Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a Jewish rabbi who is a follower of Jesus and has a church in New Jersey just minutes from ground zero is the author of a book called The Mystery of the Shemitah. It has caught the attention of many in the body of Christ and has elevated Rabbi Cahn to being a spiritual voice in the nation at this time. Cahn believes our nation is under judgment and that 911 was part of the judgment as well as the financial crisis of 2008-2009. He believes more is coming our way unless America turns from its ways.
The premise of the book is that in Jewish history and custom there was something called the Year of Jubilee. Every 49 years and every seventh year the people of Israel were to forgive their debts and allow their land to rest. The word Shemitah is most often translated as "the release" or "the remission." The English word remission is defined as "the cancellation or reduction of a debt or penalty."
The Shemitah of ancient Israel first not only meant the releasing of the land but also the nullification of debt and credit ordained by God and performed on a massive nationwide scale.
When people do not voluntarily release debt, God causes a forced debt release through a financial collapse. However, people lose their assets in this involuntary debt purge which leads to recessions, depressions, foreclosures and bankruptcies.
We find this term Shemitah in Deuteronomy 15:1-2. In those two verses of Deuteronomy 15, the word Shemitah appears no less than four times. It is the word "release."
"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 (Deut. 15:1-2).
Shemitah became the name of the last day of the seventh year, whereas Elul 29, became known as the Day of Remission. But it also became the name of the Sabbath year in its entirety. The seventh year would become known as the year of the Shemitah. The year of the Shemitah would begin with the releasing of the land and end with the Day of Remission, when the people would themselves be released.
So the word Shemitah covers both the seventh year and the last day of that 7th year. There's a reason for that. That last day of Elul 29 is the year's crescendo, it's peak and combination-the Remission of the Year for Remission.
In a sense, everything about the Shemitah year builds up to that final day, when everything is released, remitted and wiped away in one day—or, more specifically, to the eve of that day, to the final sunset.
Rabbi Cahn has documented when the last seven major stock market crashes have taken place. He cites each of these have taken place in a Shemitah year: the seventh year of a seven-year cycle.
The 2007-2008 financial crash took place in a Shemitah year. 2015 is the seventh year of a seven-year Shemitah period.
The final day of the Shemitah year will be Sunday, September 13, 2015 which is also Elul 29, the last day of the Shemitah seventh year. The last open day of the markets will fall on Sept. 11, 2015 two days before Elul 29. The greatest stock market crashes have all been on these Elul 29 days, the last day of a Shemitah year.
Consider the following, arranged by the Shemitah years, the event, and the percentage the stock market crashed:
1901-1902, Northern Pacific Crisis, 46 percent
1916-1917, 1st World War, 40 percent
1930-1932, Great Depression, 86 percent
1937-1938, Great Depression, 50 percent
1973-1974, Oil Crisis, 45 percent
2000-2001, 911 attacks, dot.com crash 37 percent
2007-2008, Mortgage Crisis, 50 percent
Now: 2015 Shemitah year—Sept. 13, Elul 29, last day of Shemitah year
The Iniquity of the Amorites
In many ways I see the current crisis as a time of coming into a maturity of a judgment from God on mammon and greed in society worldwide. It is similar to the time when God caused the people of Israel to be freed while at the same time they went into the promised land to judge the Amorites. The iniquity of the Amorites had come to maturity and God was now judging the Amorites through the nation of Israel. Could we now be entering a modern-day version of the Amorite judgment in the world whereby God will accomplish two things again—exercise judgment while bringing a much-needed spiritual awakening? Genesis 15 describes the judgment of the Amorites when God told Abraham that his seed would go into exile in Egypt for 400 years, and then would come out, with God's help, and possess the land.
Have we come to a point in world history where God is saying, "Enough is enough" and He is now judging the financial systems of the world similar to the 400-year time with Amorites? I am not a prophet, but we certainly see a shaking throughout the world. The judgment of the Amorites ushered in the people of God to take the land. Regardless of whether this is true, I do believe this is ushering in a time when the church can make the greatest impact on the culture if we press into God during this season. The church has been in much prayer over the last decade asking God for revival.
God Says He Will Shake the Foundations
God said in Hebrews 12, "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.' Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:25-29).
Unlike other nations, there is a call of God on America. We had a spiritual birth as a nation. God will not allow His children and His nation to wander without reproofing sin as a good Father should. If there is no shaking then we have no hope for us. It is the only way to revival.
Jesus Will Return to a Mature Bride
Before Jesus returns, we can expect a shaking to come. Spiritual maturity rarely comes through prosperity and ease. We see in Ephesians Paul telling us that Jesus will come back for a mature bride, not a bride who is immature, which is currently where the church is today.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, and that He might present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:25-27).
God used a businessman on Wall Street to usher in one of the greatest revivals of all time in 1857. He was a single 40-year old man who was sent out by his church on Fulton Street, one block from Ground Zero to start a prayer group. That first meeting only had 6 people in it. But within 6 months 30,000 were meeting for prayer and over 2 million came to Christ in America and abroad. It was one of our greatest great awakenings as a nation. It began as a financial crisis. Sept. 11 did not see our nation repent, that is why we never saw an awakening from that crisis. Will we repent this time?
How to Prepare
How did Joseph prepare for his famine? How can believers take advantage of this season? If we are prepared this could be the greatest wealth transfer we have ever seen in our lifetime, or it can be a devastating time if you are not prepared. Click here to see how to prepare for a Shemitah year.
Os Hillman is president of Marketplace Leaders and author of Change Agent and TGIF Today God Is First daily devotional.