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108: Sabbatical Years and Jubilee Years

A direct command from the Creator concerning land ownership, farming and economics was given to physical Israel through Moses the Mediator of the Mosaic Covenant.  When Christ comes this system will be put back in place.   Jesus Christ will then decide how these laws apply outside of Palestine.

Leviticus 25:1   And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,

Notice when this commandment is to begin: God says that “When you come into the land [of promise].  Clearly this is a new commandment which does not begin until Israel enters the land and begins to cultivate it; just like the Wave Offering this command does not begin until Israel enters the land and begins to cultivate it.  

This is a very important point because some claim that the Land Sabbath began at creation and then try to date it with a continual count of seven from their idea of when creation was.  

25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord.

We know that Israel entered the land with Joshua, and that they took seven years to occupy the land and another seven years to divide the land; so that it took 14 years before they began to till the land and cut the wave offering as well as to begin the Sabbatical year count. 

The Sabbatical years are cycles of six years to be followed by a seventh year Sabbath of rest for the land under cultivation.

25:3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;

In the seventh year we may not sow nor reap [in a commercial sense] the promised land.

25:4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 25:5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap [in a commercial sense for storage or sale], neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.

That which grows of itself may be gleaned for personal use only, by the owner and the poor; not harvested for storage or sale.

25:6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat [gleanings, food] for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee.

That which grows of itself may be used for our personal and animal food and for the poor and traveler to glean; but must not harvested for storage or sale.

25:7 And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat [food of gleaning].

The Land Sabbath imposes the following conditions during every seventh year:

1. Nothing may be harvested for commercial purposes.

2. No crops may be sown specifically for harvesting.

3. No vineyards, or orchards may be pruned.

4. Nothing may be harvested for sale or storage including hay, or winter fodder.

5. Nothing may be harvested  for sale.

6. Pasturing cattle, sheep and poultry is NOT restricted.

That which grows of itself may be gleaned by the poor for personal use only, and may be eaten by the farm animals.

The volunteer crop of the seventh year is to be gleaned by the poor and needy and the animals are to be allowed to forage in the fields.

Exodus 23:10-11, “…six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.”

In order for there to be a volunteer crop in the seventh year,  only non-hybrid, open-pollinated seed will produce volunteer crops to feed the needy as well as the animals during the seventh and eighth years; and in the case of the Jubilee the ninth year. Such seed will also restore nutritional value to our foods and health to our nation.

Allowing the ground to lay fallow every seventh year is also very effective in insect and pest control; obviating the need to poison the ground with today’s chemicals

The Sabbatical year for the land is a release from the work of cultivating the land, and is also intended as a Sabbath year for the people, to give them a year off from most of their work, to devote to God and an increased study of his word.  God has given us his weekly Sabbath and also his Sabbatical year as a break from our labors to spend with him.

Between the Exodus and the Babylonian captivity, the Land Sabbath was disregarded seventy times. Hence, Judah was sentenced to seventy years in Babylonian captivity, to give the land rest and restore the land:

2 Chronicles 36:16-21 “…the wrath of God arose against his people [because of the house of Judah’s disobedience], till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them [Nebuchadnezzar] the king of the Chaldees … he gave them all into his hand…. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they [the remnant of the house of Judah] were servants to him and his sons … until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.”

God also commands that at the END of the Sabbatical year there should be a remission of all debts owed to each other within the nation.  In the New Covenant this applies physically within the spiritual nation of the Ekklesia.  All personal debts [as opposed to business debts] owed between brethren are to be forgiven at the end of every seventh or Sabbatical year.

Deuteronomy 15:1   At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. 15:2 And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the Lord‘s release. 15:3 Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release;

This law is in reference to personal debt, that the poor may not fear the Sabbatical Year and may find a blessing and relief instead. This law is to be separated from investments in business activities which have nothing to do with personal poverty and are intended to make money.  This is clearly implied by the debt release being conditioned by: Deuteronomy 15:4  Save when there shall be no poor among you; 

I am quite sure that in the kingdom there will be a quite different economic system without usury and debt economies. 

I want to make it very clear that this release is about borrowed personal debt; you cannot go to a person and say that you will not pay him his earned wages because that is a debt that must be forgiven.  That is partly what I mean by business activities.

