Kenya is 50 years old this Thursday. That is the age of the country as a republic since it’s independence from Britain in 1963. It is a great achievement and worth celebration. The city of Nairobi is abuzz with posters and stickers all promoting the celebration that is to be this week. 50 years is not soo long a time to have made the progress the country has made in the various sectors of society life. The celebration is in order if not for anything else acknowledge and appreciate God for His blessings on the nation in various ways.
I however have a borne to pick with some section of the Christian community in Kenya that has promoted this year as the year of jubilee for Kenya as a Nation. The proponents of this argument claim that this year the country can claim as a promise from God release from it’s troubles. This is borrowed from portions of the bible which appears in various places in the old testament.
For accuracy purposes, I’d like to make reference to some portion and see what it says (Lev 25):
1. The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. 6 Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, 7 as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
Year of Jubilee:
8 “‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. 13 “‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.
I am neither a theologian nor a Bible scholar and so I base my argument on a very basic premise. I could be wrong, but I would appreciate a sorberly presented position. This is my premise, that the old covenant applied directly to the nation of Israel and shadows what was to be the reality in the new covenant that includes all peoples.
There are three specific areas where I disagree with the proponents of year of jubilee for kenya when it’s based on these scriptures:
1. Kenya is not Jewish
Verse 1 in the portion of scripture quoted above specifically says, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them….”. which to me simply tells me that the promise and the prescriptions were for the Israelites.
At that time of History, God’s covenant was with Israel. Over the years as recorded in the old testament (Gen – Malachi), God was with the Isralites as long as they obeyed the laws, and against them when they disobeyed.
We do not see Him expecting other nations to obey the commandments because He did not have a covenant with them. He actually at times used these other nations to punish the nation of Israel who He had a covenant with when they broke it.
What I am not in sync with is how Kenya as a geographical nation can claim the provisions of the old covenant God had with Israel.
2. The provisions of the Jubilee were fulfilled by the people and not God.
The way the message of ‘Year of Jubilee’ is presented, it’s as if God will apply a blanket release from debt and every other forms of oppression simply because it is the fiftieth year.
Going from the prescriptions in the referenced scriptures, it appears to me that even if Kenya was to invoke the jubilee provisions, it’d be the people acting and not God. It’d require that each person releases (not sell) any land (bought or grabbed) to the original owners and return to their acetral land. Any debt owed was to be cancelled and slaves freed so that all would have a chance to start life afresh.
The principle intent of the jubilee was to release the people of God from the tyranny of economic systems (like capitalism) where the rich rule the poor. The silver lining in this message is that if it was to be practiced as prescribed, it’d actually bring release for many people.
Imagine a Kenya come January 2014 where no one is in debt and everyone has a place they can call their own with a title deed. If you read the whole chapter, you will notice there were details of how to deal with various property for both country and city dwellers.
3. The requirements of Jubilee are fulfilled in Christ
It is my persuasion that any person, (including kenyans) can claim the promises of God in the bible only through faith in Jesus Christ.
The new testament has the following to say:
Where Year of Jubilee is concerned
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Where Nationality is concerned
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Where Timing is concerned
2Cor 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
It is my humble opinion that it would do us and everybody well for the proponents of the year of jubilee to declare the true jubilee, for only the truth shall set people free. That truth is Jesus Christ and anyone that has received Him, is free and free indeed – they need nothing else, for:
Col 2:10 … ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power:.
He’s the one that gives true rest, (He’s our rest) for:
“there remains a rest for the people of God which Joshua would not give. Let us therefore labor to enter that rest lest we come to the same consequence the Isralites did because of their unbelief,” (Heb 4 parapharsed) for:
John 1: 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Happy Jubilee Celebrations Kenya,