What if we told you that there was a mystery right in front of us? A mystery that is not just imaginary but real, a mystery that when solved could have implications to the entire world. Would you be interested to read such a story? More than that, would you be interested to join in with such a story?
What we are about to embark upon could be every bit as exciting as a Sherlock Holmes mystery novel. Everyone loves a good mystery novel! We get caught up in the writer’s story, identifying with the characters as they seek to solve the mystery in front of them. But when the book ends, the adventure also ends. A book can be a needed escape, perhaps, but then we must go back to real life.
But we would like to offer you something different. To become detectives with us – in real life, in a mystery of epic proportions.
Which mystery? Not the mystery of when the Messiah will appear! Yes, that is the most important mystery of all, but let us agree that such a mystery can be left to many others, and has defeated many a detective over the years.
No, the mystery we propose to work on together is the Mystery of the Lost Jubilee. We propose that we work together in a series of articles and to communicate with each other in the comment fields below, in order to try to solve it.
This mystery novel, we would suggest, is a novel itself being written by God and all Bible-believing people are characters in the novel, and all are invited to be detectives if they choose to be. We—Bob, an evangelical Christian from America and Gidon, an Orthodox Jew from Israel—are co-authoring this series together. This mystery is most certainly a shared mystery, of great interest to Jews and Christians alike. Gidon Ariel, recently wrote an article on the subject, asking the question of whether the release of Jonathan Pollard on November 20th was a sign and signal that we are currently in a Jubilee year.
To “find the lost Jubilee” is to definitively find any Jubilee, and then to definitively find a second Jubilee, and then with that pattern established, solving the mystery means finding all Jubilees to come. If we are in a Jubilee year right now, and we were all to agree upon it, then we may have just solved the mystery. But, we are a long way from understanding the possibilities, or agreeing with the evidence, evidence which we have not even begun to present just yet, but which we will present as these articles go forward—physical, historical and biblical evidence.
If things go well, we might be able to solve the Mystery of the Lost Jubilee as early as Spring 2016, and if not perhaps by Summer or Fall of 2016, but—and here is the best part—we have a lot of confidence that, with God’s help, together we should all be able to propose a definitive solution to the Mystery of the Lost Jubilee no later than by the end of 2017.
Suppose we find it. So what? What does finding the Lost Jubilee imply for our world? We begin by establishing a few simple facts that those who have studied the Jubilee will already know.
What is the Jubilee?
The Jubilee is a special year that was instituted by God thousands of years ago when it was announced to the children of Israel in the Sinai desert just after their Exodus from Egypt. It is instituted in scripture in Leviticus 25:8-10:
“8 You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. 9 You shall then sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through you land. 10 You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.” NAS with emphasis added.
The English word “jubilee” in verse 10 in Hebrew is pronounced “yovel” and literally means “a ram’s horn.” The ram’s horn and horn mentioned in verse 8 is pronounced “shofar,” which is itself ram’s horn.
Why is the Jubilee important?
The Jubilee is a year of freedom and restoration. But beyond that, since it is a year that is consecrated to the Lord, the time of Jubilee hints at heavenly participation in earthly freedom and restoration.
Why should Jews and Christians care?
Jews in Israel may have restored during a Jubilee something critically important to their national identity, namely physical land. Christians are grafted into the seed of Abraham and Israel, so the Jubilee can bring, at the very least, spiritual blessings to Christians even as it brings, at the very least, physical blessings to the Jews.
When does Jubilee occur?
God explains that it is to be the 50th year, occurring after seven 7-year long cycles. There is great controversy about whether this fiftieth Jubilee repeats every 49 years or 50 years. We will study this later, but if our overall objective of together finding the Lost Jubilee is met, we should be able to answer this question once-and-for-all.
Is any specific year designated as the Jubilee Year by the Jews?
No, not officially, although interest to identify this year has been growing among Jews recently. There are many obstacles to an official recognition of the Jubilee in Israel today, the first of which is that lack of recognized boundaries for what land belonged to which of the twelve tribes. We will cover this more detail in future articles in this series.
Was Jubilee observed in ancient Israel?
Not that we know of. We do not possess any definitive evidence of such observance.
Is Jubilee recognized by Christians?
Not in general, except by the Catholic Church, which is coincidentally declaring a Jubilee year to begin on December 8th, 2015! We will discuss that in part III of this series.
How will we solve this mystery?
By praying, watching, and sharing our insights together. We will pray for God’s will to be done regarding the Jubilee; we will watch to see what happens on the earth; and we will share with each other our thoughts in the comments section following each article in this series. If God decides, he can make it very obvious to all of us that a Jubilee year has occurred. We will see it with our own eyes, and hear it with our own ears. It should be that obvious.
And what if nothing happens?
If we reach December 2017 and nothing substantial has happened, then we may simply have to declare the mystery still unsolved. Our promise to you is that we won’t try to force future events to fit into our preconceived notions. Detectives follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if it means they have to go back to the beginning and start over.
This is where real life differs from a novel. If we read a good mystery novel, we are guaranteed to reach a meaningful conclusion by the end of the book. In our case, God has no obligation to grant us the right to solve a mystery in any certain time period.
We have no guarantees! But the rewards are real, not imaginary. And the Bible says in Proverbs 25:2 that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out.
We therefore to humbly invite you to join us in treasure hunt! Would you like to put your detective skills at work, and jump into this story with us? Shall we try to search it out together, as Jews and Christians who share a common interest in the outcome?
As the authors, we will gather together for you, in a series of articles, all the main facts and clues that have been written about the Jubilee, especially those hints that appear in the Bible. We will also review the facts and clues you provide as well on the comment pages! Together we will attempt to solve this mystery, by finding a treasure not hidden in the ground, but hidden in time, the Mystery of the Lost Jubilee.
In the next article we will travel to Jerusalem to see why so many people are wondering if we might be entering a Jubilee year, either right now, or at least very soon.
Connect with Others
Do you want to be counted among those who want to solve this mystery? If so, write “Count me in” in the comments section below!