Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Time for Jubilee?

‘And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. ‘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; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.    Leviticus 25:8-10  NKJV

I suppose some of you might believe I am starting to sound like a broken record, which skips and repeats itself over and over, but the truth is that as much as I repeat the phrase “coincidence isn’t kosher”, more coincidences occur.  While being careful not to place unjustified significance to some of these occurrences, the fact remains that somehow it just seems there is no explanation for some of them.  Another one which has made the news in the past year or so concerns the jubilee year instituted by God at Mount Sinai, and the possibility that it has something to do with the rapture of the Church and the timing of Jerusalem being recaptured in the 1967 Six Day War.

While many have speculated that this year is the jubilee year in Israel, it is important to understand that there is no way anyone can be sure of that for at least a couple of reasons.  The first is that although there is some evidence the jubilee was still counted until the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans, it had ceased to be observed as instituted by God.  The second is that among Jewish scholars, there is disagreement on how to calculate the jubilee because some believe the forty-ninth year is the jubilee while others believe the fiftieth year is the year of celebration.  As a result, especially considering the amount of time which has passed, most scholars agree there is no way to know for sure when the jubilee year occurs.

That said, am I the only one who thinks it’s curious that at a time when so many of us are expecting the trumpet blast and the call to “come up here”, it has been forty nine years since Jerusalem became the undivided capital of the Jewish nation?  Then of course, speaking of a trumpet blast, did you notice the jubilee begins with one?  Along with the fact that according to God it also means that all slaves are freed, all debts are forgiven, and the land reverts to its original owner.  If you follow that train of thought, and compare those events with what occurs at the rapture of the Church, I believe you can see why many believe the rapture occurs during a jubilee year and are excited at the possibility that this might indeed be a jubilee year.

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  John 8:34  NKJV

I think most believers at one time or another have felt burdened by sin, and the reality of living in a body with a sin nature that produces such struggles.  Jesus certainly makes it clear in this passage that we are slaves to sin.  Although saved by grace as a result in our belief that Jesus died for our sins, we still struggle with our sin nature until we are set free from this body of sin.  Paul made many comments during his ministry about we as believers being held captive by our sin nature and the struggle he personally had with his.  Many times Paul reveals the depth of his own despair concerning being a slave to sin, and in this passage from Romans makes it clear just how much he is looking forward to being “set free”.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?  Romans 7:24  NASB

The answer of course, is that at the rapture of the Church all who have accepted the salvation offered by the death of Jesus for our sins will be freed from their earthly bodies and its sin nature and become new creatures as we are taken home to live with our family of fellow believers and our heavenly Father for all of eternity.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.                                  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17  NKJV

While I did say that it is impossible to know if this is a jubilee year or not, I did mention something about another coincidence.  We discussed a few weeks ago the length of a generation in the Bible, and the fact that according to the Word it is seventy years.  We also noticed that Israel became a nation in 1948 and that Jesus said that the generation who witnessed that would know that the end was near.  Many believe that the capture and reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 was, in fact, a jubilee year and considering that fifty years have passed also makes this a jubilee year.  Is it just coincidence that if this is indeed true, that it also is occurring just as a seventy year generation is also ending?

“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—“lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”   Mark 13:33-37  NKJV

Keep watching.