Category Archives: Bible

Introduction to Jubilee by Lee Van Ham of Jubilee

Lee Van Ham explains the biblical origins and goals of the Jubilee, an alternative vision of economics and life that stood in opposition to the empires/superpowers of the day— deliverance from slavery/domination at the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt being a foundational event in Hebrew identity.

Lee Van Ham recalls asking his bible professor in his senior year about the Year of Jubilee and was told that it was an idea that “we don’t really know what to do with, a quaint idea that no one was sure was ever practiced”. This answer did not satisfy him and he felt there had to be more. The practice of Jubilee appears difficult to those supporting the ideology of a dominating economy, for anyone supporting the superpower idea. All creation feels the oppression of dominating power structures.

Jubilee is about recovering eyesight, for those blinded by our culture, for those who want guidance about how to live an acceptable year of the Lord. It’s difficult for many people who read the Bible to think that the Bible has an economic model. Biblical economics has been thought of more in terms of stewardship, success and ethics within the current model rather than supplying an alternative.

Just as a very privatized salvation, a very privatized economics has been adopted rather than the cooperative vision of Jesus. Jubilee is a wonderful picture of an economics that is so much better than the dominating model of empires.

Biblical eschatology is often viewed as mommy and daddy coming to rescue us, rather than a conflict in which we are engaged. The book of Revelation speaks of a battle against a dragon, against a prostitute, against Mystery Babylon the Great. Business leaders in the book of Revelation are seen as prostituting themselves.

Heaven is seen as something coming down to earth, rather than believers being taken away, as in the “left behind” version of the end. Taking up a cross and being a witness to a new order replacing the old demands a cost. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in “The Cost of Discipleship” wrote that one could not support the Third Reich and have an effective Christian witness at the same time. We cannot follow global domination economics as practiced today and advance the Kingdom of God. There is a cost involved. Jesus and his economic thinking was contrary to the Jewish leadership who were co-opted by imperial power and the Roman Empire.

Jubilee is a deep and profound economic democracy. It’s a wonderful expression of what some of our primary American documents claim. The Jubilee economic model is “strikingly relevant”. It’s not true that we don’t know what to do with it. It challenges oppression and empire. It’s not true we don ‘t know what to do with Jubilee, that we can keep putting off what the Spirit is speaking to us. We need to let go of some entitlements and face the issue of structures of sin.

Jubilee from the Walls of Jericho to Wall Street

A powerful prophecy of the fall of Mystery Babylon is hidden within the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho. It is the prophecy of Jubilee. This is an excerpt from my newly released book Run with the Vision

First let’s sing this well known Negro spiritual:

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho,
Joshua fit the battle of Jericho,
When the walls come tumblin’ down Continue reading

His name was DOG and he was HUNGRY for bones

dogHis name was Dog.

He was part of a large group of escaped slaves. His people had been oppressed for hundreds of years in a foreign land. The ruler of a great empire in the south had originally invited them to his land as guests. The ruler’s successors employed them in building massive monuments to the dynasty’s glory. Originally they were paid wages. Then they had to work longer and longer hours with decreasing pay. Eventually they were incarcerated in work camps. They were forced to work day and night with no rest. When their bodies wore out they were thrown into the ditch like human garbage.

The ruler of this empire used to walk around among the slaves to inspect their work. He would wear a heavy yoke on his shoulders, like those that used to be placed on oxen. The tyrant would taunt the slaves, saying that they were weaklings, more tender than himself. After all, he told them, he too was a slave of his position. His economic policy for all people in the empire was one of genocidal austerity. There were a few exceptions. These were his family and relatives and the priests, who numbered about one percent of the population. They were worshipped as gods. Continue reading

Another Day for Blowing the Trumpet

Shofar, the trumpet of jubilee

Shofar, photo by Olve Utne

Today is Yom Kippur, the 10th day of the Jewish New Year. It was on this day, in the ancient Jubilees, that the trumpet (shofar) was once again blown and slaves were set free.

It is believed by some teachers of Bible Chronology that on this day, Yom Kippur in 2011, we will see release from an ancient cycle of bondage.

