Sabbath Day/Year Commandments – Six Days/Years of Work/Sowing Required?

People are surprised that I take the time to answer their emails. Yes, I am busy with a young family and living in Costa Rica makes everything take longer to accomplish. For example, yesterday I had to hit a few places to find a replacement NVidia video card with the HDMI connector I needed. Not complaining…I enjoyed walking in the warm sunny weather in between the stores. It just takes longer.

But what readers do not know is that I love answering questions. I love the blessings that come from questions. One big one is the provision of new insights through the Socratic method. Questions force you to think, something we all tend to avoid whenever we can =). But in thinking you can mine some great discoveries from even old elementary topics you thought you mastered long ago.

49 Year Jubilee Cycle Objection:
Six Years of Planting Required?

Case in point is a discussion I had over the Jubilee year cycle with someone who doubts my conclusion that it is 49 years long.  He saw the good points I had but he still saw it as unclear. His final objection that leaned him towards a 50 year Jubilee cycle was this:

I still lean towards the 50 year cycle because if Israel goes back to work right after the jubillee Sabbath year, they will be breaking the command to work 6 years and rest the 7th, since they will then be only working 5 years and resting the 6th year after the jubilee year.

I had never heard such an objection to a 49 year Jubilee cycle. I had to stop and think about it. He was right that a 49 year Jubilee cycle “broke” the six years of planting mentioned in the Sabbath year command. You ended up with only five following a Jubilee year before the next Sabbath year.

I had to admit that I had not thought of the Sabbath year command as requiring Israel to plant for six years on their fields. Was he right? I decided to give it a chance and to think it through.

Six Days of Work Required, Too?

If this was true about the Sabbath year command then it must be true about the Sabbath day command as well. By this line of interpretation, the Sabbath day commandment would require Israel to work six days just as much as they were commanded to not work on Saturday by it.

But immediately I saw a problem with this. What about when you are sick? By this interpretation you still must work. What happens when you want to take a vacation for a week? You cannot or you are breaking the 4th Commandment, “Six days you must work.” Or is that what the 4th Commandment says?

Exodus 20:9 (HCSB) 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You must not do any work—

The interesting part here is “do all your work”. Not God’s work. God has not commanded average Israelites to do any work in particular during the week days. That would be God’s or “my work”. Instead he tells Israel to do “all your work.” If Israel had no work to do then they did not have to do anything for six days. If an Israelite had enough money to provide for his own, then the Sabbath commandment is not telling him to make busy work for show. If he wanted to take a vacation, then there was no prohibition on that.

The intent of the Sabbath day command is obvious when you think it through. The intent was for Israel to not overwork themselves seven days per week. They would keep Saturday set apart to reconnect with their family and God.

Six Years of Planting Not Required, Either

Once I realized the above, I knew the same applied to the Sabbath year commandment. What if an Israelite bought a field and did not have the money to plant it. Was he breaking the Torah in doing nothing with his field for six years? No. As long as he did not decide at last to plant in the 7th year when all Israel was keeping field fallow, then he was in compliance with the intent of this command. Failure to leave fields fallow causes agricultural yields to diminish eventually. Then farmers resort to unnatural means to coax the field into producing what it used to. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The people eating the food pay the price for that in their health through the modern diseases we have today (not that toxins and poorer nutrition from food is the only cause of disease).

The passage supports that the planting is optional during the six years. It says “may”, not “must”.

Leviticus 25:3 (HCSB) 3 You may sow your field for six years, and you may prune your vineyard and gather its produce for six years.

What About Six “Planting Optional Years” Before a Sabbath Year?

You still might wonder if a 49 year Jubilee year cycle does not at least break Scripture. Does not the Sabbath year have to follow six “planting-optional years?” Is that not the intent?

Once again, I believe we must think it through to get the true intent. The true intent is to establish a seven year cycle. The commandment names six years and one year. Six plus one equal seven. That’s a seven year cycle.

