by J. Preston Eby
For hours the trumpet sounds blasted and reverberated against the mountains, echoing and reechoing across the valleys of the land of Canaan. While the trumpets continued unrelentingly to proclaim their message, slaves said goodbye to their masters, forfeited farms and properties were judicially restored to their owners, and prisoners sang and shouted for joy as they left the prisons. What was going on? It was the Day of Atonement in the Year of Jubilee. Old men had waited fifty years for this to happen, and young men had never witnessed a day like it before!
The law of Jubilee is given in the book of Leviticus. "And you shall number seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto you forty and nine years. THEN you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And you 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 you shall return every man unto his posession, and you shall return every man unto his family" (Lev. 25:8-10).
The rest of the chapter goes into detail about the law of Jubilee. Let us see what the word Jubilee actually means. The Hebrew word for Jubilee is YOBEL which means a loud, long blast by a ram's horn. It means first of all the ram's horn itself and the sound of the horn, but it further means the Festival introduced by the blowing of the ram's horn. In time the word YOBEL came to mean a trumpet. It is translated twenty-one times as "Jubilee," five times as "ram's horn," and once as "trumpet". Therefore Jubilee means a curved trumpet, the blowing of the trumpet, and the Festival the sounding of the trumpet introduces.
Every fifty years a change took place in Israel. There were four specific things ordained by God to take place in the Year of Jubilee. First, the land and the people were to enjoy a full year of holy vacation. A time of hilarious joy, there was to be no sowing or reaping, none of the toil of harvest or of vintage. The people were to live simply on what they had preserved from the previous year, and what they could gather from what grew spontaneously of itself. Second, all debts were cancelled. Every Israelite was released from his indebtedness and financial obligations. Third, liberty was proclaimed to all Israelites who were in bondage to any of their countrymen. It was the time of total release when every slave and every bondman in Israel working off bad debts or those in debtor's prison were released to a fresh start. The fourth feature of this year was that there was to be a return of ancestral possessions to those who had been compelled to sell them because of poverty or surrender them to creditors in payment for their debts. Every homestead was to be restored to the family to whom it had been allotted when the tribes originally inherited the land. These were the four main provisions of the Year of Jubilee: a year of sabbath for the land and for the people, release from all debt, a returning of every slave to his family, and the return of every man to his possession and inheritance.
On a practical level this law was very important. The Year of Jubilee was a refreshing sabbath-rest both to the people and to the land which God gave them. It was the chief of a series of sabbaths or rests given to Israel. They had a sabbath DAY every seventh day. The sabbath YEAR occurred every seventh year. In it the land was allowed to rest, no crops were to be planted, nor were they to prune or harvest. Walk through Israel's land at such a time, and, lo! every one sits under his vine and under his fig tree in peace. No sound of the oxen treading out the corn, no shouting from the vineyard; a strange stillness over all the land, while its summer days are as bright as ever, and its people as happy as a nation on earth could be found. Amid the rest which in a nation of agriculturists would be nearly equivalent to universal cessation from toil - how continually do the godly sing the praises of Jehovah! And, besides all this, no man appropriated to himself anything that the land then produced; all was common, to the rich, to the poor, to the Hebrew, to the stranger - a token of the restoration of mutual love. Rest on the ground, among the beasts of the field, in the dwellings of men, with praise and worship unceasingly ascending from harp and psaltery and gracious lips, while every man partook of earth's produce as freely as his neighbor - might not Israel say, "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord" (Ps. 96:11-12).
Beyond these seventh-year sabbaths lay the grand Year of Jubilee. Israel was given a cycle of seven of these sabbath years, embracing a period of seven-times seven years, a total of forty-nine years; then there was to be a sabbath of sabbaths the fiftieth year -- the year of jubilee!
In that old Hebrew world that lies so far back in the dim twilight of the past, there are several customs, of more than transient interest, which claim our attention when we come to the Year of Jubilee. When Israel came into Canaan, the land was divided among them by lot, according to their tribes and families. Every family received a lot of inheritance, that is, a homestead. Success thereafter might increase, or adversity decrease, their individual possessions, as the case might be. If a man became involved in debt, he might be obliged to sell a part or even all of his property. But God made a bountiful provision for the unfortunate: He arranged that such adverse circumstances might not continue forever, but that all their accounts credits and debts - must be reckoned only to the Jubilee Year, when all must be freed from old encumbrances, etc., to make a fresh start for the next term of fifty years. The man of avarice, who had gone on adding house to house and field to field, gained no permanent advantage over his less fortunate neighbor.
The fiftieth year, beyond which no lease could run, was always approaching with silent but sure speed, to relax his tenacious grasp. However alienated, however unworthily or unthriftily sold, however strongly conveyed to the purchaser or the usurper an estate might be, this long-expected Day annulled the whole transaction, and placed the debtor in the position which either he or his ancestor had enjoyed.
The property which every man had in his dividend of the land of Canaan could not be alienated any longer than till the Year of Jubilee. Now this was no worry to the purchaser, because the Year of Jubilee was fixed, and every man knew when it would come, and made his bargain accordingly. A person under God's system never did sell his land permanently, but he could make leases for any limited term of years, not going beyond the next Jubilee. That year it would again revert to its rightful owner. Today we operate by leases. People may have a five-year lease, or a fifty-year lease, or a ninety-nine year lease. When the lease expires, the property returns to the owner. God worked on that basis, also. Anyone purchasing land, or any creditor foreclosing on a property, automatically understood that what he was receiving could only be held until the Year of Jubilee when all leases and liens expired. When selling (leasing) a property neither the buyer nor the seller must overreach. It must be settled what the clear yearly value of the land was, and then how many years' purchase it was worth till the Year of Jubilee. The scale of prices was to be regulated by the Jubilee. If that glorious event were at hand, the price was low; if far off, the price was high. It is easy to observe that the nearer Jubilee was the less must the value of the land be.
"And if you sell ought unto your neighbor, or buy ought of your neighbor's hand, you shall not oppress one another: according to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy of your neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the fruits be shall sell unto you: according to the multitude of years you shall increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years you shall diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits does he sell unto you" (Lev. 25:14-16). Such was the law of Jubilee!
The great reason for this is revealed in Lev. 25:23. Says the Lord, "The land shall not be sold forever: for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me." The Amplified Bible reads, "The land shall not be sold into perpetual ownership, for the land is Mine; you are only strangers and temporary residents with Me." The Lord, in allusion to Egyptian affairs, says, "THE LAND IS MINE."
The land in Egypt was properly the king's; and all the people were his tenants, since the days of Joseph (Gen. 47:13-26). On the other hand, Israel's land belonged to Jehovah; and the people were His guests, or tenants, sojourners with Him." Here, then, we have the special feature of the Lord's land. HE would have it enjoy a sabbatic year, and in that year there was to be the evidence of the rich profusion with which HE would bless those who were tenants under Him. "And if you shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And you shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of the old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in you shall eat of the old store" (Lev. 25:20-22). Happy, highly privileged tenantry! What an honor to hold immediately under Jehovah! No rent! No taxes! No burdens! Well might it be said, "Happy is the people that is in such a case; yea, happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!"
The sweet singer of Israel expressed it thus: "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein" (Ps. 24:1). In the light of this scripture I would like to reaffirm something which the world at large, and many Christians, seem to have forgotten: This is God's World! Long before time began ... long before a single heavenly body inhabited the vast regions of space...God was. I cannot imagine what it could have been like not to have a world ... with its towering mountains, its vast canyons, and its majestic waterfalls thundering down from the awesome heights in indescribable power, then sweeping on to the seas. The total absence of all these things is beyond my poor, limited comprehension. But the truth remains, as stated in the first four words of scripture: "In the beginning God..." Long before the worlds were made ... long before the billows rolled across the boundless seas ... long before the mountains thrust their towering, snow-capped peaks up through the clouds.. long before there was one flower, or the song of any bird, or the roar of any beast...yes, long before there was anything at all...There was God. Then the blessed Word of God rolls back the curtain of antiquity and shows us God at work, creating all that is, and all that ever was. This passage of scripture goes a mighty step further and establishes for all time and eternity the ownership of this world: "In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth." He made it, and it is His. No one can take it from Him. It was then that God wrote His signature of ownership - a signature that reaches from the earth to the farthest outposts of the cosmos.
For this reason no man in Israel, the Kingdom of God on earth, had any right to sell any portion of it in perpetuity. The Lord wished each tribe, and each family of a tribe, to retain its original hereditary possessions under Him, for it was given by God, and they were His people. As state earlier, on a practical level this law was very important. The wonderful provision of the Jubilee Year can better be appreciated when one considers, not only the beneficial results to the individual Israelites, but especially the effect on the nation as a whole. The Jubilee prevented the accumulation of land and wealth in the hands of a few. It prohibited the covetous and ambitious from "adding field to field" whereby the rich became richer and the poor became poorer. It raised legally and at regular intervals families and individuals out of destitution and gave them a fresh start. The slate was wiped clean.
Without Jubilee there was a good possibility of one tribe eventually incurring such debt so as to completely lose all their inheritance, their possession, their identity. So God gave them a law that every fifty years, no matter how much debt someone owed, it was to be cancelled. You can be certain that every lender took Jubilee into consideration when making a loan! The Jubilee prevented a great internal debt and its resultant false prosperity, bringing inflation, deflation and business depression. The national economy would always be stable and the nation would have no crushing debt (Deut. 15:6). If these laws had been observed, it would have made Israel the most prosperous and perfect and powerful nation ever to have existed!
If an Israelite, through the stress of bad seasons and disappointing harvests, or unwise business practices, were to fall into deep indebtedness to some rich neighboring creditor so much so that he owed him more than even the land of his inheritance was worth - he was permitted, not only to alienate his land till the Year of Jubilee, but to sell himself and/or his family into slavery so as to work off his debt. Let me give you an illustration of what this law meant to Israel. In II Kings chapter four we read of a case where a widow is faced with a large debt left by her husband, and the creditors are coming to take her two sons into slavery to pay off the debt. In this case, Elisha the prophet provided a miracle of multiplying oil to pay off the debt. But in many cases like this there was no Elisha around with a miracle, and the sons were taken away from their home and their mother to work for a stranger as a slave. But only until the year of Jubilee!
Let me give you and example. Jacob owed a huge debt to a Hittite by the name of Ephron, and as the years passed by it became increasingly evident that he would never get it paid off. In fact, each year he fell further and further behind. Finally, there was nothing to do but surrender the property to Ephron and himself with his wife, Sarah, and their young son, Eli, as bond servants in payment for the debt. It was a painful thing for Jacob and his loved ones to say farewell to his humble home and endeared possessions, in which his forefathers had lived and thrived, to go forth into the service of another. With tears of sorrow they walked around the sprawling plot, which he might not live to revisit. Ephron turned out to be a hard task-master and compelled Jacob's family to work long hours. Within a few years Jacob's health began to fail, and soon thereafter he died. A few years later his wife, Sarah, also died of a fever. Little Eli, now fifteen years old, was left alone as the slave of the cruel Ephron. There lingered in his memory cherished thoughts of his carefree childhood on the old home place when the children played together and had such fun. No time for fun now! He was not his own, and there was nowhere to go. What a miserable way to live, he often thought, yet as long as he was alive there was hope that someday, somehow, things would be different.
Soon after Eli's eighteenth birthday Ephron departed on a journey. One afternoon Eli was strolling through his master's field when he heard an unexpected sound. It was the long blast of a trumpet in the distance. The trumpet continued to blow, becoming louder and louder, as other trumpets joined its note from various directions. While standing in wonderment as to what was the meaning of this event, he heard a great commotion. It appeared that a group of people were running along the road in a state of great excitement, shouting and laughing as they went. Finally he waxed bold and stopped an old man with a long, white beard and asked what was going on. "Why, son, haven't you heard? This is the Year of Jubilee. Just started today - this very hour, to be sure. Can't you hear the trumpet? Oh, I guess you're so young you've never seen a Jubilee before! It's the time when all debts are cancelled, and all slaves are freed, and all homesteads restored to their rightful owners." Eli stood transfixed on the side of the road, his mouth open, his eyes wide with astonishment and disbelief. "All slaves are fr ... free ... freed?" he stuttered. "Yes, my boy," the old man assured him, "all slaves are as free as the birds as of right now." "But ... but I'm a slave!" Eli blurted. "Then leave this place, lad," commanded the white-haired stranger, "you're as free as the air. Go home! Go to your family, sit under your own vine. What rightfully belongs to you is really yours now."
The chains of servitude fell from the soul of the exulting slave. Within the hour he gathered his meager belongings and set forth from the house of bondage, and felt himself possessed of liberty which no hand of power or of fraud might invade. He made his way across the miles to the old home place, to his father's farm, and ordered the strangers occupying it to vacate. He started living in his childhood home again, and eating the fruit of his own land. No more serving as a slave; he was working for himself, in his own inheritance. And it was not by anything he had done. He had not earned his freedom. It was just the sovereign law of God that set him free. All that he had to do was believe it, head for home, and claim his inheritance! Thus every fiftieth year, counting from the time of their entrance into Canaan, was to Israel a Year of Jubilee, a time of rejoicing and restitution, in which families were reunited and lost homesteads were restored. Restoration of every man to his own possession brought great joy, cancellation of all debts brought relief and gladness, and release of all slaves inspired much jubilation and celebration. So marked was the wisdom, so manifold were the blessings of this divine institution! No wonder it was called a JUBILEE!
"Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Mat. 5:18).
It is only when we recognize the typical character of God's dealings with Israel that we can rightly appreciate the wonderful history of that people, or understand why their history, in preference to that of all other nations, is so particularly recorded by the prophets and the New Testament writers. In them, as the New Testament writers show, God has given striking illustrations of His plans, both for the Church and the world. Their Tabernacle service, so minutely prescribed in the divinely given law, with its bleeding beasts and all its peculiar appointments, their festivals and holy days, their sabbaths and all their ceremonies, as types pointed forward to antitypes, larger, higher, and grander far than those shadows. And the apostle Paul assures us that those antitypes will be laden with blessings for mankind, when he says that the law foreshadowed "good things to come " (Heb. 10:1; 8:5; Col. 2:17); while our Lord, in the above expression, assures us that all good things thus foreshadowed are sure of fulfillment.
