Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Does the Shemitah Apply to America? - Part 2

In the previous post, Part 1, we began addressing the question, "Does the Shemitah apply to America?" Continuing, here is another piece of information from Jonathan Cahn's book, The Harbinger Companion with Study Guide, page 88: (Tweet that!)

The greatest collapse of the 2008 economic implosion and the greatest stock market crash in American history happened on September 29, 2008. That day on the biblical calendar was the twenty-ninth day of Elul, the final, crowning day of the Hebrew Shemitah—and the exact day appointed by God for the wiping away of a nation's financial accounts. 
The Shemitah revolves around the number seven. So the number seven arises over and over again concerning the economic collapse of 2008. The great collapse happened on the crowning day of the seventh year. It was triggered on Capitol Hill when Congress rejected a $700 billion bailout plan. Seven percent of the market was wiped out. And the number of points wiped away was 777. 
In order to trigger all of these "sevens," all of Wall Street, the American and world economies, every economic and financial transaction, had to be an exact position for it all to happen as it did, at the exact time and to that exact number. No human hand could have orchestrated it. 
(The Harbinger Companion with Study Guide by Jonathan Cahn, page 88.)

In that first paragraph Mr. Cahn talks about "the twenty-ninth day of Elul." I wrote a post explaining what the 29th of Elul is which you can find here: "When is the Shemitah?"

And the next Shemitah? It's coming this September 13, 2015. (Tweet that!)

Please come back for the next post when we will talk about this more. If you don't want to miss a single post, you may have all posts delivered to your email in box by using the signup form in the upper right of this page. Use it, so you never miss a post.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Does the Shemitah Apply to America? - Part 1

Does the Shemitah apply to America? (Tweet that!)

In his book The Harbinger Companion with Study Guide on page 85, author Jonathan Cahn addresses this question. He acknowledges that the law of the Shemitah was given to Israel long before America existed.

Also, America has never been obligated to observe a Sabbath year. (Tweet that!)

But then Jonathan Cahn explains that the Shemitah is a biblical "sign of judgment on a nation that has driven God out of its life." (Tweet that!) That describes America…more than most people acknowledge.

While I do not wish to borrow too much from Mr. Cahn's book (which I certainly recommend to you), he is such an excellent teacher and shares so much great information. And I certainly can't explain it more succinctly than he does. So here are a few paragraphs from his book:

Thus, it is the Shemitah as a biblical sign of national judgment in the context of the warning of America that now concerns us. 
Behind the crash of Wall Street and the collapse of the American economy lies the mystery of the Shemitah. 
In 2008 the collapse of Lehman Brothers and America's economy took place over the course of a week, the anniversary week of 9/11. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed on September 7 of that year. Two days later Lehman Brothers began its fall, and on September 11, 2008, the stock market took a precipitous plunge. 
Exactly seven years separated the two events, the precise biblical period of time that concerns the Shemitah. The economic collapse, from housing to finance, concerned a forced wiping away of the nation's financial accounts—the outward form of the Shemitah. In the case of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government relieved them of debts exceeding $5 trillion. In the case of Lehman Brothers, its bankruptcy wiped away its debts and canceled its loans. 
All these events helped trigger a stock market crash, touching the whole world and wiping out all gains over the preceding seven years and then some. The 2008 global economic collapse was one colossal Shemitah, made up of countless smaller ones. 
(The Harbinger Companion with Study Guide by Jonathan Cahn, page 87.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

God Will Have His Way -- Warning If the Shemitah is Not Observed

So what happens if people do not do what God says they (or we) should do?

God is kind and gentle, but in the end He will have His way. (Tweet that!)

The people of Israel did not observe the Shemitah. They ignored it. They had been told what would happen if they ignored it. Here is the warning God gave if Israel did not observe the Shemitah:

Your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies' land… As long as it lies desolate it shall rest--for the time it did not rest on your Sabbaths when you dwelt in it. (Leviticus 26:33-35)

See what I mean? God will have His way.

It's so much better when we cooperate with God, when we trust we can have joy and rest and fun and become amazed at the awesome provision of a loving, fun, merciful God. (Tweet that!)

We can rebel and refuse to obey God. But God will still have His way. (Tweet that!)

Ancient Israel did not observe the Shemitah and they were exiled 70 years for 70 missed Shemitahs.

