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Chapter 66

 

Let’s Start Over

 

“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 25:8-17)

 

How often have you heard someone say, “I wish I could undo the past. If only I could start over, I would sure do things different”? Such sentiments are usually expressed by those who are getting on in years. But, then, with a sigh of resignation, the person returns to reality and says, “but of course I can’t”. Of course, we all know it is impossible to undo the past and start over. Or is it?

 
               In ancient Israel the Lord God established a law that required a new beginning every fifty years. It is called “the year of jubilee.” I want to show you how this great ordinance of God in the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in the gospel of Christ. May God the Holy Spirit, whose Word we have before us, be our Teacher.

 

Time of Restoration

 

Of all the solemn, typical ordinances of the Old Testament held up to the eye of faith, which foreshadowed good things to come by Christ, none was more blessed to behold and contemplate than the year of jubilee. The year of jubilee was ordained of God to be a time of restoration, rest, and rejoicing. The jubilee sabbath was designed to be the highest, most glorious, most anticipated of all the Old Testament sabbaths. In the year of jubilee all the woes of the previous forty-nine years were undone, all debts were cancelled, lost property was restored, and families were reunited. There was a complete reversal and renewal of life given to all in Israel who had, by any cause or circumstance, come into debt, lost their heritage, or been subjected to bondage. In all these things, the year of jubilee was a picture of God’s great salvation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
 
The Jubilee Trumpet
 
There has been much debate about whether the jubilee trumpet (vv. 8-9) referred to the preaching of gospel liberty in Christ, or to the trump of God that shall announce the glorious second advent of Christ and the consummation of liberty for the sons of God in him. There is no reason for the debate. Clearly, it refers to both. Redemption by Christ’s blood, regeneration by his Spirit, and resurrection glory are but three aspects of one thing — Salvation.
 
               Without question, the jubilee trumpet was typical of the preaching of the gospel. Our Savior makes this abundantly clear by applying the words of Isaiah 61 to himself in the fourth chapter of Luke, verses 16-21. “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance” (Psalm 89:15). The jubilee trumpet also refers to the trump of God that shall announce our Savior’s second coming and resurrection glory (1 Corinthians 15:51-58).
 
               The jubilee gospel trumpet refers primarily to our Savior’s first advent, proclaiming redemption accomplished by the blood of Christ, deliverance from the guilt of sin and the dominion of sin. The jubilee trumpet, as it refers to our Lord’s second advent and the sounding of the trump of God, shall proclaim that great day when all the ransomed of God shall eternally enjoy deliverance from the very existence of sin, and deliverance from all the evil and bitter consequences of it!
 
Day of Atonement
 
The jubilee trumpet could not be sounded, liberty could not be proclaimed, the yearlong jubilee sabbath rest could not begin, until the passover sacrifice was slain, atonement was made, and the blood of the lamb was sprinkled on the mercy-seat (v. 9). 
 
               Israel was taught by this requirement, and we are taught by it, that no blessing, no mercy, no grace can come down to sinners from heaven, except by the merit, efficacy, and accomplishment of Christ’s blood atonement. His blood must be poured out upon the cursed tree, his blood must be sprinkled upon the mercy-seat, his blood must be accepted in the holy place, he must come forth out of the tomb, without sin unto salvation, he must ascend to the throne of God and sit down, before grace can come down to sinners!
 
               Salvation is altogether by God’s free grace. But God’s free grace comes to us only through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. — “Without shedding of blood is no remission.
 
               Does that mean that no grace was given to sinners until two thousand years ago when Christ died and rose again? Of course not. This great work was finished in the mind and purpose of God before the world began (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Romans 8:29-30). And it was a work executed in time by the wisdom, providence, and grace of our God.
 
               So precise and detailed is the order of God’s providence that even the cycles of the solar system were set by him and are maintained by him so that the Jews and Romans, with their wicked wills crucified the Lord of Glory (according to the calculations of those who calculate such things) at the time of passover, at the time of the evening sacrifice, in the place where God required the sacrifice to be made (Jerusalem), in the year of jubilee (Acts 2:23). This work of redemption by God our Savior shall be the matter of our souls’ amazement, contemplation, and joy to eternity.
 