Yom Kippur is a day of fasting, prayer and repentance.

Lord, give us faith as a people and a nation to turn to You and trust in You, desperately depending upon You alone to give us Your wisdom. Let us not try to explain away or cover up our sins of material lust, self-centered indulgence, predatory lending, greed, and rebellion against the wisdom of Your Word and Your ways. Let us admit the sin for the sin that it is and repent before You, personally and as a people of a nation humbling themselves before God (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Here is an outline of the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur

…  Much symbolism surrounds the blowing of the shofar, but it is most commonly seen as a wake-up call. Likened to an alarm clock, the shofar says, “Wake up and take a look at the way you’ve been living, and do something about it.”

The High Holy Days – A Time Of Personal Change And Spiritual Return

By Nina Amir

As the leaves on the trees begin to turn, local Jews, as well as Jews all over the world begin the process of t’shuvah, a Hebrew word meaning repentance which comes from the root “to turn or return.” For them, autumn ushers in the High Holy Days, during which they turn their attention away from the distractions of everyday life and toward God, away from outward denial of wrongdoing and toward acknowledgment of sins, away from unwanted behavior and toward repentance. At this time of year, change is in the air for Jews all around the world.

The High Holy Days include both Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Repentance. Thus, this period marks the joyous beginning of a new year as well as a somber period of introspection. However, preparations for the “Days of Awe” – the period between Rosh Hashanah and the end of Yom Kippur, begin on September 8 with the observance of Selichot, a late evening or nighttime service involving the recitation of penitential prayers. Many Jews take time both with their community and on their own to begin the process of evaluating their own behavior over the past year on this night, and then continue doing so until the last sound of the shofar, the rams horn traditionally blown on this holiday, at sundown on Yom Kippur.

Although some Jews observe Selichot for a full month prior to Rosh Hashanah, others begin their observance approximately a week before the start of this holiday. In either case, this religious observance might be likened to a “warm up” for the High Holidays, my old Rabbi Steven Bob of Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard, once told me. “Before you go running, you want to stretch a little bit. This is spiritual stretching. The Selichot service introduces the theme and melodies of the High Holy Days while also stressing God’s royalty and our modest position. We recognize that God is judging us, but…we don’t want justice, we want mercy,” said Bob.

Selichot marks the first time during the High Holidays that Jews hear the shofar blown. Much symbolism surrounds the blowing of the shofar, but it is most commonly seen as a wake-up call. Likened to an alarm clock, the shofar says, “Wake up and take a look at the way you’ve been living, and do something about it.” Blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah represents a call to return to God. During the year, we tend to stray from the path or get distracted, and we have to come back, turn towards God once again.

At the conclusion of the Selichot service, Jews have a week to begin their self-assessment before Rosh Hashanah. Although this holiday is a joyous one, it does mark the beginning of 10 days of introspection and repentance. On Rosh Hashanah the liturgy speaks of people “being written in the Book of Life.” If they sincerely repent for sins and rectify wrongs from the last year, on Yom Kippur their names are “sealed” in the Book. If they do not, their names are erased. While this language can be seen as a liturgical poetic image, it serves to remind Jews that what we do counts whether it is well known or whether it is secret. With our deeds, we write on the pages of our own Book of Life.

The Book of Life also provides a beautiful metaphor that reminds us we are fragile and don’t know whether we will survive the year or not. Should we not survive, it seems a good idea to atone before meeting God and facing whatever fate lies before us.

The stress on being written in the Book of Life also allows Jews to think about the fact that our fate is not sealed forever, that we have an active role in what the future may bring us. Judaism has a doctrine of fee will; thus, we not pawns that play out Divine Will. The Yom Kippur liturgy stresses this fact, repeating over and over again that repentance, prayer and just actions can avert the severity of the decree.

We don’t often think of change as easy. It seems easier to stay the way we are and where we are. Yet, change is inevitable and often forced upon us. At this time of year, the Jewish tradition doesn’t force us to change but asks us to change. We are reminded of the necessity of change – change for the better.

We can see this as an obligation. We can see it as an opportunity.

