In the United States, in Philadelphia, there is a bell. And on it is written these words: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” This of course is the Liberty Bell. But to be honest, I never knew the words written on it (or if I did, it was long forgotten).
But these words come from Leviticus 25:10, where God said, “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you.”
What was this jubilee? It was a beautiful picture of the freedom we have in Christ.
Every seventh year, the Israelites were not to plow or reap in their fields. They were to let the land have a Sabbath rest, and to eat from the surplus of the sixth year. They were also allowed to pick things from the field for food as well. Then, after 7 Sabbath years, following the Day of Atonement, a trumpet was sounded, and that started the year of Jubilee. During that year, any person that had sold himself to pay a debt was freed and could return back to his family. And any land that he had sold in order to pay a debt, would also be returned to him. Thus, this year of Jubilee was one of freedom and celebration.
It’s very significant, I think, that this year of Jubilee started after the Day of Atonement. I believe God was giving us a clear picture through this. On the Day of Atonement, sin was accounted for. The price of sin was paid. And the next day, the year of Jubilee began. A time of freedom, and restoration. Restoration of relationships. Restoration of land.
And in the same way, after Jesus atoned for our sin by dying on the cross, it marked a new beginning for us. A restoration of a relationship with God. A restoration of relationships with others that had been broken by sin. And a restoration of the inheritance that God has for us. Not just heaven, although that is a part of it. But the life that God intended for us from the beginning. All the things we lost at the fall, are restored. The love, joy, peace, and satisfaction in life God intended us to have in the beginning are all given back to us. But most of all, we’re given back the freedom of the children of God. Freedom from Satan’s kingdom and from bondage to sin. We are free to love and serve God without fear of his anger and punishment. Because Jesus bore it all for us.
As Jesus said,
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)