Perhaps, one of the most uttered Biblical word/term in our country since the beginning of year 2012 until now is none other than the word Jubilee. Many pastors, especially those of the Charismatic/Pentecostal churches were the ones in the forefront of popularizing this word to the point whereby even the current government which God foreordained (Rom 13:1, Dan 2:21, Dan 4:17, etc.) derived its name from it. However; for now, let’s move politics aside since my main aim isn’t about the Jubilee government but the true Biblical Jubilee.
The questions we must ask ourselves first of all is what is Jubilee? We as believers, especially Church elders are commanded by God to study diligently His Word of Truth (The Bible) and rightly divide it. If we do this, we shall be approved by God and not be ashamed, and if not, we will be ashamed of ourselves (2 Tim 2:15). Therefore; in order to answer this critical question about what is Jubilee, let us go back to The Bible since His Word is sufficient. In Leviticus 25, we can see that the year of Jubilee was instituted by God as a feast year that was to be celebrated each 50th year. Let’s not expound deeper this early about how it was celebrated but let me show you historical significance.
Historically; studying from various Jewish rabbinical texts such as the Talmud and also Christian ones, we do know that the Theocratic Israelites never ever at any one time kept the feast of Jubilee as commanded by God(…..)! Therefore, they’ve forever been anticipating for a Jubilee as this was a law that was given unto the Jews to keep and failure to obey it had some consequences. Any Christian believer who has ever read the Scriptures assuredly knows that there is not even one person who has ever kept the law and breaking one point of it is akin to breaking the entire law of God (James 2:10). The law served as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24) and in Colossians 2:16-17; the slave of Jesus Christ, apostle Paul vilifies those who try to justify themselves with the keeping of the Sabbath feasts but instead tells us that those were a shadow of things to come.
Jubilee was a Sabbath feast, and to us Christians, we clearly know that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5). These feasts pictured various events of the life and work of Christ, e.g. Pentecost/Feast of Weeks – Birth of Church, Feast of Trumpets – Rapture, Feast of Tabernacles – Millennium, etc. Jubilee was the culmination of the Sabbath feasts and it signified the rest of believers. When our Lord Jesus Christ began His ministry, (Luke 4:16-21) we can see that He read Isaiah 61 which is a Messianic prophecy concerning the rest that His elect will get when He comes, (see also Luke 1:46-55 and Matt 11:28-30). In the same vein, according to both Jewish and Christian scholars, the year that Jesus began His ministry was supposed to be a Jubilee year but as you know, He came to give us spiritual blessings and rest, not physical ones like the Jews anticipated (Eph 1:3).
Some might argue that what I’ve said so far doesn’t prove that we as Christians shouldn’t celebrate Jubilee year in Kenya, but maybe they should consider the message of prophet Hosea in chapter 3 verse 4 where we learn that the children of Israel without a king, epoch, sacrifices, etc. It is this verse from which we will systematically decipher about how the year Jubilee was conducted.
WHAT AND HOW WAS THE YEAR OF JUBILEE CONDUCTED
In short, Jubilee was a feast constituted by God (Lev 25) and it was to be celebrated on every 50th year. They did this by numbering seven Sabbath years which was the 49th year (v. 8). The trumpet of Jubilee was sounded on the 10th day of the 7th month during the Day of Atonement (v. 9).
During that 50th year, as a Theocracy, the Israelites were told to hallow it and proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants and every man was to return unto his own possession and family (v. 10). They were not supposed to sow, reap or gather that which growth by itself (v. 11). They were not supposed to oppress one another but instead fear God (v. 17) and by keeping the commandments of the Lord, they’ll dwell in the land (v. 18) and hence the land will yield its fruit and God was to command His blessing in the 6th year (the 48th year from the previous Jubilee) and it was to bring forth fruit for 3 years (v. 12) which they’ll eat till the 9th year (v. 22). These were basically the promises which God gave concerning Jubilee.
