DOES YOM KIPPUR 2015 HERALD A JUBILEE OR OTHERWISE SPECIAL YEAR?
“Consecrate the 50th year and proclaim liberty throughout the land.” (Leviticus 25:10)
The date September 23, 2015 (Yom Kippur 2015) has become ubiquitous among the writings of some prophecy watchers. They don’t know what, if anything, will happen that day, but they question why it keeps popping up in religious and secular realms. Some Americans are especially focused on Pope Francis’ meeting that day with President Obama. Internationally, many Bible believers are aware this could be a Jubilee year (“Yovel” יובל) based on Leviticus 25:8-13. The Hebrew word “yovel” derives from a ram’s horn blast of liberty. The English attaches to it a meaning of joy. The year of Jubilee is inaugurated with the ram’s horn or shofar blast on Yom Kippur.
A sprinkling of Jewish scholars as far back as the 1300’s point to Yom Kippur 2015 as a marker associated with warfare leading to the Messianic Age. (See, for example, writings of Chofetz Chaim, Yossef ben Porat.) Hundreds of years ago, Sir Isaac Newton, famed English scientist and committed Christian, also put together calculations that point to 9/23/15 as a watershed date in end times prophecy. His insights are based on Daniel 9:25. To summarize Newton’s interpretation* of that passage, 9/23/15 represents 49 prophetic years or 17,640 days from when the Jewish people would be restored a second time to Jerusalem. This took place (to a large degree) on June 7, 1967. If God views that date as a starting point, seven Shemitahs from 1967 would lead to the Shemitah of 2015. In that case, a Year of Jubilee could start tomorrow.
The biblical starting point for Jubilee, however, remains ambiguous. Leviticus 25:2 sets it merely as the date of entry into the Land. We do not know if that entry refers to the Israelites’ initial entry under Joshua, Israel’s formal declaration of statehood in 1948, Jerusalem’s return to the Jews in 1967 (which remains contested) or some other date. Moreover, there is debate as to whether Scripture mandates a Jubileee in the 49th or the 50t year. For these and other reasons, the Jubilee is not formally observed in Israel.
We do know the Jubilee year is a holy year at the end of seven cycles of Shmitahs. It deals mostly with land, property, and property rights. Land ownership reverts to original owners according to their tribal assignments. Slaves and prisoners are freed and debts forgiven. God’s sovereignty and mercies are both particularly manifest—in other words, justice. On a fallen earth, justice involves spiritual warfare and sometimes, physical war. Could Israel be forced into a war this year that would ultimately release her full inheritance in the future? Could you and I?
IN ANY CASE, aligning factors on Yom Kippur 9/23/15 can serve to underscore the paradoxical sober-joy with which we’re to approach Kingdom work while it is still “day.” Birth pains and warfare heralding Messiah’s return are already upon us. Certain events preceding the Great Tribulation are not yet in place, but could materialize relatively rapidly. Personally, I’m inspired: “As long as it is still day, we must do the work of [God]. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 8:4) God’s work is an eternal joy as our redemption draws close.
It was in the spirit of Jubilee that Messiah Yeshua came. This Yom Kippur, I pray you and I will continue in that spirit until He comes again: “The Spirit of Adonai is on Me because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to set free the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isa. 61)
* For details see World Net Daily, 8/12/15, “Did Isaac Newton Predict Major Turn in Bible Prophecy?
HOW CHRISTIANS CAN PRAY ON YOM KIPPUR 5776 FOR ISRAEL’S JUBILEE
“We have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Yeshua.”(Heb. 10:19)
Five Targeted Prayer Points:
1. God of mercy, dispense Your love and truth on Israel this Day of Atonement so they will turn to You as their Kippur (Kippur literally means “covering”). “To this day, whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their heart. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” (2 Corinthians 3:15-16) As they turn to You, would You open the eyes of Jewish hearts to Yeshua.
2. Reveal to Israel that Yeshua fulfills messianic prophecy: “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. So when Messiah comes into the world, He says, ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me’…Then I said, ‘Behold, I come to do Your will, O God, as in the scroll of the Book it is written of Me.'” (Hebrews 4:1-7, quoting Psalm 40).
3. Make Your beloved nation jealous for this promise: “This is the covenant I will cut with them. ‘After those days,’ says Adonai,’ I will put My Torah upon their hearts, and upon their minds I will write it.’ Then He says, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.'” (Hebrews 10:17, quoting Jeremiah 31)
4. Save Your people Israel according to the passion of Your heart: “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1)
5. Release on Israel the blessings of jubilee in Jesus: “The Spirit of Adonai is on Me because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to set free the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isa. 61)