When our Lord said that not one jot or tittle of the law should pass away until fulfilled, He referred not only to the fulfilling of its covenant obligations for all under that Law Covenant, finishing its hold upon them, by meeting its demands against them in full with His own life, but He meant more than this: He meant further, that all the blessings expressed in it typically would also be sure of fulfillment upon an antitypical scale - the plane of reality. In all the Israelitish ceremonies, God caused no type to be made which will prove meaningless, or pass unfulfilled; for the keeping of a type is not the fulfilling of it. The fulfilling is reached where the type ceases, being displaced by the reality, the antitype.
Thus, for instance, the slaying of the pascal lamb was fulfilled in the death of Christ, the "Lamb of God," and there began the special blessing upon the antitypical firstborn, the elect believers of the Church age. The blessing, foreshadowed in that type, is not yet completely fulfilled, though the fulfillment began with the death of Christ, our Passover Lamb. In like manner, every ceremony prescribed in the law of Moses proves to be of typical significance. And the particularity with which the observance of every detail of the types was enforced throughout the age of Law gives emphasis to our Lord's words quoted above - that every minute particular, every jot and tittle, every dotted "i" and crossed "t", must be as meticulously fulfilled spiritually as it was carefully enforced naturally in the ceremonies of the law.
Because of the tremendous importance of the time that you and I are living in, at the close of the age, it is my deep conviction that it is infinitely important for us to gain understanding concerning some of the patterns, symbols, types and shadows given to us in scripture. Whenever one receives a true revelation from God, he will find somewhere in the Word that which points to it, that which is a symbol of it, that which is a pattern to it. We are admonished by the apostle Paul that everything that was written aforetime was written for our learning, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. So I believe that as God's unfolding to us continues to bring us more and more into Himself, there are patterns that we can find which will help us to understand the wonderful purposes of God in His people.
What appears in the scripture on the surface, the letter of the Word, suddenly illumined by the Spirit of Truth, brings tremendous discovery. It has been said, and I believe it is true, that the letter of the Word or the letter of the law, could never be explained apart from the gospel of grace. But, on the other hand, the gospel of grace in its fullest measure, in its depth and width and height and breadth, could never be understood without comprehending the figures of the law.
There is an interesting passage in Matthew 5:17. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Many folk would like to do away with the law. Contrary to things He came to destroy - He came to destroy the works of the devil, He came to destroy death, He came to destroy the carnal mind - but contrary to the things He came to destroy, the Christ did not come to destroy the law, rather He came to bring the law to its highest fulfillment .
In this writing we propose to examine that typical feature of the Mosaic Law known as Jubilee, and to show that it was intended to foreshadow the great Restitution, the recovery of mankind from the fall, to be accomplished by the redemptive and reconstructive and restorative activities of God outlined in Acts 3:19-21: "Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." Jubilee, in its very character, was a clear and unmistakable illustration of that glorious time of the restitution of all things. Since the Jubilee was a part of the law, and since repeating it naturally does not fulfill it, and since our Lord declared that the type could not pass away without fulfillment; and moreover, since we know that no such restitution of all things as that foretold "by all the holy prophets since the world began," and prefigured in this type, has ever yet occurred, we know that it must be fulfilled in the future. True, there is a present partial fulfillment in a firstfruits company, as we shall consider in detail later, but the broadest and fullest measure of fulfillment awaits the total triumph of the Kingdom of God in all realms forevermore.
Under the law of inheritance in Israel every family received a tract of land as a perpetual inheritance. This land was a trust from the Lord. The land remained the Lord's, although He gave each family the right to produce food and clothing from it. The Israelites were to exercise stewardship of the land. The ancient landmarks showed the boundaries of each family's portion. If they rented or sold or lost the land to someone else, the property came back to the family in the Jubilee at the end of the fifty years. Thus, even if the inheritance were lost, it remained still, typically, an eternal inheritance.
On the spiritual plane the very thought of our "inheritance" immediately brings to mind so many things recorded in the scriptures. How that the "meek shall inherit the earth," how that we are to "inherit the kingdom," and to "inherit the life age-abiding," to "inherit the promises," "inherit the blessings," etc. and all of this thrills the heart with the gracious outflow of the Father's love to us. In Ephesians 1:5 & 11 the apostle wrote, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will ... in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will."
An inheritance is the result of another's gain, which is passed on to you. It comes to you for another's sake, it is not the result of personal accomplishment. We are learning what it means to be a son of God, realizing God's great plan and purposes involved. One of the important rights of sonship is that of inheritance. Heirship depends upon our relationship to God - our Father. If we have been born of God, if we have been born from above, we are children of God and consequently heirs of the Almighty. This is what the apostle speaks of in Hebrews when he teaches about the discipline that God applies to His sons, and he says, "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the father of spirits, and live?" God is the Father of spirits. God is the Father of our spirits. Furthermore, God is the God of the spirits of all flesh (mankind; Num. 16:22; 27:16).
When we were born of the flesh we became heirs of our fleshly parents; but when we were born of the Spirit of God we became heirs of our heavenly Father - God! He purposed to make the inheritance ours by way of relationship, having "begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away" (1 Pet. 1:3-4). Begotten - to an inheritance! To be "heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ" (Rom. 8:17). It is through Him, through Jesus Christ, that we have obtained and been made heirs of this wonderful inheritance. What we receive we share in him, in union with Him, for He is the "heir of all things" (Heb. 1:2). All that we have is through our Lord Jesus Christ, and by grace. "Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col.1:12).
Inheritance is also concerned with nationality and law one inherits in the country of his parentage and according to the laws of that land. Jesus explained to Nicodemus in Jn. 3:5, that in order to enter the Kingdom of God human beings have to be born-again - of the SPIRIT. The Kingdom of God is the land or realm of our inheritance, and that great land is entered into by birth!
"Blessed be God the Father...who has begotten us again ... to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Pet. 1:3-4). This inheritance is "reserved in heaven for you," in the spiritual realm. Most saints subscribe to the crude notion that our inheritance is heaven - a mansion over the hill-top in some far away celestial Disney World. Not so! The apostle says that our inheritance is "reserved in the heavens." And from this spiritual realm of unlimitations we "draw down" our source of life and blessing and glory and when we are full it overflows to all about us. From the very first moment of our begettal unto this living hope, we begin to lay hold upon our inheritance. We begin by learning through the revelation of the Word and the dealings of the Spirit, which map out that inheritance, what God is like, and what He is prepared to be to us. Next we proceed to appropriate and make use of His attributes and properties in the crucible of daily experience and need. Then we become possessed of the indwelling life of God, who works His very nature into ours. And so we come to possess God just in proportion as He possesses us. We inherit Him as our portion up to the measure in which He possesses us.
Arise! Oh sons of God, you are living on a vast estate! Around you on all hands are God's life and love and grace and wisdom and power and glory awaiting your appropriation. Do not be content to be circumscribed and limited, as was Israel in the wilderness. Be rather like Joshua and Caleb who march boldly into the land crying, "Give me this mountain!" taking in evermore of the rich territory allotted by God.
I am deeply impressed with the words of Jesus Christ as found in Jn. 8:32. The Master was giving a discourse, explaining that He had come from God, sent from the bosom of the Father He had come from above, and they did not know Him because they did not know His Father. Then to those Jews present who believed on Him He declared, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The word "truth" there means a revealing of what was covered. You will know that which is hidden. You will understand that which has been concealed in the patterns, the types, the shadows. You will perceive that which has been obscured by the veil of the fleshly mind and hidden in God from before the dawn of the ages.
The word "know" is from the Greek GINOSKO meaning to experience or become aware of. Jesus said you would experience, you would become experiencially aware of that which was formerly concealed and hidden, and that truth would make you FREE. In II Pet. 1:3-4 the apostle wrote, "According as His divine power bath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that bath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
The word "knowledge" is in the Greek epignosis meaning to recognize, recognition, full discernment and acknowledgement. This is most interesting! Cognition means, according to Webster, "the process of knowing or perceiving." In re-cognition we have the prefix "re" which means "again." Re-cognition, therefore, means to know again, to percieve a second time. What did Peter mean, then, when he said that exceeding great and precious promises are given to us, and all things that pertain to life and God-likeness "through the knowledge (epigno- sis: re-cognition, knowing again) of Him who has called us unto glory and virtue."
Recognition is to become fully aware of and fully acquainted with what we already knew before! It means to identify what was known before. If I met you on a street corner one day and then didn't see you for a couple of weeks, when I saw you again I would recognize you because I met you once before. I would remember you, bringing you back again into mind. And that, precious friend of mine, is what truth is, that is what salvation is, that is what redemption is, that is what re-conciliation is, that is what re-birth is, that is what Jubilee is - it's recognizing what we already know, it's identifying and possessing again experiencially what is already ours! It's being awakened. It's a return. Hallelujah!
This beautiful truth cannot be more graphically articulated than in the following words by George Hawtin.
"With these lofty thoughts of God in our minds, knowing that His ways and methods are higher and better than our own, our hearts respond with joyful accord when Paul in wisdom shows that it was God's intention that all mankind should come to know Him through faith in God's Christ and not through their own works of righteousness. Therefore, exalting mightily the grace of God rather than the works of man, he wrote to the Gentiles these almost incredible words of faith: 'For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him , are all things: to whom he glory for ever. Amen' (Rom. 11:32-36). The clearest possible rendering of the final verses of Romans eleven is found in the translation by Goodspeed, which in verses 34-36 gives this clear wording: 'Who has ever known the Lord's thoughts or advised Him? Or who has advanced anything to Him for which he will have to be repaid? For from Him everything comes, through Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends.'
Somewhere hidden in the spirit of every man there abides the secret knowledge that we came forth from God, even as this text forcefully declares. This, too, is the thought so beautifully expressed by the poet in the idyll:
Oh my Father, that dwells
In a high and glorious place,
When shall I regain Your presence
And again behold Your face?
In Your holy habitation
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured by Your side?
For a wise and glorious purpose
You have made me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth.
But at times the secret something
Whispers, You're a stranger here;
And I feel that I have wandered
From a more exalted sphere.
Oh, my Father, that dwells
In a high and glorious place,
Yet shall I appear before
You And again behold Your face.
Day by day Your Spirit leads
Ever onward unto Yourself,
Till at last I'll find contentment
In Your pure reality.
I shall be surprised indeed in that glory world above should we find that these blessed words of Christ, spoken of Himself, do not in truth apply to us all: 'I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world and go to the Father' (Jn. 16:28). Far away in the depths of my ransomed being there is a chord that vibrates in response to the words, 'I came forth from the Father and am come into the world,' and that same chord responds again to the words, 'Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.' We came forth from God, our orbit leading us from the celestial to the terrestrial. There can be no doubt of that; and by faith we know that this same orbit will guide us again from the realm of the terrestrial back to the bosom of the Father, for from Him everything originally comes, through Him everything now exists, and in Him everything will ultimately end. Glory to God for ever!
"My spirit rejoices today in thankfulness to my Father in heaven that many years ago He let me hear a secret from His own heart, a secret that few in our generation have ever understood. When He breathed it into my listening heart, it well nigh stunned me because of my tradition and unbelief, yet I could not doubt the truth He taught me when He said, ' The creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope ' (Rom. 8:20). As dew distilling from the mighty ocean falls in snow and ice upon the rugged mountain, there to remain in the grip of glacial death for a thousand years or more until released at last by the warmth of the sun to race down the mountainside in rushing torrents of water and join a thousand babbling brooks to expand into a mighty river and flow into the eternal seas, so as a mist has the spirit of man gone forth from the presence of God. Buffeted by the frigid winds of earth, he learns the lessons before ordained by the wisdom of God, and when the Sun of righteousness shines upon him, freeing his spirit from the icy bondages of the flesh, cleansing him by the power of the blood of Christ, he returns to God whence he came, not empty and alone, but as a mighty river, once again to become one with the ocean of God's self."
Who is our family and what is our possession that once we had in the Father, that we are to return to? I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that it is a possession that we had in God before the foundation of the world. How clear and unmistakeable the scripture is about this! "Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me: for You loved Me before the foundation of the world" (Jn. 17:24). "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He has chosen US in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (Eph. 1:3-4). "Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (II Tim. 1:9). "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised (us) before the world began" (Tit. 1:2).
Our inheritance is a possession that we once knew in God and that we are being restored to because it was promised and given to us in Christ before the world began. Do you understand, precious friend of mine, what God is saying? "That beginning you had with Me, when you and I knew each other, in that distant age of antiquity, before the foundation of the world, in the bosom of the Father, in union with Christ, when you were foreknown of Me, while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy - do you not know, dear one, that that state of being in which you existed, that conscious awareness in which you dwelt, that righteousness and peace and joy and glory and wisdom and knowledge and power which was then yours with Me--that is your inheritance!"
We have an eternal inheritance in the Lord. "And you shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the large tribe you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the small tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance; wherever the lot falls to any man, that shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit" (Num. 33:54). Concealed within that law of Israel's inheritance lie truths of staggering significance. Every man has a place in God's great Kingdom, just as each of the twelve tribes of Israel was given a lot of inheritance in the promised land. Each member of each tribe had their own designated lot of inheritance in the land of Canaan. And that is a figure in the Spirit. Just as we are Abraham's seed after the Spirit, so we have a spiritual promised land which is God's spiritual Kingdom, bespeaking of a glory, or a position or a lot of eternal inheritance in Jesus Christ.