LINKAGE OF JUBILEE AND ATONEMENT
In Leviticus 25:9, I’ve shown that the trumpet call of proclaiming the year of Jubilee was sounded during the 10th day of the 7th month during the Day of Atonement on the 7th year, (49th) hence from it we can see a relationship between the Day of Atonement and Jubilee, therefore, in order to clearly understand Jubilee, we have to learn what was the Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement was the holiest of all days to the Jews which was celebrated on the 10th day of every 7th month in a year (Lev 16:29). It was a yearly sin offering so that people may be may be cleansed from their sins and it was to be an everlasting statute to the children of Israel in order for their sins to be atoned for once a year (v. 34). The high priest could only enter into the Holy of Holies before the mercy seat of the Lord once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer this sacrifice first for himself and then for the people (Heb 9:7) and in Heb 9:8, we learn that God was signifying that the way unto the holiest was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing and thus their offering of blood of animals to atone for people’s sins which couldn’t make them perfect (v. 9) and that it was only to be observed until the times of reformation, i.e. when Christ comes and offers this pure sacrifice once and for all as He was the High Priest of good things to come (V. 10-28) and thus He was able to purify believers forever!
The law (including Jubilee) was just a shadow of good things to come and not the very image of the things, can never with these sacrifices that were offered every year make people perfect (Heb 10:1), but the people were still conscious of their sins because the blood of animals could not perfect the people (v. 4-8) and that is why God took away the first (law of sacrifices) and brought the second (Christ’s sacrifice) (v.10) and as a result we are sanctified through the offering of Christ once and for all and that’s why Christ sat down on the right side of God because He has completed His work (Heb 10:12, John 19:28-30 and Luke 23:44-46) and by His one offering, He has sanctified us forever (Heb 10:14) and thus God remembers no more our sins (v. 17) and also no more offering is needed (v. 18). Because of all these things, we therefore have boldness to enter into the Holiest, i.e. the mercy seat (v 19-22, 4:16 and Luke 44-46).
WHY BRING ALL THESE STORY OF ATONEMENT?
Someone might ask, why did you have to say all these things about the atonement yet the topic we were discussing is on the Jubilee? In Proverbs 19:2, God tells us that it is not a good thing to have zeal without knowledge and that the person who acts hastily sins. Compare that verse with Romans 10:2-4 whereby Paul tells us that the Jews were having a zeal for God which is without knowledge and because they were ignorant of God’s righteousness, they were thus in effect establishing their own righteousness and have not submitted to the righteousness of God since Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. Therefore, we can say that the people (Charismatic churches) who were propagating the “Jubilee Year” to Kenya and giving them its associated promises and others which they invented were in effect misquoting and huckstering God’s Word just like the false prophets of yore and as a result they’ve failed to see and understand core Christian doctrines such as law, grace, Christology, atonement, justification and redemption; consequently, just like the Jews of Paul’s day – that were known as Judaizers who were saying that the way to be saved was through grace coupled with the keeping of the law and thus were coming up with their own way of righteousness that is not God’s way ‘but indeed they’ve fallen away from the grace of God and Christ therefore shall profit them nothing (See Gal 5:1-10).
THE PROMISES AND ‘PROPHECIES’ GIVEN
For now, let me not expound further on other things but instead let’s turn our attention to see the various promises and ‘prophecies’ (kindly note that in quotes since the Bible teaches that we have no modern day prophets) that were given to Kenya regarding the year of Jubilee by various local and foreign Charismatic/Pentecostal church leaders. Amongst those were;
1. Cancellation of all debts.
2. Peace and tranquility both within and without the borders.
3. ‘Revival’ and ‘restoration in the land.
4. Restitution of the people.
5. Exceeding and abundant wealth and prosperity.
6. Reconciliation in families, communities and international community.
7. Restoration of exceedingly great health.
8. Zero corruption in the land.
9. Dismantling of refugee camps.
10. Transformation of cities and towns to be like those of 1st world countries.
11. No more accidents in our roads, air, rail, etc.
12. Reduction in robbery and terrorism activities.
13. Et cetera.
As you can clearly see, all these promises was nothing new apart from the vile ‘health-wealth,’ ‘name-it and claim-it,’ ’blab-it and grab-it,’ or ‘prosperity gospel.’ The 50th year of Independence was an opportune time for these false teachers who worship not our Lord Jesus Christ but their bellies (Phil 3:19) and mind earthly things which they ought not to preach for filthy lucre’s sake (Tit 1:11) as they don’t rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15) and no wonder their followers were able to made merchandise by their fake leaders (2 Pet 2:1-3).
