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

Showdown In The Land Of Babylon

From Genesis to Revelation, the land of Babylon and the city of Babylon (Iraq) occupy a prominent place in Scripture. Together, the land and the city are mentioned almost 300 times in the Bible. Without question, many of these references are about ancient Babylon, but also without question many other references are about Babylon’s future just prior to and during the Tribulation Period (Isa. 13:6-16). Also, it is important to separate the prophecies about the land from the prophecies about the city.

Some verses of Scripture tie the city of Babylon to false worship. Nimrod built a ziggurat near there called the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). I don’t know what was on top of the Tower of Babel, but later ziggurats had temples or altars on top of them and they were used for astrology, human sacrifice, the worship of Marduk and things like that. False worship and slaying people for religious reasons are an ancient Babylonian custom that still exists today.

King Nebuchadnezzar built a statue near the city of Babylon and ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to worship it or die (Dan. 3:1-30). Slaying people who won’t convert is another ancient Babylonian custom. Zechariah had a vision of a wicked woman (the opposite of the Bride of Christ; a harlot religion) that will be carried to Babylon in an ephah (a symbol of commerce and trade) in the future (Zech. 5:5-11). Some believe this means that the city of Babylon will be the future home of a global false religion and economic system. The Book of Revelation speaks of Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots (false worship) and Abominations of the Earth that is also a city loved by the merchants of the earth (Rev. 17-18).

Some verses of Scripture tie Babylon to demonic activity. Many writers think the Garden of Eden was in Babylon and Satan went there (Gen. 2:14; 3:1-5). Sorcerers practiced in the city (Dan. 2:2; 3:5). Daniel was in Babylon when the prince of Persia (a fallen angel) hindered the answer to one of his prayers (Dan. 10:13). Isaiah said satyrs (demons) will dance on the site of the burned city and the Book of Revelation confirms it (Isa. 13:19-22; Rev. 18:2).

Some verses of Scripture teach that the destruction of the land (not the city) of Babylon will start before the Tribulation Period and continue on into the Tribulation Period. God will assemble a multi-national force in the mountains of Babylon to move against the evil in the land with the weapons of His indignation (a name for the Tribulation Period) when the day of the Lord (the Tribulation Period) is near (Isa. 13:3-6). God will lay the land of Babylon desolate when the day of the Lord is coming (Isa. 13:9). Then, He will punish the world in the day of his fierce anger (Isa. 13:11-13). So the beginning of the destruction of the land of Babylon (Iraq) is a sign that the Tribulation Period with its seal, trumpet and bowl judgments is drawing near.

Some verses say the city (not the land) will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa. 13:19). The city must be rebuilt because it hasn’t burned yet, but it will burn during the Tribulation Period (Rev. 18:8) between the seventh bowl (Rev. 16:17) and the Second Coming of Jesus (Rev. 19:11-16). God said the city of Babylon will be destroyed suddenly (Jer. 51:8) and in the Book of Revelation, He said her plagues will come in one day (Rev. 18:8) and her riches will be destroyed in one hour (Rev. 18:10, 17, 19). He also linked several verses in Isa. 13 and Jer. 50-51 to Rev. 17-18 (Isa. 13:21 to Rev. 18:2; Jer. 50:15 to Rev. 18:6; 51:7 to 17:4 and 18:3; 51:8 to 18:2; 51:9 to 18:4; 51:13 to 17:1, etc.).

Jeremiah tied the destruction of the city (not the land) of Babylon to the salvation of the Jews. He said the Jews will weep and seek the Lord, their God and join themselves to Him in a perpetual covenant at the time of Babylon’s (the city’s) destruction (Jer. 50:4-5). Zechariah tied Israel’s weeping to the Second Coming of Jesus, the Battle of Armageddon and His outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Zech. 12:7-14). So the city’s destruction will occur instantly at the end of the Tribulation Period after the everlasting gospel has been preached all over the world (Rev. 14:6-8).

Some verses of Scripture teach that the Medes (Kurds) will play a dominant role in the future destruction of both the land, and later, the city of Babylon. God called on the nations to prepare their multi-national forces to join the Medes (Kurds) to make the land of Babylon desolate (Jer. 51:28-29). God said He will stir up the Medes (Kurds) against the men in the city of Babylon (Isa. 13:17). He said He will use the Medes (Kurds) to destroy the city of Babylon (Jer. 51:11). [Editor’s note: See more of Daymond Duck’s views on the Medes in his earlier post here.]

It is possible that the genocidal actions of the Islamic State (IS) have started the ball rolling on the fulfillment of these prophecies. Demonic describes those who behead, crucify or bury alive other human beings. It describes those who refuse food and drink to children who are dying of hunger and thirst and those who make sex-slaves out of young girls. It describes those who make mothers watch while their babies are cut in two and their husbands are slaughtered. It describes those who kill for religious purposes and those who demand that people convert or die. It describes the Islamic State and also the satanically inspired False Prophet who will behead people during the Tribulation Period (Rev. 13:15; 20:4).

In recent years, most of the nations in the world have been reluctant to sell weapons to the Kurds (Medes), but the demonic actions and gruesome videos of the Islamic State have profoundly altered the thinking of world leaders. The UN Security Council now recognizes the dangers of radical Islam. The UN Security Council has met and demanded that the Islamic State stop their attacks, disarm and disband; and the UN Security Council did it under a section of its Charter that allows the UN to militarily enforce their demand.

God said He will gather a group of mighty nations with the weapons of His indignation in the mountains of Babylon to destroy the land (Isa. 13:3-4). Several nations have now shipped or are preparing to ship modern weapons to the Kurds who occupy the mountains of Babylon (Iraq). Some are sending troops and this could be a clear indication that the Tribulation Period is close (Isa. 13:5; Jer. 50:3, 9-10, 15, 25-26, 41, 46). It could mean that God is ready to move decisively against those in the land of Babylon (Iraq) who are robbing, killing and raping His people and destroying His churches.

Obviously, the Kurds and their UN supporters can’t use these weapons against the city of Babylon at this time, but UN involvement is setting the stage for the city to be rebuilt and its destruction won’t be many years behind. In the last two weeks, Pres. Obama has called for a multi-national force to join the U.S. and the Kurds; since Aug. 8, 2014, the U.S. Air Force has destroyed dozens of Islamic State targets; the Kurds have recaptured the Mosul Dam; the EU has met and authorized member nations to help; England has announced that it is sending troops; the U.S. has announced that it may send more troops to join several hundred that are already there; and the prophetic picture of the Bible is starting to unfold.

In closing, I am not a prophet, but as I understand the Scriptures, this is just the beginning of a showdown in Babylon that will shake the world. As we approach the Tribulation Period, I expect the Islamic State to be brutally crushed and the land of Babylon to be seized and secured by the Globalists with the help of the Kurds (Medes). Then, I expect the Globalists to quickly rebuild the ancient city of Babylon to house their Global religion and economic system. Finally, at the end of the Tribulation Period, I expect the Kurds to use some of their modern weapons to destroy that city suddenly.

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