The Christian Jubilee Climaxes in the Millennium
1. What have the Jews in the Republic of Israel made no effort to reinstitute, and why?
EVEN in the Republic of Israel (founded in 1948), the many Jews who consider themselves to be under the Mosaic Law have not reinstituted the celebrating of the Jubilee year. And there would be many complications if they tried. Massive economic problems would result, for property rights are involved. The Republic of Israel does not occupy all the land inhabited by the ancient 12 tribes. There is also no temple with a high priest of the tribe of Levi, tribal identities of the people having been lost.
2. How have some Christians already begun to celebrate a Jubilee foreshadowed by that of ancient Israel?
2 Where does that leave us, though, as to the blessings of a Jubilee celebration? We recall that the ancient Jubilee was a festival year of liberty—Israelites who had sold themselves into slavery were freed and hereditary lands were returned. (Leviticus 25:8-54) In the previous article, we saw that this arrangement ended with the Mosaic Law covenant in 33 C.E. (Romans 7:4, 6; 10:4) Then a new covenant was put in force whereby God could forgive believers’ sins, anoint them with holy spirit, and adopt them as sons to be taken to heaven. (Hebrews 10:15-18) Yet those thus benefiting from this new covenant arrangement are a “little flock” of 144,000 “who have been bought from the earth.” So how can the millions of other loyal Christians obtain liberation foreshadowed by the Jubilee?—Luke 12:32; Revelation 14:1-4.
A Sacrifice for All!
3. How effective and lasting is Jesus’ sacrifice?
3 In pre-Christian times, the benefits of the annual Day of Atonement lasted for only one year. The benefits of the Lord Jesus Christ’s ransom sacrifice are continuous, perpetual. Thus the antitypical High Priest, Jesus, does not have to become a man again, sacrifice himself, and then return to heaven to present the value of that sacrifice year after year in the Most Holy of Jehovah God. As the Scriptures state: “Christ, now that he has been raised up from the dead, dies no more; death is master over him no more.”—Romans 6:9; Hebrews 9:28.
4, 5. (a) What has been the result of the application of Jesus’ sacrifice from Pentecost 33 C.E.? (b) We have what indication that his sacrifice is going to be applied more widely?
4 Hence, in the years since Pentecost 33 C.E., as believers have become spirit-begotten disciples of the glorified Lord Jesus, they have begun celebrating the Christian Jubilee. Once ‘set free from the law of sin and of death,’ they have enjoyed invigorating freedom. (Romans 8:1, 2) They have also proclaimed the Christian message so that yet others can have their sins forgiven, be anointed, and become spiritual sons of God. Does this mean, though, that if one is not of that group limited to 144,000, he cannot experience joyful liberation now?
5 Significant in this connection are the apostle Paul’s words at Romans 8:19-21: “The eager expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility [being sinful and unable to eliminate sin].” Paul then stressed that there is “hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Such freedom, therefore, is not limited to those becoming “children of God” in heaven. The familiar words at John 3:16 confirm that. And, as mentioned, the anointed apostle John said that Christ died “for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.”—1 John 2:2.
1919—An Initial Liberation
6, 7. Since 1919, what sort of liberation has been proclaimed, and why especially since then?
6 In modern times the anointed who are celebrating the Christian Jubilee have been declaring liberating good news, especially since 1919. ‘Why from that time?’ you may wonder if you have been born more recently. Let us see, keeping in mind that your enjoyment of liberation is involved.
7 For decades before that date, Jehovah’s anointed ones published Biblical truths, such as in the famous series Studies in the Scriptures (1886-1917). They also distributed many informative booklets and tracts. During World War I, there came opposition, testing and sifting, and a slackening of their activities. But in 1919 the anointed remnant went forth with renewed zeal to proclaim Bible truths. As Jesus in 30 C.E. could say that he was anointed to preach “a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind,” so could these modern-day anointed ones. After a thrilling convention September 1-7, 1919,* they vigorously surged ahead in preaching truths that liberated countless people.—Luke 4:18.
8, 9. In what sense have many been set free, and what aids have been used in proclaiming such liberation?
