Know - People

Jesus the fulfilment of the OT Jubilee.

the-tri-sabbatical-jubilee-of-restoration-for-mankind-and-the-earth-fulfilled-in-christs-resurrection
Good Friday’s Message in English (Deeper Study)

The Tri-Sabbatical Jubilee of restoration for Mankind and the Earth fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection.

I am so grateful that throughout scripture we always see God having a plan, a better plan for doing things and living, a plumbline and a measure of living by which all of mankind can thrive if we will only listen and obey. We do not have to anxiously run around trying to make our own plans. “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Pet 1:3).

From all over the world, we hear about the positive effect that global lockdown is having on the ecology. From cleaner air to liberated wildlife, coronavirus lockdowns across the world appear to have had a number of positive effects on the environment.[1]

Seeing the impact that rest has on nature and the environment made me think of the biblical Jubilee. The tri-sabbatical rest: The seventh day, the seventh year, and after seven cycles, the 49th year Jubilee is a divine rhythm instituted by God for the benefit of man and nature. God knows humankind, how work and profit can consume us, how we do not know when to stop and rest. The end result is; work gets a bad name and what is intended to be a blessing becomes a curse. The truth is; however, work is good for us. All mankind should work and earn a living through their skill and contribution to each other. 

God’s intention and the reason why He instituted the Jubilee, was to build and heal a nation who were trapped in inhumane slavery for 400 years. Never again may people who were created in the image of God be treated as slaves.

Since the abolition of slavery, human rights, labour unions, and strict workplace codes of conduct, we do not see this kind of slavery anymore. It has been reduced to secret sweatshops and sex trafficking. Today the biggest form of slavery is how unequal our world has become, in a South Africa, the GINI poverty-wealth index is 63. 100 is a most unequal, 0 is a perfectly equal society. In RSA, 36% of the population lives on R36 per day. But more concerning is our high levels of debt. Fortunately, our country has strict lending criteria and credit rating measures. But with employment in the late thirties’ percentile, the coronavirus could not have come at a worse time.  

People’s greatest fear in SA is not our health, the virus, or death. The greatest question in people’s mind is; ‘how are we going to survive financially?!’ Many people’s income has been affected by the lockdown. However, it is in times like this, where people are willing to take drastic measures, not because they want to, but because they have to. If the virus is making us focus on the essentials, what are the Biblical essentials where God would have us focus on. What is God’s blueprint for getting us out of this mess? How has mankind lost its way? 

According to the Bible, poverty is a systematic problem of the heart. Poverty comes to those who are lazy or greedy. Poverty is man-made.

“Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made, and it can be overcome and eradicated by the action of human beings.”

Nelson Mandela

When a part of the population has opulent wealth, but the other part knows abject poverty, then there is an error in the financial model. Over the last decade, many writers and economists have started speaking out regarding the growing inequality of the economy. For the first time in history, a University book written from Harvard Press became a best seller. Thomas Piketty, an economist and mathematician, revealed how the current profit-driven capitalist economy is no longer sustainable. Roche and Jakub try to heal capitalism with their more Biblical-based proposed economy of mutuality: Their hypothesis is going to become a reality sooner than they could ever have estimated because of the virus. Most sustainable businesses are the ones who integrate their investment in economic, human, social and environmental capital. [2] 

The ultimate test of any religion, ideology or worldview is the benefits it ultimately brings to the poor, the marginalised and oppressed. If we say we are Christians, we have to take poverty seriously.

LandSummit – Thinktank[3]

But long before modern economists came up with some clever solutions, for the great wealth-poverty gap, God had a solution. This solution may seem impossible to implement, yet it reveals the heart of God for mankind. 

Jubilee was the Jewish declaration of war to never duplicate the inhumane system of the Egyptian pharaoh. It describes their battle of social justice for their people to keep them liberated, where each citizen remains the brother of the other, ensuring the future of the common whole. Remember, the poor person I ignore today can become tomorrow’s thief. When I purchase property that is returned after 49 years and I write off debtors after 7 years, I continue to remain in contact with my debtors to ensure they can make good on their promise in the given time. In so doing, society will not fall victim to accumulative debt. (Deut 15:1-5) The Jubilee created a society of givers, where greed-based capitalism created a society of debtors. Our biggest concern at this time is, how are we going to pay our debt? 

Sabbath is a form of emancipation, release, quitting, letting go. I give and liberate my body with which I perform work, to rest. In so doing, I also give the ground and animals who produce for me, a time of rest. I do this in humble faith in God that ultimately He is my provider, not my body, nor the land that I farm. 

