That crazy title is not a typo, and we will explain it later. But first, listen up!
We are almost ready to solve the Mystery of the Lost Jubilee! You have been on a journey with us, as if we were all players in a grand mystery movie. We are at the point in the story where a lead character just proclaimed out loud: “That’s it! I know what happened and why!” But, instead of giving the answer right then and there, he says to his friends, “Come with me!” and walks out of the scene.
This brief gap in the movie serves a purpose. It gives the audience time to reflect on all they have seen: all the facts, all the clues, and to determine if they too are able to view those facts and clues in the same context as the person who claims to have solved the mystery.
THAT IS WHERE WE ARE right now in the Jubilee Mystery.
And what happens next in our mystery movie? The lead character leads us to a place where we have been (perhaps the scene of the crime) and begins to recount facts that are going to be the key ones in solving the mystery.
And THAT IS THE PURPOSE of this 29th article. We give you more than just “some additional facts” you will need; we begin laying out those facts in a way that will get you thinking in the right direction. By the end of this very article, you will have all the context you need to solve this mystery yourself while you wait for our 30th, concluding article.
In the concluding article, we will offer you a solution with a twist — something we did not expect when we set out on this journey. Indeed, no good mystery movie comes to a close without a final twist at the very end! It must simplify the confusion. It must provide the true motive happening behind the scenes.
Yet, our mystery story is better than the movies. The Mystery of the Lost Jubilee is a real mystery to solve, not a fictional story dreamed up by a great human novelist. Our writer is The Writer of all writers — God — and He has a pretty good track record of writing great stories, would you not agree?
There is Still Time to Jump on the Train
Here is a super-quick summary for anyone who wants to jump in and try to solve the mystery with us!
In the past twenty-eight articles and our book Jubilee Now, we have looked at the Jubilee year from both Jewish and Christian perspectives to examine whether God might be restoring the Jubilee cycle to the world, as it is described in Leviticus Chapter 25. After looking back at the amazing and pivotal events of 1967, in Fall 2015 we invited readers to come with us and watch 2016 and 2017 for signs of Jubilee. We promised to look at the events that happened in those years, and let God show us the answer, by watching what happens. This journey began in November 2015 near the beginning of the year 5776 on the Hebrew Calendar, and is now coming to a close in February 2018 in year 5778. Click here to see the links for all the articles.)
The Hebrew Calendar civil new year begins at Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the month of Tishri, which is the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. This civil new year (as opposed to the Biblical new year) always comes in fall, in the seventh month, and it marks the end of the agricultural year and the beginning of a new one. If God’s Jubilee is on the Jewish/Hebrew calendar, because it deals so directly with the land and its rest, Jews have reasoned that it MUST occur in a year after a Shemitah, just like happened in 1967. Following that sequence would mean that the Jubilee would begin in Fall 2015 and conclude Fall 2016 (Hebrew Calendar year 5776).
But, there was also strong evidence that suggested Jubilee-like events were happening for centuries on years that ended in 17 and 67: 1867, 1917, 1967, etc. This cycle is not related to the Shemitah cycle! So we also said that we needed to watch the full calendar year 2017 very closely!
God Plays A Trump Card
Wow! Was that ever a good decision to wait until the end of 2017 before trying to solve this mystery! On December 6, 2017 President Donald Trump announced that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and would start the process of relocating its embassy to Jerusalem!
Jerusalem and the City of David. (Photo by Bob O’Dell)
Guatemala quickly joined the USA in being the second country to announce such a move. Incidentally, Bob had written about Guatemala’s leading role in Christian history in article 14.
While Trump’s positive decision towards Jerusalem surprised many around the world, the UN’s negative reaction to that announcement did not. On December 21, the UN General Assembly voted to condemn this unilateral action by the United States with a vote of 128-9. However, what was not mentioned in most headlines were the 35 abstentions and 21 nations who did not even participate in the vote. Thus, a “yes” versus “not yes” tally would actually be a much more respectable 128-65.
Few people realize that Russia had actually gotten out in front of the every other country in the world by declaring West Jerusalem the Capital of Israel on April 6, 2017. However, they sided with the Arabs in the December UN vote. Notwithstanding this particular vote, overall relations between Netanyahu and Putin and the two countries seem to be improving.
For sure, the fact that the United Kingdom sided with most of Europe and the Arab bloc against the USA was a big disappointment. However, our perspective is that the United Kingdom is deep in the middle of negotiations to complete its Brexit, and that getting out of the EU must be its top priority, above all else. Readers will remember that we declared the June 2016 Brexit vote as a major indication of God’s Jubilee in article 21, second in importance only to Israel’s declaration a few months prior that the Golan Heights were to be forever part of Israel, as we covered in article 17.