8 Consider, for example, the Bible study aid The Harp of God (1921), which presented vital truths as if they were ten strings on a harp. The book acknowledged that “many have been frightened away from studying the Bible” by the doctrine that “the punishment for the wicked . . . is everlasting torment or torture in a hell burning with unquenchable fire and brimstone.” Readers of the nearly 6,000,000 copies of this book learned that this doctrine could “not be true for at least four separate and distinct reasons: (1) because it is unreasonable; (2) because it is repugnant to justice; (3) because it is contrary to the principle of love; and (4) because it is entirely unscriptural.” You can imagine how liberating that was for people who had grown up in fear of eternal torment in hell or of agony in purgatory!
9 Yes, the zealous preaching of Bible truth by these anointed ones freed people around the globe who had been enslaved to false teachings, superstitions, and unscriptural practices (such as ancestor worship, fear of ghosts or evil spirits, and financial exploitation by the clergy). The very titles of some Bible study aids reflect the liberating influence they had on millions.* Thus Jesus’ words have proved true, when he said that his disciples ‘would do works greater’ than he did. (John 14:12) Compared with the preliminary spiritual liberating work that Jesus did in preaching “a release to the captives,” God’s modern-day servants have done far more—reaching many millions around the globe.
10. Why can we expect that an additional and greater liberation will be experienced?
10 Call to mind, however, that in the first century a further liberating began at Pentecost 33 C.E. There the Christian Jubilee began for the “little flock” who would have their sins forgiven, leading to their becoming “sons of God” in heaven. What about in our time? Could the millions of other devoted Christians be released from bondage to sin and thus celebrate a grand Jubilee? Yes, and the apostle Peter indicated this when he spoke of “the times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.”—Acts 3:21.
A Jubilee for Millions
11. How does Leviticus chapter 25 suggest that we can look for a liberation that extends beyond spiritual Israel?
11 It is noteworthy that twice in Leviticus chapter 25 the Israelites were reminded that from Jehovah’s standpoint they were his “slaves” whom he had liberated out of Egypt. (Le 25 Verses 42 and 55) This Jubilee chapter also mentions the “settlers” and the ‘aliens in their midst.’ Such ones find a parallel today in the “great crowd” who are sharing with the spiritual Israelites in proclaiming the Christian good news.
12. Since 1935, what happy development has been in progress?
12 Since 1935 the “fine shepherd” Jesus Christ has brought into active association with the anointed remnant those whom he referred to as “other sheep.” These he had to “bring,” and they were to form “one flock” under “one shepherd.” (John 10:16) The “other sheep” now number in the millions. If you are of that happy multitude, you are already counted righteous as a friend of God, and as part of human creation, you are looking forward to being “set free from enslavement to corruption” during the coming “times of restoration of all things” on earth. This is no misplaced hope.—Romans 8:19-21; Acts 3:20, 21.
13. What blessing in particular should we note as occurring after the “great tribulation”?
13 After the apostle John saw 144,000 who enjoy the Christian Jubilee with a heavenly destiny, he described a “great crowd,” saying: “These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. That is why they are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple.”—Revelation 7:14, 15.
14, 15. Why do those of the “great crowd” have special reason to rejoice now?
14 Even now, before the great tribulation, these are exercising faith in Christ’s shed blood and thus benefit from his sacrificial death. They also rejoice at being liberated from Babylon the Great, at having a good conscience before Jehovah God, and in their privilege of sharing in the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 by preaching the good news of the Kingdom before the end comes.
15 However, what of the prospect of the great crowd’s being liberated from inborn sin and imperfection? Is that time near? We have good reason to hold that there are still with us some of the generation of mankind that Jesus Christ foretold was not to pass away until all the things predicted would be fulfilled. (Matthew 24:34) Hence, the grand finale of “the conclusion of the system of things” should be very close at hand.—Matthew 24:3.
Crowning Features of the Christian Jubilee
16. Where do we stand in the outworking of God’s purpose, and what lies ahead?
16 “The war of the great day of God the Almighty” comes on apace, and the remnant of the “little flock,” as well as the “great crowd” of their faithful, loyal companions will keep integrity toward Jehovah God and look forward to having divine protection. They eagerly anticipate Jehovah’s crushing defeat of all the enemy forces, to the vindication of him as the Universal Sovereign. What a crowning feature this will be to their enjoyment of Christian freedom!—Revelation 16:14; 19:19-21; Habakkuk 2:3.
