Acceptable to whom? To God? To the Jews? To everyone?

To what year does this refer?

[Luk 4:19 YLT] (19) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.'

[Luk 4:19 MGNT] (19) κηρύξαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτόν

LXX2012 Isaiah 61:2 to declare the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompence; to comfort all that mourn;

[Isa 61:2 LXX] (2) καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτὸν καὶ ἡμέραν ἀνταποδόσεως παρακαλέσαι πάντας τοὺς πενθοῦντας




  • I see that @Ruminator is suspended until Dec. 19... that's a long time. Did he commit the unpardonable sin? Jan 27 at 21:50

5 Answers 5


The "year of the Lord's favour", or, "acceptable year of the Lord" in Luke 4:19 is a clear allusion to Isa 61:2. The word "favour" or "acceptable" is:

  • In Isa 61:2 - רָצוֺן noun [masculine] goodwill, favour, acceptance, will (Brown-Driver-Briggs). Strong adds: From dechomai; approved; (figuratively) propitious -- accepted(-table). See also Is 49:8.
  • Luke 4:19 - δεκτός, δεκτή, δεκτόν (δέχομαι), accepted, acceptable (Thayer). The same word is used in Isa 61:2 in the LXX.

Both are an allusion to Lev 25 which describes the year of Jubilee every 50 years, when the following was supposed to occur:

  • All land that had been sold to pay debts, etc, was returned to the family or individual (if he is still alive) V13, 26-28
  • Sowing and harvesting were forbidden, V11
  • All Hebrew slaves were to be released, V10, 39-41, 54

This is confirmed by the rest of Jesus' pronouncement in this His first sermon, which He took as the keynote and theme of the rest of His ministry on earth. Luke 4:18, 19

The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Note the same elements as in Lev 25 - liberty for the captives (presumably from sin) and release of the oppressed (from the slavery of sin); the two other elements, preaching to the poor and recovery of sight for the blind (real and spiritual) both deal with a release of slavery of another kind - the slavery of poverty (both economic and in spirit, Matt 5:3).

Thus, Jesus effectively announced His Kingdom of Grace (Heb 12:28) where there is great freedom. See Below.

APPENDIX 1: Freedom from Sin

  • John 8:32, 34-36, “…the truth will set you free…whoever sins is a slave to sin…so if the Son sets you free you are free indeed.”
  • Gal 5:13, 14, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use our freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
  • Gal 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
  • Gal 3:22, “But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.”
  • Acts 13:38, 39, “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.”
  • Rom 6:14, 18, “Sin shall no longer be your master because you are no longer under law but under grace. … And, having been set free from sin, we have become slaves of righteousness.”
  • Rom 6:22, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
  • 1 Peter 2:16, “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.”
  • 2 Peter 2:19, “promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.”
  • Rom 8:1-4, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
  • Rom 8:20, 21, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”
  • 2 Tim 2:26, “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
  • James 1:25, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

APPENDIX 2 Freedom from the Ceremonial/Levitical Law

  • 1 Cor 3:12-17 describes Christians “being bold” and non-Christians whose “minds were made dull” and “covered by a veil” and that “only in Christ is it taken away”. Paul concludes with, “where the Spirit of Lord is, there is freedom.”

  • 1 Cor 6:12, 13, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.’ The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

  • Eph 3:12, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

  • Acts 13:38, 39, “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.”

  • Gal 2:4, “This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” (see v3).

  • Rom 6:14, “Sin shall no longer be your master because you are no longer under law but under grace.”

