After wandering in the wilderness for 40 years,
finally crossed the
and somewhat conquered the land Yahweh had promised. They had not been thorough
in driving out the enemy, however, leaving pockets of heathen culture that
would prove to be
chapter 7 relates that
would find a wicked people in their land. These were vile pagans and removal of
them surgically was Yahweh's solution. He had warned
that these people would
prove a snare and they should not intermarry with them or have any dealings
with them socially, religiously or in any other way.
was no annihilate them. Yahweh even gave miraculous help to accomplish this task.
done what was commanded,
they would have prospered in the Promised Land. But because they disobeyed,
their punishment was years of servitude to their enemies.
as a nation found it hard to accept the startling
concept that Yahweh would allow His
ones to be taken captive by a foreign power; by a king who worshiped idols and
followed pagan ways. It simply was too difficult to grasp that Yahweh had for
the time disowned
and would move them out of the Land He had promised them!
Northern Tribes Go to
The northern ten tribes, often referred to
as "Ephraim," were taken captive to the area of present-day northern
by the Assyrians and subsequently moved
north and west, over the
(hence the term "Caucasian"). This occurred in the seventh century
The southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin
were allowed to remain in the land for a time, having the advantage of seeing
the wrath of Yahweh on their ten-tribed brethren
Ephraim. Even so,
was unfaithful to Yahweh's laws, despite the continual warnings of Elohim's messengers:
Yahweh Elohim of their fathers sent to them by his
messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his
people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of Elohim, and despised his words, and misused his prophets,
until the wrath of Yahweh arose against his people, till there was no
remedy" (2Chron. 36:15-16)
Shrugging off the plight of the northern
ten tribes, Judah and Benjamin became even worse in their apostasy, according
to Jeremiah 3:8. About 130 years later the southern tribes of Judah and
Benjamin, along with many of the priests, were taken captive to
Nebuchadnezzar. Only a few farmers and poor folk were left in the
Many Bible students do not realize that the
prime reason for removing the Israelites from the Promised Land was because of
their refusal to obey Yahweh and their rejection of His laws, which included
laws of the land Sabbaths:
"And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to
Babylon; where they were servant to him and his sons until the reign of the
kingdom of Persia: To fulfill the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah,
until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: [for] as long as she lay desolate she
kept Sabbath to fulfill threescore and ten years" (2Chron. 36:20-21).
As long as
was captive in
the Promised Land lay idle and desolate to fulfill the neglected 70 cycles of
the Sabbatical- Jubilee.
had ignored Yahweh's laws, which demanded that the land lie idle every seven
years. In addition, every seventh Sabbatical year was followed by the Jubilee
year. Keeping these Sabbatical years gave the name "
" to the Promised Land.
"For thus says Yahweh, That
after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my
good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place" (Jer. 29:10; see also Dan. 9:2).
learn that the
Sabbatical-Jubilee was holy both to the land and holy to Yahweh? The question
posed to us is, does Yahweh still expect His laws, statutes, and judgments to
be observed in this enlightened day and age? Does He change His laws and
expectations of certain generations through the ages or does the Bible say that
He is Yahweh and changes not? Malachi 3:6 confirms that He is changeless!
Sabbatical-Jubilee Commanded Early
The earliest Bible reference to the
Sabbatical-Jubilee cycle is found in Exodus 21:2-6, the release of the slave on
the Sabbatical. Exodus 23:10-12 relates to the Sabbatical land rest. The
Sabbatical-Jubilee was therefore a part of the same Covenant established with
Moses in Exodus 24:1-8.
Following the seventh Sabbatical year (or
every 49 years) the sounding of the trumpet on the Day of Atonement of the
fiftieth year heralded the beginning of the Jubilee.
Atonement falls on the tenth day of the
seventh month and is a very solemn time, the holiest day of the year. The
harvest is in, the early rains soften the earth to allow plowing and seeding
for the next crop. But in the Sabbatical year the land is at rest.
Both the 49th and 50th years were times of
rest for the land. Every Israelite would observe at least one Jubilee year in
his normal lifespan of 70 years. If a person observed his first Jubilee in his
teen years, then he would enjoy another before his normal lifespan ended. It
was a special occasion anticipated by the entire, rejoicing nation.
As we will see, the Jubilee has prophetic
implications in Yahweh's dealings with mankind. We are given insight into the
grand finale of Yahweh's redemption of the earth as He establishes the Kingdom
under the Messiah.
The Sabbatical cycle in certain instances
daily living. The right of an heiress to marry was restricted so that the law
of the Jubilee could be preserved, Numbers 36:4-7.
