2013, The Year of Jubilee — Our 12-Month Sabbatical from Entitlement and Greed

by Donald Croft Brickner

Let’s try our hands at a little bit of imagination-driven time travel, what do you say?

Picture yourself living in (on) January 1, 2013 (…which, I might throw in as aside, is five full days before my 66th birthday). Yes. So, I’m there — how about you?

The face of America has already changed beyond all recognition on that date: the U.S. federal government has been reconfigured out-the-kazoo. And a lot of you who were materialistically rich beyond all comprehension today (in the back-here-and-now) will no longer be as … “well off,” let’s call it.

The strangest celebration of Christmas on record occurred just one week ago (December 25, 2012) … which itself wasn’t even supposed to happen because, according to some glib interpretations of the Mayan calendar (by those from another language and culture), the End of the World was supposed to have taken place only four days earlier, on December 21.

(…OMG! — was that a wild-eyed Woody Harrelson getting blasted past our windows in an explosive megacloud originating all the way from northwestern Wyoming..?!)

…No. No, it wasn’t.

What megacloud? Foolish rabbits: our world still remains intact. It’s merely January 1, 2013 — which, oh-by-the-way, also marks the first day of the first-ever fully celebrated Year of Jubilee.

The day of the week is (will be) a Tuesday.

Best to scramble for your (ideally, annotated) Bibles now. You’re likely to wish to seek one out.

* * * * *

As this essay is being written, there are at least five or six potential Trigger Events in the U.S. and globally that individually (or more likely, collectively) could bring on the second half of our economic meltdown, leading to “splat” — which itself, in my view, is already locked in (…as I’ve stated in previous published essays).

For historical references only (for those wishing to view this essay in retrospect which, in part, is one of its intentions! [among several]), these prospective “probable” events are in a state of not-fully-formed-(or-as-yet-manifested) “fluidity.” One Trigger Event, though, is already largely locked in, and because of that, fairly predictable in its “probable” impact: the gigantic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico which, at this writing, has not quite yet reached shore … but will. It’s at, say, 97 percent in terms of fulfilling its unique probabilities, including most of its “tributaries.”

By “tributaries,” I’m referring not to Bayouesque streams leading off of, say, the Mississippi River, but to smaller (and still-”fluid”) probabilities attached to the greater “Foundation Probability” — which, in this instance, is the impact of the oil spill itself … and that impact on every level imaginable.

Tributary probabilities are all attached to their already-manifesting Foundation Probability, only yet remain in (unformed) fluid states — and so, therefore, they’re not themselves as yet clearly predictable.

Tributary probabilities, too, left largely unaddressed, could lead to yet more Trigger Events. Such is the cycle we all, globally, now find ourselves in — and it’s a quadruple whopper! It’s so enormous and widespread, the likes of it have never taken place on Planet Earth before. It’s BIG!

That’s how such occurrences (usually the result of rampantly unconscious complacency — at the hands of severe insulation) evolve into tragic (and commonly widespread) consequences.

Call all of this Probability Theory, if you’d like.

To my knowledge, it’s never existed before now.

It’s also the mechanics behind The Great Leveling … which I first introduced conceptually two years ago. It’s a three-phased event covering four-to-six years, and we’re about a year and a half into it, hovering very close to the end of Phase One (Collapse) and entering Phase Two (Reaction). Phase Three is Recovery; and the introduction there of The Year of Jubilee would effectively mark the beginning of that. (Yay!)

* * * * *

At the core of The Great Leveling is real-deal (and often non-physically-introduced) addiction, like Compulsive Money-Making … itself number three on the list of probable Trigger Events.

(Number two — and really, really close to being number one — is the [still now fluid] probable economic collapse of Greece, Portugal, France and maybe Italy; and our California. If one thinks saying, ta-ta, to the Euro is funny, one might best reconsider his or her “position.”)

Regardless, we’ll not argue (again) for addiction causalities here.

We have bigger, and more immediate fish to fry: the actual free fall downward spiral itself.

We’re about to go plummeting downward toward a (likely global) bottom-hitting — which will, at long last, culminate Phase One. (If one’s about to have a full-palmed spanking, one might as well get it over with, right? It’s a dreadful spanking to be sure — but it’s only just a spanking.)

 

In any event — let’s all cheer up a little bit. C’mon! Got your Bibles (and concordances) ready?

You’ll need to focus a little more here, perhaps. I’m forced to provide some historical Christian erudition, but I’ll do everything I can to make this fun. (And, frankly, I’ll settle for “readable.”)

* * * * *

My references and, in parentheses, abbreviations for those references, with [bracketed] last revision dates, will be as follows, and in no particular order:

* The Bible — Authorized King James Version with Apocrypha [2008] (KJ)

* Holy Bible — New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, with Concordance [1999] (NRSV)

* The New Oxford Annotated Bible [NRSV], an Ecumenical Study Bible [1994] (Annot)

* Catholic Bible Dictionary [Scott Hahn, General Editor] [2009] (Dict)

DCB” refers to moi.