Long milleniums ago the aged prophet Daniel, having faithfully come to the end of his illustrious course, was given a final blessing with a message of personal consolation and hope. The angel of God turned to Daniel and said, "But go your way until the end: for you shall rest, and stand in YOUR LOT at the end of the days" (Dan. 12:13). He was to depart and continue on his road, awaiting the end. His future was not left in uncertainty. Like many other Old Testament saints, he was to pass away, without receiving the promise (Heb. 11:39), but, in faith, awaiting the divine pledge. When the age of abiding bliss came, he would arise to receive his "lot" of inheritance, the heaven bestowed heritage as distinct from the "lot" apportioned in the earthly Canaan.
Not every one of us has the same lot, for each has his own lot of inheritance and each of us will be different. We know that in the natural if you pertained to the tribe of Judah you had a particular lot of inheritance in Canaan. Or if you belonged to the tribe of Ephraim, Manasseh, Gad, Issachar, or any of the other tribes in Israel you possessed a certain geographical location your lot of inheritance had to be staked in. If you were squatting on the inheritance of your brother you were there like a sojourner or a stranger, sometimes as a bondman, but your real lot of inheritance was found in the geographical area God gave to your tribe.
It is my conviction that in the spirit all of us belong to a spiritual tribe in God, that is, a spiritual position or calling in the Lord. Beyond the natural there is a spiritual Israel and there are spiritual tribes And there are spiritual lots of inheritance. Everything that is seen in the earth regarding the plan and purpose of God had its origin in the heavenlies. The arrangement and structure of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and all its furnishings and ceremonies and priestly ministrations were to be made according to the "pattern" shown Moses in the Mount. Therefore there had to be a heavenly reality from which the earthly was made. The Jerusalem which is above is the mother of us all, and that great City has twelve gates bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. This intimates that there is a heavenly Israel as well as an earthly Israel. Therefore we are down here working out or staking out our position in the Christ for our inheritance.
We mentioned earlier that Peter says that we have an inheritance "reserved in heaven for us." I do not for one second believe, as so many Christians ignorantly assume, that Peter meant that in some far-away land, on some beautiful Isle of Somewhere, we would receive a mansion, a harp and a crown for an inheritance; but we have an inheritance reserved for us here and how in a heavenly way of life, in a spiritual state of being, in the sphere of divine reality. And no one can take it from us. None of us can have the inheritance of any of our brothers. Each has his calling. Each has his position. Each has his unique place in the great and eternal Kingdom of the Father. Our own is so grand and glorious to us that we care not for a portion of any one else's. God gives the best for each of us.
Let us look a little closer at our inheritance. The first Adam was given an inheritance which was lost, but through the last Adam the inheritance is regained. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds" (Heb. 1:1-2). The great aim and object of God in creation was to provide yet another dimension of inheritance for His Son, in whom He might show forth His glory and find His blessedness. On the sixth day the Lord said, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him..." (Gen. 1:26-27). When the Lord said, "Let us make man in our image," He was speaking not only of Adam, the first man. His mighty edict included the entire human race, which included every descendent of Adam from Adam himself to the very last man who shall be born of his family. I am a son of Adam, the extension and projection of his substance, mind, nature and being, and so are those who read these lines.
As we consider this truth, we should especially notice this most significant statement: "Let us make man in our image ... and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
This statement, which seems so simple, is a shadow of things divine. Man in Christ, man in God's image, is God's government in the Kingdom of God. It is a well concealed prophecy displaying to the spiritual mind the vast scope of man's authority when, perfect in God's image, he is presented faultless, tested, and ready to receive again his inheritance.
First, Let us give him dominion over all things under the earth, let us make him ruler of the things beneath, the lowest realms of the bottomless, typified by the fish swarming in the depths of the seas.
Second, Let us give him dominion over the things in the realm of the heaven, the things above, the spiritual world of the celestials, typified by the fowl that fly in the heavens.
Third, Let us give him dominion over the earthly and physical realms, over all natural things, typified by the cattle and all the earth. The dominion that would be man's after he was perfected and conformed to the image of God through the dreadful sufferings of death was to extend, not merely over fishes and beasts and birds, but over those things which they foreshadowed, that is, the things beneath the earth, things upon the earth, and things above in the vast universe of angels, principalities, and powers of the celestial realms being made subject to him.
Should someone find it difficult to embrace so great a truth from so small and insignificant a type, I would point you to the unequivocal confirmation of these very facts given in plain and easy to understand words by the inspired writer of Hebrews wherein he says, "For unto the angels has He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, How poor a creature is man, and yet You remember him, and a son of man, and You come to him! You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; with glory and honor You have crowned him, and have set him over the works of Your hands. You put everything in subjection under his feet. For this subjecting of the universe to man implies the leaving of nothing not subject to him. But we do not as yet see the universe subject to him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels - even Jesus - because of His suffering of death crowned with glory and honor,, that He by God's grace might taste death for every man " (Heb. 2:5-9, Weymouth). You won't quite grasp that at first. It's too overwhelming! To be crowned means to be given kingly rule. To be crowned with glory and honor is to be given such rule as Jesus has now - and that is described as being the Administrating, Ruling Executive over the entire universe!
As "the seed" of Abraham, Christ is the inheritor of all the promised inheritance (Gal. 3:16,29). Christ is the designated heir of all things, of all ages, and of all worlds (Heb. 1:12). And in Rom. 8:17 we find, "The Spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then HEIRS; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ." God Himself sums up this great truth in Rev. 21:7, declaring, "He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and He shall be My SON."
But today unregenerate, carnal man is shooting rockets to the moon and sending space vehicles to the planets of our solar system, boasting that he is going to use the moon as a launching pad to soar to the planets and galaxies beyond. But man is simply getting in too big a hurry! He is striving to take over what indeed can be his - but man has not yet fitted himself to manage it - and it has not yet lawfully been placed in his hands! Man today is not in God's image and likeness, and it is that man to whom God entrusts universal dominion, the man in His likeness! Man today does not bear God's image, and can only spread his sin and death, bringing chaos and destruction wherever he goes. What natural man does not know, does not remember, is that when, through Christ, he first qualifies for the trust - it has been God's intention all along to place not only the moon and Mars, but the whole vast, limitless universe, physical and spiritual, under his jurisdiction! What an inheritance!
But there is a deeper and more wonderful truth beyond this. As the ocean includes the seas, the bays, and straits, which, though known by separate names, are parts of its majestic and all-embracing fullness, so is there a dimension of HIis inheritance that encompasses all that is ours in Christ. In the law of the Old Testament priesthood, the Lord spoke to Aaron, "You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall You have any part among them. I am your part, and your inheritance, among the children of Israel" (Num. 18:20). It was a very satisfactory arrangement for the pious priest. He could well dispense with the oliveyards and vineyards, the wheat fields and homesteads of Palestine, if he might have God Himself as the strength of his heart, the source of his provision, and his portion forever. And the Psalmist eagerly caught at the thought, gladly surrendered all portion in this life, if only he might be satisfied with God (Ps. 17:15). "The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: You maintain my lot. Yea, I have a goodly heritage" (Ps. 17:5-6).
Ah, how blessed the thought! God Himself is our inheritance! Not golden harps. Not golden streets. Not walls of jasper or pearly gates. Not a cabin in the corner or a mansion over the hilltop. Not fluttering wings and a white nightgown with which to flit about over the Elysium hills of glory. NO! There is something deeper, more inward and rapturous - the possession of God. Heirs of God! Heirs of all the communicable glories of the divine nature and power. To know Him, to explore His Being, to live on His fullness, to discover new tracts and continents in the terra incognita of Godhead, to see His glory, to put on His mind, to be changed into His image, to wield His scepter - this is "the heritage of the servants of the Lord." Glory to God!
The inheritance is incorruptible as to its substance. It is not liable to decay, as are the things of this gross material realm. The inheritance of the saints is, above all, spiritual; and it requires spiritual faculties to apprehend and enjoy it. But in such as have not been born again, their spirits quickened by His Spirit, those spiritual faculties are lacking. They cannot remember the inheritance once promised and given to them before the foundation of the world. They do not recognize heavenly things. They are bondmen in an enemy's house. The glory that pertains to their spirit has been lost in the dimness of a distant dimension. A blind man may stand amid the fairest landscape unconcerned, because the one organ by which he could enjoy it is lacking. A lunatic may live in a house stored with rich treasures of art and craft, oblivious to it all because his mind is blank to all its beauty and value. And the natural man might stand in heaven itself, and miss God with all the glories of His inheritance in the saints, for want of those powers of spiritual perception of which he is deficient.
Truly, the Kingdom of God comes not by observation; for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. We are not heirs of the "things" of God, but of God Himself. Heirs of all that He is. Name any of the divine attributes - His love, His holiness, His wisdom, His knowledge, His power, His nature, His life, and myriads more - these make up the inheritance. What an inheritance!
Ephesians 1:10 speaks of "the dispensation of the fullness of times," that is, the period in which the perfect end of God's governmental ways is seen in the dominion of Christ. "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: in whom also we have obtaned an inheritance..." All things are to be gathered into the Christ in the heavenly realms and in the earthly realms. All -into Him! "In whom," continues the apostle, "we have obtained an inheritance." Listen, my brother, my sister, we have obtained an inheritance, not in Palestine, not in Israel, not in America, not in Great Britain, not in the earth, nor even in the heavens alone; but, rather, IN HIM. We are appointed the heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Christ.
When Christ is manifested in all His fullness of glory we shall be manifested with Him in His glory. At this "manifestation of the sons of God" creation is brought "into the liberty of the glory of the children of God." It is thus in "the heirs of God" that He will hold the inheritance. Christ is the heir of God. IN HIM we also obtain the inheritance. In this enChristed body God will possess the inheritance. All that vast inheritance that shall be placed under the hand and rule of the Son of God, God will hold in the saints; just as the land of Canaan was Jehovah's inheritance, and He gave it to, and held it in, Israel.
Let us understand! The inheritance is from God, but in Christ. God holds the inheritance in Christ, that is, in the saints, just as a man who has a million dollars may hold it in the bank. He deposits his wealth in the bank, or invests it in a piece of property. So God deposits His inheritance - all He is and all He has - in the saints! He invests all in them so that they are the receptacle and substance of His inheritance. So Paul says, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation that you may know what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1:18).
Mark the two occurrences of the word glory in the above verse and their connection. "The Father of glory," and "The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." We can understand the Father being the Father of glory, and that He must be the One who gives His grace and glory; but what are these words which tell us that we are of worth to Him? "His inheritance in the saints?" Yea, more, "The glory of His inheritance in the saints." Yea, yet more, "The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."
Faith rubs her eyes and wonders if she has read correctly. Love bows in adoring worship and accepts what she cannot understand, and Hope exults with expectant joy and longs for the fullness of the Christ to come. Grace graces the graceless with grace and then admires the graced ones of grace. The worthless are made worthy in the worth of Christ, and then HE appreciates the worth of the made-worthies. The beggars beggar the Son of God by making Him a Beggar, and then HE out of His beggary blesses the beggars and makes them peers of the King of Glory. The inheritance is thus from God, but in the saints. It is our inheritance, but first and foremost it is God's inheritance - invested into us. As under the law of Israel the land was the Lord's, but He gave it to Israel to manage as their's, for Him. What an awesome responsibility!
Nothing in the whole world is more obvious than the fact that the inheritance man once knew in God has been lost. In that dim and distant long ago God set man over all the works of His hands. He appointed man the supreme ruler of the infinite vastness of infinity and the heir of all realms and realities. When sin came, all that changed and man instead of a ruler became a slave, eking out his subsistence by the sweat of his face. He came into bondage to sin, sorrow, satan and death, and, believe me, satan is a hard taskmaster. Man lost his relationship with God, and life became at times unbearable. The mystery that the natural mind can never fathom is the fact that it was by divine planning that circumstances were so arranged that man forfeited and relinquished his title deed to the inheritance given him, and he became a servant of sin, to obey the lusts thereof. "Know not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. 6:16).
How pitiful that the myriads of things which appeal to the flesh can become so important that men will serve them to the satisfaction of the flesh, and immediately place themselves in the servant position, while that thing becomes their master. To whomever, or whatever we yield ourselves as servants to obey, his servants we are. The application of this can take many forms and cover many items, but the principle of it is constant. "In time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). Servants of corruption, servants of the negative realm, having lost the inheritance given to man, and rather than being "lord" over the creation, man became the slave of it. Man has throughout these ages of travail borne but a faint semblance of the glory that once was his. Think of a rancher who owns a large ranch and then becomes disabled so that though he still owns the ranch he is unable in and of himself to manage it or to evict squatters or kill rattlesnakes. The rancher didn't lose ownership, but did lose his ability to manage his ranch. The enemies came in and overpowered him until he became a helpless prisoner in his own domain. Such is the pitiable state of man in relation to his magnificent inheritance!
When the blessed Son of God hung upon the cross God in infinite tenderness wrapped the land in darkness in the hour of His supreme suffering. About those three hours we know little, save the words that escaped the lips of the Sufferer Himself. There came a moment when the voice was heard amid the darkness, and it said, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" The men about the cross were quite familiar with the words. They were not strange words. They were quoted from the Psalter, from the Worship-book of the Hebrew people. They had often chanted the Psalm in solemn monotone and recited it in many an hour of heart anguish. But there are values in it far deeper and more profound than the Psalmist knew when he wrote the song. When he wrote it, it was the expression of sorrow such as he was then passing through. But it has become for evermore full of meaning to us, because Christ uttered these words upon the cross. There is great value in recognizing the fact that it was a human cry, and that Jesus quoted it. And the value is all the greater if we remember that all that follows in that twenty-second Psalm is an exposition of what it is to be God-forsaken. The Psalmist was not looking at the old rugged cross on the craggy crest, he had no vision of it; he was, I am deeply persuaded, writing of his own heart's agony; and here this One, this King upon the cross, stretched back through the centuries and took hold of the most awful wail of agony that ever escaped the human heart, and quoted it as His own experience. He was our humanity, born of a virgin; throughout the whole of His public ministry He had spoken in human terms, and yet with unequivocal divine authority.
