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The principles of God's Sacred Calendar extend far beyond the year to include the Sabbath year and the Jubilee year. The pattern of the seventh day of rest in the week for the weekly Sabbath continues with the seven yearly Sabbath days in a year. This pattern of seven is also the number of weeks between the first yearly Sabbath of Passover and Pentecost. The pattern continues with the seventh year, which is a Sabbath year to the land.
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
There was no explicit command not to work but in an agrarian society, much work was effectively eliminated. Depending on God's providence during this year is a valuable lesson in faith. I suspect much of this time was intended to be devoted to Bible study. "Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible" is fascinating reading on this subject.
Continuing God's pattern based on the number seven, the seventh Sabbath year was followed by the additional Jubilee year of release and rest to the land.
8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
These patterns of seven lead directly to one of the reasons why I believe in the six thousand years of toil in sin before the seventh millennium of rest.
Promises and Warnings
After these startling and difficult to comprehend statutes comes one of the beautiful statute keeping promises.
18 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.
Those who do not readily understand God's intent are given special detailed explanation. The harvest of one year will feed them for three years.
20 And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:
My understanding is Israel never properly observed the Sabbath year and this triggered this warning.
14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;
33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
This is part of the reason for the Babylonian captivity. There were seventy years of captivity to repay for 490 years of failure to observe God's command.
11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
We have only scratched the surface of this fascinating subject. As we dig deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the Biblical Calendar we find these subjects of which we know so little. There is so much more we need to understand.
This chapter is really just an introduction to the topic of the Jubilee and the Sabbath years. Deeper research and study is needed. Now we will try to increase our understanding of this subject.
The first thing, which draws our attention, is to wonder how this applies to our daily lives in these modern times. Before you get very far on this thought you will also wonder, when are the Jubilees? I am sure it does not surprise you this is a controversial subject.
Just as we cannot tell, only by the scripture, what day of the week is the seventh day or exactly which is the first month of the year or other practical applications of God's calendar and must depend on tradition and the historical record for guidance. We must sort through the conflicting traditional interpretations and teachings to find the truth.
We are encouraged by the promise of the Messiah. The truth is there and God will see to it we know what we need to know.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
We are also encouraged by the Messiah to be diligent seekers of truth.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
The first controverted point is whether the Jubilee is every fifty years or every 49 years. The Sabbath year is every seven years and the Jubilee is the year after the seventh Sabbath year, which is the fiftieth year. The controversy is whether the count of years starts over after the Jubilee or continues through the Jubilee.
The majority view is the Jubilee is every fifty years. I disagree with this. I believe the Bible is clear. The seven-year cycle is stated separately. I believe it continues without interruption every year, as does the weekly Sabbath. Therefore, while the Jubilee is the 50th year of the cycle, it occurs every 49 years.
The next thing needed is a reference point. There is more research needed on this topic. A preliminary review indicates the assumption the year the Messiah began His ministry in 27 AD was the Sabbath year before the Jubilee. This message is believed to be the proclamation of the Jubilee.
18 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,
There is also a historical note where Josephus the historian identified 27 AD as the Sabbath year before the Jubilee. I have not thoroughly researched either of these claims. I will use these as starting assumptions just to give a frame of reference. I am not certain in my own mind about the accuracy of these claims.
If we accept 28 AD was a Jubilee, there are some interesting dates to note. 1840 was a Sabbath year before the Jubilee of 1841. 1844 was in the middle of the week/Sabbath year. The year 1888 was the year before 1889, which was a Sabbath year before the Jubilee of 1890. The last Jubilee was in 1988 and the next will be 2037. 2008 was the last Sabbath year and the next will be 2015. 2012 will be the middle year of the Jubilee and the Sabbath year.
This is a chart of Sabbath/Jubilee years starting 27/28 AD. The Jubilee year is indicated on the left followed by the next seven Sabbath years.
It is interesting to note the 70 weeks of Daniel's prophecy was a period of ten Jubilees though it appears to have ended on a Sabbath year after the Jubilee.
What is the practical significance to us in these days of the meaning of the Sabbath year and the Jubilee? There is a modern use of the word "sabbatical", which implies a rest from normal work every seventh year.
I believe my period of unemployment was a forced sabbatical for me. It does not seem to correspond to an actual Sabbath year but scripture makes it clear God makes up for things, in His own time, in His own way, which have not been observed.
What is the spiritual significance to us in these days of the meaning of the Sabbath year and the Jubilee? The millennium in heaven is a rest to the earth which make up for all the Sabbath years, which have not been observed, as well as continuing God's patterns.
The end of time and the subsequent end of sin are certainly types of the release from debt and servitude commanded by the Sabbath year. The Jubilee is a type of the return of our earthly home to us after having been sold to sin and the devil.
I wonder what other significance God will reveal to those who study this subject deeply.
I wonder what other significance this may have to us in the end of time.
(Additional Online Research Material)
Again, I must acknowledge this is still only a little more than an introduction to this topic. You can investigate further on this for yourself with a search on Google for "jubilee year". This is a good place to start: