BRINGING HEAVEN DOWN - PART 10
THE FATHER'S ACCEPTABLE YEAR
January 1 , 2014
“Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away free, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” With that he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were intently fixed on him. Then he began to say to them: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.”
– Luke 4:18-21
When Jesus stood and read the above words from the book of Isaiah, he was taking ‘old wine’ and turning it into fresh ‘new wine.’ He was alluding to a familiar concept under the Mosaic Law – the Jubilee – but he was giving it new meaning.
Under the Law, every 7th year from the entry of Israel into the ‘Promised Land’ was called a Sabbath Year. During the 6 years leading up to a Sabbath Year, the nation was to sow, cultivate and harvest the land, but during the 7th year – the Sabbath Year – the land was to be allowed to rest. The people had to store up during the previous 6 years to sustain themselves during a Sabbath Year. (Leviticus 25:1-7) The year following the 7th consecutive Sabbath Year – the 50th year – was called a Jubilee. A Jubilee was a year of liberty and freedom. Not only was the land to rest, but all those who had been sold into slavery were to be released; and all hereditary land possessions that had been sold were to be returned to the original owner.
“You must sanctify the 50th year and proclaim liberty in the land to all its inhabitants. It will become a Jubilee for you, and each of you will return to his property and each of you should return to his family.”
– Leviticus 25:10
When Jesus proclaimed the Father’s ‘Acceptable Year,’ it was not a literal Jubilee – a 50th year – as it would have been calculated under the Law. Nevertheless, he was ‘anointed’ to bring in an everlasting Jubilee – ‘to declare good news, to proclaim liberty, to give sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away free’ for all time. And not just for the Jew, but for all mankind.
Jesus’ proclamation of a Jubilee that began in the 1st century was not temporary or of limited duration. It continues to this day. He offered himself ‘once for all time.’ He truly and permanently set man free.
“By this ‘will’ we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.”
– Hebrews 10:10
“Moreover, the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be truly free.”
– John 8:35-36
However, as mentioned in the prior article, Bringing Heaven Down – Regaining Liberty, mankind relinquished and gave up his liberty, and returned to the servitude of man. As a result, we continued in bondage, of our own making, as the true kingdom message of liberty and freedom as sons of God slumbered.
But now the true good news is stirring again. Man is awakening from his centuries-long stupor. He is coming to realize the plain and open teachings of Jesus and he is pulling against the chains that bind him. And by doing so, he is stimulating the Spirit of Truth to bear witness with his own spirit that he is indeed already free, already a citizen of the heavenly kingdom, and already a member of the household of God. Yes, the son has already set us free, so ‘who can snatch us out of his hands?’
“I give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is something greater than all other things, and no one can snatch them out of the hand of the Father. I and the Father are one.”
– John 10:28-30
Accordingly, because the evidence is all around us, we declare 2014 as Man’s Jubilee – the Father’s Acceptable Year!
Presumptuous? Not at all. We are merely repeating the call that our Master heralded 2,000 years ago. We are preaching the things ‘he commanded.’ (Matthew 28:19-20) Since we have fallen asleep and become dull in our hearing (Hebrews 5:11), it bears repeating in this 21st century – we are no longer poor, captive, blind or crushed. We are free – free sons of God and this is His Acceptable Year for all of us to make it manifest!
Do you not feel the freedom in the air? Do you not sense that something is about to happen – something great! There is an abundance of spiritual activity happening around the globe, permeating our homes, our communities, and our nations, but the media is not taking note of those things. Only the recent activities of Pope Francis are getting any worldwide attention. But do not be misled. The future is much brighter than most Christians see it. Just in the last two years, millions have awakened to their sonship. They have turned their eyes, their minds, and their hearts heavenward – to the Kingdom of the Heavens. And in response, the heavens are truly coming down! The Spirit of Truth is roving about, just as it did in the 1st century (Daniel 12:4), seeking to guide, inspire and uplift each individual who will let him in. Our vast celestial family has been stirred to action and is actively supporting these sons in their lives and in their ministry. We know that there are many who are reading these words who know this to be true – literally true!
