How Does the Year of Jubilee Joyfully Point Us Back to Jesus?
- Emma Danzey Contributing Writer
- 2022 28 Feb
When you hear the word jubilee what comes to mind? I imagine laughter, joy, dancing, and celebration. In the Bible we see this word mentioned in 21 verses within the Old Testament. What is the Year of Jubilee and how does it point to Jesus?
When my grandparents had their 50th wedding anniversary, they paid for our entire family to go on a cruise and celebrate their marriage and legacy with them. I was in the fourth grade and remember sweet times with my cousins. We played, ate great food, and enjoyed the beaches. We all rested and celebrated together. This is what I think about for the Year of Jubilee. Although our trip only lasted a couple of days, we had that time set apart to be together during a monumental occasion. We rested, rejoiced and remembered.
The people of God had a similar celebration, but on a much grander scale. They were commanded to work hard for six years at a time and every seventh year they were to rest and live on the crops that they produced. This was a time to trust in the Lord and rest; this was called a Sabbath year.
Seven is a significant number in the Bible. It is often referred to as a holy number and symbolizes completion. Just like on the seventh day of creation when God our Creator rested, the Israelites were commanded to rest and take the Sabbath day every week, and the Sabbath Year on every seventh year. On the seventh time of this seven-year rotation (year 49) there would be a Sabbath year followed by a “bonus year,” a year of Jubilee.
Leviticus 25:21-22 says, “I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years. When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating some of the old crop; you shall eat the old until the ninth year, when its crop arrives.”
I love how God provided for His people, He blessed them in abundance on year six so that in years seven and eight (Jubilee) they would have food to last them until the ninth years. The Lord gave in abundance for their celebration.
Defining the Year of Jubilee
Webster’s Dictionary defines jubilee as “a special anniversary or a season of celebration.” In regard to the Bible, “Often Jubilee: a year of emancipation and restoration provided by ancient Hebrew law to be kept every 50 years by the emancipation of enslaved Hebrews, restoration of alienated lands to their former owners, and omission of all cultivation of the land.”
After many chapters with laws on how to make sacrifices for certain sins, Leviticus 25 reveals a sweet concept for the Israelites. Verses 8-17 shares that on the 50th year after having had seven Sabbath years, there would be a celebration. On the Day of Atonement, the trumpet would sound, the 50th year would be consecrated, “And proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants.” This was a time to return to be with family. This was a year of no work, but of rest. It was a time of release and freedom from debts.
Leviticus 25:40-41 says, “As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee. And then he shall depart from you—he and his children with him—and shall return to his own family. He shall return to the possession of his fathers.”
The Year of Jubilee and Jesus
As we just looked at the verses about the release of bondservants, I cannot help but travel over to the books of the New Testament. Romans 6:17-18 says, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”
We were all slaves to sin before Jesus came to take away our sin and purchase our freedom through His death. No matter what we have been enslaved to in our lives, Jesus offers freedom; Jesus is our ultimate jubilee. Instead of just offering us freedom once every 50 years, Christ gave us eternal freedom through His death and resurrection.
Philippians 2:5-6 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
Is The Year of Jubilee Still Celebrated?
The year of Jubilee is never mentioned in the New Testament. Christians do not celebrate this year. Jewish people today also no longer recognize this celebration either. According to My Jewish Learning, “But the jubilee year has not been observed for at least two millennia. This is because the verse in Leviticus, which specifically names’“all its inhabitants,’ was understood by the rabbis to mean that the jubilee year only applies when all those who are meant to live in Israel — that is, all 12 tribes of Israel — do in fact live there.”
How Can Christians Celebrate Jubilee Today?
Jesus is offering jubilee to each one of us today. The truth is that we do not need to be held captive by our sins anymore. We can proclaim and embrace the freedom that we have through Christ. I imagine that we all have our own testimonies of coming to a saving faith in Jesus. One thing that I love about the Year of Jubilee in Scripture is that no matter if a person was a bondservant for one day or forty-nine years, on the 50th year, this person was given the ability to be set free of all debts and all service. In a similar way, whether we accepted Christ as a child, or on the last day of our lives, our debts are paid and forgiven by the grace of Jesus.
May the Year of Jubilee remind us how we were once enslaved to our sins, but we have been made alive and freed through Jesus. We can celebrate the Jubilee of Jesus’ resurrection every moment of every day.
More from this author
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Why Are Trumpets So Important Throughout the Bible?
How 3 Biblical Trees Reveal the Wonder of Salvation
Photo credit: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew for over two years and mom to baby Graham. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She had the joy of hosting Her Many Hats podcast where she explored the many roles that women play while serving One God. Most recently, Emma has released her first Bible Study Book, Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness.
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Emma also had the privilege of having been a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com