"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!" It was first of all the cry of a soul at the uttermost of sin, having lost the vision of God. It was the cry of a soul at the uttermost of sorrow, conscious of its lack of God. All sorrow is lack. All grief is the consciousness of lack. When the soul becomes conscious of the lack of God, that is the uttermost sorrow. Moreover, it was the soul in the presence of mystery, in the presence of silence, with no voice, with no answer. In that moment Jesus expressed in human speech the fact that the pains and the penalties of the human sin were His. That is the heart of it, and the center of it, and the soul of it, and the mystery of it!
I must assure you, beloved friend, that the anguish endured by Jesus on the cross has been experienced by every son and daughter of Adam's race. We have already suffered it. We have known the terror of being away from the Father's presence. Jesus was only then, in His identification with man's plight, beginning to experience what mankind has experienced for six long milleniums! An absolute forsaking of the Father! And loss, total and unspeakable loss. It was God that lowered man, making him a little lower than the angels, or lacking from Elohim , as the Hebrew expresses it. Most Christians say that Jesus suffered so we wouldn't have to - but the doleful truth is that we've already been partakers of His suffering , for His suffering was naught but our suffering which He took upon Him. There was one difference - we did not have the ability to return! But God so loved us that He gave His beloved Son into the same death so that He could bring us into glory. Since the day I came into this world I have had to suffer the death of a carnal realm of thinking, live in a world that I knew nothing about, with no understanding of spiritual things, no knowledge of from whence I came, no comprehension of where I was going, shapened in iniquity, enslaved to the passions of the flesh, owned and controlled by the law of sin and death, until Jesus came and awakened me and whispered into my quickened spirit that I am on my way back home! Away back at the beginning God gave a promise of restoration, of victory over sin and death. "Her seed shall bruise your head," God told the serpent. And in Romans 16:20 Paul reiterates the promise: "And the God of peace shall bruise satan under your feet shortly." Man shall surely return to his possession. All that was lost shall be restored.
Let me give you now a scripture that shows the hand of God in this and the extensive scope of both the departure from, and the returning unto, God. I quote from Psalm 90:1-3. "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth or the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You art God. You turn man to destruction; and then say, return, you children of men." You could never read this word "return" here if you had not first read that man had been "turned" away to destruction. In this passage the word "destruction" has this meaning in the original: a complete collapse, crumbling man to a contrite condition.
After turning men to destruction God then says, "Return to me, You children of men." Oh, yes, He turned us to destruction, but planted deep within the subconsciousness of every son of Adam is the secret command to return, which is revealed in that inner desire, yearning, craving, seeking, feeling, compulsion which is never satisfied until man does find himself home in God once more. All the religiousness of men, from the witch doctor in the jungle to the modernist in the pulpit in America, is the manifestation of this feeling after God, if haply they might find Him (Acts 17:26-27). While mankind in general is still lost in the hellish darkness of sin and death, yet there is a firstfruit company whose hearts have been charged by the inward call to return, and with the Shulamite maiden in the Song of Solomon share this blessed experience: "By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loves; I sought Him, but I found Him not. I will arise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broadways I will seek Him whom my soul loves: I sought Him but I found Him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw you Him whom my soul loves. It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my sould loved: I held Him and I would not let Him go" (S. of S. 3:1-4).
Mankind is yet groping about in the dense darkness of the carnal mind, knowing not that He is standing right there in the shadows, were their eyes opened to see. Yet He has appointed a day - Oh glorious day! - when His light shall shine forth and the plan shall be completed as the apostle said, "For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this: He purposed long ago in His sovereign will that all human history should be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth should find its perfection and fulfillment in Him. In Christ we have been given an inheritance, since we were destined for this, by the one who works out all His purposes according to the design of His own will" (Eph. 1:9-11, Phillips).
Praise God, by redemption, we already have something of our inheritance, but at best it is only the earnest - what a day's pay of the laborer is to the year's wage, or the foyer of a mansion to its vast and magnificent rooms. "Now He which established us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; who has also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (II Cor. 1:21-23). The word "earnest" is from a Greek word meaning simply a "down payment" or a "pledge" or "token payment" which is paid to guarentee that the balance will be paid. The Amplified Bible renders this verse thus, "He has appropriated and acknowledged us as His, putting His seal upon us and giving us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the security deposit and guarentee of the fulfillment of His promise." Wuest's translation says that the Holy Spirit is "the token payment guarenteeing the payment in full of our salvation!" Then in Eph. 1:14 we read, "That Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance, the firstfruit, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment of our heritage - in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring complete posession of it, to the praise of His glory" (Amplified Bible). We know not how soon the fullness shall break upon us, but it will come, and not tarry, as our hearts are prepared to receive it, praise His name!
Misunderstanding the nature of our inheritance and the plan by which God shall bring us fully into it has, in the past, led to many ignorant and unscriptural assertions. For instance, speaking of a deceased saint we have said, "He has gone to his reward." Nothing could be farther from the truth! It is not death that qualifies one to receive his inheritance, but the raising of ones whole being up into the sphere of His life. "God ... has begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible ... reserved in heaven for you." Heaven is not the inheritance. The inheritance is merely "reserved" in heaven (the celestial sphere) for you. And it is not revealed when you go by way of the grave, for it is "ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Pet. 1:5), here and now, praise God! And truly, not only we, but in the beautiful words of J.B. Phillips's translation, "The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own" (Rom. 8:19). "Their own" is their lot of inheritance, and this will mean the fullness of our salvation - spirit, soul and body - a company of immortal and incorruptible sons filled with the fullness of His mind, nature, glory and power to bless and restore all creation. Towards this blessed consummation, as yet "reserved," our hope stretches out both hands; meanwhile, it is an inspiration and stimulus for every moment of our life!
Suppose you are sitting in your home some night and the door bell rings. A man is there, and he says, "I'm an attorney with such and such a firm, and we're trying to find a relative of a missing person. Your name is so and so. Did your mother come to this country from Scotland fifty years ago, and did she have a brother who went to Australia?" You say, 'We have a family Bible here. It's all written down. There's my mother. She was born in Edinburgh on such a date. She had a brother and he went to Australia, and we never heard from him since." "Well," says the lawyer, "this is wonderful for this is the last link in the evidence. He went to Australia and had a son there to whom he left his fortune; that son died and left no heir. The lawyers in Australia have traced it back to Scotland; the Scottish people traced it over here, and we have come to you for we believe that you are next of kin." You say, "Yes, undoubtedly." "Well, says the lawyer, "I'm very happy to inform you that you have a very large inheritance." You say, "I can get that new Lincoln I've been dreaming about." He says, "It's a very large inheritance." You say, "Mercedes." "In fact, your uncle had coal mines." You say, "Rolls Royce." The lawyer says, "Now, of course, its in the courts and you can't get anything very soon except the down payment. Your uncle also owned hundreds of thousands of acres of sheep ranches; oil and gold have been discovered there. It's going to be three or four years before you can get it all, but they have a little advance payment that's ready for you now." "Well, what is this little down payment?" "This little down payment is only twenty-eight million dollars." "If that's the down payment, what's the whole thing going to be?"
Not all the certified public accountants in the world could ever add up the glories of the inheritance reserved for us. And none of the religionists can even begin to comprehend what the inheritance really is. It would be impossible for a team of bankers, lawyers, preachers, teachers, evangelists and scholars to get together and tell us what the magnitude of the inheritance is. All any of them can do is tell us a little bit about the interest on the interest. That is about as close as anyone can get to understanding our inheritance, because the down payment is the Holy Spirit of God! This inheritance is nothing short of the fact that we inherit God Himself!
Incorporated into the law of Jubilee is a second law known as the law of Redemption. Very few Christians are aware of the fact that Redemption is closely associated with Jubilee. Many confuse the two terms, but the truth is that though they are related, Redemption and Jubilee are not the same thing at all. They accomplish the same end, but do not work the same.
The law of Redemption is given in the same chapter we have under consideration, Leviticus 25. "If your brother has become poor and has sold some of his property, if any of his kin comes to redeem it, he shall be allowed to redeem what his brother has sold. And if the man has no one to redeem his property, and he himself has become more prosperous and has enough to redeem it, then let him count the years since he sold it and restore the over-payment to the man to whom he sold it, and return to his ancestral possession. But if he is unable to redeem it, it shall remain in the buyer's possession until the Year of Jubilee, when it shall be set free and he may return to it. And if a sojourner or stranger with you becomes rich, and your Israelite brother becomes poor beside him and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner with you, or to a member of the stranger's family, after he is sold he may be redeemed; one of his brethren may redeem him. And if he is not redeemed during these years and by these means, then he shall go free in the Year of Jubilee, he and his children with him" (Lev. 25:25-28, 47-48, 54, Amplified).
The prefix "re" in "re-deem" means "again" (as in re-copy, re-wash, re-write). The main part of the word is from a root that means "to purchase, to buy." Redeem means to re-purchase or to buy back. Perhaps the best illustration of redemption that we have in modern life is the transaction that takes place in a Pawn Shop. A pawnbroker is a person who lends small sums of money on articles of clothing, watches, jewelry, and other belongings that are left with the pawnbroker as security. The articles that are left are pawned. The pawnbroker has the right to sell these articles, if the loan is not repaid with interest and charges within a certain time after the debt becomes due. When you pawn something you get a piece of paper called a pawn ticket. This ticket has a date on it, usually one year from the day you got it. If you pay the loan or the interest on it within a year, the pawnbroker cannot sell the valuable thing you pawned. The pawnbroker usually limits the loan to the amount that he or she could get by selling the article. The sum is generally less than the article is worth to the borrower. For this reason, pawnshop customers do not usually regard the transaction as a sale of their goods. In most cases, the customers pay back the loan with interest and redeem their property. In effect they have bought back the property from which they were alienated.
It was a long time from one Year of Jubilee to the next. If a man lost his property shortly after a Jubilee, there was the possibility that he would not be alive to enjoy it the next time a Jubilee came around. So God made another provision for the recovery of the land and of slaves. A person who leased out his land could get it back before Jubilee if he so desired. He could repossess it any time he wanted it by canceling the lease and refunding a fair prorated amount to the person to whom he had leased it. If the land had been siezed by creditors, a rich relative was able to redeem the property if he was willing to do so, and then the land could be restored to the original owner. If the owner had been sold into slavery he, too, could be redeemed by a near-kinsman. This is the law of the kinsman-redeemer. In the event that no kinsman had been able to redeem the land, and the former owner was unable to do so, it remained alienated until the Year of Jubilee. At that time it automatically reverted back to its former owner or heirs.
"If your brother be waxen poor, and have sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold" (Lev. 25:25). The Hebrew says, "The redeemer thereof, he that is near unto him, shall come and redeem it." The Hebrew word for "redeem" is goel and is the term applied to the kinsman to whom pertained the right, according to very ancient custom, of redeeming lands, houses or persons. The GOEL was required to be the nearest blood relation. If this person was unable to redeem, then the relative next in line as kin could become the kinsman-redeemer. The story of Ruth and Boaz is the Bible example of this ancient custom. Boaz redeemed the estate of the deceased Elimelech, Naomi's husband, by marrying Ruth, the widow of one of Elimelech's sons. There was a kinsman nearer in relation than Boaz, but he chose not to be redeemer, and this left the way open for Boaz, who was next in line to become the kinsman-redeemer.
The person sustaining the office of kinsman-redeemer was a beautiful figure of our Lord Jesus Christ, who assumed our nature that He might become OUR KINSMAN-REDEEMER. In Israel, if an Israelite fell into poverty, then he had to sell himself. He had to sell his services, his labor, his very life to another. And to whomsoever he sold himself, that one became his master. His own brother, or a stranger, if he sold himself to a stranger, became his master. Now we, through the infirmity of our fleshly nature sold ourselves into sin. And that "stranger" who possessed us was the devil himself. "...and that they may recover themselves from the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (II Tim. 2:26). We became the servants, the slaves, the captives of the devil whether we liked it or not, and he owned us, until Jesus came and bought us back, redeemed us.
We know that we came into this world, born in sin and shapened in iniquity, being debtors to the law, we were enslaved by the law of sin and death. Therefore sin owned us and controlled us and we were the servants of sin. Our inheritance was lost and we were in hopeless bondage. Brethren who could not redeem themselves had to be redeemed by a kinsman who had the power of money to buy them when they were slaves or servants of another. We could not redeem ourselves from under the law of sin and death, we could not ransom ourselves from the power of the devil, therefore we have a near kinsman who came and had the wherewithal to purchase us, that we might be released from our slavery to the devil and enter again into the inheritance or lot or position in God which was given us in Christ before ever the worlds were created or the ages framed. We are the brother that dwells by our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the rich brother, we are the poor brother. We waxed poor and had to be sold. But He bought us, He paid the price for our freedom from slavery, for "you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that through His poverty might be rich" (II Cor. 8:9) Hallelujah!
The expression, "If any of his kin come to redeem it," implies the necessity for willingness on the kinsman's part; and it points at the same time very naturally onward to HIM who is so often spoken of as " coming to redeem" us. "The redeemer shall come to Zion," says Isaiah, using the name GOEL kinsman-redeemer. Himself said in eternity, "Lo, I come !" "Blessed is He that comes " - the kinsman, the Goel, that comes to restore our possession. And Job's hope becomes fruition, "I know that my redeemer lives, and shall stand on the earth at the latter day." "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Our Saviour needed to be our kinsman in order to possess a right to offer the price of redemption. Hence, He took on our very nature, and was "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh" (Eph. 5:30). "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same" (Heb. 2:14). And by becoming thus related to us, He has the right, which He will enforce, of fully redeeming those He so loved. How glorious our prospect - how sure our redemption, spirit, soul and body, as well as our inheritance, when our Redeemer is such an one as would become our kinsman in very love to us! He loved "the children", His younger brothers; and since they had flesh and blood, lo! therefore, He must out of love insist on taking the same. And it is done. He is born of Mary of Nazareth, yet continuing holy, harmless, undefiled. He is feeble, and needs to be swaddled in swaddling clothes, and to lean on a mother's breast; and now so evidently and truly is God manifest in flesh that one could write -
"There is no God but He,Who lay upon His mother's knee, And suck'd the Virgin's breasts." Truly He is our kinsman! He is the "mighty man of wealth" in Bethlehem and "in Him is strength" to reinstate the impoverished one in possession of an inheritance that has been lost, praise His wonderful name!