 

The Jubile Sabbatical Year Count

For the record the modern word is spelled “Jubilee,” but the KJV uses the spelling “Jubile.”

Leviticus 25:8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

We determine the weekly Sabbath by counting six days beginning on Sunday the first day of the week; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and then comes the weekly Sabbath on the seventh day [Friday sunset to Saturday sunset].  

When we count to Pentecost we begin the count on the first day of a week [Sunday] and then count the following seventh day Sabbath of the week as ONE complete week and the first Sabbath of that completed week; then we count the fulfilled Sabbaths;  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and then comes the seventh Sabbath, which completes seven Sabbaths or seven weeks of 49 days.  Pentecost then falls on the fiftieth day or a Sunday, the day after the seventh Sabbath.

In the case of the Sabbatical years we are to begin our count when Israel began to till the Promised Land, and then proclaim the seventh year as a Sabbatical Year.   We are then to continue counting each seventh year until we complete seven Sabbatical years, or 49 years;  then the year AFTER the seventh Sabbatical Year, after the 49th year; we are to proclaim on the 50th year the Jubilee. 

This being an exact replica of the count to Pentecost, and Pentecost falling on the 50th day, with the Jubilee falling on the 50 year!  Then on the 51st year we begin the same count again!   Starting the six year count to the first Sabbatical year of the seventh year all over again; and then counting through to the end of the 49th year of the Sabbatical year cycle; to be followed by a 50th year Jubilee!   

The Sabbatical years are not a continual count of seven year cycles for millennia!  They are a count up to the  end of the 49th year with the Jubilee year being the 50th year; and then the Sabbatical year count is to be repeated; just like the Pentecost count counts seven weekly Sabbaths of 49 days to be followed by the fiftieth day Feast of Pentecost!

The Law of the Jubilee Year

The Sabbatical years and the Jubilee years are to begin on the Day of Atonement;  NOT the Feast of Trumpets and NOT in the first month of the year in the spring.  The reasons for this are spiritual;  and are concerned with the release [forgiveness] of debt [sin] and the restoration of all things. 

The Feast of Weeks at Pentecost establishes the kingdom of God over all the earth and restores things to the condition which God intended from the beginning; with Christ and the chosen teaching all humanity then living, the whole Word of God and pouring God’s Spirit out on all flesh!  

The day of Atonement pictures the repentance of and the application of the sacrifice of Christ to, the multitude of the main harvest of humanity!

The jubilee is a proclamation of LIBERTY from sin, and the restoration of every one to his own family; That is a reunion and reconciliation of all the main body of humanity at their time!

Leviticus 25:9  Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

The 50th year of Jubilee like the sabbatical 49th year is a Sabbath of rest for the land, being back to back land Sabbaths; thus making ridiculous the concept of postponements in the rabbinic calendar to avoid back to back Sabbaths in the autumn. 

If one can go two consecutive years without planting or harvesting; then one can have two consecutive Sabbaths in terms of a weekly Sabbath and a High Day Annual Sabbath!  Indeed, if one can have back to back Sabbaths in the spring; there is no reason for avoiding them in the fall either.  This is just nonsense.

25:11 A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor [commercially; for sale] gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.

25:12 For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat [glean only, not harvest for sale or storage] the increase thereof out of the field.

25:13 In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.

25:14 And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: 25:15 According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy [farm land] of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:

The land belongs to God; and is allotted by God to each family forever.  If one chose to “sell” his possession of land,  he can only do so according to the number of years remaining to the Jubilee; meaning that what is here called “selling” is better known in our day as “renting out” the land for a set number of years.

25:16 According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee.

We are to learn and to live by every Word of God with a righteous godly zeal!

25:17 Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God:for I am the Lord your God. 25:18 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.

The promise of physical blessings for obedience in physical things, is extended to spiritual rewards for obedience to the spirit and intent of the law.

25:19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.

It is very important that we tell God of our intention to keep the sabbatical and Jubilee years and to ask for his blessing in advance, so that we will be given enough in the sixth year to tide us over the seventh year until we can plant and then harvest in the eighth year; and in the case of the Jubilee that we have enough to carry over until the harvest of the ninth year.

25:20 And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:

25:21 Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.

25:22 And ye shall sow [after the Sabbatical seventh year during the six Sabbatical years before the seventh Sabbatical year and Jubilee] the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year [harvest] ; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.