America is on the same path of rebelling against God and refusing to do things His way. (Tweet that!)

God will have His way.

After the people of Israel ignored the Shemitah, this is what happened:

And those who escaped from the sword [King Nebuchadnezzar] carried away to Babylon…to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.  (2 Chronicles 36:20-21)

Please notice the warning God gave in Leviticus was given hundreds of years before King Nebuchadnezzar carried the people of Israel from the Promised Land to exile in Babylon.

My note to Christians: be godly people, even in the midst of America's rebellion against God. (Tweet that!) Not everyone in America is rebelling. There are many Christians here staying true to God. If you are in another country, the same holds true for you: be godly people, even if everyone around you is refusing to live God's way. He knows, hears, and will provide for each and every one who belongs to Him. (Tweet that!)

But the next question is, does all this about the Shemitah apply to America? If it does, how? We’ll look at that in the next post.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Taking a Shemitah Year Off Requires Faith

Often what looks "un fun" and appears to ruin our enjoyment of life would turn out the exact opposite if we obeyed God. (Tweet that!)

Israel was told to observe the Shemitah. God gave them specific instructions to follow.

When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD.  (Leviticus 25:2-4) 
Six years you shall sow your land and gather its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat. (Exodus 23:10-11) 
At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the LORD's release [Shemitah]  (Deuteronomy 15:1-2, Jonathan Cahn's translation)

But I can see how hard it would be to obey these instructions. It just doesn't make sense, humanly speaking. Instead of being rich by working hard for material gain, wouldn't they end up poorer? Could taking a year off instead make them richer? (Tweet that!)

Obeying the Shemitah would make the people of Israel richer by discovering God's fabulous provision while taking a year-long vacation! (Tweet that!) So why not let God do the work?

But often people think they know better than God.

Taking that year off required faith. (Tweet that!)

Following and obeying God always requires faith. (Tweet that!) Faith that the One True God will provide and bless, not make us poorer. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

This is a Test. Do You Believe the God of the Shemitah?

Often God asks or suggests we do the radically weird – what we would never do. What God asks us to do sometimes seems counter-intuitive to human reasoning. (Tweet that!) For examples of this, see the Scripture verses in my June 6 post, "Does the Shemitah Turn things Upside Down or Right Side Up?" 

Why does God do this? Is it only to see if we will obey? That might be one reason, but it's not the only reason. God never tests us with busy work, work that means nothing.

Rather, He wants us to experience the fact that if we will obey Him, it always turns out right. (Tweet that!)

If we don't obey Him or won't submit to obedience to Him, what would have been a blessing turns ugly. Very ugly.

This principle was described in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. Here's an example:

All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you. (Deuteronomy 28:45-48).

But even the ugliness of blessings-turned-bad turns into God's grace and mercy and love when it steers us back to Him. (Tweet that!)

NOTE: We can take the notion of "weird" to extremes, beyond what I intend here. So here's a disclaimer: Not everything that is weird is of God. (Tweet that!)

At a church I used to attend, a group came in from out of town to conduct a spiritual retreat. The leaders told my congregation that if a thought to do something strange hit our minds we were to do it because God asks us to do crazy things.

There is some not-good reasoning in that.

When God asks us to do something, there is always good solid reasoning behind it if we're willing to look for it. The reasons will always line up with God's perfect personality expressed in the Bible. (Tweet that!)

Look carefully to make sure it's God's will.

What is counter-intuitive to humans isn't upside down. It's God turning things right side up. 

Another example of God doing something that seems counter-intuitive to human reasoning is the Shemitah. Cancelling all debts and setting all financial records back to zero is definitely radically weird and counter-intuitive to what seems productive to us. But God created the Shemitah, and when Israel obeyed, things went right. When Israel did not, God got His Shemitahs anyway.
15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord's temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. 
20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power.21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.  (2 Chronicles 36:15-21)

We'll explore this more in the next post.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

The God of the Shemitah

It is an insult to the One True God to claim He is a mishmash of all the notions of "god" that man has made up over the eons. (Tweet that!)

He is not Allah of Islam.

He is not Buddah.

He is not all the objects of any or all the other religions or their combined or separate notions or understandings of God.

