In part 9 we explained an area of disagreement, from both history and Scripture, about whether Jubilees should repeat every 49 years or every 50 years. All this stems from the amazing capture of Jerusalem in December 1917 and the reunification of Jerusalem in June 1967, which were 49 ½ years apart. Those events are 50 years apart on the Gregorian calendar, and 49 years apart on the Jewish calendar!
According to the Jewish calendar, the seven year Shemitah cycle began in fall of 1861 and lasted through fall of 1868. That means the Shemitah year was from fall of 1867 to fall of 1868, putting a Jubilee year potentially from fall of 1868 to fall of 1869. Did anything remarkable happened that year?
First, what should we be looking for? In principle we should be looking for freedom from slavery as well as property restored to the Jewish People. Did anything happen along those lines? Yes.
Germany had been in the process of bringing equality to its Jewish citizens in prior years, and it completed the process on December 3, 1868, when Saxony was the last region of its state to grant equality to all the Jews. Then later in that same year, Prussia, which controlled the region between Germany and Russia, created a confederation with Germany, thus creating even more widespread equality for the Jews on July 3, 1869. (For more information see Wikipedia on the History of Jews in Germany.)
This was a pivotal event in the emancipation of Jews in Europe; however to be fair, we should point out that the Jewish Emancipation in Europe is generally not dated until two years later in 1871, after the Franco-Prussian war brought into the Confederation more territory of what is now France, and the new southern states including Bavaria were added to the Confederation and forced to adopt Jewish equality. Nevertheless, the case can be reasonably made that the Confederation of 1869 was the key decision, and that the events in 1871 were an expansion of territory of an empire that was being blessed by God for its positive stance towards the Jewish people. Indeed, we must note that the decision to grant full Jewish equality in all matters including property rights was born out of Liberalism and an Enlightenment mentality that was often secular and anti-God. How ironic it was that it took a secular humanist movement to finally do what the church did not do for centuries prior in the very same region. The Jewish freedom in Germany would in fact last for 64 years until the reign of Adolf Hitler started in 1933.
Interestingly, 1869 would also be the year that the Temple Society of Germany, referred to as the Templers, who were a sect of German Lutherans, would migrate to Palestine and set up communities in Haifa and on Jerusalem Road in Jaffa, on their way to establishing a small neighborhood in Jerusalem a few years later. With regard to Jerusalem itself, beginning in 1860, Jewish neighborhoods began to spring up outside the city walls in 1860, 1868, 1869, 1872, 1873 and 1874. We mention this because with regard to past Jubilee dates we have always connected those dates to Jerusalem as well.
Switching over to the Americas in that same key time period of fall 1868 to fall 1869, it is interesting to note that on December 25, 1868, the United States pardoned the last of the Confederate rebels. Those Confederate soldiers had been pardoned in phases over the preceding years since 1865, but the job was finally completed on December 25, 1869, allowing them full freedom to return to their homes and their families. This kind of action is very consistent with the principles behind the Jubilee.
But if the Jubilee is about the freeing of slaves, not just soldiers, can we find any landmark events towards the freeing of slaves in that pivotal year? Actually we cannot! The key events for the freeing of American slaves came in earlier years in the following phases:
- January 1, 1863: The Emancipation Proclamation. Third year of a Shemitah cycle.
- December 18, 1865: The declaration of adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery. Fifth year of a Shemitah cycle.
- July 9, 1868: The adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment that guaranteed due process for all those born on American soil and solidified equal protection for former slaves under the law. (Seventh year of a Shemitah cycle—the Shemitah Year).
Have you ever noticed how often key legislation or decisions with major repercussions occurs in a Shemitah year? Take, for instance, the legalization of abortion in 1973 and the gay marriage ruling in 2015! In fact, it is ironic once again to realize that it was the Fourteenth Amendment that was used as legal justification by the United States Supreme Court for the abortion and gay marriage rulings! In our book Israel FIRST!, we discuss the Shemitah Year extensively and offer a spiritual reason for this connection in time. But, with regard to the freeing of slaves, and its lack of falling on the Jubilee year, we would point out that the Shemitah year requirement to release debts also carried with it the release of indentured servants who were working for a property owner. In this context, the release of American slaves in a Shemitah year makes absolute sense!
Now let us go back 50 years from 1917, to 1867, to look for key events in that year.
With respect to Jewish emancipation, 1867 was the year that Austria-Hungary was formed, and the year that Jews were given equal rights in that confederation. This is a milestone, albeit not as huge as the German-Prussian confederation two years later. With regard to Templer activities in Palestine, 1867 was actually the first attempt, but an unsuccessful one, to settle near Tel Shimron in Northern Israel. We would summarize this evidence as existing, but weak to moderate evidence.
When we go back another 50 years from 1867, to 1817, we do not find any particular events of note. Perhaps our readers will?
When we go back 49 years from 1868-1869 to fall 1819 to fall 1820, we find only two events of note. The first was an attempt to quell cries for Jewish emancipation. In Wuerzburg, Germany, pleas for the emancipation of Jews evoked riots against Jews there, which eventually spread to Denmark and Poland. The Carlsbad Decrees were put in place that reduced freedoms in order to “restore order,” but eventually they had the opposite impact and the Jews would only be emancipated 49 years later. Secondly, the year 1819 marks the launching of the first American warship of the African Slave Patrol which was designed to catch slave trading ships off the coast of Africa. This effort resulted in only small progress, capturing only 100 ships over the next 42 years. It ceased operations with the onset of the American Civil War. We again consider both of these events as existing, but very weak evidence.
So let us summarize our findings. Looking at all these events, it is clear that if a pattern exists in history, it is a pattern of increasing clarity. For the 49 year case we have:
In the 50 year case we have:
From the tables above, a slight advantage goes to a 49 year repeating Jubilee pattern.
Connect with Others
What do you think? If you were previously leaning towards a 50 year pattern, based on the evidence presented in this article are you leaning more towards a 49 year pattern than before?
Next time we will explain why the pattern of recent history does not necessarily tell us what God’s plans are for the coming Jubilee! We had an exciting interview with a key rabbi in Israel, who helped us learn fascinating new information about the Jubilee. Who is this rabbi, and what does he know that could yeild our very best lead yet?
See you next time as we all continue to work together to solve the Mystery of the Lost Jubilee.