25:23 The land shall not be sold [permanently] for ever: for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.

The original owner may redeem the land to himself if he has sold it.  If one buys a farm according to the expected increase until the Jubilee, then the true owner or his close family may pay back and redeem back his land at any time.

25:24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. 25:25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.

25:26 And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; 25:27 Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.

If a man or his family are not able to redeem the land sooner then it shall still revert to him at the Jubilee.

25:28 But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.

 

The law concerning houses inside cities that are not farmland

25:29 And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it.

25:30 And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubile.

25:31 But the houses of the [country farm villages] villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubile.

 

How Modern Rabbins avoid keeping the Sabbatical years through stratagems.

After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Sabbatical years were not observed. During the Talmudic period, the shemittah year was considered only a theoretical existence as a topic for Rabbinic discussion because the Sabbatical year was to be observed in the promised land.

Referring to the Rabbinate here: things changed in the late nineteenth century when there began to be enough Jewish farmers in Israel to make the land sabbath a real issue again. But because these Jewish farmers were very poor, rabbinic authorities feared that they could not survive a sabbatical year.

Therefore it was decided that in each shemittah year, the agricultural land in Israel would be temporarily deeded to a trustworthy Gentile, as a stratagem to make the law of no effect through their reasoning’s.

This practice continues today in the modern state of Israel. In the last sabbatical year, which began on Rosh Hashanah [Again a Rabbinic fallacy as God said to begin on the fast of Atonement] in A.D. 2000, the temporary owner of Israel’s land was Hussein Ismael Jabar.

Jabar, who also officially  owns all the leavening in Israel each year during the Passover and ULB celebration, is a resident of Abu Ghosh, a town about eight miles west of Jerusalem. In trusting Jabar with this responsibility, Israel remembers the fact that Abu Ghosh did not oppose the Jewish cause during Israel’s struggle for independence in 1948.

Israelis have some creative ways of circumventing the spirit of the land sabbath commandment. For example, since trees housed indoors are claimed by the Rabbins to be exempt from the sabbatical prohibition on pruning, one nursery has a portable canopy that it places over a tree as it is being tended during a shemittah year. The tree technically counts as being indoors while it is under the canopy.

 

Rabbinic Jews avoid forgiving debts by this method

See:  This internet pruzbul form.

Part of the observance of Shemitah includes the forgiving of loans. More than 2000 years ago, Hillel the Elder saw that people were avoiding giving loans as the Shemitah year neared. In order to encourage people to continue lending money, he instituted the pruzbul system. The Torah states that while all private debts are forgiven, public debts are exempt. The act of pruzbul makes private debts public and therefore redeemable. (See Loan Amnesty for more information on the origins of the pruzbul.)

Though the pruzbul is done on the eve of the Rosh Hashanah preceding the Shemitah year, according to many halachic authorities one should execute another pruzbul one year later, on the last day of the Shemitah (considering that the actual annulments of all debts transpires on that date).

The pruzbul can be done orally before three adult men who constitute a court. One approaches this “court” and states that he/she is transferring to them all debts which may be owed to him/her, thus making them collectable.

All of these things make the Word of God of no effect by the reasoning’s of men, and this kind of evasion of godly duty will not be tolerated when Messiah comes.

 

A judgment on inheritance and the Jubilee

Numbers 36:1  And the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near, and spake before Moses, and before the princes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel:

36:2 And they said, The Lord commanded my lord to give the land for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel: and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother unto his daughters.

36:3 And if they be married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then shall their inheritance be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and shall be put to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received: so shall it be taken from the lot of our inheritance.

36:4 And when the jubile of the children of Israel shall be, then shall their inheritance be put unto the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received: so shall their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.

36:5 And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well.

36:6 This is the thing which the Lord doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry.

36:7 So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe: for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.

36:8 And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers.

36:9 Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance.

36:10 Even as the Lord commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad:
36:11 For Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married unto their fathers brothers’ sons:

36:12 And they were married into the families of the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father.

36:13 These are the commandments and the judgments, which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.

 

Why did God command us to begin the year in the spring and then command us to begin the Sabbatical year in the autumn?

This is about the meaning of the Spring and Fall Holy Days and harvest seasons.  The spring Festivals and harvest season are about the early harvest of humanity; and the fall festivals and harvest season are about the main harvest of humanity. 

