Mark your calendars and hold on to your hats, the next 12 months could be a wild ride for America and the world.
The biblical Feast of Trumpets, also known as the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 24, which also marks the appearing of a new moon.
But this New Year on the Hebrew calendar is not just any new year. It is the Sabbath year or "Shemitah" year. Just as the seventh day was laid out by God as a day of rest in the Hebrew Old Testament, every seventh year was designated as a Sabbath year. The word "Shemitah" is most often translated as "the release" or "the remission" and applied to the wiping away of debts as well as the resting of the land.
Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn believes he has unlocked the mystery of the Shemitah's meaning as it applies to modern-day nations. In his new book, "The "Mystery of the Shemitah," he explains that nearly every major U.S. stock market collapse since the early 1900s has occurred during a Shemitah year, as did the terrorist attack and stock market collapse of September 2001 and the financial collapse of 2008. The next Shemitah year begins Wednesday and runs through Sept. 13, 2015.
But what if the "Shemitah" contains an ominous warning about a wider collapse of not just stock markets or housing markets but potentially America’s very existence as leader of the free world? If the nation does not pull back from its current course and repent, it could be in for some rough times as this next Shemitah year plays out, according to Cahn.
Why? Because in "The Mystery of the Shemitah" Cahn explains that empires see their fortunes rise and fall in accordance with the Shemitah. Germany, for instance, began its Third Reich with the annexation of Austria in 1938, a Shemitah year, and it ended seven years later when Adolph Hitler committed suicide in April 1945, another Shemitah year. Cahn points out in his book that the Russian, Japanese, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires also fell in accordance with the Shemitah.
Cahn has also found patterns of special importance in cycles of 28-year periods or four Shemitah years in succession.
In 1945, a Shemitah year, America emerged as the uncontested leader of the free world following the surrender of Germany and Japan in World War II. And 28 years later, in another Shemitah year in 1973, America lost its first war, Vietnam, fell victim to the Arab oil embargo and saw its dollar weaken as a result of President Nixon's decision to remove it from the gold standard two years earlier.
Spring forward another 28 years, and that brought the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and a historic stock market collapse a few days later, followed by another historic market collapse seven years later in the Shemitah year of 2008.
These are the warning signs or "harbingers," to which Cahn has been pointing, starting with his first book, "The Harbinger."
Now comes the start of another Shemitah year, 2014-2015, and America still has not responded to the increasing signs of judgment.
For instance, the five greatest economic crashes of the last 40 years – 1973, 1980, 1987, 2001 and 2008 – all occurred in Shemitah years – those God set apart as Sabbath years.
As he pointed out in his earlier book, in 2001 and 2008 they coincided precisely with the exact end of the Shemitah year on the Hebrew calendar day of Elul 29.
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Cahn says history shows that as one empire begins its descent, another starts to rise. If America refuses to heed the warnings, repent and turn back to God, he sees possibilities of China becoming the world's next big financial powerhouse.
"When the mystery manifested in ancient times, it involved the fall of the Babylonian Empire and the rise of Persia," Cahn told WND. "In modern times, it has involved the fall of European powers and the rise of America. What it would point to now is the fall of the American Empire."
Another mystery in the book, the Mystery of the Towers, would point to Asia, as in China, as the most immediate replacement of America's role, at least in the realm of economic power, he said.
"At the same time this doesn't rule out other powers such as the European Union, etc. In the biggest picture, both 'The Mystery of the Shemitah' and 'The Harbinger' point to the fall of America's preeminence among the nations – and this corresponds with end-time prophecy, which leaves a conspicuous absence with regard to America," Cahn said.
There is also something special about the day of Elul 29 on the Jewish calendar. This is the last day of the Hebrew month of Elul, when all debts were canceled and all credit released, and the nation of Israel’s financial accounts were wiped clean. This is the day that ushers in the month of Tishri and the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah.
The first shaking was 9/11 and a stock market crash on Sept. 17, or Elul 29 on the Jewish calendar. The second was in 2008, seven years later to the day. At end of September 2008, the greatest stock market crash in U.S. history, again on Elul 29, touched off the Great Recession.
So the two worst stock market crashes in U.S. history both happened on Elul 29 to the day.
"So it means in Israel the orthodox Jews were canceling out their debts symbolically, while God is cancelling out the debts, there’s this giant Shemitah, across the world, both times, to the day," Cahn explained in a TV interview with Gary Stearman on "Prophecy in the News" last year.
On Rosh Hashanah it is customary to blow the trumpets once each day as a type of a warning, and the sound of the trumpet is a symbol of alarm and judgment throughout Scripture.
"Yes Elul is all about warning, it’s about trumpets, it’s about getting right with God and it’s about repentance," Cahn said. "Sundown comes and then comes the Feast of Trumpets, the blowing of the trumpet. The day of the judgment, or the day of the warning. All these converging on this exact precise day."
America’s days of playing the role of the world’s policeman and of setting the tone as its financial leader all hang in the balance.
That’s because the nation was dedicated to God on April 30, 1789, the day George Washington was sworn in as its first president, according to Cahn’s earlier research for the book, “The Harbinger.”
America's first day as a nation with a full government in place was April 30, 1789. After Washington was sworn in, he left to pray at the little stone chapel in New York on America’s very first day as a nation. That chapel was at the edge of what is today Ground Zero in New York City, America’s first capital.
Because America was forged as a nation under God, it was blessed beyond that of any other nation to date in terms of its economy, military and international influence.
While the agricultural concept of Shemitah may no longer be in place, Cahn believes the blessing and judgment aspects of Shemitah still apply, especially for nations founded by people professing Judeo-Christian values. He presents compelling evidence throughout American history that when the nation left its godly moorings, the hand of God's protection also seemed to leave.
America's future as a world leader also has huge implications for modern-day Israel.
"America is still Israel's strongest ally. America is also the home of the largest Jewish population on earth outside Israel," Cahn told WND. "A great shaking here would affect Israel. It could even play a part in leading American Jews to return (to Israel)."
But Cahn is careful not to predict what will happen in the coming Shemitah year.
"The phenomenon may manifest in one cycle and not in another and then again in the next," he writes. "And the focus of the message is not date-setting but the call of God to repentance and return. At the same time, something of significance could take place, and it is wise to note the times."