“And 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; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” (Lev 25:10)
God gave His chosen people two distinct sets of Sabbaths or rests. The seventh day of the week was appointed for rest from labor for the benefit of their physical well-being; that Sabbath day was a type which foreshadowed a future time of rest of heart and mind.
There was also a special Sabbath day once a year, falling early in the ecclesiastical year after the Passover and the priest’s waving of the sheaf of first fruits (typifying our Lord’s resurrection to the heavenly plane). At the beginning of their religious year a cycle of seven times seven days began. Following this cycle of 49 days, came the fiftieth day, Pentecost, a special Sabbath day, the Jubilee Day. On this day there came a great blessing to all of the Children of Israel who were in the proper condition of heart.
The Jubilee Day foreshadowed the beginning of the real rest of heart and mind which was to come to those who were in heart readiness and who accepted Jesus as Messiah. This rest of mind and heart, typified in the Pentecostal day and its blessings, was but the earnest or foretaste of a still greater blessing and rest to be entered into by the faithful at the end of the race set before them. (Eph. 1:14; Heb. 12:1)
But Israel not only had day Sabbaths, it also had year Sabbaths, for every seventh year was a Sabbath year. Just as the Sabbath days could be observed by the chosen people anywhere and everywhere, the rest typified by their Sabbath days may be enjoyed by the consecrated everywhere under all conditions. But the Sabbath years were different. They could only be observed while the people were in their own land, because they only related to that land. In the Sabbath years, the land was allowed to rest and no crops were to be planted. (Lev. 25:4)
These Sabbath years had a cycle similar to that of the Sabbath days. The cycle of seven times seven years brought them to the fiftieth year, which was a special Sabbath year, just as the fiftieth day was a special Sabbath day. It was the Jubilee Year.
The Jubilee Year was undoubtedly a wise and beneficial arrangement made for the chosen people by God, their great King. It was first an economic arrangement; it prevented the accumulation of property in the hands of the few. It was a social and financial safety arrangement for the preservation of the rights and interests of the less successful of the people of Israel. Every fiftieth year was a Jubilee Year in which property under mortgage or lien for debt would revert to its original owner free from all encumbrance. Similarly, if a family had gotten into financial difficulty, losing its homestead and perhaps even being forced into servitude, in the fiftieth year not only the estate would be free, but all obligations of servitude would terminate.
In the Jubilee Year every man returned to his original rights and possessions. This was not unjust to anyone. Everyone knew in advance that a loan or debt or contract for the property of another could last only to the fiftieth year. Hence all valuation of property and of service rendered was based upon this arrangement. The valuation was greater when the Jubilee Year was far off and became less as it drew near. Thus under Divine arrangement it was impossible for the land of Israel to get into the hands of great landlords, trusts, etc. because the property right inhered in the family.
TIMES OF RESTITUTION THE ANTITYPE
Israel did not particularly care for this arrangement, and it gradually fell into disuse. The Almighty did not insist upon its continuance. Its chief value was that of a type pointing forward to greater “Times of Restitution” (Acts 3:21), the antitypical Jubilee Year when Adam and all of his posterity will be permitted to come back from the “land of the enemy.” (Jer. 31:16) They will be released from the power of the grave and from the dominion of sin and death. They will be brought back to harmony with God, to perfection of human nature, to inheritance of the land and all the blessings and rights and privileges which originally belonged to Father Adam.
When the great Messiah comes in power and great glory to establish in the earth His Millennial Kingdom, the human family will come into all these rights and privileges lost in Eden and redeemed at Calvary. The first to be blessed under that Kingdom arrangement will be God’s chosen people, Israel; and subsequently, all nations will receive a similar share by coming under the same conditions and participating in Israel’s New Law Covenant. (Isa. 2:3-4; Zech. 14:16-17; Rom. 2:10)
The Restitution blessings outlined by the Prophets include the restoration of Israel to Divine favor, their repossession and control of the land of Israel, and the sending forth of the Abrahamic blessings through them to all people. Restitution will include bringing the earth to full perfection, as was symbolically represented in the Garden of Eden. (Isa. 60:13, Isa. 66:1) It will include the lifting of humanity out of mental, moral and physical imperfection up to the grand heights of human perfection in the image and likeness of the Creator, to the original estate lost by Father Adam.
The Millennial Age, the reign of Messiah, will be the anti-typical Jubilee time, in which gladness and rejoicing will come to earth, and come to stay; for all who refuse the gracious privileges and opportunities of that time and reject the favor of God knowingly, willingly, intentionally, will be cut off from life in the Second Death, from which there will be no recovery. (Acts 3:23)
BLOWING SILVER TRUMPETS
At the opening of Israel’s Jubilee Year it was the priests’ duty to blow the silver trumpets proclaiming “liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” (Lev. 25:9-10) The bugle note sounded by the priests was repeated everywhere upon ram’s horns and upon anything that would make a joyful sound proclaiming liberty. Doubtless some who heard the sound may have been ready to dispute the correctness of the message, claiming there was a mistake.
