A Shaking? What Shemitah Means for Israel, US
JERUSALEM, Israel -- For Israel and the Jewish people, the High Holy Days this year mark the end of a significant seven-year cycle and a rare fourth blood moon. Some believe that combination could have a huge impact on the world.
That's why many Christians and others believe that this September could be significant in Jewish, American, and world history.
The Bible tells the Jewish people to sow the land and reap its produce for six consecutive years. Then, on the seventh year, they're commanded to let the land lie fallow.
"Shemitah means the sabbatical," Rabbi Tuly Weisz told CBN News. "There's a year of rest for the land of Israel and for people all over the world."
Israel keeps the shemitah every seven years. It ends on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Elul, which this year falls on Sunday, September 13.
Weisz says many non-Jews are also paying close attention this year.
"People from all over the world who've never heard of shemitah are all of a sudden looking and trying to explore what is the significance of shemitah because of all the global events that are happening that seem a bit unusual," he said.
Author Jonathan Cahn raised the idea of the shemitah's connection to the global economy in his book, The Mystery of the Shemitah, which warns of trouble ahead for America.
"I believe a great shaking is coming to America and the world, but America. I believe a shaking is coming that strikes the financial realm, economic realm and even be a shaking that's greater than that," Cahn said on The 700 Club this week.
He and others believe there's a correlation between financial downturns in the United States and the end of the shemitah year.
"[In] 1980 you have recession and then the stock market collapses; you have '87 stock market collapses and the shemitah of that, and you have 'Black Monday' the worst point percentage crash in history," Cahn explained. "Shemitah of 1994, the bond market collapses, called the bond market massacre -- greatest in history; 2001 you have the stock market collapsing, recession. You have the greatest point crash in world history and you have 9/11, which is the shaking. Shemitah also means shaking."
The end of the Hebrew month of Elul ushers in the start of the Jewish High Holy Days, beginning with Rosh Hashanah.
"The Bible refers to Rosh Hashanah as Yom Teruah -- the day of sounding the shofar blasts. It's a day of shofar blasts, a day of judgment, a day of coronating God as our King," Weisz said.
And 10 days later comes Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.
"Yom Kippur in the Bible is the day of judgment, the day of tshuvah, the day of atonement, the day of forgiveness," Weisz continued. "It's a day we spend in synagogue fasting, not eating or drinking for a 25-hour period, and a day that is spent in prayer and in repentance."
But God didn't leave his people without hope. Within a few days, the joyful Festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, begins.
This year, as a result of the lunar eclipse, there's a rare blood moon on the first night of Sukkot. It's the fourth blood moon on a Jewish holiday in two years.
"It happened only four times in the last 500 years," Weisz explained. "The last tetrad to occur on the Jewish festivals before this one was in 1967, the one before was 1948 and the one before was all the way in 1492. And those are major years in Jewish history and in the history of the world."
Those dates include the birth of the modern State of Israel, the reuniting of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty, and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain hundreds of years ago.
That's led many to say God is judging the world and the Jewish people, but Weisz sees it differently.
"It's our belief that the blood moons are a cause of celebration, where God is giving signs to the world and signs to the Jewish people that He is doing something great for us and for the world. So it's a sign of excitement, it's a sign! The blood moons are a sign of excitement and they're a sign of Messianic advancement," he said.