There is only one God. There is God the Father who is in heaven. God came to earth to reveal himself to humans and He was Jesus, who is God the Son. The spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. (Tweet that!)

This is one God.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, NIV. See also where Jesus quoted this verse in Mark 12:29.)

On my April 21, 2015, post, I had a comment-er express the idea that we all worship the same God, even using the "saying," as she called it, in Deuteronomy 6:4: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one."

This is the very spiritual confusion I talked about in that very post.

There is only one God. He revealed Himself to humankind by revealing Himself to the family of Abraham, Isaac, and then Jacob-Israel. (Tweet that!)

How can we possibly know this is the true God and the one and only God? Because He continues to reveal Himself in unique ways and then "fulfills" that revelation. (Tweet that!) For example, He created the Shemitah. And then He not only enforces the Shemitah, as we can see in history, but He continues to reveal Himself in the Shemitah. (Tweet that!)  

Take, for example, what has happened on the previous two Shemitahs. If you don't know what happened, you can see it in this post: Introduction to the "Shemitah" (October 21, 2014).

You can believe the One True God was behind what happened or you can doubt it. (Tweet that!)

You can believe the God of the Shemitah will reveal more of Himself in this coming Shemitah or you can doubt it. (Tweet that!)

As for me, I believe the God of the Shemitah is the One and Only True God. (Tweet that!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Why Would God Insist on the Shemitah? The Spiritual Parallel

Imagine having all your debt wiped away. (Tweet that!) Imagine God insisting on wiping away all debt. (Tweet that!) That is "The Shemitah." Why would God insist on the Shemitah? Because He is teaching us through a spiritual parallel. (Tweet that!)

You might wonder why God would want the people of Israel to wipe out all debts every seven years? Why would He direct people to do such a radical, unusual bit of financing? Why wipe the books clean every seven years? (Tweet that!)

If we don't understand the "why" behind a rule or instruction, then it's pretty easy to ignore it or rebel against it, don't you think? (Tweet that!)

But the rule or instruction is there to obey, even if the people didn't understand why.

And if the people of Israel didn't follow this instruction from God, there were serious repercussions. In fact, if the people didn't do this "financial reset" which God instructed, He would do it for them. (Tweet that!)  Why would God do such a thing?!

The answer: God is drawing a spiritual parallel. He's painting a picture in real-world, tangible, visible images of what He does in the invisible, spiritual realm. (Tweet that!)

This is what God does for us spiritually: He wipes away our debit, what we owe God. That is, He wipes away our sin-debt. (Tweet that!)

Because we sin, and because the wages of sin is death, we cannot pay this debt and live. Sin creates a debt we could never repay and at the same time survive. (Tweet that!)

Jesus paid a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay.

The One True God is a most unusual God. (Tweet that!)

It takes imagination to explain the things of heaven and the ways of God in heaven to the people of earth. To illustrate one heavenly truth of God's incredible love, God insists on the Shemitah.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

What Would this Shemitah "Release of Debts" Look Like?

Jonathan Cahn’s The Harbinger Companion with
Study Guide
The Harbinger, and
The Mystery of the Shemitah
I'm pretty sure most of you (unless you're Jewish) are a lot like me: Because this idea of the Shemitah is so new to me and I'm just learning about it, and because I haven't lived with it or experienced it (at least not when I knew that's what was happening!), it's hard to imagine what it would look like when it happens on Elul 29. Don't you agree? (Tweet that!) Well teacher and author Jonathan Cahn teaches us in his books.

Here is an explanation about the release of debts from Jonathan Cahn's The Harbinger Companion with Study Guide, page 85:

So at the end of every seventh year, which was the twenty-ninth day of the biblical month of Elul, all debts were canceled; the nation's financial accounts were nullified. 
The effect and repercussions of the Shemitah extend into the financial realm, the economic realm, and the realms of labor, employment, production, consumption, and trade. It would cause much of these things to cease or greatly diminish, and in the case of Elul 29, the wiping away of all credit and debt would nullify much of the nation's financial realm.

Thus, the Shemitah in many ways had the outward appearance of an economic collapse… The Shemitah remains one of the most unique ordinances in the Bible in its massive effect and repercussions on a nation's financial and economic realm.

Can you imagine such a "financial reset"? (Tweet that!) Can you imagine what it would be like to live that? We may actually live it later this year. (Tweet that!)

