Transcending our present imperfect reality is a universal longing. The Bible tells us about that transcendence in the context of new birth and resurrection. It is the work of God, but do the people of God have some work to do as well?
Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7, 5:1-3; Isaiah 42:1-9, John 3:1-6; Luke 4:14-21, 7:20-23; Romans 8:18-23
[Editor’s note: Ever since Yeshua ascended to the Father, Christians have kept their eyes on the sky looking for His return and the completion of His Messianic mission. What has seldom come into Christian consciousness, however, is that Jews have looked for completion of that same Messianic mission for far longer than the 2,000 years since Yeshua walked the earth. It seems that the Jewish focus is not solely on heaven – the involvement of which is necessary for Messiah to do all that is prophesied – but here on earth. They know better than Christians have known that the messianic promises revolve around the final redemption and restoration of Israel.
Angus Wootten grasped both the Christian and the Jewish perspectives on this matter. He saw them not as mutually exclusive eschatological approaches, but as complementary. The key to reconciling them, as he intimates in this 1998 article, is in the revelation that there is a very large non-Jewish portion of Israel which has been hidden from view for nearly three millennia in accordance with the pronounced judgment of the Almighty on the rebellion of His ancient covenant nation. That hidden part of Israel is coming into view even now, as Angus explains.]
The Jubilee Generation!
By Angus Wootten – November 1998
The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Adonai [Lord], and of his Mashiach [Anointed One]; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15).
How does the Holy One of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, plan to accomplish this age – ending event? How will He realize His Messianic Vision, which is to manifest His presence – in His earthly Kingdom – in the midst of a united people.
To reach this goal, obviously one of His larger challenges is, “uniting His people, Israel.” The above is taken from the Herald article, “The Messianic Vision.”While this article gives a good answer to the “how” question, it does not give the fullest answer to the “when” question.
Undoubtedly, our generation is closer to the return of Messiah, and to the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth, than any previous generation! But how close is that? And what is so special about this generation that We should believe that we are “the generation”?
The generation that experiences this age-ending event will realize fulfillment of Yeshua’s mission:
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. . .” And. . ., “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 18-21)
According to the rabbinical custom of Yeshua’s day, reference to this verse in Isaiah would have been thought to include the entire passage.
Continuing, we see that Yeshua was declaring that He been sent,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn . . . giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations, and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vine dressers. But you will be called the priests of the Lord; you will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs. . . . (Isaiah 61:2-9)
Yeshua said in the synagogue in Nazareth, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Yet, today, some two thousand years later, from our finite viewpoint, Yeshua’s declaration has not yet been fully fulfilled.
Truly Yahveh’s ways are not our ways, especially when it comes to “time.”
So, how did Yeshua fulfill these Scriptures?
He set in motion a plan, which, in the fullness of time will see every jot and tittle of these verses accomplished.
Further, every generation since has played an integral part of this fulfillment. However, even though prior generations have gained approval by passing the torch of faith to the next generation, they did not receive what was promised. Because, it yet remains for a generation to carry the torch across the finish line, at which time all things will be perfected (Hebrews 11:39-40).
Could we be that final generation? Could we be the “finish line generation,” the generation that will see captives being set free, the blind regaining their sight, the lame being healed, and having their land returned? Will we experience the fulness of the “favorable year of the Lord”?
If so, truly we will experience the ultimate “Jubilee!”
The Concept of Jubilee
At the core of the idea of “jubilee” is the Mosaic doctrine, that all things, all creatures in the world do not belong to men at all, but to Yahveh alone.
The biblical law of redemption makes “jubilee” possible. This jubilee law deals with the fact that the land should not be sold in perpetuity, for it belonged to Yahveh, and those in bondage should, and could be, redeemed. The redemption of land and of those in bondage could be accomplished at any time by a kinsman redeemer. Otherwise, in the year of Jubilee the land would revert back to the owner, and those in bondage would be freed (Leviticus 25:23-55).
Biblically, the year of Jubilee is celebrated in the fiftieth year. In this year, agricultural lands sold during the past 49 years are returned to their original owners, and any Israelite that is in bondage is set free.
Seventeen Jubilees were celebrated from the time Joshua took the land until the destruction of the First Temple. Then upon Judah’s return from Babylon, the count began again, and it stopped with the destruction of the Second Temple.
Though in this present year  the state of Israel is celebrating a jubilee of its founding, still, it is not a Biblical jubilee. Perhaps the reason Jewish religious leaders have not yet called for a Biblical jubilee is because, according to the Talmud, the Jubilee Year laws are in force only when all the tribes are living in “Eretz Israel” (TB Ar. 32b).
Again, we ask, could we be that jubilee generation?
The answer is, “Yes!”