Either way, the Jewish New Year offers us a chance – for some of us a second chance in addition to the secular New Year – to look at ourselves, our relationships and our lives and to set new goals, to create new priorities and to make amends for the wrongs we might have consciously or unconsciously, purposefully or accidentally committed over the past 12 months. This, too, can be difficult – to honestly look at ourselves and our deeds. If we are willing to do the work, however, the period from Selichot to Yom Kippur provides a chance for t’shuvah, to turn towards what we want in our selves, in our lives and in the world, to return to our best selves. It’s a time to write our life for the coming year, to envision the year as we would like it to be and ourselves as we would like to become. And then when we hear the shofar blown in those last moments of Yom Kippur, we know that change has descended upon us. Or, more accurately, we have brought change upon ourselves.

Nina Amir, a writer, motivational speaker, workshop leader, and Kabbalistic conscious creation coach, teamed up with Karen Stone, a life and love coach, writer, speaker, and workshop leader to publish “Planting Seeds of Change…And Watching Them Grow.” They co-lead a 4-part Teleseminar Series based on their booklet. The next series begins on September 6th. To enroll, visit or call 408-353-1943 or 770-435-2030.

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Sound The trumpet- Proclaim Liberty

Today is Yom Teruah – Rosh Hashannah (the new year) in modern Judaism, the day of trumpet blasts. It’s known as the Feast of Trumpets in Christianity. Yom Teruah literally means a day of noise/blasts. It’s the first day of the seventh month in the Jewish calendar which begins sunset September 29 and ends sunset September 30. 2011.


Iubilee is of this Hebrew word Iobel, which in English signifieth a trumpet: a yeare of singuler mirth and ioy, and of much reste. -Marbeck, 1581

It’s Time to Wake Up!

The sounding of the shofar on Yom Teruah is a wake-up blast – a reminder that the time is near for the Day of Atonement, the time is near for repentance.

The Yom Teruah trumpet blast is intimatedly connected with  the Jubilee. With a  blast of the shofar, Liberty was proclaimed throughout the land, debts were cancelled and slaves set free. All the dispossessed poor returned and took back their inheritance. The Hebrew “Yobel”, the shofar, the ram’s horn trumpet, later became associated with the Latin words “Jubilum” and “Jubilaire”, which mean to rejoice, to celebrate, to party. So the English word we know as “Jubilee” has always been associated with music, a horn, trumpets, singing, rejoicing, partying and victory celebrations.

It’s time to sound the Trumpet!
It’s time to Proclaim Liberty!

Sound The Shofar : Tekiah , Shevarim, Teruah, Gadolah

This is a short video of the traditional shofar sounds and their names. you can hear the different sounds of the Shofar…



We are the Jubilee Generation

Star of 2000An excerpt from “The Star of 2000: Our Journey Toward Hope“, by Jay Gary, PhD. Jays describes himself as a Foresite Coach, helping leaders rethink the future. Jay’s motto on Twitter is “How to lead from the future and recreate your career and company through strategic foresight, innovation and global leadership from a Regent U professor” His website is:

Written prior to the year 2000, Jay’s book anticipated the celebrations, changes and opportunities at the start of the new millenium, focusing on celebrating Jesus as “the star of 2000”.

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Bible Verses on Jubilee and Debt Cancellation

Old Hebrew Bible

Old Hebrew Bible

Isaiah 61:1-3a
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, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them the crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Leviticus 25:8-55
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. Continue reading

An Introduction to the Jubilee

Jubilee CelebrationYou shall make the trumpet sound throughout all your land…
And you shall hallow the fiftieth year,
And proclaim liberty throughout all the land,
unto all the inhabitants thereof:
it shall be a jubilee for you:
and you shall return every man unto his possession
and you shall return every man unto his family

– Leviticus 25:9,10

In ancient Israel, the Year of Jubilee was the name given to the fiftieth year, a year heralded with the blast of a trumpet. It was a year to be hallowed, a year when liberty and release from debt was proclaimed throughout the land.

In this year all slaves were set free. All debts of the poor were cancelled. Those that had been depressed into poverty for any reason were commanded to return home to their family and repossess their inheritance. It was a year of new beginnings, an economic recovery for everyone in the land.

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