Chronology Of Jubilees

It is evident that each 7th year in ancient Israel was once observed as a Sabbatical year. In 7th years crops were not sown or harvested.

In the late Second-Temple Era, the custom of letting the landrest in each 7th year was an important tenant of Jewish law. Flavius Josephus, a historian who lived in the First Century AD, described the Jewish custom of observing the Sabbatical lawin some detail. The writings of the rabbis and certain ancient contracts also make it clear that Jews living under the late Second Temple were careful to observe each of the Sabbatical years.

The law concerning the keeping of a Sabbatical year was complied with at a national level. Throughout the territory of Judea, it would have been mandatory for farmers to observe each 7th year as a Sabbatical year. The requirement to observe Sabbatical years throughout Judea would have been in force until the Second Temple fell (70 AD).

Under the Temple system, it is clear that the priests were responsible for announcing festivals and special events. Furthermore, the priests were responsible for scheduling certain agricultural activities. It remarkably seems that the priesthood regulated just when the various crops were reaped.

To augment the decision as to when it was permissible for Israel to gather in crops, the priests appear to have used a weekly schedule (Jeremiah 5, 24). The grain harvest, the collection of wine-grapes, and the ultimate gathering of olives could only be harvested on schedule.

Thus, year-in and year-out, the priests held a significant role in regulating the harvest-cycle. The priesthood controlled when it was permissible to only eat old-stores, and when it was permissible to gather in new crops.

Because the priesthood officially scheduled the harvest-cycle, Sabbatical years in the late Second Temple Era are rathereasy to identify.

The jubilee-year

Some sources indicate the late Second Temple practice of observing 7-sets of 7-years. (Leviticus 25:3-12)

Accordingly, 7-sets of 7-years were first counted-out and then a jubilee year (or a 50th year) was additionally counted. The 50th - like the 7th - was specially observed; where in each 50th, crops were not sown, tended, or reaped.

In the second century BC the Pharisees who had been influenced by Alexandria introduced a bogus 49-year jubilee sequence and have tried to break the sequence of the law and the cycles ever since.

The works of Josephus reflect this distortion where he, as a Pharisee, tries to insert their views but has to state the Roman decrees as they were made which show the correct Temple Calendar and the paper shows that fact as does the archaeological evidence we have found, which is in accordance with the Temple calendar.

Influence of the Greeks

The prospect that a 50th year was more anciently observed raises the question as to why and when a jubilee-year was no longer celebrated under the late Second Temple. The point in time when a jubilee-year was last observed appears to have been sometime within a rather lengthy period when the Greeks and then the Romans were in control of Judea.

Judea was at first subjugated by Alexander the Great in 331BCE. Afterwards, Judeans were required to pay tribute or taxes to the more powerful Greeks. The requirement to pay taxes was tightened under the subsequent rule of the Romans who likewise imposed taxes upon the Judeans.

Thus, the time and the reason for why a jubilee-year was not observed under the late Second Temple was surely related - at least in part - to a requirement on the part of the Judeans to pay tribute to the Greeks and later to the Romans.

Even through tax concessions were granted, it is apparent the jubilee-year was no longer observed in the late Second Temple Era. Sources from this era make it clear that by the time of the 177th year Seleucid, Judeans may have no longer been observing a jubilee-year. These several sources make it unmistakably clear that a 50th year was not officially observed after the Second Century BC.

Occupied Israel Early Jewish literature shows that the land could be cultivated in 7th years under special circumstances.

After the Second Temple fell, some among the rabbis taught that it was permissible for Jews to refrain from observing Sabbatical years when living on foreign occupied lands.

It then becomes significant that the time of the occupation of Judea by the Greeks and Romans constituted circumstances under which it was probably permissible to cultivate land in 7th years. During the lengthy period of foreign occupation, it seems that national sovereignty and personal freedom were - at times - very hard to bargain for.

