This study encompasses the 2 great periods of God’s silence, each marked by a supernatural deliverance.  Lk.4:16-21 [context] "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has appointed Me [   ] to proclaim good news to the poor [   ].  He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives [   ] and recovery of sight to the blind [   ], to set at liberty those who are oppressed [   ], to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor [   ] Today this Scripture has been fulfilled [   ] in your hearing." [see Introduction and Chap.1 of RPCD - Chapters]

getting at what the Bible means for us to understand by looking at what it says

It won’t do to merely repeat Jesus’ words.  They need to be filled with content to be meaningful or they become empty like a slogan or a cliché.  Jesus was about to make a way for men to be forgiven and approach God, something portrayed but not available in the OT (Heb.9:8-12).  Isa.61 refers to the liberation of Israel from a yet future Babylonian captivity.  “The year of the Lord’s favor” in Lk.4 corresponds to similar phrases, “time of favor” and “day of salvation” in Isa.49:8 which are quoted in 2 Cor.6:2a.  “At the acceptable time I listened to you and on the day of salvation I helped you.”  The part that follows (2b) leaves no doubt that these phrases are all referring to the same thing, “Behold now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation.”  [see Chap.3 of RPCD - Chapters]  Further when Jesus quoted from Isa.61, He stopped short.  The next part reads, and the day of vengeance of our God” (2b).  He did not come the first time to bring God’s wrath upon the earth, but to proclaim deliverance from that awful judgment which will inevitably come upon the earth.  In contrast, He came this time “to proclaim good news to the poor [   ] …liberty to the captives [   ]…to set at liberty those who are oppressed [   ], to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor [   ]” (Lk.4:18-19).  Such phrases are meant to be understood as having their ultimate fulfillment in spiritual things, things pertaining to redemption.  This is what is depicted by the year of Jubilee.


After Joseph’s death, a new pharaoh rose to power and set taskmasters over the Israelites “to afflict them with heavy burdens.”  “They ruthlessly made the people work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service (Ex.1:8-14).”  Some 400 years later, God sent Moses to lead them out, “I have seen the affliction of My people…and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters.  I know their sufferings and I have come down to deliver them…and to bring them…to a good and broad land flowing with milk and honey… (Ex.3:7-10).”  When Moses approached pharaoh with God’s demand to release the people to sacrifice to Him, pharaoh accused Moses of giving the people “rest from their burdens” and increased the workload even more, “let heavier work be laid on the men (Ex.5:1-14).”

As Moses was leading the Israelites out of oppression and slavery in Egypt (Ex.12), we find a progression of relief in the rest God makes for them beyond the fact that they no longer served the Egyptians.  Not only was the Sabbath day a one-in-seven full day of rest, a weekly break from regular chores (after the continuous - 7 days a week - slave labor in Egypt for many years), it was also God’s gracious response to the griping of the people.  They had just been supernaturally freed from Egyptian tyranny, supernaturally led across the desert (Ex.13), supernaturally rescued from annihilation by the Egyptian chariot forces (Ex.14), having drunk water supernaturally purified, and been led to rest at an [apparently unoccupied] oasis with 70 palm trees and 12 springs (Ex.15).  The people had complained and grumbled at every trial and they did so again after they broke camp for the next phase of the crossing (Ex.16).  Each time, God treated them with patience and kindly intervened supernaturally to correct the problem.  Once again He did so by raining quail down on them in the evening and depositing manna on the desert in the morning for them to gather.  He set aside one day out of each 7 as a weekly Sabbath rest, made supernatural provision for that day, and continued that practice for 40 years while Israel wandered in the wilderness and He replaced the old generation from Egypt with those raised in the desert.

The very next time the people were tested, God stood on a rock and had Moses strike it with his rod, and water [   ] flowed out for the whole congregation and their livestock (Ex.17).a  God’s rules governing the manna and the Sabbath were specific and detailed (Ex.16:14-36).  The Sabbath was later included in the covenant with Israel as its sign b (Ex.31:12-18; Ez.20:11-20).  On it, everyone [   ] had a full day off, a rest, a break from the relentless monotony and grind of life.  Remember what Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for [   ] man, and not man for the Sabbath [   ].”  “Come to Me [   ] all who labor and are heavy laden [   ] and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke [   ] upon you and learn from Me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls [   ].  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

God also established a Sabbath year.  Every 7th year the land was to be left alone [   ].  The Israelites were to store up food from the 6th year and leave the fields for the poor, the hired hands, foreigners, servants, and animals.  There was to be no pressure for people in debt to repay personal loans.  It was the year of release [   ] (Dt.15:1-2) to allow the land to recover and people to recuperate from the ceaseless burden of making payments on loans.c

After a series of 7 such years, 49 years in all, God mandated a year of Jubilee (Lev.25:8-13).  Ez.46:16-17 calls it “the year of liberty.”  For those who had fallen on hard times because of the circumstances of life, or because they made bad or foolish decisions and were in debt or had sold their land or themselves into servitude, God says FREEDOM for those who could not redeem themselves or find a relative who would; CANCELLATION of the debts they could not pay; RESTORATION of their inheritance in the land; God provided food for everyone and all the animals on the fallow land.  This is the language of deliverance and meshes with Lk.4.  So the weary laborer looked forward to the Sabbath day when he could rest.  The man struggling to keep up payments on his debts and provide for his family anticipated the Sabbath year to relieve the pressure and give him a chance to catch up.  Those who were hopelessly in debt, who had lost everything waited and longed for the year of Jubilee [   ].  Jesus gave new meaning to this by healing people on the Sabbath that had all their lives been blind or cripple.

So we find our eternal rest in Christ our Sabbathd and wait for Him who restores everything to the condition it ought to be in, to bring us into our inheritance, the celebration of God with His people where the Jubilee will never end.  You might think that we are in a long period of God’s silence similar to those two mentioned above.  We are, but there is a difference.  Christ who was the subject of those revelations has come and everything God wants us to know He has already said.  The Holy Spirit has been given to His people so we can look at what He has already said and done with new eyes and to help us make our way through the perils of this life awaiting His return and the summing up of all things in Him.

a  This was a picture of eternal life that comes to us through the judgment of Christ (1 Cor.10:1-5) [close connection].

b  The Sabbath was to Israel's relationship with God what a wedding ring is to a marriage relationship. Both are visible signs of a covenant.

c  The length of Israel’s Babylonian captivity was determined by the number of years they refused to observe the Sabbath year law (2 Chr.36:15-21; Jer.29:10).

d  Heb.3:7-4:11 [close connection], see Keeping the Sabbath in Christ