Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you. (Leviticus 25:9-10)
Most students of the Bible know that the value seven represents a cycle of completion. The seventh of the seven days of Creation marked the fulfillment of God’s work in the beginning. From the first fruits of the barley harvest we are to count seven weeks until the feast of Pentecost or Shavuot. In biblical days, every seven years the land was to rest during the sh’mittah. Finally, seven of those seven-year cycles culminated in the yovel or, as most of us know it, the Jubilee.
The Jubilee year was a year of release when all Hebrew servants, along with their families, were emancipated. If anyone had lost their inheritance, with certain exceptions, their property was returned to its original owner. This practice served many purposes, including being a safeguard against perpetual poverty and the monopolization of property by others. In other words, this prevented most of the property being accumulated by the few. If property had not been restored, Israeli society would have reduced to two primary classes -– the very rich and the very poor.
Where followers of the Messiah are concerned, this speaks to the notion of “new birth.” In the year of release, many were freed from poverty, we have been freed from sin. In both cases, the release has provided an opportunity for a new life — a life of freedom from the bondage that brings the curse of death. And so, in the spirit of Jubilee, we as followers of Messiah are to “Proclaim liberty throughout the land” and let all who are presently in bondage hear the Good News: “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
Blessings and Shalom,