“Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.” (Leviticus 25:9-10).
Can you imagine what it would be like to be in bondage to another person? If you were in that position, can you picture how you long for the day when you could be set free?
One of the interesting events celebrated during Old Testament times was the Year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee was observed in Israel every 50 years. God understood that because of hard times some Israelites might have to sell their land possessions or even themselves into servitude in order to survive (cf. Leviticus 25:25, 39-40). God also understood that this could lead to the Israelites mistreating those who had fallen upon hard times: “Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 25:17). The Year of Jubilee was instituted by God for the purpose of preventing such oppression of one another.
During this year, those whom had purchased their brethren in servitude or their brethren’s lands because of debts were required to return them to freedom and their lands back to their possession (Leviticus 25:28, 30, 40-41). In addition, the Israelites were not to sow nor reap during this year (Leviticus 25:11). In fact, they would not have sown nor reaped the year prior to this (Leviticus 25:3-4, 8-9). Yet God provided for them: “And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?’ Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.” (Leviticus 25:20-21). This year served as a vivid reminder that the Israelites were to trust in God to provide for them, not in themselves.
During this 50th year on the 10th day of the 7th month, the Day of Atonement, the “trumpet of Jubilee” was to sound throughout the land of Israel (Leviticus 25:9). As the opening verses above indicate, liberty was proclaimed throughout the land. It was a time for the Israelites who had been sold into servitude to be made free. It was a time for those who had sold their land in order to pay off debts to be able to reclaim it back (Leviticus 25:10). Can you imagine if you were an Israelite in servitude or had sold you land because of debt how great it would be to hear that trumpet sound?
Jesus taught us that whoever sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34). Satan holds us captive by our own sin. He is unwilling to free us from this bondage. However, Jesus came to free us from this bondage to sin. As I think about the year of Jubilee, I am reminded of the words of Jesus: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
The longer I live the more I realize how true it is that sin holds us in bondage to Satan. Many souls are enslaved to him and don’t even realize it. Their lives are filled with misery; yet, they don’t know why. I praise God that because of Jesus and His sacrifice for me, God has set me free from this terrible bondage of sin. He has shown me a better way. Today, I celebrate that, even though I had sold myself into slavery by my own sin, Jesus has proclaimed and provided liberty to me!
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).