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JUBILEE IN SCRIPTURE

The Great Jubilee Year we are now celebrating has its roots in scripture. The Bible emphasizes that God’s overall plan was and still is justice and equality for all people as well as their reliance on Him for everything. These are major themes in celebrating the Great Jubilee.

Hebrews 13:8
This is the scripture from which is drawn the words on the official Jubilee 2000 logo: Christ - Yesterday - Today - Forever.

Pope John Paul II explains why in Tertio Millennio Adveniente:

“…Christ is the Lord of time; he is its beginning and its end; every year, every day and every moment are embraced by his Incarnation and Resurrection, and thus become part of the ‘fullness of time.’ For this reason, the Church too lives and celebrates the liturgy in the span of a year. The solar year is thus permeated by the liturgical year, which in a certain way reproduces the whole mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, beginning from the First Sunday of Advent and ending on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Lord of the Universe and Lord of History. Every Sunday commemorates the day of the Lord's Resurrection.”

Leviticus 25
Here we read about the “sabbatical” and “jubilee” years of ancient Israel from which our current Jubilee Year evolved.

Under the Law of Moses, a sabbatical year occurred every seven years, during which no one was allowed to grow crops so that the land could “rest.” The Israelites were to trust God to provide for them during that year.

A jubilee year took place after every seventh sabbatical year -- in other words, every 50 years. The jubilee year meant:

  • The land had to rest and thus could not be sowed or reaped.
  • God required forgiveness of debts.
  • Land was redeemed to those who lost it through adverse circumstances such as poverty
  • Slaves were freed and reunited with their families.

Isaiah 61
In this joyful chapter, the prophet Isaiah speaks of God's promise of liberty, justice, salvation, and everlasting joy for His people. It shows God working to vindicate His afflicted people, and this is one of the main themes of Jubilee 2000.

Luke 4:18-19
Jesus read the scripture above (Isaiah 61) to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth and announced that this promise was finally being fulfilled in their hearing, indicating that He was the long-awaited Messiah.