The Jubilee is a biblical concept concerning debt, and I’d like to cover it here because America — and, indeed, much of the world — is in desperate need of a Jubilee.
To understand what a Jubilee is, we first have to start with an understanding of biblical rest patterns. They are all built on the number “7” — which is the number of divine perfection.
And so every seventh day is called a Sabbath, or a day of rest. Most readers will be familiar with this concept since most religious institutions gather on they day they observe as the Sabbath.
When we take this biblical concept one step further, we see that every seventh year is called a Sabbatic Year, a year of rest.
Not only does God command a year of rest for the land during which no crops should be planted, He also commands the suspension of debts during the Sabbatic Year (Deuteronomy 15:1).
This means creditors are not supposed to collect payment on debts during the Sabbatic Year. Obviously, if all the people are observing a rest year, they will have no source of income with which to repay their debts.
The concept of a rest year is important because it plays out on an even grander cycle.
The third manifestation of the Sabbath concept is seven times seven years, or 49 years total. Every 49 years marks what is called “The Jubilee.” It is a year of release in which all debts are canceled. All men go free and return to their inheritance.
In a Sabbatic Year, there is only remission of debts. It’s like hitting the “Pause” button. After the Sabbatic Year is over, the debtor must continue to make payments against his debt.
A Jubilee Year is different because it’s a year in which all debts are canceled. It makes no difference how much a man owes. Every last penny of debt is forgiven, and he starts afresh during the new Jubilee cycle.
This is the mercy factor that is built into God’s law. Unfortunately, God’s law has been shoved aside by even “religious” people, and the biblical concept of debt forgiveness has been all but forgotten.
But right now, we don’t need a bloated stimulus package — we need a Jubilee. If our government were to declare a Jubilee, we could all start over. Of course, some would inevitably fall into debt again, but many would be more financially responsible.
Ultimately, I think a Jubilee would be a blessing for all people. Will our government declare a Jubilee? Probably not. Still, it is an important concept to understand as we try to deal with the weight of excessive debt.