Blog Post

Can the Shemittah Predict the Future?

blood moonWe recently had a question about the Shemittah, the Jewish sabbatical year that occurs every seven years, and whether or not it is based in numerology or divination.

The answer is no, it is not based in any kind of occult practice; however, some are using it in a way that might suggest divination.

Let me explain.

For those who never heard of it, the Shemittah (aka shmita, sheviit, sabbatical year) comes from the book of Exodus: “Six years you shall sow your land and gather its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow.” (Exodus 23:10-11)

In other words, every seven years the Lord wants the people of Israel to refrain from farming. For obvious reasons, most modern farmers don’t do this because of the problem of lost income. However, according to Debbie Smith at Prophecy News Watch, the Israeli government wants to resurrect the practice and has put aside $29 million dollars to help farmers financially stay afloat during this off year.

We are currently coming to the end of a Shemittah, which began on September 25, 2014 which was the Jewish New Year known as Rosh Hashanah. It will end later this month with a celebration on September 28, 2015.

Now here’s where the possible use for divination comes in.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the best-selling book, The Harbinger, points out that two of the country’s greatest financial calamities occurred during the last two shemittah years.

In 2001, the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred during the shemittah and sent the stock market plunging 700 points (7%) in one day.

Seven years later, during the next shemittah, another market free-fall and severe economic recession occurred following the near-collapse of mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. When Lehmann Brothers filed for bankruptcy a short time later, it sparked another stock market drop of 777.7 (7%), thus wiping out all of the gains the market had made in the preceding seven years. As we all know, the country has yet to recover from this blow.

While Rabbi Cahn makes no prophecies about what might happen this time around, he does caution people of faith to be on the watch.

Others are taking it much further. Some Christian leaders such as Pastor Mark Blitz of el Shaddai Ministries and John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, are pointing out that the celebration of the end of this year’s Shemittah (known as the Sukkoth) will be held on September 28, 2015, the same night in which the earth will see the fourth and final episode of the “Blood Moon” tetrad.

In scientific language, the tetrad is a series of eclipses that have been occurring since April 15 o fthis year. Astronomers almost never use the term blood moon but usually call this red-colored moon a Hunter's Moon. The color comes from the way it shines through a thick layer of the Earth's atmosphere that gives it a reddish hue which is due, in part, to air pollution.

Prophets use more dramatic terms to describe it, calling it a "blood moon" and, like Blitz and Hagee, use it to portend the end of the world or some other kind of cataclism.

For the most part, they cite a verse in the Book of Joel which reads: “[T]he sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes” (Joel 2:31).

Blitz began predicting that the second coming of Jesus would occur in the fall of 2015, preceded by seven years of tribulation that began in the fall of 2008. When those tribulations failed to materialize, he pulled the article from his website but is still preaching about the significance of the tetrad.

Hagee wrote the best-selling Four Blood Moons which made no specific predictions but claimed that every tetrad occurring within the last 500 years coincided with events in Jewish history that were related to tragedy and then triumph.

The problem with basing all this on Joel’s prophecy is because Paul mentions it in Acts 2:20 and says the day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of this prophecy.

As you can see, the Shemittah is one thing, but correlating it with other events, and then using this correlation to divine the future, is a problem.