Turn on the radio and television and you’ll see everybody talking about it. Books are being written, movies are being made, and there’s an air of wonder, excitement, and fear among the Believing Body and secular world. What’s all the buzz and how does it impact our lives?
According to the lunar (Hebrew) calendar, we are currently in the Shemitah Year. It began on September 25, 2014 and it ends on September 13, 2015. The Shemitah Year is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel and still observed in contemporary Judaism. When Moses received the Levitical Law, God gave the commandment to rest on the seventh day, the Shabbat (Exodus 20:8). This “seven” was also applied to the cycles of weeks and years. A cycle of seven weeks points to the 50th day, called Shavuot (Leviticus 23:15-22). And a cycle of seven sets of seven years points to the 50th year, the Yovel (Jubilee) year (Leviticus 25:8-13). The Yovel is based on letting the land rest every seventh year as follows: “For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of Shabbat rest, a Shabbat to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.” (Leviticus 25:3-4)
Leviticus 25 promises bountiful harvests to those who observe the Shemitah and describes its observance as a test of faith in God. The word “Shemitah” means “release” and is described in Deuteronomy 15:1-2: “At the end of every seven years you must cancel (RELEASE) debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel (RELEASE) any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling (RELEASING) debts has been proclaimed.”
The Mystery of the Shemitah: “As the prophets gazed out at the ruins of ancient Israel, they realized that there was a mystery to the timing of God’s judgment! That mystery centered on the Biblical Shemitah. Every seventh year, the “Shemitah, or Sabbath Year,” would cause the land to rest, when sowing and reaping, buying and selling would come to a standstill. The Shemitah was unique in that it specifically affected the nation’s economic and financial realms — wiping out all accounts of credit and debt. For the nation that departs from God, the Shemitah becomes a sign of judgment. The year of Shemitah reaches its culmination on the last day of the Hebrew year. (See “The Harbinger” by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn).
The Blood Moon Tetrad (Group of Four) of 2014 / 2015 coincides with the beginning of the Shemitah as well as Yovel (Jubilee Year) which begins this coming Yom Kippur (9/23/15). A Yovel year comes after 7 Shabbat cycles of 7 years (50) and it’s amazing that a Yovel convergence with the “Four Blood Moons” is all happening together!
To understand the Yovel (Jubilee), one must first be familiar with the Shemitah (Release), which is observed every seventh year (Exodus 23:11, Leviticus 25:20, Deuteronomy 15:9, Nehemiah 10:31). The Shemitah year is also known as the “Year of Release” because farming as well as debt payments were released (discontinued) for the year (Deuteronomy 15:1-2; 31:10). This was initiated at the closing of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). The Yovel (Year of Jubilee) timing was to years (50) what the timing of Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) is to days (50). The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) occurs on the 50th day. The Year of Jubilee occurs every 50th year; the year after seven Sabbatical years (49 years) according to Leviticus 25:8-11. The Year of Jubilee begins at the end of 7 Shabbat years of 7 years, and at the end of the Yom Kippur per Leviticus 25:9. Josephus, a Jewish Historian, believed that the word denoted “liberty!” (Antiquities of the Jews 3.12.3)
So then what is a Jubilee Year? By adding together seven cycles of seven years, we count a total of 49 years. Therefore, the year of Jubilee is the 50th year as noted by the following verses “You are also to count off seven Shabbat of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven Shabbat of years, namely, forty-nine years. You shall then sound a Shofar (ram’s horn) abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) you shall sound a horn all through your land. You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Yovel (Jubilee) for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.” (Leviticus. 25:8-10)
The English word “Jubilee” comes from the Hebrew word “Yovel” meaning a “trumpet or ram’s horn.” These rams’ horns were blown on the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) to announce the start of the Yovel. Every adult male among them became a land owner. This land was a permanent possession that could never depart from his family. If a man became poor he could sell part or all of his land, but only temporarily. It would always revert to him or his descendants at the “Year of Jubilee.” If he became even poorer and was unable to pay his debts, he could sell himself into slavery, and work to pay off his debts. Again that slavery could only ever be temporary. When the great “Day of Atonement” in the “Year of Jubilee” came he became a free man once again and repossessed his inheritance. The most unusual observance that God commanded the Israelites through Moses was the keeping of the Year of Jubilee. For most people this celebration occurred only once in their life time and for many not even that, as it occurred only once every 50 years. At this year of Jubilee all Israelites who had sold themselves into slavery were set free and all land that had been sold reverted to its original owner. This meant that the Israelites could not ever be in permanent slavery; nor could any Israelite permanently lose his inheritance!
The number 70 is a prophetic number. Daniel the Prophet spoke of 70 sevens that must be fulfilled in order for redemption to come. Some believe that 2015 is the 70th Yovel Shemitah! If so, 2015 is extra significant! The Yovel Shemitah of 2015 “may” mark the beginning of a prophetic series of events when all real estate on the planet will be returned to its original owner, the Creator, the ultimate manifestation of the Shemitah.
In the years 5774 (2014) – 5775 (2015), we have four lunar eclipses (last on Sukkot 2015). With the number four there is always a fifth associated with the four. Therefore, with our four lunar eclipses we will see one solar eclipse between these four. Rabbi’s say that it’s like the four fingers of the hand, the thumb is like the four, yet it is materially different having only one joint rather than two and being opposable instead of inline. This teaches us that the solar eclipse is related to the lunar eclipses, yet it is materially different.
Yeshua indicated in Matthew 24:32-34 that there would be a time when the “fig tree” (Israel), would bring forth leaves and that this generation should see the return of Messiah. We are presently living in that time! The founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the deliverance of Jerusalem in 1967 are all signs of the fig tree putting forth leaves. Yeshua will indeed return soon, establishing His kingdom on earth which will exist for a thousand years. The signs can already be seen. Are you ready?
My advice is for all of us to be ready for the coming times. How can we be ready; by being in constant prayer, study of the Word (Scriptures), fasting to break every chain (release), and sitting in the presence of Adonai to receive His infilling and direction. If you do these things, you will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8: “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
Psalm 62:6: “Truly He is my rock and my salvation (Yeshua); He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”
Blessings and strength in Messiah Yeshua,
Rabbi Yossi Laster
Robert Hall says
Very interesting blog! Things could be getting really interesting very soon!
Blessings in Messiah Yeshua!
David Richards says
I have been sharing “Harbinger”, and “The Mystery of the Shemitah” books by Rabbi Cahn with my nephew in Illinois. He’s a Veteran of Falujah fighting with the Rangers. He’s been most rrceptive to the Messianic movement. And the tidbits I’m able to share from both books and the TORAH. I pray for him on a daily basis as PTSD is an issue he doesn’t open up with any prodding. Yet to find it is underneath his facade. The message from Rabbi is everso importantt for us to comprehend and prayerfully share with close family and friends. I look forward to much more. Shalom
Jodi Graham says
I have read this, and it has made these topics, less concerning and more able to soak up. Sometimes dates, and numbers can become puzzling, but I appreciate the straightforwardness this blog brings, in a simpler, more understandable way. Thanks! Can’t wait for what comes next.
Dr. Lloyd Stebbins says
Great blog, Rabbi. Wouldn’t it be great if, during the Shemitah year, everyone could be at least released from accruing interest in their debts and just continue making interest-free payments?
“The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua!” [Revelation 22: 20 CJB]
Sheneka Gaiters says
Great article, Rabbi. I agree with Jody that this clears up a lot of confusion concerning the Moedim.
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