Will "Armageddon" take place in a Jewish Jubilee Year?
(as background to this page, the viewer should read 'the time of the end')
The following is extracted from 'The Temple of Ezekiel's Prophecy' (1887)
which was written by Henry Sulley, a Christadelphian & also an architect.
The vision, then, described in the last nine chapters of Ezekiel's prophecy was given at a time when desolation reigned over the once glorious land of Israel; and when the city of Jerusalem was in ruins. Occurring at such a time, it occupies a peculiar position in relation to the history of Israel. It came just as the fruits of disobedience had burst upon them, and its consummation divides their history into two epochs, one--the period of their desolation, and the other--the period of their complete restoration.
The vision contains indisputable evidence of its association with the time of restoration. After Ezekiel was made to see the chief constructional features of the building, he is shown how the glory of the God of Israel enters the house and hears a voice saying: "Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever" (43 : 2-7., R.V.).
The fulfilment of this prophecy involves the restoration, in all its fulness, spoken of elsewhere in the Scriptures, when the glory of the Lord shall rise upon Israel, the Redeemer having come to Zion, and Jacob is no longer in transgression. Then the Lord will have made a new covenant with the house of Israel. In those days shall Judah be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell safely. And the Gentiles will come to her light and kings to the brightness of her rising. The sons of strangers shall build up her walls, and kings shall minister unto her. The sons also of them that afflicted her shall come and do reverence, yea all that despised her shall bow themselves down at the soles of her feet. Her sun shall no more go down; neither will the moon withdraw, for the days of her mourning shall be ended. Never again will Israel defile themselves with their idols, nor with their destestable things, nor with any of their transgressions. They will be one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, because the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform it (Isa. 59 : 20 ; 60 : 1 ; Jer. 31 : 31 ; 33 : 16 ; Isa. 60 : 3, 10, 14, 20 ; Ezek. 37: 22, 23 ; Isa. 9 : 7). "At that time shall they call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord" (Jer. 3: 17). "The place of my throne, the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever" (Ezek. 43 : 7).
Ezekiel is very precise as to the particular day upon which the hand of the Lord was upon him. He mentions the day, the month, and the year : in the five and twentieth year, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the self-same day, or, as it may be well expressed, IN THAT VERY DAY, the hand of the Lord was upon me. Why should the spirit so particularize and so emphasize the day in which Ezekiel was shown the vision? The answer is founded upon four facts :
Firstly--Ezekiel was a man of SIGN to Israel (see 4:3-6) both as regards their affliction and their prosperity.
Secondly--The things Ezekiel saw are represented as actually existent at the time when the vision was given. Thus in verse 43 he refers to the sacrifices as though he saw "upon the tables the flesh of the burnt offerings".
Thirdly--The year mentioned by Ezekiel is almost certainly a Jubilee, a fiftieth year of release--see Lev. 25 : 8-16. It is generally assumed that the solemn passover of the eighteenth year of Josiah (2 Chron. 35) was a jubilee. From the table infra a simple calculation will show that the thirtieth year of Ezekiel is the thirtieth year of a jubilee epoch. It is also the fifth of Jehoiakin's captivity. The Temple vision occurs in the twenty-fifth year of the same captivity, i.e., twenty years later, or fifty years after the last jubilee. The vision is also defined as occurring in the fourteenth year after the city was smitten. This enables a simple confirmatory calculation to be made, thus :
Josiah reigned - 31 years
Josiah kept a jubilee passover
in his eighteenth year - 18 years
Josiah reigned after the jubilee - 13 years
Jehoahaz reigned - 3 months
Jehoiakim reigned - 11 years
Jehoiakin reigned - 3 months
Zedekiah reigned (to the smiting of the city) - 11 years
Ezekiel received the vision 14 years later - 14 years
Total period since last jubilee - 49 years 6 months
Intervals - 6 months
Completed Period* - 50 years 0 months
(* added note)
These kings did not reign so many years to the very day. Obviously therefore, intervals automatically complete the jubilee period.
Fourthly--The tenth day of the first month was the preparation of a great national event (Exod. 12). That event was the deliverance of Israel from bondage, the destruction of their enemies, the passing over of their sins, and the commencement of a new year. These momentous occurrences were but a type of what is to come. They were commemorated by the "feast of the Passover", the inception of which took place by the selection of the sacrificial lamb, on the tenth day of the month (Exod. 12: 2, 3).
From these four facts the following deductions may be drawn : --
a. The building will be completed in a year of jubilee ; by that date it will be finished and opened for public worship.
b. The jubilee will be a solemn Passover, and by the tenth day of the first month the sacrifices will be in preparation, and all things in readiness for the glory of YAHWEH* to enter the newly erected house.
c. The construction of the building will be associated with the national regeneration of Israel, when the Father will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sins no more--blotting out, as a thick cloud, their transgressions (Jer. 31 : 34 ; Isa. 44 : 22, 23). By the time the top stone is fixed, and the last pavement laid, their enemies will have been destroyed ; and all their bondage, whether literal or spiritual, will end in the great Jubilee then inaugurated.
d. As Israel's deliverance from Egypt marked the beginning of months and years unto them (Exod. 12 : 2) ; this greater deliverance, which involves not only regeneration to the house of Israel, but blessing to all the Gentiles, will be the commencement of a new age, in which official records will date not from the year of our Lord, nor from the reign of some Gentile king, nor from Jehoiakin's captivity, but from the day defined in the vision itself, when the offerings of the Israelitish people are once again accepted, and peace shall reign with all the inhabitants of the earth--both Jew and Gentile.