Some who heard the proclamation of liberty were probably boisterous and rowdy in their jubilation and behaved unwisely. The beginning of the Jubilee Year must have been a time of general tumult and disruption. The current holders of the land may have been slow to surrender it; and the beneficiaries of human servitude were probably unwilling to give it up. Likewise those to whom land and freedom belonged by Divine right may have been impatient with any delay, thus becoming unreasonable in their demands for immediate restitution.
The Divine Word teaches that the great anti-typical Jubilee period of one thousand years is already upon us. We are now in the time when the priests are blowing the silver trumpets – the Truth of God’s Word – and when the common people everywhere are waking up and loudly demanding their rights and freedom, sometimes violently.
All the blessings of this Jubilee period have been Divinely provided, so it is right that humanity should receive them; however, Divine Providence should be noted and its leadings should be followed. It is God’s arrangement that the Jubilee Restitution be ushered in, so surely it will come to pass; for all of God’s purposes will be accomplished. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11)
There should be no breathless haste, but a quiet, patient, faithful waiting on the Almighty. He tells us, however, that many will be impatient; as a result, there will come upon the world “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1) The trouble time will serve as the opening of the door to the Jubilee of Restitution. Hear the exhortation of the Prophet:
“Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy” (the fire of His zeal, anger). (Zeph. 3:8)
We know this will not be a literal fire, but terrible trouble causing great distress, for the next verse shows that the people will survive the trouble. There we read, “For then will I turn to the people a pure language [the Gospel of the Love and Justice of God], that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” (Zeph. 3:9)
The Holy Scriptures warn all who have an ear to hear this message not to attempt to bring in the great Jubilee too hastily. The great leveling of humanity, rich and poor, is coming, and coming speedily, because “the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” (Micah 4:4) The great Jubilee with its restoration of human rights to every child of Adam is already upon us. Blessed will those be who, recognizing the fact, shall most speedily and most heartily join in and cooperate with the Divine arrangement.
Let the rich exercise benevolence of heart and rejoice to turn their millions into channels of usefulness for the people, and let them do it speedily. They should not think that all things will continue as they have been in the past – the anti-typical Jubilee has come. Its silver trumpet is now sounding in our ears. Already the masses are clamoring and restless, unable to wait for Divine Providence to give them the promised blessings. They do not know God; they do not discern that this Jubilee is coming and is of His making.
The people vainly think they are transforming society themselves. They think they must force the issue and grasp the coveted prize of equal rights, prosperity and leisure. The peculiar condition of things we now see can only be understood or appreciated in the light of the Scriptures. God’s Word gives the soundest of advice; however, the great intellects of the world have discarded the Bible and have gathered other teachers, whose doctrines credit worldly wisdom and evolution for the wonderful progress of the human race.
The Bible tells us that these doctrines will speedily come to naught: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1 Cor. 1:19; Isa. 29:14-15; Prov. 14:8)
The Bible’s message regarding the present time is profitable to both rich and poor: “Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment [done His will]; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3) Few of either the rich or the poor are in the attitude of mind to hear.
“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings [including the financial kings]: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son [salute, recognize the great King of Glory], lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psa. 2:10-12) This is God’s last warning to Christendom to now or never (as nations) recognize their new King by abandoning oppression and establishing justice. Now is the time for nations to concede to all men their natural rights. The Scriptures show that all nations will be found in violent opposition to the heavenly Kingdom and hence will be crushed as the vessels of a potter. (Rev. 2:27)
THE ANTI-TYPICAL JUBILLEE BEGUN
Harmonious prophecies based upon the Jubilee type show that the Jubilee chronologically began in 1875 A.D. Since then the masses have been struggling for their rights by various methods, some wise, some unwise. Everywhere the anti-typical ram’s horns are being blown and the watch-word is “rights!”
Those who own capital and have vested interests, not realizing that the Jubilee “Times of Restitution” are at hand, are perplexed at the situation and even alarmed. They have summoned the best legal talent and worldly wisdom in the endeavor to hold fast to everything they have gained and to relinquish and restore nothing! If the vested interests can possibly bar the way, the Times of Restitution will not come. Elated at their success, they believe themselves stronger, more thoroughly entrenched than ever in the control of the money and power. They hold that everything can be purchased with money – “every man has his price.”