17. How will millions yet receive liberation in a grand Jubilee?
17 The reign of the victorious King Jesus Christ over the cleansed earth will follow, with Jehovah’s universal sovereignty reaffirmed, and with Jesus Christ in full control of the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. Then he will directly apply the merit of his sacrifice to the millions of humans, including the resurrected dead, who exercise faith and who willingly accept the forgiveness of sins that God will provide through Christ. This will be evidenced by God’s wiping out “every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” (Revelation 21:3, 4) If that is not true liberation, what is?
18. Comparable to a feature of the ancient Jubilee, what will occur with the earth in the new system?
18 Moreover, the earth will no longer be controlled, polluted, and ruined by greedy individuals, corporations, and human governments. (Revelation 11:18) Rather, it will be returned to true worshipers. They will be charged with the delightful task of sharing in a literal fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “They will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating . . . They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah.” (Isaiah 65:21-25) By the end of the Millennial Reign, all traces of inherited sin and imperfection will have been wiped out and God’s loyal ones on earth will be celebrating the full climax with which the Jubilee terminates. So the liberation foreshadowed by the Jubilee will have been accomplished.—Ephesians 1:10.
After the Millennial Climax of the Jubilee
19, 20. How will Satan and the demons try to interfere with the blessings resulting from the Millennial Jubilee, but with what outcome?
19 Revelation 20:1-3 foretells that Satan the Devil, ruler of demon hordes, will be off the scene for the thousand years of Christ’s reign over mankind. When, at the end of the Millennium, the Devil and his demons will be allowed briefly to come forth, these wicked spirits will see the earth, not in the condition in which they left it, but as an indescribably beautiful, global paradise. They will see the earth occupied by the faithful “great crowd” and by the billions of resurrected human dead for whom Jesus Christ died as a ransom sacrifice. By the end of the Millennium, the Christian Jubilee will have achieved its purpose of fully releasing mankind from the effects of sin. (Romans 8:21) How diabolically disgraceful it would be for anyone to try to ruin that fine situation! But by almighty God’s permission, the Devil will make a last attempt to do this, and in desperate bitterness he will strike. To this effect it is written at Revelation 20:7-10, 14:
20 “Now as soon as the thousand years have been ended, Satan will be let loose out of his prison, and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea. And they advanced over the breadth of the earth and encircled the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down out of heaven and devoured them. And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur.”
21. After the Christian Jubilee ends with the Millennium, what response by the heavenly sons of God will be reminiscent of Job 38:7?
21 True liberty, brought about by the Jubilee arrangement, will continue to be enjoyed everywhere; all creatures will be free and will be honoring the One who alone bears the name Jehovah. (Psalm 83:18) That will be true as Jehovah continues to carry out his purposes in all the universe. At the creation of the earth, before mankind was placed upon it, “the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause” at the beautiful sight. (Job 38:7) How much more will they do so at seeing earth populated by men and women who have demonstrated and proved their total dedication and integrity to almighty God.
22. What should be our attitude, in harmony with the exhortation found at Psalm 150:1-6?
22 All things being taken into account in the light of the dazzling brilliance being shed upon the Scriptures, we cannot do otherwise than spontaneously jubilate with the heavens and say, Hallelujah! This is the exhortation to us with which the book of Psalms closes: “Hallelujah. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the sky, His stronghold. Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him for His exceeding greatness. Praise Him with blasts of the horn; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dance; praise Him with lute and pipe. Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with loud-clashing cymbals. Let all that breathes praise the LORD. Hallelujah.”—Psalm 150:1-6, Tanakh Bible (1985), Jewish Publication Society of America.
A new magazine was there released that was to be “like a voice in the wilderness of confusion, its mission [being] to announce the incoming of the Golden Age.” Today this magazine is called Awake!
Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1920); Deliverance (1926); Freedom for the Peoples (1927); Liberty (1932); “The Truth Shall Make You Free” (1943); What Do the Scriptures Say About “Survival After Death”? (1955); Life Everlasting—In Freedom of the Sons of God (1966); The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life (1968); The Path of Divine Truth Leading to Liberation (1980).
How Would You Answer?
□ From what were Jesus’ disciples released at Pentecost 33 C.E., marking the start of what for them?
□ Why is there reason to expect greater liberation than occurred in the first century?
□ What sort of liberating has been going on since 1919?
□ How and when will the “other sheep” benefit from a grand Jubilee?
□ After the climax of the Jubilee, what will the earth be like?
[Picture on page 25]
Liberty proclaimed at Cedar Point, 1919
[Picture on page 26]
“Other sheep” share in the Millennial Jubilee