Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO on 11/18/01
"Whom (speaking of Christ) the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21, KJV).
We have often noticed the fact that everything in the Old Testament is a type and shadow of things to come, which all have their fulfillment in Christ. He said of Himself, "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17, RSV). The law, though impossible for man to keep, was perfect, the Psalmist said (Ps. 19:7), and therefore it is good to know the provisions it contained. Today, we're going to study the Year of Jubilee, and show how it affects us today.
On Mount Sinai, the Lord said to Moses: "'Count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years, so that the seven Sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), sound the trumpet throughout your land. "Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. " 'In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property" (Lev. 25:8-13, NIV).
The Year of Jubilee was to be celebrated every fifty years, the year after seven Sabbatical years had passed. It is known as "Yovel" in Hebrew. Many believe that the origin of the word is from the Hebrew word for "ram," (cf. Josh 6:5), since the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn), on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, proclaimed the beginning of the Jubilee Year (Lev. 25:9). An informative book entitled The Feasts of the Lord, explains:
"The primary laws for the Sabbatical Year (every seventh year) also held true for the Jubilee Year. The land was to remain at rest, ownership could not be claimed for any produce in the fields, and produce in a Jubilee Year could not be stored for future use (Lev. 25:11-12). The Lord graciously promised a triple crop in the sixth year of the last sabbatical cycle to provide for the back-to-back fallow years (A Sabbatical and Jubilee Year), until the "ninth year," the year after the Jubilee (Lev. 25:20-22). Scripture gave three additional requirements for the Jubilee Year. First, the shofar (ram's horn) was to be blown on Yom Kippur to announce that the Jubilee Year had commenced (Lev. 25:9).
"Second, all hired workers were to be set free (Lev. 25:39-54). This was unconditional liberty. All bondslaves were released even if the Jubilee Year came before the completion of their six years of service. This also included bondslaves who had earlier declined to go free in the seventh year of their employment. All were set at liberty.
"Third, all land was to be returned to its original owner (Lev. 25:23-28. This law preserved the identity of the tribes and their allotted inheritance of the land (Num. 36:2-9).
"The primary reason for the Jubilee Year was to prevent oppression in Israel (Lev. 25:14-17). An Israelite could hire himself into the service of another to retire a debt, but he had no right to sell himself or his family forever into slavery. The Lord alone owned the sons of Israel since He had redeemed them out of Egypt (Lev. 25:42-43, 55). In similar fashion, an Israelite could lease his land for a term of years, but he had no right to permanently sell his tribal inheritance. The Lord alone owned the land of Israel (Lev. 25:23), and He had allotted it among the tribes. These were indisputable facts. God, as Sovereign King of the universe, owned the people and the land.
"The Jubilee Year restored the economic structure of Israel's society as it had been when God brought them into the land. Tribal identity was maintained, land remained in the hands of small landholders, and people were set free to develop their own businesses" (Pg. 196-197). End Quote
God left nothing to chance. He well understood the faults and failings of humanity, and He knew that some would lose the inheritance He gave them in the land of Canaan because of poor management, laziness, or other malady. None of that mattered. A man could have gambled away his inheritance, or lost it because of drunkenness or other sin, but still, in the Year of Jubilee, when the shofar sounded, the ram's horn called out liberty to the captives, he was free to leave his slave master and go home to possess his ancestral land.
If he lost his property, according to the law, he could regain it BEFORE the Year of Jubilee IF he had a kinsman redeemer, someone willing and able to buy back the land for him, or pay the debt for which he had become a slave to someone else (Lev. 25: 47-54). If he did NOT have a kinsman redeemer, then the law said that, "... he and his children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, for the Israelites belong to me as servants" (Lev. 25:54). The beautiful story of Ruth illustrates how this worked. Ruth was a Moabite woman, married to an Israelite man, who was from Bethlehem of Judea. Both her father-in-law Elimelech and her husband Mahlon had died, leaving her and her mother-in-law Naomi as widows (Ruth 1:1-2). Naomi, whose husband and two sons had died, decided to leave Moab and return home to her people. She begged Ruth and her other daughter-in-law to remain with their families in Moab, but Ruth loved Naomi and declared to her, "Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you" (Ruth 1:16-17, RSV). Thus, Ruth, a Moabite woman renounced her homeland and her gods and came home with Naomi to live in Bethlehem. They arrived there in time for the barley harvest, and when Ruth was gleaning in the fields, she encountered her husband's kinsman Boaz, who was kind to her and befriended her (Ruth 2:14-16).
As the story continues, Naomi was forced to sell her husband Elimelech's inheritance in order to survive. Though he was not the closest relative, Boaz said to the man who was, that if he would not redeem the land and do his duty toward Ruth, then he, Boaz, would do so. Under the law, if a woman of child bearing age was widowed, it was the responsibility of the nearest kinsman of her husband to take her as his wife and raise up children (Gen. 38:8; Deut. 25:5-10; Ruth 4:4-6). Elimelech's next of kin was unable to fulfill this responsibility, so as he had promised, Boaz became Naomi and Ruth's kinsman redeemer. "Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. Also Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from the gate of his native place; you are witnesses this day" (Ruth 4:9-10). God gave Ruth and Boaz a son, whom they named Obed. He was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David, King of Israel. Twenty eight generations later, Christ was born into this lineage (Matt. 1:17). Ruth was abundantly rewarded for her faithfulness to Naomi.