But if you are not among those who are experiencing these divine inclinations and unmistakable manifestations, this declaration of liberty is for you! Keep on asking, seeking and knocking, and it will be given to you. (Matthew 7:7-8) It will help if we take a fresh look at Jesus’ proclamation of liberty, and explain, in modern terms, what the Jubilee means for man, how it should affect our religious organizations and associations, and how one can grab hold of his God-given, Christ-won liberty.
Good News to the ‘Poor’
When Jesus proclaimed ‘good news to the poor,’ he was not necessarily referring to those in physical poverty. He was referring to those in spiritual poverty and those who are hungering and thirsting for truth.
“Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.”
– Matthew 5:6
All of the questions they had about the true God, such as, How do we find God? How do we serve God? How do we gain His approval? How do we even know He exists? All of the answers are found in the person and ministry of Jesus.
“Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you men had known me, you would have known my Father also; from this moment on you know him and have seen him.”
– John 14:6-7
The Father knows that we cannot fully comprehend His eternal nature. To mankind, the true nature of the Everlasting Universal First Father is unrevealed. Not because God is in hiding; but because if He fully revealed Himself to us, we could not comprehend Him:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, And your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
– Isaiah 55:8-9
“For ‘who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?’ But we do have the mind of Christ.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:16
Yes, the ‘good news’ is that we can find God by examining the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. We can serve God and gain His approval by imitating the faith of Jesus. No longer does man have to follow rituals and manmade customs. No idols to rub, no feet or rings to kiss. No incense to burn, no chants or incantations. No magic or superstition or props of any kind. Just doing ‘the best and right thing under the circumstances’ according to the plain and open teachings of Jesus:
“Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for indeed, the Father is looking for ones like these to worship him. God is a Spirit, and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.”
– John 4:23-24
And it does not cost even a penny.
“And the spirit and the bride keep on saying, “Come!” and let anyone hearing say, “Come!” and let anyone thirsting come; let anyone who wishes take life’s water free.”
– Revelation 22:17
Neither do we have to be learned theologians. Everything we need to know for salvation is contained in the plain and open teachings of Jesus. Remember:
“Now when they saw the outspokenness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were astonished. And they began to realize that they had been with Jesus.”
– Acts 4:13
“For you see his calling of you, brothers, that there are not many wise in a fleshly way, not many powerful, not many of noble birth, but God chose the foolish things of the world to put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world to put the strong things to shame; and God chose the insignificant things of the world and the things looked down on, the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no one might boast in the sight of God.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
“Listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor from the world’s standpoint to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom, which he promised to those who love him?”
– James 2:5
Really, one’s intellect often gets in the way. Those who are ‘full of themselves,’ have no room for Jesus’ message. (See Expanding Our Spiritual Vision.) They are the ones who get caught up in debates about words that end up in nothing useful. (1 Timothy 1:4) There is very little a Priest, Rabbi or Pastor can teach you about salvation that Jesus has not already given you. Even the things we publish on this site are merely restatements of what Jesus taught. Find dignity in your hungry state so that you may be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
To those poor in spirit, Jesus’ teachings are filling and satisfying. He is ‘the bread of life.’ (John 6:48) Such ones can push away from the table of man and from their burdensome and self-serving doctrines. They can turn away from the forced feeding of repetitious ‘reminders’ and ‘kool-aid’ indoctrination. They can clear out their ‘spiritual pantries’ by throwing away the rotten teachings and poisonous theologies that weigh them down and kill the spirit. And they can freely partake of the life and ministry of Jesus by participating in the Memorial Supper instead of watching longingly from the side lines like ‘little dogs panting for the crumbs off the table.’ (Matthew 15:27) Yes, they can join in the Memorial Supper, not to commemorate his death, but to celebrate and remember his magnificent life. (Luke 22:19)
To the poor in spirit who are floundering and vacillating in doubt and indecision, you can decide that from this time forward, you will only consume the fresh, organic, plain and open teachings of the one Master of all, Christ Jesus. Surely you must know that the ‘bread from heaven’ is sufficient nourishment to sustain a God-oriented life! As you do these things, you will have the loving support of your spiritual brotherhood who are also taking firm hold of the good news. Therefore, we echo our Master and declare this ‘good news to the poor.’ Eat and drink with joy! This is indeed your Jubilee!
Liberty to the Captives
When Jesus proclaimed liberty to the captives, he started with the Jews who were held in spiritual captivity by the merciless dominion of their Sanhedrin of scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. These so-called leaders had added over 600 rules to the Law of Moses, rules that invaded every area of their lives, subjecting them to the feckless control of these fleshly minded leaders. Jesus was deeply saddened by the deplorable state of what was once a great liberating religion:
“And Jesus set out on a tour of all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the Kingdom and curing every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity. On seeing the crowds, he felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.”
– Matthew 9:35-36
The Jews had been stripped of their dignity, pillaged of their resources, and thrown back into ‘their pen’ with no spiritual guidance or even mercy for the weight of their burdens. But Jesus’ compassion caused him to physically heal all who came to him and, along with it, he offered spiritual healing when he said:
“Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
The spiritual healing was made manifest by freeing the people of their heavy religious burdens. The things Jesus required of them were minimal and easy. Simply have faith in his message (1) that God is our Father, (2) that all men are our brothers, and (3) that there awaits a grand eternal future as spirit-adopted sons of God in heaven.
“Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in union with Christ, as he chose us to be in union with him before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and unblemished before him in love. For he foreordained us to be adopted as his own sons through Jesus Christ, according to his good pleasure and will.”
– Ephesians 1:3-5
All other matters of godly devotion and salvation are wrapped up in those three ideas. If we recognize God as our Father, we will do our best to be like Him. (Matthew 5:48) If we recognize all men as our brothers, we will treat them as we want to be treated. (Luke 6:31) And if we are seeking the heavenly adoption, we will conduct ourselves as temporary residents on earth who need not fear (nor cause) any calamity. (Matthew 10:28)
By the way he led his life, Jesus demonstrated the simplicity of his message of liberty. When he found himself in situations where he was expected to submit to burdensome religious and doctrinal requirements, he wisely refrained, and reiterated the simplicity of godly devotion. For example:
“Now the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. And they saw some of his disciples eat their meal with defiled hands, that is, unwashed ones. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands up to the elbow, clinging to the tradition of the men of former times, and when they come from the market, they do not eat unless they wash themselves. There are many other traditions that they have received and cling to, such as baptisms of cups, pitchers, and copper vessels.) So these Pharisees and scribes asked him: “Why do your disciples not observe the tradition of the men of former times, but they eat their meal with defiled hands?” He said to them: “Isaiah aptly prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’ You let go of the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men.”
– Mark 7:1-8
“Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And look! a woman was there who had had a spirit of weakness for 18 years; and she was bent double and was unable to straighten up at all. When he saw her, Jesus addressed her and said: “Woman, you are released from your weakness.” And he laid his hands on her, and instantly she straightened up and began to glorify God. But in response the presiding officer of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus did the cure on the Sabbath, said to the crowd: “There are six days on which work ought to be done; so come and be cured on those days, and not on the Sabbath day.” However, the Lord answered him: “Hypocrites, does not each one of you on the Sabbath untie his bull or his donkey from the stall and lead it away to give it something to drink? Should not this woman, who is a daughter of Abraham and whom Satan held bound for 18 years, be released from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” Well, when he said these things, all his opposers began to feel shame, but the entire crowd began to rejoice at all the glorious things he did.”
– Luke 13:10-17
In each instance, simple godly devotion trumped their meticulous and ridiculous rules! The people were encouraged by his simple message of liberty, but the religious leaders did not comprehend how truly simple the message was. They thought they could trick him into speaking against the Law of Moses which, in their minds, would surely cause the people to reject him. So on one occasion, after answering one of their trick questions:
“[O]ne of them, versed in the Law, asked, testing him: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ He said to him: ‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”
– Matthew 22:35-40
By way of this response, Jesus explained that those who accepted his message are only required to keep those two simple commandments, and if we are successful in doing so, we will have fulfilled all other moral and divine laws. This was true liberty to the Jews, and this liberty was to spread to ‘the most distant part of the earth’ (Acts 1:8) for all who sought, and seek, freedom from the burdensome rules and requirements of theocracies who set themselves up as intercessors and masters over the faith of others.