Will God judge the UK negatively for their vote against Israel? We think not! We believe God understands that now is not the time for the UK to “poke a stick in the eyes” of the very parties from whom it is trying to separate in those negotiations. As Rabbi Ben-Shor told us in article 11 a good judge never judges in isolation: “you have to deal with the reality and the situation as it stands,” he told us. God is a good judge, not a formula. He understands the UK’s present predicament.
But two big questions remain.
First, how positive will Trump’s 2017 proclamation be for America? That is the easy one. We believe that God will absolutely bless America for the groundbreaking leadership decision by President Trump. He seems not to have regretted it, reaffirming the decision in his January 30th State of the Union Address, and now promising Americans that he will pressure other nations to vote with the USA in the future or else reducing economic aid packages. Simply put, this one act was the most positive move made by a US President towards Israel since President Truman’s affirmation of Israel as a Nation in 1948. And Trump owns another recent positive action as well — his decision to visit Israel on his first foreign excursion and while being there to pray at the Western Wall.
Yes, Trump will be blessed. All of America will be blessed as well. It does not mean its problems are solved, but America will be unequivocally blessed.
Second, was Trump’s action an indication of the timing of God’s Jubilee? This is a bit harder. We would say: a bit of yes and no. Let us be clear that an American declaration of the status of Jerusalem as Capital does not change its status in Israel, or in the eyes of God. America clearly has no such power. Israel had already declared Jerusalem as its capital 70 years ago, so the decision was already made. In that sense it is not anything like a Jubilee. However, ever since The Six Day War in June 1967, the United States began to turn against Israel in the United Nations. And so this declaration, along with the decision that the United States would no longer pressure Israel to return to the 1967 borders, is a departure from the policies of the last 50 years. And as such, it really does seem like a Jubilee — a fresh start — for America, both with respect to its relationship with Israel and with respect to its leadership among the nations. [Reader alert — while we have been slipping you hints in almost every paragraph, we just gave you an especially important one!]
When Is For You!
And now it’s time to come back to explain the strange title of this article which also leads us to consider another aspect: the right context in which to think about the timing of the Jubilee. This strange title “When Is For You” is the amalgamation of a few key words in key verses relating to the Hebrew Calendar. Let’s discuss the second part first: “for you”.
Gidon Ariel. (Photo: Bob O’Dell)
When Gidon was in Texas in January 2018, he taught Christians, including me, Bob, that the first commandment given to the Jewish people in Exodus is to establish a calendar:
“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” Exodus 12:2. (NASB)
He explained that the use of the words “for you” and its immediate repetition is so incredibly important, because it indicates God was willing to share the calendar setting responsibilities with His people. God’s calendar was not indiscriminately foisted upon His people. The people participate with God, and He listens and reacts to their judgements. The people had to declare the start of the month, and its length, by watching the moon. They would declare the start of the year by watching the sun and its effect on the ripening barley.
This shared responsibility between God and His Jewish people was not unique to this commandment, but that pattern began in that very first commandment listed in Exodus.
A later commandment of God in Leviticus causes us to discuss the first part of our title: “When.” When God introduces the Shemitah and the Jubilee concepts in Leviticus 25, He says:
“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the Lord.” Leviticus 25:2 (NASB)
Notice the shared responsibility? First, the Israelites did not enter the land when they were expecting to enter, but only after another 38 years. As such, God adjusted His timetable for when the command might be activated. Second, even some 38 years later, God gave them the responsibility to declare “exactly when” they had “officially entered” the land. Jewish tradition (that we cited in article 16) holds that the Israelites did not declare the “entering” until after the seven years it took to conquer the land, and after the seven years it took to divide the land among the tribes. The exact historical timing is not our point, though. The point is responsibility. They decided when to begin to fulfill the counting commandment that is so fundamental our series of articles:
“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.” Leviticus 25:8. (NASB)
It is also clear that the counting is not a decision made individually, nor is it made by a few families. It had to be made on a national scale! It needed full coordination. This is the very issue that was being grappled with in the nascent Sanhedrin when they discussed their rationale to begin the counting in 5776. [Readers: Hint! You might want to reread articles 11 and 12.]
The last thing we want to mention about our choosing of the title “When Is For You” is to personalize it — for each of us. We said from the beginning of this series that the search to find the Jubilee was like searching for hidden treasure:
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out. Proverbs 25:2. (NASB)
Indeed, the search for the “When” is for you, all of you, all of us. God is giving us all the shared responsibility to figure out this mystery, because He knows that there is something valuable, and fun, and if we can believe it, even glorious in the searching for the answer.
We have listed all the facts, we have passed you all our clues, and we have provided all the context you need to solve the mystery for yourself.
Our final article will reveal our solution, will reveal the very last twist in the story, and it might even predict the future of this great and wonderful Mystery of the Lost Jubilee.
For those of you who have been with us all the way, we will offer our goodbyes now. It has been an honor to have you on the journey.
Countdown Timer video. (Youtube).