The great struggle, the Time of Trouble, will be precipitated as a result of the extreme confidence of both sides. Organized labor and organized capital, each self-confident, will precipitate the most terrible disaster that has ever befallen Christendom – world-wide anarchy. Neither will hear; neither will understand the situation. It remains for those who have the hearing ear to heed the message of God’s word: “Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3)
THE MATHEMATICAL CALCULATION UNDER THE LAW
The Divine key to the date for the ushering in of the anti-typical Jubilee lies in the system of day Sabbaths and year Sabbaths, culminating in a fiftieth or Jubilee Year. The multiplying of the Sabbath or seventh day by seven (7 x 7 = 49) pointed out Pentecost, the Jubilee Day which followed; and the multiplying of the seventh year by seven (7 x 7 = 49) made the cycle which pointed out and led to the fiftieth or Jubilee Year. The same system would indicate that to reach the great antitype which we seek we should in like manner square the Jubilee – i.e., multiply the fiftieth year by fifty. The anti-typical Jubilee will be the great Jubilee of Jubilees, reached by the same method of counting, 50 x 50 years, or 2,500 years in all.
The question is: When should we begin the counting of this cycle? The answer is: Where the type ceased to be observed the great cycle began. In other words, God preserved the type until the proper time for the anti-typical cycle to begin to count.
We know that the Hebrew people maintained their Jubilee system very imperfectly and with more or less dissatisfaction until the overthrow of their government. After Zedekiah’s government was overthrown and the people taken into captivity for seventy years by Nebuchadnezzar, the typical Jubilee must have ceased during this period, because it could be observed only while in their own land. Prior to that time, although repeatedly taken into captivity by their enemies, they were never out of their land long enough to prevent the celebration of the Jubilee. And so far as any record shows, the Israelites have never observed a Jubilee Year since their return from the Babylonian captivity.
Moreover, through the Prophet Jeremiah the Lord distinctly tells us that Israel’s observance of the Jubilee Sabbath years was unsatisfactory, and that He made desolate their land during those seventy years in order that it might have the full number of Sabbaths which He had designed, and which the people had selfishly neglected to observe. All of those seventy years of captivity were Jubilee Years and the land had rest – none being observed subsequently:
“And them that had escaped from the sword carried he [Nebuchadnezzar] away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill three score and ten years.” (2 Chron. 36:20-21)
Thus we know when the seventy years desolation began; namely, 606 B.C. But how may we determine just when Israel observed their last Jubilee? To answer this question, we must reckon from the time when the Jubilee system of counting began down to 606 B.C., the beginning of the captivity, and then divide that total of years by 50. This would show us how many Jubilees Israel had already kept unsatisfactorily; and the remainder would represent the number of years which had elapsed between the last unsatisfactory Jubilee and the carrying into captivity.
The Scriptures distinctly inform us that the counting of the years of Jubilee began when Israel entered Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. (Lev. 25:2-4) There were six years from the crossing of Jordan until the division of the land; then a period of judges of 450 years; and a period of kings, 513 years, totaling 969 years to the desolation of the land at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. This number, divided by 50, would show that 19 Jubilees had passed, and that the last one occurred 19 years before the captivity.
Understanding that the anti-typical cycle began to count where the type ceased, we arrive at the 2,500 years for the great antitypical Jubilee thus: from the 19th Jubilee to the beginning of the desolation = 19 years; the period of desolation = 70 years; from the end of the desolation until A.D. 1 = 536 years; from A.D. 1 to A.D. 1874 = 1874 years. The total would be the sum of 19, 70, 536 and 1874, namely 2,499 years. As the Jubilee of Jubilees would come in the 2500th year, it follows that the year 1875 would correspond to that year. Since the anti-type, however, was not to be one year, but a thousand years, we understand that it was the thousand-year Jubilee which began in 1875 (that year beginning in October 1874 according to Jewish civil time).
This seems comparatively strong and clear as a Scriptural argument, and certainly seems to be in accordance with the facts of history. It is just what we should expect in this day of blowing the anti-typical trumpets and general commotion on the part of those desiring to quickly get their Jubilee rights.
THE JUBILEES ACCORDING TO PROPHECY
The Law sets things forth exactly as they should occur. As we have just seen, the great cycle of 50 x 50 = 2,500 years should begin exactly where the typical Jubilee ceased. Prophecy, however, shows matters from another standpoint; it foretells matters exactly as they will occur. Thus, through the Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord informs us that the total number of Jubilees would be seventy. (2 Chron. 36:20-21)
The total number may thus be counted in two different ways. We have seen that nineteen Jubilees were actually observed, although unsatisfactorily. These, deducted from 70, would leave 51 of the 7 x 7 cycles to be fulfilled. But since the Jubilees were not observed but the cycles only without the 50th year, the cycles only should be counted, and these were 49 years each. Thus, 51 cycles without Jubilees would be 51 x 49, or 2,499 years. The 19 cycles with Jubilees would be 19 x 50, or 950 years.
