The principle of the Jubilee was established by the Lord in the laws given in Leviticus chapter twenty-five. The purpose of the Jubilee was to keep the land in the hands of the person to whom it had been originally given, and his descendants. The land was the Lord’s but he divided it among the Children of Israel when they first came to the Promised Land.
If, because of some event, the family had to “sell” the land, they received it back at the time of Jubilee. In effect, they rented the land for the duration.
There has been much speculation as to when the Jubilee years fall in our current time. I believe the Jubilees temporarily ceased when the Jews were deported from Israel by the Romans in 135 A.D. There simply was no one there to receive back the land. Just as Temple sacrifices ended because there was no Temple, the Jubilees also ended.
There were three events that occurred in 1517 A.D. that cause me to believe that year to be a marker for the Jubilee years to resume. I believe 1517 marked the beginning of the process of returning the Land of Israel to the people Israel. Here are the three events:
Fifty years later, in the ninth Jubilee or 1967, the nation of Israel captured and occupied Jerusalem. The Holy City was returned to whom it had been originally given. According to E. W. Bullinger, a Christian scholar of the Nineteenth Century, nine represents finality and judgment. His reasoning is too long to include here, but his book Number in Scripture is fascinating and is still available. I have struggled with this definition (finality and judgment). Perhaps it indicates the finality of foreign occupation of the City of Jerusalem.
Following this sequence, the next Jubilee was 2017. Whereas 1917 and 1967 demonstrated clear events leading to the return of the land to the original recipients, there was no event that I could discern indicating such in 2017, unless you consider when the President of the United States recognized Jerusalem to be the capitol of Israel in that year. Jerusalem was already the capital, but its proper status was restored to the world that had refused to accept this obvious fact.
The year 2017 was the tenth Jubilee in this sequence that began in 1517. Again referring to E. W. Bullinger, the number ten “signifies the perfection of Divine order.” The number ten is the completion of the cycle. If this is correct, this tenth Jubilee marks the completion of a cycle. Perhaps that is why there was no discernable event in 2017. The cycle is complete. We are commencing in a new cycle.
So, what does Melchizedek have to do with this? Among the Dead Sea scrolls that have been found at Qumran is a text identified as 11QMelchizedek. The text, I hesitate to call it a scroll because it is in such poor condition, is about Melchizedek. The author is unknown, but it must have been considered important to the Essenes who tried to preserve it.
Lines 5 through 10 of the text state that Melchizedek will return “to proclaim liberty to them; to relieve them from … all their iniquities.” This sounds very Messianic and agrees with the description of Jesus and Melchizedek found in the Book of Hebrews. The text then states, “the Day of Atonement will be the tenth Jubilee.”
As interesting as I find this to be, it is not Scripture. Further, I do not know what it means as regards us today. We appear to be at the end of a Jubilee cycle. There have been other signs. Many believe, as I do, that the Day of the Lord is drawing near. But how does this all fit together? The Lord Jesus instructed us to watch and be alert. The Apostle Paul spoke of the “blessed hope.” So, we must continue diligently serving the Lord in whatever capacity He has given us. And . . .
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” – Titus 2:13