The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to … preach deliverance to the captives, … to set at liberty them that are bruised,to preach the acceptable year of Adonai.
The Sacred Texts teach us about Hashem’s special times (Leviticus 23; 25). Starting with Spring we have the Sabbatical years every septet, a time where for the most part the land is to be given a rest and people can only eat from what they saved and of what grows of its own accord. It has been calculated that 1967, the year when Jerusalem was freed from occupation and returned to its rightful Jewish heirs was also a Sabbatical year. Another of these times is called the Jubilee year and it comes the year after seven septets.
Due to many interruptions, exiles, occupations, wars, calendar modifications, and lack of information, it is difficult to restore the exact dates of Sabbatical years and Jubilees today. Many have tried by collecting data from history book such as the Book of Josephus as well as taking into consideration hints from biblical texts, and while many of these calculations have somewhat different outcome, there is a body of them that come near to each other in their calculations. A common trend I noticed is that many put the year 28 A.D. (or around) as a jubilee year. I am not a calendar expert so I cannot say, but there are a few factors that can agree to that.
The Jubilee year was to be announced in synagogues at Yom Kippur (Leviticus 25:8-9). During the days of the Master Jubilees were not officially kept but the years of the Master’s ministering on earth correspond to the possibilities of jubilee time. In any case, Yeshua did not miss his cue and could have announced it when he quoted Isaiah sixty-one in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke: 4:18). If that proclamation at the synagogue was indeed done on a Yom Kippur, then Yeshua was not coming in from a one day fast as the rest of the country did, but from a forty day fast in which his virtue was tested by the enemy of his and our souls. These forty days are comparable to the forty ‘Days of Awe”, a Jewish tradition of spending the forty days before Yom Kippur in soul-searching in order to acknowledge sin in our lives and change our ways.
If there was a jubilee during the Master’s ministry, that would also explain why people had the time to leave home, travel, and listen to him. This was the point of the Jubilee, to stop the daily grind of our day-to-day existence, dedicate time to God in prayer and study of the Torah, as well as to family and friends; sort of an extended Shabbat. God knows that we need help in establishing our priorities, and time to sort out problems with the people who are part of our lives.
In any case, it is evident that both Sabbatical and Jubilee years are important times in God’s calendar and we better keep track of them.
Let us also remember that Yeshua is our Sabbatical Jubilee. He is the one who brings us spiritual and physical restoration, and soon his Sabbatical Kingdom will be established on earth as the greatest of all Jubilees.
P. Gabriel Lumbroso
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