The liberty Jesus gave results in true religious freedom – not only freedom from burdensome rules, but freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of worship. Jesus’ plain and open teachings will appeal to even the non-believer if he but opens his mind and heart to the possibility that there is a personality greater than man who has a plan and a purpose for his life.
To those captive to burdensome religious customs, traditions, rituals and rules, Jesus has set you free. You can decide from this time forward that you will ‘obey God as ruler rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29) As free sons, you can rest from your labors of toiling and begging for man’s approval; from sacrificing all your time and resources for the glorification of institutions and men; from subjecting the ‘secret person of the heart’ to the scrutiny of overlords so that you can enjoy the simple pleasures of life and the joy of a freely conducted ministry. Jesus expressly and explicitly gave you that freedom when he said:
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called leaders, for your Leader is one, the Christ.”
– Matthew 23:8-10
We are admonished to ‘honor men of all sorts’ (1 Peter 2:17), but no Pope or Priest is our ‘father,’ no Rabbi is our ‘teacher’ and no Pastor is our ‘leader.’ They are all brothers in Christ on equal footing with each of us who are as obligated to honor you as you are to honor them. (Galatians 3:26-28) If mutual honor and respect is not given, you are free to exit their ‘slave huts’ and enter the spiritual brotherhood of the free sons of the Kingdom who will gladly serve alongside you as fellow workers in Christ. (Romans 16:3) This is your Jubilee!
Recovery of Sight to the Blind
When Jesus brought a recovery of sight to the blind, he was referring to the spiritually blind – those without clear spiritual vision and those without spiritual insight. The Jewish religion as established by Moses was the highest concept of God in its day. The Law was designed to prepare the Jewish mind for the coming Messiah. It was a tutor or a guide (Galatians 3:24-25) such that, if followed, it would have led the Jewish nation to the Christ. Instead, they allowed their scribes to alter the ‘tutor’ by adding their own traditions and interpretations of Moses’ words, and then teaching those interpretations as if they were also law:
“This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.”
– Matthew 15:8-9
The Jews had become blinded by pride, by their traditions and by their expectations. Their religion had become fixed, permanent and unyielding. Because they saw their religion as the absolute truth, there was no room for enlightenment or enhanced spiritual meaning. If it was not written by Moses or their scribes, to them it was of no value, and it was instantly rejected. Thus, when Jesus came adding new meaning to the old wine, and asserting the spirit of the law over the letter of the law, they could not yield.
In particular, their traditions led them to believe that the Messiah would come as a warrior king who would vanquish the surrounding nations and rule the world from the throne of David. Thus, when the Messiah arrived in the mild and lowly person of Jesus of Nazareth, they could not ‘see’ him. They were blinded by their attempt to make their visions of grandeur come true. It was to these blind souls that Jesus initially preached his message of liberty. And many who heard him regained sight, abandoned the tutor, and took hold of the real life as sons of God.
“However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.”
– John 1:12
Yes, the appointed time had arrived and their eyes were opened to their true selves, as sons of God, not slaves, and they enthusiastically cried out “Abba! Father!”
“Now I say that as long as the heir is a young child, he is no different from a slave, although he is the lord of all things, but he is under supervisors and stewards until the day set ahead of time by his father. Likewise, we too, when we were children, were enslaved by the elementary things of the world. But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent his Son, who was born of a woman and who was under law, that he might release by purchase those under law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons. Now because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, and it cries out: “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then you are also an heir through God.”
– Galatians 4:1-7
The spiritual vision afforded by Jesus remains. It was not just for one generation; it was for all time. To this day, all who hear the liberating message of Jesus are ‘no longer slaves, but sons!’ So why is it that many today fail to either realize their sonship or to fully appreciate it? Paul explained:
“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:12-17 Today’s New International Version
Now is not the time to continue under the tutelage of the old covenant with its ‘weak, beggarly and elementary ideas.’ (Galatians 4:9) It is time to enter the new covenant where the law of God is written, not on tablets, but in our hearts.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ says Jehovah. ‘I will put my laws in their mind, and in their hearts I will write them. And I will become their God, and they will become my people.”