Because the first jubilee generation saw the first advent of Israel’s Messiah. Therefore, would not the second jubilee generation be an appropriate time for His return? Would not a jubilee generation be the time to make the kingdoms of this World the Kingdom of our Messiah? Surely that would be fulfilling the very essence of Yahveh’s jubilee principals – by asserting His ownership of all the earth, and its population, and for all creation to acknowledge His Lordship. At that time every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He and He alone is Lord!
How do we know that Yeshua came in the first jubilee generation? Further, how do we know that we are the second jubilee generation?
Defining A Generation
To begin, a generation is the period from a man’s birth to the birth of his son. It also can refer collectively to the people who lived in a like period.
Scripturally, the average length of a generation is most often assumed to be forty years. For, in the wilderness all the men over twenty died within a forty-year time frame. The forty year span of the rule of David and Solomon, and of four of the judges, adds support for a forty year generation. However, we also find Scriptural support for a hundred year generation: Yahveh told Abraham that his descendants would be in a foreign land four hundred years and then He would bring them out in the “fourth generation.”
Matthew’s genealogy further complicates the problem of determining the length of a generation. His genealogical list gives forty-two generations from Abraham to the birth of Yeshua (Matthew 1: 17). It gets complicated when we try to determine the time span of these forty-two generations. If we use hundred year generations, we have a 4200 year span. If we use forty years, we have a 1680 year span. However, neither of these time spans fits with known history. Further, the general agreement among biblical scholars is that Yeshua was born in 5 or 6 B.C., and that Abraham was born in the period of 2000 B.C. to 2200 B.C.
The answer that solves this dilemma and also fits with history is:
From the flood to the Exodus from Egypt, generations were 100 years long, afterwards, they were forty years long. This reasoning, when applied to Matthew’s genealogy, gives us eight one-hundred year generations: Abraham, Isaac. Jacob, Jacob’s twelve sons, and four generations in Egypt – and thirty-four forty-year generations. Using this rationale (34 x 40 = 1360 + 800 = 2160), and back-dating from 6 B.C., we arrive at 2166 B.C. as Abraham’s year of birth. This is the exact date given by the NIV Study Bible Old Testament Chronology for Abraham’s birth. Further, this perception of generations would place the flood some seven to eight hundred years earlier, and well within the time frame that is acceptable to the majority of scholars.
After Yahveh had virtually destroyed the ancient world with the flood, we find that His plan to have a people for His own possession is to be accomplished through the descendants of Noah’s son, Shem. This means Shem’s son Arphaxed represents the first generation of the post-flood world. And, from Arphaxed to Abraham, there are seven generations. Add these seven generations to the forty-two generations from Abraham to Yeshua, and we have forty-nine generations. Thus, Yeshua then came in the fiftieth generation. or first jubilee generation: 6 B.C. to 34 A.D.
This in turn means the first generation after Yeshua would have begun in 35 A.D., which year is also thought to be the year of Paul’s conversion.
Paul conversion is key to the almost 2000 year effort to renew the world spiritually, and to regather Yahveh’s people. This mission stands in contrast to the mission of Noah’s sons, which was to repopulate the world physically.
And, the next fiftieth generation from Yeshua, meaning the second jubilee generation, began in 1996 A.D.!
So. today, in 1998 A.D., we live in the second year of the fiftieth generation from Yeshua, and in the one hundredth generation from the flood!
Are there other events that would validate that this is the generation that will see the “favorable year of the Lord?”
The first act of the second Jubilee was the end of Israel’s (Ephraim’s) punishment. After twenty-seven-hundred and thirty years, Ephraim’s blindness to his heritage was being removed. He was being freed from the sentence of being a people who were “not a people” (Hosea 1:9, Ezekiel 4:5). Truly this was a favorable year for Ephraim!
To understand the punishment of Ephraim, and its length, we quote largely from the Herald article, “Ephraim, Free At Last! Once Again A Mighty Man!”
The Prophets Hosea and Amos explained why and how Israel would be punished for their iniquity: “Israel is swallowed up; They are now among the nations. Like a vessel in which no one delights” (Hosea 8:8). And, “I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, But not a kernel will fall to the ground” (Amos 9:9).
Bala, the Hebrew word for swallow, which word Hosea uses in his description of Ephraim’s punishment, has the connotation of someone eating a piece of food, and having it become a part of their body. For example, today, try to find, or identify in your body, the food you ate last week. Even so, Ephraim was destined to be punished, by being swallowed up by the Gentile nations, and so to become an indistinguishable part of them. This punishment has been in effect until this generation, and during this time of blindness, Ephraim has not known who he is!