Among the traditions that surely were surrendered under these conditions was that of the jubilee-year observance.

The law concerning the jubilee-year embodied the concept of Israelite occupation and ownership of the land. In each 50th year land titles were returned to their previous owners (Leviticus 25).

Thus the keeping of a jubilee-year was related to the maintenance of national sovereignty and to the retention of land ownership.

The observance of a jubilee-year was inherently contingent upon Israelite ownership and occupation of the land. Essentially, as long as Israelites dwelled in foreign lands, or when foreigners were in control of Israelite lands, it would have been meaningless for Israelites to observe jubilee-years. Thus, for as long as the occupation lasted the observation of a jubilee-year was not required in Judea.

It is significant the law to observe a jubilee-year would have continued, but only if foreign occupiers specifically allowed the Judeans to observe it. Both the Greeks and the Romans did - in fact - grant Judeans a reduction or exemption from paying taxes in 7th years. The exemption which allowed the 7th years observance apparently was not necessarily granted in the respect of the 50th jubilee-year.

The late Second Temple

Based upon the unbroken chronology of 7-years after about the 177th Seleucid year, it is quite clear that the priesthood of the late Second Temple Era did not officially celebrate a 50th jubilee-year.

From the late Second Temple sources, the chronology of the once observed cycle of 7-years is rather easy to reconstruct. It is clear that a continuous run of 7-year-cycles was counted between about 135 BCE and 139 CE. This period of history straddles some 273 years (or contains 39 cycles of 7-years). During this lengthy stretch of history, Sabbatical years were observed in the years 135 BC, 44 BC, 37 BC, 55 AD, 69 AD, and 139 AD.

Sabbatical years were observed in an unbroken cycle throughout the late Second Temple Era. It is of special interest that if the cycle of 7-years was extended from the First-Century into this Twenty-First Century then a 7th year would have occurred in correspondence with the year 2000-2001 (from autumn-to-autumn).

The crucifixion

It is of special interest that the year in which Jesus wascrucified is indicated to have corresponded with a jubilee-year.Based upon the contents of the book of Luke, Jesus wascrucified in spring of the year 31 AD. Dropping the year zeroresults in the jubilee-year.

Chronology of jubilees

The chronology of jubilee-years is a bit more difficult to determine. This is because a jubilee-year was not routinely observed in the late Second-Temple Era.

The time when early Israel once celebrated a year-of-liberty (50th year) can be determined to within a degree of certainty. A compilation and analysis of various priestly sources indicates the chronology of a once performed 50-year-cycle.

The source information indicates a 50th year would certainly have been celebrated in Judea in the year 171-170 BC (from autumn to autumn). It is less certain if a jubilee-year was observed 50-years later in the year of 121-120 BC.

The location of a once observed jubilee-year is ultimately essential for identifying which year in this modern era corresponds to the occurrence of a jubilee-year.

Based upon the priestly sources, it appears that the year 1980-81 last corresponded to the once celebrated jubilee-year. These sources likewise indicate that - in the Twenty-First Century - the year 2030-31 will again correspond to the jubilee year.

The Biblical Feast Days - God's Calender

Now that we have the most likely year of the Second Coming can we narrow this down to a particulat feast day?

The Feast Days are God's heavenly temple anti-type of what took place at Israel's temple.

• Passover: The crucifixion.

• Feat of Unleaven Bread: Resurrection.

• Feast of Pentecost: outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

• Trumpets: 7th trumpet, 1789 "time of the end".

• Day of Atonement: 1844.

• Feast of Tabernacles: Second Coming harvest.

The Feast of Tabernacles (Tishri 15) in the year 2031 is October 02. I am not setting any date for the Second Coming, only calculate 2000 years from the cross. As we draw closer to the day we will need to ask ourselves if the earth isready? Has everyone hardened their hearts so that all have made their decision one way or the other? With the internet I believe this is now possible. The politically charged debates online over the Theory of Evolution is a good example.