– Hebrews 8:10
We must open our spiritual eyes, grow up in our faith and learn to apply the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law, for it is the letter of the law that blinds us. Jesus gave us just two commandments – love the Father with our whole heart and love our brothers as ourselves. (Matthew 22:35-40) These two spiritual commandments give freedom and insight.
We must also learn who the Father is – his true character as revealed by Jesus. And learn who Jesus is – his true character as manifest by his conduct and ministry. Always keep our eyes open to these realities as we grow in understanding, knowing that any ideas that characterize our Father or Christ Jesus as anything less than benevolent, merciful, loving, patient, and just, is either a misunderstanding or simply wrong.
Do not allow such error to cause you to miss out on the real blessings as the Israelites did. Do not allow the traditions and expectations of men to color your understanding of our future destiny. And do not be misled into ‘reading the old covenant’ and assuming it applies in our day. We are followers of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, not any other man or prophet. Jesus’ words and ministry trumps all those who came before him and all those who came after him. We respect wise teachers and contemplate their wise sayings, but we live only by Jesus’ teachings. That is the meaning of being ‘Christians.’
Remember these words:
“Jesus said to them: ‘Keep your eyes open and watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’”
– Matthew 16:6
“Keep your minds fixed on the things above, not on the things on the earth.”
– Colossians 3:2
“For though the tribulation is momentary and light, it works out for us a glory that is of more and more surpassing greatness and is everlasting;while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
To those experiencing spiritual blindness, allow the veil to fall from your eyes. Turn away from the mundane, elementary things and prepare yourself to follow the Christ into the heavenly abodes that have been prepared for you. It is no lie.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God; exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father are many dwelling places. Otherwise, I would have told you, for I am going my way to prepare a place for you.”
– John 14:1-2
Spiritual seeing IS believing. In other words, by belief you will see. Physical things must be seen to be loved, but spiritual things must be loved to be seen. Have faith in the plain and open teachings of Jesus and you will recover your spiritual vision and be freed from the errors of men. This is your Jubilee!
Sending the Crushed Ones Away Free
When Jesus said he would send the ‘crushed ones’ away free, he was referring to those who were spiritually crushed. It was more than the common religious domination that affected the entire nation. The ‘crushed ones’ were those who were specially singled out and abused. They would include the wrongly divorced women and the widows and orphans who were abandoned by their religious leaders. They would include those weak ones who were expelled from their synagogues instead of encouraged and upbuilt. It would include all those who sought spiritual refreshment during difficult times, but who were mercilessly turned away.
“Your princes are stubborn and partners with thieves. Every one of them loves a bribe and chases after gifts. They do not grant justice to the fatherless, And the legal case of the widow never reaches them.”
– Isaiah 1:23
All of these, and more, Jesus released from their sorrowful condition. He put back what had been taken away, he watered what was drying up, and he re-ignited what had been extinguished. He told them:
“Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
And all who came to him, he granted to become children of God. (John 1:12) This healing was a restoration of self-worth, self-respect and dignity. And it added purpose to their lives as the light of the world, the sons of God and heirs to the heavenly kingdom. (Romans 8:16-17) This is what sonship is all about – giving back self-respect, self-worth, and dignity.
