The Acceptable Year

billy graham“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; ​​He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn,

​​To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, ​the oil of joy for mourning, ​​the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” – Isaiah 61:1-3

Many Christians have heard these verses at one time or another. They are the verses Jesus used to announce His ministry and they were spoken by the prophet Isaiah. They proclaim the Good News of Salvation. But few associate them with the Year of Jubilee as the Old Testament does –

“Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. ‘And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.” – Leviticus 25:9, 10

Jesus was faithful to fulfill this ministry but He also passed it on to His body that would remain on earth. We are His ambassadors on earth till He returns: to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. All those who sin (transgress God’s laws) are slaves and need to be set free and only the truth can set them free.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32

Sometimes this process is painful, like applying Mercurochrome to an open wound, but it is the only way to heal the infection of sin. In the end, it is good news, because it produces liberty! There often is no joy for the one who applies the truth, because it may bring rejection, and there is no joy in the pain that comes with the application. The joy is in the final healing that comes. Perhaps this is why sin is so seldom dealt with in the Church? church service

Many Churches today are often like attending an opera, there is a lot of singing, but not much true worship, a lot of story telling, but not much personal application. There are the performers and the audience. But where is the personal confrontation of sin? Where is there the personal deliverance of captives from the prisons of guilt or addictions? Where is the laying on of hands to heal the sick and set captives free in the modern church?

Is your church producing “trees of righteousness” or is it just a social club for having a good time or looking for a mate? Are we really there to comfort those who are mourning and to encourage them in the joy of the Lord? The world is full of hurting people but we will overlook them if we are concentrating on our own desires.

I will give you one example: the Church at large consists of about 50% divorced and remarried people – so what does the Church do about this? It largely ignores the problem. It does not teach what God’s word has to say about this problem and it does not minister to those who have been hurt by this sin. I can tell you from first hand knowledge, having grown up in a broken home, the only one who is not hurt by divorce and remarriage is the devil! God is more than able to bring healing and restoration in this situation but, we must understand the sin involved and repent of our part in it before He can set us free from its hurt and bondage. Often just the act of forgiveness will bring liberty from its devastation.

Photo-RedMoonChartAs we draw to the end of this current Blood Red Moon cycle, the Year of Jubilee is going to happen in September. I pray it will indeed be a year of release for us all from the bondage of sin. May this 50th year usher in another great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will equip us to go forth with the message of healing and deliverance that is contained in the Good News of Salvation. May this be your acceptable year in the Lord.

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