This week’s Torah Portion, Behar (‘on the Mount’), is primarily about the seventh year Sabbaths and the year of Jubilee. Leviticus 25 gives us many details of this joyous event of freedom that was commanded to occur every50 years in Israel’s calendar. On this date that began a Sabbatical year, slaves received freedom, debts were cancelled and land was returned to families who might have lost it during difficult circumstances. What joy!
In our Torah study today at Davar Chaim, I pondered aloud the juxtaposition of this first day of Jubilees occurring on Yom Kippur, traditionally a day of mourning, of ashes, and of weakness induced by fasting. Here is the verse,
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 your land. 10 You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim [a]a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, [b]and each of you shall return to his own property, [c]and each of you shall return to his family.
How odd… On the Day of Atonement.
As we proceeded with our study, we read the first half of Isaiah 61 because Yeshua used the first verse at the beginning of His ministry. He said,
The Spirit of the Lord [a]God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the [b]afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And [c]freedom to prisoners;
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
Interestingly, He stopped mid-phrase, and did not continue with,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
In Christendom, I was raised to believe that He was only partly fulfilling the passage with the future Day of Vengeance, not altogether untrue, but that explanation shifts focus from something else… As we read and pondered Isaiah 61, in light of the previous verses I cited, something hit me! Look at the next couple verses in Isaiah:
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called [d]oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
WOW!! Those words all connect the previous reference from Jubilees to Yom Kippur!! On THE Yom Kippur of all ages, the King of Kings will declare Jubilee for His people and vengeance on His enemies! Imagine the great joy of His people!! Debts released. Land returned. Slaves released!!
The very next couple verses point to the restoration of the Tent of David, as seen in Amos 9 and Acts 15!!
4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations;
And they will repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
5 Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks,
And [e]foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.
6 But you will be called the priests of the Lord;
You will be spoken of as ministers of our God.
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And in their [f]riches you will boast.
Is there another witness that helps confirm this most joyful Day of Atonement??
After our study today, this passage came to mind:
4 “[a]For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” 2 “But for you who [b]fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. 3 You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day [c]which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts.
4 “[d]Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.
5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will [e]restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a [f]curse.”
The Day of the Lord, the Day of Vengeance, that day, the great and terrible day of the Lord, all monikers for the same day of Judgment, but also, THE day of great joy!!
Yeshua returns to the sound of the shofar, on Jubilees, at the Day of Atonement. Now the big question is, what year is the year of Jubilees? One gentleman today mused, ‘We are told we don’t know the day or hour, but it doesn’t say, we won’t know the year.’
A final note: I have long thought that Yom Teruah, the Day of Blowing, was the day of His return, but now I have some thinking to do… How does that day fit into the sequence of eschatology if His return is at Yom Kippur?
Would love to hear some thoughts on these verses and how they all go together, or others that connect!!