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THE SABBATH YEAR AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE


The year 2014-2015 (5775 in the Jewish calendar) is a Shemitah/Sabbath year. God ordained every seventh year as a Sabbath year for the people and the land.


‘10 You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, 11 but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat;...’ Ex 23:10-11


‘At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. 2 This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbour; he shall not exact it of his neighbour and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed.’ Deut 15:1-2


The end of the seventh year is Elul 29 in the Hebrew calendar. On this day all debts were wiped out and there was a massive national financial meltdown just before sunset. The Hebrew word ‘Shemitah’ means release or remission. It affects the financial and economic realms of the individual and the nation as production grinds to a halt for an entire year. The people could only eat what grew of itself or what God provided. This required enormous faith and was an acknowledgement that God owned the land and that He is the source of our blessings. It equalised all people and meant that everyone had to trust God and release their grip on their material possessions. It humbled the pride of Mankind.


The Sabbath year was so close to God’s heart that when the nation disobeyed, it was sent into exile for 70 years – so that the land could observe the Sabbath years that the people had not kept (2 Chron 36:20-21, Lev 26:31-35). Judgement came to Israel in 586 BC because the people had rejected God’s covenants, but the timing of the judgement was determined by the Shemitah. It would be fulfilled, if not as a blessing, then as a Judgement.


‘34 Then the land will enjoy its Sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths.’ Lev 26:34


The last two global financial collapses occurred on September 17, 2001, and September 29, 2008. On both occasions, the date in the Hebrew calendar was Elul 29 – the Biblical day of nullification of debt, at the end of two successive Shemitah years! In both cases 7% was wiped off the market. In 2008, the fall was 777 points and the bill was a bailout of 700 billion dollars!


Elul 29 will occur on Sunday September 13, 2015 at the end of the current Shemitah year. The last day of trading will be September 11th. The prophetic message of the Shemitah is a call to put our trust in God and not in mammon and hold lightly to the things of this world.


For a comprehensive exposition of this fascinating phenomenon, read ‘The Mystery of the Shemitah’ by Jonathan Cahn, Charisma Media, Florida, 2014.