Before rushing to write off the effects of the biblical Shemitah cycle on the nation’s economy, critics might want to step back and take a look at what has already happened and the direction things are heading.
August brought a gut-wrenching correction to the stock market, with billions of dollars lost in a 10 percent drop-off in value.
The first two weeks of September saw a mild upswing as Elul 29, the day of reckoning on the Hebrew calendar, came and went with nary a jolt being felt.
But as Shemitah researcher Jonathan Cahn has pointed out, the real damage of the Shemitah often occurs in its “wake,” in the Hebrew month of Tishrei. The U.S. market took another big hit Friday, falling 290 points to close at 16,385.
Cahn’s book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” points to at least 10 examples of financial and economic turmoil in the year of the Shemitah, including 1973, 1980, 1987, 1994, 2001 and 2008.
But only in 2001 and 2008 did record collapses occur on Elul 29, the last day of the year on the Hebrew calendar also known as the “wipe out day.”
And this year Elul 29 fell on a Sunday, when markets were closed, making it impossible for the market to react on the traditional day of “release” when all debts and credits were to be canceled once every seven years, according to Deuteronomy 15.
By far, the most prevalent of the Shemitah’s manifestations is that of a financial collapse that takes place not over the course of days or hours but months.
It appears to be happening that way again in the Shemitah of 2015.
In the years after the Shemitah of 2008, the stock market had been on a long-term ascent. But in May of 2015, as it had in past Shemitah years, the ascending came to an end. On May 20, the stock market reversed its momentum and began to slowly descend. The decline continued through the remainder of May into June, July, and to the end of August as the end of the Shemitah approached.
According to the Shemitah’s recurring pattern, the most dramatic effects are generally seen not at its beginning but as it approaches its close. So in 2015, as the Shemitah year approached its last quarter, its descent began. The Shemitah’s final month, Elul, beginning in mid-August saw world stock markets plunge and witnessed some of the most traumatic days in stock market history.
At the same time the Shemitah’s effect on the world’s new economic engine, China, was even more drastic. As the Shemitah entered its final phase, it wiped away a massive 30 percent of the Chinese stock market in just three weeks. At the end of July, the Chinese market plunged another 8.5 percent. On Aug. 24, in the Shemitah’s last weeks, the Shanghai index lost another nearly 8.5 percent in one day. The Chinese markets had descended to levels not seen since 2007-2008, the time of the last Shemitah.
The day would be known as “Black Monday” and would cause markets around the world to collapse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 1,000 points. The Shemitah of 2015 could now claim the greatest intraday point collapse in Wall Street history.
In many of the past Shemitah years the collapse began before Elul 29 and continues on past that date into the Shemitah’s autumn wake. But whether or not the present collapse continues, traders in the year 2015 have witnessed the Shemitah again at work. It has followed the same pattern, employed the same dynamics, and manifested what Cahn calls the “ancient mystery” of “shaking” in the financial realm.
The PGM Capital Blog, authored by Eric Panneflek, recently chronicled the severe market gyrations in accordance with Shemitah years since 1917.
Panneflek notes that the World Trade Center twin towers landmark, which was destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks (Shemitah year 2000 -2001), for which the groundbreaking activities had started on Aug. 26, 1966 (Shemitah 1966-1967) had been officially opened/inaugurated in the Shemitah year 1972-1973, on April 4, 1973.
List of Shemitah (sabbatical) years and major events that happened over a 100-year period:
September 28, 1916 – September 16, 1917
United States joins WWI.
Collapse of the Russian government and the 1917 revolution.
September 17, 1917 – September 6 1918
Jubilee – Balfour Declaration
September 11, 1923 – September 28, 1924
Hitler writes Mein Kampf.
Death of Lenin, Stalin wins power struggle.
September 23, 1930 – September 11, 1931
Nazis gain in German elections.
Japanese occupation of Manchuria.
September 6, 1937 – September 25, 1938
Japan invades China, Hitler marches into Austria.
September 18, 1944 – September 7, 1945
Establishment of IMF and World Bank.
Atomic bomb dropped on Japan, End of WWII.
United Nations established, Model of World Trade Center designed.
October 1, 1951 – September 19, 1952
Establishment of European Coal and Steel Community.
Treaty of San Francisco officially ends World War II.
September 15, 1958 – October 2, 1959
Establishment of European Economic Community.
September 27, 1965 – September 14, 1966
Start of the New York World Trade Center construction.
‘God decides the fate of nations’
Cahn has caught heat for applying the biblical seven-year Shemitah principle to America, preaching that it will soon come under a “great shaking” of judgment due to its turning away from God, banning all mention of God in the public square, allowing 57 million abortions and now the redefinition of God’s most holy marriage covenant. But he has said the application is valid because the United States was one of the few nations in world history that were dedicated to God at its outset. He cites the prayer of George Washington on the day he was inaugurated.
Mark Biltz, pastor of Al Shaddai Ministries in Washington state and a longtime researcher of the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith, said the fate of all nations lies in the hand of God and all will at some point be judged, just as individuals will be called to stand before their Creator and give an account for their lives.
“I’m not singling out America,” Biltz said. “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God of justice and compassion as seen with ancient Nineveh. Right now we are in the time frame between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when God decides the fate of nations. I believe this next year we will see many changes in the world and within the body of believers individually.
While there will be a great judgment at the end of time when Christ returns to separate the sheep from the goats, there will also be judgments levied throughout history, Biltz believes. Whether this plays out through economic crashes or natural disasters or wars is not predictable but some form of judgment will inevitably fall upon a nation that pursues evil and refuses God’s many opportunities for repentance, said Biltz, author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs.”
“It is believed every year during the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which is known as the ‘Days of Awe’ that God reviews all mankind and nations and decides what their fate is,” Biltz said. “I believe this next year God will be making Himself more known through His acts. As judgment always begins in the house of God, and we will see religious leaders held more accountable.”
Carl Gallups, author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation,” said those who have already dismissed the Shemitah’s impact might want to pause in their criticism and not jump to conclusions.
“I find it interesting to observe the comments of the naysayers concerning the seeming ‘lack’ of God’s judgment regarding the ‘end of the Shemitah cycle.’ Most of us who have been observing the prophetic convergences of September 2015 have stated clearly that we were not predicting a particular event, nor did we set any ‘dates,'” Gallups said. “We were simply stating the historical connections to Shemitah cycles, blood moon tetrads, the pope’s historic visit, and then asking God’s people to be watchful. This is our responsibility as preachers of the Word of God and we make no apologies for it.”
Gallups likens this convergence to that of a “hurricane season of prophetic ingredients.”
“When hurricane season begins in June, and then continues through the late fall, the weather service does not name a date and time for a hurricane, nor does it proclaim that a particular hurricane of a certain strength will absolutely occur,” he said. “The weather service merely says, ‘OK, it’s the season! There is a convergence of elements now that make this season ripe for a potential hurricane occurrence. Be watchful!’ That is exactly what I have been saying about this Shemitah cycle, and the years that now follow it.
“There can be no doubt that we are watching literal and astounding prophetic ingredients of our time boiling in the pot right before our eyes. Israel is back in the land. The prophetic nations of Ezekiel 38 are aligning against the “returned” Israel. Islam has exploded into a bloody rage. The Euphrates River area has become the center stage of the Islamic outburst, just as prophesied over 2,000 years ago. The Middle East is aflame with barbaric death and destruction in the name of Allah, and in the name of destroying the prophetically returned Israel.”