Bible scholars have been trying to determine the Biblical Jubilee cycle for some time. No one knows for sure when the last jubilee occurred. So there is no verifiable starting point to count off the fifty year periods. A little over a year ago I realized the possibility that there have been no jubilees because there was no one in the Land of Israel to receive their land back. The jubilees are all about the restoration of the land to its original “owners.” (I put owners in brackets because it is really God’s land.)
Then I recognized the importance of the year 1517, and the apparent jubilees of 1917 and 1967. For more information please see Jubilees - Part One and Jubilees - Part Two. I have discovered that I was about 800 years late with my realization.
Rabbi Judah ben Samuel (Judah son of Samuel) was born in Germany in 1140 A.D. He was a serious student of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and was known as Judah the Pious. It was said that his burning desire was awaiting the coming of the Messiah. That sounds like some of us today.
Shortly before his death in 1217 A.D., Judah ben Samuel said that in 1517 the Ottomans would take control of Jerusalem and would hold it for eight jubilees or 400 years. After that, Jerusalem would become a “no man’s land” for one jubilee. Then the Jews would take possession of the Holy City for one jubilee. Finally, the tenth jubilee from the time the Ottoman Empire took control of Jerusalem in 1517 would “signify the beginning of the Messianic end times.”
The Ottomans did take control of Jerusalem in 1517. Eight jubilees, or 400 years later, they were driven out of Jerusalem in 1917. For fifty years, one jubilee, Jerusalem was divided between the British mandate, then Israel, and the country of Jordan. Then in 1967, the nineteen year-old Jewish nation did take possession of Jerusalem. The next jubilee will be in 2017. Rabbi Judah ben Samuel said that would mark the beginning of the Messianic Age.
How did he know these things? He made the prediction 300 years before the Ottomans took control of Jerusalem. When he was asked where he received his wisdom from, his answer was:
The last part of his statement is wisdom itself. In this modern, unbelieving time, we would question anyone who said a prophet appeared to them. I do not know if the story of his account is true. I have not seen, and probably could not read, the documents upon which the story is based. But everything the Rabbi is said to have stated has come to pass – exactly. How else could he have known? Is it true or false? Oh, we of little faith.
All that remains of the prediction is the Coming of the Messiah at the next jubilee. Personally, I hope and pray that the story is true. Even so, come Lord Jesus!