God established the Jubilee year for the Israelites as the shadow of a heavenly work that He does with His children today. Every 50th year was declared a time of rest and celebration for the years before, and inheritances were restored to each person. If a family had lost its ancestral land for whatever reason – neglect, error, a business risk that didn’t pay off or just tough times – the land was returned. If it was heavily mortgaged by debt, encumbered by onerous contracts or occupied by pesky tenants, these were all cancelled to make it free and clear, like the day God had first proclaimed it belonged as inheritance to a family line. Servants were set free to pursue their own paths in life, and every obligation was cancelled.
What does the Jubilee mean for us today? What is God doing?
The word Jubilee comes from the Hebrew word “trumpet”, giving the idea that the year was like a loud blast that marked the end of one era in a man’s life, and declared with victorious fanfare that a new era was about to begin. It signaled a kind of “half time” because most people would only experience one Jubilee in their lives. The Jubilee was a year to show God’s kindness, to ensure that a person’s life could be better and greater in the second half.
Prophetically I believe that this year is a Jubilee for many of us. It is a unique time when the Lord wants us to celebrate and reflect on a season that is drawing to an end just as He announces the beginning of a new season. The Lord wants us to open our eyes and ears to see the inheritance that He’s marked out for our lives, even if it feels like its been lost through neglect, or seems to be a faded dream from years past. “Season” is probably the wrong word because the Jubilee doesn’t interrupt short seasons like winter and spring. It marks off major chunks of our lives – possibly years or decades long.
God’s gracious heart provided for land to be recovered by each Israelite family and for their debts to be wiped out so that that their hope could be restored no matter what, and that His promises could be fulfilled in each man’s lifetime. He created Jubilee so that “the goodness of God could be experienced in the land of the living” by each person. In 2017 the Lord is standing with each of His sons and daughters at the threshold of fresh destiny, pointing out at the hills and valleys that stretch into years beyond and saying, “this is a good land I’ve given you, flowing with milk and honey. It’s calling you to build and to plant the purpose for which I created you; to work with Me in a way that satisfies your heart and maximizes your entire being. Take it as a sign of my love for you and know that its your inheritance because you are my son. Worship me as you nurture it.”
Jubilee is about connecting with inheritance. And inheritance is about sonship.
The challenge for 2017 is to keep your spiritual eyes and ears focused on the Lord and for your faith to take hold of something unique He plans to do for you this year. There are five key features we see of the Jubilee year in Leviticus 25:
- Celebrating fruitfulness. Jubilee was not only for “rescue and reset” – it was meant also as a time of rest and celebration for past fruitful years of God’s blessing. This year will bring you greater fruit, but with greater rest. Things you’ve planted in past years will spring up into harvest by themselves.
- Release of debts and freedom for slaves. The Lord is going to work to bring greater levels of freedom into your heart – victory over sin, healing of heart issues, removal of blockages to faith – so that you can receive your foremost inheritance: to know Christ more deeply. This work is mostly not pleasant, but its the only way to progress more deeply in the knowledge of God. The best response is quick surrender.
- Restoring family land. The Lord is going to remind you of His promises for your life, and of dreams you may have forgotten. Perhaps life has knocked the wind out of your sails and your faith no longer holds on to God in certain areas the way it used to do. But He’s heard every prayer, cherished every dream, and remains faithful even when we are faithless.
- Being connected to inheritance. Some things will be recovered, but new aspects of your inheritance will be revealed. Where you saw a mile out before, you’ll now see further horizons in God.
- Beginning a new major season. A process of transition will occur – new things that have been in motion will become complete, and new things will spring up. The key is a listening ear because the Lord wants to speak to us about these things: “New things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” (Isaiah 42:9)
I love what someone said: “In Christ, every year is the year of Jubilee, every day is the day of salvation and every hour is happy hour.” It’s a constant truth in Christ that we experience Jubilee throughout our lives whenever we turn to Him – shedding burdens, recovering hope, restoring identity, understanding inheritance and connecting with our created purpose. You can always reach out to the Lord in faith for the benefits of Jubilee.
But my prophetic challenge for you is that I believe 2017 is to be a year of unique grace to experience Jubilee in a unique way. Don’t miss out.