You have read what the scripture says of Moses: "This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and A DELIVERER by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush" (Acts 7:35). We find that this word "deliverer" is the same Greek word which in its various forms is translated ransom, redemption, redeem, and redeemed. The question follows, How was Moses a deliverer, a redeemer, or a redemption-price for Israel in Egypt? Did Moses pay a price to Pharoah for Israel's redemption? Did he promise Egypt anything in return for allowing Israel to leave? Absolutely not! Moses paid Egypt exactly nothing. And yet, he was a redeemer and redemption for Israel! It was his own life which he poured out for Israel, it was the freely giving of his life to Israel which led them up out of the house of bondage.
When Jesus Christ became our redemption He didn't have to pay redemption money to God. He didn't take His blood and say, "Here, God, is a price for the people." Nor did He go to satan, and say, "Here, satan, is a redemption-price, now you let God's people go." Never! He, like Moses, poured His life out and freely gave it to the people. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has eternal life. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats Me, even he shall live by Me" (Jn. 6:51, 53-57). We are the ones who are receiving the redemption money, and receiving of His life we are able to get up and leave the filth of the world behind, and walk in the higher realms with Him.
In the natural the redemption price was paid to the slave owner or creditor; and it will clearly be seen that God operates by the same principle once we understand that that which had us bound was in very fact something inherent within ourselves . Ah, the law of sin and death works within, the carnal mind operates within, and the devil himself is but a figure for the bestial spirit of this world which sits enthroned within the very nature and heart of man. People have painted satan as a huge, ugly, impish personage with horns, bedecked with a red suit, having a long pointed tail and carrying a pitchfork. In our minds he belongs in dark pagan jungles where frenzied worshipers hysterically practice devil worship. He belongs in ancient voodoo ceremonies where primitive peoples offer human sacrifices to appease his anger. He belongs to the Garden of Eden, spoiling life for Adam and Eve; to the Judean wilderness, tempting Jesus; to Berlin during the 1930's and early 1940's, possessing and using Adolf Hitler, masterminding history's great atrocities. Certainly satan is present in the above-listed activities. But may I hastily add that he is not present there one whit more than he has been in your life and mine. The pen of inspiration truthfully recorded the fact that "You has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:1-2).
Ah, yes, this evil spirit is in man! On the very day of Adam's sin the voice of God brought this message to the serpent in Eden: "Because you have done this, you art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life" (Gen. 3:14). When the serpent was lowered into the dust realm, man became the base of operation for his activity, which activity is limited to the realm of the flesh. "Dust you art, and unto dust shall you return," the Lord told Adam in the same conversation. The dust man is the serpent man. "The first man was from out of the earth, made of dust - earth-minded; the second Man is the Lord from out of heaven. Now those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the dust - earth minded; and as is the Man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven heaven minded. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we and so let us bear also the image of the Man from heaven" (I Cor, 15:45-49, Amplified).
I do not hesitate to declare to you, beloved, that you will find satan operative in no other realm except the fleshly nature of man anywhere in the whole vast universe! You do not need to worry about the devil stealing the keys to your car and driving off with it. But you may have to worry about the devil in men doing so! You need not fear the devil breaking into your home at night and blowing your brains out. But the devil in men has done so many, many times. The devil as a spirit being will never try to seduce your wife, but the devil in some man may surely attempt it. Betimes it has even been the devil in a preacher! I must tell you frankly that I have not had any trouble with that terrible devil out there someplace; but I have had a great deal of difficulty with that devil I behold when I look in the mirror! That ancient serpent slithers about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness, in the crooked thoughts, perverted desires, and unbridled emotions of the carnal nature, in all the corrupt motions of the flesh.
Within man lies the seat of satan. We have been the captives of a power within us, slaves to our own bestial nature. So Christ did not pay a ransom to God in heaven, nor to the devil in hell, in order to redeem us and gain our release. Rather, He gave His life and poured it into us that the transcendent power of His Spirit within might break asunder the bands that bind us. Victory over the carnal mind is gained only by putting on the precious mind that was in Christ Jesus. Victory over the flesh is wrought alone by the mighty power of the Christ-life within. He gives of His life to us who are in bondage, and then we have the vitality and strength to arise and return to Father's house to claim our inheritance. We cannot do it on our own, we are weak and helpless, fettered by the shackles of sin and shame, but when He gives of His life, and fills us with His strength, then through Him we are able to rise up and return. Praise God, His life is given as redemption TO US, so that, as the apostle says, "Of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us ... REDEMPTION" (I Cor. 1:30).
Let me interject a foundational truth at this point. It is a truth seldom, if ever, heard among the people of God. The preachers and evangelists are totally ignorant of it, but it is fundamental to all our understanding of the works of God in this present age and in the ages to come. Few truths have come with more soul gripping force and power to my heart than the truth I now present. I will introduce this grand theme in the form of a question. What is the difference between Redemption and Jubilee? The first thought I want to bring is this: Redemption and Jubilee accomplish the same purpose. The end of both is the same. God established the Year of Jubilee so that all who lost their inheritance during the previous forty-nine year period, would be able to return to it during that Festival. When the trumpet sounded, on the tenth day of the seventh month of the forty-ninth year, every man received his inheritance. Nobody was able to stop it. Even though another had bought and paid for it, when the trumpet sounded, the first owner could again take his inheritance and have complete possession. No one could prevent him!
So, in the Year of Jubilee everyone again received their inheritance. There were no restrictions, no conditions, no qualifications, for the trumpet's sound called ALL back to the inheritance they had once known. Now Redemption does exactly the same thing, only it does it before the year of jubilee. Let us say that a man loses his inheritance in the tenth year of that forty-nine year cycle. He may either sell it or just lose it. After a short time a redeemer, a nearkinsman, comes to him to redeem it, to buy it back for him. Can we not see the relationship we enter into between ourselves and Jesus as redeemed and Redeemer? Thank God! He was not a stranger to us. He was our next of kin, one of our own kind. So it must be in order for Him to become our Redeemer. The law of Redemption demanded such a relationship.
So the near-kinsman comes to the one whose inheritance is lost and inquires the price of redemption. The redeemer says, "I have enough to redeem your inheritance. We will go and pay off the one who has it and you can have it back." The one who has bought the inheritance must receive the price of redemption, and vacate the property. The original inheritor then has the perfect and unhindered freedom to come again into his inheritance. His inheritance has been redeemed and thus he does have to wait until Jubilee to regain his inheritance - he has it now! Let us use this illustration. A man who is forty-five loses his inheritance in the fifth year after Jubilee. By the next Jubilee the man's inheritance will not be of great value to him personally, for he will by that time be ninety years old. For that man to have to wait for his inheritance for forty-five years would give him time to starve to death many times over! But the redeemer comes and redeems the inheritance and the original owner immediately re-enters his inheritance, gaining all the years that have been lost! .
This, my beloved, is what Jesus has done for us. He has made it possible for us to receive our inheritance and enjoy it immediately. We have an inheritance reserved for us in a heavenly way of life, on the spiritual plane of God's own divine nature and glory and power. Vast multitudes of Christians subscribe to the crude and unscriptural notion that they must die and travel some inestimable distance through the galaxies to receive their inheritance. But Redemption makes it possible to receive it right now, and through God's infinite and unbounded grace we are able to appropriate it this very day. Redemption and jubilee accomplish the same purpose, they arrive at the same end.The great and only difference is that Jubilee takes fifty years and REDEMPTION DOES IT NOW!
In Israel of old the possession of the inheritance was the supreme issue. God wanted His people to have and enjoy their inheritance. He did not want them to have to wait for twenty-five years, or ten years, or even five. He wanted them to have it now. God had ordained this law of Jubilee which would return every man to his inheritance, but He did not want them to wait that long. So immediately upon the death of Jesus, and by that death, God enacted the law of Redemption, so that we can regain our inheritance right now in this present day. The only reason we are not in our inheritance now is because we do not appropriate it or walk in it. Possession of the inheritance is the paramount thing. God desires that we get our inheritance. It is no glory to God for us to bemoan the fact that we are just flesh and so weak and cannot experience and manifest the fullness of God's glory and nature and power. How many of the Lord's precious people are struggling along continually defeated by the flesh, the world and the devil, when all the time they have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus and may with boldness enter into the inheritance!
Listen! Redemption is one of the most wonderful things God has ever given to humanity. Yet - for those who do not or cannot take advantage of it, there is assuredly coming a Ywar of Jubilee. when, by the sovereign act of Almighty God, ALL shall be restored to their inheritance. By accepting the Redemption offered we can immediately have all the joys and privileges and responsibilities of our inheritance. If we do not experience redemption we must endure the pain and travail of poverty and slavery until the Year of Jubilee arrives. With all emphasis I must now declare that the grace of Jubilee can be fully known beforehand in the Kinsman-Redeemer, Christ Jesus our Lord. We are "not left ... this day without One that has the right of redemption" (Ruth 4:14). He can reinstate even one who has sold his inheritance, his birthright. Thus, Redemption is to know that You don't have to wait for Jubilee to enter into your inheritance! I am well aware that some carnally-minded soul will suggest the proposition - if all men will be released and restored to their inheritance in the Year of Jubilee - will not the preaching of this incite men to spurn Redemption and wait for their Year of Jubilee? I will answer such ignorant nonsense with this question: Who among you wishes to remain impoverished and a slave for another fifty years when you can gain your freedom and enjoy your inheritance right now?!
"In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). All things which God has ordained to be ours now and forevermore are found in that sphere of divine operation known as in Christ Jesus. Here alone is the particular grace and power unto salvation and the eternal purposes of God made available. Thus, in the context of "the Beloved," Paul writes that IN HIM "we have redemption." The verb is in its present tense, and durative in action, and thus would be literally translated, "in whom we are having redemption." The redemption is an abiding fact from the past, through the present, and into the future. In the past we were released from the GUILT of sin and death. In the present we are being released from the POWER of sin and death. When the process of redemption is complete we shall be fully free, spirit, soul and body, conformed to the image of God's Son, filled with all the fullness of God.
Oh, yes, it is true that we have been redeemed, but, like salvation, redemption is no single act or experience, as one has stated, it is "a crisis leading to a process " as we are progressively "loosed away" from one realm to another, from one mind to another, from one nature to another, from one state of being to another. Truly we are being freed from the dominion of the carnal mind, from a world of self-assertive religious activities and from the workings of sin and death, first in spirit, working outward into the emotions and will of the soul life, and finally in body by the mighty working of Him who is even able to change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body (Phil. 3:21).
Redemption means a RETURN to that place, wisdom, knowledge, brightness, life, glory and dominion which we once had in God before this present cosmos, world arrangement began. Thus, we continually and expectantly fasten our gaze upon HIM who is working so great a redemption in us, "Looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people of His own, zealous of good works" (Tit. 2:13-14). Praise God, when redemption's work is complete in us we shall be like Him!
It would not be right to finish this chapter without pointing out an additional scriptural distinction between Redemption and Jubilee. We who embrace the precious truth of the reconciliation of all things to God are sometimes guilty of being careless with our terminology. I am certain that you have at some time heard People speak of universal redemption. But when we speak of the meritorious work of Christ on the cross, do we rightfully say that He died to redeem all men and all things back to God, or do we more accurately state that Christ died to reconcile , justify, save and restore all men? "What is the difference?" you ask. It is just the difference between the law of Redemption and the law of Jubilee!
All men were eventually restored to their inheritance, but some were restored under the law of redemption, whereas the remainder were restored under the law of Jubilee. I make the following statements reverently, with bowed head and shoes removed from off my feet, but they are true to the Word of God. Not one of those who were set free in Jubilee were redeemed ! Conversely, not one of those who were redeemed had to wait until Jubilee to get back his inheritance! Thus, all those who were restored to their inheritance before Jubilee constituted the redeemed, although all the rest came back to their inheritance eventually whether or not they had been able to experience redemption.
While we remain as children, many things are kept from us and many things are not understood or are misunderstood. The childish traditions of the Church have clouded men's minds with darkness and have hung a veil of blindness over their eyes. The things that are really important we cannot see and the things that are not important are magnified to the heavens. How carelessly have we uttered terms like justification, salvation, reconciliation, new birth, atonement, redemption, etc., all the while supposing these are interchangeable terms which all mean more or less, the same thing. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Each of these tremendous words bespeaks a particular facet of God's great plan of salvation, but each denotes a different aspect of the operation of God in His great reconstructive activities.
Jesus Christ reconciles the world, is the Saviour of all men, and justifies all mankind (I Tim 4:10; Jn. 4:42; 1 Jn 4:14; Jn. 12:32; Rom. 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:22 etc.). In reference to Christ's saviorship the scriptures boldly proclaim that He is the Savior of all men. But when we come to this term redemption," there is a difference. With only one exception, redemption is consistently associated throughout the Word of God with the Old Testament law of redemption. And this redemption, as you should be able to discern by now, has a limited, rather than a universal, application. There is a special sense, alluded to in only one solitary passage of scripture (I Timothy 2:5-6), wherein redemption is applied to the whole race of men. But in its primary sense, as expressed in every other passage in the entire Bible, redemption relates solely to those persons who benefit from Christ's atonement prior to the antitypical Year of Jubilee, that great dispensation of the fullness of times in which all things in heaven and earth are finally gathered together into one in Christ. Thus, only the Lord's special, chosen, elect, separated, peculiar firstfruit people may properly be termed THE REDEEMED !
