Thursday, June 16, 2016

What is the Shemitah which recently ended?

We were asked wdhat is the Shemitah which recently ended? To answer this question about the Shemitah or Biblical Sabbatical Year, which recently ran from September 24, 2014 to September 13, 2015, we need to get into the background of the Jewish doctrine from which it emanates. 
First of all, while many assume when God created the Sun and the Moon that He did so for light, heat, gravity, and other natural mechanisms; however, in Jewish philosophy, there are four reasons that fit this development not generally considered. Looking at “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14), we learn of four other purposes behind why the lights in the heavens were created and placed where they are according to Jewish philosophy.
    The Bible says these are for "signs," "seasons," "days," and "years." The Hebrew word for "signs" in this context is owth, a word meaning a "miraculous sign," "omen," or "warning." It signifies, among other things, that God created the heavenly bodies to communicate important matters at particular times to His covenant people. The next reason God created the sun and the moon is for "seasons." Again, in our Western mindset, we figure God is talking about “winter, spring, summer, and autumn (fall).” However, in Hebrew, the word used is "mow’ed" and is accurately translated as "an appointed time" or "divine appointment" especially related to "sacred seasons" or Feast days. This same Hebrew word is translated into English in Leviticus 23 as "feast" where it talks about the "Feasts of the Lord."
    At first, these two words; "appointments" and "feasts" seem about as far apart as you can get. This is why one needs to keep the Hebrew language in perspective so as not to miss the deeper conveyances of this text. The word "mow’ed" implies that God has a "day timer" or "calendar" on which He keeps predetermined "appointments" with human history and that are connected with "His Feasts or Holy Days." God the Father knew the year, the month, the day, and the exact time His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) would die and how this event would be played out in fulfilment of the Levitical feasts of Israel.  Finally, God declares that the sun and the moon were created to determine "days and years." Obviously, this has nothing to do with our modern Gregorian calendar, which was created by a pagan Roman ruler and is based on the sun. The Muslim calendar is based on the moon.
    On the other hand, the Biblical calendar—the one that God uses according to Genesis is based on the sun and the moon. So when the Scripture refers to "days and years" in  Genesis 1:14, it is pointing to "Biblical days and years" or "holy days" as well as Shemitah years and Jubilee years (every seventh year the land in Israel was to rest).
What is a Shemitah Year? The Shemitah Year is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel and still observed in contemporary Judaism. When Moses received the Levitical law, God gave the commandment to rest on the seventh day, the Sabbath. Moses also applied the cycles of "seven” to weeks and years. A cycle of seven weeks points to the 50th day, called Pentecost. And a cycle of seven sets of seven years points to the 50th year, the year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee is based on letting the land rest every seventh year. “For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the Lord" (Leviticus 25:3-4)”
    This system then promises bountiful harvests to those who observe the Shemitah, and describes its observance as a test of religious faith. Not until the 20th century, did Western Man realize the value of reducing soil erosion and increase soil fertility and crop yield through the concept of crop rotation, i.e., resting the ground every so many years. This replenishes nitrogen and mitigates the build-up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one species is continuously cropped, as well as improving soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants.
    The Hebrew people count and observe 7 year cycles. Every cycle would fulfill a "Sabbatical Year known as a "Shemitah" or "Shmitah" and means, "to release!"
    “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed” (Deuteronomy 15:1-4), with many additional blessings involved.
    As the prophets gazed out at the ruins of ancient Israel, they realized that there was a mystery to the timing of God’s judgment! That mystery centered on the Biblical Shemitah. Every seventh year, the “Shemitah, or Sabbath Year,” would cause the land to rest, when sowing and reaping, buying and selling would come to a standstill. The Shemitah was unique in that it specifically affected the nation’s economic and financial realms—wiping out all accounts of credit and debt. For the nation that departs from God, the Shemitah becomes a sign of judgment. The year of Shemitah reaches its culmination on the last day of the Hebrew year.
    Jonathan Cahn (The Harbinger), compares the United States and the September 11 attacks to ancient Israel and the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel, and points to the Shemitah year of 2001—the U.S. was attacked by radical Islamic terrorists killing nearly three thousand people on September 11, and this sad day became America's new day of… discredit and humiliation!  In the Shemitah year of 2008, America experienced a stock market crash on September 29 when the market fell 777 points in one day, the greatest one-day decline in the history of Wall Street. All this happening on the 29th of Elul which is the day preceding the 7th month (Tishri) on the Hebrew calendar, in the 7th year of the Jewish Shemitah, on the 7 year anniversary of the previous record Dow drop which also happened on the 29th of Elul on the Hebrew calendar, (the day before the 7th month) on the previous 7 year Jewish Shemitah.
    Just as the crash of the stock markets of 2008 was also the aftershock of 9/11 the extended after-shock correlated with Isaiah 9:10, and these two events were tied together impossible to unravel seven years apart! This too goes deeper still. The Biblical Year isn’t based on the Western Gregorian calendar but on the Hebrew Lunar calendar. So the 7 year cycle of the Shemitah has to be based not on the Western year but on the Hebrew year. So no matter what date it is on the Western calendar the Shemitah will always end on the 29th day of Elul of the Hebrew calendar and in 2008, it fell exactly on September 29th the day of the crash. But, in other years the same day in the Biblical calendar would fall on a different day in the Western calendar.
Thus, the two greatest stock-market crashes America had ever known, both taking place on the exact Biblical day separated by the exact period of time ordained in the Bible… 7 years to the day… both occurring on the one Biblical day appointed for the wiping out of credit and debt! To the Jews, and their Shemitah, it is no coincidence. In fact, the odds of the events happening over the past 11 years the way that they did without God’s hand being behind it would be astronomical. To the orthodox Jewish community, the whole 777 number stuck out since out of all the numbers on the planet to fall, it happened to be that one. So to them, this “Shemitah” means something!
    In addition, there are those who believe that they can know the signs and seasons of His return or what He expects from us by studying His days, and is believed to be a message from God.
    Which brings us to the Shabbat (Sabbath), which is the foundation of all other Hebrew festivals. God said that the Sabbath was to be a holy day. This simply means a day that is set apart or different from other days. It was set apart as a day of rest. 
    In addition, the Blood Moon Tetrad of 2014/2015 coincides with the beginning of the “Shemitah” as well a “Jubilee Year,” which begins this coming Yom Kippur. A Jubilee (50th) year comes after 7 sabbatical cycles of 7 years and is more amazing that a Jubilee convergence with the “Four Blood Moon” all happening together. 
    Is this significant? It is in the Jewish doctrinal way of thinking.

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