No World Council of Churches Assembly takes place in a vacuum. It will be important in preparing for the Eighth Assembly to take into account other contemporary appropriations of the jubilee theme; other commemorations and anniversaries and the inevitable symbolic significance that will come to be attached to the approach of the year 2000.
The first of these is linked in an Asian-African proposal for a 'Jubilee in 1998' marking the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Vasco de Gama to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope. An extensive research project on the effects of colonialism and neo-colonialism in these two continents - both in terms of environmental damage and the human cost - has already been outlined for this campaign, which proposes to demand cancellation of debt, restoration of land and reparation for what was taken.
The pronounced interest here in reviving the social, economic and ecological implications of the biblical jubilee motif mirrors the continuing interest in Latin America, following 1992 commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Columbus, in specifically applying the jubilee principle to the cancellation of debts as a central biblical perspective of hope.
Two recent national-level jubilee experiences also merit evaluation in terms of how the jubilee motif can strike root beyond a small circle of the initiated:
*Korean churches have been engaged in a visible campaign to designate 1995 - fifty years after the division of the country following World War II - as a jubilee year for reunification.
*In 1991, the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, churches and Christian groups in the country called for a symbolic act of reparation and cancellation of debt using jubilee imagery.
*Christian attention to the year 2000 is likely to focus on its celebration
within the Roman Catholic Church as a 'holy year' and, to a lesser extent,
on a number of evangelistic projects and schemes seeking to 'reach the
whole world' by that year. (Konrad Raiser).
*additions by J. Swan
The Sabbath Years and the Year of Jubilee are set forth in Leviticus 25:1-55 and contains one of the most sophisticated pieces of social legislation to emerge from the ancient world. Much of its intent was to eliminate poverty, as is explicitly stated in the parallel in Deut.15:4,5. No evidence exists that the system was ever fully implemented, but had it been, Israel's history would have been far different. The provisions of the chapter prevent overworking the land, call for regular land redistribution and forbid perpetual servitude.
Years are divided into groups of seven, with the seventh as a sabbatical year (year of rest). No farming was to be done on that year (Lev.25:3-5), debts were to be cancelled (Deut. 15:2), and indentured servants were to go free (Deut. 15:12-15). This cycle was to repeat itself seven times, for a total of forty-nine years. The next year was to be a special one called Jubilee. What was true during a sabbatical year applied to this year also, but in addition all real estate, except that within walled cities, automatically reverted to the family to which it had originally been assigned. Servants were to be released, because all Israelites already belonged to God as His servants - as in the rescue from Egypt. The land was to be redeemed regularly, because it actually belonged to God, not Israel (Lev. 25:23,24). That some Israelites, even centuries later, regarded the keeping of ancestral real estate in the family as a sacred duty can be seen in Naboth's reason for his refusal to sell King Ahab his vineyard (Kings 21:3).
The employment of God's commands to Israel are once again being applied to the gentile nations. It all sounds rather gratuitous and patronising. It is puzzling as to just what the world powers have in view when such generous offers are made to all those nations who are heavily indebted to the International Monetary Fund and/or the World Bank.
It is acknowledged that ex President Ferdinand Marcos was offered a way out of the debt of the Philippines - debt for equity swap - in that he would sign over all natural resources of his country IN PERPETUITY, implement a cashless society with all citizens issued with a debit card. Thereafter, the nation would be permanently in debt to the World Money Controllers with no hope of ever redeeming themselves.
It is known that they rulers of this present darkness are endeavouring to bring in the New World Order - Political, Social and Religious by the year 2000 (man proposes, but God disposes). Therefore it is not surprising to see these 'Jubilee Themes' being proposed as a most benevolent move, firstly through the churches and eventually through the One World Government.
"The contrast of what they are proposing does not even come near the
This is heresy. " J.S.
Note: Expose re the False Jubliee was done by Alabama
[ E. & M. Tarkowski] in Despatch Vol.7:3...