Speaking of Pharoah and his pagan subjects God said, "I will put a division between My people and your people" (Ex. 8:23). A literal translation would read, "I will put redemption between My people and your people." The Hebrew word for division here is translated redemption in Psalm 111:9 and 130:7 and redeem in Isa. 50:2. This shows that God's law of Redemption, in operation, seperates between those who are uniquely His and those who are not. It distinguishes between those who come under the law of Redemption throughout the church age (the elect), and the great mass of men who will come under the law of Jubilee in that glorious age yet to come. It clearly discriminates between those who, by the merits of Christ's sacrifice, find a full and complete release and restoration now, and the vast aggregate of men remaining in bondage until a future day of release.
In the Old Testament redemption relates to Israel as God's peculiar people, and in the New Testament to the Church which is His body. Notice the limited scope of redemption in the following passages. "Wherefore You art great, O Lord God...and what one nation in the earth is like Your people, even Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to Himself, and to make for Him a name..." (II Sam. 7:22-23). "Remember Your congregation ... which You have redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein You have dwelt" (Ps. 74:2). "Thus says the Lord that created you, O Jacob, and He that formed you, O Israel , Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you art Mine" (Isa. 43:1). "Thus says the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer ... beside Me there is no God" (Isa. 44:6). "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; for He has visited and redeemed His people , and has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of David ..." (Lk. 1:68-69). "And there was one Anna, a prophetess ... and she coming ... spoke of Him (Jesus) to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem " (Lk. 2:36-38). "And they sung a new song, saying, You art worthy... for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9). "Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed by such corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers" (I Pet. 1:18). "And they sung as it were a new song ... and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth " (Rev. 14:3). "But of Him are you in Christ Jesus , who of God is made unto us ... redemption" (I Cor. 1:30). "...according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, at we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (sons) by Christ Jesus unto Himself in whom we have redemption through His blood..." (Eph. 1:3-5,7). "Giving thanks unto the Father, which made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light ... in whom we have redemption" (Col. 1:12-14).
A brother in Christ wisely wrote:
"I have actually had men tell me that to put emphasis on sonship is selfishness. Instead of emphasizing sonship, they say, we should be up and doing and trying to bring the world to Christ. I really have no argument with any man about such things, but when I read in Romans eight that the whole creation - man, animals, birds, fish, vegetable life, and even the elements - is groaning in travail for the hour when they will be delivered from their dreadful night of bondage by the sons of God , then how can I or any man be so ignorant and short-sighted as to condemn those who see the purpose of God in sonship and who press toward it with all their strength? Not only is creation groaning for this most important of all events, but the Spirit also helps our infirmity and gives to us that spirit by which we are able to say, " Abba, Father. " The spirit that cries, " Abba, Father," is indeed the spirit of sonship, for who else can cry " Our Father " but he who is a son of God?" - The Page.
Our understanding of God's great plan of Redemption and Jubilee will be greatly helped by a clear idea of how Israel is used as a type in the scriptures. When God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and formed them into a nation, He ordained three groups: first, Israel, called the Camp, then the Levites, and finally Aaron and his house, the Priests. While Israel in many instances is used to typify God's elect, the body of Christ, yet, in its relationship to the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem, Israel represents the whole world of mankind, and, indeed, the whole creation. You will notice that from this perspective the whole of Israel lay outside the Tabernacle, outside the place of sacrifice, outside of the ministry of the Priesthood, outside of the presence and glory of God, separated by the white curtain of Christ's righteousness from all that lay within. Thus "the Camp" was separated from all holy things by the curtain of white linen, representing to those within a wall of righteousness by faith, but to those without a wall of unbelief which hindered their view of and access to the holy things within. There was only one gateway to enter the "Court"; the type thus testifying that there is but one way of access to God one "gate" - Jesus. "I am the way ... no man comes unto the Father but by Me." "I am the door, by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved" (Jn. 14:6; 10:9). The sin-offering, sacrifice, atonement, etc., made typical for them, were typical of the "better sacrifices" made on behalf of the whole world; for thus we read, "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only , but also for the sins of the whole world " (I Jn. 2:2; Heb. 9:23).
In a word, Israel, as well as the Tabernacle, Priests, Levites and sacrifices, was a type. And what was there done in symbol with and for Israel is, since the coming of Christ, being carried out on a higher plane, and on a larger scale, the latter being the reality, of which that was the type and shadow. As Israel typified the world so the tribe of Levites typified the "household of faith," or all believers in Jesus who know Him in the forgiveness of sins. But the Priesthood, the house of Aaron, taken from among the Levites, one body under one chief or High Priest, was typical of the "little flock," the "overcomers," which, with its "Head" or High Priest, is a Royal Priesthood, the members of which, after this present time of preparation and processing, are KINGS AND PRIESTS unto God, given authority over all nations and over all of mankind (Rev. 5:10; 2:26-27).
Some who read these lines may not at first grasp the important significance of viewing Israel as a type of the whole world of mankind, but it should become abundantly clear when we point out that in Redemption only those isolated individuals on whose behalf the redemption-price is paid are released from bondage and restored to their inheritance; but in the Year of Jubilee the command goes forth: "Then shall you cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitances thereof; it shall be a Jubilee unto you; and you shall return every man unto his possession, and shall return every man unto his family" (Lev. 25:9-10).
The truth should be self-evident - as in Israel every single soul of man was released in the typical Year of Jubilee, so in the antitypical Jubilee there shall be a release of every man of Adam's race from the tyranny of sin and sorrow and death. Israel was thus the representative nation, God's model, His prototype, set forth to typically proclaim His redemptive and restorative and reconstructive purposes before the face of all nations. Every man is to return to his possession. Every man lost in the fall shall be restored. What a glorious promise! What joy it brings to know that the glory of our full and complete redemption shall be multiplied in the grandest of measures, until the whole earth shall enjoy her time of Jubilee, fully loosed from the bondage of change and decay, and restored into the realm of His abundant life.
If the shadow brought happiness and joy to the typical people, the substance, the real restitution, will cause boundless joy and will indeed be a grand Jubilee to all people. What a depth of meaning this lends to the biblical law of Jubilee: "And if he be not redeemed in these years, then He shall go out in the year of Jubilee" (Lev. 25:54). All who argue that there is no hope, no salvation, no deliverance for those persons not redeemed during this present age should commit that law to memory and repeat it many times daily with bowed head and bended knee until its message sinks deeply into mind and heart.
Now we are coming to see that God not only has a plan and a purpose for each of us individually, and for the redeemed of all ages, but he has a plan and purpose for the whole of humanity collictively. Every man and woman has a part in it. Let us see this point. When Adam sinned, he never consulted any of his descendants as to whether they wanted to be in sin with him. By his will, and God's plan, he plunged us all into sin, and put the whole creation into a state of uselessness and vanity. He was the father of us all, so we have followed him. Now, if the last Adam cannot make right what the first Adam made wrong, then the last Adam does not have the same measure of power that the first Adam had. Jesus said that all power has been given unto Him, both in heaven and in earth. If God purposes to save the whole world that is His business and not ours. Oh God, deliver us from the narrow mentality in which we have unthinkingly walked, and help us to see something of the unbounded love of God in Christ Jesus. Redemption and Jubilee both lead to the same end; and in Israel, if the enslaved and dispossessed people could not or did not take advantage of Redemption, then Jubilee came anyway. Make no mistake about that. The words of the apostle shall surely be fulfilled: "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order" (I Cor. 15:22-23).
Now here is another fact. The reason for the loss of the inheritance did not enter into the question of its return. Even one who had recklessly squandered his inheritance could not forever lose it. The owner might have gambled away his inheritance. Perhaps he was as the prodigal son, who wasted his substance in riotous living. But that would make no difference, since the reason for losing the inheritance did not affect its return. A young man might have lost his entire inheritance through sin, but all that was required of him was that he be there in the Year of Jubilee, waiting for the sounding of the trumpet, and then go back into his inheritance. Mattered not what condition he might be in, no one could keep him out of his inheritance. It was his, for it had been given to him by God. The law of God said nothing and laid down no law respecting the manner in which it was lost affecting its return. Ah - how much more mercy and goodness and grace was there under the old law than most Churches allow their people today!
The man of avarice, who had gone on adding house to house and field to field, gained no permanent advantage over his less fortunate neighbor. The fiftieth year, beyond which no lease could run, was always approaching with silent but sure speed, to relax his tenacious grasp. However alienated, however unworthily or unthriftily sold, however strongly conveyed to the purchaser or the usurper an estate might be, this long-expected day annulled the whole transaction, and placed the debtor in the condition which either he or his ancestor had enjoyed. Therefore, the notion that satan shall eternally possess the souls of men is absurd and ludicrous in the face of such a grand and glorious truth.
Another point. Their manner of life in no way entered into the question of their return to their inheritance. If God's people of that day were like a lot of God's people today, we would have a situation something like this. Many would be waiting for the sounding of the great Jubilee trumpet, and among them could be a man who spent his inheritance with harlots. He could have come home with the marks of sin impressed upon his countenance, in a drunken and broken state. But He has come for His inheritance. We could well overhear some of the others postulating "I wonder if that drunken old bum thinks he is going to get back into his inheritance? Look at the life he has lived! A whoremonger! God won't let ME do any of those things! The man has not lived up to our standard at all. I wonder if he is going to have the brass to think that, at the sounding of the trumpet, he is going to get his inheritance back after being the kind of man he is!" But the fact is, dear one, that nothing he bad ever done could prevent him from claiming his inheritance!
There is a beautiful story in Luke chapter 15, the parable of the Prodigal Son. While feeding hogs in the "far country," the prodigal came to himself. He had had an inheritance, but he went out and squandered his substance, and wallowed with the pigs for a season. The circumstances had crowded in upon his life which caused him to come to the place where he chose to "arise and go to the father."
He walked along the weary way, no longer with servants attending, no longer in rich robes; but ragged, poor, dirty, with wornout sandals, he came along the road, with the stench of the swineherd and the stains of the fleshspots on him. Creeping along, sick, sore, and weary, he said, "Oh, if I could be but one of my father's hired servants!" Will the father reject him? Will the father not say, "I gave him his portion and he has spent it all in riotous living; let him stay away forever!" No, no. The father saw him afar off, and he ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him, not heeding his filthiness and his rags. The father interrupted the prayer, after the son told him of his sin, that he might become a slave in the father's house; for there are no slaves in our father's house. They are all sons and daughters of the Most High God. The father told the servants to bring the best robe and the signet ring that made him controller of the father's estate. He told them to get out the musical instruments and the dancers, and to make merry and be glad. "Spread the feast, for this my son was dead; dead to me; dead to mother; dead to purity; dead to truth; dead to love; dead to God; and he is alive again!"
This was, without a doubt, the prodigal's YEAR OF JUBILEE! Few have understood the sublime message contained in this magnificent story. Most have assumed that somehow the story illustrates the great truth of redemption. But - there is absolutely nothing in this story about redemption , though the preachers love to preach it that way. Neither the father, nor anyone else, paid any price for the son's return. He just went home. The circumstances of the prodigal son's restoration beautifully and fittingly illustrate the Jubilee truth. There was no price paid, no redemption took place. The prodigal simply arose and returned to his estate and his family. And when he arrived home he discovered, to his utter amazement and surprised delight, that he still had his inheritance though he had lost it! He was restored not only to his family, but to his inheritance. And just that constitutes the great truth of Jubilee - one can lost his inheritance, then return and still have his inheritance! "And you shall return every man to his possession, and shall return every man to his inheritance" (Lev. 25:10). Glory to God!
Let us get this straight. I am not advocating any loose living in any sense of the word, but it is time for God's people to get their thinking straight. It is not being good or holy that qualifies one to receive back his inheritance. But getting the inheritance will make you holy. Those who profess to be redeemed of the Lord, receiving of their inheritance here and now, but continue to walk after the flesh and live like the world and the devil, bear no fruit of their professed redemption. Hear it! "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for our Saviour Jesus Christ ... who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Tit. 1:11-14).
The inheritance is a share in all that God is. We are not merely heirs of the things of God, but in wondrous reality we are heirs of God Himself. Name any of the divine attributes His wisdom, glory, power, nature, holiness, love, etc. - and you will find that the Word of God promises the same attributes to all who enter into union with Christ. Ah, we shall be like Him, conformed to His image. The idea that a man could again appropriate his inheritance while continuing on in the pathway of carnality, fleshliness, self-will, darkness and death is an insult to the integrity of the righteous God who authored the law of Jubilee. Jubilee is freedom! Jubilee is release! Jubilee is restoration! Jubilee means the regaining of the inheritance that was lost! The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus makes us free from the law of sin and death! The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is the law of Jubilee!
Let me say it again whether you regain your inheritance now via Redemption, or later via Jubilee, your manner of life can neither qualify nor disqualify you for getting the inheritance. But the inheritance, once entered into, will transform your life. . That's what the inheritance is all about! Vast multitudes of "born again" and "Spirit filled" believers fill the pews of the church systems Sunday after Sunday, all the while waiting for the "rapture" while today they have no victory or power in their lives nor can they get anything from God. Yet some old drunk or a prostitute from off the street comes along and asks God for something, believes in God and gloriously receives his request, and the people who are "righteous" wonder what is wrong! The words of Jesus to the Pharisees are thus fulfilled in them: "Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you" (Mat. 21:31). It was not a question with the Israelites as to whether or not they wanted to receive their inheritance in Jubilee. It was the sovereign law of God that it be so. With us it is the same. It is not our desire, or the desire of humanity, that counts; it is God's will that counts and is accomplished. God so ruled that on the fiftieth year ALL should return to their inheritance and occupy it, so that is how it was. What eternal and infinite hope this holds for all men!
The glorious Year of Jubilee, with its attending blessings and benefits, was introduced by the blowing of trumpets. The sound of the trumpet was the welcome and soul-stirring signal for the captive to escape, for the slave to cast aside the chains of his bondage, for the man-slayer to return to his home, for the ruined and poverty stricken to rise to the possession of his forfeited inheritance. No sooner had the trumpet's thrice-welcome sound fallen upon the ear than the mighty tide of blessing rose majestically and sent its refreshing billows into the most remote corners of Jehovah's highly favored land.
