Charisma Magazine

The Mystery of the Shemitah

Written by Jonathan Cahn

More articles from this issue

Could a mystery that began on a desert mountaintop in the Middle East 3,000 years ago possibly be determining the direction of world history, the course of our lives and the specific events that await us in the days ahead?

Is it possible that the words of an ancient Hebrew text are controlling the rise and fall of the American economy, the timing of recessions, depressions and economic crashes, and the collapse of Wall Street and the great stock markets of the world?

And could an ancient mystery that held the key to the timing of Israel’s judgment actually be determining the timing of critical and world-changing events in the modern world so precisely that it involves dates, hours, minutes and seconds?

I didn’t plan on writing this article, much less a new book (just yet). I knew (and still know) I would ultimately write a sequel to The Harbinger, but I also knew this could only be written at the right time. The Mystery of the Shemitah is a book that no one person planned. I had initially agreed to help in the writing of a piece on the coming Shemitah. But as I began to prepare for it, I was flooded with new revelations­—as I was with The Harbinger. And as with The Harbinger, The Mystery of the Shemitah flowed onto the pages, rapid-fire. The Shemitah is one of the 14 major streams of mysteries that first appeared in The Harbinger. I knew there was more to it, but just how much more there was and just how colossal were the ramifications was beyond anything I could have expected. Not only does it lie behind the rise and fall of the economy, the financial realm, Wall Street and the stock market, the mystery of the Shemitah also lies behind …

The rise of America to world power

The First World War

The rise of the Soviet Union and communism

The collapse of the British Empire


The atomic bomb

The fall of Vietnam

The Second World War

The Third Reich

The return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland

The collapse of the great colonial empires

The Cold War

The rising of the World Trade Center

The Six-Day War and the return of Jerusalem

A warning concerning a coming judgment to America

What lies ahead … and much, much more.

It may sound like something from a Hollywood movie or science-fiction book, but it’s real. In fact, the mystery of the Shemitah is so real it can be measured and quantified. It is so big and far-reaching that it has been affecting the lives of everyone reading this article since birth.

Two-and-a-half years ago, at the time of The Harbinger’s release, I was asked to give an exclusive “peak” or revealing as to some of the mysteries contained in that book. With my new book coming out this month, I have now been asked to give an exclusive peek into some of the revelations contained in The Mystery of the Shemitah.

The Sabbath and the Remission

Most of those reading this know that for Israel, every seventh day was a Sabbath, a day of holiness and rest. But what many people, even believers, don’t know is that the Sabbath was not only a day, but also a year (Lev. 25:1-4). During the Sabbath Year, there was to be no working of the land. All sowing and reaping, all plowing and planting, all gathering and harvesting had to cease by the end of the sixth year so the land could “rest and lie fallow” (Exod. 23:11).

At the end of the Sabbath Year, something unique took place: “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release” (Deut. 15:1-2).

“At the end of every seven years” refers to the last day of the Sabbath year. On the biblical calendar, the day was called Elul 29. So on Elul 29, the very last day of the Sabbath year, a sweeping transformation took place in the nation’s financial realm. Everyone who owed a debt was released. And every creditor had to release the debt owed. Elul 29 marked the day all credit was erased, and all debt was wiped away. The nation’s financial accounts were, in effect, wiped clean. It was Israel’s day of financial nullification and remission. The word in Hebrew used for this remission was “shemitah.” Thus Elul 29 became the Day of the Shemitah, while the Sabbath year was known as the Year of the Shemitah.

The Shemitah as the Sign of Judgment

The Shemitah bears witness that the land and, for that matter, the Earth, belong to God. It is only entrusted to man as a steward. God is sovereign. His sovereignty extends also to the realms of money, finances, economies and possessions.

The Shemitah declares that God is first and above all realms of life and must therefore be put first and above every realm. During the Shemitah Israel was, in effect, compelled to turn away from these earthly or worldly realms and turn to the spiritual.

But when ancient Israel moved away from God and the keeping of His commandments, one of which being that of the Shemitah, judgment came upon the land. It happened in 586 B.C. when Babylonian armies set fire to Jerusalem, left the land of Israel in desolation, destroyed the Kingdom of Judah and took the people captive into Babylon. But behind all this lay the Sabbath year. The exact timing of that judgment was based entirely on the mystery of Shemitah.