Thus we have the full 70 cycles shown; and 2,499 plus 950 is 3,449, which is the number of years from their first Jubilee on entering Canaan, to the close of the year 1874 A.D., which would be October, 1874. So we reach the same date as by the Law method of counting.
The whole world, as well as Israel, has an interest in the Jubilee and its “restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21) But the Restitution blessings will come first to Israel, after the stress of the great Time of Trouble, in which the chosen people will have their share, “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” (Jer. 30:7) The Millennial blessings will begin with Israel. Their law-givers will be restored as at the first, and their judges as at the beginning. (Isa 1:26) The Lord will assume the guidance, control, blessing and uplifting – the Restitution – of all the willing and obedient, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. (Rom. 11:25-31; Rom. 1:16)
(Based on What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly, pages 84-88)
THE GREATEST THING IN THE UNIVERSE
“That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7)
That Christendom has erred in its assessment of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of God’s love is evidenced by its conflicting creeds. Not one of these creeds is rational enough to be defended by one in a hundred of its own clergy, who profess to believe and teach it.
This is driving many noble people away from the Bible, which has been misinterpreted by us all. We have looked at the unfinished parts of the Divine Plan without properly using the telescope of God’s Word to see the future features of it.
None of us would judge a new building merely by the first story of the structure, incomplete and surrounded by scaffolding. On the contrary, we would ask for the architect’s drawings and consider them prophecies of the building to be built. The Jewish Age with its people, law, mediator, priesthood, and Jubilee were only rough outline sketches of the Divine Plan, which had not then even begun.
To judge God’s character we must see the Truth, the entire Divine Plan, and not merely a primary section of it. The Redeemer is the foundation for the great structure as St. Paul said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11)
God’s Plan first calls for the development of the Church as a “new creation” on the spirit plane, higher than the angels, “partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; 2 Pet. 1:4) They are “the church of the living God; the pillar and ground of the truth,” (1 Tim. 3:15) and “a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (Jas. 1:18)
By declaring the Church to be the “firstfruits,” and the “firstborn” (Heb. 12:23), God positively declares there is a secondary part of His great plan of salvation in which free grace and fullest opportunity for reconciliation to God will be granted to the whole world, the non-elect. (Rom. 5:15-19; 2 Cor. 5:19)
The world’s salvation will not be heavenly, but earthly; their resurrection will not mean a change from human nature to spiritual nature. For all the willing and obedient, it will mean a raising up to the perfection of human nature to be enjoyed in a world-wide paradise. The unwilling and disobedient will not be tortured to all eternity, but, as the Scriptures declare: “The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” (Psa. 145:20) The wicked will perish like brute beasts in the second death, returning to sheol, the death state. (2 Pet. 2:12; Psa. 9:17, RSV)
A God of justice, wisdom and power devoid of love would be as cold and unsympathetic as a marble statue. The greatest thing among men is love. Neither palace nor cottage could be a real home and a place of joy and peace and refreshment without love. We cannot even suppose a heart devoid of love without supposing it under the control of selfishness, and selfishness is merely another name for sin.
The greatest men and women who have lived and done the most to bless the human race have been men and women of heart, of love. Love is the principal thing in all this world. Without it none can be truly happy under any condition, but with it happiness is possible under almost any condition. How did man get this quality of love unless from the Creator?
God’s love will be most wonderfully displayed in His gracious kindness in the resurrection of the Church to glory, honor and immortality. Then will come a further display of “love Divine, all love excelling,” when mankind in general shall be blessed under the thousand year Messianic Kingdom.
Astronomers tell us that our galaxy, The Milky Way, contains hundreds of billions of stars and likely a hundred billion planets. It was once thought that the Milky Way contained all the stars in the Universe, but we now know it is just one of many galaxies. How little we feel ourselves to be, and proportionately how amazing seems the love of God toward us in Christ Jesus!
We are not informed respecting the work of the Church beyond their thousand year reign; the Bible merely assures us that Divine Love is unlimited, and that those who have proven themselves loyal, even unto death, will have blessing upon blessing through future ages. (Rom. 2:7) The future work of the Church after the Millennial Age could relate to these other billions of worlds.
Our verse shows that a limitless eternity is provided for the showing forth of God’s love toward us. There is no doubt that the lessons taught through the permission of sin among humanity on our earth were designed by the Creator to furnish a great lesson throughout ages to come.
(Based on What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly, pages 174-175)
HE WILL MAKE IT PLAIN
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.