Let me state from the outset that I see no Scriptural reason why the Rapture cannot precede the Tribulation by several years. My focus here is on calculations for the timing of the Rapture that are based upon the assumption that the Second Coming is the fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee. Subtract 7 years from a potential Jubilee year and – voila – the year for the Rapture!
But is the Second Coming really the fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee?
At its most basic component, the Year of Jubilee is one year in duration – with the added promise that God will provide food for the Israelites through to the ninth year.
"Count off seven sabbaths of years – seven times seven years – so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property." Leviticus 25:8-13.
"Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. You may ask, 'What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?' I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in." Leviticus 25:18-22.
This is a pretty specific numerical promise. And it could be prophetic.
Any proposed fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee must encompass at least one full year – but it could also extend through to the ninth year. [Remember that Jesus fulfilled the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits in real time. This sets a precedent for "real time" fulfillment.]
Now, take a look at the events of Revelation 12 as a possible fulfillment for the Year of Jubilee. This chapter addresses what will happen to Israel at the time that Satan is hurled to the earth at the mid-point of the Tribulation:
“The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.” Revelation 12:4-6.
“When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.” Revelation 12:13-14.
Sometime in the future, Israel will be forced to flee into the desert. She will literally have to live off of the land. But she will be protected and provided for by God.
If this should occur during a Jubilee Year, then Israel will be provided for a period past the seventh year. It would fulfill the promise found in Leviticus 25:18-22, exactly.
Year of the Ram’s Horn
The Year of Jubilee begins on the Day of Atonement. On that day, a trumpet is to be sounded throughout the land. The Day of Atonement is also the one day out of the Jewish year that the High Priest can enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle blood on the ark of the covenant. See Leviticus 16:14.
It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for "jubilee," found in Leviticus 25, literally means ram or ram's horn. Significantly, the same Hebrew word is used to describe the trumpets blown at the Battle of Jericho (Joshua 6: 4, 8, 13). They are literally “trumpets of jubilee.”
In that narrative, seven priests carried rams' horns in front of the ark of the covenant.
Is it possible that the seven horns blown at Jericho point to the seven trumpets of Revelation – and also to a connection to the Year of Jubilee?
I propose that the Seventh Trumpet of Revelation 11 is the ultimate Trumpet of Jubilee.
A major transition occurs at the Seventh Trumpet
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great – and for destroying those who destroy the earth.’ Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant.” Revelation 11:15-19.
[Please note the mention of a trumpet and the ark of the covenant in this passage. We see that trumpets and the ark of the covenant also factor in on the first day of the Year of Jubilee and in the Battle of Jericho. Is there a connection?]
The Seventh Trumpet is sounded right after the 3 1/2 year ministry of the Two Witnesses. See Revelation 11:7-15. It signals a major prophetic milestone, because it marks the point at which the kingdom of the world is returned to Jesus Christ.
Do you remember when Satan tempted Jesus with the kingdoms of the world? "The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, 'I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.'" Luke 4:5-7.
Well, here we see the ownership rights of the world returning to Christ. "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 24:1.
The Bible highlights this period of transition: “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:7.
Now, I have no idea what this fully entails, but this mystery is accomplished (past tense) prior to the Second Coming. They do not occur at the same time.
We know that the Year of Jubilee is about the redemption and return of both people and property. It is marked by a time where people are required to live in total reliance upon God.
It would be fitting then for Jesus Christ to have the kingdom of the world returned to Him in a Year of Jubilee. It would also be a fitting time for his people Israel to return to Him – to be forgiven of their sins, to be set free from the bondage of sin, and to live in a state of total reliance upon God.
Jubilee Precedes the Day of Vengeance
We are given an important clue as to the timing of the Year of Jubilee by Jesus Himself. At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus went to a synagogue and read from Isaiah 61:
“‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:18-21.
The actual text of Isaiah 61:1-2, however, reads:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God ….”
By omitting reference to the Day of Vengeance, Jesus made a distinction between these two events. Also, by stating that the Year of Jubilee was already being fulfilled, He established the order of fulfillment.
Although they are related, Jubilee Precedes the Day of Vengeance.
So whether you think that the Day of Vengeance is the last half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (i.e. the Great Tribulation), or a portion of it or the actual 24 hour day when Jesus Christ returns, the Year of Jubilee must precede that Day.
The Second Coming and the Day of Vengeance
The prophet Isaiah tells us what will happen on the Day of Vengeance:
“Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come.” Isaiah 63:1-4.
This matches the description of the Second Coming in the book of Revelation:
“He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sward with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” Revelation 19:13-15.
Clearly, the Second Coming is a better fit for the Day of Vengeance – not the Year of Jubilee.
We are told certain things about the Year of Jubilee and any proposed fulfillment of it must be consistent with those things. An object will cast a shadow with a similar shape. Biblical shadows (i.e. models, types, or patterns) operate in the same way with their respective realities.
– Lisa Taylor