The beginning of Jesus' ministry
Did you know that Jesus BEGAN his public ministry with a quote about the Jubilee?
He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17. And there was given Him the book of the prophet Isaiah . . . 18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; for this reason, He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to proclaim pardon to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth in deliverance those who have been crushed, 19. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4)
Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61, verses 1 and 2. There is a high degree of probability that Jesus's ministry, which began in 27 A.D., started during a Jubilee year.
Jubilee and the United States
The Liberty Bell, initially cast in 1752 A.D. (now in Philadelphia), is an iconic symbol of American independence. The bell's first inscribed line quotes part of the verse found in the King James Bible version of Leviticus 25:10 which mentions the jubilee. The bell rang on July 8th, 1776 to summon the people to hear the Declaration of Independence.
Unfortunately, the United States has not obeyed the Jubilee Law. It is widely believed the bell received its crack in 1835 A.D. while being rung. The crack, which occurred roughly fifty years after America's War of Independence ended in 1783, was severe enough to cause the bell never to ring again.
History of the Jews
Josephus, in his monumental work on the history of the Jewish people, discusses historical events that occurred during Jubilee years such as Antiochus' besieging of Jerusalem's Temple. In Herod the Great's thirteenth year of rule there was famine and a corresponding pestilence, the worst since the time of King Ahab. It occurred in a Jubilee year.
The designating of every 50th year as a Jubilee is not just for allowing the land to rest. It is a reminder, just like the weekly seventh-day Bible Sabbath, that God has created everything. It is also a reminder that humans are not the only owners of the land and are not, according to God, to hold onto property forever. We truly do not own anything as some kind of right. Because we are thankful to God for liberating us, we should also liberate others from debt to us.
The cancellation of all debts occurs in the seventh year. If we were a nation that followed God's laws this would be an excellent time to settle our debts and get on with the rest of our lives!
Any nation would receive a tremendous blessing if they observed this part of God's law. People would not ring up huge debt and there would be no great imbalance between the wealthy and the poorest. The value of land would stabilize and the usual giant ups and downs of the economy would not happen. God's laws, ALL his laws, would be taught to all people every seventh year. Sadly, we will have to hold on until the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ before we, as a nation, fully experience the fantastic results from obeying God's laws.
The next occurrence
A small footnote in Josephus' work that discusses Jewish history states that 23 B.C. was likely a Jubilee year - which, if true - means the next one in the future would be in 2028 A.D.
Why is the year of Jubilee important? It is because it offers a warning to the modern-day children of Israel (Amos 3:7, Daniel 12:4, John 7:17) not to commit the same mistakes as their ancestors in the Bible.