In Israel’s rejection of God’s way, the Shemitah turns from a sign of blessing to that of judgment. Thus the Shemitah became a sign of judgment against the nation that drove God out of its life and culture and placed money and material gain over God. It is a sign of national judgment that specifically strikes a nation’s financial and economic realms. In fact, the very effect of the Shemitah itself is very similar to that of an economic collapse and the crashing of stock markets.

* * * * * * *
Black Suns and Red Moons
Could the unique clustering of solar and lunar eclipses in this coming year bear significance?

I’ve been asked if there could be significance with regard to the blood moons and The Mystery of the Shemitah (and The Harbinger). The Bible has much to say about the Day of the Lord, yet in at least three passages it describes how “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light” (Matt. 24:29; also Is. 13:9-10, Joel 3:14-15). Scripture speaks of the sun and the moon and the celestial lights functioning as “signs.” The Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:14 is otote; it can also be translated as “evidence,” “mark” and “omen.” The same verse declares that they will be connected to days and years and “seasons.” But the Hebrew word translated as seasons is moedeem. “Moedeem” literally means “an appointment,” or “the appointed time,” or “the appointed meeting.” It is the same word used for the holy days of Israel.

On one hand, eclipses are a regular part of the natural world and do not, in themselves, constitute the fulfillment of apocalyptic end-time prophecy. On the other hand, considering the Scriptures’ emphasis on these celestial lights as signs of judgment and the end times, we have to, at the very least, conclude that they may at times serve as signs of significant events.

From the time of this article onward, the period of the blood moons or lunar eclipses will, in effect, be the Year of the Shemitah. One lunar eclipse will take place in the Tishri that begins the Shemitah. The next will appear in the spring marking the center of the Shemitah. And the final one will take place in the Tishri that ends the Shemitah and marks its climactic wake.

Even more precise, concerning the Shemitah, are the two solar eclipses that will take place in 2015. The first will take place on the day that marks the exact center point of the Shemitah. The second will take place at the time of the Shemitah’s climax, the Day of Nullification.

This convergence took place in 1931,when the sun was darkened on Tishri 1, the day that crowns the Shemitah’s climax. It ushered in a period of stock market collapses throughout the world and the worst month-long collapse in Wall Street history. In September 1987 the sun was darkened on the Shemitah’s Day of Nullification. It ushered the month that saw the greatest stock-market percentage crash in Wall Street history, Black Monday.

If the pattern continues, what will it bring when it happens again in 2015?
* * * * * * *

Is the Mystery of the Shemitah Operating Right Now?

Is it possible that this ancient mystery that ultimately led to the judgment of ancient Israel is at work and operating in our day?

The amazing answer is yes.

One of the most dramatic manifestations of this biblical phenomenon took place on Sept. 29, 2008. On that morning, the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange refused to ring. Then came the greatest stock-market point collapse in Wall Street history. Massive amounts of money were wiped out as financial accounts were nullified.

On what day did this greatest collapse take place? On the biblical day of Elul 29, the central day of the mystery of the Shemitah, the very day appointed to wipe out the financial accounts of a nation. And it was not only the day, but the year. The greatest wipeout of financial accounts in American history took place on the Elul 29 that only comes around once in seven years, the exact biblical day of financial nullification.

It is a mind-boggling phenomenon. And yet it’s just the beginning. If you go back seven years earlier, according to the ancient seven-year mystery, you end up in September of 2001, the month of 9/11. But it was also the month of the other greatest crash in Wall Street history, up to that day. It took place on Sept. 17. On the ancient biblical calendar, this other greatest crash in American history took place on Elul 29, the exact same day—and the day that just happens to be appointed in the Bible for the wiping away of financial accounts!

On top of that, the crash of 2001 was caused by the terrorist-inspired events of 9/11. Thus, all these things only could have taken place on the exact date they did in accordance with the ancient mystery, if the timing of 9/11 was also in accordance with the ancient mystery. Thus, even behind 9/11 lay the ancient mystery of the Shemitah.