“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. Happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted. Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth. Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, sincethey will be filled. Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy. Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God. Happy are the peacemakers, since they will be called sons of God.” – Matthew 5:3-8
“You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when located on a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it shines on all those in the house. Likewise, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.” – Matthew 5:14-16
Yes, the simple knowledge that they are sons of God and heirs to the heavenly kingdom infused them with power. No more were they slaves or children who could be ‘tossed about by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in deceptive schemes.’ (Ephesians 4:14) They knew the truth about themselves, and that truth set them free! (John 8:32)
These same blessings of restoration and liberty are available today, but it seems the ‘crushed ones’ are not aware of it or do not appreciate the revolutionary healing effect of this simple truth. To those, we say, as did the psalmist:
“Taste and see that Jehovah is good; Happy is the man who takes refuge in him.” – Psalms 34:8
And we declare:
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”– 2 Corinthians 3:17 Today’s New International Version
We see firsthand among Jehovah’s Witnesses the fear to take this leap of faith, though we are certain these same conditions prevail in other religious associations. For example, we hear from many wives whose husbands disrespect and abuse them while the Elders look the other way. We hear from both brothers and sisters who went to the Elders for comfort in trying times who were turned away and even chastised for their poor condition. We hear from so many who were disfellowshiped for fleshly weaknesses and caused to beg and plead for years to be reinstated, while they languish in spiritual and social isolation. We hear from a great number who wish to discontinue associating with the congregation for reasons such as these, but who are being emotionally extorted to remain lest they, too, lose the association of their own families! And we hear of thousands who feel severely betrayed and abused by the organization they put their trust in for decades. These ‘crushed ones’ need relief. They need to be released and ‘sent away free.’ They need a Jubilee!
To all such ones, we implore you to take your stand on the side of Christ Jesus as heirs of the heavenly kingdom. Know that you are not friends of God, you are sons of God deserving of the heavenly abodes being prepared for you. (John 14:1-2) When you realize your true heritage, your true purpose and your true destiny, there is no power that can conquer you. You become the conqueror! So do not allow yourselves to remain victims, complaining and crying about the imperfection of men. Arise as victors! As Paul counseled the 1st century brothers:
“So, then, because we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us,let us also throw off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus.”
– Hebrews 12:1-2
There is an inward strength in being free. And from freedom, the scaffolding of a stalwart character can be constructed that is able to stand through any and all seasons. Therefore, ‘form a longing for the unadulterated milk’ of the plain and open teachings of Jesus (1 Peter 2:2-3) and clothe yourselves in the spiritual armor:
“For this reason take up the complete suit of armor from God, so that you may be able to resist in the wicked day and, after you have accomplished everything, to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, and having your feet shod in readiness to declare the good news of peace. Besides all of this, take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the wicked one’s burning arrows. Also, acceptthe helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.”
– Ephesians 6:13-17
This call to action is being heard and heeded around the world. You are not alone. In addition to your worldwide spiritual brotherhood of the children of God, you have the indwelling Spirit of the living God within you (1 Corinthians 3:16), you have the guidance and comfort of the Spirit of Truth beside you (John 14:26; John 16:13) and you have the support of numerous angelic beings all around you whose purpose is to help you reach your destiny. As our Lord proclaimed nearly 2,000 years ago to the ‘crushed ones,’ you are free. This is your Jubilee!
To the Captors and Those Restraining a Jubilee
When Jesus proclaimed the Father’s Acceptable Year, he was announcing a worldwide change in the way man views himself and the way he should treat his brothers. It was not only to the poor, blind and crushed captives. It was also a message to the captors that they, too, can gain their liberty and the Father’s mercy by complying with His wishes and letting His people go.
The religious leaders of today can escape the awful fate that the 1st century religious leaders suffered for the mistreatment of the ‘sheep in their care.’ In the 23rd chapter of Matthew, Jesus declared that their houses of worship would be abandoned to them because they:
shut up the Kingdom of the heavens (vs. 13)
commercialized their spiritual gifts (vs. 14)
made proselytes and turned them into atheists (vs. 15)
gave more honor to money and gifts than to worshiping God (vs. 16-22)
were more concerned with tithes than with justice and mercy (vs. 23-24)
pretended to be ministers when, in fact, they were merchants (vs. 25-26)
were outwardly clean, but secretly filthy, hypocritical and bloodguilty (vs. 27-28)
freely identified themselves with the ‘killers of the prophets’ (vs. 29-32)
and finally rejected the Father’s mercy through Jesus Christ (vs. 33-37)
As his last words to them, Jesus said:
“For I say to you, you will by no means see me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in Jehovah’s name!’” – Matthew 23:39
History shows they never did. And the prophetic pronouncement came true:
“They will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.”