DID THE PROMISES COME TO PASS?
When this message of Jubilee was preached, I used to tell people that it won’t come to pass and people used to call me a prophet of doom like Jeremiah and I graciously acted just like him by cheekily telling them Jeremiah 28:6 “amen! May The Lord do so and bring your prophecies to pass.” It’s therefore critical for us to prove all things (1 Thes 5:21) and as Kenyans, we should ask ourselves if the ‘prophecies’ and promises that were given us in keeping the Jubilee if they did come to pass. The short answer is a big NO since these people are false teachers and were speaking presumptuously (Deut 18:22). Just look at these stats and judge for yourselves;
1. Our country’s national debt has increased to more than 2 Trillion shillings!!! Where is the cancellation of debts? Let’s not even count our individual debts.
2. Insecurity has been the Achilles’ heel in our country beginning the past year including the terrible crime of terrorism which has shot up to unimaginable heights and as a result both men and animals are living in fear!‼ Surely, where is the promised peace and tranquility? See Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11,15,
3. There has not been a spiritual ‘revival’ in the land; instead, what we see are false expressions of Christianity and also atheism is on the increase and last year it was reported that at least 40% of the youth in technically atheists.
4. Morality is on the decline in the land and we see more and more perverts more so in the ‘church,’ if anyone doubts, I bet s/he has not been reading the scandals that are published in papers such as The Nairobian and other blogs. I feel ashamed to even say that bestiality and childhood defilement is also on the up.
5. Underemployment, unemployment and poverty is on the rise and in April of this year, The World Bank in one of its report listed Kenya as among the 10 countries where the poorest of the poor live! Was this the promised milk and honey we were given for celebrating Jubilee?
6. Hatred, separation, divorce and other divisions within the family unit is on a sharp rise. We should also not forget that tribal suspicions and hostilities between communities, social and religious groups is fast rising not forgetting also that between Kenya and our International partners.
7. Corruption is not dying in Kenya but behaving like a cancerous cell that now affects all the fabrics of the society not forgetting that it has now been devolved.
8. Accidents are on the increase in our roads no matter what the government plans to do.
9. Sickness has continued to afflict us just like before and we see no change even after we celebrated Jubilee. See Jeremiah 8:15 and 14:9
10. We looked for great harvest but instead hunger (Hag 1:9a and Jer 8:20) has come and it appears it will so in the next few months considering the little amount of rains we’ve received in the long rain season.
There is clearly no need of I continuing about the failure of occurrence of the so called Jubilee promises as it was a total lie from the part of these church leaders and thus making the name of God to be blasphemed among the unbelievers. Because of these lies, the righteousness have been made sad while strengthening the hands of the wicked as Ezekiel says in chapter 13 verse 22.
DID GOD LIE?
In a recent tweet, @BurkParsons, who is a Conservative Reformed Presbyterian theologian affiliated with PCA denomination (please don’t confuse it with the liberal PCUSA) said, “We are certainly entitled to our own opinions but not to our own version of truth.” He was absolutely right and that’s why as Christians, before we utter anything, we must ask ourselves “what saith the Scriptures” (Gal 4:30) and that’s why we are commanded not to go beyond what’s written (1 Cor 4:6b). Therefore, since we’ve seen a total failure of these promises concerning the Jubilee, we must ask ourselves a very important question which is; “Did God lie??? To give the answer, I’ll use Scriptures to prove that God is innocent and didn’t lie but the liars are the church leaders who took God’s Word out of context. After all, doesn’t Isaiah 8:20say “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Fundamentally, there is no question that all believers believe that God cannot lie (Tit 1:2, Heb 6:18, Rom 3:4, Num 23:15, 1 Sam 15:24, 2 Tim 2:13), and that as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall do that which I please, and it shall accomplish that for which I send it (Is 55:10-11), therefore, His promises are yea and amen (2 Cor 1:20) because He is the Sovereign Lord of all and whatever He wills will surely come to pass and fail not (Prov 19:21, Ps 33:8-11, Ps 47:6-7, Ps 115:5, Ps 135:6, Is 14:24, Is 45:7, Is 46:9-10, Eph 1:11, Job 9:2, Job 12:6-10, Deut 32:39, 1 Sam 2:6-8, etc).