Or maybe we already have in 2001 and 2008. If the events of 2001 and 2008 were just warnings, what might the real thing be like? (Tweet that!)

I don't know the answer to that. But another question comes to my mind: Why would God do all this? We'll talk about why God would order the people to do this, or would do this to the people, in the next post, so please visit again on Tuesday.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

When is the Shemitah 2015?

This year Elul 29 on the Biblical
calendar is September 13, 2015,
on the western calendar.
So I'm sure you're wondering, "Just when is the Shemitah?" (Tweet that!)

Every 7th year it falls on the last day of the last month of the year on the Hebrew / Jewish / Biblical calendar. (Tweet that!)

The last month on that calendar is called "Elul" and it corresponds roughly to mid-August to mid-September on our western calendar. (Tweet that!)

(See related article "How the Jewish Calendar Works.")

The last day of Elul is the 29th. So the Shemitah falls on the 29th of Elul every 7th year. (Tweet that!)

At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the LORD's release [Shemitah].  (Deuteronomy15:1-2)

We are currently in that 7th year on the Biblical calendar. Elul 29 corresponds to Sunday, September 13, 2015. (Tweet that!)

Please return for the next post when we'll take a closer look at just what this "release of debts" looks like when it happens.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Closed ... for the Shemitah?

There is so much going on in America right now that this may seem like a small thing but I don't think it is. Have you noticed the Blue Laws are disappearing? (Tweet that!)

The Blue Laws prohibited the selling of certain items on Sundays, such as liquor or cars.

It used to be, long ago in the "old days," almost every business was closed on Sundays. Not anymore. (Tweet that!) The only business I know of that is closed on Sunday now is Chick-Fil-A. You know, that chicken sandwich place that made the news in 2012 when the owner spoke out against gay marriage? He stood up for Judeo-Christian beliefs and was slammed for it. (Tweet that!)  

It used to be that families went home from church to have dinner after church together. Often families invited the pastor to join them.

Now, to many people, it's just another day of work. What about you? How much do you restrict your work on Sundays?

It's easy to let it slide, isn't it? To think it's not important.

What if God asked you to take a whole year off. And to trust Him to provide for you in that year? (Tweet that!) Would you think that was important? Would you easily let that slide? Would you go ahead and work to "get ahead" even farther during that year "off"?

If you were Jewish, that's what God would ask of you.

Yeah, it's a challenge to think about, isn't it? Welcome to the idea of the Shemitah. (Tweet that!)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Does the Shemitah Turn things Upside Down or Right Side Up?

God often does things that are counter-intuitive to humans. They seem upside down. Or backwards. (Tweet that!)

Some examples of this in the Bible are:

The first are last, but the last go first:

But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:30, ESV)

Those who believe they are free are really slaves. But then slaves set free.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 
They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, 'You will become free'?" 
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36, ESV)

Not only that, but those who claim to see clearly are really blind. However while the seeing are blind, the blind can see:

Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind..."
Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains." (John 9:39, 41, ESV)

Did you know that the poor are really rich? The poor own the entire kingdom!

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3, ESV)

Perhaps the most dramatic upside-down truth is that while those who live will die, those who die can live:
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26, ESV)

What does that have to do with the Shemitah? One more incomprehensible truth is the principle of less is more. God says if you tithe, that is, give 10% of your money to Him, you'll discover your 90% goes further than your 100% would have had you kept it.

We think we must work hard to rest and play. God said to the Israelites rest a day out of 7, and a year out of 7, and you'll have plenty.

God does things that seem backwards to us. (Tweet that!)

When it seems God is turning things upside down, He is actually turning things right-side up. (Tweet that!)

The truth is God is not backwards or upside down. We are the ones who are both backwards and upside down. (Tweet that!) God is just setting us straight.

Resting one day out of seven doesn't make sense to us. Taking a whole year off definitely makes no sense to us. But it worked for the people of Israel when they obeyed this direction that He gave them. Why? Because God makes it work.

And that's the whole lesson: Listen to God. Do things His way. And He'll make sure it works out right.

It's all training in trusting Him. (Tweet that!)


Does the #Shemitah turn things Upside Down or Right Side Up? #Bible #Christians need to know: (Tweet that!)

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