Chapter 33 in "The Cross and It's Shadow"

by Stephen Haskell

The Year of Jubilee

OH, glory to God! it is coming again,
'Tis the glad jubilee of the children of men;
Then blow ye the trumpet, shout glory, and sing,
And join in the praises of Jesus the King.

'Tis the glad antitype of that day long ago
When the hosts of the Lord might not gather or sow;
When the minions of Israel from labor were free,
And the land was to rest in the glad jubilee.

Yes, gladder by far is that rest by and by,
When on wings like the eagle we mount to the sky;
We shall dwell evermore in that land of the blest,
In that grand jubilee, in that Sabbath of rest.
–Mrs. L. D. Avery-Stuttle.

THE Jubilee was the climax of a series of sabbatical institutions. The weekly Sabbath was the first religious institution given to man. (Gen.2:2,3) The seventh day of the week was hallowed, and set apart to be kept as the rest-day of Jehovah. (Is. 58:13,14; Ex. 20:8-11)

After the children of Israel entered the promised land, God commanded that every seventh year should be "a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the Lord." The people were not allowed to sow their fields nor prune their vineyards during the seventh year; neither could they gather into their storehouses that which grew of its own accord. The owner of the land could take all he wished for immediate use; but his servants and the strangers and even the beasts, had equal rights with the owner in enjoying the fruits of his fields during the sabbatic year. (Lev. 25:1-7)

The seventh month of the sacred year, (the Jewish sacred year began in the spring and the civil year in the autumn) the month Tisri, was called by some writers the sabbatical month, as more of the annual Sabbaths and feasts came in that month than in any other one month in the year. The first day of this month was the Feast of Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement came on the tenth day, and the Feast of Tabernacles began on the fifteenth day; and in every fiftieth year, the tenth day of Tisri ushered in the Jubilee. (Lev. 25:8-11)

The keeping of the weekly Sabbath was a token that the people belonged to God; and in allowing their land to rest during the seventh-year Sabbath, they acknowledged that not only they themselves, but their land, their time, and all they possessed, belonged to God. (Eze. 20:12,20)

The Lord took special delight in the seventh-year Sabbath, and the disregard of His command to keep it was offensive in His sight. The children of Israel were carried into Babylonian captivity because they had not allowed "the land to enjoy her Sabbaths." (Chron. 36:18-21)

In their love of greed and gain, they had worked the land every year, and God took them away and let the land lie desolate, that it might keep the Sabbath during the seventy years.

If God's command had always been obeyed and the land had had its rest every seventh year, the earth would not have "waxed old like a garment," (Isa. 51:6) but would have remained productive.

God's commands will all be honored, and as the land lay desolate seventy years, keeping the Sabbath during the Babylonian captivity, to atone for the disobedience of ancient Israel; so, after the second coming of Christ, the land will lie desolate one thousand years, keeping Sabbath to atone for the many Sabbaths that have been disregarded since that time. (Rev. 20:1-4 Zeph. 1:1-3 Jer. 4:23,27))

The weekly Sabbath was a stepping-stone leading up to the other sabbatic institutions; and besides being a memorial of creation, it pointed forward to the final rest of the Jubilee. When the people of God for the sake of worldly interests. disregarded it, they placed themselves where they could not appreciate God's original design in giving them the Sabbath of rest. (Jer. 17:21-27)

The Jubilee was the fiftieth year following seven weeks of years, and would occur once at least in the lifetime of every individual who lived out his natural life. (Lev. 25:10,11)

The Day of Atonement was the most solemn of all the feasts, and the Jubilee the most joyful. At the close of the Day of Atonement, when the sins of Israel had all been forgiven and borne by the scapegoat into the wilderness, then the people who realized what God had done for them, were prepared to forgive thc debts of their fellow-men, to release them from servitude, and to restore all to their own land as willingly as they expected God to give them their eternal inheritance in the antitypical jubilee.

At the close of the Day of Atonement, on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the sabbatical year which closed the last of the seven weeks of years (49 years), the trumpets were blown throughout all the land, announcing the Jubilee.

Jewish tradition states that every Israelite was supplied with a trumpet of some kind at this time, and when the hour arrived which closed the Day of Atonement, every one blew nine blasts with his trumpet. God had said, the trumpets were to sound throughout all the land. (Lev. 25:9)

How like the final trumpet of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:51-53) was the blast of the Jubilee trumpets in ancient Israel! The toiling slave arose and threw off his shackles. To the avaricious and covetous man, who had oppressed the hireling and the widow to gain his possessions, it came as a death knell to all his hopes. (Isa. 2:20,21) Every person in bondage was freed, and all returned to their own land. ((Lev. 25:12,13)

There is no account of any religious services, or offerings, being required during the Jubilee, different from the ordinary services of other years. It was a time when all, rich and poor, high and low, shared alike of that which grew of itself in the fields and vineyards.