Now we must understand that commandments of the Torah can override each other. We see this with the Sabbath Day commandment. Jesus pointed out that the priestly duties were done on Sabbath, “profaning it” (Mt 12:5). This was their main work, yet they did it on Sabbath. They had a special case that overruled the general blanket command of ceasing from labor on Sabbath.

That is what is happening here with the the Jubilee command. It is overriding the detail that there are six years available for planting before a Sabbath year. It is saying that the first year of the 8th (15th, 22nd, 29th, etc.) Sabbath year cycle is not going to be for planting, but will be a special Jubilee of no planting (among other things) following the preceding Sabbath year of no planting making two years of no planting in a row.

Conclusion

The 49 year Jubilee cycle maintains the strict seven year cycle for Sabbath years just like the Torah gives for Sabbath days every seven days. The objection that having the Jubilee year be one of the six planting years of a Sabbath year cycle breaks Scripture does not hold. When you properly understand the intent and focus of the Sabbath year on preventing overwork of fields, you can see that it does not require planting in any year or for any number of years. The Sabbath year command simply forbids Israel to plant in the special seventh year, just as the Sabbath day command simply forbids Israel from working on Saturday.

22 thoughts on “Sabbath Day/Year Commandments – Six Days/Years of Work/Sowing Required?”

  1. Shalom Tim; My take on the 50 year cycle is that counting the 50th year as the second sabbatical year is then followed by the required 6 years of planting etc etc. In this manner there is a 50 year cycle which does not infringe on the next 50 year cycle. There may be some obvious reason that this is not the case, but I am not aware.

    I am presently studying the Planet X Survival Guide and am surprised to find that the authors, claiming Planet X comes only every 3300 years or so, could possibly think that it came both at the time of Noach and Moses as these events are only 1000 or so year apart, according to geneaology statistics. I can accept one or the other (probably Noachs time), but certainly not both. Or the orbit of Planet X is extremely unstable. What do you think?

    Jim Fincham

    • Jim, again, nowhere is “six years of planting” given as a “requirement”. It says “may” (see above the Sabbath year verse quote from the HCSB). The only requirement is to leave land fallow in the 7th year. You never see people in Scripture punished for not planting but Judah was exiled for 70 years, one year for every Sabbath year they did not keep.

      There is no proof in the Bible that Wormwood has passed before at all, let alone being responsible for the Exodus plagues or Noah’s flood. However, if the Sumerians knew about this 10th planet, perhaps it had to pass before. Regarding the flood, the best explanation I have found is a passby with Mars. Read this fascinating book that explains how we lost the 360 day calendar that Genesis records “in the beginning”: http://www.creationism.org/patten/PattenMarsEarthWars

  2. Tim,

    I read your article on the Jubilee Year Cycle and found it interesting;
    but I disagree with your arguments and findings.

    In your article you seam to argue the point that the Jubilee cycles “must” repeat in 49 year cycles simply because it is in sync and that by adding one year after 49 years the cycle drifts by one year. Your words were “A Jubilee cycle of 50 years falls out of sync with the Sabbath year cycle since 50 is not a multiple of seven.” This requirement of yours that the “Sabbath of weeks of years” must be in sync with the “Sabbath of years” is the basis for your argument; but this interpretation of yours is a self imposed and self created constraint to prop up your conclusion that has no scriptural basis. It is an interesting argument; but using a comparison to other Sabbaths is not a conclusive argument. It is an interesting comparison but not positive proof. For instance, the Feast days of Israel are considered Sabbaths but by using your reasoning that the Sabbath must follow a continual 7 + 7 + 7 + … cycle, there would be no way to include the Feasts as a Sabbath. The Feasts by your reasoning would disrupt the neat 7 + 7 + 7 + … flow that you have self imposed. I suspect you would argue that even with the inclusion of the Feast days, the end of week Sabbath day is still on the same calendar day every week. Again, I would say
    that is an interesting fact; but is not proof that the “Sabbath of weeks of years” must do the same. Since God defined the Feast Sabbaths as falling on varying days of the week, it is possible that God intended the “Sabbath of weeks of years” to fall on varying calendar “cycle” years.

