Q. I’ve been told that 2017 is the next Jubilee year and that an ancient rabbinical prophecy says the Millennial Kingdom will begin at that time. What’s your opinion?
A. This idea stems from a prophecy by Rabbi Judah ben Samuel in 1217 that the Messianic Kingdom would begin in 2017. It was apparently based on calculations he had made of the number of Jubilee years that would pass before the Lord’s return.
The problem is that according to Biblical law, the Jubilee is only observed when all twelve tribes of the Jewish nation are living in Israel. This comes from Leviticus 25:10 which states, “And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live on it,” This was interpreted to mean that the Jubilee is only to be observed when every tribe is living in the specific part of the land which was it was allotted when the Land of Israel was divided.
The last time this was literally the case was when the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom in 721BC. It appears that the Jubilee was calculated until the time of the 2nd Temple’s destruction, but it had ceased to be observed long before. Since then it has ceased to be recognized in any form.
Also a difference of interpretation has arisen as to the method of counting. The result of all this is today no one knows for certain when the next Jubilee year could occur even if the conditions for its observance could be met.
Finally, most scholars agree that the Millennial Kingdom could not begin in 2017 since Daniel’s 70th Week, a seven year period of time during which the end times judgments will take place, has not yet begun.