  • As I've come to expect from you Dottard, this is another well thought out/researched answer and I thank you for it. +1 and accepted as the answer. If you want to improve it I think you could go more into the Jubillee and the links, but this is well supported by many commentaries on Biblehub. I haven't researched this myself but do you happen to know if there is a coincidence indicated in any of the gospels for the timing of the announcement with the Jubilee celebration? Thanks again.
    – Ruminator
    Jun 22, 2020 at 21:48
  • Many thanks @Ruminator. There is no record of a Jubilee every being kept or celebrated. Further, the chronology of the Bible is not known well enough to be able to decide of any of the events in the NT or Jesus' life had any Jubilee connection. My personal view (which I cannot prove) is that this idea was known and used by Isaiah and Luke as a metaphor of Grace and forgiveness, but this does not exclude any actual chronological connection as well.
    – Dottard
    Jun 22, 2020 at 22:17
  • There is a huge amount of fantastic crank claims about Jubilees on the WWW, almost all of which are just that - completely without foundation. Most are based what is unknown and unknowable.
    – Dottard
    Jun 22, 2020 at 22:19
  • Your comments make we want to revisit the book of Jubilees. Like Daniel and Revelation, it imposes a structure of sevens on scriptural events which, based on the title of the scroll, probably climaxes in the Jubilee. I didn't get that far but not it seems it requires further investigation. Again, thanks for your always thoughtful and informed observations.
    – Ruminator
    Jun 23, 2020 at 0:03
  • It has come to my attention that in the fourth gospel aka John, the ministry of Jesus is 3 years but in the synoptics, it is one year. This would make the "acceptable year of the LORD" a possible reference to the 1 year ministry of Jesus in the synoptics.
    – Ruminator
    May 26, 2021 at 5:28

Wonderful blessings are in store for those who accept the good news offered by Jesus. However, it is not difficult to note the strong contrast of thought in the references to the “year of goodwill” and the “day of vengeance on the part of our God.” Opposite destinies are obviously involved, which makes manifest the fact that God’s goodwill is not toward all persons. If it were, there would be no need for a “day of vengeance.”

Back there in first-century Jerusalem, that promise of a “year of goodwill” followed by the destructive “day of vengeance” saw a typical fulfillment in a series of circumstances that give cause for concern in this day. The proclaiming of the “year of goodwill” begun by Jesus, was later taken up by his faithful followers after Pentecost. It featured a message of good news that centered around the promised Kingdom by God’s appointed Messiah, and was made public by the preaching activity of those whom God had anointed by his holy spirit. It offered to all those Jews there in Judea the very blessing for which their forefathers had hoped for centuries, those who had exercised faith in the promises written down by the prophets. God’s Chief Agent for salvation and life was among them. Truly this was their “year of goodwill on the part of YHWH”

But would they accept it? Would this “year of goodwill” with its prospects of blessings always be available to that Jewish nation so that they could turn to it if and whenever they pleased? No, the circumstances that followed indicate that such was not the case. Just as a year is a definite time period with a beginning and an end, so their “year of goodwill” would not last indefinitely. Those who truly desired to gain God’s goodwill and avail themselves of its benefits and blessings would have to act quickly and decisively before it ended, before the “day of vengeance on the part of our God” came upon them.

13 Jesus’ prophecy concerning what would befall those who rejected God’s goodwill had carried with it a warning of a limited time period. Jesus had described the sweeping events that would lead up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.: “Furthermore, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near.” With this warning in mind, those Jews in Judea who truly had a sincere desire to gain God’s goodwill would have a profound interest in the instructions that follow: “Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those in the country places not enter into her; because these are days for meting out justice, that all the things written may be fulfilled.” Then pinpointing just how limited that “year of goodwill” would prove to be for that nation, Jesus added the ominous warning: “Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur.”​—Luke 21:20-22, 32

  • 1
    Hi Alex and thank you for your response. Can you please apply some formatting to your answer using > before the scripture passage and perhaps be more specific about what the acceptable year was, prophetically. Was it Jesus' earthly ministry until the destruction of Circa 70 AD? What does "acceptable year" mean? Acceptable to whom? Nice to meet a fellow preterist. Peace.
    – Ruminator
    Jun 22, 2020 at 8:21
  • 1
    @Ruminator. I have to do more studying regarding your questions. I will edit my answer when I have the answers. Peace to you too.
    – user35499
    Jun 22, 2020 at 8:34
  • @AlexBalilo - When Jesus quoted the passage from Isaiah, He stopped before, and so did not quote, the passage about "the day of vengeance". Second, I read in 1 Tim 2:3, 4, 6, 11 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. … [Jesus Christ] gave Himself as a ransom for all people. … For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”
    – Dottard
    Jun 23, 2020 at 1:25
  • @Dottard. Isaiah 61:2 was cited in its entirety in the body of the question.
    – user35499
    Jun 23, 2020 at 2:49

In Luke 4:19, what does “acceptable year of the Lord/LORD” mean and to what year does it refer?

