When the trumpet blew announcing the arrival of the Year of Jubilee—the 50th year in the Hebrew calendar—it was announcing that restoration was now.Freedom was now.
‘Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.’ (Lev 25:10a)
The Hebrew word for Jubilee means, ‘sound of the trumpet’ or ‘joyful shout.’ [1,2]Property passed back to its original owners. Israelites who had been enslaved walked free. And the land was given rest.
God provided this year of restoration so that the inheritance He had allotted to each tribe and family would remain in that family:
- No matter what trouble or failure they had undergone, or debts they had incurred
- No matter what injustices had been done against them as individuals or families
- No matter what had caused them to lose their lands, or to sell themselves or their children into slavery
God—by Name and nature a Redeemer—provided a way of redemption for His people. 
The Year of Jubilee is Fulfilled in Jesus
The Year of Jubilee was a prophetic picture of the ministry of Jesus Christ, and the work of redemption accomplished through His sacrifice on the cross.
The Apostle Paul tells us that religious festivals were a shadow of the things that were to come: ‘The reality, however, is found in Christ.’ (Col 2:16-17)
Heb 10:1 says, ‘The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.’
The reality of Jubilee is found in JESUS.
A New Era of Freedom
Announcing His ministry in the synagogue at Nazareth shortly after His baptism, Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1-3)
The ‘Year of the Lord’s Favour’ was a reference to the Old Testament celebration of the Year of Jubilee. 
The Jewish people listening to Jesus that day had no doubt as to His meaning. He was proclaiming:
‘I am the promised Messiah, the Anointed One.’
You can almost hear the blowing of the Jubilee trumpet as Jesus begins to go about His ministry following that announcement. Salvation, restoration, miracles of provision and protection, healing and deliverance abound.
However, Jesus’ ministry of restoration was not just relevant for the three years that Jesus walked on earth before His crucifixion—it is available to us today.
The Apostle Paul echoes His words in 2 Cor 6:2: ‘I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.’
Heb 13:8 says, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.’
Jesus not only brought the Gospel, or good news. He is the good news.
When Jesus said, ‘I have come to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’, He wasn’t referring to a year in time, but to the beginning of a new era; that of the New Covenant.
The Year of Jubilee is Good News Now
For the Israelites, the Year of Jubilee came once every 50 years. They might have lost their inheritance—or have been in slavery—for one year, or they might have been in slavery for 49 years (that is what we would call a ‘worst case scenario!’)
But the reality is, that year may have occurred only once in an Israelite’s lifetime.
Imagine a Hebrew enslaved to a harsh master, with no property to call his own. Someone might come to him and say, “Next year is the Year of Jubilee!” You might think that is good news. Suddenly he realises that he has hope and a future.
But his situation for the present hasn’t changed. He is still enslaved. He is still living in misery. He has no property and he has to labour for someone else. Tomorrow he will wake up and still be a slave.
That is not the Gospel! The Gospel is this:
Take the same Hebrew slave. He wakes one morning to the sound of a trumpet blowing in the distance. Then, someone comes in and announces, “Today, as of RIGHT NOW, you are free. You may go home. Your debts are cancelled. Your property is your own again.
This is the power of the Gospel.
Both Now and to Come
The ultimate fulfilment of our salvation—and the Year of Jubilee—will be when we enter eternity and death and loss is wiped away forever. (Rev 21:1-5)
But the Jubilee message as declared by Jesus reminds us that the Gospel is not only about the hope of a brighter future.
To preach the Gospel is to declare that today is the day of salvation. ‘Believe…now! Be saved…now! Be released from the imprisonment of sin…now! Be healed and filled…now!’
The Year of Jubilee stands as a Biblical reminder of the restoration that is available to us through faith in Jesus every day of our lives. And that is good news.
 STRONG, J. Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. 1996. Electronic Edition, Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship (In PC Bible 3.1.) [CD-ROM.]
 You can read about the Year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25. For further study read Nehemiah’s parallel restoration in Neh 5:3-5 and Isaiah 61. For Bible Dictionary references to the Year of Jubilee, see http://topicalbible.org/j/jubilee.htm
 ‘Redemption’ is rich in meaning; ‘to redeem’ essentially means ‘to buy back.’ Jesus purchased on our behalf what we had lost—an intimate relationship with God as Father, along with the restoration of our Kingdom inheritance. (1 Peter 18, Gal 3:14, 4:5)
 Jack Hayford notes, ‘The prophecy of Is. 61:1,2 describes the deliverance of Israel from exile in Babylon in terms of the Year of Jubilee, but its ultimate fulfillment awaited the coming of the Messianic age…’ HAYFORD, J W, Ed. The Spirit-Filled Life Bible. 1991. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
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