The Jubilee followed the seventh-year Sabbath, thus bringing two Sabbath years in succession. But God made ample provision for His people by commanding His blessing upon the forty-eighth year, when the earth yielded enough to keep the people for three years. (Isa. 37:30; Lev. 25:11,12)

There is no mention in the Bible of the Jubilee's ever being observed, and for this reason some writers think it may not have been kept; but all the other Mosaic festivals were observed, and it would be strange if one that is so organically connected with the other feasts, and is really the climax of all other festivals, should have been omitted.

The Jubilee must have been observed, for the law of the inalienability of landed property, which was based upon the Jubilee, existed among the Jews. (Numbers 36:4-7 Ruth 4:1-4) Josephus speaks of it as being permanently observed.

Instances are recorded where the work of the Jubilee year was performed by the Israelites. Nehemiah, in his great reformatory work, required the Jews to give freedom to their servants, and to restore the lands and vineyards to the original owners. (Neh. 5:1-19)

On the eve of the Babylonian captivity, Zedekiah proclaimed liberty to every one. He evidently designed to celebrate the Jubilee. If he had done so, it would have given him liberty, but he was too vacillating to carry out the requirements. The Lord sent a message, saying that he had done right in proclaiming liberty, "every man to his neighbor," but that in failing to grant it, he had polluted the name of the Lord. (Jer. 34:8-17)

All the commercial interests of the ancient Israelite taught the gospel. While he was allowed to dwell in the promised land and enjoy its privileges, yet he was only the steward, not the owner. The divine decree was:"The land shall not be sold forever:for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me." (Lev. 25:23)

Notwithstanding the fact that the Lord owns the world, yet He counts Himself a stranger and sojourner with His people upon the earth, until the antitypical Jubilee, when Satan, the present prince of this world, will meet his doom.

If a man became involved and was obliged to sell his home, it was sold with the understanding that it should return to its original owner when the Jubilee trumpets were blown in the land. If the unfortunate man had one near of kin able to redeem his land, the purchaser could not hold it, even until the Jubilee. (Lev. 25:25-28)

A poor widow has misfortune after misfortune, until her wealthy neighbor, who has long coveted her land, has gained possession, and she in sorrow is obliged to leave the home of her childhood and labor for a mere pittance, that fails to supply the needs of her household. The wealthy neighbor continues to advance money, until finally she herself is sold to him as a servant. Her case seems hopeless.

But in a far country she has an elder brother. He hears of her misfortune and comes to the rescue. Her brother reckons with the man who has purchased the woman, and pays the redemption money, and she is free. Then the brother begins to reckon what is due on the land; but the man objects, for the same spirit rules him that disputed with Michael, the archangel, when He came from a far country to redeem the body of Moses from the prison-house of the grave, (Jude 9) and he says, "No! I will not release the land. It joins my farm, I will not part with it. What right have you to interfere?" Then the brother produces evidence of his kinship, that he is "one that hath right to redeem." (Ruth 2:20) He offers the redemption money, and the home is redeemed to the rightful owner. A stranger might have wished to help the poor widow, but his money could never have released her; the price must be paid by "one that hath right to redeem " – one near of kin.

How forcefully was the power of Christ thus taught in the every-day commercial life of the Israelite!

An angel could not redeem mankind, nor the world. His life would have been powerless, for he was not "nigh of kin" unto humanity. (Lev. 25:47-49) Christ left the heavenly courts, partook of flesh and blood, "that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear. of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham." (Heb. 2:14-16)

He became the "first-born, among many brethren," (Rom. 8:29) a the one nigh of kin, that He might have right to redeem every son and daughter of Adam; and down through the ages, comes the cheering assurance that "He is not ashamed to call them brethren." (Heb. 2:11)

Artist:Charles Zingard

"Thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money, (Is. 52:3) even "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18,19)

Have you yielded to temptation until you are bound in abject slavery to Satan? Remember, you have an Elder Brother who is able and willing to redeem you from the slavery of sin, and make you a free man in Christ Jesus. In order to be free, you must acknowledge Him as "one nigh of kin" to you. If the poor widow had disowned her brother when he came to redeem her from servitude, he would have been powerless to help her.

Satan may bind the soul until he thinks it is his forever; but when the soul cries out for help, and claims Christ as the "one near of kin," "one who has power to redeem," and Christ presents the redemption price,– "His precious blood,"– Satan is powerless to hold the soul.

