Financial crises and expectant global depressions being read into the airwaves through various media outlets. The last lap leading into the appearance of the 4th blood moon will herald a global economic that will lead to the rapture, battle of Gog and Magog and finally the end of the world. These are headlines coming from major streams in the Christian charismatic religious world.
All brouhaha that is recycled by men who use Jewish calendar to calculate God’s programming on the earth. They spend their time calculating the times and season and making predictions that get the church into performance-driven beliefs that bring people to bondage and error.
As I write this article, its past 15th September of 2015 when the American economy was supposed to collapse. The book “Mystery of the Shemitah, a best-seller written by Jonathan Cahn, has indicated that something huge is due to happen in September 2015.
Now let us see from the scriptures.
The Shemitah in the scriptures is an Hebraic concept found in the Mosaic covenant. In Israel’s calendar, every 7th year was to be observed as a “Sabbath Year”
“The LORD said to Moses on 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. 3For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.”(Leviticus 25:1-5)
In a Sabbath year (known in Jewish tradition as a “shemitah”) farmers were not to plant seed, prune their vines or trees, or harvest their crops. For that year alone the land became public property, and anyone could take whatever grew by itself according to their needs.
The Lord made the following provision for the observance of the Sabbath year since their land would be fallow for one season:
“I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year, that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop, and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in” (Leviticus 25:21–22).
That is how good God is even in the Old covenant. He would give them 3 times their harvest in one year that will last them for 3 years until the next farming season.
The shemitah was also known as a time for cancellation of debts;
“At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan he has made to a fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed” (Deut. 15:1-2).
This law only applied to and between Israelites, and only at the personal level. Money they lent to Gentiles was not forgiven (Deut. 15:3), neither were debts they had incurred from Gentiles. Clearly gentiles had to business with Shemitah.
Moreso , the shemitah brought the release of bond servants (Deut. 15:12-15).
“If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13 And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; 14 you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the Lord your God has blessed you with, you shall give to him. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.”
According to Jewish historians, the first shemitah cycle started in the fifteenth year after they crossed the Jordan River (1258 BC) when the years of conquering and dividing the land under the command of Joshua were complete. Based on this starting point, the year following the destruction of the second Temple was the first year of a seven-year Sabbatical cycle. On the Jewish calendar, counting from Creation, it was the year 3829. By counting sevens from then, we see that the year 5775 is a shemitah year as well. It began at sunset on Sept. 24, 2014 and will end at sunset on Sept. 12, 2015.
As a matter of fact Israel never kept to the provisions of the shemitah year, for the 490 years prior to the Babylonian captivity they had neglected to do so, thereby ignoring 70 shemitah years.
During that time they had drifted away into idolatary, following the religions of their pagan neighbors instead and abandoned the covenant they had with God on Mount Sinai. After series of several warnings through God’s prophets which was ignored by Israel the Babylonians conquered them and took them captive. They lost the land and temple as they did not observe. What a message!
Israel went into Babylon which being translated means confusion. When people do not rest in God’s promises they end up in confusion. But by his grace and goodness he promised to restore them back.
“When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:10-11).
So the cause of the Babylonian captivity was their descent into idolatry. The 70 year term was to give the land its missing shemitah (Sabbath) years, and God’s promise was to restore and prosper them afterwards, to give them hope and a future. When the seventy years had been completed, the Lord raised up the Medes and Persians who conquered Babylon without a battle and freed the Jewish people so they could return to their homeland and rebuild their nation as He had promised them.
This is what the Bible says about the Shemitah.
Most Christians I know had never heard the term “Shemitah” until recently when the book hit the media circle.
Upon reading the book or watching the videos, you’ll discover that the author gives the shemitah year much greater significance than the Bible does, connecting it as a basis for a major, even catastrophic judgment, incorrectly using the Babylonian captivity as his model. As against how it is applied in the Bible, America is brought into the picture.
See below a picture to argue for Shemita relating to financial cycle of depression.
They seem to forget what the scriptures says about the law and its customs:
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law,…” (Romans 3:19a)
The law was never for America or any gentile nation. But the author brings the observance and doubles it as a prophetic sign. See below a quote from his book.
“To answer this, we must distinguish between the observance of the shemitah and the shemitah as a prophetic sign. Only Israel was required to keep the shemitah as an observance. As an observance the shemitah applies to one nation. But as a prophetic sign it may apply to any nation. As an observance, the shemitah comes regularly, every seventh year. But as a sign it is not bound to any schedule or regularity. But when it does appear, it will manifest the essence of the shemitah, its effect and mystery, in the form of a sign” (The Mystery Of The Shemitah, page 76, paragraph 2).
This is what God confirmed to Israel in Psalms 147:
19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws
What you are seeing here is that the author has transformed a regularly scheduled religious observance, meant for one nation only, into a prophetic sign that can manifest itself in judgment at any time upon any nation. From his records of economic downturns, recessions, and depressions he connects them to the constituent elements in the Shemitah. This connection does not hold any water in the face of the finished work of Jesus and the advancing kingdom of God on earth.
The shadows of the Old covenant observance have all faded away into the substance in Christ. No prophecy can find its roots from Mosaic covenant for us today.
“16 Therefore let no one judge you in regard to food and drink or in regard to [the observance of] a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. 17 Such things are only a shadow of what is to come and they have only symbolic value; but the substance [the reality of what is foreshadowed] belongs to Christ.” (Colossians 2:16) AMP
According to the calculations of the Jewish calendar a shemitah year began at sunset on Sept. 24, 2014 and will end at sunset on Sept. 12, 2015. It is supposed to bring about a period where people could rest in the abundant provision of God and not mourn losses. The Shemitah has been fulfilled in the New covenant by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. We are now living in a perpetual Shemitah age. It is the age of the finished work. We have been blessed with the abundance of heaven in Jesus, all our debts have been cancelled and we have been placed as sons, no more slaves.
It does take a professor to know that the following months could be difficult periods for nations struggling to keep their economy afloat. Many developed countries are seeing hopeless situations. We the church needs to be reminded that the kingdom is here and is the solution to a lost world. The grace of God is what the world needs and not judgment or wrath.
All these coming-judgment theories and speculations about the end of the world is so needless. I am sure that that as the days go by these so-called “sure” prophecies would fall flat and their proponents would become quieter, preparing their defence of delays and research more calculations that they would sell to their audience to keep their relevance and validity. Well as for me I am done with that kind of Christianity, no more shadows, no more types. Its all about Jesus and his endless love for me.
What Does The Bible Say? The Sabbath Year (Shemitah) by Gracethrufaith
Don K. Preston: The Mystery of the Shemitah: Exposing the error of the Shemitah