Year of Jubilee

Jubilee Prophetic of Redemption and Judgement

Cycles of Seven in the Bible

Timing the Year of Jubilee

Cycles of Seven in Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy

Modern Israel's Year of Jubilee

Jubilee Prophetic of Redemption and Judgement

Does the year of Jubilee, the 50th year have prophetic implications for the 20th and 21st centuries?

In the year of Jubilee, biblical law required the land of Israel to lay idle, people who had become slaves were set free, and anyone who had lost their land due to economic conditions or had sold the land for any reason received their land back. Due to these requirements, the year of Jubilee represents redemption.

However, centuries after Moses lived, the year of Jubilee also came to be identified with judgement. Since Israel did not observe the years of Sabbath rest required by the law, and because the nation had drifted into idolatry, divine judgement came by way of Babylonian invasion in 588 to 586 B.C. After Jerusalem's destruction, the promised land laid desolate and observed the years of sabbath rest during Israel's captivity in Babylon, divine justice being served. Jerusalem's destruction in 586 B.C. was a fulfilled prophecy of the prophet Moses.

If you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then . . . . I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies. (Lev 26:15, 33-34).

Therefore, the year of Jubilee is prophetic of both redemption and judgement. To this end, it would be ideal to know when the year of Jubilee occurs in the 20th and 21st centuries for modern Israel.

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Cycles of Seven in the Bible

When Moses received the Levitical law, God gave the commandment to rest on the seventh day, the Sabbath. Moses also applied the cycles of seven to weeks and years. A cycle of seven weeks points to the 50th day, called Pentecost. And a cycle of seven sets of seven years points to the 50th year, the year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee is based on letting the land rest every seventh year as follows:

For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord. (Lev. 25:3-4).

By adding together seven cycles of seven years, we count a total of 49 years. Therefore, the year of Jubilee is the 50th year as noted by the following verses.

You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. You shall then sound a ram's horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement [Yom Kippur] you shall sound a horn all through your land. 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. (Lev. 25:8-10).

These verses show how the 50th year was a time of redemption. Since the year of Jubilee is so important, how do we count the seven year cycles and isolate the year of Jubilee?

Counting for the year of Jubilee requires us to find the starting year and add 49 years. The 50th year becomes the year of Jubilee, which starts on New Years Day and is declared through trumpet blasts ten days later on Yom Kippur, and then continues for a full year.

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Timing the Year of Jubilee

When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, he told the people that counting for the year of Jubilee would begin when they entered the promised land.

When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. (Lev. 25:2).

Israel entered the promised land under Joshua's leadership and began counting the year of Jubilee at that time. Centuries later, the people had drifted into idolatry and Moses' prophecies of devastation loomed over the land. The prophetic fasts came into being with Jerusalem's destruction, and counting for the year of Jubilee ceased as foretold by Moses.

Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies. (Lev 26:34).

In this verse, each year counted as a sabbath rest for the land. Since each year counted as a year of rest, the counting for the seven year cycles and for the year of Jubilee had ended. In addition, these Scriptures also teach that counting for the year of Jubilee applies only when Israel resides in the promised land.

Since counting for the year of Jubilee ended at Jerusalem's destruction in 586 BC, when did the counting begin again?

Daniel's time-oriented prophecy of the seventy weeks shows that counting for the year of Jubilee started again with a legal decree to restore Jerusalem. In fact, Daniel's prophecy is based on cycles of seven years and ties directly to Moses' prophecies.

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Cycles of Seven in Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy

At the time of Jerusalem's destruction in 586 BC, Jeremiah foretold that Jerusalem would lie desolate for seventy years. "When SEVENTY YEARS are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place" (Jer. 29:10).

Daniel knew about Jeremiah's prophecy of seventy years desolation and prayed that Jerusalem's penalty would end as noted by Daniel's prayer.

I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last SEVENTY YEARS (Dan. 9:2).

Keeping Jeremiah's seventy year prophecy in mind, let's return to Moses who also foretold of a sevenfold punishment at the time of Israel's judgement. "I will punish you for your sins seven times over" (Lev. 26:28).

When Daniel was praying about Jerusalem's seventy year desolation, the archangel Gabriel appeared to him and multiplied the seventy year prophecy seven times. Gabriel told Daniel:

SEVENTY SEVENS’ are decreed for your people [Jewish People] and your holy city [Jerusalem]. (Dan. 9:24).

So Moses' sevenfold judgement was applied to Jeremiah's prophecy about Jerusalem's seventy year desolation. By examining Daniel's time-oriented prophecy, we see how a new year of Jubilee was conceived in Scripture through the prophet Daniel. Gabriel gave Daniel the prophecy in three segments (7, 62, & 1).

From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem... there will be SEVEN sevens,’ and SIXTY-TWO sevens.’ . . . . He will confirm a covenant with many for ONE seven,’ (Dan. 9:25, 27).

The first segment of SEVEN 'sevens' pointed to a new year of Jubilee. I have mapped Daniel's time-oriented prophecy with the start of a new year of Jubilee as follows:

YEAR OF JUBILEE" IN DANIEL'S SEVENTY WEEKS

Daniel shows that the counting for the year of Jubilee started again with the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. This decree came from Persia along with the legal and financial blessings of the Medeo-Persian Empire and matched Moses' requirements for entering the land. "When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord" (Lev. 25:2).

So Israel legally returned to the promised land in 445 BC and lived there until AD 135 when Rome completely devastated the land again. Why was Israel judged and dispersed throughout the world for a second time?

Israel's first dispersion came about due to the rejection of divine decrees given to Moses along with the nation's regression into idolatry. Israel's second dispersion resulted from rejecting its Messiah, Jesus. Daniel also foretold of the Messiah's rejection in AD 32, then of Israel's judgement through Jerusalem's destruction in AD 70.

The Anointed One [Messiah] will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [temple]. (Dan. 9:26).

When Israel rejected her Messiah, counting for the year of Jubilee ended again at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Instead of the seventy years of desolation foretold by Jeremiah for the first dispersion, Gentiles nations trampled on Jerusalem for 1,897 years until June 7, 1967. Jesus foretold of Gentile control of Jerusalem and emphasized that Jewish conquest of Jerusalem would mark the final generation for the end times (See Luke 21:7,20-24, 29-33).

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Modern Israel's Year of Jubilee

Since counting for the year of Jubilee ended when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70, when did the count for the year of Jubilee begin again?

We have already noted that counting for the year of Jubilee applies only when Israel resides in the promised land. Jewish migration back to the promised land began in the late 19th century. The return home led to Israel's Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. Modern Israel's legal declaration parallels the requirement for a legal decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 445 BC. By counting forward 49 years from 1948, we come to the fall of 1997. Modern Israel's year of Jubilee, based on Levitical law, charts out as follows:

Therefore, modern Israel's jubilee occurs in 1998 between October 11, 1997 and September 20, 1998. Since the year of Jubilee is prophetic of both redemption and judgement, what will happen in modern Israel's year of Jubilee? Consider the following design layout for the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Last updated on August 21, 2000