The Bible Says…

by David M. McNabb

Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you." (Lev 25:10)

The year of release, or Jubilee, has been a very popular topic, particularly of late, having commemorated the 50th anniversary of Israel becoming a nation. Many ministers, even those of renown, promoted 1998 as "The Year of Jubilee."

It is too bad, however, that they did so in error. Even if we look beyond the prophetic intent of the Jubilee year (which I will go into in a moment), and focus on fifty-year periods in the secular sense (as with Israel), the year 1998 was not the fiftieth year, but the fifty-first! May 14, 1948, the day that Israel declared its independence, was the beginning of the first year of their existence in this century. May 14, 1998 marked the 50th anniversary of that monumental event, that being the conclusion of fifty years. Jubilee would have been the fiftieth year, or in Israel’s case, the 365 days from May 14, 1997 to May 13, 1998. The preachers were a whole year late!

In their error, these ministers not only revealed their ignorance of the Biblical description of Jubilee, but also clouded, and distracted believers from, its prophetic meaning.

"Ye shall proclaim liberty..." Let us now look at that prophetic meaning. The year of Jubilee was never observed by Israel, and that negligence on their part resulted in the captivity of Israel so that the land could have its rest.

Jesus offered, as proof of his identity, that his ministry involved preaching "deliverance to the captives," setting "at liberty them that are bruised," and preaching "the acceptable year of the Lord." This acceptable, Jubilee year of the Lord would be the time when our deliverance and liberty would finally be more than just an expectation, but would be realized.

This is the same liberty spoken of by Paul in Rom. 8:21-23. "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."

The year of Jubilee shall truly be fulfilled when our Lord returns, the dead in Him are resurrected and we are changed. In our immortal bodies, we shall be free from this bondage of corruption and free indeed.

That will occur in the fiftieth year after some important, identifiable event, and the land and her inhabitants will finally have rest.