“Sally, what happened with the Shemitah?” A curious acquaintance approached me at an art gallery gala the other evening, wanting to know why the sky had not fallen last year at the culmination of the Shemitah. While I never predicted such a wholesale collapse of the economy on a certain day, I can see how folks could misconstrue, as some kind of “end-times astrology”, the blood moons and historic look-back at Israel and Shemitah postulation. I took a few minutes in the midst of the fancy cheese and elegant artwork to give this friend ( and you) a quick overview of items I considered the result of incremental removal of our hedge of protection and blessing we have enjoyed in this country.
The stock market did take a big dive last fall. It rallied ( and I’m glad) I’m hoping that we don’t have another crash in the next few weeks as the Jubilee closes- following the artificial heights induced by the IMF and our Federal quantitative easing. Sometimes when disparate things occur we don’t connect those dots as we do when the NASDAQ dramatically plummets. For those who chose to look, recent headlines include: extended, deep drought, huge wildfires, increasing volcanic and earthquake activity, the selling of baby parts from abortion clinics without censure, A US treaty and lifting of UN sanctions with Iran, a sworn enemy of Israel, alarming tensions with Russia, China and North Korea, incurable mosquito borne illnesses not to mention unprecedented flooding, rising racial and ethnic unrest as well as a rising spirit of lawlessness.
I am not predicting anything, but hurricane season is not over yet and we are about to embark on the first national election following recent un-Biblical Supreme Court decisions. With something short of two weeks left in the Jubilee Year and in the absence of any measurable repentance of the Church in the United States, or national repentance- we, as Remnant Believer’s, need to be ready for anything! I think it was Evangelist, Billy Graham who is quoted as saying if God doesn’t judge America he is going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!
A brief review:
In the Old Testament the Lord told Moses to keep the 7th day “holy” with no work being done. The 7th year was to have been a Sabbath year of rest, with the people resting, the land resting and debts released. Every seventh, 7th year was a Shemittah Year where the land was restored to rightful owners, debts forgiven, slaves freed in addition to no crops being planted. This 49th year of restoration was to be followed by the Jubilee year. Leviticus 25:23 outlines the restoration of economic structure of Israel’s society as it had been when God brought them into the Promised Land. Tribal identity was maintained, land remained in the hands of small landholders and people were set free to develop their own businesses. Similarly, each of the 7 prophetic feasts from Passover thru the Feast of Tabernacles is a prophetic calendar of Messianic action. Each consecutive, 7th period of rest is a growing, expansive picture, eloquently describing the provision and peace beyond all understanding-of the coming Messianic Kingdom as well as the restoration of Israel.
The basis, I am sure, of my friend’s question at the Art Gallery is that in times past, the last day prior to the Seventh year cycle or the Jubilee- has often resulted in economic shaking and judgement of nations. Following the Lord, as outlined in Deuteronomy 26-28, would result in National blessing and provision beyond measure for His covenant people while disobedience, idol worship, giving their children over to the fire of Molech etc…and not letting the land rest (trusting that God would provide) would produce the OPPOSITE. The recurrent Old Testament theme being that continued wandering or outright rebellion from the Lord results in growing warnings followed by gradual removal of the blessing. We see that it took many years of rebellion in Judah before the Lord finally allowed the Babylonians to overrun the land, destroy the first Temple and take them captive for the exact number of Sabbath years (70) they had failed to keep.
After a cursory study some may see the lack of catastrophic, civilization-ending events as proof that Godly covenant is no longer as persnickety as it was in Bible days; that faith as Karl Marx called it, really is merely the “opiate of the masses”. It could also mean that I am a false teacher or other Messianic Rabbi’s and Prophecy authors’s got things terribly wrong.
I believe like the star of Bethlehem, or the sun standing still in Joshua 10:13 are just two examples of amazing heavenly signs supported in scripture. The Lord blesses us with understanding of not only his Word, but also those signals in the heavens in conjunction with a repeated and uncommon emphasis on keeping the Feasts of the Lord. It gives us an appreciative glimpse of His mathematical precision and prophetic beauty. His is the only definitive calendar. I may not understand a lot of things; however, I see further delay on this clockwok, as proof of God’s enduring mercy (II Peter 3) Every day we are blessed with is another lap or two, a little more time on the clock to save more souls!
