Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall go on from the definition of the jubilee covered in the two previous messages to the blessings of the jubilee. For our understanding, it is good to have the definition of the jubilee. The blessings of the jubilee, however, are not for our understanding; the blessings are for our enjoyment. In addition to understanding the jubilee, we need to enjoy it. We surely need the blessings of the jubilee.
Actually, the preaching of the gospel is the sounding, the trumpeting, of the jubilee. In the preaching of the gospel, we proclaim glad tidings, good news. This good news is that we can be returned to our lost possession and that we can be freed from slavery, from bondage. In our gospel preaching, we need to trumpet the jubilee; we need to proclaim the return to the lost possession and the release from bondage.
According to the type in Leviticus 25, the jubilee has two main blessings. These blessings are the return to the lost possession and the release from slavery.
In the foregoing messages we pointed out that although we are men created by God, we have lost God as our real possession. To be more exact, actually we did not lose our possession—we left it. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates this. When the prodigal son left the father’s house, he also left his inheritance. Likewise, when we left God, we left our true possession. Therefore, in the jubilee it is not that our possession is returned to us; rather, we are returned to the possession which we left. The first blessing of the jubilee is the return to our possession.
In addition to losing our possession, we also lost ourselves by selling ourselves into slavery. Therefore, we need to be set free. This is the second blessing of the jubilee. If you read Leviticus 25 carefully, you will see that, on the one hand, there is the return to one’s possession, and, on the other hand, the return to one’s family.
We all once were prodigals who went away from the Father and from His household. As those who went away both from the Father and from His house, we certainly went away from our inheritance. Therefore, it was necessary for us to be returned to the Father and to His household. This is the jubilee as illustrated by the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15.
The New Testament jubilee was proclaimed by the Lord Jesus in Luke 4:18 and 19. He sounded out the trumpet of the New Testament jubilee when He declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to send away in release those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” After this jubilee was proclaimed, it was experienced by many whose cases are recorded in the Gospel of Luke. All these cases, therefore, are illustrations of the New Testament jubilee.
Among the many illustrations of the jubilee in the Gospel of Luke, the best is the case of the prodigal son being returned to his father, to his father’s household, and to his inheritance. After the prodigal had spent all, a severe famine occurred, and he began to be in want (Luke 15:14). He then “went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed hogs. And he was longing to be satisfied with the carob pods which the hogs were eating, and no one gave him anything” (vv. 15-16). When he came to himself, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have an abundance of bread, but I am perishing here with famine! I will rise up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants” (vv. 17-19). Here we see that the prodigal wanted to be as those who sowed, reaped, and harvested (things which were forbidden in the year of jubilee) by exerting his own effort. His intention was to tell his father that since he was no longer worthy of being a son, he would like to labor as a hired one. But according to the type in Leviticus 25, during the year of jubilee there was to be no sowing, reaping, or harvesting. During that year there was not to be any labor on the land. Hence, the prodigal son should not have come back to the father to be a laborer. He should be returned to the father as one being returned to enjoy his possession.
When the prodigal son was returned, he began to say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (v. 21). The father, not having an ear to hear such nonsensical talk, interrupted him and said to his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf; slaughter it, and let us eat and be merry” (vv. 22-23). Do you know what the fattened calf signifies? The fattened calf signifies the rich Christ as our inheritance. In the words of Colossians 1:12, this is Christ as the portion of the saints. After the prodigal son was returned, he, the father, and those in the household began to enjoy the inheritance. Here in the case of the prodigal son we have a clear picture of the New Testament jubilee. A genuine conversion should be like that of the prodigal son portrayed in this parable.
We have pointed out that the first blessing of the jubilee is the return to our lost possession. In the jubilee those who have lost their inheritance were returned to their possession. This is typified in Leviticus 25:9-13.
The first main blessing of the New Testament jubilee is to return to the possession which we had left. This possession was not anything material—our possession was God Himself.
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