“Lord save all the elect, and then elect some more.” — Charles H. Spurgeon
In his “man cave,” Chuck has a collection of items that he’s accumulated over the years. One of his favorite is the old “Jackpot Stampede” slot machine that has been set to “pay off” more often than not. No money comes out, but when a winning combination appears in the three windows after pulling the handle, the noise the machine makes is raucous and delightful!
The ultimate goal is to attain the “Three Sevens” combo. I don’t know for sure if anyone has ever accomplished that in our household. The odds are stacked against seeing the “777” appear when the reels finally stop rolling. Of course that’s what makes it so exciting!
That’s also what makes the mystery of the “Shemitah” nearly impossible to believe. I had never heard of it until reading the Harbinger. And once again we’ll have to look back into the history of God’s chosen people, the Israelites, to understand why the number seven is now a wake-up call to America.
The Lord God repeatedly called the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) “a stiff-necked people.” They were presented in the Bible as argumentative and unruly. The Lord God gave them some specific laws, through the prophet Moses, in order to keep order among the masses. Most people are familiar with ten of those laws, which came to be called “The Ten Commandments.” But few people know about the law of the Shemitah.
God wanted His people to understand and remember that they were utterly dependent on Him for provision and protection as a nation. One way He chose to do that was through the number seven. He created their calendar — six days of work and one day of rest. The seventh day was called “the Sabbath” and was given for the benefit of their physical and mental health. But for those folds who were busy-minded control freaks, that blessing eventually became a burden because they took it upon themselves to attach more specific, manmade rules to the Sabbath day, which God did not originally proclaim.
In addition to the seventh day of rest and renewal, God commanded that the Israelites observe a seventh year rest. They were to count six years, then during the year that followed they were to refrain from plowing and planting and harvesting. The people were to live off of what the land produced on its own and experience God’s faithful provision without any effort on their part. The land itself was allowed to rest and rejuvenate. That period of time was called the Shemitah. It was intended as a time of peace, but also as a time of judgment that specifically targeted the economic and financial realms of Israelite culture.
During the Shemitah, the rich and the poor shared the land equally. Private ownership became meaningless. And on the last day of the sixth month of the seventh year of the Jewish calendar — the 29th day of Elul — all debts were cancelled.. Anything owed to anyone was forgiven. The word “shemitah” can be literally translated “the fall” or “the letting fall.”
Bring that into the 21st Century and we find that the Jews who still observe the laws given through Moses are required to “let fall” any debts that are owed to them on that specific day, which the descendants of Jacob have kept track of since the law was set in place by the Lord their God!
Now here’s the wake-up call for 21st Century America:
The attacks on the World Trade Center happened SEVEN days before the Shemitah in 2001. In response to that act of terrorism, the New York Stock Exchange closed down for six days. It reopened on the 29th of Elul as religious Jews were commemorating the release of debt, as required of them by Old Testament Law. On that day, America’s financial system imploded. The stock market suffered the greatest point loss ever in its history up to that moment in time — a huge “fall” and an aftershock of 9/11.
The Lord God continued to warn America to wake-up and return to Him. But in the years that followed, the nation’s leaders kept vowing to rebuild by their own strength and intellect, just like the ancient leaders of the nation of Israel did back in the day of Isaiah’s 9:10 prophecy.
In September 2008 — seven years after the attacks on the World Trade Center — on the exact same day as the first crash, the 29th day of Elul, the stock market fell 7% (777 points in one day) triggering a global economic crisis! The following day marked the beginning of a new seven-year cycle.
The next Shemitah will occur on September 13, 2015, the day before the Hebrew year 5777 begins. May our nation’s leaders follow the examples of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and humble themselves on behalf of our nation so that God’s hand will not be forced to take further action against us.
“,,, if my people, who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray and seek my face,
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven
and forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
— The Lord God of Abraham (2 Chronicles 7:14)
A RUST REMOVER: As you read through the Bible again and again, remember that God’s promises are usually conditional. Some were made to certain individuals or groups of select people in specific situations and locations at pivotal moments in world history. But as we’ve seen, God intends for us to learn from the experiences of our fellow, flawed human beings. And often, in ways that we cannot comprehend, we become heirs to His promises.