That being said, I wasn’t expecting, nor teaching, a huge collapse of life-as-we-know-it last fall, I saw the culmination of the 4 blood moons, and Shemittah shakings as something akin to the new years ball dropping in Time Square or NASCAR “final lap” flags being dropped to alert the drivers in the race. These are signals to let us know time is running out, Harvest time is here, and we had best get crackin’!
The first three Spring Festivals were fulfilled to the day with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Pentecost marked the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit. As yet unfulfilled on this prophetic framework are the 3 Fall Feasts. These are a picture of the Second Coming of Messiah, Jesus. Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles all happen in the 7th month of the Jewish calendar called Tishrei. Based on a lunar calendar of approximately 28 days, each Hebrew month begins on a new moon.
It is interesting to note the PREVIOUS month of Elul, leading up to the fabulous, 7th month of Tishrei, is special in it’s own way. It behooves us to break this down a little further as we can see the lateness of the hour in Matthew 24 and note from my headlines above that many precursors to the end of the age which Jesus described are already in play.
A cautionary tale:
The infamous “Golden Calf incident” outlined in Exodus 32-34 describes that the Hebrew people had to wait an agonizing additional 40 days while Moses returned up Mt. Sinai. The people, during this time, had no assurance The Lord would forgive them of their grievous sin of idolatry. I believe it made an impression on them. God did forgive them and Moses returned on Yom Kippur with a new set of Commandments.
A tradition soon arose to remember the cautionary tale of sin and uncertainty: Beginning with the first day of the 6th month of Elul, each morning, a priest would ascend the wall of the temple (except the Sabbath)and give out one special series of blasts on the shofar. The rams’ horn is sounded to call everyone to a national, holy convocation. A blaring reminder to everyone in earshot that time is incredibly short- The Feast of Trumpets is just around the corner and the Day of Atonement can’t be far behind!
The shofar in Bible history, is only blown for three reasons: to call the people to a Holy Convocation ( prayer meeting!), to the coronation of the King or an urgent call to battle. We are now in that month of Elul: Repent. Tell the Lord you cannot find your way in the wilderness of life without Him. Turn away from flashy idols made with human hands. Examine your heart and turn your eyes from the world and back to the King of Kings. Time is short. 28-27-26-25 Another day marked off the calendar with each shofar call. It is time to prepare for the King’s arrival ! Remember to always seek HIS FACE! (Is. 55:6)
Today, Sunday September 25th- is the 22nd day of Elul. The Feast of Trumpets arrives October 3rd. I believe this framework of divine appointments shows that on some fine, future Feast of Trumpets, Jesus will return for the second time in power and glory. The Bible dictates that at Trumpets the shofar prophetically blasts 100 times ! (10 in Biblical numerology represents completion or wholeness: 10×10 would be complete completeness or Maximum Wholeness! A state only attainable through the Blood of the Lamb! 10×10, by the way, was the dimension of the original Tabernacle’s Holy of Holies.)
Great Good News!
You may wonder why I consider this information significant since we are, after all, not the nation of Israel. Its a good question. While I am not Jewish and we are not Israel, America as a nation was established as a Christian City on a Hill by men mostly in Covenant with the Lord. Paul explains in Romans 11 that because of the incredible love of Jesus I don’t have to wonder if God will forgive my sins. My sins have been covered and remembered no more. In this NEW Covenant; Gentile- non- Jewish Believers have been grafted into that Olive Tree of Israel and as such are also adopted into that Covenant of Promise. Jesus tells us that he didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it! If we don’t “get” the Old Testament we are missing much of the grand significance of our Godly inheritance.
The daily blasts of the shofar during the month of Elul should be seen or remembered as wake-up calls to a wayward, sleeping nation. Wake up! Are you ready for the King? He is coming and he is coming soon!
References for further study:
Hebrew4Christians.com; Feasts of the Lord by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal; Mystery of the Shemitah by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn; The Feasts of the Lord DVD series by Marc Biltz, The Four Blood Moons by John Hagee ; Studies in our Hebrew Roots DVD by Pastor Marc Biltz available at Elshaddaiministries.us; The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall Jr.
Lev 23; Lev. 25; Ex 23; Deut. 16, 20 ; Deut. 26: 16- Deut. 28.; Ephesians 2:12-18; Romans 11:11-31; John 3:16-17