From Ezekiel we gain an understanding of the duration of Ephraim’s punishment. For Yahveh told Ezekiel to, “Lay on your left side and put the sin of the House of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side for I have assigned to you a number of days corresponding to the number of years of iniquity [of Israel] . . 390 days. Thus you shall bear the iniquity of the House of Israel”
We know Yahveh spoke of Ephraim/Israel because He also said, “After you have finished this, lie down again on your right side and bear the sin of the House of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year” (Ezekiel 4:4-6).
To understand this punishment we need to see that Ezekiel lived 135 years after the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) had become “no more.” Yet, Yahveh had not forgotten about them, because through Ezekiel, He explains the length of their punishment for their iniquity.
The people of the northern ten tribes would not repent of their paganism. Further, Yahveh was adamant that He is a jealous God, and that Israel was to have “no other gods” before Him. Yet, He also was, “a compassionate God; who would not fail them nor destroy them nor forget the covenant which He had sworn to their fathers” (Deuteronomy 4:31; 5:9).
Like father like son, Ephraim still has the problem of allowing pagan, or Gentile ways, to creep into his relationship with his God.
We gain understanding of the duration of Ephraim’s punishment by first looking at Judah’s punishment:
Ezekiel was instructed to lie on his right side for 40 days, a day for a year. Thus, we see that Judah was to receive 40 years of punishment.
But unfortunately, this forty years is only part of Judah’s punishment. Because, in the account of the two sisters, Aholah (Samaria) and Aholibah (Jerusalem/Judah), we see that they engaged in prostitution when they were young and still in Egypt. Additionally, Aholah/Ephraim was engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians. It was this harlotry with their Assyrian neighbors that led to Aholah’s downfall.
During the century preceding the final destruction of the city of Samaria, the Northern Kingdom was integrated into the Assyrian Empire. Piece by piece various portions of the Northern Tribes became vassals of Assyria, until they were entirely absorbed into the Assyrian Empire. When the City of Samaria fell in 722 B.C., it was just the last little bastion of the Northern Kingdom. It did not take a war for most of Israel to become Assyrian. This fact is confirmed by Yahveh’s statement: “I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she had lusted.” (Ezekiel 23:9)
Since the Ephraimites had lusted for Gentile ways, Yahveh gave them over to the Assyrians, that they might ultimately be scattered among the Nations, and thus to become “Gentiles.”
Recalling the demise of Aholah, Yahveh said to Aholibah, “You saw your sister in her lust and prostitution, yet you have been more depraved than your sister.” You have gone the way of your sister, so I will put her cup in your hands. You will drink your sister’s cup, a cup large and deep and it will bring scorn and derision for it holds so much.”
Judah’s sister’s cup contained 390 years of punishment! Thus, adding 390 years of punishment to the 40 years which Judah initially received. And that gives a total of 430 years of punishment for Judah.
When did Judah’s punishment start?
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, subdued Judah in 595 B.C.. After this date, they no longer had political or religious control over their own territory, Jerusalem, nor over their temple.
Thus, if we take 596 B.C. as the first year of their punishment, and if we move forward 430 years we come to 166 B.C.
What happened in 166 B.C.?
The Maccabees revolted against the Greeks.
In coming to 166 B.C., we come to the time of the Maccabees victory over the Greeks, and to the miracle cleansing of the temple – the time when they found only enough oil in the temple to last for one day. But miraculously this one day supply of oil lasted for eight days, giving them time to make a fresh supply of oil. This miracle is celebrated as the Feast of Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication). Judah‘s punishment was over, and they had regained religious and political control over their temple and a large portion of their territory.
The Length Of Ephraim’s Punishment?
Now let us go back to Ephraim. He was assigned 390 years of punishment. Correct?
No. For unfortunately, Ephraim would receive far more than 390 years. We understand this through Yahveh’s fourfold declaration given in the Twenty Sixth Chapter of Leviticus. This declaration establishes unrepentant Ephraim’s fate:
If also after these things, you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. . . If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins. . . Then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins. . . Then I will act with wrathful hostility against you; and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins” (Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28).
When Yahveh declares a punishment, you are going to get it. Regardless. If you sow, you are going to reap. According to Yahveh’s rules you are going to get the punishment – even if you repent. Further, if you don’t repent, you will receive a seven-fold punishment!
Judah received a punishment of 430 years. And, when Judah went to Babylon (that being their punishment), they repented. To this day, the Jewish people (as a whole) do not have idols. And since they repented of their idolatries, their punishment lasted only 430 years.
But, hapless Ephraim never repented. So, the Northern Kingdom received a seven-fold punishment: 390 years times seven, for a total of 2,730 years of punishment.
Exactly what was Ephraim’s punishment?
Yahveh said the Ephraimites would be scattered among the nations, and that they would “lose their identity.” They would become, “Lo Ammi,” meaning “Not A People” (Hosea 1:9-10; 2:2,23).
So poor misguided Ephraim received a sentence of 2730 years – the punishment being he would not be recognizable people – he would lose his identity.
