Monday, August 3, 2015

This September

One of the most important books of our day is "The Mystery of the Shemitah" by Jonathan Cahn. This book addresses the seven-year cycle that God established for Israel to work the land with a Sabbath year of rest (Leviticus 25:1-4). In conjunction with this sabbatical year of rest for the land, the Law also required Israelites to release people from their debts (Deuteronomy 15:1-2). The Hebrew word "shemitah" means "grant a release." There is however overwhelming evidence that the shemitah gives us a principle that applies to nations beyond Israel.

The Old Testament chronicles the relationship between God and Israel showing us that Israel had a propensity to turn away from God. It is worth studying this relationship because of the principles we can learn that apply to our personal relationship to God. All people have a sin nature that gives us a tendency to put ourselves ahead of God just as the nation of Israel did. The Lord often reminded the nation of Israel of their need to stay faithful to Him just as He does us as individuals. When Israel neglected to observe God's ordinances such as what the shemitah required, He forced them to observe it through some calamity that produced the same result as an economic crash would do today.

While the Law set Israel apart as a nation special to the Lord, the spirit or principles of the Law apply to all people and nations for all time. The principle of the shemitah applying to all nations is that when we turn from God, He sometimes reminds us it would be to our benefit to repent. There is an amazing correlation between our most significant economic calamities and the shemitah cycle which Jonathan Cahn reviews in his book. The book also points out a pattern where the economic, political or military power of key nations influencing the world often increase or decrease with the shemitah cycle.

It is important to recall the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States. God allowed the most powerful nation in the world to suffer an attack by a group of Islamic zealots armed with box cutters that kicked off an economic recession. The attack happened on Tuesday and it caused Wall Street to suspend operations for almost a week. When the market opened up on the Monday following 9/11, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 684 points, the greatest point-drop up to that day and a 7% change. Churches had a surge of people attending services following 9/11 that looked like our nation was indeed responding in repentance. But the revival lasted about three weeks and then it was back to business as usual. The nation was shaken, but not enough to change our path away from God.

The next great shaking of the United States occurred seven years later when the Dow dropped by a record 777 points, a 7% change on September 29, 2008. This event kicked-off a world-wide recession that we still have not completely recovered from today. The spiritually discerning will see all the "sevens" in this event as evidence that God is sending us a message. There is even more evidence that this event is a message from God since it occurred on Rosh Hashanah, one of the Jewish feast days God ordained. The September 17, 2001 crash also occurred on Rosh Hashanah that year.

Humanists will dismiss these details as mere coincidence but those who know the extent to which our Almighty Creator is in control of His creation recognize that nothing of such significance happens without purpose... "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17, NIV). There wasn't any recognition from the general public that God was trying to get our attention like there was albeit briefly in 2001. But for those anticipating the return of Christ, both of these events were very significant.

Part of the message God sent us on 9/29/2008 is essentially what He told us in Habakkuk 1:5, "Look among the nations and watch... Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you" (NKJV). The other part is more specific to this country, that God is preparing to pour out His wrath on the United States. God is done warning us. He warned us in 2001 and in 2008. And there is a pattern of God rebuking us for harming the security of Israel which I documented in "End Times Evangelism." There has been no such warning in the wake of recent harmful things this country has done toward Israel. We have enabled Iran to arm-up and proceed with developing nuclear weapons but there has been no warning about this from God. Does that mean God approves of the Iran deal or has He given us over to the consequences of harming the Apple of His Eye? The warnings are over, God is saving up His wrath for a day of judgment on the United States.

There are many signs that we are very close to the return of Christ. The Parable of the Fig Tree is one of the most significant (Matthew 24:32-34). The existence of Israel tells us that we are the generation that will see the Lord return. So, given the times that we're in, many of us watching for Christ to return expect some significant event related to His return to occur this September. How significant it will be remains to be seen. Of course the most significant event would be the Rapture of the Church, but since, "that day and hour no one knows" (Matthew 24:36) we would be in error to say that is what will happen. The Rapture of the church certainly could set off a worldwide economic crash but so could a war, or major natural disaster, or any number of things.

Given the shemitah cycle warnings we have had and the late stage of history we are in, it is highly likely that there will be some major event that impacts the power of the United States this September. As the superpower standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union had to be resolved to make way for the global government the Bible says has to exist when Jesus returns (Revelation 13:7), so too does the reign of the last remaining superpower have to end.

Rosh Hashanah this year is September 13th, seven years following the last warning God gave us in 2008. No mortal including Jonathan Cahn knows what will happen around Rosh Hashanah this year. Since the Rapture of the Church is such a significant event, many people think it will occur on a Jewish feast day. But this would lead to date setting and it is more correct to think of the Rapture as a number-specific event rather than a day-specific one. "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in" (Romans 11:25, NIV). There is a set number of people God has in mind for the completion of His Church and the Rapture will not occur until that number has been reached.

So I would be in error to pick a day for the Rapture of the Church. Many have done this and have brought discredit on themselves and God's Word when the day they picked came and went without it happening. So while I'd like to think the Rapture of the Church will happen this September, I know it could happen any day between now and then and more likely, some day further out. Our God is characterized by grace and will hold off the conclusion of the Church Age until the full number of people He has in mind for the Church has yielded to Him. However, since I promised to regularly make predictions to demonstrate the increasing predictability of events in light of Bible prophecy during this late stage of history, here I go:

PREDICTION: It is likely the Dow Jones Industrial Average will drop by 7% or more within two weeks of September 13th, 2015.

Now this may not happen, I only called it "likely" to happen. God is sovereign and in His grace may delay the wrath He is building up against this nation and the world. But, I would not want to have any investments tied to the stock market this September. I will try to resist the temptation to speculate what event sets off the inevitable "economic adjustment" this country will eventually suffer but whatever it will be has the potential to permanently change life as we know it here. The Bible tells us that the coming Tribulation will certainly not be life as we currently know it worldwide so the day will come when that will also be the case for the United States. I certainly hope that God's wrath will not happen in the U.S. until after the Rapture but there are no guarantees since we have already seen birth pangs of the Lord's return.

Besides not being in the stock market this September, I likewise would not want to be trusting in my own ability to weather God's wrath. It is much better to trust in Jesus Christ before this Age ends. Our Lord is in control and He is preparing to reveal Himself to the world in an incredibly powerful way. We live in amazing times that will very soon not be fun for anyone, especially unbelievers. If you have not yielded your life to Christ yet, I'd urge you to do so now before the current Age of Grace comes to its dramatic conclusion at the Rapture of the Church.

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