The ancient principle of the “Shemitah” goes back 3,000 years to the time of Moses, but a rabbi from New Jersey is warning Americans to pull out their Bibles and take note.
The year of the Shemitah, also called the Sabbath year, begins at sundown Wednesday with the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and continues through Sept. 13, 2015. It could hold severe consequences for the future of the United States of America, warns Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn.
Cahn has authored a new book that zeroes in like a laser beam on the little-known biblical passage of Leviticus 25:1-10. It contains what seems like a benign rule of Sabbath rest for farmers, yet Cahn believes there is a lesson for today’s America – the principle of the Shemitah is alive and well. Ignore it at your own peril.
His book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” explains how the Sabbath is not just a day of the week. For ancient Israel there was also a Sabbath year, which fell once every seven years on the Hebrew calendar.
Every seventh year, the land was to lay fallow and rest. At the end of that year, precisely Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar, all financial debts and accounts were released. The slate was wiped clean, paving the way for a fresh start. Many ultra-Orthodox in Israel still honor this biblical rule today.
But what relevance does an obscure Levitical law have for a modern-day superpower like America? Plenty, says Cahn, and you don’t have to be a farmer to feel its effects.
“Israel is the nation that was under the command but then the Shemitah becomes a prophetic sign, which can apply to anyone, anywhere,” Cahn told CBN News in a recent interview. “The Shemitah is beginning this month, very shortly.”
While the rules for farming may no longer apply, Cahn believes the broader principle of the seven-year cycle still holds the secret of how God deals with nations in terms of blessings and judgment. Is it possible that financial crashes, the rise and fall of nations, even empires, can occur within the patterns of seven-year cycles?
Cahn thinks so, and he lays out his case in the book, explaining that the judgments of nations begin with clear warnings, which tend to come in a series of “shakings” or increasingly catastrophic events. They often strike at the core of a nation’s financial wealth or provision.
In ancient Israel that was the family farm. In America, it’s Wall Street. Hence, the dramatic stock-market crashes, one more severe than the next in 2001 and 2008, both Shemitah years. Now comes the next Shemitah, starting Sept. 24, 2014, and continuing 12 months to September 2015.
But the series of judgments aren’t restricted to Wall Street.
Cahn’s book is chock full of examples of market collapses, wars won and lost, even the fall of the Twin Towers, in lockstep with the patterns of Shemitah.
The Shemitah, which is literally translated as a “release” or “shaking,” was meant to be a blessing for God’s people, Cahn said. But as the people fell away from God the Shemitah manifested as judgment.
“This mystery has been behind the collapsing of Wall Street for our entire lifetime,” he told CBN News. “It has pin-pointed literally the collapse of our economy down to the days, hours, seconds.
“We’re coming to one right now. And it has always marked gigantic, massive change in the plans of God (for nations).”
Cahn believes the key to unlocking end-time prophecy could also be linked to Shemitah.
“I was not planning on doing another book for a while but this is so big it literally is going to affect every part of our lives,” said Cahn, whose first book, “The Harbinger,” came out in 2011 and also warned of impending judgment on America if it did not turn back to God.
The power to ‘wipe away nations’
When ancient Israel turned away from God, started worshiping idols and stopped keeping the Sabbath year, the blessings of Shemitah turned to judgment.
“In 586 B.C., the nation was judged and it was literally wiped away,” Cahn told CBN. “They were taken to Babylon, into captivity, for 70 years. Well, God said the reason was that for all the Shemitahs you broke now the land will rest for all the years it did not rest.
“So the Shemitah literally becomes something that not only wipes away accounts, it wipes away nations.”
For the judgment to happen, the Babylonian empire had to rise. As one superpower falls in Israel, another one rises in Babylon to take its place.
Cahn believes America could devolve into the same kind of global has-been.
He sees the historic stock-market crashes of 2001 and 2008 as a type of God-given wake-up call, as warning signs of impending judgment. Neither one of those crashes seemed to get the nation’s attention in any sort of spiritual way, he said, so he expects to see more warnings or “shakings” ahead. These tremors are most likely to occur at the end of a Shemitah year. The new Shemitah year, which begins at Rosh Hashanah Wednesday night, ends on Sept. 13, 2015.
