Key Verse: “You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.”
—Leviticus 25:10, New American Standard Bible
ONE OF THE FEATURES OF the Mosaic Law was known as the Jubilee, as referenced in our Key Verse. After seven times seven Sabbath years, Israel was to observe the fiftieth year in a very special way. The name “Jubilee” comes from the Hebrew word Yobel, which means a horn or trumpet. This trumpet was to be blown every fiftieth year on the tenth day of the seventh month, Israel’s annual Day of Atonement. This thrilling sound announced the start of God’s redemption of his people which would take place during the Jubilee year.—Lev. 25:8,9
The fiftieth year Jubilee had a profound effect on civil life in Israel. In that year, liberty was extended to all. Prisoners and captives were set free. Slaves were emancipated. Those who were obligated by debts were released from them. Properties that had been sold were returned to their original owners. The interests of the poor were thus safeguarded by preventing the absolute alienation of property and heritages. Fields were not sowed or reaped, but their natural produce was to be the property of all. (vss. 11-55) The Jubilee was a year of remarkable repose, and without precedent among the nations of the world.
A Jubilee far greater than Israel’s is prophesied in the Bible. It is one that holds the promise of redemption to a degree not imagined by the world today. It assures liberation from death itself, made possible by the blood of Jesus, man’s Redeemer. (I Pet. 1:18,19) He will rule over earth in this greater Jubilee time. His words, spoken prophetically through Isaiah, show the grandeur of his righteous reign.
“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.”—Isa. 61:1-3
In the greater Jubilee, Jesus will proclaim liberty to those held captive by sin, and freedom to those in the prison house of death. The resurrection of the dead will ensue. The prophecy in Isaiah continues, showing the wondrous effect of Jesus’ dominion. “And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” (vs. 4) The repairing of old wastes, cities and desolations is part of the great restoration work of God’s kingdom under Christ’s rule.
Peter spoke of this great future restitution work. He said God will “send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom 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 3:20,21) Earth’s bright future in God’s plan is a promise we may remember with joy each day.