Tag Archives: eye for an eye

Leviticus 24-25:

Perpetual Light and The Bread of the Presence:
The Bread of the Presence (“the Showbread”) figures prominently in the Tabernacle.  The holy bread is perpetually in the Lord’s presence.  It too is a prefigurement to the Eucharist. It consists of 12 loaves of bread in two piles as part of a food offering.  It shall be eaten by Aaron and his sons in the sacred space, as a type of prefiguring Communion.  Similarly, the light of the golden lampstand must be perpetually lit, reflecting the eternal light.  It is to use oil from “crushed olives.”  We too are to be crushed, just as Jesus sacrificed Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane among the olive trees, so too, are we to be crushed to ourselves and burn with zeal for the Lord.  We are to be lights for the world.

Lex Talionis (“Law of Retaliation”)::
These are the so-called “lex talionis” verses, or “eye for an eye, tooth for tooth!” (Lev. 24:20)  Many atheists and critics of the Judeo-Christian worldview use these verses as a criticism of the Bible.  However, these verses are not about barbaric literal, corresponding mutilation and revenge.  It is about proportionality.  It is about limiting revenge and giving matching compensation for an injury or action. There is a lot of latitude for handling judgment and restitution under the Mosaic system.  The one exception is murder, where the punishment is likewise the death penalty.

The Sabbatical Year:
Concerning holy years and holy seasons, every 7 years is the Sabbatical Year, that is, the seventh year is to be observed as a Sabbath, on which no agricultural work was to be done.  The Israelites were to take a solemn rest from their farming and tilling of the land every seventh year.  (Lev. 25:1-7)

The Year of Jubilee:
After every seven cycles of Sabbatical Years, or 49 years, was to be followed by a Jubilee Year, or the 50th year.  The same “rest” as the Sabbath was to be observed, but in addition, on the Day of Atonement, the ram’s horn trumpet blast was to be sounded to signal throughout the land that all debts were forgiven and all ancestral land was returned to the proper owner.  This was an effective “reset button” or “reboot” for the economy and all impoverished peoples.  All debts were forgiven and lands restored.  The land belonged to Yahweh, and the Israelites could not do with it what they wanted.  God is the real owner of the land.  Yahweh renewed the lease of the land to the Israelites every fifty years, but also forgave all debts and gave back property to the rightful owners. Israelites were not to be divided into haves and have-nots forever.  The Jubilee Year was meant to enforce this and break any cycle of poverty.  This is the land and economy resets.  Embedded in this Jubilee Year is the idea of the “kinsman-redeemer.”  “The fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.  It shall be a jubilee for you, when every one of you shall return to his own property, every one to his own family estate.” (Lev. 25:10)

The Messianic Jubilee Liberator:
The Jubilee Year within priestly thought is linked to the Day of Atonement.  The reset button of the Jubilee Year is like going back in time to the Garden of Eden. Everything is made right and perfect. Every man now dwells in the land with God, just like in the days of Eden.  God again dwells with His people.  It is an “Edenic Reset” or Restoration.  Eden is back on Earth again.  This harmonious idea always lurks in the background of Salvation History. The Jubilee Year abolishes selling land and field and debts.  Corruption then is eliminated.  Thus, in Leviticus, God proclaims “liberty in the land.”  Liberty is given on the Day of Atonement in the Jubilee Year.  This is the same day that the Azazel goat carries away the sins of the people.  The nation is restored to the Edenic land.  In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61 saying: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Lk. 4:18-19)  Isaiah 61 reads in part: “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prisonto those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Is. 61:1-2)  This language of “liberty” hearkens back to Leviticus 25 “proclaiming liberty in the land.”  Jesus is the eschatological fulfillment of the “year of the Lord’s favor” or the Jubilee Year of Liberty.

Jesus as the Jubilee Liberator:
What has Jesus the Messiah come to liberate us from? Sin. Satan is the strongman who binds the nations, holds all in bondage and extorts harsh debts upon all mankind. The demonic forces are humanity’s overlords. Jesus declares that He has come to liberate the nations and reclaim them from the demonic fallen angels. Christ announces that the liberation has begun. Now is the acceptable year of the Lord. The Jubilee Reset has begun for the whole world to break the bonds of sin and corruption enslaving the whole world. Jesus’ Cross and Crucifixion and Resurrection has set in motion the worldwide Jubilee cycle. The Reset has begun. Jesus declares the Jubilee cycle has been set in motion, and it cannot be stopped. The Restoration is moving inexorably and relentlessly forward. Nothing can stop it now. Jesus inaugurates the Kingdom of God and the gates of hell cannot stop it. The kingdom is “already, but not yet.” The final consummation and judgment will not happen until Christ’s Second Coming (linked to the Day of Atonement), when the liberation process will be completed. Then, the final bonds and enslavement to sin will be broken forever, in an eschatological climax to the Jubilee Year. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Jubilee cycle is linked to the coming Messiah, who in effect, as a priest-king Melchizadek, will judge Satan and the fallen angels. The Book of Hebrews in fact explicitly links Jesus to Melchizadek and a priest forever according to the order of Melchizadek. The Jews of the first century had linked the coming of the Messiah to the Jubilee Cycle. In Luke 4, Jesus is in effect saying that He is the eschatological “Jubilee Liberator.” After Jesus read Isaiah 61 about the Jubilee Liberator: “And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And He began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk. 4:20-21) The Kingdom is “already, but not yet.” The final conquering of evil will come at Jesus’ Second Coming.