Two Interesting Jubilees

To most people Biblical Chronology is an arcane subject which is by definition boring; but occasionally it can produce a result which is anything but that. First some background:-

In the long history of the Jewish people there have been two great national returns from exile: the first was in 452 BC when 42,360 captives returned from Babylon under the leadership of Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:1-70).

The second was in 1950 when approximately 49,000 Jews returned from Yemen under the Premiership of David Ben Gurion (Israel in Statistics 1948-2007).

Throughout the years since 1950 there has been a continual influx of other Jews making "aliya" (home-coming) but the great peak was in the years 1949 and 1950.

During the seventy-year captivity in Babylon many Israelites forgot about God or adopted the pagan gods; and some who did remember Him thought that He had forgotten about them! But He had not. Though they didn't deserve it, behind the scenes God was still actively working on their behalf, and after the seventy years were over He brought a remnant of them back home to Jerusalem - all those who wanted to return. (The numbers seven and seventy occur so frequently in the works of God that they are usually a clear sign of His invisible hand).

During the far, far longer diaspora after the destruction of Jerusalem by the army of Titus in AD 70, millions more Jews thought that God had forgotten them, especially during the horrors of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and the other death camps of the Nazi years. I myself once heard a bitter rabbinic survivor say "God died in Auschwitz". But God didn't die then. And though they didn't know it, even in those terrible war years He was still working actively behind the scenes on behalf of His people.

It has been said that the First World War prepared the Land for the people, but it took the Second World War to prepare the people for the Land. The Balfour declaration had been made in 1917, but most Jews were too comfortable where they were to make the effort of actually returning to the promised Land. It was not until after the nightmare of the holocaust that in 1947 the UN passed a resolution which declared that when the British mandate in Palestine expired the following year the Land should become a national home for the Jews, and the Jews in their turn began to take seriously the concept of becoming a united people again. On 14th May 1948 David ben Gurion declared the birth of the new nation-state of Israel, albeit a secular one. (Many starry-eyed Christians are greatly shocked to discover that few modern Israelis have any knowledge of Biblical prophecy).

Now while all this was going on, something quite different was happening in Europe. The Soviet Union had blockaded Berlin in an attempt to wrest control of the city from the Allies. The British Commander Sir Brian Robertson suggested supplying Berlin by air, and although the task seemed impossible, the alternative of letting Berlin fall into Soviet hands was also unthinkable, especially to the Berliners who had had experience of Soviet troops in their city. The airlift was put in hand, and by a massive joint American and British effort over fifteen months it succeeded. On 12th May 1940 the Soviets capitualted and the city was free.

Far away in Israel this monumental effort in Europe did not go un-noticed. A month after it finished the Israelis began their own airlift, this time to ferry Jews from the Yemen back to their God-given home in the Land of Israel. Named after the promises in Ex 19:4 and Is 40:31, that operation was called "Eagles' Wings". Like the Berlin airlift it took exactly fifteen months in which some 49,000 Jews were flown from The Yemen back to the Land of their fathers in the new state of Israel.

But what seems to have gone un-noticed is the amazing timing of these two massively significant returns from captivity amongst the nations. Most readers of the Bible will be aware of the institution of the Jubilee year (even if they can't always remember exactly what it was?) When God was giving Moses the laws and commandments at Sinai He also instituted the Jubilee. It is recorded in Leviticus 25:-

v8: And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof ...

...it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession....

v13: In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.

Now for the interesting part.....

The Jubilee years were numbered from the year in which Joshua apportioned the land of Israel amongst the twelve tribes. When they arrived in Canaan the Israelites first had to fight a seven-year war of occupation, and only after they had reached a sufficient degree of security from their enemies were they able to turn their attention to implementing such domestic affairs as the land sabbaths and jubilees. The year of the apportionment by Joshua was the year 2560 from Adam, or as we should say today 1481 BC. It was the year in which Caleb was eighty-five years old.



The return from Babylon was completed in the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, 452 BC, precisely on the twenty-first Jubliee (3 x 7 x 7 x 7) after the apportionment of the land of Canaan by Joshua.

The return from Yemen was completed in AD 1950, precisely on the seventieth Jubilee (10 x 7 x 7 x 7) after the same apportionment.



Both returns, the second of them in the living memory of many today, were alike determined, planned and executed by God, and both were timed from exactly the same apportionment of The Land which Joshua had made back in 1481 BC, as recorded in your own Bible!

(NB: If you wish to check the years with a calculator remember that in history there was no year 0 but your calculator does its arithmetic as though there were. So remember to add one year for the crossover from 1 BC to AD 1.)

So often is the number seven an indication of the direct works of God that Christian Bible scholars now take it for granted and are never surprised to see such numbers turning up (nor that Jesus told Peter to forgive "seventy times seven" - His own life being included in a prophetic fulfillment of exactly the same number). But the significance of this does not seem yet to have dawned upon even the best of today's modern rabbis, probably because their whole rabbinic chronology is in such a mess that they now don't even know which year it is. It cannot be considered anything but a disgrace that rabbis should have to be taught their own history by an Anglo-Saxon Christian! It is to be hoped however that a careful study of the detailed chronology set out on this site may perhaps help to improve their knowledge of The Tanakh.

But notwithstanding the blindness and ignorance of the rabbis, by bringing His people home to Israel precisely on the 21st and 70th Jubilees Ha Shem was fulfilling His own great Law of Jubilee which He had given at Sinai in 1528 BC :- "Ye shall return every man unto his possession." The only Divine right of occupation to The Land claimed by modern rabbis is the ancient promise made to Abraham.

BUT, by these two sovereign acts, twice bringing over forty thousand of own His people back to The Land of Israel precisely in time for such highly significant Jubilees, God has not only acknowledged the Jews as His own people but has also stamped His Divine seal upon their right to dwell in His Land.

Not even the most fervent of today's Zionists seem yet to have realised this!

However... before the rabbis start celebrating there's a little problem here for them. The same superbly precise and accurate chronology which sounds the bell notes of the twenty-first and the seventieth Jubilees also rings-in the great prophecy of Daniel 9: 24-27 about the cutting-off of Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.*

So if the Jews want to claim the seventieth Jubilee as their Divine right to occupy the Land of Israel (which it is) they must also acknowledge the living antitype of that Land whom they crucified in AD 32 - their own Messiah!

The physical courage of the Jews is well known and undoubted. Now let them show an equal moral courage, and repent of the great national sin which has lain upon their nation for two thousand years.

"Then answered all the people and said, His blood be on us and on our children." (Matthew 27:25)

* NB: There never was any gap between the 69th and 70th years of the prophecy in Daniel 9 which was fulfilled in its entirety in AD 70. All the scare-mongering about events which so many have supposed to occur in an imaginary gap between the two years is nothing but foolish and irresponsible fiction. Let us hear no more of this ignorant nonsense. Both the seven-year great tribulation and the seventieth year of Daniel 9 were over and done with exactly on time, as prophesied, in AD 70. There remains NO future fulfillment. The years since then are called "the last time" in scripture precisely because there is nothing left on God's agenda - except The End, and that could indeed come quite soon. Antichrist arrived nearly two thousand years ago; it isn't facing him you now have to worry about. It's facing the Lord Messiah Himself on the great throne of judgment, who after death can cast both body and soul into the fires of Hell. HE is far more terrible than you can possibly imagine. If you want to worry about somebody, worry about HIM!

Download this article as a PDF

Back to Israel