When Did Ephraim’s Punishment Start?
In determining the date of Judah’s punishment, we did not pick the year 585 B.C., which was when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and destroyed Solomon’s temple. Rather, we started from the year, 595 B.C. when Judah no longer had political and religious control over their territories. Therefore, we will apply this same measure to Ephraim. And, while the city of Samaria was finally destroyed in 722 B.C., the majority of the Northern Kingdom had become a vassal state of Assyria by 734 B.C.
Confirmation of these facts is substantiated by the Cuneiform Text of Tiglath-Pileser III, which chronicle his Gaza-Damascus Campaign in 734-33 B.C.
When the armed hordes of Assyrians completed their campaign against Bet-Omri (Israel), Israel was mortally wounded, decimated by deportation, beaten back into a tiny corner of the Northern Kingdom. With the exception of Samaria, all its cities had been annexed, and the country had been divided into provinces over which Assyrian governors and officials exercised strict control.
All that was left of Israel was a dwarf state, a tiny pinpoint on the map: the mountain of Ephraim with the royal city of Samaria.
When Will Ephraim’s Punishment End?
When will Ephraim’s punishment be ended?
If we count 2730 years from 734 B.C., we arrive at the year 1996. If we use the year 722 B.C. as a base, we come up with the year 2008.
Please note: This is not to say that Yeshua will return and reestablish His Kingdom in this twelve year time frame! Unlike the now infamous book, 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return In 1988, we are not giving 96 Reasons Why Yeshua Will Return In 1996, nor or we giving 208 Reasons Why Yeshua Will Return In 2008. Rather, we are saying that, at the end of Ephraim’s punishment, Yeshua is free to restore the corporate Kingdom to Israel – and thus to truly celebrate the final jubilee!
Why is it important that we understand Ephraim’s punishment?
Because Ephraim’s punishment is now at an end!
We need to see that Ephraim would not be rewarded with the restoration of the Kingdom to the people of Israel while he is still undergoing the punishment of not being recognizable people! For, they could not be recognized as the people of Israel! And the Church has not seen itself as a co-heir with the Jewish people to the physical promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Granted, many have taught that they have replaced Jewish Israel, or that they are spiritual Israel. But, Believers have not seen themselves as part of the corporate (physical) people of the commonwealth of Israel – especially they have not seen themselves as a people who need to be reunited with their brother Judah.
When Yeshua returns, His people will be freed! Yet, He had to adhere to His own Word. Therefore, He could not return until the punishment He mandated for those of Ephraim was completed.
Admittedly, we cannot be absolutely sure as to the exact beginning, nor the exact end, of Yahveh‘s decreed punishment. However, we do know this: there is a moment in time when it began, and there will be a moment in time when it ends. We also know that Ephraim’s punishment could not have started any later than 722 B.C. And, that it was only in the last quarter of this century that Messianic non-Jewish Believers began to see that there were two houses of Israel, as described in Scripture (Ephraim and Judah). Further, it is evident that these two houses have not as yet been reunited as one undefiled house. The people of Israel have not yet taken full possession of the land given to their father Abraham. And, the Greater Son of David is not ruling over them.
So it is that we are beginning to see, that, as Ephraimites, we are full-fledged members of the commonwealth of Israel. We are part of the people to whom the Holy One of Israel said He would restore His Kingdom! (Isaiah 8: 14; Ezekiel 37:22-25)
We know that the punishment of Ephraim began no later than 722 B.C., and we know from history that his punishment has been in full force until recent years. What we do not know for sure, is, when Yahveh will deem that it is fully completed. But we do know that Yeshua said: “The generation that sees the fig tree blossom will see His return.” (Matthew 24:32-34)
Surely the fig tree cannot blossom until all the tribes of Israel know their Messiah and realize their heritage, and are living in the land! So Ephraim must now be instructed as to his heritage, and Judah to the identity of their Messiah. Then the two houses will become one reunited house of Israel.
How will Yahveh accomplish this monumental task? Scripture records that it has been His practice to accomplish His purposes on earth through men and women. And, why would we expect He who does not change to change?
If in truth we are the generation that will cross the finish line, then the task of instruction is ours! And, as forerunners who know our Messiah and our heritage, it is our job to lead the way! And, at most, we have thirty- eight years left to do the job.
But, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit we can do it! Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The building of the largest structure on earth – the Great Wall of China – began with the placing of one stone. So let us step out and begin instructing the living stones which Yahveh will use to build His House, the united house of Israel (1Peter 2:5).
So, with joy, run your leg of the race!
 See Angus Wootten, “The Messianic Vision,” House of David Herald 8-1, January 1996. Republished by B’ney Yosef North America at this link: https://bneyyosefna.com/2643-2/.