To understand the spiritual meaning of trumpets we need to establish something of its typical significance - what is a trumpet the symbol of in scripture? What do they typify? We want to make this very clear. A key is found in Isa. 58:1 wherein we read, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Israel their sin."
When the trumpet sounds, symbolically it is speaking of a message from God coming forth through one of His anointed servants. In this case the message was to show the Lord's people their transgression and their sin. Another passage that clarifies this is Eze. 33:4-7, "Then whosoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning; if the sword come and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, be is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So you, O son of man, I have set you as a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me." Ezekiel was made a watchman to receive God's Word from His mouth and convey that Word to the people. And God said that it is the same as a trumpet sounding to warn the people. The watchman, the Lord said to Ezekiel, blows the trumpet to warn the people; so when I give you a message to warn the people, that is the fulfillment of the symbol - a message from God through His servant sounded out to the people to warn, to encourage, or otherwise instruct them.
The beloved Seer of Patmos, while in the Spirit on the Lord's day, heard behind him a great voice, as of a trumpet, whereupon he said, "And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw ... one like unto the Son of man... saying unto me..." (Rev. 1:10-18). Is it not plain to be seen that the voice was in fact a Person sounding out a message - thus, the Voice was a trumpet. Paul's words in I Cor. 14:8-9 apply the symbolism of a trumpet: "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle? So like wise you, except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken?" The trumpet sounding out clearly, symbolizes a message spoken forth clearly, in words easy to be understood. Paul is exhorting the saints to minister to the body of Christ in such a way that the saints will be edified. Such a ministry is the only trumpet-call that will work a real preparedness in the hearts of the Lord's people. The trumpet must give a CERTAIN SOUND.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Make two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them..." (Num. 10:2). In the verses which follow it is clear that the blowing of the trumpets signified four specific things to Israel:
1. Calling the assembly (vs.2).
2. Journeying of the Camp (vs.3-6).
3. Preparation for war (vs-9).
4. Celebration of the Feasts (vs.10).The types and symbols here are tremendous. The trumpets were of silver. It is evident that "silver" in the scriptures speaks of redemption. Whenever Israel was numbered, every man was required to give by way of ransom a half-shekel of silver, and the money thus collected was used in the service of the sanctuary (Ex. 30:12-16; Lev. 25:48). Furthermore, when they committed a trespass, and sinned through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord, shekels of silver were paid along with the offering of their sacrifice. So also when Christ, the Lamb, was offered, there was likewise involved the thirty pieces of silver which the priests gave to Judas for the betrayal of Christ.
There was one Feast in Israel specifically known as the Feast of Trumpets. This Feast was the preparation for the great Day of Atonement. Psalm 81 is thought by some to have been composed especially for the Feast of Trumpets. "Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. This He ordained ... for a testimony" (Ps. 81:1-4).
The Day of Atonement bespeaks the fullness of deliverance from sin. That full and complete atonement was made for the Church by Jesus Christ on the cross, there is no doubt whatsoever. But it is only too evident, as we consider our own individual lives, as well as that of the Church historically, that we have never really appropriated any real measure of the redemptive work of our Lord. And it is this experiential appropriation of the fullness of deliverance from sin that the Day of Atonement points to. As there is a historical Passover and Pentecost, as well as a personal and individual Passover and Pentecostal experience for all who will believe it, so it is with Atonement. All through the ages men have by faith reached out and appropriated some measure of deliverance from sin and death; but neither individually nor corporately have we possessed the fullness of it. The sad sequence is: We continue to sin and continue to die ! But our deliverance from the power of sin and death is secured, and lies directly before us in the dispensational fulfillment of the great Day of Atonement by way of experience.
The Feast of the Day of Atonement was observed on the tenth day of the seventh month, nine days after the Feast of Trumpets. It was really more a Fast than a Feast, as a distinctive character and purpose of the day was to bring the sin of the whole year to remembrance, so that it might earnestly be dealt with and atoned for. On this day the High Priest made confession of the sins of the people, and entered on their behalf into the Most Holy Place with the blood of reconciliation. It was a solemn occasion, when God's people through godly sorrow and atonement for sin put away sin. The sin and carnality of the Church's long career must be taken away from her midst before she can enter into the full blessing and power of the Feast of Tabernacles, that wonderful Feast of fullness that immediately follows Atonement. Thank God for the Passover, in the first month, in virtue of which God has "passed over" the saints, not imputing their trespasses unto them. But none can deny that God's people have been groaning with the apostle Paul for two thousand years: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24). God has certainly heard our cries, and soon He shall bring His people into a glorious liberty in the Spirit, wherein they shall be completely delivered from their sins and their sin and from the death they bring.
Let us stop trying to justify ourselves, insisting on our holiness of conduct, when it is apparent to everyone around us that we do not possess it. "Living epistles" of Christ do not have to tell the world how holy they are. Sons of God, conformed to the image of God, do not need to inform people of who they are. The world will see it and will be amazed to discover something real and genuine in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation. This victory of which we speak is the very victory of Christ Himself. When we attain to this victory there will be no need to formulate weak excuses why the overcoming saint of God can again fall into carnality and sin and suffer defeat - for this place in Christ knows no defeat. He that overcomes according to the Bible enters into the very victory and triumph of Christ - a victory which can never be conquered, lost or forfeited. It is the eternal victory of the risen and ascended Lord Himself, and the overcomer is therefore "more than conqueror" through Christ that loved him.
Redemption is a full restoring of that which was sold under bondage to sin, corruption and death. It is the reclaiming of our original inheritance in God before ever sin or death stalked through our land. Consequently, a fully redeemed man must be just exactly of the same status physically and spiritually as Adam before he disobeyed God's command not to eat of the tree. One of my points on finding the status of Adam physically and spiritually is that the value of the redemption-price paid is equal to that which was sold under bondage and redeemed. Now, if we can find the value of the Redeemer's payment, we have the value of the property that has been redeemed, and it also gives a perfect picture of the physical and spiritual status of what the "redemption of our body " really means, the exact value.
Now the value, or physical and spiritual status of the Redeemer, or price of redemption, is clearly given in the life and ministry of Jesus from the Jordan experience to the crucifixion on the cross. First, Jesus must be a perfect lamb without spot or blemish to fulfill the Levitical type, and to be the perfect redemption-price. Second, He had to be sinless, incorruptible and deathless (no man takes my life from Me; I lay it down). Third, He had to be holy, pure and undefiled, separate from sinners. Fourth, to be this, He had to be conceived of the Holy Spirit. If He had been born, as some claim, with a sin nature in Him, He could not have redeemed humanity, for one under the dominion of a sin nature is inherently impure and could not redeem that which was tainted by sin, corruption and death, restoring it to its original status. There were no sin germs in His precious blood, nothing of sin, corruption or death in His genes, therefore He could be spoken of as "that holy thing" (Lk. 1:35). Jesus demanded of the religious leaders who opposed Him, "Which of you convinces Me of sin?" (Jn. 8:46). And try as they might, they could not take Him or kill Him until He voluntarily laid down His life (Jn. 10:18). His sinlessness and incorruptibleness was proved finally by His death and resurrection - the whole man, spirit, soul and body emerged triumphant from the tomb clad in the shimmering garments of immortality!
It is not the message of redemption that has been at fault, but it lies in the one sounding the trumpet, that has caused so much confusion and loss. The Word would be read, a clear blast of the silver trumpets, sounding forth the message, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness , and the end everlasting life . For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. If the Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you " (Rom. 6:6-7, 22; 8:2, 11). Ah, no sooner has the trumpet blown its message of a full and complete redemption from sin and death here and now, than the trumpeters follow with several little qualifying blasts of their own concepts and ideas and unbelief, until our old man is not dead, we are not free from sin, we must all sin a little every day, there is no such thing as perfection in this life, the fullness of God can only be known in heaven or during the millenium, we were born to die and pass by way of the grave, and finally we are right back where mankind started - before Jesus ever came! All we have is forgiveness, not redemption! That, precious friend of mine, is not a message of redemption from a silver trumpet of a whole piece it is, rather, the hiss of the serpent's voice!
And so the Lord Almighty commands: "Blow a trumpet in Zion, and shout in My holy hill" (Joel 2:1, Young's Literal Translation). Ray Prinzing wrote:
"God is first causing the trumpet to blow in Zion, until the message is pure in Zion, so that when, in turn, the law goes forth from Zion, it will be a pure word of the Lord - as He proceeds to reconcile all things to Himself. Truly, 'The Word of the Lord endures for ever.' But the 'blowers' have come and gone. They have tootled all kinds of notes in their message. But as the Spirit purifies His people they will blow the certain sound of His truth - a message of life, hope, and victory. Praise God. Then, 'The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people ... so shall you know that I am the Lord Your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain' (Joel 3:16-17). Observe: first the shaking has been our heavens and earth, to be made all new in him. Then, when the Lord appears in His Zion, and roars forth His message to all men, it will bring a shaking to their heavens and earth also, until there has been a complete re-making, and all things have become new. And one thing shall be clear to all - that the Lord IS dwelling in Zion, thus they become the fortress of hope for groaning creation"
A trumpet voice, a ministry, a message has been raised up in these last days and it is my deep conviction that this ministry constitutes the spiritual Feast of Trumpets. In this hour it indicates anointed ministries in the midst of the Church with a message of entering into the Holy of Holies to experiencially appropriate the fullness of God. Trumpets was a day of awakening. Most of the Church-world is waiting for Gabriel to toot his horn so they can leave the planet. The Bible says there is to be a blowing of trumpets which will raise a people up into the clouds of His glory and incorruptible life, but I rejoice that the trumpet is a VOICE - words, anointed words, powerful words, awakening words - a message from the Throne that announces a new direction and purpose and reality for the people of God.
This great message of full salvation in this end of the age is to be proclaimed in the power of the Spirit by a redeemed people who give forth the trumpet sound. This message will come, and is coming, through that body of anointed messengers who have gone through the fire and been "refined as silver is refined" (Zech. 13:9; Mal. 3:3). So, beloved, draw not back from the fire, but leap joyfully into it, for the Lord has ordained it for your profit. It is time for God's people's hearing to change. Its time for the people to hear something new. They have heard a lot of messages through the years and the centuries, but they are still not redeemed! They have not yet come fully into possession of their inheritance! So God has assembled a people and called them to the Feast of Trumpets. From there they will enter into the great Day of Atonement and on to the Feast of Tabernacles.
You will say this is all incredibly wonderful and I will reply, Amen; but I must remind my reader that there is a reality beyond the Day of Atonement, a glory beyond redemption there is the Year of Jubilee! Almost all Christians and most preachers have confused the silver trumpets that announced the seven annual Feasts of Israel with the Jubilee trumpet, but the truth is, they are not the same at all. The Feasts of Israel were uniquely redemptive Feasts, portraying and foreshadowing the great plan of redemption wrought out in God's elect. Redemption includes within its scope only those persons who regain their inheritance here and now - before the Year of Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee has nothing whatever to do with redemption, therefore the silver trumpets were not employed to herald its arrival.
The Hebrew word for Jubilee is YOBEL which means loud, long blast by a ram's horn . In time the word YOBEL came to mean trumpet, but it is never once applied in scripture to the silver trumpets so frequently used by the priests in calling the assembly of Israel to the various Feasts. Each and every Feast was introduced by the priest's blowing of the silver trumpets. But I would draw your reverent attention to the fact that at the close of the great day of atonement the blast of the Jubilee curved trumpets proclaimed throughout the land liberty. Thus, Jubilee began in the end of the Day of Atonement, but it was something different than Atonement. The Day of Atonement came every year, but Jubilee came only once in fifty years.
Every sabbath and festival had its purpose and its spiritual significance. Cleansing, change, development, growth, attainment and restoration are ordained to take effect at different times and seasons. All are processes by which the redemptive activities of God are experienced in our lives. But God's great plan of redemption doesn't end with the Day of Atonement. It is consummated in the Feast of Tabernacles which follows the Day of Atonement. Neither does redemption climax in Jubilee. Jubilee is no part of the plan of redemption. It is something extra, something added, something beyond. Now let me make this very clear. Truly, the blessings and benefits of the Year of Jubilee are made possible by the precious blood of Christ, as if a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. That is why the Lamb had to be slain from the foundation of the world - He is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world and His is the blood by which all things are reconciled to God. But the blood, as it affects Jubilee, is the blood that saves, reconciles, and restores ALL - it is not the blood that redeems. There can be no mistake about that. Strange as it may seem, the Year of Jubilee itself has no ritual, no sacrifices, no bleeding lambs or dying rams or burning bullocks. Jubilee had two, and only two, ingredients: blowing of trumpets and release! Redemption is a precious provision for this age, while Jubilee is that last blessed appointment by which all those who lost their freedom and their inheritance, and could not redeem them, or would not redeem them, as multitudes have, regain what has been lost, finding a full and free deliverance.
What is there in the traditional doctrines and so-called Gospel of this day, which in the least explains or fulfills these various arrangements, in and through which were wrought successive cleansings, atonements, redemptions, and releases, not of persons only, but of their lost inheritances? And if in the Gospel, as now preached, no truth is found corresponding with these figures of the law, is it not a proof that something is at least overlooked? God knows how much is overlooked by shallow and carnal minds and from neglect of those scriptures, which the apostle Paul tells us are needed, "to make the man of God perfect, fully furnished," but which by some are openly despised, by some are not in the least comprehended, and by others are neglected, as the useless shadows of a by-gone dispensation. But in them is the key, under a veil perhaps, of those "ages" and "ages of ages" during which the great mass of mankind are debtors and bondmen under judgment, without their true inheritance.
The distorted and perverted "gospel" of our day would never condone a Year of Jubilee for these! The preachers never touch on the truth of the Jubilee, or, if they do, it is so confused with redemption, so garbled, corrupted, misrepresented and mutilated as to be pathetic. Praise God, it is now given to us to know that there is such a time and season, and in knowing it to gain still wider views of the "manifold wisdom of God," and of the "unsearchable riches of Christ," our Lord and Saviour.