(*added note - 'Yahweh' is the Memorial Name of God -- for an explanation, link to 'The Yahweh-Nissi Altar')
COMMENTS ON THE ABOVE EXTRACT
There are several important considerations which arise from this article by Henry Sulley. The most important is his suggestion concerning the future Temple - i.e. that "the building will be completed in a year of jubilee". He bases this assertion upon the proof which he advances that the vision took place in an actual Jewish Jubilee year. This he calculates from a previous probable Jubilee year in the days of Josiah. It is advisable at this stage to consider Divine prophecy, which finds its ultimate focus in the Apocalypse. Events which have taken place in the past become representative of events which are prophesied to take place in the future. Therefore what could be more indicative of two future consecutive jubilee years than two previous ones?
At this point we might digress a little to consider what we have set out elsewhere, in 'The Time of the End', 'The Prophetical Import of The Feasts of Israel', and ''The Lord's Day' - the Divine Purpose expressed in 8 Visions of Glory', links to which are provided below. The Divine timeline after the return of Jesus Christ appears to be as follows...1. the judgment of the responsible (period undetermined)...2. "Armageddon" & associated judgments in the Middle-East area 10 years...3. The ultimatum to the world to submit to Jesus Christ, which begins a period of 40 years, and itself encompasses two periods. These appear to be a. 10 years ultimatum to the world and preparation for the final judgment upon Rome & her supporters - and b. 30 years during which this judgment will be executed. The beginning of this 30 year period will be marked by the destruction of Rome (the literal city) by the same earthquake which will elevate Zion. The end will be marked by the final destruction of Rome (the spiritual city). During the latter part of the above world-shaking events, the construction of the great Temple of the Future Age will proceed unhindered. As can be seen from the above suggestions, 50 years (a jubilee period) will thus elapse between "Armageddon" and the elimination of all opposition to the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. This fits in perfectly with the suggestion of Henry Sulley, and hence the title of this page. "Armageddon", as a jubilee in AD2027 for Israel, points forward to the jubilee in AD2077 for all mankind.
Currently we see the growing confidence and troubles of Israel, & the preparations of the nations for war - link to 'prophecy'. As set out in 'the time of the end', AD1937 & AD1967 & AD2017 saw the end of the 40 & 70 & 120 year "generation" periods - cp Matthew 24v29-34. The years AD2017 to AD2027 are occupied by the increasing 10 day-year "birth-pangs" of Israel. These began with Palestinian unrest and renewed European anti-semitism resulting from the Jerusalem & Al-Aqsa Mosque issues, and must increase in intensity until "Armageddon".
There appear to be 2 dates which are vital to our understanding of these future events. They are...1. The year of Josiah's great passover/jubilee...2. the year in which Jesus Christ spoke in the synagogue at Nazareth, and quoted from Isaiah with reference to a jubilee deliverance. Concerning No.1, there is some disagreement among commentators as to the actual year. BC624 is one year listed, and because this fits perfectly with the above suggested timeline, we will accept it here. Concerning No.2, many years ago on this web-site, in expounding the fulfilment of the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel concerning Messiah, we suggested that Jesus began His ministry in AD27. This was the year in which He quoted from Isaiah as shown above. These two dates gain strength from each other, being severally seemingly correct, and together even more conclusively so. To understand how BC624 & AD27 & AD2027 can all be in a jubilee year, we must take account of the BC/AD adjustment - link here to Bible - page 2. Note that 40 jubilee periods elapse between AD27 & AD2027. In the Bible, the number '40' signifies trial & tribulation, to be followed by an ultimate "rest to the people of God", and we must "labour therefore to enter into that rest" - cp Hebrews 3v7 to 4v11.
It is necessary to consider the words which Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61v1,2 as recorded in Luke 4v17-21. "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord". The Lord did not quote the last part of Isaiah 61v2 & v3, because "the day of vengeance of our God" and consequent events are reserved for His return. At that time, He will no longer appear as "the Lamb of God'', but instead He will appear as "the Lion of the tribe of Juda", Who will administer the righteous judgments of Almighty God upon His enemies. Concerning the words which Jesus spoke, He stated "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" - Luke 4v21. The words of Isaiah which He quoted are most significant, and have a direct reference to the year of jubilee. In fact, Isaiah himself may have spoken them in a year of jubilee, but this cannot be proven with certainty. Such words as "deliverance to the captives", "to set at liberty them that are bruised", and "the acceptable year of the Lord" breathe the very spirit of jubilee, as a careful reading of Leviticus 25v8-55 will clearly show. And we see the association of jubilee with sacrifice. "Thou shalt cause the trumpet of the jubile 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" - Leviticus 25v9...link to 'sacrifice'. Without the acceptance now of the principles of The Sacrifice of Christ, we cannot hope to attain to the future Jubilee - 1st Peter 1v17-20; Revelation 5v8-10.
It is vital for our viewers to consider this fact. Whether our calculations are correct or not, one prediction is certain. The return of Jesus Christ is imminent, and He will return to take account of His servants before "Armageddon". Understanding "the signs of the times" can alert us intellectually to current and future events, but salvation can only come from a love of the Truth in its purity. "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth...And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" - John 17v17; 8v32; 6v63. It is for those who can respond in their hearts to these inspired and inspiring words that this page has been prepared. We look forward to your joining with us in the short time which may remain, so that we can together look to the future with thankfulness and confidence - the Day of our "jubilee", which will grant us (if faithful) "deliver(ance) from the bondage of corruption" - Romans 8v14-23. However, we should also consider carefully the sobering but uplifting words of John 6v66-69…"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." May we echo these inspiring words, and so gain the future blessed inheritance in the Kingdom of God.