What does the Day of Atonement and the Jubilee Year have in common? Do these two events have anything significant for us, Christians, today? And most importantly, what are the important lessons we need to remember?
The Liberty Bell
On July 8, 1776, a historical ringing of a bell was heard in the State House Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The bell was rung to summon the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
The bell used on that day is now known as the Liberty Bell. It has become an American icon and symbol of freedom. It was last rung on February 22, 1846, in commemoration of the birthday of George Washington. Because of a huge crack, the Liberty Bell stopped ringing and can’t produce the same quality it used to have.
The Liberty Bell was seen as a symbolic reminder of the ambition of many abolitionists to stop slavery across the European and American content.
A Prophetic Inscription
There is one particular inscription on the Liberty Bell that might interest you today. Though a majority of the American people and the rest of the world don’t know, this inscription has something to do with the Day of Atonement and the Jubilee Year. The inscription reads, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” This biblical verse is found in Leviticus 25:10.
Let us read the full context of this verse:
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. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee 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. And ye shall hallow the FIFTIETH YEAR, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family (Leviticus 25:9-10).
From these verses, we can see that there is a huge connection between the Day of Atonement and the Jubilee Year.
The Day of Atonement and The Jubilee Year
The year of Jubilee is a time of release. For us, Christians, the Day of Atonement pictures the time when this world will be released from the evil clutches of the Devil. The Day of Atonement reminds us that there will come a time when Satan will be bound and be put away.
So basically, the Day of Atonement is a representation of freedom. Once, we are all slaves to Satan and sin. When we are slaves, we will be slaves forever. But now, through the death, life, and sacrifice of Christ, we are bought back. We are not freed because of our power and by our might. We are freed through Christ’s atoning sacrifice! We don’t earn our freedom. It is a FREE GIFT from God and the Day of Atonement reminds us of that fact.
From slaves to Satan to freedom to obey God
Now, imagine yourself to be one of those slaves in the ancient time. Who would not look forward to the time when you will finally be freed? It’s like a prisoner sentenced for 50 years who is excited to be out once again and enjoy freedom. Now as the Jubilee approaches, the excitement builds up. It was truly a day for slaves to excitedly look forward to!
I hope brethren, we also have the same excitement for God’s Kingdom to be established here on earth. The last time I got so extremely excited was the time I was getting married. The months before my wedding was so slow. I just can’t wait to see my bride walking down the aisle!
I thought that if only all of us have the same excitement for the future kingdom of God. That would be awesome! What’s more, our excitement is transformed into zeal, passion, and motivation to continue doing the work of God to hasten Christ’s second coming.
On the other hand, brethren, what would you feel when you are the owner of the slave? Will you also be excited for the Jubilee year? What if you have so many slaves and have to let go every single one of them? Will you be happy?
We all have the same feelings when we live a life of comfort and prosperity. We have accumulated so much “slaves” or possessions that we don’t see the need for God’s kingdom to be established here on earth.
Sadly, this is our human nature. How quick are we to call to God when we need something and forget Him when things are going smoothly? I am so guilty of this. How easy it is for me or any of us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” when we have a lot of food on the table. Now, imagine if you don’t know where to get your next meal? I am sure that we will be more fervent and heartfelt in praying, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Fasting on the Day of Atonement
I believe the Day of Atonement reminds us that we are ultimately nothing apart from God. As we fast and abstain from food during this day, we are reminded that we are COMPLETELY reliant on God for sustenance.
We remember that we are just dust, that we don’t own our lives, and even our possessions; but rather, we are just caretakers and stewards. When we die, our possessions do not come with us. It will be given to others.
Having this mindset helps us to be more humble before God – to realize how insignificant we are and privileged at the same time to be given a chance to part of God’s family.
Why 50 years?
It is interesting, brethren to note that God chose the 50th year to be the Jubilee. This is not a random number brethren. God deliberately chose 50 because He wants every generation to experience it. Whatever year you are born, you will surely experience the Jubilee year at least once in your life. That’s how loving God is. He wants everyone to experience the beauty of living His way of life.
Now, imagine if the Jubilee year is being kept today. You know why every 50 years this world is experiencing a financial crisis? IT IS BECAUSE THE JUBILEE YEAR IS BEING BROKEN. Every 50 years, this world supposed to cancel out debt. But because of greed, we break this commandment and the vicious cycle of financial trouble just goes on and on. If only all nations on this earth observe the Jubilee year, everyone could be free of debt, have a fresh start, and have another chance to do better in this life.
A blessing promised to those who will keep God’s law
What will happen if we will keep God’s law, including the Day of Atonement and the Jubilee year? Leviticus 25:18-21 tells us:
Verse 18-19 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and DO them; and ye shall dwell in the land in SAFETY. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.
Part of the blessing of keeping God’s commandments to obtain divine protection from Satan, our enemies, and natural calamities.
Verse 20 And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:
Keeping God’s law involves faith. Sometimes, it is not evident why we need to keep them. Remember that the 49th year is a land Sabbath, meaning they don’t sow nor reap because the Israelites needed to give the land a rest. However, on the 50th year, which is the Jubilee year, is another time when they can’t sow nor reap as well. So that’s two years in a row that they can’t use the land! Not only that, when they start planting crops after two years, it will take some months for them to harvest their goods.
In the human mind, this is illogical, stupidity, and craziness. Imagine you won’t use the land for growing crops in the span of two years! That’s why the Israelites as asking, “What shall we eat the seventh year?” But notice the persuasive response of God.
Lev 25:21 Then I will COMMAND MY BLESSING upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.
Can you imagine God COMMANDING His blessings upon us? He will not just give, send, or grant blessings, but He will actually command His blessings. So, there’s an absolute certainty that we will be blessed if we follow God’s statutes and judgments.
Now, notice that the type of blessing that God will not only last for one year or two years, but actually THREE YEARS! How awesome is that? The blessing is not just something that is enough to assuage our hunger, but God said in verse 19 that “You shall eat your FILL!” We shall not be found wanting.
Brethren, if God promised something, we can have a FULL assurance that He will fulfill it. Keeping God’s commandments is truly a leap of faith. Though it may sound irrational for us sometimes, we can be sure that God will not give a commandment that we cannot follow and that won’t be for our own good.
Remembering the lessons from the Day of Atonement and the Jubilee Year
I hope we now have a deeper understanding of the relationship between the Day of Atonement and the Jubilee year. Today, the Liberty Bell is broken and could not make any decent and full sound. But the inscription written on it will soon be fulfilled. Time will come when true liberty will be proclaimed throughout the land, and on that day, everyone will experience life under the rule of our Savior and Messiah. Let’s us all pray that God may speed that day.