When the Jubilee trumpet begins to blow, mankind will start returning from its fallen state in sin, back to that perfect state of fellowship and life in God. But each one will "return to his family." Each has his own mansion, house, estate, dwelling place, inheritance in God. There is a habitation prepared for each one. What a day it was for Israel when the Jubilee trumpet blew! What rejoicing, what freedom, what hope when homes and lands were restored and people's lives were restored to their families and possessions. My friends, this is the day we are approaching. Creation shall return home to the Elohim family. Mankind shall at last regain their possessions. The Year of Jubilee is upon us! Then shall "the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters covers the sea" (Hab. 2:14). And "All the earth shall worship You, and shall sing unto You; they shall sing to Your name" (Ps. 66:4). For 'The God of the whole earth shall He be called" (Isa. 54:5). An array of verses like these (and the scriptures are full of them) can only cause great rejoicing and hope within us even now. And we would cry out with the prophet, "O earth, earth, earth, hear the Word of the Lord!" (Jer. 22:29). There is a message of hope, there is a vision of victory to be fulfilled. The end thereof is secure, it was made certain at Calvary when life was poured out for all mankind.
The command concerning the Jubilee trumpet was simply this: "Then shall you cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land" (Lev. 25:9). After Israel was settled in the land, it is difficult to see how one blast of the trumpet could be heard from Dan to Beersheba. The trumpet was to be sounded all over the land, from one end to the other, that the most general proclamation might be made. The same principle is mentioned in Ezra 1:1 where we read, "The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, the king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom." The Hebrew literally reads, "He made a voice to pass through all his kingdom." It is held by all the Jewish writers that ram's horns were sounded extensively all over the land, in the mountains, in the streets, and at nearly every door. Not a corner was to remain unvisited by "the joyful sound." It was intended as a universal waking up of all the population to the occurrence of this Festival. In every populated area there was a simultaneous blowing of the trumpet. It would begin at the Tabernacle or Temple. There would be a person stationed far enough away to be able to hear it, and then the trumpet note would be passed on and on out to the very extremities of the land.
Under the Old Covenant the outward Israelites blew the outward trumpets to proclaim liberty throughout all the land. But in the New Covenant the Year of Jubilee is proclaimed, blown and sounded with spiritual trumpets, the trumpets are spiritual and heavenly, which are sounded with the power of the Spirit of God through an anointed company of deliverers. The divine and heavenly message of liberation will be sounded throughout all the world, and unto every creature under heaven, unto bond and free, to set all the prisoners and captives at liberty, and to make the blind to see, by opening their eyes; and heals the leper, cripple, and the sick, and looses the tongue of the dumb. Here is the year of Jubilee, the everlasting holy year, or day of Christ, who brings all into His glorious liberty as children of God, and to an eternal inheritance; yea, he takes off and destroys that which has brought the oppression upon the creation.
The Jubilee trumpet spiritually and antitypically bespeaks the sounding forth of a message. What kind of message? Why, a delivering, liberating, releasing message! Unto whom? "And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (Lev. 25:10). The Jubilee trumpet represents a people who sound forth to creation the decree of their release from the shackles of sin and darkness and death. It is not the responsibility of the Church to heap condemnation, damnation and judgment upon the world, while the Church goes free. God is preparing a jubilee minstry with such a totality of coverage that it is His peace and goodwill brought to ALL men, for, as the scripture says, "He is the propitiation (mercy-seat) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I Jn. 2:2).
Some time ago the following question was presented to me. "Why preach and teach the Gospel if all are to be saved ultimately? There is no need to witness for they will be saved someday, someway, somewhere - right? Wrong! First, the Christian life is so rich and beautiful and worthwhile that it would be the only life to live, even if there were no hereafter. Ask those who have truly known and experienced Christ over a period of years. Was it not Dr. A.J. Gordon who met an old crippled man on the street, and asked him why, with all his handicap, his face was nevertheless so bright and shining? And the old man answered, "The devil has no happy old men!"
Furthermore, God will never save any person who has ever lived or ever shall live apart from a means, an instrument through which to reach them. And we are that instrument! God declares to His elect in Isa. 49:6, "I will also give you for a light to the nations, that you may be my salvation unto the end of the earth." During this age of redemption the method by which God causes men to believe is revealed in Rom. 10: 14-15. " How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?"
Not preach and teach the Gospel because all men will be saved ultimately? The very idea is ludicrous and merely reflects the depth of ignorance and the incredible lack of understanding God's economy on the part of the asker. The simple truth is that God purposes to save all men, some now by redemption, the remainder later by Jubilee. But whether now or then, whether here or there, the means by which He saves men is the proclamation of the Good News! Those who should really give up preaching and witnessing to the lost are those who believe most of them will burn for ever in hell anyway! What on earth could be a greater waste, and more unprofitable and disappointing than preaching to men when we actually believe that the vast majority of them will be eternally damned anyhow! Now comes the word: "And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled unto God" (II Cor. 5:18-20).
Those blessed saints unto whom is committed the word and ministry of universal reconciliation are the Jubilee trumpet. This is God's Jubilee trumpet company. None can deny that those who embrace the truth of the deliverance and restoration of all men and all things to God are the only Christians in the world who bear the Jubilee message. I must confess that betimes I am deeply grieved in my spirit when I meet these would-be sons of God who loudly profess in one breath to be creation's long-awaited deliverers, while with their next breath they ridicule and condemn as heretics those who are actually believing for the salvation and restoration of all men to God. These poor souls may be children of God on some level, but they most assuredly are not part of God's Jubilee trumpet company. They bear no sound of release for the creation, but only a fearful looking for of eternal damnation and judgment.
You cannot damn the larger part of God's precious creation to endless burning hell and be their deliverer at the same time. The simple truth is, my beloved brethren, that until we are able to embrace God's immutable intention of reconciling all unto Himself, we will never be able to clearly see God's great plan of Redemption and Jubilee. And most certainly God will not entrust into our hands the Jubilee trumpet message as long as we remain hostile toward God's gracious purpose and vindictive toward men for whom Christ died and the creation we are sent to rescue and restore.
In the Year of Jubilee the Lord will roar out of Zion through a many-membered High Priestly ministry to bring deliverance and liberty to the earth. In the Jubilee Year there is rest, reversal, release, remission, refreshing, reunion and restoration! There is return to family and property, pillows of rest, peace, protection, provision and plenty! The anointing will bring this deliverance, and not the devices of men. God will anoint His three hundred to deliver the thirty-two thousand. God will anoint this One New Man like unto the Son of God to deliver Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and bring the whole Realm under the rule of the one true and living God. He will anoint His Samson to tear off the city gates of modern Babylon and expose the Church's enemy. He will anoint His Elijah to destroy the prophets of Baal. He will anoint His Joshua to bring His people into their inheritance. He will anoint His David to rule with a rod of iron. Ah, the sons of God will be revealed in company with the Firstborn, and the creation will be freed from bondage, and brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. What a Jubilee that will be! What a triumphant last word on God's part after all the foolishness of men! And all of this brought about purely by divine mercy and grace and by a power that gives effect to all the purposes of God.
The Jubilee Years in Israelitish history are chronicled in the writings of the first century Jewish historian, Josephus. He dates the Jubilees from the first cycle when the children of Israel entered the promised land to the Jubilee that was celebrated in A.D. 27. Note the significance of the A.D. 27 date. That is the same year Jesus launched His ministry in His home town of Nazareth by reading from Isaiah 61:1-2, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable Year of the Lord."
In short, God blessed that Year of Jubilee - that year of liberation - by sending His Son to proclaim a Gospel of liberation from the bondage of sin, sickness, sorrow and death. The "acceptable Year of the Lord" is called by Ezekiel the "Year of LIBERTY" (Eze. 46:17; compare Isa. 61:1) which is the Year of Jubilee. The Lord Jesus came to reveal this ministry of deliverance. Jesus the forerunner was in that long ago Year of Jubilee the trumpet - He was the clear-sounding living Word of God who came to deliver the beggar, the brokenhearted, the bound, the blind and the bruised (Lk. 4:18). All these things He demonstrated daily during the three and one-half years of his earthly ministry as He delivered men from devils, healed their diseases, opened their eyes and their ears, touched the maimed so that their limbs grew back on, raised the dead to life again and brought pardon and peace to men's hearts. These things He did were merely demonstrations and samples of the fullness that shall bless mankind, yea, all creation, too, in the acceptable Year of the Lord, Jubilee.
When Jesus read the scripture from Isaiah 61:1-2 He cut that prophecy in half and said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." He cut the prophecy in half, and what He did is beautiful. He closed the book and gave it to the minister and sat down. And that is exactly what Jesus did in His coming in the flesh. He fulfilled that three-and-a-half-year ministry, He closed that book, that part of it, gave the message and the responsibility of it to His body, and sat down at the right hand of God. And if you will go back to Isaiah sixty-one you will see where He cut the prophecy in half, and it is plain to see that the rest of the prophecy is to be fulfilled in us - the sons of God - in a Jubilee ministry. Two thousand years ago our Lord did His part, fulfilled it, closed the book and gave the rest of the responsibility to us. We are, in due time, to continue that Jubilee ministry for we are His seed and we prolong His days (Isa. 53:10). So our Lord Jesus proclaimed, heralded, trumpeted, announced, and demonstrated the acceptable Year of the Lord, the Year of Jubilee, the Year of Release, the Year of Liberty.
The annunciation of the Jubilee was very wisely fixed to the Day of Atonement, as it might be considered that the people would be better disposed to forgive and release their brethren their debts when they had so recently been receiving the full and free pardon of their own trespasses. A people whose many transgressions have been forgiven, and their sins blotted out and remembered no more, should not find it difficult to "make a release" even of what might be a just claim. We are to be "compassionate, forgiving one another, so as God also in Christ has forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32). People say sometimes, "But I want justice! I want righteousness!" Well, righteousness is to act toward others on the same principle as God has acted toward us. You and I are living in the greatest time any people has been privileged to live in. You are called forth and being prepared and anointed to set free the creation. God will deliver His creation by forgiving it. "To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them" (II Cor. 5:19). In Luke 4:18 Jesus read the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2, and again I call your attention to a portion of what He said. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to...preach deliverance to the captives." The word "deliverance" is in the Greek aphesis. It is translated forgiveness or remission elsewhere. It means to be let out of the prison house. And if you are going to set creation free, only a free man can set a man free!
So let me tell you what you must do if you want to partake of this in reality. You've got to forgive God, because if you love God and you're called according to His purpose, then everything that has worked in your life has worked for your good! There have been no accidents. So you've got to forgive God. I know people who are mad at God. They think that somehow God isn't fair because of all the negative things that have come into their lives. Secondly, you must forgive yourself. "Forgetting those things which are behind..." Thirdly, you've got to forgive everybody in your family and everyone in the Church. You want to get radical? Then you've got to forgive all the ministries, even the ones that hurt and offended and hindered you. You must forgive your enemies. Forgive them! And once you're delivered forgiven - and you have ministered that reality to all who touch you, then you can turn to this planet as an ambassador of Christ and in His stead say, "Be reconciled to God!"
How we have ranted and raved and stormed at men about their sins and judgment! But it has been well said that "There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the problem, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangles, how great the mistake - a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all if only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world." Ah, perhaps now we can understand something of the divine wisdom that, when it purposes to save a world gone awry, says "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..." And God in Christ has enough love to go around!
Demonstrations of mercy, such as the world has never known, are now upon our horizon, ready to be manifested at our Father's appointed time. God has prepared a divine show for all the earth. It is a light arising in the darkness and over the darkness. It is a theatrical of mercy in a world of darkness and bondage. I do not hesitate to tell you that the hour is approaching when God's Jubilee trumpet shall be heard upon the mountains of earth, in the streets, at the door of every dwelling, and before the gates of hell itself. Then, in reality, the captives shall cast off the ignominious chains which for ages have bound them; then shall the teaming billions of exiles, banished in father Adam from the portals of Eden, return to that happy home from which they have so long been banished; then shall every debt be cancelled, every burden removed, every yoke be broken, and every tear wiped away.
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall 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. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I ALL THINGS NEW ... and He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely" (Rev. 21:1-6).
It is vitally significant that the Hebrew word for "Jubilee" is YOBEL meaning a loud, long blast of the ram's horn throughout all the land. But on one occasion, in Lev. 25:9, we read, "Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound." "Jubilee" in that particular passage is from a different word, TERUWAH, which means a clamoring, an acclamation of joy, a battle cry, and the clanging of trumpets as an alarm. It has a root word, RUWA, meaning "to split the ears." How humanity needs to have their ears split! The world has for long milleniums been listening to the voice of the stranger, the delusions of the carnal mind.
Praise God, the message of the Jubilee trumpet will be a message which will split men's ears, sanctify their hearing, alter their perceptions, transform their understanding, drown out the stranger's voice, and get their attention for God. It is time for the whole earth to hear the word of the Lord! God will give the power to His Jubilee trumpet company, in the positive realm, to get mankind's attention, to subdue them to Christ. The blast of the Jubilee trumpet is a long blast. Multitudes who love to wallow in the muck and mire of the flesh, the world and the devil will not want to hear this message of release right away, so the trumpet will continue to blow. And it will blow and blow and blow until it has blown throughout the whole land and split every ear and flown like arrows directly to their mark and pierced every heart with the message of God's infinite love and grace and brought every man home to his inheritance in God. Hallelujah!
While in the typical Jubilee Year Many restored liberties and blessings were at once entered upon, yet most of the year was required to straighten out affairs and get each one fully installed again to all his former liberties, rights and possessions. So, too, with the antitype, the glorious dispensation of the fullness of times in which all things in heaven and in earth are gathered together into one in Christ. It will open with mighty manifestations of God's power and glory, with grace poured out upon the inhabitants of the world, with abundant overflowing streams of mercy and goodness to all who thirst after righteousness, with deliverance and restoration to life and light and liberties and possessions long lost sight of; but the work of completely restoring all that was originally lost will require all of that wonderful age of the ages.
May God hasten the day! Amen.