The Jubilee and Jesus’ Return

November 29, 2023
Jewish man blowing the shofar. | Photo: Lightstock
Jewish man blowing the shofar. | Photo: Lightstock

“When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28

I once watched a really frightening movie about the End Times. The 90-minute feature

film focused its attention almost exclusively on a truly evil person coming to power and dominating the world, viciously persecuting anyone who stood in his way. A mere three minutes at the end of the movie brought some hope as Jesus appeared in blinding light.

Considering this dark portrayal of the End Times, is it any wonder that many Christians and churches today shy away from the topic of Bible Prophecy? The only comfort offered by this view is that we believers will one day ‘be out of here’ and that this dark world is not ‘really our home’ anyway.

While there will certainly be trouble ahead in the End Times, Jesus spoke of a great hope that far outweighs that time of trouble. That hope is known as the coming redemption, also known as the Jubilee.

What is it about the Jubilee that brings such great hope and anticipation of Jesus’ Return to Earth?

The Trumpet of the Jubilee

Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month (Lev 25:9).

Life in the ancient world was tough, and many lived as farmers who were completely dependent on the produce of their fields. Those finding themselves in severe financial hardship could temporarily sell their land and even themselves into slavery. The laws of the Jubilee then stipulated that a friend or relative could ‘redeem’ or buy back the land and set those who had become slaves free. If no redeemer was found, God Himself decreed that the debts of the poor were to be cancelled, the slaves set free and His people restored to their ancestral inheritance in the 50th year, the year of Jubilee.

Can you imagine the joy that the sounding of the Jubilee Trumpet would have caused in ancient Israel? At this once in a generation trumpet blast, slaves were set free across the nation and the poor were released from their long-held debts. In the streets of Israel long lost loved ones would be tearfully embracing and rejoicing together in the redemption of God. Could this ancient joy at the sound of the Jubilee Trumpet be a foretaste of the much greater joy to come at Jesus’ Return?

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (I Thes 4:16)

Let’s explore a further link between Jesus’ Return and the Jubilee, found in the book of Exodus.

The Glory and the Trumpet

The twelve tribes of Israel had gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai only three months after being set free from Egypt. In Egypt and at the Red Sea they had dramatically witnessed the power of God delivering them from bondage. Yet

even the crossing of the Red Sea paled into insignificance compared to the encounter with the Glory of God which they were about to experience in its full manifestation on Mount Sinai.

Moses describes a thick cloud enveloping the mountain, thunder, lightning, smoke and the entire mountain shaking as the Lord Himself physically descended. Many scholars view this dramatic appearance of God as being a powerful prophetic preview of the day when Jesus Himself will physically descend from the heavens. It is crucial then to note that God’s awesome descent on the mountain was marked with an exceeding long and loud trumpet blast:

When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain…

And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder… Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai (Ex 19:13, 16-20, emphasis added)

The word used here for trumpet is the word Yobel or Jubilee. In other words, the long blast on the mountain signifying God’s descent was also at once a Jubilee Trumpet. Israel itself was truly in the midst of an amazing Jubilee experience, being set free from slavery and being on their way to inherit the promised land.

This amazing foreshadow of Jesus’ Return, teaches us to expect the trumpet of the Jubilee, the trumpet of great joy and restoration, to also mark Jesus’ Future Coming.

The Restoration of all Things

In Jesus’ day, there was a great expectation that He would bring the Jubilee. After His death, the broken-hearted disciples spoke openly of their disappointment as they thought it ‘was He who was going to redeem Israel’ (Luke 24:21). To their surprise and amazement, Jesus was risen from the dead, and spent the next 40 days speaking with His disciples about the coming Kingdom. It is in this context that the disciples eagerly asked, “Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

So, when will the Jubilee come? A few chapters later in Acts, Peter picks up on the topic of the Jubilee explaining that Jesus “has to remain in heaven until the time comes for restoring everything, as God said long ago… through the holy prophets” (Acts 3:21, CJB). In other words, Peter has come to understand that while the full Jubilee restoration did not take place in Jesus’ ministry here on Earth, there is coming a day when He will return. That Day will be the Jubilee, the restoration of all things as the prophets had foretold.

In that great day, not only will one person rise from the dead, but all the dead in Him will rise, their bodies made new and healed of all sicknesses and infirmities. In that day of restoration, Israel will return to her land, the Messiah will rule as King upon the throne of His Father David and the whole earth “will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)

What a day it will be!



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