Monday, February 25, 2019
The next Shemitah year is #2022 #TheParadigm
Is there an unseen force or a law of nature that God has designed into the world, which silently governs the rise and fall of economies and nations? Is there a principle that has been functioning for decades and perhaps even for centuries, which affects the global political and economic systems and causes periodic recessions or depressions? According to recent publications, some authors have claimed that there really is such a force at work in our world. Many economists and others who study the global financial systems have wondered why major downturns in the economy seem to happen in early fall, especially in the months of September and October. Is it possible that the Bible provides the reason for this phenomenon as well as details on its origin and properties? If this force really exists, it might actually impact the valuation of stock markets, investments, and currencies on a recurring basis. This type of downward pressure on the global financial system may also cause the rise and fall of empires and countries, as economic upheavals often cause major political power shifts. I call this proposition the Shemitah Effect, after a Biblical law and the Jewish name that is used to describe it.
In 2012, the Christian Rabbi Jonathan Cahn published a book entitled The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future (Frontline Pub Inc). He described within it, as part of a series of harbingers to judgment affecting the United States and the world, a concept related to an old Jewish law often called the Shemitah (The Harbinger, p. 153). Cahn subsequently went on to publish a second book in 2014 that was exclusively related to the Shemitah Effect, entitled The Mystery of the Shemitah. His writings and talks about the Shemitah are very interesting, and at least they should be read and understood by every Christian. Cahn has postulated that this principle is actually affecting the course of world events and especially the future of the United States and Israel as we move forward in the End Times. With that assertion, it is imperative to learn about the Shemitah Effect as we study End Times prophecy. In particular, we should seriously consider whether such a force really exists and if it is affecting the unfolding of world events in the last days.
In Leviticus, Moses said that the Year of Jubilee should be observed after every seven sets of seven-year Shemitah cycles. Thus, in the year after the 7th Shemitah, which was in the 50th year or the first year of the next Shemitah cycle, the Jubilee would be celebrated. The beginning of the Jubilee year would be marked by the sounding of a ram’s horn on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This important Jewish holiday occurs in the fall, usually in Late September or early October (it occurred on Sept. 23 in 2015), and it serves to usher in the start of the New Year of Jubilee. According to the statutes of this law, the 50th year would include another year like the Shemitah year of not planting or harvesting of crops; therefore the seventh Shemitah year of rest for the land was followed by another Jubilee year of rest, making two consecutive years of no planting and no harvesting every 49 years. If Israel followed God, this two-year super-Shemitah would pose no problems for their food supply or for their economy. As the Lord promised in Leviticus 25:20-22Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) (quoted previously), the sixth year before a Jubilee would provide enough food to supply the people for a full 3 years; therefore God anticipated the need for an increased food supply during the longer Shemitah/Jubilee cycle.
Days of Judgment
Despite these promised benefits that the Shemitah and Jubilee observances would bring to Israel, it was unfortunately rarely if ever followed during the years of the First Kingdom and the First Temple period. Perhaps it was followed early in Israel’s history, during the time of the Judges and maybe during King David’s reign, but as Israel fell away from God with successive kings, the Shemitah was one of the first rules that fell away and was not fulfilled. It can be a fearful thing to turn away from self-reliance in getting what you need and become completely reliant on God, especially if you have no faith. It was easier for Israel to simply overlook this law rather than to risk not having enough food for over a year at a time or risk losing money by having to forgive debt or give back land. Greed and the desire for money caused many in Israel to ignore the Shemitah and the Jubilee.
However, these laws were not ignored by God. As we learned in the four sections on Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks and the section on The Scattering of Judah and Jerusalem, Israel was taken captive into Babylon for exactly 70 years to make up for the 70×7 years (490 years) that the Jews didn’t follow the Shemitah for the land. Thus, the Lord kept them away from their land in judgment for a full 70 years to allow the land to rest for the 70 Shemitahs that Israel ignored. Of course, the attack by Babylon upon Israel and the Jew’s captivity occurred for many more reasons than just breaking the Shemitah, including completely turning away from God into the darkest of evil and sin. Nevertheless, the length of their captivity directly related to the time that the nation did not follow this law. Therefore, the principle of the Shemitah remained in effect even if Israel tried to eliminate it from their lives and culture. Though they tried to run from it, the Shemitah Effect eventually caught up to them and caused 70 years of banishment from their land!
From these historical lessons, it can be said that the Shemitah can either be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether the nation followed God and these laws. If the nation followed God in the Shemitah and Jubilee, they would be prosperous and at rest in their land; however, if the nation turned away from God and didn’t follow these laws, they would suffer the effects of the Shemitah as a judgment and with extremely negative consequences.