So how does the blueprint of the laws of Jubilee that are written in the Old Testament have anything to do with the Day of Atonement?
“And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat its produce from the field. In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession.”
Let’s break down the “land laws” that tie into the Sabbath rest, which will ultimately lead us to “Jubilee.”
In the “land” law concerning the Sabbath, God commanded the land to rest every seventh year, known as the Sabbath rest for land. The children of Israel were not allowed to sow or reap in fields in that seventh year. During the seventh year Sabbath rest, all debt “rested” as well, but resumed on the eighth year. This gave the people a break, BUT the debt didn’t get removed.
But on the 49th year (seventh times seventh year), the trumpet was blown on the Day of Atonement, as it was considered the beginning of the Year of Jubilee. The Jubilee year was when all debts were released PERMANENTLY, or in other words FORGIVEN, and land was returned to it’s owner (Lev. 25:8-13). In the Jubilee year, all those who lost land could reclaim their inheritance (Promised Land).
So according to the law, the Sabbath “rest” for land and the Year of Jubilee had their calendar begin on the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement was celebrated each year through “an affliction of soul,” which required fasting, prayer, repentance and offerings. But when the Year of Jubilee came around, this Feast was joyful as it celebrated freedom, liberty, and release to return to family and it’s inheritance.
Let’s go back in biblical history, to the story when the nation of Israel was about to enter into the “Promised land” and these “Sabbath” land laws would go into affect.
On the first day of the month (Nisan), a year later after arriving at the base of Mt. Sinai, the building of the Tabernacle was completed (Ex. 40:2). Each leader of the twelve tribes took part in the dedication, offering sacrifices, one tribe each day. By the 14th day, the Tabernacle was completely dedicated and the nation could rest and celebrate the Passover Feast.
Then later toward the end of the second month, God began to lead the children of Israel toward the land He had promised “His Bride:”
“Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the Tabernacle of Testimony”(Num. 10:11).
This journey was supposed to bring them to the edge of the Promised Land in 11 days (Deut. 1:2). But because the children of Israel grumbled and complained about only eating manna (which sent a plague), and Miriam challenged the qualifications of Moses being their leader (which sent a plague upon her), the journey took longer.
Finally, the day came when Moses picked a leader from each tribe to go and spy out the land of Canaan to gather information. They were also instructed to bring back fruit of the land to taste and see that this was God’s “Promised Land.”
“‘Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.’ Now the time was the season of the first grapes”(Num13:20).
Forty days later, they arrived with a cluster of grapes, pomegranates, and figs from the Valley of Eschol. When they arrived, they gave their report that indeed the land was plenty fruitful. However, 10 of the leaders, whose hearts were focused on the power of the enemy, produced a report of fear and unbelief. This isn’t surprising after reading how they handled adversity up to this point:
“Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there” (Num. 13:28)
Two of the leaders, Joshua and Caleb, were focused on the Promise of the Lord. They tried to persuade the people to remember who was with them (the Lord), and to go in faith:
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Num.13:30).
Unfortunately, the people were persuaded by the negative report.
“The land through with we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people who we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw giants; and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight”(Num. 13:33).
Not only did the people weep through the night, but they all banned together to blame Moses for bringing them there, and while having a pity party, they wished they had died in the wilderness. This thinking then prompted them to elect a new leader (Num.14:1-4).
Moses and Aaron interceded for the people’s sin, and thank God they did. If they hadn’t, God would have wiped them all out in His anger. But Moses reminded the Lord of His promise of Covenant, and so He pardoned the people. However, God did NOT allow them to enter into the Promised Land:
“The the Lord said: ‘I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord – because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test these ten times and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall NOT see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.
BUT My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed me FULLY, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it” (Num. 14:20-24).
Later on, God said that only Joshua and Caleb would get the privilege of entering into the Promised land. Unfortunately, they had to wait for 40 years and go through the wilderness experience as well.
Of course, after the Lord delivered this judgment and closed door for the children of Israel to enter into the Promised Land, ALL the tribes mourned and repented, and afterwards, presumed that they could resume with Plan A of conquering the Promised land.
“Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned”(Num.14:40)!
But God did NOT change His mind. The DAY of judgment had come, and the door was closed. Instead of entering into the blessings of Jubilee, which is what this day should have been if they had listened to Joshua and Caleb’s report, they were all now mourning. The land/property (which was rightfully theirs because the Lord was “their Groom”), was given over to the Canaanites to continue ruling over for 40 years. Meanwhile, the children of Israel entered into God’s judgment, and now had to live in a land that was not their own to “pay the debt” of their sin.
This story illustrates how there are two outcomes to the Day of Atonement that God established in His blueprint: One of judgment, and one of Jubilee:
God has a calendar in which ALL things are redeemed in HIS TIME, and they all revolve around His Sabbath Calendar. When the Lord had the children of Israel move out toward the Promised Land, God’s timing to fulfill His prophetic promises were lining up even with the timing of the “Year of Jubilee.” God had prophesied to Abraham of the land that He would give His descendants. He even declared how long His descendants would be strangers in a different land:
“Know certainly that our descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they call come out with great possessions….But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Ge. 15:13,14,16).
If the children of Israel would have trusted the Lord and believed, they would have entered into the “Year of Jubilee” and seen those promises fulfilled. They would have reclaimed the place of their inheritance as prophesied by the Lord in Gen. 15:16, as well as promised to Abraham in Gen. 17:8. But because they didn’t, it turned into a “Day of Judgment.”
Today, believers can come before the Lord on the Day of Atonement and judge themselves and repent for anything that doesn’t line up with God’s word. This “dress rehearsal” is probably the greatest one to practice, because it causes us to stop and examine our hearts and ask, “Are we ready to see the Lord face to face?”
Someday, when Christ comes back, we will be judged on the Day of Atonement. Some believers, who are like Joshua and Caleb, will enter into “Jubilee.” This will be the “remnant” who allowed the sanctification process to take hold of their souls, making them “FORGIVERS,” “OVERCOMERS.” They will be used like Joshua and Caleb to lead the rest into the “promised land” and subdue the enemies. They will “rest” in their glorified bodies because the debt incurred (death) will be REMOVED and their body redeemed from the earth (1 Cor. 15:51-58).
“They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were REDEEMED FROM THE EARTH”(Rev. 14:3).
The rest will be judged by “fire” on the Day of Atonement. The “fire” is God’s “fiery law”(Deut. 33:2), which will judge those who have been “lawless” or have despised God’s laws, or have become bitter and unforgiving. They will continue on in the Lord’s sanctification process throughout the Millennium until the end when they too will receive their Jubilee reward.
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deut. 8:2).
The ultimate reward is the full redemption promise that will be realized through the laws of Jubilee on the Day of Atonement. To have access to heaven and earth in a glorified body and to live eternally is the hope that is in every believer and will happen for ALL in God’s time (Eph. 1:10).
But the Jubilee of all Jubilees will be when ALL of creation is removed from sin, AND, the land is restored to the KING OF KINGS!
“ Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him” (Is. 40:10).