Yahweh had told Moses that women may inherit their fathers' land, they had to
marry inside the tribe of their fathers so their land would always remain in
the proper tribe when the Jubilee released it to its original family (v. 4).
Naboth refused to
sell his vineyard so that it would remain an inheritance for his family, 1Kings
The Jubilee is so significant that it will
be kept in the
as shown by
Ezekiel 46:17. There the king is reminded that any property given to a servant
reverts to the original owner (the king) at the time of the Jubilee.
Other references to the Jubilee are in
Nehemiah 5:1-19; Isaiah 37:30; 61:1-2, and Jeremiah 34:8-9.
Sabbatical Year Command
The Sabbatical-Jubilee cycle is detailed in
Leviticus 25. Beginning with verse 3 we
"Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you
shall prune your vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh
for Yahweh: you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard.
"That which grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not
reap neither gather the grapes of your vine undressed: of it is a year of rest
unto the land... And you shall number seven Sabbaths of years unto you, seven
times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto
you forty and nine years. then shall you cause the
trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the
day of atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And
you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the
land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and you
shall return every man unto his possession, and you shall return everyman unto
his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: you shall not sow,
neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of
your vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: you
shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee
you shall return every man unto his possession" (vv. 3-13).
The Sabbatical year, we learn from
Leviticus 25:4, occurs every seventh year - a Sabbath of rest both to the land
and to Yahweh.
The fields are not to be sown nor the vines
pruned. No crops are to be planted; the vineyards are to be left untouched. the produce of the land and vineyard could be eaten, but not
stored or preserved (harvested).
All debts among Israelites were canceled.
After seven of these Sabbatical years (or 49 years), the next or fiftieth year
is the Jubilee. The following points differentiate the Sabbath year and the
and vineyards rest.
All voluntary foods could be eaten.
All debts canceled.
has its rest.
Land reverts to the original owner.
All Israelite slaves freed.
The fiftieth year is eagerly anticipated as
a time of joy and merriment. The great landowners had to give up the lands they
once cultivated, which reverted to the original owner. This kept the lands with
the tribe to whom they were first given.
Idyllic simplicity returned to soften the
distinction of rank. Debts were forgiven, and those having lost their property
through accident or poor management were rejuvenated as opportunities brought
by the restoration awaited them. This insured a wider prosperity, and a system
of social opportunity that encouraged initiative.
All slaves were redeemed and freed. The
Sabbatical-Jubilee years might be called the great "leveler" of
All were equal before Yahweh. Neither the
rich nor the poor cultivated his field.
But Are These Times for Today?
Following industrialization and a more
sophisticated civilization, the laws of Yahweh became increasingly less
esteemed by our modern society. The demands made by industry, manufacturing,
commerce, and banking are not appeased by fallowed farmland.
Canceling of borrower's debts is unheard
of. How can the entrepreneur grow and expand (into a large company) if he is
required to return legally purchased property every fiftieth year?
are but a few of the questions asked today. The farmer has more freedom to apply Yahweh's laws to his life than most who work for a regular wage. However,
the increasingly heavy burdens laid upon him by
lenders, plus the pressures inherent in today's economies, challenge his very
survival and are detrimental to his obedience to the laws of Yahweh. One way
for a farmer to obey the laws of the land rest is diversification.
The Jubilee is known as the year of
liberty. Leviticus 25:12 explains that it is a holy year to
. It was because of
's keeping of the Jubilees that the Promised Land came to be known as the
. However, there is some question whether
did indeed faithfully keep both the Sabbatical and Jubilee years.
kept the Passover. They could not forget how the pagan deities of
were discredited and destroyed at that time - and the mighty nation of
humbled by the power of Yahweh.
The Days of Unleavened Bread reminded
that they had left the leaven of
behind, and became a new creation as they journeyed to Sinai to receive the Covenant of Yahweh.
The Feast of Tabernacles accomplished a similar memorial. The 40 years spent
wandering in the wilderness was to remind
of their disobedient refusal to enter the Promised Land. They dwelt in tents and booths and recalled
Yahweh's faithfulness in caring for them during their wilderness wanderings. These all showed
's dependence upon Yahweh and the blessings that would follow when they obeyed him.
Sabbatical and Atonement
On the tenth day of the seventh month,
celebrated the Day of Atonement. This emphasized the righteousness that was required by Yahweh. On this day the sins of the nation were confessed, which is the first requisite to establish righteousness.
Confession is an opening of the heart,
which leads to forgiveness and restoration of Yahweh. Through fasting and
keeping the Day of Atonement, Yahweh's people are reminded of His righteousness
and His forgiveness as they accept His grand plan for the forgiveness of sin.
