The Biblical requirement to count the Jubilee, the 50th year after seven shmittah cycles, is not currently observed by the Jewish people in or outside of the Land of Israel. Nevertheless, next year follows an interesting sequence of messianic advancements that are exactly 49 years apart.
In the Hebrew year 5678, corresponding to November 2, 1917, the Balfour Declaration was issued by the British Empire, which was then sovereign over the Land of Israel. The famous words of the Balfour Declaration recognized the right of the exiled Jewish people to return to the Land of Israel and rebuild their national home.
“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
Exactly 49 years later, in the Hebrew year 5727, corresponding to June 1967, the young State of Israel won the Six Day War and reclaimed Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip. These areas were returned to Jewish hands for the first time in hundreds of years.
Although the counting of the Jubilee years is not universally accepted, there are Jewish scholars who believe that 5678 in the Hebrew calendar was the 46th Jubilee year and 5727 was the 47th Jubilee year. The discrepancy between 49 years and 50 years is related to a rabbinic debate about whether the year after a Jubilee year is counted as the first or second year of the next shmittah cycle.
According to the Bible, returning land to its original owner is one of the most important functions of the Jubilee year, as it says in Leviticus 25:13, “During this Jubilee year, you shall return, each man to his property.”
In the Hebrew year 5678, the Balfour Declaration initiated the process that eventually returned dominion over the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.
Forty-nine years later, in the Hebrew year 5767, the Six Day War returned dominion over significant parts of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.
Forty-nine years later, following the reunification of Israel, is the Hebrew year 5776, which begins on at nightfall on September 13, 2015. Will something significant be returned to the Jewish people this upcoming year?
A pattern similar to the Jubilee cycle is found in the sequence of blood moon tetrads. During 1948, when the State of Israel was established, and 1967, when the Six Day War returned large portions of land to Jewish hands, blood moon tetrads fell on significant Jewish holidays. And, as has been widely reported, the final blood moon of the current tetrad is scheduled to fall on the first night of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, just a few weeks from now.
Do these sequences point to the possibility that dominion over the Temple Mount will soon be returned to the Jewish people?
No one can know for certain until it happens. Rabbinic scholar Rabbi Nachman Kahana urges caution. Kahana told Breaking Israel News, “There are patterns which we perceive with 20-20 hindsight, but they never produced viable results when projecting them to the future.
“I see many signs that we are in a period of worldwide great change. It could happen this coming year or in another 100 years – I think that our goal is to live life as a Jew should day-by-day, minute-by-minute, and let Hashem (God) run the world without our interference.”
End of Times author and Jewish scholar Rabbi Pinchas Winston shared a slightly more optimistic view. “Since the destruction of the Temple we have not been obligated, on a Torah level, to observe the laws of Shmittah and certainly not the Yovel (Jubilee) year,” he explained to Breaking Israel News. “Consequently, there is disagreement as to which years would have been Yovel years if the mitzvah was applicable today, and therefore which year would be the next Yovel year.
“This does not mean however that Heaven has lost track of the correct counting, or that major historical events to do with the regaining of the Land of Israel by the Jewish people have not draw from the ‘energy’ of such a mitzvah (commandment) which has everything to do with the owning and developing the Land,” he explained. “A time will soon come, God willing, when we’ll look back on such seminal moments in Jewish history and be amazed at just how true this was, and people failed to appreciate it at the time.”