Therefore, since all these promises about Jubilee failed, why was these messages preached to churches? The answer I can give is that perhaps these are the false teachers whom we were warmed that would come in the last days who with crafty speeches will lead many who have itchy ears astray (2 Tim 4:3-4, Acts 20:29-32, 2 Tim 3:1-6, 1 Tim 4:1-5, 2 Pet 2, Jude, etc)? And since they do not stand in the counsel of the Lord (Jer 23:22a), they would not have prophesied lies by saying that they’ve had dreams from the Lord (Jer 23:25-26), and since their word failed to come to pass (Jer 28:6a, 9, 6:13-15), it’s no wonder that their words did not profit their hearers (Jer 23:32).
In writing this article, most assuredly I’ve made some people to be very cross and angry with me; at after all, doesn’t Ecclesiastes 1:18 say that with much wisdom is much grief and that he that increaseth knowledge increaseth knowledge? And with that I rejoice for I’ve achieved one of my purposes, since it is very bad to see the people who refer to themselves as God’s people being destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6). Most assuredly, it is a noble thing to have faith, but at the same time, it can be ignoble sometimes since faith without reason is irrational! Consider these words of Pastor John Macarthur from his book Reckless Faith;
“Did you know that faith can be seriously harmful? Some varieties of faith actually lead away from the true God—they substitute superstition, falsehood, or faith itself in place of truth. Such faith inevitably leads to spiritual disaster. It is reckless faith.
Reckless faith seeks spiritual truth apart from Scripture—and that is the very point at which it becomes reckless. Both kinds of reckless faith also have this in common: they are irrational and anti-intellectual. “Anti-intellectual” doesn’t mean they oppose intellectual snobbery. Itmeans they spurn the intellect and encourage blind, uncritical trust. Anti-intellectuals often set faithagainst reason, as if the two were opposites. That kind of faith is gullibility. It is foolishness, and not biblical faith. Biblical faith is never irrational.
Authentic faith, in contrast, can never bypass the mind. It cannot be irrational. Faith, after all, deals with truth. Truth is objective data to be known, studied, contemplated, and understood. All those are activities that engage the intellect.
That means genuine Christianity cannot be anti-intellectual. The body of truth on which our faith is based has depths that are mysterious—unfathomable to the merely human mind, or inscrutable—but truth is never irrational. The difference is all-important. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Therefore what God says is true—and the antithesis of what He says must be false. Truth cannot be self-contradictory. Truth makes sense; nonsense cannot be true.”
Moreover, the doctrine on which we base our faith must be sound—which is to say it must be biblical (1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 4:2–3; Titus 1:9; 2:1). “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3–4, emphasis added). Sound, biblical doctrine therefore underlies all true wisdom and authentic faith. The attitude that scorns doctrine while elevating feelings or blind trust cannot legitimately be called faith, even if it masquerades as Christianity. It is actually an irrational form of unbelief.
God holds us accountable for what we believe as well as how we think about the truth He has revealed. All Scripture testifies to the fact that God wants us to know and understand the truth. He wants us to be wise. His will is that we use our minds. We are supposed to think, to meditate—to be discerning. And that is what we will continue to pursue as this series unfolds over the coming weeks.
Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:2–6)
In finishing, dear church leaders (I’m also speaking to laymen), kindly do not be like the Pharisees who hid the key of knowledge from the people (Luke 11:52), humbly accept that you’ve darkened the Lord’s counsel by words without just like Job (Job 38:2) and then repent like he did (Job 42:1-6). After all; God has promised us that for all manner of sin He is ready to forgive us (Matt 12:31) if only we confess them (1 John 1:8-10) as He is gracious and merciful (Jonah 4:2, Ex 34:6, Joel 2:13, Jer 3:10-13, etc.) If anyone despises the Scriptures, just ponder what Jesus tells us in Luke 19:22a and remember that is a fearful thing to fall into the living hands of the Lord (Heb 10:31). Kindly therefore before preaching and commenting on anything, just read, read, read, ……. and read again and again and understand what the Bible says in a particular text in order to clearly teach the correct Biblical doctrines as presented in the Bible, without forgetting to judge yourselves so as to determine where your faith is, whether it be in Christ or anything else.