Day of Atonement was the only day of the year when the High Priest was
permitted to enter the Holy of Holies, which was the nearest approach to Yahweh
possible through the blood offering. The Day of Atonement pictured the
's sins and the nation's getting right with Yahweh. Known as Yom Kippur, it was the "day of covering" of their sins, pointing to the true Lamb of Yahweh who came to take away the sins of the world, not just cover them.
The trumpet sounded on the Day of Atonement,
bringing in the Sabbatical year. It was a year-long Sabbath. The thought,
character, and purpose for the Sabbaths were magnified in the keeping of the
Sabbatical year. During the Sabbatical year the Book of Deuteronomy was read to
the people. The Sabbatical marked the canceling of all indebtedness.
Jubilee Frees Land, People
Following the seventh Sabbatical year came
the year of the Jubilee, which occurred every fiftieth year (or after the
succession of the seven Sabbatical years). It has been called the outer circle
of the great sabbatical system, which comprises the Sabbatical year, the
Sabbatical month, and the Sabbath day.
Just as in the Sabbatical year, the Jubilee
also was a time of keeping the land uncultivated. The distinctive mark of the
Jubilee year was the liberation of all slaves of Hebrew blood.
The blowing of the trumpet on the Day of Atonement
also released every bondman.
The Jubilee year was different in another
point in that the land was restored to the original owners. All land that had
been assigned to a family was again returned to that family. This required that
the tribal and family registers be carefully kept so that the rights of the
people should be protected. It was from such records that we know that Yahshua
descended from the tribe of Judah.
Jewish writers declare that the Jubilee was
observed up to the time of the fall of Judah in the year 586 B.C.E. References
are also to be found in Ezekiel 7:12-13; 46:16-18, and Isaiah 63:4.
Many Jewish writings can be found
confirming their belief in the subject of one day as being a thousand years,
and applying the six-day week to the time allotted to man. The seventh day or
the seventh thousandth year belongs to Yahweh. Most chronologists agree that
4,000 years passed from creation to the coming of the Messiah at Bethlehem.
Since that time, some 1,998 years have passed, according to our Roman calendar.
The return of the Messiah could well come within our lifetime.
The Year of Our Release?
A number of Bible scholars point out that
Israel was delivered from both the Babylonian and Egyptian captivities at the
time of the Jubilee. The analogy to us as believers in the Messiah is that He
is the one who sets us free. The bondage of Israel was cruel, enforced servitude.
Yahshua seta us free from the bondage and shackles of sin. "If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free
indeed," John 8:36.
How ancient Israel must have thrilled to
the sound of the trumpet on the Day of Atonement, announcing the actual release
from slavery. Of how much greater joy will it be when the trumpets sounds and
the Messiah returns to this earth! All tears will be dried, and the
brokenhearted comforted. The meek and the poor in spirit will be exalted and
the thirsty and hungry filled. The first trumpet is blown on the first day of
the seventh month, which is the new moon day (Rev. 14:6-7 could well be that
period between the two warning of the trumpet). Then follows the blowing of the
second trumpet on the Day of Atonement, hearing release, redemption, and
Hebrews 4:1-11 summarizes the Sabbaths
Yahweh has given us to remember His great plan of redemption of mankind. We are
told that there remains a Sabbath of rest for the people of Yahweh. There is the
Weekly Sabbath which is set aside for the people of Yahweh. Also, the
Sabbatical rest for the land of Canaan around Jerusalem. Finally, the rest and
redemption for the elect people of Yahweh who will reign with Yahshua when He
returns to set up the Messianic Kingdom:
and holy is he that part in the first resurrection: on such the second death
has no power but they shall be priests of Elohim and
the Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6).
But not all will attain that rest because
of unfaithfulness. The faithful will have rest from their enemies, no drought,
sickness, sin, or hindrances to happiness.
Computing the Jubilee
A long-standing debate is how to compute
the Jubilee year in segments of 49 or 50 years? It should be noted that the
Jubilee year is the year following the seventh Sabbatical year. It is the year
following every 49 years.
From the beginning of one Jubilee year to
the beginning of the next Jubilee is 49 years. The 7 times 7 years of the
Sabbaticals may not be broken any more than can the 7 times 7 weeks in
computing Pentecost. Furthermore, the 50th year is year one in the count toward
the next Sabbatical year, 7 years later.
To demonstrate that the Jubilee immediately
follows the Sabbatical year, note the prophecy of Isaiah:
this shall be a sign unto you, you shall eat this year such as grows of itself;
and the second year that which springs of the same; and in the third year sow,
reap, and plant vineyards and eat the fruit thereof" (Isa. 37:30).
