Now we are going to look at some prophetic applications for the Smemitah and the Yovel. In Gen 6.3 it says that God will not always strive with man, but his years will be 120 years. We know that the Yovel is every 50 years (Lev 25.10). If you multiply 50 times 120 you have 6000. This alludes to the 6000 years of the Olam Ha Zeh, which is followed by the 1000 years of the Atid Lavo/ Day of the Lord.
When Yeshua came and read from Isa 61.1-2 (Luke 4.16-20) in the synagogue, many do not realize that this portion of Isaiah is the haftorah for the Torah reading “Nitzavim” (Deut 29.9-30.20). These verses from Isaiah talk about the Yovel, which is described as a complete rest. The captives (slaves) were set free, all debts were cancelled and liberty was proclaimed. The land rests during the seventh and the eighth years (49 and 50). Yeshua stopped reading in Luke 4.19 where it says, “to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” This portion would not be fulfilled in his first coming, but will be when he comes the second time.
Isa 37.30-32 says, “This will be the sign for you: you shall eat this year (seventh year) what grows of itself, in the second year (eighth year) what springs from the same, and in the third year (the first year of the new shemitah) sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit.” The context here is Assyria had invaded Israel, and they were coming into Judah to Jerusalem. Nothing could stop them but the Lord had promised to defeat them so that not even an arrow would fall on Jerusalem. This is a promise that Assyria would be defeated by Yom Kippur, when the Yovel 50 year period ended.
This is a picture of the Russian invasion of Israel and tells us that Russia will be defeated by Yom Kippur, and the nation will accept Yeshua as the Messiah because they cried out to him in their distress and he delivered them from Russia. Israel is set free as they enter into the fourth year of the Birth-pains and they will never turn away from the Lord again (Ezek 39.22; Isa 10.12).
We know Yeshua returns on a Yom Kippur to Jerusalem, at the sound of the great trumpet (Shofar Ha Gadol) that is blown on Yom Kippur. In the first century, Israel had lost track of the Yovel years due to the Babylonian Captivity when the tribes were taken out of the land. Because of that, the ram’s horn (yovel) was blown every Yom Kippur by the first century to make sure it was blown on the Yovel as commanded in the Torah. As a result, the “great trumpet” became an idiom for Yom Kippur and that is why we know that Yeshua will return to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur (Matt 24.29-31). These verses are a picture of the “release” when the Messianic Kingdom arrives on earth.
Yehovah is also telling us in Lev 25 that we can’t just suck the land dry (or ourselves), but rest is very important and a key issue. One of the concepts for the Sabbath is rest, or no work. This alludes to the fact that we enter the rest of the Lord in Yeshua without works, it is a free gift, by his grace, through faith (emunah). It is not a work of our own (no work).
One of the concepts alluded to in the word “rest” is the Hebrew “Menuchah” which also means rest. It carries the idea of “completion.” To rest on the Sabbath does not necessarily mean physical rest. It means to have a sense of completion. When the Sabbath comes, be complete in what you need to have done. Don’t leave things “hanging” and then stress about it. However, rest can also allude to our physical lives. Even the animals we use for work were to rest.
One of the main things people deal with today is stress. Stress is the inability to feel a sense of completion or rest. The commandments are given to promote life (Deut 30.6). Have you ever heard, “Hard work never killed anyone?” But it does. The problem is we need to learn how to have “menuchah” (rest). If we don’t, stress can cause indigestion, dreariness, fatigue and strain. It can kill us.
If a man has to sell his property due to debt, his family, friends or brothers were supposed to buy the land back and give it back to him. They were to “redeem” him. The blood relative who did this is called the “goel” or “kinsman redeemer.” The Book of Ruth deals with this concept.
If you lived in a walled city, this didn’t apply because it was considered a permanent dwelling, except for the Levite. They were commanded to live in 48 cities throughout the land called “Levitical cities.” If they sold their house it could be redeemed because they had to live in those cities. At the Yovel, it comes back to the Levite, plus they had 2000 cubits of pasture land all around the city walls to graze their animals. If a house did not belong to a Levite in a walled city, you could buy it and own it forever. It did not revert back at the Yovel.
This put a lot of pressure on the people to dispense and spread out through the land and not live in a walled city. It caused them to take responsibility for one another when someone got into some financial issues. Let’s look at Exo 21.1-6.
A person sells his land, but he can’t redeem the land because he hasn’t, or can’t, save the money. You could sell yourself into “servitude” and your value was determined up to the next shemitah (sabbatical year). If the sabbatical year was five years away, you could sell yourself for five years. You surrendered all your decision making about finances to your “master.” You come under the control of your master.
Now, the biblical concept of a “slave” is that of a hired man or woman. They were not to be mistreated or abused. You were not to be severe (Exo 21.20-21). The master had to treat you the same way as his own children. You ate the same food and he housed you as his own. You could choose who you wanted to serve and this took you out of the economic system, paying back your debt. When the sabbatical year came, you were free to go. But if the master gave you a wife you could not take her with you, or any of your children (Exo 21.4).
If you thought this was a good arrangement, and you liked serving this master, the Torah allowed to you to make the decision to stay because of love for your master. This is called the “Law of the Bond Servant.” The Torah (and the Scriptures) is a book of “boundaries and declarations.” If the servant wanted to stay, they made a public declaration that he loved his master and chose to stay with him on his own (not forced). His ear was pierced with an awl to the doorpost of the master’s house. What is this telling us spiritually?
We owe a debt to the Lord we can’t even begin to pay. He has given us everything (family, wife, children, house, job, etc). We recognize this and we realize this is a good situation, and the household of Yehovah is a good household to belong to. He is a good master. All our debts are paid, so we choose to be a bond servant of Yeshua.
When Messiah comes, the great shofar will be blown on Yom Kippur because it is like the Yovel. The dead have come to life and all debts have been cancelled. The whole concept of the Messianic Kingdom is consistent with this system. In the Torah, this applied only in the land. In the future it will apply worldwide. The whole economic system will be different under Yeshua. This will lead to “menuchah” (rest) and there will be less stress and indebtedness.
In Part 24 we will pick up in the next Torah reading called “B’Chukatai” (in my statutes).