So, let’s start off with a general explanation about the background of the Biblical Year of Jubilee — beginning with these quotes from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [1915] (ISBE), via the Internet’s www.bible-history.com — which was brought to my attention by a very old friend (not age-wise), Rob Taylor, a missionary with Operation Mobilization based out of Tyrone, Georgia.

First, the boring stuff:

 

JUBILEE YEAR – (shenath ha-yobhel; etos tes apheseos; annus jubilaeus, ‘year of jubilee’ (Lev 25:13), or simply ha-yobhel, ‘the jubilee’ (Lev 25:28…), [the King James Version and the English Revised Version Jubile]: The Hebrew word yobhel stands for qeren ha-yobhel, meaning the horn of a ram. Now, such a horn can be made into a trumpet, and thus the word yobhel came to be used as a synonym of trumpet.” [brackets above, mine--DCB]

According to Lev 25:9 a loud trumpet should proclaim liberty throughout the country on the 10th day of the 7th month (the Day of Atonement), after the lapse of seven sabbaths of years (equaling) 49 years. In this manner, every 50th year was to be announced as a jubilee year.” (ISBE)

 

Following this so far? Hang in there: there will be no test.

Lev,” above, refers to the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, which, “…contains laws regarding sacrifices, legal purity, holiness, atonement, the redemption of offerings, and other subjects. Levitical laws provided directives for all aspects of religious observance and for the manner Israelites were to conduct themselves with respect to God and each other.” [latter italics mine–DCB ] (Dict).

Now, returning to the ISBE reference, above (keeping in mind those italicized words), the Year of Jubilee becomes, oh, quite a bit more intriguing:

 

…All real property should automatically revert to its original owner (Lev 25:10; compare 25:13), and those who, compelled by poverty, had sold themselves as slaves to their brothers, should regain their liberty (Lev 25:10; compare 25:39).

In addition to this, the Jubilee Year was to be observed after the manner of the sabbatic year, i.e. there should be neither sowing nor reaping nor pruning of vines, and everybody was expected to live on what the fields and the vineyards produced ‘of themselves,’ and no attempt should be made at storing up the products of the land (Lev 25:11…).

Thus there are three distinct factors constituting the essential features of the Jubilee Year: personal liberty, restitution of property, and what we might call the simple life.” (ISBE)

 

Some historical background is critical. Here are breakdowns of the Year of Jubilee’s “essential features,” just mentioned:

 

1. Personal Liberty: The 50th year was to be a time in which liberty should be proclaimed to all the inhabitants of the country. We should, indeed, diminish the import of this institution if we should apply it only to those who were to be freed from the bonds of physical servitude. Undoubtedly, they must have been the foremost in realizing its beneficial effects. But the law was intended to benefit all, the masters as well as the servants. They should never lose sight of their being brothers and citizens of theocratic kingdom. They owed their life to God and were subject to His sovereign will. Only through loyalty to Him were they free and could ever hope to be free and independent of all other masters. [italics mine–DCB] (ISBE)

2. Restitution of Property: The institution of the Jubilee Year should become the means of fixing the price of real property (Lev 25:15 … compare 25:25-28); moreover, it should exclude the possibility of selling any piece of land permanently (Lev 25:23), the next verse furnishing the motive: ‘The land is mine: for ye are strangers and sojourners with me…’ In Lev 27:17-25 we find a similar arrangement respecting such lands that were ‘sanctified unto Yahweh…’

The crowning feature, though, was the full restitution of all real property in the Jubilee Year. The primary object of this regulation was, of course, the reversion of all hereditary property to the family which originally possessed it, and the reestablishment of the original arrangement regarding the division of the land. But that was not all; for this legal disposition and regulation of external matters was closely connected with the high calling of the Jewish people. It was a part of the Divine plan looking forward to the salvation of mankind.

The deepest meaning of it (the Jubilee Year) is to be found in the apokatastasis tes basileias tou theou, i.e. in the restoring of all that which in the course of time was perverted by man’s sin, in the removing of all slavery of sin, in the establishing of the true liberty of the children of God, and in the delivering of the creation from the bondage of corruption to which it was subjected on account of man’s depravity‘ (Rom 8:19 ff)…

In the Year of Jubilee a great future era of Yahweh’s favor is foreshadowed, that period which, according to Isa 61:1-3, shall be ushered in to all those that labor and are heavy laden, by Him who was anointed by the spirit of the Lord Yahweh.” [italics, again, mine–DCB] (ISBE)

 

Surprised? Yay or nay, there’s just a little bit more to follow:

