. He left those communities and walked on. For nearly two thousand years He longed for a new body of people to live in. The terrible words of Daniel the prophet came true, “Messiah was cut off and had nothing.”4
And when the soil was ready...
Now, He must still have a people for His very own. It is what He has always longed for. We cannot belong to Him and Mammon at the same time; Leviticus 25 makes that perfectly clear.5 There must be a nation expressing His character to the ends of the earth or the end cannot come.6
Once again, Love dwells in a body on the earth. He has found a new and lasting home; this is where we live.
Israel was to keep this body of law in Leviticus 25. If it had, it would have been a light to the world. Torah also means the body of prophetic instruction. Keeping it would have led them to fulfill their prophetic destiny as a people. And this has not changed; indeed, it cannot change. Only those who keep Sabbath years until the Year of Jubilee will prove to be the Israel of God. Then all the land goes back to its rightful owner — our Father.7 The trumpet of the Year of Jubilee is the last trumpet of this age, of which Paul prophesied:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
We invite you to come and be a part of the people to whom the mysteries are being unfolded. The glory of God, which is love, is the highest goal and aspiration of our life together. That is why we share all things in common, that is why we struggle to carve a culture, a new way of life, out of this fallen world. And that is why we open our homes to all those who long for these things, too.