Jubilee Work
 
There are eight specific things given in this portion of Scripture that were to be done in the year of jubilee.
 

“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. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.” (Leviticus 25:10-13)

 
1.    Liberty was to be proclaimed throughout the land.
2.    The exiles returned.
3.    The captives were emancipated. 
4.    The debtor was set free and his debts cancelled.
5.    Each family opened its bosom to receive once more its long-lost members. 
6.    Every man received his inheritance again. — Not one of God’s chosen, not one soul redeemed by Christ’s precious blood can ever, by any circumstance, be deprived of possessing forever his inheritance with the Son of God (Ephesians 1:3-14). The very law of God demands it!
7.    Everybody in God’s Israel enjoyed a time of blessed, blessed rest, feasting upon the provisions of grace!
 
               The sound of the trumpet was the welcome and soul-stirring signal for the captive to escape his prison, for the slave to cast off the chains of his bondage, for the manslayer to return to his home, and for the ruined and poverty-stricken to rise to the possession of their forfeited inheritance. No sooner had the trumpet’s welcome sound been heard than the mighty tide of blessing rose majestically and sent its refreshing undulations into the most remote corners of Canaan’s happy land.
 
8.    Everyone in Israel was required to measure the value of all things in the prospect of that great day when the year of jubilee would come (vv. 14-17).
 

“And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 25:14-17)

 
               The year of jubilee reminded both buyer and seller that the land belonged to Jehovah, and was not to be sold. “The fruits” might be sold, but not the land. It all belonged to God. They were just temporary tenants. Houses in walled cities could be bought and sold at any time, because they were just houses (vv. 29-30). But the little cottages in the country villages were to be redeemed in the jubilee, because they were part of the land itself (vv. 31- 32). And the scale of prices was to be regulated by the jubilee. All human contracts regarding land, trade, and money were torn up the moment the jubilee trumpet was heard.
 

Loose Hand

 

This teaches us a great lesson. If our hearts cherish the abiding hope of Christ’s return, we must hold all earthly things with a loose hand, valuing them altogether in the light of eternity. — “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 4:17-5:11). — Oh, may God give us grace to live every moment in the immediate prospect of eternity!

 

If we can but live in the immediate prospect of eternity, valuing all things in the light of eternity, we will not oppress our brethren, but serve them and use what the Lord puts in our hands to serve them and him.

 

All Things New

 

Yes, the clock can be turned back. Yes, old things can be put away. Yes, all things can be made new. Not by you. Not by me. But by the God of all grace, through the sin-atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2). May God graciously cause you this very day to hear the jubilee trumpet of his matchless free grace in Christ and give you liberty, blessed, eternal liberty, for Christ’s sake!

 

The Gospel trumpet, blow!

Good news from heaven sound

Let all the nations know,

To earth’s remotest bound:

The year of jubilee is come!

Return, all ransomed sinners, home.

 

Christ Jesus, our High Priest,

Has full atonement made;

Come, weary sinners, rest;

You need not be afraid:

The year of jubilee is come!

Return, all ransomed sinners, home.

 

Extol the Lamb of God,

The sin-atoning Lamb;

Redemption through His blood

Through all the world proclaim:

The year of jubilee is come!

Return, all ransomed sinners, home.

 

Enslaved to sin and hell,

Christ’s liberty embrace,

And safe forever dwell,

Saved by His wondrous grace:

The year of jubilee is come!

Return, all ransomed sinners, home.

 

Though you have sold for nought

Your heritage above,

Come, have it back unbought,

The gift of God’s free love:

The year of jubilee is come!

Return, all ransomed sinners, home.

 

Soon, we the trump shall hear,

And Christ will come again!

In glory He’ll appear

And say to us again—

The year of jubilee is come!

Return to your eternal home.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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