According to biblical scholars and authors from a Dispensationalist view, this weekend will complete the last seven successive cycles of the Shemitah (the seventh year land Sabbath of the Palestinian Covenant). Under that covenant, every 49th year ushered in the 50th year of the release of all slaves and debt (Leviticus 25). It was called the year of “Jubilee.” According to the current calculations of the Jewish calendar, September 25, 2014 to September 13, 2015 marks this time. We’ve been hearing a lot about the words “Shemitah” and “Blood Moons” because these teachers and authors believe that the required land Sabbaths (of the Palestinian Covenant with Israel), has been ignored by America and, therefore, violates the covenant our founding fathers made with God. Some also believe and teach that America is the “second” Israel and therefore required to abide by the required land Sabbaths (i.e., giving rest to the land every seventh year−not tilling the ground and planting crops).
Based on their detailed calculations of end-times prophecy these teachers believe this 7th Shemitah (the 7th year of a land Sabbath) will trigger an economic judgment upon our nation. And when the world cranks back up next Monday, September 14th, the Stock Market will be hit hard. In addition to that, they believe the greatest sign to confirm this will be the last Blood Moon of the Tetrad (four blood moons), occurring on the first day of the week of the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths or Sukkot) on the 28th of this month, the day of the last Blood Moon (Lunar Eclipse). Some believe and teach that this full “Lunar Eclipse” is the opening of the sixth seal in Revelation 6:12. I would like to point out that if this Blood Moon on September 28th is the same Blood Moon of Revelation 6:12, then it will also include planet earth experiencing a great earthquake, plus the sun will become shrouded in darkness, and an unprecedented deluge of meteorites will light up the sky.
Please make note that some of the promoters of these authors and their books and teachings have been making a lot of money through the sales of survival preparation kits and stored food products, much like what happened during the 70’s and the Y2K countdown. I don’t fault them for that, fear is proven to feed sales of products on many levels. Marketing through hyperbole works. Profits are to be made, even at the risk of losing credibility when predictions fail. When the predictions fail, the profits have been made and then go away. Time passes. People forget. And the same author and/or producers of survival kits emerge years later with the next sensational prediction and the need to prepare.
In my own journey, I admit that I’ve had opinions of when I thought things might wrap up, and it didn’t happen. I still do, and have written my own book on the subject (Countdown to Eternity). However, to predict actual dates is a slippery slope and a major “credibility” buster.
In 1971, before I became a Christian, I sat on a city bus in Cincinnati next to a Jehovah’s Witness who told me the world was coming to an end in 1975. It shook me up. But it didn’t happen. I later discovered that the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses had been riddled with failed predictions since its founding (i.e., 1914, 1925, 1941, and 1975). Look it up.
The Seventh Day Adventists predicted 1925.
The Worldwide Church of God (Herbert Armstrong) predicted 1936, 1943, 1972, and 1975.
Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel predicted 1981.
Pat Robertson predicted 1982 and April 29, 2007.
Lester Sumrall predicted 1987 and 2000.
A book by the World Bible Society was mailed out in 1988 to every church and household in America claiming the same things we’re now hearing and reading about Rosh-Hashanah, the Shemitah and the Jubilee Year. It was written by Edgar Whisenant and called “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” during the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh-Hash-Ana), September 11-12-13. I got that book in the mail and still have it. It didn’t happen. So Brother Edgar wrote another book, the following year, with the same title with an added year for “89 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1989.” Another book came out that first year, too, by Colin Deal titled, “Christ Returns by 1988−101 Reasons Why.”
Nostradamus predicted (over two and half centuries ago) that a king of terror would come from the sky in 1999.
James Gordon Lindsey also predicted 1999.
Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins, Isaac Newton, Ed Dobson, Lester Sumrall and Jonathan Edwards all predicted the year 2000 (Y2K) was the end of the world.
Harold Camping predicted May 21st, 2011 and changed to October 21st of 2011 when May’s prediction didn’t happen.
The Mayan Calendar predicted 2012. We saw a great movie come out about it.
John Hagee and Mark Biltz predicted that the Four Blood Moons in 2014 and 2015 relate to the Second Coming.
And finally (though not an exhaustive list of predictions), there are the latest two books out by Jonathan Cahn titled, “The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of the Shemitah.”
Through the last four decades as a pastor, I’ve had to survive at least five predictions of the end of the world, always forcing me to have to comfort and lead my congregations through the hyperbole until the dates had passed. Because I teach end-times myself, I get asked about these new trends and predictions every time they pass through the body of Christ. And as before, I repeat the same answer which is: “According to my best understanding of what I have read and studied on end-times, I believe there are a lot more details to fulfill in biblical prophecy, before we jump right in to what’s predicted to occur this month.”
I have issues with applying Old Testament covenants to a New Covenant era. It’s covenantal confusion. I have issues with taking single verses out of context and apply them to America when America is nowhere in the Bible as a definitive nation, other than by implication in less than a handful of scriptures (in theory, not certainty). I have issues with turning a supernatural event in Revelation 6:12 into the illogical theory of a lunar and solar eclipse happening at the same time on the same day. Think about that one.
So what do we do with predictions like these? It’s simple. Don’t stock up and lock up…instead, occupy until Jesus comes. That means be about our Father’s business every day as though Jesus weren’t coming, until he does come. Keep an eye both on the sky and the plow. We’ve got a mission to fulfill.
Recognize, too, that no one can fully prepare for what may or may not happen in their lifetime. If Jesus said to his disciples, “It was not for them to know the times and dates the Father has set by his own authority (Acts 1:7), or that, “No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mark 13:32), then how can we expect to get insider information other than that we’ll know that day has come when the plain, literal events of the Revelation begin to take place before our very eyes, rather than by mathematical calculations and deductions down to the exact day of the Jewish calendar.
Let’s strengthen our resolve to walk with Christ through all and every situation that our nation will face under God’s discipline. And as that’s happening, we can be here to present the hope of eternal life and peace to the fearful, confused and lost through a relationship with Jesus.
The prediction best sellers will continue to come after every other “failed” prediction − because “fear” sells. But when the dates of doom have come and gone, let’s remember that Jesus remains our Rock and is the same yesterday, today and forever. Coming back, yes. But not yet.
See you on the other side.