By now, you must have seen the unusual Hebrew word that describes the seventh year, or Sabbath rest, of the seven-year cycle of life that God gave to ancient Israel. Given the word is Hebrew, its transliteration into English is not standardized, so it can appear in print as Shemitah, Shmittah or even Shmita.
“Shemitah” is becoming the most popular spelling today, thanks to its use by best-selling author Jonathan Cahn in his book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah.” But the new thing happening in the last week or so does not involve the spelling of the word, but its location. The word “Shemitah” is now quickly finding itself beyond the pages of Christian publications and into the mainstream press.
The typical reason this happens is not usually favorable: for instance, when the mainstream press ridicules the airing of yet another “Christian doomsday theory.” I admit to cringing at most of those headlines. But this time the use of the word “Shemitah” in the mainstream press is different. Why? Because of another very important word: “money.”
Wall Street is not overtly religious, but then again, try to find a single Wall Street employee who doesn’t believe in his heart that having more money is always better than having less. I saw this first-hand when I worked as an executive at Wintegra, which was preparing to go public on Wall Street a few years ago. It took a day or two of meetings for me to realize that investors ultimately didn’t care what problems our company was solving, but only how they were going to make money – to make it fast, to make it in large amounts and to decipher exactly, if possible, when to buy and when to sell.
And this brings us to the Shemitah. In the last two weeks, a handful of strictly financial publications have reference the Shemitah in their writings. Why? Because it works. Take for instance a statistician named Thomas Pound, who just published some number crunching of the Shemitah using Robert Shiller’s U.S. economic database that goes all the way back to 1871. Thomas Pound’s conclusion? The average return in every seventh year of the stock market beginning 1875 is significantly less than in every other series of years. And he calculated this was not just an aberration: His calculated probability of those results being random is less than one-tenth of one percent!
In the new book Gidon Ariel and I have just written about the Shemitah called “Israel First,” we agree with these findings, but we believe that the study and implication of the Shemitah revealed to the world so far is only the tip of the iceberg. With new research in hand, we attempt to add greater understanding and more specific prediction about God’s plans and purposes in the Shemitah. A few highlights follow.
First, God’s lessons to Israel about the Shemitah were about much more than finances, in the same way that living a good Christian life is about much more than how big of a check you write on Sunday.
Second, the implications of Shemitah are not just for the United States, but for the world. This is being illustrated before our very eyes by the fact that China is leading the world into this particular Shemitah downturn, something that is quite frankly humbling to U.S. economists, who have always been able to look to the U.S. first when predicting the world’s economic cycles.
Third, God always reveals surprises when a new seven-year cycle begins, just like he did to Jacob who worked exactly seven years to win Rachel, only to wake up the next morning and find Leah in his bed. Jacob then worked another seven years to earn Rachel.
Fourth, God’s dealings with the Western world changed noticeably starting with the seven-year Shemitah cycle of 2001. The two most recent seven year Shemitah cycles are different than those of the past. And in the next cycle, we propose that God will judge more than just the nations’ wallets; he will judge their way of life. Why? To greatly increase the pressure upon us in hopes that we will all awaken and repent!
And finally, our collective laser-like focus on the stock market during the last few days of the Shemitah year ending Sept. 13 is misplaced! Our focus should be to align ourselves with God’s plans for both judgment and mercy in the seven year-long Shemitah cycle that begins on Monday, Sept. 14!
For Jews, the Shemitah is nothing new. But for Christians, the Shemitah is definitely here to stay. And now it is moving into the mainstream press as well. The Shemitah will grow to become well-known enough to be a stumbling block to the nations, because God wants the world to come face-to-face, like it or not, with the truth that life on earth advances according to His design, not random chance. A seven-year pattern called Shemitah given to Israel thousands of years ago – a seven-year pattern that has been tracked meticulously by Jews for more than 2,000 years – continues unabated into 2015 and is a framework that underlies much more than we ever imagined.
You say Shmittah, and I say Shemitah, but nobody short of God himself is going to call this whole thing off.
Jonathan Cahn’s clarion call to repent and return to God is well known, but what about the man himself? Where did he come from and how did he rise from obscurity to a Christian voice heard by millions? WND has produced a new documentary film, “The Harbinger Man,” that answers these questions and more. Pre-order your copy now.