Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Jubilee is a prophecy

And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. (Leviticus 25:10 ESV)

Most of modern people live off their salaries. They have a job and they earn their living from their employment. In ancient Israel however, most Israelis have lands and they earned their living from what they grow on it. Every once in a while, some might get poor and forced to sell their lands. Once they are without land, they don't have any means to make any good amount of money for themselves in the long run. It is like someone without education and working experience in today's world.

Now, every fifty year, in the year of Jubilee, all Israelites are to return all lands to their original owner. According to leviticus, there is no such thing as land purchase in Israel (with few exceptions). Only renting until Jubilee. The same case also apply to all Israelite bondman and slaves. They are all to be released in Jubilee and leviticus advised that prices are calculated with Jubilee in mind.

At first, I could make no sense behind this weird economic system. Only after a while I realized that the big idea is to embed social justice in the law. And for quite a while, that is all I could think about.

Suddenly, it struck me. Jubilee, like all the laws regarding sacrifices and burnt offering, are an object lesson. They are a shadow of things to come, a prophecy. Just like it is written in a letter for the Hebrews: "1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrew 10  ESV)

The Jubilee are more than just a way for God to attest his ownership over the land of Israel and the Israelites whom he brought out of Egypt. Just like sacrifices are reminder of sins, this Jubilee were a reminder for the Israelites that there will be a true Jubilee when all of your their debts. Not the one towards their brothers and neighbours, but their debts to God upon their life from their sins, will be annulled and they be indebted no more. That the their true home, not the mere land of Canaan, but the former garden of Eden, the new Jerusalem on Zion, will be theirs once more. They can go home because they are not slaves of sins and death. 

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