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Written by Jim Jordal   
Wednesday, 31 August 2016

BIBLICAL JUBILEE IS INEVITABLE

By Jim Jordal

 And Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hasteth toward the end, and shall not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not delay.                            Habakkuk 2:2-3 ASV

Habakkuk was troubled because the people stubbornly resisted his calls for national repentance. He asks God why he allows this unbearable situation to continue, and God replies with an oracle or vision that he will soon use the conquering hordes of Babylon to punish the nation through captivity and oppression. He then asks God “Why do you tolerate those who deal treacherously, and keep silent when the wicked swallows up the man who is more righteous than he? (Hab. 1:13b WEB).

Then God answers: Write the oracle (vision) I am about to give you on tablets so clear that even a running herald can read it. This vision is for God’s truth at a particular appointed time later in history. At that time the vision will speak powerfully and truthfully. If it seems slow to appear, wait for it because it will surely come, and will not delay.

Today we seem to be in a fulfilment stage of Habakkuk’s vision. Some would say that the vision was for the attack on Jerusalem by Babylon about 50 years later, and the regathering of Judah after 70 years of captivity. But if we consider Romans 15:4 and 2 Cor. 10:11 we find that Old Testament events, far from being cold, dead history, are given to us as examples of God’s power and truth in whatever time period we may live. Whatever the age, they speak to provide admonition and understanding, especially for those of us living in what scholars call the “end times,” or the end of the age.

So Habakkuk’s vision, after centuries of waiting, now speaks truly and clearly as we watch each day the dissolution of human kingdoms and institutions being shaken to pieces by an angry God. Habakkuk wondered why God did not immediately bring retribution upon the wicked, but God knew the time was not yet ready. God’s retribution did come with the Babylonian captivity, but that was only a rather localized example of what would befall a much larger group of people centuries later.

Today politicians promise to bring back the jobs lost to globalization. They offer a virtual utopia of an America made great again as we return to lost values and disappeared opportunity. It sounds good to a nation starved for truth and justice, but it really offers is the old, broken system of business as usual. The jobs lost to China and India will likely never return because they wouldn’t fit the new economy of increased specialization and technology. The job that formerly required 100 laborers is now done by a few robots managed by a computer, so bringing back the laboring jobs wouldn’t help. It’s time for system-wide change and Jubilee more and more appears to be the only viable option.

 At the present time Jubilee seems not to be on the radar screen for most American church bodies. But wait! If you give some attention to the world situation today you’ll likely agree with the assessment of many scientists and philosophers who suggest that almost nothing we’re doing today---political, economic, military, or ecological---is sustainable for a longer run into the future. The world and its unscriptural systems are shaking as they move toward total collapse. Habakkuk saw this coming as he announced his vision for the “appointed” time when it would appear in power and truth in a form that everyone, even a lowly messenger, could understand.

It appears to me that the desperate times we live in speak loudly that the appointed time is now here or else very close. Habakkuk counseled that we wait for it in the secure knowledge that it will certainly come, and not be delayed.

Next week we’ll delve a bit into just what Jubilee is, and how it would apply to various world problems.