'You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years.Leviticus 25:8(NASB)
There were many sacred days and special festivals that were to be celebrated by Israel, many of which are tied to the New Moon, including the weekly Sabbath Day, the Sabbatical years, and the Year of Jubilee. The regulations for these and other holy days were given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The Sabbath or seventh day of each week was to be a constant reminder to Israel that God created the world in six days and rested from His work on the seventh day - the Sabbath Day. But God also instituted a Sabbatical YEAR, where every seventh year was observed as a Sabbath Year. During a Sabbatical year, the land would lie fallow. Like the people of Israel, the promised land of Israel was to be given rest every seventh year. The Law stated that during a Sabbatical year, land-owners must leave the land uncultivated, while God promised to supply ALL their needs during their sixth harvest.
One further festival that was tied to God's Sabbatical requirements was the Year of Jubilee, which was to be celebrated at the end of every forty-ninth year. This special year of Jubilee was to be kept following seven, sabbatical years - every fiftieth year. While the weekly Sabbath day looked back to the creation, the Year of Jubilee looks forward to the Millennial Kingdom - the 1000-year reign of Christ, which will follow the 6000-year rule of Satan, through his human puppets.
God commanded that the Day of Atonement, in the 49th year, was to be the day when the Jubilee year commenced. It was to be a time of great rejoicing and new beginnings, a time of liberty and freedom, where any wrongs were put right. Anyone who had been sold into slavery was to be set free in this glorious time of celebration, and any land that had been sold during the previous 49 years, was to revert back to the original owner. "You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself," Israel were instructed, "seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely forty-nine years."
There were other stipulations connected with this special Jubilee Year, but one result was that the price of land decreased as the Jubilee year drew closer. The focus of this anniversary was a redeemed people, and a restored land. The conditions surrounding the Jubilee Year demonstrated God's concern for the well-being of the people and the welfare of the land. We are still stewards of God's gifts and graces, and the Jubilee year teaches us important lessons about good stewardship and reminds us of the responsibility we have to care for God's creation.
The Jubilee Year was to the land of Israel what the Day of Atonement was for to people of Israel. Just as the land was to return to its original owner, so all slaves were to be set free. All debt was cancelled, property was restored to the rightful owner, and the land received a sabbatical rest. Although we are not under the Law, nor bound by Sabbatical injunctions, there are many lessons to be leaned from Israel's Jubilee celebrations.
Both the Jubilee Year and the Day of Atonement speak of liberty and restoration. Both are a picture of our great redemption in Christ through the forgiveness of sin and our life everlasting, and we are further reminded that we are covered in Christ's own righteousness and have found rest from our labour in Him. By God's grace we are also promised to an inheritance that is kept for us in heaven - a legacy that was lost in Eden.
The 49 Sabbatical years, which have their consummation in the Year of Jubilee, are a beautiful type of the 6000 years of man, where sin and Satan have caused havoc within God's beautiful creation. However those 6000 years precede the 1000-year-reign of Christ, where all wrongs will be put right, and the years that the locusts have eaten will be restored. Just as God's 6-days of creation were followed by His Sabbath rest, so the 6000 years of Satan's rule will be followed by Christ's 1000 year, Sabbatical Jubilee, and we will rule and reign with Him, having been fully and finally sanctified - spirit, soul, and body.
When Paul prayed that the God of peace Himself would sanctify us completely and that our spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, he was looking forward to this glorious Jubilees of all jubilees, when Christ will rule and reign on earth, during the great Jubilee celebration i.e. the Millennial Kingdom.
How we praise God that there remains a promised Sabbath-Rest for God's people of God and may we regularly call to mind Paul's trustworthy statement, "For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him.... for the momentary, light affliction of this present age, is producing for us an eternal weight of glory - far beyond all comparison. Praise His holy name, amen."
Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful picture of the Year of Jubilee that was given to Israel as a reminder that You are not only our great Creator, but that You are our wonderful Saviour, and Christ is coming back to put all wrongs to right and restore to us the joy of our salvation. Thank You that in Christ I have already found my perfect Sabbath rest. Thank You that He not only redeemed me from the penalty of sin, when He died on my behalf, but also saved me from its power in this age. And how wonderful to know that when I go to be with Jesus, I will also be saved from its presence in the ages to come. I pray that You would increasingly open my understanding to the glorious truths contained in Your Word, and give me a discerning heart to follow You. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.