For one day in the week, master and servant are equal. The servant does not serve his master, and he does not get served. Both are works of God’s creation created in His image who enjoy His grace with thankfulness. Therefore, Sabbath is a celebratory meal. The poor person saves during the week in order to at least enjoy fresh bread with butter, honey and salt; a king’s meal at Shabbat! The master is no longer in control of his servant’s body. During Jubilee, the master also surrenders his property. The principle of reviving the soil is to handle the ground in the same way as we would the human body; the crust of the earth is like the skin of the body, that must not be disturbed. Today, fresh produce has lost its nutritional value—I wonder if we could rest the soil for a year if the earth will not repair and restore the flavour and nutritional value of the fruit? Dr James Blignaut heads up the “restory” initiative to curb further land-people-degradation. [3] His restorative land movement publicise no-tillage, mulching, composting and rotation farming best practise.[4] 

The biggest consequence of modern western capitalism is, its total disrespect for anything sacred. In modern capitalism nothing is considered holy, sacred, or spiritual. Pharaoh did not want to release the people to go and worship for three days. (Ex. 5:1-2). Pharaoh typifies the inhumane industrialist who needs to make profit at all costs. The pharaoh constructed bigger storehouses, to profit the gains when harvests are poor, and prices fluctuate. He turned Joseph’s divine storage solution during the 7th year drought into a system to gain people’s land who cannot pay and eventually making them his slaves. Owning land is dignity; it is God’s provision for every man to remain free. This is why the word Adam, and Adama stems from the same root word – earth. The pharaoh’s greed is how the wealthy Jewish families, who started off as recipients through Joseph of the best land (Gen 47:5) became landless slaves. Joseph instituted that one 5th of the produce be given to Pharoah (Gen 47:20-25), but eventually the pharaoh who did not know Joseph wanted it all. (Exo 1:8-11) 

When God delivered His people, He wanted them to not think of themselves as slaves anymore. Through the Jubilee, each person become a type of Moses deliverer and kingly father that emancipates his people from slavery. One day a week, and each seventh-year people are freed from pyramid type hierarchies of positional imperialism and domination. Everybody gets delivered from systemic Egypt, the place of slavery. In the following verses, you can clearly see, God’s heart towards slaves. 

And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. (Lev. 25:39)

For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. You shall not rule over him with rigor, but you shall fear your God. (Lev. 25:42-43).

And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves. But regarding your brethren, the children of Israel, you shall not rule over one another with rigor. (Lev 25:46)

He shall be with him as a yearly hired servant, and he shall not rule with rigor over him in your sight. (Lev. 25:53)

For years there has been criticism of the two monotheistic religions Jews and Christians, that we have ruled the earth and animals, at the expense of the earth and the ecology. Obviously, with the Jubilee, both the ground and the human being comes to rest. Both are important before God, and a provision for the other.

“You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute. 7 Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked. 8 And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous. 9 “Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 10 “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove. 12 Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed. Exodus 23:6–12.

“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord. 3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. 6 And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you.” (Leviticus 25:2–6

He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Leviticus 23:11

The Sabbath rest literally means giving up control, releasing your grip, giving up your control. 

The rhythm of rest is the rhythm of giving. We work hard and create tension; the tension then gets released like breathing through the tri-sabbatical Jubilee. God’s system is natural and mutually beneficial. 

The highlight of the Jubilee is after 49 years, the ownership of the land is restored to the original owner (Lev 25: 23-28, 54). This giveaway prevents owners from becoming magnates and super moguls who gain more than they need. Through this act, we are all reminded that everyone is stewards of God’s land. 

In Lev. 26:35 ground that did not rest due to disobedience will rest indeed in the time of punishment. 2 Chron. 36:21 explicitly connect Jeremiah’s figure of 70 to Lev. 26:34.35. “Those who survived the sword, God exiled to Babylon … in fulfilment of the word of Adonai spoken by Jeremiah’ until the land has repaid its Sabbaths, as long as it lay desolate it kept its Sabbath until seventy years were complete.” Then, in the Book of Daniel the 70 years became “seventy ‘weeks'” = 70 x 7 = 490 years. Only with the passage of that period would the sin that caused the exile to be fully expiated (Daniel 9:24). [5]

What is the connection between Jubilee and Good Friday, Easter and Jesus?

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He is our tri-sabbatical rest. 

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” 3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord [b]even of the Sabbath.” – Matthew 12:1-8

Christ Jesus’ death on the cross, His guidance, His sacrifice of obedience was the eternal, and greatest “reset” of all time! In Christ, everything and everyone in harmony with God and each other is reconciled. 

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (I Cor. 15:22)

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18)

When Jesus stood up in his home-town and declared these words, He announced the rest, reset, restoration, liberty, healing that will manifest through believing in Him.  

