Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Shaleeakh - Behar "On Mount"
It is important for us to be zealous in our desires to observe the feasts and holy times of HaShem. Observing the feasts and holy times reaffirms that HaShem is in control of every aspect of our lives. However, there are two holy times we can no longer observe. In BeharBechukotai we can see that these two times are the Sabbatical Year and the Year of Jubilee. These two times cannot be observed because of what they represent. Both times represent the ability of HaShem's people to live in His presence and live in the land He promised to Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov. Therefore, both holy times are calculated from the date that the descendents of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov entered the Promised Land after the deliverance from Egypt. Vayikra 25:2 states "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Shabbat unto the LORD". Unfortunately, the exact day, that the children of Yisrael entered the Promised Land after leaving Egypt is no longer known. As a result, the starting dates of the Sabbatical Year and the Year of Jubilee are also no longer known. In spite of our inability to precisely calculate this date, we should still strive to understand the prophetic significance of these times. This is especially true concerning the Year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee represents HaShem's presence on earth. Therefore, the year of Jubilee brings HaShem's people freedom from debt, and return to the inheritance of our forefathers. Therefore, the year of Jubilee is also a prophetic example of what HaShem's people will experience when He returns.
The Day of Atonement is a time of prayer, supplication, and repentance. During this time it is believed that the gates of heaven are closed. As a result, the Day of Atonement signals an end HaShem's acceptance, and a beginning of judgment. However, when the Shofar is sounded on the Day of Atonement in the forty-ninth year it signals the end of Judgment. Vayikra 25:9-10 states "Then shall thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." Blowing the Shofar signaled HaShem's people to return to their ancestral lands. Therefore, the Day of Atonement in the forty-ninth year becomes a day of freedom and inheritance. We can see this because the fiftieth year begins with a release from debt and a return to ancestral lands. As a result the Day of Atonement is transformed from a day of affliction and judgment into a day of freedom and inheritance.
The Shofar that proclaims the start of the fiftieth year, is also the last Shofar blown in the forty-ninth year. Therefore, the Day of Atonement also marks the last trumpet of the fortyninth year. Rav Shaul alludes to this in 1Corinthians 15:52-54 when he states "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." The fiftieth year starts with receiving the inheritance HaShem promised. As a result, corruption passes away and mankind puts on immortality. Therefore, in the year of Jubilee mankind is a new creation that is prepared to dwell in the presence of HaShem.
Another prophetical significance of the Year of Jubilee is the change from a biblical year that starts on the month of Aviv (Nisan) into a year that starts on the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri). Rosh Hashanah 8b in the Soncino Talmud states "AND FOR JUBILEE YEARS. [is the New Year for] Jubilees on the first of Tishri? Surely [the New Year for] Jubilees is on the tenth of Tishri, as it is written, on the Day of Atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn?" We can see from Rosh Hashanah 8b that it was historically accepted for the year of Jubilee started on the tenth day of the seventh month. A result of the year of Jubilee starting on the tenth day of the seventh month is a change in the first feast of the year. During the year of Jubilee that the first feast celebrated is Sukkot. This is because the year of jubilee marks a change from focusing on deliverance from bondage into focusing on living with HaShem. All debts are cleared and HaShem's people are required to rely entirely on Him. Therefore, the Year of Jubilee is a year without harvest, without sowing and without reaping as Vayikra 25:11 states "A Jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed." HaShem provides all needs during the year of Jubilee. As a result, in the Year of Jubilee HaShem's people do not strive and struggle to provide, we rest and are satisfied.
The exact timing of the Year of Jubilee and the Sabbatical years are not known. However, by studying the passages related to the Year of Jubilee we begin to understand the prophetical significance of the year of Jubilee. Two of the most significant prophetical aspects of the Year of Jubilee are the sounding of the Shofar and the beginning of the fiftieth year. The sounding of the Shofar is significant because it is sounded on the Day of Atonement to proclaim the fiftieth year. As a result, the Shofar that proclaims the fiftieth year is also the last trumpet sounded in the forty-ninth year. Therefore, the last Shofar of the forty-ninth year signals an end to affliction and judgment and the beginning of living in the presence of HaShem. We can see a correlation to this in Revelations 21:3-4 which states "I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." The Year of Jubilee is prophetically significant because HaShem's people are freed from debt and given the inheritance HaShem promised. Therefore, the Year of Jubilee is prophetical picture of HaShem's future rule, when we will be freed from debt, put on immortality and receive the hope of salvation we have longed to receive.
By Rabbi Yaakov benYosef ABOUT-Torah.org© 2010 About Torah