    In my opinion, the scriptures do not say that the “Sabbath of weeks of years” must remain in sync with the “Sabbath of years”. If you count 49 years + 1 year and repeat that sequence and argue that 50 year cycles are God’s intended plan, than that argument is just as valid at “face value” as your argument that the cycle is 49.

    You also make an argument that “inclusive reckoning” as a counting practice is the norm in the Bible.

    It is not. There are instances of the use of inclusive reckoning such as the counting of generations by Mathew in 1:17 but that is in the minority of uses. Most often counting is performed as is normally performed today. As an example, Christ rose on the third day. By your assertion, Jesus would have been in the tomb for two days. There are numerous other examples I could give.

    Thanks for the interesting article,

    Anthony

    • I don’t consider it a limit I am “imposing”. I’m just reading the text at face value. 1) It says every 7th year is a Sabbath year. 2) It says jubilee years follow every 7th Sabbath year. 3) There is no mention anywhere of “except do not count the Jubilee year when you count the Sabbath year.” That’s a rather major omission, akin to the missing mention of the moon in the Sabbath day instruction that Lunar Shabbatniks do not want to talk about.

      FYI, the annual holy days are not considered “Sabbaths”. The only one that is called that is Yom Kippur because it is fast day, not a feast day. See http://www.karaitekorner.org for more.

  3. I agree with you on the 49 year cycle. I have a chronology book by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones that I highly recommend called The Chronology Of The Old Testament, which I found to be a gold mine of information. He also agrees with the 49 year cycle.
    To add to what you wrote above; when we observe Pentecost on the 1st Day of the week we can only work 5, not 6 days until the next Sabbath Day. So 5 years of sowing does not break the Sabbatical Year command either. And the same logic applies to Annual Holy Days wherein no servile work was to be done.

  4. I don’t see why people argue with the 7 year rests or the 49th and 50th year rest. It is simple. The land rests on the 7th and sowing begins again on the 8th or 1st. The land gets one year of rest. On the 49th year and the 50th year the land gets two years rest. Two years their is no sowing and on the following year the 51st or what would be the 2 year of the new cycle sowing begins again. The 50th year being also the first again of the count of 49 year cycle. So yes there would only be 5 years of sowing that year.The seven year cycles do not get broken.

    YHWH wants us to trust in Him. He will provide. Remember egypt. He provided grain for 7 years, Thus increasing the 7 years prior.

    SO I guess I too agree with tim on keeping a 7 year cycle and a 49 year cycle, except where you wrote resting on the 8th,15th.22nd years etc. We would not be resting on them we would be sowing but living off the prior harvest of the 6th, 13th and 20th.

  5. interesting site you have.. never considered the 49/50 cycle before… basing it on counting the homer, i have seen alot of discussions on that and the different ways to count it (rabbis are funny people).. my reading of it goes as you stated, its the day after the 7th Sabbath, making it a high Sabbath (not a 2nd saturday). i understand your reasoning here, but since it seems counting the homer and this are related, maybe if you can explain that, it would make this easier since they both seem to be connected.

    • The Shavuot and Jubilee are not really connected. They just seem to be because they have a similar counting sequence: seven Sabbaths and then the day/year after which is the first day/year of the next (8th) seven.

  6. Tim,

    A friend who disagrees with your counting of the Jubilee cycle has pointed out the times that God has been faithful to return the land to Israel on a 50 year count. For example: 1967 the return of Jerusalem to Israel and the Balfour Declaration of 1917, etc. Using this logic she has concluded that the Messiah will return in 2017 and restore once again all things to Israel. She says that Messiah must return not only on a Sabbath year but on a Jubilee Sabbath year and 2017 is the next one….concluding this as 1967+50=2017.

    I am sure you have heard this argument before but I am interested to know what your studies have shown. I see your point as to the 49 year cycle rather than the 50 and for me that is good since I am new to all this and the whole Daniel Timeline had me perplexed. I am beginning to see some light there.

    Thanks for taking the time once again.

