Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Introduction to the "Shemitah"

The New York Stock Exchange
(A Morguefile.com photo)
The word shemitah is a Hebrew word that means release, fall, collapse, or shaking. (Tweet that!)

The shemitah is the seventh year in a seven-year cycle. (Tweet that!)

In the Bible, God instructs us to work six days and rest on the seventh, which is the Sabbath. In Jewish culture, this also applied to years: the Jewish people were to work their land for six years and let the land rest on the seventh, the Sabbath year. Again this seventh year in a seven-year cycle is the shemitah year.

(Then there is also a cycle of seven-sevens, which equals forty-nine years. The following year, the fiftieth, is the Year of Jubilee. But that's another topic.)

For the shemitah year, the Jewish people were to not only let the land rest, they were also to cancel all debts between them and their Jewish friends and brothers. (Tweet that!

I know. This sounds incredible to us today, doesn't it? But this entire exercise was a demonstration of how things work in God's economy. It is training in trusting God -- they had to trust God to provide during the years they did not work the land and also trust Him to provide if they graciously cancelled debts owned to them. God also graciously cancels debts owed to Him -- that is the debt of sin which we each must pay for with our lives, unless we trust God-come-in-the-flesh, who is Jesus Christ. In that case, when we trust Jesus as our own savior, our sin-debt is cancelled.

We are currently living in a shemitah year. (Tweet that!)

I gave all of this information to bring us to a point where I could ask and answer one question: 
When it comes time for those financial debts to be cancelled, when, exactly, does that transaction take place?
Answer: on the last day of the shemitah year.

When, exactly, is that?

The Jewish or Hebrew calendar, also known as God's calendar, is different than the one we use. For more information on how the Jewish calendar works, see my previous post on April 10, 2014: How the Jewish Calendar Works.

The last month of the Hebrew calendar is called Elul.

Elul has 29 days.

So the last day of the shemitah year is always on Elul 29.

But what does that mean on our calendar? (Tweet that!)

Because our calendars operates differently, this date moves around on the calendar we use in the West. On our calendar, this current shemitah year:
  • began on September 25, 2014
  • and ends on September 13, 2015

That means that the next scheduled day when all debts are cancelled is September 13, 2015.

What happens if God’s people do not pay attention to and observe His instructions? He causes us to observe them anyway, even against our will.

Why is this important? Major and significant financial events have taken place in the United States on the last two shemitahs

  • September 17, 2001: Six days after September 11, 2001, the stock market re-opened and dropped 700 points, or 7%, in one day. This was its greatest loss in its history up to that date. On the Jewish calendar, it was the last day of the Shemitah year: Elul 29.*
  • September 29, 2008: Seven years later, after the government bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and the bankruptcy (rather than accept a government bailout) of Lehmann Brothers, the stock market plunged again. This time it again dropped 7%. In points that 777.7 points. That equated to wiping out everything it had gained in the past seven years. Now this became the largest one-day drop in its history. Again, on the Jewish calendar, it was the last day of the Shemitah year: Elul 29.*

I clearly remember all those sevens. If you don't know it, in the Bible "7" represents completion, perfection, and therefore is known God's numbers. After that day I remember writing on another blog that I did not know what it meant, but God's fingerprints were all over it. Now I'm beginning to understand. Are you?

What do you think all this means for the next last day of the Shemitah year which will occur on September 13, 2015? (Tweet that!)

This is your introduction to the Shemitah. You won't want to miss the next post when Jonathan Cahn will teach you much more about the Shemitah in a video post.

Related Articles:

  • *My thanks to the WND.com article, "Israel Rediscovers Shemitah in Time for Blood Moons," posted 6/25/2014. However I noticed a mistake (probably a typo) in this article. It states "Sept 29, 2008, fell on Elul 20" but in fact Sept 29, 2008 actually fell on Elul 29, as confirmed in the linked calendar above. Please don't let that confuse you. I have requested a correction. Meanwhile the rest of the article has valuable information.

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