In the spring there are seven weeks of Sabbaths followed by Pentecost; and in the fall there are seven Sabbatical YEARS followed by the fiftieth or Jubilee year which pictures the fall or main harvest of humanity. 

Pentecost pictures the the Kingdom of God and the removal of Satan and sin from the earth for a millennial Sabbath of 1,000 years.  Atonement pictures the restoration of godliness extended to a repentant main harvest of humanity and the removal of Satan from the earth forever.

The fiftieth day or Jubilee year represents a new beginning for humanity, first the 50th DAY of Pentecost is the new beginning of the millennial Kingdom of God, and second the 50th YEAR being a new beginning for the main harvest of humanity. 

Pentecost is about the spring or early harvest and therefore begins in the spring with the first month of the biblical year when the spring harvest takes place.  The Sabbatical years and Jubilee are about the main harvest and therefore begin in the Seventh Month picturing the main harvest.    

Pentecost is a Jubilee of Days about the early spring harvest; and Atonement is a fifty year Jubilee of years, being in the fall because it is about the main harvest.  

 

Sabbatical Years and the Wave Sheaf 

The Wave Sheaf is an allegory of Christ being the first fruits of the early spring harvest, and must be cut and offered every year including a Sabbatical or Jubilee year. 

In Judea there is always plenty of grain springing up on its own, so there is no issue of a lack of barley, do to lack of cultivation.  

In the case of the Sabbatical or Jubilee year the volunteer grain can be cut, as the gleaning of the volunteer grain is allowed for the poor. 

The prohibition is against sowing, and against commercial harvesting for storage or sale.  

The cutting of the grain in gleaning for immediate personal use is permitted; and therefore the cutting of the grain for immediate use by the priests in obeying God’s commandment is also permissible.  The Wave Sheaf is to be offered every year, even in Sabbatical Years and the jubilee Year. 

 

Finding the Sabbatical Year

Some have thought that Isaiah 37:30 referred to a Sabbatical year in the year 700 BC.  In fact that verse referred in context to the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrian during the reign of Hezekiah.  This was a prophecy that the Assyrians would leave off the siege after two years and that the people would be able to leave the city and sow on the third year.  Isaiah 37:30  is an allegorical prophecy of the end days, that after two years in tribulation God would begin to deliver his people in the third year.  Isaiah 37:30  may appear superficially to refer to a Sabbatical year but it does not.

Hosea 6:1  Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, [in tribulation] and he will bind us up. 6:2 After two days [years, a day for a year] will he revive us: in the third day [beginning in the third year, at a day for a year]  he will [begin to deliver all the nations of Israel, and then Messiah will come] raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

Isaiah 37:30   And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.

37:31 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: 37:32 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.

The Maccabees mention two or three Sabbatical years, however it is impossible to determine if they were correct, or which Sabbatical years they were in relation to the Jubilee.  Some choose to count from these Sabbatical Years mentioned in Maccabees in a continual cycle of seven, not accounting for the 50th year reset of that cycle.  

Today the Rabbins say that the Sabbatical year will begin on the Feast of Trumpets 2014, while the other most popular date is Nisan 1, 2016.

Both of these starting days are wrong!  since God expressly said that the Jubilee is to begin on the Feast of Atonement; and if the 50th year Jubilee begins on Atonement, the previous year would then end at Atonement and would have therefore begun on Atonement the previous year. 

If one year of the Sabbatical Year system begins on Atonement, then of necessity all years in the Sabbatical Year Jubilee system begin on the Fast of Atonement.  

Why does the Sabbatical year begin and end on Atonement when the New Year of the Called Out First fruits begins in the spring?  Because the spring new year has to do with the early harvest of the Called Out First Fruits and the Sabbatical years and Jubilee has to do with the main fall harvest!

Remember that the seven year Sabbatical cycle is interrupted by the 50th year Jubilee after which a new cycle of Sabbatical years begins.  A continual count of sevens does not work, not even  a count from a speculated creation date, or a speculated exodus date.

The years of 2014 and 2016 as well as other proposed years cannot be reconciled, since there is no proof as to a particular Jubilee year on which to base a calculation.  This cycle of Jubilees has been lost and will be restored when Christ comes. 

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