Then Adonai said, "My Spirit will not remain with humankind forever, since they are flesh. So their days will be 120 years." -- Genesis 6:3 TLV
It has been quite a few years since I first heard someone say about this passage, "You know that's referring to Jubilee years, right?" No, I hadn't known that, and it had been since then that the Jubilee year remains such a spark of interest to me each parsha cycle when we come upon its study, on top of being such a mystery.
Why a mystery -- you might ask, especially since Scripture doesn't make it appear to be a mystery. The time of the Jubilee is set clearly in Scripture to be after 49 completed years, as the 50th year, and that it is proclaimed in the 7th month of the 50th year, on Yom Kippur.
"Then on the tenth day of the seventh month, on Yom Kippur, you are to sound a shofar blast -- you are to sound the shofar all throughout your land. You are to make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It is to be a Jubilee to you, when each of you is to return to his own property and each of you is to return to his family." -- Leviticus 25:9-10
When the Word mentions the proclamation being on the 7th month, this tells us that the 50th year (the year of Jubilee) actually starts 7 months prior. Note, the Word does not say that month of the Jubilee shofar blast is to begin a whole new year. As far as I have read, the Bible has only ever named Abib as a new year, leaving Yom Teruah as a later-adopted alternative to Rosh HaShanah. Whether or not that was God-directed, it was not Torah and thus in the mystery of the Jubilee, I rest that the Jubilee starts as soon as 49 years ends (which ends with Adar) -- Jubilee year started on the Abib of the 50th year and it was proclaimed 7 months later on Yom Kippur. There are 2 ways I'm looking at this mid-year proclamation: 1) the people have 7 months to return before the shofar blasts that the return is complete, or 2) the people have 5 months to return, starting from the shofar blast on Yom Kippur, and better have completed their return by the time the year ends and a new 50 year cycle begins the following Abib. I have not studied on when they started their travels back to their own families. We have to remember that these people didn't travel by airplane or motor vehicle, like we do, but their travel took some time...time God gave them either before or after the shofar blast, while also providing food for them on the way as each was allowed to eat the increase in the year, freely, without any property claims from another.
So going back to the mystery in Genesis about 120 years' 2nd meaning referring to Jubilee years... It was such a satisfying connection of dots for me, because when you add up 120 Jubilees you get 6,000 years -- which is the belief of many as to how many days this earth will receive before the LORD's day. It makes perfect sense when we study the creation account. Elohim made the earth in 6 days and rested the 7th, sanctifying the 7th day as His day. When we adopt Scripture's prophetic "day as a thousand years" and apply it to the creation account, then we can turn the earth's 6 days into 6,000 with the 7th day/millennium being the LORD's day, a term used when referring to the return of the Lord into the millennial reign -- which we know clearly by Scripture that His reign on earth is a millennium. When other would this be then on the 7th millennium, foreshadowed by the 7th day of each week that He established all the way back in the creation account?
So, having hit the things you probably have already been familiar with, I want to get into the Hebrew that further intrigues me about the mystery of the Jubilee. Before doing so, we can first see that the Shemitah and Jubilee have quite a few similarities, with their difference is that the Jubilee is a year of return, whereas the Shemitah is not.
"But in the seventh year there is to be a Shabbat rest for the land -- a Shabbat to Adonai. You are not to sow your field or prune your vineyard. You are not to reap what grows of itself during your harvest nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. It is to be a year of Shabbat rest for the land. Whatever the Shabbat of the land produces will be food for yourself, for your servant, for your maidservant, for your hired worker and for the outsider dwelling among you. Even for your livestock and for the animals that are in your land -- all its increase will be enough food." -- Leviticus 25:4-7
Can they eat of the land? Yes they can! However, there is a difference between going out and getting your daily food versus a full harvest and storing. It is like the wilderness, when they got the manna daily, but did not store it, except for the 6th day. There is a difference between picking off a few grapes versus separating the cluster from its vine. So these were the rules with the Shemitah -- the land gets rest from sowing, pruning, and full harvesting, and the land is food for everyone.
"You are to count off seven Shabbatot of years -- seven times seven years, so that the time of seven Shabbatot of years -- 49 years. Then on the tenth day of the seventh month, on Yom Kippur you are to sound a shofar blast -- you are to sound the shofar all throughout your land. You are to make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It is to be a Jubilee to you, when each of you is to return to his own property and each of you is to return to his family. That fiftieth year will be your Jubilee. You are not sow, or reap that which grows by itself, or gather from the untended vines. Since it is a Jubilee, it is to be holy to you. You will eat from its increase out of the field." -- Leviticus 25:8-12The Jubilee agricultural rules are no sowing nor full harvesting, and the land is food for everyone. I did notice I did not see anything about no pruning. I wonder if that is significant? Adding to, the year of Jubilee is predominately a return to origination. This return is Hebrew shuv, from which we get another word -- teshuvah. This word is very significant when we are talking about Yeshua's return, as teshuvah is repentance.
