JUBILEE album blog 2 - The Year of Jubilee
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With the upcoming release of the album “Jubilee” I thought I’d share a little about the meaning of the Year of Jubilee written of in the Bible.

In our modern world, we think of Jubilee in terms of a huge celebration, like the recently celebrated Queen’s Diamond Jubilee commemorating her 60th year of reign. From the word Jubilee we derive the word jubilation (great joy) and jubilant. However the Old Testament practice of the Year of Jubilee went even deeper.

The Jubilee Year was a sacred celebration held every 50 years and was part of the laws regarding the Sabbath. Each week, God instituted a Sabbath day of rest from work for people and even animals on the seventh day. Each seventh year was to be observed as a Sabbath year of rest for the land. 

These Sabbatical years then culminated in the Year of Jubilee. “…Count off seven Sabbath years, seven sets of seven years, adding up to forty-nine years in all. Then on the Day of Atonement in the fiftieth year, blow the ram’s horn loud and long throughout the land. Set this year apart as holy, a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you…” (Lev 25:8-10a)

As outlined in Leviticus 25:8:55, the Jubilee Year, culminating in the Day of Atonement, saw a great restoration for the people and for the land. In this context, jubilee means ‘liberty’. God’s instructions to the people of Israel reminded them that He owned the land. In the Jubilee Year, He desired the return of every man to his own possession. The land was to be redeemed, rested and returned to its original owners. People must be returned to their land and to their family. 

God called His people from oppression, persecution and slavery and brought them into His promised land. He clearly said He did not want them to be like their oppressors in Egypt (their past place of habitation) or like Canaan (their future place of habitation). They were to be unique among the nations because Yahweh was their King. Their entire system was to be one of justice. It meant that no-one would ever be able to get rich at another’s expense, there would be a level playing field and the poor wouldn’t be left behind. 

Jesus furthered this, making the proclamation from Isaiah 61 as one of His earliest declarations of what He had been sent to do: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.” Luke 4:18-19

The year of the Lord’s favour (Isaiah 61:1-4; Luke 4:18-19 – see also Isaiah 58) pronounces Jubilee: 

  • Debts cancelled 
  • Slaves set free 
  • Poverty ended 
  • The oppressed liberated 
  • Physical and emotional restoration and healing 
  • Justice instituted 

Our world is still in need of Jubilee. We continue to find oppression and slavery rife in one form or another. Whether it be release of those held in the clutches of human trafficking, or deliverance from the chains of addiction; the healing of bodies, minds, and souls, or the healing of broken relationships; a restoration of dignity and identity, or a safe place to live and be - Jehovah is the ultimate Freedom-fighter, Restorer and Redeemer. God’s arms are wide. His extravagant love desires to embrace, cover, protect and provide. In Him we find our liberty. In Him we find ultimate deliverance, healing, and salvation. In Him we find our true Jubilee.

Belinda Tigell is an Australian singer-songwriter, speaker, teacher, worship leader and author. Find her regular blogs on belindatigellministries.com. 
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