    Laura

    • Assuming your friend is right, it still would be the wrong way to determine the jubilee cycle. We must do it based first on Scripture and then finding the historical record of Jubilees that fit that pattern. Not the other way around, to let other pattens we see (not having to do with jubilees like returns of Israel) drive our conclusions. I’ve seen people do the same thing with the Sabbath year cycle. Noting what years that Sabbath-keeping “farmers are blessed with a higher yield” (like the 6th year is promised to have) and concluding the Sabbath year is the year after that.

      P.S. There is no such thing as a “Jubilee-Sabbath year”. Jubilees always follow (the 7th) Sabbath year, never coincide. That’s why it says hallow the 50th year, to differentiate with the 49th or preceding Sabbath year.

      Daniel’s Timeline is very convincing and thus confuses a lot of people. Don’t feel bad. Very soon (after this holy day season) it will be undeniable that it is a failure (a 2010-2017 timeline starts in 2010).

  7. Tim,

    I see that you now have looked closely at the Jubilee year cycle. We spoke about this on you forum almost 2 years ago if memory serves. That 50th year is simply so that there will be 2 Jubilee years per century. So it is possible for the events to happen in a 2010-2017 timeline. We discussed this possibility quite a while back.

    We could be in the last 7 year period right now and not even know it. My own studies have led me to believe the first event that will leave no doubt as to what it is will be the breaking of the 6th seal of Revelations, the pole shift, and the return of Planet X. Your research is better than any other I have ever read, however I wonder about many things in prophecy. How else would I have been led to your book. It taught me so much and increased my knowledge of end time events 100 fold. Somehow I feel that the coming Jubilee year is very important.

    In your book you speak of event happening on Calender feast days. Some of those events must happen on a Jubilee year. The messiah was crucified on a Jubilee year, and I believe will return on one as well. This is the only one for the next 56? years. If it does not happen now we will have to wait that long for another. Plus this is the 50th jubilee or 2000 year mark as well. Please Tim look at this subject very closely, many people depend on you to teach them. This is a extreme burden to bear but you bear it well. There are a couple of other things about the timeline I am unsure of, I have read your book a dozen times or more and each time I learn something new but it also gives me more questions each time. You can email me anytime in regards to this. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Anthony

    • Anthony, thanks for your high praise. However, I don’t find any evidence that Jesus died in a Jubilee. In fact, the various scholarly jubilee cycle theories I looked at had Jesus’ death as far from a Jubilee as you can get. The next Jubilee as far as I can tell will be 2045. Jesus can return in the Sabbath year of 2044…or many other Sabbath years.

  8. I agree with the 49 years and especially with Chuck’s comment. What convinced me the most was Pentecost and how it’s always on a Sunday which leaves 5 working days before the next Sabbath. The weekly cycle is never disturbed. It only makes sense to me that God would be consistent with the weeks of years cycle.

    Also, from my studying it seems to me that Daniel 9 says that Jesus was crucified in the middle of a “set of seven ‘sevens'” – a jubilee. For Christ to crucified in the middle of a jubliee would make the fall of 2015 the start of the next jubilee.

    I’ve also read from a few people who have seen a correlation in the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in Joseph’s time and the seven economic years of plenty we experienced from 9/11/01-9/11/08 and now we are in economic trouble. Seven more years would again bring us to 2015 with an end-time 3 1/2 years starting in the spring of 2012.

    Thank you for your article and I apologize if you’ve covered some of this elsewhere on your site. This and the original article on this subject are all that I’ve read.

    • Kristin, when people use the Torah to create an end time roadmap, things always go wrong. Revelation and Daniel give us the seven year roadmap. It’s not seven years of plenty or scarcity. It’s both. As my book shows, Wormwood wipes out everything requiring a strong hand from somewhere to save the world. The Antichrist steps in to do just this and he restores things to such a good level that Jesus says people will be eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building (Lk 17:28) so that the end comes suddenly and shockingly on them, when as Paul says they say peace and safety. And there is no prophecy in Daniel or Revelation about the previous 7 years. As far as setting a date of 2015, see http://www.escapeallthesethings.com/doomsday-date-setting.htm for why that has never worked and will never work. HTH – Tim

  9. Tim:
    I am new to this and have only been saved from a lawless interpretation of scripture for one year now. Earlier in this post (March 2010) you say that the Holy Days are not Sabbaths. Can you address this?