That being said, many today believe that the Jubilee is when Yeshua will return for His bride. I desire to share a few highlights from the Hebrew to see if we can validate or must reject this belief. Going back to verse 9 --
"...you are to sound a shofar blast -- you are to sound the shofar all throughout your land."Some translations actually say you are to sound the trumpet of the Jubilee. The "trumpet" is Hebrew shofar and the "Jubilee" is Hebrew teruah, which means a shout or a battle cry. Hence, the TLV translates it as a "shofar blast." It says that the shofar blast is to be sounded, but actually the Hebrew word translated into "sound" is abar. Abar is the root of the word Hebrew itself, and as we know of the word Hebrew, its meaning is "crossed over one." Abar is to cross over or transition. It really doesn't have anything to do with sound, but some of its meanings are not only to cross over or transition but to cover/atone (hence it is "sounded" on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement/covering), and also wrath (confirming another belief on the judgment of Yeshua coming on Yom Kippur). So far, with a crossing over (which is what we, the Hebrew bride, will one day do) and atonement and wrath on a day that the trumpet will sound and freedom is proclaimed, along with a teshuvah (return), it definitely does sound like the beliefs of a Jubilee return of Yeshua is sitting right in Torah. However, there are more regulations of the Jubilee year. From verse 11 & 12 --
"That fiftieth year will be your Jubilee. You are not to sow, or reap that which grows by itself, or gather from the untended vines. Since it is a Jubilee, it is to be holy to you. You will eat from its increase out of the field."The word "sow" is Hebrew zara, meaning to conceive/become pregnant. It immediately brings me to when Yeshua spoke of a time when it would be woe to those who would be pregnant or nursing (Matt 24:19, Mark 13:17, & Luke 21:23). "Reap" is interesting because it does not only refer to the gathering of grapes, but Hebrew qatsar also means to grieve, annoy, discourage, or to be such as well as be impatient. Now I think of all those references about perseverance as the time comes. The year of the Lord's return is definitely not the time to quit or discourage one another. When you are in a race, the last leg is when all stops thinking it is a competition and surprisingly all are encouraging of one another to make it. Don't drop out at the last minute.
So far if we look deeper into meaning and application we can see that the Word is also telling us to not discourage nor grieve the one who grows by himself, nor be discouraged nor grieved as you are growing by yourself (as seems to be what many are doing, falling away from the modern church and getting out of a building). "That which grows by itself" is the Hebrew cafiyach, to be self-sowing. What a revelation of what the church would like towards the end. I have talked to quite a few who believe Scripture tells us that there will be a day when the church as we know it will cease, and the Holy Spirit will be the teacher of men even in their own homes.
In moving forward, I was happiest to see what "untended vines" was originally in Hebrew. The Hebrew original is naziyr, a separated and consecrated/chosen one (Nazarite), or untrimmed vine. Untrimmed vine and Nazarite being the same thing brings a better understanding to the power of Samson being linked to his untrimmed hair. Having been trimmed made him no longer a Nazarite. This is perfect opportunity to bring up that the naziyr is the not the same word translated in Zechariah as "branch" when referring to Yeshua, but that word is tsemach, and naziyr is also different from the city Natzeret, which His dwelling therein (Matt 2:23) was why He was called a Natzrati. We allow this confusion in easily comparing Yeshua to a Nazarite because 1) He is separated/set apart and consecrated as the chosen one, and 2) He is the true vine. However, we must realize that considering what it means to be a Nazarite (again, not the same as being a Natzrati), Yeshua could not be one because in the very least He drank wine on the last Seder. He also cannot be because although He is the true vine, He is not an untrimmed one. In John 15:1-2, Yeshua tells us that He is the true vine and every branch in Him that does not bear fruit is cut off, letting us know that He is actually a well-trimmed vine.
So far I have seen confirmation of Jubilee-year return. Except for this very thing, that the Jubilee cannot bring harvest, and Yeshua's return brings just the thing. In fact, Yeshua's harvest is quite messy with blood, likened unto the threshing of grapes upon the floor and the stained color that brings -- is the grape harvest not a picture of what is described as Yeshua's return? Yeshua waits until His return to separate the wheat and the tares, which is a harvest. His return is many things that we see described of the Jubilee, but one thing it is that the Jubilee is not is a harvest.
After 50 Jubilees comes the completion 6,000 years. After a full 6,000, which means a Jubilee just completed, is the beginning of the 7th. So then maybe not a Jubilee return, but the Fall Holy Days after a Jubilee? The mystery continues. Until then, counting and sevens are not just for understanding times, but for foreshadows and real observance. With that being said, happy "seventh".
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