And yet even this is only the beginning!

* * * * * *
The Mystery of the Sevens
The Shemitah’s eerie fingerprints appear on Wall Street

The Shemitah is marked by the number seven. It is the seventh year. Its last day, Elul 29, is the final day and climax of the biblical seven-year cycle. Is it possible that the greatest stock-market point crash in history, having taken place on the Day of the Shemitah, would bear the fingerprints of the Shemitah­—the mark of seven?

The following is neither central nor essential to the phenomenon of the Shemitah, but it is a fascinating phenomenon in its own right.

The Seven-Year Mark: The greatest point crash in stock market history happened on Elul 29—the end of the seventh year and the completion of the seven-year cycle.

The Seventh Month: On the evening of the greatest crash began the month of Tishri. Tishri is the seventh month of the sacred calendar. Thus the crash took place on the day that ushers in the most sacred of times in the biblical calendar, the seventh month.

Seven Hundred Billion: The crash was triggered by the failure of Congress to pass the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The bill was a response to the economic implosion of September 2008, an attempt to save the U.S. financial system. The amount chosen for the bailout was $700,000,000,000.

Seven Percent—2008: What percentage of Wall Street was wiped out on the last day of the seventh year? Seven percent.

Seven Percent—2001: How much of Wall Street was wiped out seven years earlier on the last day of the preceding Shemitah in 2001? Seven percent.

Seven-Seven-Seven: How many actual points were wiped out on the last day of the seventh year? Seven hundred seventy-seven (777).
* * * * * * *

The Ancient Cycles and the Mystery of Cataclysms

Most people missed it. It appeared in two lines of The Harbinger on page 163 of the book, beginning with a question asked of the prophet by the story’s main character, Nouriel:

“How far does the cycle go,” I asked. “Every seventh year in the past … and into the future?”

“The subject is for another time,” he said.

The “another time” referred to by the prophet for revealing the answer is now. The Mystery of the Shemitah is, in effect, the revelation of the mysteries Nouriel was searching for. We don’t have the space here to go into what is so gigantic that it resulted in a book that even I didn’t expect. But in this article I will seek to give an idea or taste of some of what is involved.

Nouriel’s question opens the door to the fact that the mystery is much bigger than could be contained in that exchange with the prophet and that the phenomenon of the Shemitah did not begin with 9/11. It has, in fact, been affecting, even guiding the course of our lives, from the moment of our births. The Mystery of the Shemitah reveals:

How this ancient sign of God has lay behind all of the greatest turning points and collapses in the financial and economic realm of the last 40 years.

How the greatest single-day stock market point crashes in history have been determined by the mystery of the Shemitah.

How the greatest single-day stock market percentage crashes in history have been ordained by the ancient mystery.

How the majority of stock market crashes all cluster around a single month, the very month ordained in the ancient biblical mystery to manifest financial nullification.

How every one of the five greatest point crashes in Wall Street history take place in proximity to the once-in-seven-years Day of Nullification.

How the Shemitah lay behind the greatest financial and economic collapse since the Great Depression­—the Great Recession.

What all this portends for the future of Wall Street, the financial realm, the economic realm, and virtually everyone’s bank account.

And yet this is only a part of the mystery. It gets even bigger still …

The Mystery of the Towers

One of the most unexpected revelations in The Mystery of the Shemitah begins at Babel. It involves the connection between the building of high towers and the rise of world powers. This particular mystery is especially revealing concerning the rise (and fall) of America. It includes:

How the rising of one particular tower ushered in the beginning of America’s ascent to world power.

How the same date of a critical prophetic warning given to America concerning a future apostasy from God reappears in the rising of the nation’s high towers.

How the mystery of the Shemitah was woven into the World Trade Center again and again from its conception to its completion to its destruction.

How the mystery of the Shemitah is joined to the rising and falling of America’s high towers.

What the ancient mystery had to do with collapse of the towers on 9/11.

The rising of the One World Trade Center tower at Ground Zero (the fourth of the nine harbingers), the strange omens that have accompanied its rise, and the connection between these manifestations and national judgment.

