The year of Jubile was every 50 years. Israel was to count seven sabbaths of years and the following year was the Jubile.
The word “jubile” in this passage is translated from two Hebrew words. In verse 9, it is terooaw, which means a loud sound. In verse 10 and in 13 other verses here, it is yobale, which is translated “trumpet” in Exodus 19:13. The Hebrew word for “trumpet” in Leviticus 25:9 is shofar, usually referring to a trumpet made of curved rams’ horns.
Jubile began on the tenth day of the seventh month, which was the Day of Atonement (Lev. 25:9). This falls in September on the modern Julian calendar.
The purpose of the Jubile was as follows:
a. The Jubile was for the liberation of the people (“proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” Lev. 25:10). Those who had become enslaved and impoverished were liberated and returned to their possessions. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Following are some lessons:
(1) The Jubile reveals the Creator’s amazing and wonderful character as the compassionate Saviour. He is the God of redemption, the God who loves sinners.
(2) The Jubile is based on Calvary. It began on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 25:9), which signifies Christ’s atonement and His high priesthood based on that atonement (Heb. 10:10-14). The cross of Christ is the central event of human history. It is the foundation of God’s eternal kingdom. The slain Lamb is worthy to take the book of redemption from God’s hand and open it and bring to pass the judgment of this world and establishment of the new heaven and the new earth as recorded in Revelation (Rev. 5:5-7).
(3) The Jubile promises liberty. Compare Luke 4:18; John 8:36; Rom. 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:17. Men are enslaved by sin (Rom. 6:17) and the devil (John 8:44), but there is deliverance in Christ. By His sacrificial blood atonement, Christ has purchased believing sinners from the slave market of sin. When a man submits to Christ as Lord and Saviour, he is made free. He then becomes Christ’s ambassador to proclaim the Good News of God’s eternal Jubile to other sinners (2 Cor. 5:20).
(4) The Jubile promises eternal inheritance. Compare Eph. 1:11; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 1:3-4. In Israel’s ancient Jubile, the man who had sold himself into slavery was returned to his original possession, but in Christ the redeemed sinner is not merely restored to what the first Adam had; he is given an inheritance with the second Adam, the very Son of God.
(5) The Jubile was announced by the blowing of the trumpet. Likewise, the gospel is to be announced to sinners throughout the world as a wake-up call. Every believer is an ambassador of Christ to sound the trumpet call of the gospel to awaken sinners and announce God’s promise of deliverance (2 Cor. 5:20). Peter proclaimed the trumpet of gospel Jubile to Israel on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 were pricked in their consciences and repented.
(6) The Jubile was announced throughout the land (Lev. 25:9). As with all of Israel’s festivals, the Jubile was sounded first at the place of blowing at the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. A block with this inscription was found at the bottom of the Temple Mount in the 1960s where it had been thrown by the Romans when they destroyed the Temple in 70 AD. Today it is in the Israel Museum. As the trumpet was heard by nearby villages such as Bethany and Bethlehem, it was transmitted farther and farther until the whole nation rang with the sound of the Jubile trumpet. Likewise, the gospel is to be preached throughout the world, beginning at Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). When a sinner hears the trumpet sound and receives deliverance for himself, he is to pick up the gospel trumpet and sound it to others.
(7) The Jubile was for every inhabitant of the land (Lev. 25:10). Likewise, the gospel’s promise of deliverance is for every sinner who will receive it (Mark 16:15; 1 Tim. 2:3-6).
(8) The Jubile was for the poor and needy. It reminds us that God cares for such people. Likewise, the gospel of Jesus Christ is for the poorest and weakest of people (Jam. 2:5). And it is for those who recognize and acknowledge that they are but needy sinners and that all our self-righteousness is as filthy rags before a thrice holy God (Isa. 64:6).
(9) The Jubile was an event, not a process. The Jubile began on the Day of Atonement, and on that very day the slave was liberated and blessed. Likewise, salvation is a miraculous new birth rather than a religious process. In every case, the New Testament examples of salvation are dynamic conversion experiences (e.g., the woman at the well, the Prodigal Son, Zacchaeus, the 3,000 on Pentecost, Cornelius, Paul, Lydia, the Philippian jailor, the Ethiopian eunuch).
(10) The Jubile was a call to devotion to God. Like the weekly and annual sabbaths, the Jubile was a sabbath of rest (Lev. 25:4). It was the call to turn from my business to focus my attention on God. Likewise, the gospel is the call not only of salvation from sin but surrender to God. To receive the gospel is to die to self and the old life and to live to the new life in Christ. This is the meaning of baptism. It is a picture of the gospel of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it is also a picture of the sinner dying with Christ and being raised to newness of life in Christ (Rom. 6:4). From henceforth, I am to walk as a pilgrim in this world and seek those things which are above (Col. 3:1-4).
b. The Jubile was for the liberation of the land (Lev. 25:13-14, 23-24). The land of Israel belongs to God, and it was distributed among the tribes of Israel by lot (Joshua 13-20). On every Jubile the property was to return to its original possessors, except for property within walled cities. God owns the land of Israel (Lev. 25:23), and He has given it to Israel forever. It does not belong to Palestinians, and it is not Israel’s to barter away for “peace.”
c. The Jubile was prophetic. It points to the redemption of Israel as depicted in the Day of Atonement, the repossession of Israel’s land after her worldwide disbursal, and the millennial reign of Christ when He will take possession of the earth after its 6,000-year bondage to sin and the “god of this world.” God will announce liberty to the inhabitants of the earth following the judgment of the nations (Mat. 25:34), and millennial blessing will flow. Compare Romans 8:19-23. “The year of jubilee was the intensest and sublimest of the sabbatic periods. The Sabbath is the jewel of days. It is the marked and hallowed seventh, in which God saw creation finished, and the great Maker sat down complacently to view the admirable products of His wisdom, love, and power--blessed type of a still more blessed rest, when He shall sit down to view redemption finished, the years brought to their perfect consummation, and the life of the world in its full and peaceful bloom. The jubilee is therefore to be the crown of dispensations, and the ultimate glory of the ages, when the Son of God shall rest from the long work of the new creation, and sit down with His saints to enjoy it for ever and ever” (Biblical Illustrator).
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