Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you come into the land which I give you…
I. LET US LOOK AT THE GOSPEL AGE AS THE WORLD'S JUBILEE. And notice particularly that the jubilee year was ushered in on the Day of Atonement. Now, how is it with our jubilee? Was it not also ushered in by atonement? The prophets foretold the coming of the acceptable year, but there was no jubilee Until Christ came, and there was no true trump of jubilee until after Christ had died. Three clays He lay in the grave, and the third day He rose again, and then after forty days He ascended, the Great High Priest, and entered into the Holiest Place, bearing there His own blood. Then, the atonement having been made, He sends down the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and His servants go forth everywhere preaching the jubilee that had come in — a jubilee based upon an infinite atonement. Now, it is equally true that the atonement of Christ must usher in all gospel proclamations. There is no gospel without the atonement, any more than there was any trump of jubilee without first the atonement day. A bloodless gospel is no gospel, but hell's choicest weapon. A gospel that ignores the Lamb slain is worse than no gospel at all, for it not merely leaves men in their original ignorance, but stupefies and chloroforms them with a fresh lie. Let us look for a moment at a few of the chief things included in gospel preaching, and see how they are all connected with the great day of Christ's atonement.
1. Certainly, peace must be classed among the first and chiefest notes. The gospel, like an angel, flies through the world, crying, "Peace! — Peace! — Peace!" Methinks, this is one of the sweetest notes in the whole of gospel harmony. But what kind of peace is the gospel peace? It is peace that is based on blood!
2. If peace be one of the chief notes in the gospel, surely we may place by its side remission of sins. Oh, let us tell it out that God can forgive all sin, though He cannot overlook one. By all means tell it out that God can remit all iniquity — that there is no sinner so wicked that God cannot forgive him, no sin so heinous that it cannot be pardoned; but remember, remission of sins, like peace, is based on the blood.
3. Cleansing is also one of the most sounded notes of the gospel, and it is a blessed thing to be able to tell a sinner that however sin-stained he is he can yet be purified, and that the soul that is black as perdition can be made as white as wool, and that the soul that is crimson dyed with iniquity may yet be so cleansed that even the driven snow shall look black in comparison. But remember that it is the blood that cleanses. Now, notice next, that the jubilee was proclaimed with trumpet-note.The atonement has been made, and from every hill-top the note is heard.
1. And who blows the trumpet? Why, man. It must have been joyous work to him. No angel but would have coveted the honour, but it is man that receives the commission for the work, and surely, he will blow it best, for as he blows he says, "I am blowing good news unto myself." Perhaps the man on yonder hill-top owed a debt and knew not how to pay. Oh, with what right good will would that man blow the trumpet! Says he, "I am blowing my own debt away." Or perhaps that other man had a boy that was in prison. Says he, "I will blow a blast that shall be heard far and wide, for I am blowing a note that will open the prison doors to my own boy." He had got an exile, perhaps, afar off, and for family reasons that boy had been unable to return home. "The moment this note is heard," says the trumpeter, "the exiled one will be able to come back again." So the man blows, ay, as no angel or seraph could have blown. So no angel could preach the gospel like the man who is himself saved by the gospel. When we preach Christ we may well preach Him with a holy ecstacy, for we preach that which saves us; and when me are telling the tale of atonement made we may tell it out with all the whole soul. The trumpets were blown by man.
2. And then observe, they were blown everywhere. This is what you and I have to do. We have to help to sound the trumpet throughout all the land. Go, blow it amongst the great ones of the earth, and tell kings and potentates that they must be born again. Go and blow the note amongst the humblest and the poorest that fill our mission halls and theatres and tell how Christ can save the vilest. Go and be Christ-like, and proclaim to the perishing everywhere that the acceptable year of the Lord is come, and that He is willing to bind up broken-hearted ones, and to open the prison-doors unto all captives.
3. We notice further that the notes of the jubilee trumpet and the notes of the gospel are identical. What was it that that trumpet proclaimed? First and foremost it proclaimed a return to all exiles and to all who were banished from their homes. I think I see the father when that trumpet sounds; he pulls the bolt back and takes the chain down and says, "My boy will be back soon. For years he has been shut out of the home. We did not care to have him in." That boy perhaps had offended in something, and did not care to show his face in the neighbourhood, so for many a long year the father had sighed to see his face again. But the moment he heard that note he says, "See that the door is not fastened till he comes back. My boy has heard the note as quickly as I have. Depend upon it that by this time his face is turned homeward." The trumpet sounded "home sweet home," to all banished ones. There was a pale captive in a dungeon; but the trumpet note found its way between the iron bars, and I think I see him as he says, "Now jailor, off with these fetters I and off with them quickly! You have no power to keep me in durance vile a moment longer." See how he flings the shackles down on the floor and stretches his unfettered arms with ecstacy! That trump said to him the one glorious word "Liberty!" These were some of the notes that the trumpet of jubilee sounded; but, oh, does not the gospel trumpet sound not merely the same notes, but the same notes pitched to a higher "Selah," still.
II. NOW WHEN DOES THE SOUL RECEIVE ITS JUBILEE? I can imagine one saying, "Well, my case is a very bad one indeed. It is all very well to be talking about a jubilee age, but that and a jubilee heart are two different things." I know it, and I think I can understand you. Do I not express your feelings when I put the matter thus: — "I am everything that you have spoken about, I am an exile far from my Father's house, I am a captive, and the iron eats into my soul. I am a debtor, and I feel that I owe that which I can never pay. I am over head and ears; I am drowned in debt. I am a miserable bankrupt. I cannot pay a farthing in the pound. I am a lost man. How am I ever to have a jubilee?" Why, I tell thee, thou wilt have a jubilee the very moment thou believest the report of the jubilee trumpet. Thank God, the jubilee of the soul can come any day. It is not once in fifty years, or once in fifty days, or once in fifty hours, or once in fifty minutes. God is willing to give salvation any moment. The moment thou acceptest Christ, the moment thou believest the report of the gospel, that moment shall thy jubilee come. Remember, that it is not enough to have the gospel preached all round about you. It is not enough to live in a gospel age. There must be a personal reception of the truth.
(A. G. Brown.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.