In 2001, the greatest financial crash in American history to that point happened on Elul 29, the last day of the Shemitah year. That record lasted for seven years, only to be topped by the crash of 2008, which struck on the exact same day on the Hebrew calendar, Elul 29.
“It happens on the exact same biblical day that God gives, Elul 29, to wipe away the accounts of a nation,” Cahn said. “The two greatest crashes in American history happened, seven years apart, down to the day, the hour, the minute and the second. I mean it’s so precise, and we’re heading to another one.”
A historical perspective
Cahn tracks American history and sees the Shemitah at work.
The nation, as he points out in “The Harbinger,” was dedicated to God at the inauguration of George Washington in 1789. And the blessings followed the nation for more than 100 years, except for a brief but terrible period of turmoil, division and death during the Civil War. By 1917, at the end of World War I, America began its meteoric rise to global superpower status.
“It shifts history,” said Cahn, noting that 1917 was a Shemitah year. “Then you come to 1945, another Shemitah, and World War II.” By the end of that war America sat alone atop the world order.
The blessings continued throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s. But that’s when things started going awry, according to Cahn. Prayer was removed from public schools and God was removed from the public square. Abortion became legal in 1973.
“When you get to another (Shemitah) in 1973, you have the beginning of the fall of America. Abortion gets legalized, the financial world collapses. We lose our first war, Vietnam, on the same day that we won World War II on the other Shemitah,” Cahn said. “And then you get to 2001, and when you get to September, that’s the peak of the Shemitah, and that’s when 9/11 happens.”
The word Shemitah can also be interpreted as “collapse,” he said.
“You have not only a collapse of markets but a collapse of towers, the symbol of American strength,” Cahn said. “The warning is, if America doesn’t turn back to God, its blessings, which come from God, will be removed from the land.”
How much time does America have left?
So as he stands in the here and now, in 2014, as the author of a book claiming to have a prophetic warning, he often gets asked, “Where are we now?” How much time does America have left to repent and turn back to God, to end its defiance and acknowledge God as the source of its blessings?
It’s a question he is reluctant to answer.
“I’m not setting dates, even though in the book I give dates. God doesn’t need to do it according to our schedule,” he told CBN. “But, I believe we have to be aware. We need to be prepared. We’re coming up on one.”
If the pattern continues, the end of the Shemitah year will bring some kind of climactic shaking or shift in world history.
“That’s how it happened with the last two, it happens on the last day. That is Sept. 13, 2015. But I believe, regardless of when it happens, a great shaking is coming to America. I believe it will affect the economy, it will affect the financial realm,” Cahn said. “I believe it will even be greater than those realms. Just like 9/11 was. So I believe we need to be ready. I believe a shaking is coming. Because without a shaking America is not coming back to God. I believe this has to be. It doesn’t have to happen this time, but I would be aware of it. That’s one of the reasons why I normally don’t give dates, but I did. We need to get ready.”
Looking toward 2015, how does one ‘get ready?’
Cahn says he is not a financial analyst, but most people tell him, “I want to be safe. I want safety!” The word in Hebrew for safety or salvation is “Yeshua,” and Yeshua is Jesus.
“Financially, I would play it safe. I would go with safety,” Cahn said. “But the most important thing for safety is you get your life right with God. In times of judgment, anything that is not in God, get it out. Anything that needs to be, get it in.”
The exactness of the pattern seems too mind-boggling for many investors to get their heads around, but more and more are getting interested in the principle of the Shemitah.
“When this started coming, and most of it is all new, I did not expect to write this but it’s so big,” Cahn told CBN. “I was amazed it has not been seen before, but it is there. And you would expect it. I mean, God is in charge of everything. And the patterns He gives are true even to this day. And they are affecting every one of our lives from the day we were born until now.
“So we need to be ready. Because everything that can be shaken will be shaken.”