    Lev 23:39 ‘Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD [for] seven days; on the first day [there shall be] a Sabbath-[rest], and on the eighth day a Sabbath-[rest].

  10. NOTE: (6*360days + 1*390days)/ 7years = 364 2/7 days/year
    ((49years *364 2/7 days/year) + (1year *390 days/year))/50 = 364.8 days/year is only off .6425 days per 50 years. So, the 50 years cycle is CORRECT to keep the yearly seasons in sync. Otherwise the seasons would precess through the months and planting/harvesting would go wrong. The method God gave them was a method that an ancient farming community could use by simply counting without resorting to more sophisticated math.

  11. The years the land was to be left fallow also keeps the whole process in sync. And, also, this explains how Dewey Bruton and Michael Rood came up at the same year: 2017, and how the feast days line up with events as well.
    NOTE: there can be neither more nor less than one extra month year out of a 7 year period (and that year would have to be a 390 day year); or the seasons go out of sync.

  12. Jubilee year is a year set aside. A Hebrew ‘moed’, a fixed time.

    Days flow is not interrupted.
    Monthly flow is interrupted with Adar and AdarII.
    Years must follow the seasons, so they flow uneven.
    God’s calendar is both Lunar and Solar.

    From the time of the Israelites entering into the Promised Land, 1436 BC to the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC the Jubilee was every 50 years.

    After the destruction of the First Temple, the Israelites did not celebrate the Jubilee, since they were out of the land, and so we get 49 year cycles.

    1436 BC – 586 BC = 550 years, or a period of 11 x 50 = 550

    http://www.pickle-publishing.com/papers/sabbatical-years.htm
    The above link has tables showing the 49 year cycle in effect, and gives dates for observed Sabbath years that are recorded in History.

    Since Sabbatical years were observed after Daniel’s time, the 70 years in captivity were for past transgressions, so in 550 years a 70 year debt was accumulated.
    It would seem that after 70 years in captivity Israel learned her lesson and celebrated Sabbath Years.

    Torahcalendar.com places creation at 3986 BC which if correct would mean that 2550 years from Creation Israel enters Promised Land, or 51 x 50 = 2550.
    3400 years from 3986 BC gives 586 BC which is 68 x 50 = 3400.

    Genesis has Man’s years numbered at 120.
    120 x 50 = 6000
    Adams lease was 6000 years.
    1000 year reign of Christ is 20 x 50.
    7 years Tribulation is parenthetical. A Hebrew ‘moed’, a fixed time.

    If Israel, which was to be a light to the world, had kept the Sabbath and Jubilee, then the rest of the world would have noticed this as a great sign since who could endure not planting for such a long time. Israel chose not to and her failure was still a sign, witness the captivity in Babylon, sadly.

  13. Leviticus 25
    v21 states there will be a harvest with triple yield in year 6.
    Year 7 is a fallow year.
    v22 commands sowing in year 8
    v22 mentions eating from storage (of the 6th year)

    But….
    The Jubilee follows the Sabbath year. That makes the Jubilee the 8th year.
    The year v22 states is a year of sowing and v11 forbids sowing.

    BTW I’m not stating there somehow is 9 day extended cycle. I’m just following the wording of the Bible. Likely it’s worded that way for ease of explanation, and as a reference to those 3 years.

    For me the seemingly conflicting verses 11 and 22 are a bigger question than 49 or 50 year Jubilee cycles.

    What’s your view on v11 and v22?

    • Fred, Lev 25:22 is an answer to a question about what to eat in the “the sabbath year” (Lev 25:20) not about Jubilee year timeframes obviously since there is no planting in the 50th/8th year in that case unlike the Sabbath year case where you can plant in year 8 after year 7. As for what they do in the Jubilee year, the same answer about a huge(r) bumper crop blessing is the implied answer.

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