Questions From Readers
What is foreshadowed by the arrangement of the Jubilee year mentioned in the 25th chapter of Leviticus?
The Mosaic Law stipulated that “in the seventh year there should occur a sabbath of complete rest for the land.” Concerning that year, the Israelites were commanded: “Your field you must not sow with seed, and your vineyard you must not prune. The growth from spilled kernels of your harvest you must not reap, and the grapes of your unpruned vine you must not gather. There should occur a year of complete rest for the land.” (Leviticus 25:4, 5) Thus, every seventh year was to be a year of Sabbath for the land. And every 50th year, following the year of the seventh Sabbath year, was to be a Jubilee. What was to happen in that year?
Jehovah told Israel through Moses: “You must sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty in the land to all its inhabitants. It will become a Jubilee for you, and you must return each one to his possession and you should return each one to his family. A Jubilee is what that fiftieth year will become for you. You must not sow seed nor reap the land’s growth from spilled kernels nor gather the grapes of its unpruned vines.” (Leviticus 25:10, 11) A Jubilee meant a second consecutive year of Sabbath for the land. But to its inhabitants, it brought liberty. Any Jews who had been sold into slavery were to be set free. The hereditary property that a person may have been forced to sell was to be returned to his family. The Jubilee was to be a year of restoration and liberation for ancient Israel. What does it foreshadow for Christians?
The rebellion of the first man, Adam, brought mankind into slavery to sin. God’s provision for freeing mankind from the grip of sin is the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ.* (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16; 1 John 2:1, 2) When are Christians set free from the law of sin? Addressing anointed Christians, the apostle Paul said: “The law of that spirit which gives life in union with Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:2) Those with the hope of life in heaven receive this freedom when they are anointed with the holy spirit. Though their bodies are fleshly and imperfect, God declares them righteous and adopts them as his spiritual sons. (Romans 3:24; 8:16, 17) For the anointed as a group, the Christian Jubilee began at Pentecost 33 C.E.
What about the “other sheep,” having the prospect of everlasting life on earth? (John 10:16) For the other sheep, the Thousand Year Reign of Christ will prove to be a time of restoration and liberation. During this Millennial Jubilee, Jesus will apply the benefits of his ransom sacrifice to believing mankind and will reverse the effects of sin. (Revelation 21:3, 4) By the end of Christ’s Millennial Reign, mankind will reach human perfection and will be completely free from inherited sin and death. (Romans 8:21) With that accomplished, the Christian Jubilee will be over.
[Picture on page 26]
The Millennial Jubilee—a time of restoration and liberation for the “other sheep”