The study of the Levitical laws in regard to land and servants gives new beauty to the name Redeemer. Job knew the power of the "one who had right to redeem." Hear him in confidence saying, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." His faith grasped a power that not only redeemed from sin, but will bring forth the patriarch's body even after the worms have consumed it. (Job 19:23-27)

While at any time one could be given freedom and re-instated in his former home by "one nigh of kin" who had right to redeem, yet the Jubilee was looked forward to as the great day of release for all Israel. It was then that every wrong was righted and every Israelite re-instated in his own possession. (Lev. 25:28,33,40,41)

If one sold a dwelling-house in a walled city, during the first year after the sale it might be redeemed; but if not redeemed the first year, it remained in the hand of the purchaser. It did not revert to its original owner in the Jubilee, for houses were the work of man, and had no part in the Jubilee, which released only the land and persons. (Lev. 25:29, 30)

The cities of the Levites were under different regulations; they were the only walled cities that had a part in the Jubilee. If a man purchased a house of a Levite, the house that was sold "and the city of his possession" went out free in the year of Jubilee. (Lev. 25:32,33)

The priests were a type of Christ. Our great antitypical Priest has prepared a walled city for His people,(Heb. 11:10,16) and in the antitypical Jubilee, they will receive the city. The regulations in regard to the cities of the Levites were a constant reminder of the New Jerusalem to be given to God's people in the great final Jubilee. God designed that His people should remember Him in all their business transactions, in every detail of life. The value of property depended upon the length of time intervening between the date of purchase and the Jubilee. ((Lev. 25:15,16)

In the type, the Jubilee was ushered in at the close of the Day of Atonement. In like manner we understand that the antitypical Jubilee will follow the antitypical Day of Atonement.

"The Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard.'' (Isa. 30:30) Then the pious slave will rise and shake off the chains that bind him. The trumpet of the Lord's jubilee will resound through the length and breadth of the land. Saints sleeping in Satan's prison-house–the grave–will hear the glad sound, and he "that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners," "did not let his prisoners loose homeward," (Isa. 14:17) will be powerless to hold his prey; for our Redeemer has said, "The prey of the terrible shall be delivered,"– yea, delivered forever from the power of sin and Satan. (Isa. 49:25)

God's original plan was, that man should possess the earth. "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath tie given to the children of men." (Ps. 115:16)

Adam was given dominion over the earth and everything upon it. (Gen. 1:26) But God's plans were thwarted, and Satan became prince of this world. In the antitypical Jubilee the redeemed of the Lord will be re-instated in the original home of man. The earth restored to its primeval beauty will be given to the children of men for their eternal home. (Matt. 5:5 Ps. 37:11,34) The seventh-day weekly Sabbaths, which the Lord sanctified and gave to mankind before the curse of sin rested upon the earth, will then be kept according to God's original design; and throughout eternity, "from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship" before the Lord. (Isa. 66:22,23)

"The Lord shall comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." (Isa. 51:3)


Lev. 25:10. The Jubilee gave liberty to every one.

Lev. 25:9. The blast of the trumpet announced the Jubilee.

Lev. 25:9. The Jubilee began on the Day of Atonement, the type of the judgment.

Lev. 25:13. In the year of the Jubilee every man returned to his own possessions.

Lev. 25:23. The Lord always owned the land. Man was only a steward.

Lev. 25:48, 49; Ruth 2:20, margin. Only one nigh of kin had the right to redeem.

Lev. 25:47-51. The persons of those sold in bondage were redeemed and set free.

Lev. 25:25-28. The land could be redeemed by one nigh of kin.

Lev. 25 :29:30. Dwelling- houses in walled cities did not revert to the original owners in the Jubilee.

Lev. 25:32,33. Dwelling- houses in the cities of the Levites could be redeemed. They all reverted to the original owners in the Jubilee.
The priests were a type of Christ.

Gen. 2:2, 3. The weekly Sabbath was a stepping-stone toward the Jubilee.


1 Thess. 4:16, 17. The living and the dead will all be given freedom.

1 Cor. 15:51-53. The blast of the trumpet of the Lord, gives freedom to all.

Rev. 22:11, 12. Immediately after the decree is issued which closes the judgment, Christ comes.

Isa. 35:1-10. The ransomed of the Lord will enjoy the redeemed earth forever.

Ps. 24:I; 1 Cot. IO:26, 28. The Lord owns all the earth. He has never relinquished His title to the land.

Heb. 2:14-16. Jesus was born of the seed of Abraham, that He might be nigh of kin.

Rom. 8:23; Hosea 13:14. He that is nigh of kin, says, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave.

Eph. I:14. Christ has purchased the possession of His people.

Rev. 16:19; Jer. 4:26. All earthly cities will be destroyed at Christ's second coming.

Heb. 11:10, 16; Rev. 21:1-27 Christ, the antitypical priest, has a city which will be given to His people in the anti-typical Jubilee.

Isa. 66:22, 23. The Sabbath will be observed on the new earth forever.

"The Cross and Its Shadow" Chapter 33, pp. 247-257
Stephen Haskell was first introduced to Sabbath keeping Adventist in 1853 at the age of 22. He served as an Adventist evangelist, church administrator, missionary, writer, and Bible teacher over the next 67 years.

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