The Bible tells us that the “spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus” (Rev.19:10) . Today many are concerned about the prophetic significance of the Shemitah as it relates to the financial markets but is this really where our focus should be? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is prophetic significance to the Shemitah and Jubilee cycles, but like every prophetic subject in the Bible they must first be filtered through the “spirit of prophecy”. The Bible describes the Jubilee and Shemitah cycles as special events where debts are canceled, land is returned to its original owners, and captives are set free. In Luke 4 Yeshua (Jesus) shows how he was in part a prophetic fulfillment of Shemitah and Jubilee law.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord…. This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:18-21
The Spirit of the Lord YHWH is upon me; because YHWH hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of YHWH, Isaiah 61:1-2
While there may in fact be an echo of the Shemitah in today,s financial markets, the real beauty of the Shemitah is that is shows YHWH’s hand in history as He reconciles mankind to Himself through Yeshua.
In the Bible during the Shemitah year not only were Jewish slaves set free, but the law was read publically to all the people during the Feast of Tabernacles. Evidence for the Shemitah is found several places in the Biblical record, but two of the most notable were the 10th year of Zedekiah and the 20-21st year of Nehemiah’s “Artaxerxes”. Here take a look:
And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before YHWH thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Deuteronomy 31:10-11
This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from YHWH, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them; 9 That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother. Jeremiah 34:8-9
And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. Nehemiah 8:17-18
In a Biblical context, the Shemitah was a year of rededication as well as a test of Israel’s faith in YHWH. You see, Israel was not allowed to go about their normal agricultural activities during the 7th year (Shemitah) so they had to rely on YHWH’s provision in the 6th year of that seven year cycle. If Israel kept the yearly Sabbath cycle as commanded in Lev. 25 then YHWH promised to provide enough bounty in the 6th year to last all the way to the 9th year. Keep in mind though that in order to receive the blessing in the 6th year Israel had to make the commitment to keep the Shemitah (the 7th year) as proscribed by YHWH.
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But what about the Shemitah and the US stock market? Does the Shemitah really portend financial calamity as some are claiming?
Here is a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). For those who don’t know, the DJIA represent the top 30 companies in the US.
In the chart above I’ve taken the starting and ending dates of the Shemitah as described in Mr. Cahn’s best selling book The Mystery of the Shemitah and overlaid them on the DJIA. For those who have read my blog regularly, you know my own reckoning of Sabbath and Jubilee cycles, based upon the Bible’s chronology, differs by a year from Mr. Cahn’s. Be that as it may, the above chart reflects Mr. Cahn’s dating scheme because Mr. Cahn’s dates are what many commentators are using to stir up what I believe to be unreasonable expectations for this September.
So if you’ve looked at the chart you will see that in fact there does appear to be a seven year cycle reflected in the DJIA. I know most of us think the market events of the past 15 years were extreme, but notice, the years 1900-1940 were far more extreme on a relative percentage basis. The DJIA in the first several decades of the 20th century was far more volatile than what we have experienced in the first decades of the 21st century. Although the stock market “crashes” of ’87, 2001, and 2008 were large, point wise they were actually quite average based upon a 100 years history of the DJIA.
Now for those who believe financial Armageddon is coming this September I think it should be pointed out that in the vast majority of the cases where the DJIA has corrected during the 7th year of the cycle, it has gone on to a higher level in the next Shemitah cycle regardless of the severity of the correction in the preceding cycle. In fact one of the best times to buy stocks over the last 100 years appears to have been in the weeks following a correction in the 7th year of the cycle.
Now I know that the US is on an financially unsustainable course’ but the reality of the matter is our nation is better off than most of the world. That is why despite the horrible financial news out of Europe, China, the Middle East, and elsewhere the US stock and bond markets continue to absorb money. The world has nowhere else to go. Yeah, I know, I’ve read the rumors, too; China, Russia, Arab nations, or some combination thereof are going to establish a gold backed currency to compete with the US. This may be a possibility over time but right now no other nation on earth can even come close to American’s financial influence. American’s stock, bond, and currency markets are the only place in the world at the present time with enough liquidity to handle the trillions of dollars in global money flow. Take a look at the following chart via Marketwatch.com. It shows the relative size of the nations based upon market capitalization.
(Click on Image to enlarge)
Notice, Russia, China, and Turkey combined have a smaller market cap than Germany. Notice also that the US is 16 times larger than Germany. Simply put, the US is where the money flows. We are the 19,000 pound Gorilla in the room. Those predicting America’s overnight demise in a one off currency or stock market crash are frankly not looking at the big picture. America’s stock, bond, and currency markets don’t just lead the rest of the world’s they dominate them. It is naive to believe that this is going to change any time soon.
Here is the reality of the Shemitah and the US stock market. As the above 100 year chart of the DJIA average shows, the Shemitah simply has had no lasting impact on the US financial markets. Those, predicting it will this time, have over a hundred years of history against them.
Beyond the fear and hype some are stirring, the real damage done here has been the obscuring of the Messianic context of the Sabbath and Jubilee cycles. As the apostle Paul said, the law (including the Shemitah and Jubilee and Sabbath instructions) are but a “shadow of things to come”. The Bible’s instruction about the Sabbath and Jubilee cycles are not meant to predict the next financial crisis, but rather they point us to the coming Messiah and His ultimate fulfillment of those underlying Shemitah and Jubilee pictures at His 2nd coming.
This September instead of gluing ourselves to the TV waiting for some earth shaking calamity which is unlikely to happen why don’t we following the example of Israel when they celebrated the Shemitah during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. Why don’t we, our friends, and families commit to reading aloud the words of the living God of the Bible. Words which provide hope not hype, comfort and not fear. Words which tell us how we can be set free from our servitude to sin and last but not least, words which tell us of a day when Yeshua will rule this earth in righteousness.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. Luke 1:68-75
Now that is a Shemitah worth looking forward to!
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