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My Shemitah Problem

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn has written a new book called The Mystery of the Shemitah. Many don’t understand it and some are asking questions so the purpose of this article is to try to explain some things. But before I do, I want to say that I haven’t read the book. I have only read articles about the book so what I have read could be wrong or I could misunderstand it.

God made a covenant to give all of the Promised Land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants forever (Gen. 17:7-8, 18-21; Gen. 28:13; 35:10-12). But before they entered the Promised Land, God told Moses to:

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, ‘When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard’” (Lev.25:2-4).

Before the Jews entered the Promised Land, God asked them to let the land go through a seven-year cycle (called a Shemitah cycle). He wanted them to plant and harvest crops for six years and to let the land rest during the seventh year (called a Sabbath year or a Shemitah year). Notice, two things: 1) a Shemitah cycle (a seven-year cycle) and 2) a Shemitah year (the seventh year of a Shemitah cycle).

If the Jews would obey God by keeping the Shemitah cycle including the Shemitah year, He would bless them in many ways (Lev. 25:4-13). But if the Jews didn’t obey Him by keeping the Shemitah cycle, including the Shemitah year, He would walk contrary to them in fury and they would suffer in many ways (Lev. 26:27-35).

If they ignored the Shemitah year by planting and harvesting crops, He would remove them from the land one year for every year they did that (Lev. 26:35). And He would punish them seven times more than that for the other sins they committed during the Shemitah cycle over and above not letting the land rest (Lev. 26:28).

To make a long story short, the Jews eventually stopped observing the Shemitah cycle and the Shemitah year by planting and harvesting crops in the seventh year. And God let them get away with that for 70 Shemitah cycles (70 cycles X 7 years/cycle = 490 years).

During these 70 Shemitah cycles, they planted and harvested a forbidden crop every seventh year until they had planted and harvested 70 forbidden crops (1 forbidden crop in 7 years, 2 in 14 years, 3 in 21 years, etc. until they had planted and harvested 70 forbidden crops in 490 years).

After the Jews planted and harvested their seventieth forbidden crop, God used Babylon to remove them from the land for 70 years. He punished them 70 years for planting and harvesting 70 forbidden crops (Jer. 25:8-13; 29:10). But He still needed to punish them seven times more (7 X 70 = 490 years or 70 Shemitah cycles) for the other sins they committed during the 70 Shemitah cycles (Lev. 26:28).

Daniel was fasting and praying about this when the angel Gabriel appeared and told him the Jews still had to be punished for seventy weeks of years (70 Shemitah cycles for their other sins; Dan. 9:24). Gabriel said starting with a command to restore and to build Jerusalem seven weeks of years (7 Shemitah cycles) and 62 weeks of years (62 Shemitah cycles) will pass and Messiah the Prince would appear (Dan. 9:25). Then, Gabriel mentioned one final week of years (one final Shemitah cycle that some call the Tribulation period).

Now, as I understand it every new Shemitah cycle begins on the first day after a Shemitah year (the first day after the seventh year of a cycle) and every Shemitah cycle ends on the last day of a Shemitah year (the last day of the seventh year). Thus, we are being told that the seventieth Shemitah cycle will begin on the first day after a Sabbath year. And we are being told that because the seventieth Shemitah cycle is the Tribulation period (which appears to be wrong), we are being told the Tribulation period will begin on the first day after a Sabbath year.

The Jewish civil year always begins on Rosh Hashanah which means “the beginning of the year” (New Year’s Day). The seventh year (Shemitah year) of the present Shemitah cycle began on Sept. 25, 2014 and it will end on Sept. 13, 2015. The next Shemitah cycle will begin the next day on Sept. 14, 2015 (Rosh Hashanah of next year) and we are being told that could be the beginning of the Tribulation period. So we are being told if the Tribulation period doesn’t begin on Sept. 14, 2015, it won’t begin until Rosh Hashanah 2022 (the next Shemitah cycle), or Rosh Hashanah 2027 (the next Shemitah cycle), etc.

Now here is the problem I am having with this: The 70 weeks of Daniel are 70 seven-year cycles, but they don’t appear to line-up with the Shemitah cycle. The first 69 weeks of Daniel didn’t end in the fall on the last day of a Shemitah year (on the day before Rosh Hashanah). They ended in the spring on Nisan 10 (Palm Sunday; Ex. 12:1-6; Jn. 12:1, 12) and Jesus was cut off or crucified a few days later in the spring on Passover Day (Matt. 26:2).

So if the seventieth week of Daniel (the Tribulation period) is a continuation of the first 69 weeks the Tribulation period will begin in the spring, it won’t line up with the Shemitah year and won’t begin on Rosh Hashanah. If the Tribulation period does begin on Rosh Hashanah it won’t be a continuation of the first 69 weeks of Daniel (first 69 cycles). Either I am missing something or else something doesn’t fit.

Having said this, thanks to my good friend, Mike Hile, I am finding some very interesting things about economic issues. This article will be too long if I go into all of them, but I want to mention just one.

On 9/11 [Sept. 11. 2001] planes were flown into the WTC towers. President Bush shut down the banks for 6 days. They were closed on the day before Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 16, 2001). But they reopened the next day on Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 17, 2001, and the stock market dropped more than 700 points. So that large decline in the Stock Market happened on Rosh Hashanah in 2001 which was the beginning of the next seven-year cycle.

Seven years later on Sept 29, 2008, the day before Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 30, 2008) the Stock Market dropped 777 points. That was the largest one-day decline in the history of the Market and it triggered the current Great Recession. So this happened on the day before Rosh Hashanah 2008.

The current seven-year cycle will end on Sept. 13, 2015 the day before Rosh Hashanah. Jonathan Cahn is not predicting an economic collapse on Sept. 13, 2015, but he is alerting people to this trend. He claims to be getting calls from financial analysts that are watching this. He says the state of Israel is funding a study of it. He believes it is time for people to put their spiritual house in order.

The Bible does predict a Global economic collapse and Jonathan’s information on these economic issues bear watching.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com