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-29) On the great day of Pentecost, when the new covenant was sanctioned, a Spiritual Jubilee took place. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44) It is our testimony that when people truly turn to God and become full of the Holy Spirit, they relinquish ownership of their own bodies and possessions.  

The Advantages of Christ-centred Jubilee

§ Jubilee is a form of “reset” for your body, the soil, and society. Like a computer or mobile phone that “hangs” needs a hard reset at times. All of humanity needs to return to Jesus’ value system and guidelines, the measure of the best life to live. Being born again, and receiving His righteousness is supernatural “reset” of our being. (2 Cor 5:17) 

§ In the Jubilee, both the working class and the master are equated, to give, and to place themselves under God’s rule. Jesus also gave His body to die on the cross to remove the middle wall of separation between slave and owner, and between race-superiority. (Eph 2:14-18) 

§ Everyone should work, and everyone should rest. In the current Western capitalist model, people want to make enough money, have so-called passive income and stop working. Retirement is not a biblical concept.  He who is loose and slack in his work is brother to him who is a destroyer and he who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commits suicide.  (Proverbs 18:9 AMP) Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Eph 4:28) 

A consumer-driven society becomes a creative, working, goodwill, benevolent driven society. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God created a new social eco-system, called His body, bride and church where we take care of another. (Col 2:19; 3:15; Eph 1:22; 4:4; 5:30; Rom 12:5) 

§ Both the soil and the human body can produce more optimally if we follow strict rest measures. We can only work harder, if we also maintain good rest! True rest is found in the rest of faith. (Rom 15:13)

§ The gap between rich and poor is drastically reduced, as we all take our responsibility of fraternity to one another seriously, to say, “I want to be my brother’s keeper.” The biggest systemic challenge of poverty is disconnection, exclusion, stigmatisation, distance in relationships. (1 John 3:17) 

A government as a Welfare State is replaced by a social system of decentralised localised interdependence, co-accountability which morph-develop from the ground up. These Jubilee changes will not be implemented from the top-down by the State. It will be implemented at ground-zero, the most local level, where authentic existing Farther-type leaders are gathering a Christ-centred value-based, new order of Social Covenant and mutual trust.[6] 

Our Agricultural Think Tank predicts that we will see Post-Covid19 a new form of financial collateral emerging: Currently, banks are only financing land value, and tradable shares. In the future, we will need to set up Development Banks, in order to see production as a collateral. Community banks, and community lending such as Stokvel will become mainstream. Communities will move closer with “social compacts” and “collaboratives”. We will see a new emphasis on localisation.[7] 

What is the Heart of Jubilee? GIVE, GIVE, GIVE!

God gave His only begotten son (John 3:16).

As we give, we become free from fear! 

As we open our hands, God is busy resetting us towards His purpose! 

As we receive Christ individually and collectively, we will see a new social order, and subsequent new economy develops God’s way.  

The biblical way to break through the uncertainty is to give up the fear of the future. Tobias and Dr Ruben Richards are currently leading an initiative whereby each Citrus producer in the OlifantsRiverValley will give a 10th of their local market earmarked oranges for the Western Cape Government to be part of the distribution of 50,000 food parcels a day for the winter season.

Beginning Tuesday, Wena Botha will be training the poor in Work4aLiving; to the community-led provision to 28 homeless people with a roof over their heads, daily meals. As a church, we are monitoring our people in the congregation’s situation, providing help through our apostolic fund so that everyone has food eat and is cared for.

In the weeks to come, we will give, even more, help and support, work for reconciliation, make peace, build bridges, the complete healing of the whole person. Because the Great Jubilee is abiding within us! 

  [1] Piketty, T. and Goldhammer, A., n.d. Capital In The Twenty-First Century.

 Roche, B. and Jakub, J., n.d. Completing Capitalism

[2] Piketty, T. and Goldhammer, A., n.d. Capital In The Twenty-First Century.

 Roche, B. and Jakub, J., n.d. Completing Capitalism

[3] https://landsummit.co.za/about/

[4] https://restory.co.za

[5] The Triple Shabbat and its Implications for Poverty, Accumulation of Wealth, and Human Freedom. Noam Zion, Hartman Institute, Noam.zion@gmail.com – excerpted from: Jewish Giving in Comparative Perspectives: History and Story, Law and Theology, Anthropology and Psychology. Book One: From Each According to One’s Ability: Duties to Poor People from the Bible to the Welfare State and Tikkun Olam. 

[6] http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GAC_NewSocialCovenant_Report_2014.pdf

[7] https://youtu.be/22wIcMMrrNU Tim du Plessis 

Jan Oosthuizen

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