"This year" refers to the
Sabbatical year. The "second year" refers to the Jubilee year, and
the "third year" is to once more sow grain and reap and plant
vineyards. the day after Atonement, which ends the Sabbatical-Jubilee year, the
farmers can again plow the ground for planting of wheat and barley that fall.
Cycle May Determine Savior's Return
If the Sabbatical-Jubilee cycle was
important to Israel, then it is all the more important to us looking for the
return of the Messiah. He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2:
Sprit of Yahweh Elohim is upon me; because Yahweh has
anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has 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 Yahweh" (See also Luke 4:18).
In quoting this verse, Yahshua stopped in
the middle of verse 2, which doubtlessly meant that He was now calling people
out of the world to become His followers. The "acceptable year" is
understood to refer to the beginning of the Sabbatical year. He came to preach
the Good News to the meek and humble, those whose hearts were open and
From those of a kindred mind He would build
His assembly. He would now choose those who would become the nucleus of His
body of believers, the "ekklesia," known as
the "church." He told Peter that this group of "called-out
ones" would never die out, but would always exist on this earth, Matthew
Just as the Savior was cut off in the
middle of the week and died on a Wednesday, so He left unsaid the rest of
Isaiah 61:2, which tells of the vengeance yet to come. Note the latter part of
the day of vengeance of our Elohim; to comfort all
that mourn" (Isa. 61:1-2).
He comes with anger and vengeance for the
wicked, but comfort and help to those who revere Yahweh's Name and are
submissive to Him.
This ties in with Revelation's prophecy: "And the nations were angry, and thy
wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that
you should give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and
them that fear thy NAME, small and great: and should destroy them which destroy
the earth" (Rev. 11:18). (See also Luke 20:16; 2Thes. 1:8; 2:8; Heb.
The Sabbatical-Jubilee cycle pictures the
grand finale of the Believer's earthy sojourn. It represents the fulfillment of
the promise made to the redeemed, which will be accomplished when He returns in
the day of vengeance.
The Sabbatical and Jubilee system set
captives free, brought rest, restored land to rightful owners, canceled debts,
and reunited families. These special times, therefore, fit in beautifully with
our Savior's return and what it means spiritually. Knowing how all of Yahweh's
special days relate to His plan of redemption, there is little doubt that the
Sabbaticals and Jubilees will be key in the timing of Yahshua's return.
Although we are not positive about when His
return will be, it could very well be on a Sabbatical or Jubilee year. None of
the Feasts of the seventh scriptural month have been fulfilled, as far as we
know. By observing the weekly, annual, and Jubilee years, we keep our minds
focused on His imminent return.
Studies to determine the secular dates of
the sabbatical and Jubilee years rest heavily on the Savior's beginning
ministry, which appears to be 27-28 C.E. The Jews were so determined to keep
all Yahweh's law after their return from the Babylonian captivity that they
alleged that there was no reason to sell themselves into slavery or be
redeemed. Records of these years, therefore, are sparse since Ezra.
Our studies indicated that the last
Sabbatical year was 2001-2002, to be followed by 2008-2009. These annual
Sabbaths begin on the Day of Atonement, with 3 1/2 months in one year, and 8
1/2 months of the following year. An interesting discovery is that the last
secular year in which the Sabbatical cycle falls is divisible by 7. It so
happens that 2002 divided by 7 equals 286 with no remainder! The next year that
is divisible by 7 is 2009 = 287. There probably is no further significance with
our secular years.
Certainly a study of this neglected cycle
will bring many obscure Bible truths to our attention and make the Bible become
clearer as we draw nearer to our Heavenly Father and His beloved Son, who make
it all possible.
We are not setting dates, but do point out
the importance of all the words of Yahweh by which Yahshua said we should live,
Matthew 4:4. Yahshua tells us to discern the sings of the times, and His
Sabbaticals and Jubilees are additional benchmarks for the time of His return.
Dual Significance in the Sabbaticals and Jubilees
||The Parallel Prophecy
|Lev. 25:9 Announced by trumpet
||1Cor. 15:52; 1Thes.4:16; Matt. 24:31
|Lev. 25:4,19 Rest from labors
|Lev. 25:10 Reunite with family
||Matt. 24:31; 1Thes. 4:16-17
|Lev. 25:13;27:24 Land to owner
||Matt. 5:5; Dan 7:18, 22; Rev. 2:26-27
|Lev. 25:10 Slaves freed
||Isa. 60:12-14; 49:23; Rev. 20:4; John 8:36
|Lev. 25:35 Debts Canceled
||Rev. 21:4; John 8:36
Sabbaticals and Jubilees in History
*years in gold are verifiable
|41-42 (Luke 4:16-21)
*years in gold are verifiable