Ruth and Naomi were saved from certain financial ruin and a life of deprivation because of the provision God made in the law regarding the right of redemption by a kinsman. Had there not been a kinsman redeemer available, they would have had to suffer hardship and distress until the Year of Jubilee, when Elimelech's inheritance would have been restored to them.
This is a beautiful picture of God's eternal plan for His creation. He will restore all things to us that Adam's sin took away from us. He is "the God...who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist" (Rom. 4:17, RSV). He is not willing that any should perish but desires that all come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9), and as under the law, He has provided Christ as our kinsman redeemer in this life. Christ is our rich relative who has the ability, the power, and the wherewithal to redeem us from Satan's clutches, to deliver us from the power of sin, and to restore us to our inheritance given us from before the foundation of the world, i.e., a relationship with God our Father. As under the law, some have not had opportunity to know Him in this life. Some have not heard that they can call on Christ to redeem them. Some, for whatever reason, have not availed themselves of this great mercy. Many die without ever hearing the name of Christ, or coming into His presence, or seeing His lovely face, and thus they cannot call on His name and be saved (Acts 2:21; 4:12; Rom. 10:13). For these unfortunate people, there is God's Jubilee, His ultimate reconciliation of all, in His time.
Now, you may ask, as many in the church system do, "If that's the case and all will be saved someday, then why do I need to repent now?" Here's the point about that. If Ruth and Naomi had NOT had Boaz, they would have lived a life of destitution and want. Woman did not own land in those days, could not hold jobs, could not get loans, or other help. There was no Social Security, no Government aid, and no hope for a woman whose man had died. She was doomed to a life of begging or worse, prostitution, to keep food on the table. It was shameful and a disgrace, but that's the way it was. Who therefore, would have advised Ruth and Naomi to just wait for the Year of Jubilee and suffer for perhaps decades until it arrived? All of the neighbors and the citizens of Bethlehem rejoiced with them. Naomi had lost both sons and her husband in the country of Moab. When Obed was born, the village women said to her, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without next of kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him" (Ruth 4:14-15, RSV). Thanks to the provision in the law for a Kinsman Redeemer, Naomi and Ruth were provided for by their wealthy relative, Boaz, and blessed with a child who would be in the lineage of the Kinsman Redeemer of the entire world.
This is the answer to the question, "If all will be saved anyway, why should I come to Christ now?" We do not have to wait until God's Jubilee to be free, and whole, and healed, and restored to our inheritance. We can walk with Him and talk with Him and be His child, and He our Father right now, right here, today. But make no mistake, for those who do not have the opportunity or the ability to call upon Christ as their kinsman redeemer, there will come a final Year of Jubilee, when ALL the captives will be set free. Isaiah foresaw it: "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor" (Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV).
Jesus, who came to fulfill all righteousness and complete everything shadowed in the law, went to Nazareth on a particular Sabbath day, and when He stood up to read the scroll, His text was Isaiah's prophecy: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor....and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:18-19, 21, NIV). In that setting, He declared of Himself that He IS the kinsman redeemer, ready, willing and able to handle all the responsibilities of that office. It was quite shocking for them in Nazareth, because they remembered him as the son of a carpenter, but He quickly demonstrated that He was indeed the Son of the Most High, the only begotten of the Father, the firstborn of many brethren.
Paul declared, "For GOD has consigned ALL men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon ALL" (Rom. 11:32, RSV). He is the one who subjected the creation to vanity "for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope" (Rom. 8:20, RSV). The Year of Jubilee is another aspect of God's Glorious Gospel, by which He will restore all things unto Himself (Acts 3:21). We rejoice, that we don't have to wait until then for an abundant life. We can call upon our kinsman redeemer right here and now, and tell all our friends and neighbors about him, so that no one need be enslaved by Satan for even one more moment. This is why we preach Christ to the lost, why we send missionaries to foreign countries, and why we share the Good News wherever people are gathered. Our question to all is "Why wait until the Year of Jubilee, when you can be redeemed now?" Nevertheless, we rejoice at what the law required: "And if he is not redeemed by these means, then he shall be released in the year of jubilee, he and his children with him" (Lev. 25:54, RSV). This was NOT a conditional commitment subject to men qualifying. It was an unconditional provision of God's perfect law. Anyone not redeemed before hand, would be released in the Year of Jubilee. It is the perfect picture of Christ's unconditional sacrifice for all men. "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam, all died, so in Christ, shall ALL be made alive!" (I Cor. 15:21-22). That, my friends, is The Good News, God's Glorious Jubilee!
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Poem, "That Jubilee Morning"
"Jubilee," by J Preson Eby
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web on 11/17/01
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last edited on 06/24/09.