– Luke 19:44
But this is not a foreordained outcome for today’s religious leaders. They can, all of them, repent from their poor and ignorant treatment of the children of God and brothers of Christ Jesus. (Matthew 25:40) They can cease lording it over their brothers as if they were the masters of their faith. (2 Corinthians 1:24) They can step down from their self-created seats of honor, abandon their self-proclaimed titles of superiority (Matthew 23:11-12), and use their resources and ill-gotten gain to support the poor and downtrodden among them. (Luke 16:9) and thereby ‘store up treasures in heaven.’ (Matthew 6:20-21)
Let those of the 1st century serve as a warning example to all who suppress and oppress the children of God to stop now, repent and turn around with joy. You can change your fate if you truly, without any false humility and with a pure heart, turn away from sin and remember the love you had at first (Revelation 2:4) – the love that caused you to begin a ministry and to take upon yourselves the responsibility of caring for the lost sheep. It is possible, as well as desirous on the part of the Most High, to forgive and show mercy ‘in a large way.’ (Isaiah 55:7) There is so much to be done by all in bringing in the Father’s Acceptable Year, and if there is no harassment by supposed men of faith to hinder the progress of this Jubilee, we can ‘bring heaven down’ swiftly and thoroughly.
From Jesus’ first proclamation of a Jubilee down to this day, mankind was not to be ‘poor,’ but rich in spiritual values; not to be ‘captives,’ but to be free from religious dominion by men; not to be ‘blind,’ but insightful and enlightened; and not to be ‘crushed,’ but self-respecting dignified sons of God. Imagine our world if all ages since the times of the 1st century had remained liberated thinkers. The growth would be staggering. No doubt our celestial family could have continued to readily show themselves to any and everyone when needed. This would have made it clear that if mankind continues to live the Christ-Life with love and without fear, boldly and out loud, then indeed heaven would have come down and the world would have truly rejoiced in the glad tidings of the Acceptable Year of God the Father, as directed by his perfect Creator Son, the great Sovereign of our Universe.
It has been slow in coming, but it is not too late. Heaven will, in fact, come down and, in the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere, the spirit will live in a more outwardly and open way as was intended. The spirit of freedom is moving through lands and islands, through cities and valleys, through homes and villages. Therefore, we encourage each son of God to reach heights they never thought possible and to imagine in truth a heaven on earth, and in time, the imagined will become tomorrow’s reality. Not by military might, but by spiritual strength (Zechariah 4:6) and unshakable faith in the words of Jesus. There is no place for fear in a free people who are related to a fearless Father. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
We see it on the horizon. The future is far grander and nearer than even the sons of the Kingdom know. All that remains is to preach the Father’s Acceptable Year – this Jubilee – the good news of the freedom of the sons of God. And as people, one by one, take hold of their freedom, the end of pain, suffering and sorrow will come. (Matthew 24:14)
There has been no greater time in human history when the true good news could be taught and understood worldwide. It seems we had to pass through an era of darkness and separatism in order to freely and wholeheartedly accept the light of truth that we are all brothers and sons of one Universal Heavenly Father, as demonstrated and taught by our Lord Christ Jesus.
The year 2014 will be a great year for the Christian community. Though we will have to undergo many changes and suffer many inequities in our path to true freedom, the outcome will be glorious. We will succeed in shaking off the shackles and restoring all that has been lost. We can rewrite the history of our planet by instilling in each one that you are a beautiful ray of light. (Matthew 5:14-16) So strip away the olden and dead ways that have no true value nor any real power (Colossians 3:9-11), and turn your attention to the unseen where there is both life and kingdom power for this generation and those to come.
This call is being made so that action can be taken now to refine and cleanse ones outer garments with the plain and open teachings of Jesus. We are to be unblemished and pure in worship so that the Spirit of Truth can bear witness with our indwelling Spirit of the Father. This is the only honest way to achieve true liberty. So, with these words, and many more to come, we re-state and re-proclaim, beginning in the house of Christianity, “This Is Your Jubilee – the Father’s Acceptable Year!” Enter into His rest and expect the unexpected!
We, of course, welcome your comments!
NOTE: To all our translators and those who have the gift of translating but who have so far hesitated to come forth, we ask that you help us to spread this message of liberty throughout the world. It is long overdue! We must not let our Master Christ Jesus down by continuing to sleep on his glorious message of liberty!