The Jubilee & Why We Need One

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.

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9 thoughts on “The Jubilee & Why We Need One”

  1. A year of Jubilee would be a great thing. Apply those bailouts to the outstanding balances of people’s loans instead giving the bailouts to the executives.

    A debt settlement is sort of like a jubilee, although it trashes the credit rating for a while. When I was in a rough patch BOA offered to lower my $11K debt to $3200 when I couldn’t make minimum payments anymore. I was shocked they made an offer like that. It was very freeing though, although someday I’d like to make up the difference or give the difference to charity someday.

  2. @Anita – Thanks for your comment. Now the trick: How to get debt balances lowered WITHOUT taking a big hit to your credit score. If you figure that out, let me know. ;-)

    Very cool, by the way, that BoA reduced your debt that much.

  3. Thank you for helping to spread the word! The great thing about Jubilee is that it is a general amnesty, it doesn’t single out individuals for credit score punishment.

    It is amazing how an ancient concept related to God’s mercy and forgiveness would so perfectly solve our modern, materialistic crisis.

  4. @Jubilee Year – You’re welcome. As you point out, the Jubilee applies to everyone, both great and small, regardless of credit scores or anything else. That’s what’s so amazing about it.

  5. While the concept is beautiful in it’s self regulation of debt, we all know the US standard would not be able to handle it. The banks would stop 30 year mortgages within 30 years of the jubilee, and debt terms would continue to shrink until post – jubilee. Only those who’ve missed payments would be forgiven as everyone else would be paid off prior to the jubilee.

    Though this is likely the divine plan.

  6. @Learn the Stock Market – As you point out, the Jubilee is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t work well when you take one part of God’s law and try to force-fit it into a Bablyonian financial system.

    Now, if all of God’s laws are observed, including the Jubilee, then that IS a beautiful thing.

  7. @Ryan – Of course if all of God’s law was being followed than there wouldn’t have been any need for Christ. Following down this line of thought I don’t think a jubilee is at all possible in our society except maybe within very small circles of family / friends.

  8. I’m glad that you decided to write about this. I have been thinking about Jubilee lately. Wouldn’t it be nice! I thought, though, it was only for the people who were paying as they should, so that idea today that would eliminate those who just wait for the Jubilee. Although I don’t think our government would offer a Jubilee, a personal “bailout” would be nice!

    By the way, on your comment about lowering CC balances, I was thinking about the concept of one well-known financial counselor who says to save “$10 a day”. I thought, why not take that $10 a day and instead of just saving it up (and risking spending it!), choose a creditor, and pay $10 on it every day (if you can pay online). It’s some work, having to remember to do it each day, but hmmmmm, it was amazing how quickly my balance went down.:-)

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