3. The Simple Life: The Jubilee Year, being the crowning point of all sabbatical institutions, gave the finishing touch as it were to the whole cycle of sabbatic days, months and years. It is, therefore, quite appropriate that it should be a year of rest for the land… (Lev 25:11…)… (There is justifiable) reason why we may say that one of the factors constituting the Jubilee Year was the ‘simple life…’ Nobody can deny that this afforded ample opportunity to develop the habit of living within very limited means

We may well ask: Did the Jewish people ever observe the Jubilee Year..? There is, indeed, a tradition according to which the Jubilee Year has never been observed — neither in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah nor at any later period. The truth of this seems to be corroborated by the silence of Josephus, who, while referring quite frequently to the sabbatic year, never once mentions the Year of Jubilee.” [all italics are mine-DCB] (ISBE)

* * * * *

So — it’s here where we’ll cut to the very end of two “chases:”

If you’re a Christian who strongly believes in both an inerrant Bible and God showering you with “bountiful” material gifts just because you claim to be a Christian (of whatever stripe, and there are countless), you’re walking on rigorously-horrid shaky ground, both theologically and philosophically (logic and ethics, chief among its sub-topics).

If you’re a Christian who embraces either an historic or an inerrant Bible, and who gravitates toward self-serving materialistically-driven riches, activities and entitlements, and yet you cringe at all those “less-thans” around you, all those destitute and homeless people who have the gall to “dirty” your neighborhoods and city streets, begging for whatever it is they’re begging for, then you’re not only on shaky religious grounds — you’re practicing blasphemy.

 

Well: Aren’t you?

 

An annotated comment is apt here: “Israelites are aliens and tenants on land that does not belong to them by right but that the Lord has given them as an inheritance. Thus the land is not private property, to be bought and sold speculatively.” (Annot, p. 158)

 

Remember how churches keep telling us we’re but “shepherds” of the land while living out our lives on Earth? Well, the passages, above, are cumulatively a major example of that notion.

And for those Christians who might poo-poo the legitimacy of the NRSV translation — and, honestly, none of these sacred texts were written in English! — here’s what today’s still widely-embraced King James’ translations have to corroborate Scripturally (Lev 25:1-19):

 

*(1) And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, (2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord…

(10) And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

(11) A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it… (12) For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you… (13) In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.

(14) And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbor, or buyest ought of thy neighbor’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another…

(17) Ye shall not therefore oppress one another… (18) Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land of safety. (19) And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.”

 

End of Scripture-quoting.

Okay, then. Everyone who feels “safety” today (early-middle 2010), please raise your hand.

(…)

Hardly anyone? Enough said.

There is no Biblical support whatsoever that justifies greed and entitlement, nor condemnation of those “less well-off.” No support, at all — as in, none.

Therefore, to some of you reading this:

Checkmate.

 

And so on.

* * * * *

Permit me here to return us to our prospective future: January 1, 2013 — a date I’m strongly recommending become the first day of the first-ever complete (and sincere) Year of Jubilee.

We’ll just have to work around some of the Biblical precepts inappropriate to these times — and adjust the starting dates, as well. The first day of the next calendar year after The End of the World seems like an apt and meaningful moment in world history, don’t you think? And by then, we’ll be chomping at the bit to make some meaningful and positive changes.

There are awful, greed-driven new laws heading our way in 2014, thanks to some recent ill-considered Congressional legislation — and so by December 31, 2013, one suspects we’ll have come to our senses (after an enforced year off from greed and entitlement), and will have legislatively changed those changes.

 

Now, yes, I know — no one in the present here and now (early summer 2010) is likely to take much of this very seriously. Greed and entitlement are about as entrenched in the Western and global cultures as they can be. You’ll (meaning me) be dismissed as a Scripture-quoting socialist!

No, I won’t. Please stay with me here — in your future. From that perspective, greedmongering collapsed like a house of cards … and not too long after this essay was edited and published!!

(…Which is pretty funny, being as I — me — haven’t even finished writing it as yet, at this time!) (…at that time, I mean, of course)(…back here, in what itself will become, “back in the day.”)

* * * * *

Here,” on the first day of 2013, our country, and most of the world, are (will still be) trying to move from figurative rubble into a newly designed and desired future. We’ll all be exhausted from Phase Two, “Reacting” to the mess handed our way via Phase One. The Great Leveling, indeed! This was all of our faults; in large part, because so few of us attempted to prevent it.

All we really have to do is act to kick in Phase Three (Recovery) — and declaring this year (2013) “The Year of Jubilee” would be a lovely and wonderful gesture. There should be lots of enthusiastic participation.

Creating good and plenty, by the way, for everyone (keep in mind, Christians and Jews — God’s watching!) is not merely just a great idea.

For the majority of us here in America, it’s an incontrovertible historic mandate!

American Muslims, Buddhists and those representing other religious institutions or beliefs are sure to join hands with us, as well. Why wouldn’t they? We’re talking peace and good will.

…Is there anyone left standing “now” who has a problem with that?

As for our agnostics and atheists … well, I’m pretty sure they won’t mind, either.

 

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