Jesus said: "Today this scripture (Isaiah 61:1-2) that you just heard is fulfilled."​—Luke 4:16-21. Luke provides many examples of the fulfillment of the OT scriptures, on this occasion Jesus quoted from the prophets, and applied the prophecy to himself, indicating that the beginning of his ministry was the period God allowed to show goodwill or favor and accepting people.

His commission was:

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

His Commission certainly was not to liberate the Jews from their bondage to the pagan Roman Empire, but to liberate mankind from the subjection to sin and its penalty of death, was what God in his favor held forth through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ.

The Jewish People.

God showed his goodwill, firstly to his people the Jewish Nation, by Jesus 3.5 years followed by the apostles for another 3.5 years. The acceptable year of the Lord ended for the Jewish Nation in 70 C.E., the "day of vengeance" came when the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple. The period of Goodwill lasted for 40 years from the beginning of Jesus' ministry, a long time when compared to the "day of vengeance. This also ended the Jewish opposition to the spread of Christianity.

To the Gentiles.

This year of goodwill will conclude with another, more widespread day of vengeance, when God brings about the destruction of this entire world of the wicked mankind, at the "great tribulation"

Matthew 24:21 (NASB)

21" For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.tribulation.”​

But first Jesus said "the good news of the Kingdom "must be preached to the whole world.

Matthew 24:14 World English Bible

"This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come."

Today those that take advantage of God's year of goodwill will benefit and find comfort in the proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom. Those however that reject God's year of goodwill will face the reality of his "day of vengeance."

2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 (NKJV)

6 "Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."

  • Thank you Ozzie. However, I don't think you made your case at all for this at all referring to modern days, since the passage we are expounding clearly has Jesus saying that he came to announce that the acceptable year had arrived and he was announcing it. You reading seem eisegetical.
    – Ruminator
    Jun 22, 2020 at 21:46

Luke 4:19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus in Luke 4:19 reading Isaiah 61:1-2a and affirmed that He was the one To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy.

What year does it refer? The year that Jesus read the prophecy.

Interestingly, He stopped the reading abruptly at

Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD

What is next:

and the day of vengeance of our God

That's His second coming which is yet to be fulfilled in our hearing.


You're asking about Luke 4:19. You should in fact be asking about Isa 61:2, and IMHO referring to the Hebrew, not the LXX which comes out as an opinionated translation.

Isa 61:1,2 has more than one fulfilment, and people will apply them as their denominations see fit. We take the 'year' to be an unspecified period of time. We see spiritual (acceptable year) & physical (day of vengeance ) fulfillment

  • One when the Jews were released from Babylon.
  • One when Jesus was baptized and his Ministry was Limited to the Jewish nation. We see a 3.5 year Ministry by Jesus with another 3.5 years to Cornelius in line with Dan 9:27. There was still opportunity to become Christians.
  • Day of Vengeance on Natural Israel subsequently.66-70 was more significant than 132-135, because the genealogies were lost in 66-70. Nobody could henceforth prove his claim to be the Messiah.
  • Further spiritual and physical fulfillment in the last days

If you're answering an exam question, lucky you. If you're doing a translation, keep an eye on where your bread is buttered. A classic example of that was the NIV being pressed on why they were omitting God's name, when there's overwhelming proof it should be in Greek & Hebrew. They replied that they had put $2Million into their work, and weren't going to pour it down the drain by adding in Yahweh or Jehovah, because it would kill sales.

  • My question was more about what it meant in Luke than in Isaiah, and Luke is clearly quoting the Greek OT, not the Hebrew. However, indeed, the original context of Isaiah 61:1/2 is important, or likely important for that. Same for the Hebrew, though not necessarily. So what might Luke/Jesus have intended in Luke?
    – Ruminator
    Jun 21, 2020 at 19:05
  • Criticising the NIV for not putting 'Jehovah' in the Greek text when it was never there in the first place is way outside the remit of this Q and seems to unfairly pick on the NIV as there's only 1 newish translation of the Greek scriptures that adds it. Perhaps you have an axe to grind with that issue? If so, this is not the site to try grinding it.
    – Anne
    Jun 22, 2020 at 10:36
  • We're not here to tell other users what to do, what questions they ought to be asking and making familiar comments such as 'lucky you' when we are not on social terms with them. This is an academic site, it's not a social media site. The votes indicate that your content and tone have not gone down well.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 22, 2020 at 17:32

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