What all this portends for the future of America and the world.

The Shemitah and the Rise and Fall of Nations

Perhaps the most far-reaching of the Shemitah’s manifestations concerns the rise and fall of nations, kingdoms and empires. In ancient times, it lay behind the timing of Assyria’s destruction, the rise of the Babylonian Empire, the fall of the Babylonian Empire and the rise of Persia. But amazingly, the phenomenon has not stopped. The mystery of the Shemitah lies behind:

The greatest global cataclysms and shakings of nations in modern history.

America’s rise to world power in 1917 and to superpower in 1945.

The fall of the Russian Empire and the rise of the Soviet Union and, ultimately, the Cold War.

The convergence of World War II to the ancient cycle ordained at Sinai.

A 28-year cycle that has brought about the shaking, the collapse and the fall of nations.

The ancient appointed time of nullification and atomic warfare.

A specific scenario and warning concerning the fall of America, the American Empire and the American age as we have known it.

* * * * * * *
Jonathan Cahn: America’s Prophet for the Times?
The Mystery of the Shemitah’s author explains the behind-the-scenes story to his latest prophetic book

CHARISMA: Your previous book, The Harbinger, has sold 1.6 million copies so far and remained on the New York Times best-seller list for over 110 weeks. How do you explain the interest in that book? 

Jonathan Cahn: Part of the reason is The Harbinger’s nature, which is unique and hard to put in a box. On top of that, everyone is interested in what the future holds. The Harbinger doesn’t give a general or theoretical idea of the future but a very precise and specific revelation of what lies ahead.

Beyond all that—and probably most important—is the same reason I can take no credit for anything about The Harbinger. From the day the mystery began, to the book basically writing itself, to this day, The Harbinger has defied natural explanation. So I believe the ultimate explanation for everything that’s happened is that God wanted the message to go forth and made sure to send it. Before He judges, He sends warning.

CHARISMA: What prompted you to write The Mystery of Shemitah?

Cahn: As with The Harbinger, I didn’t plan to write it. In many ways, it was a surprise. The Shemitah is not only an ancient mystery but an event that is now upon us. Because of that, there’s been an explosion of speculation and concern for what it will bring. So Charisma felt that there should be at least a booklet to help people prepare in light of it.

I wasn’t intending to write another book until I heard from the Lord that it was time—as with The Harbinger. I offered to help. But as I started, I was flooded with new and unexpected revelations concerning the mystery, how incredibly big it is, how it’s been affecting all of our lives—and what it reveals about the future. There was no way a booklet could contain it. The same way the writing of The Harbinger just flowed onto the pages, so too did The Mystery of the Shemitah. In less than two months it was finished, and less than two months after that, it will appear on the shelves of bookstores. So it couldn’t be any newer than it is!

 CHARISMA: The Harbinger is written as a narrative. Why did you choose a non-fiction format for this book?

Cahn: It’s actually the opposite. The Harbinger was originally written in non-fiction form. But right after I finished it, I was led to rewrite it in the form of a narrative. People have continuously asked me about a sequel to The Harbinger, but it’s not the kind of book one can just decide to write. Events have to take place, and God has to reveal. But I know there will be a sequel to The Harbinger, and I believe its timing will be linked with events yet to happen. When I write the sequel, it will be, as is The Harbinger, in the form of a narrative.

 The Mystery of the Shemitah is linked to The Harbinger, and in some ways is even more specific about the future, but it’s not the sequel. Rather, it’s the opening up of a mystery that begins with The Harbinger and yet is so big that it opens up an entirely other dimension and world. It’s distinct. Writing it in a non-fiction form allowed me to do things I couldn’t otherwise do. For example, The Mystery of the Shemitah includes many visuals, illustrations, charts, graphs, etc. where the reader can actually see the phenomenon in flesh and blood—things that would not be possible if it were in narrative form.

CHARISMA: Given all the success of The Harbinger, how do you think people will receive The Mystery of the Shemitah?

Cahn: I recently spoke on Capitol Hill at an event hosted by Mike Huckabee. He departed from his text to tell the audience to read The Harbinger and used the word “stunning”to describe it. That’s probably the most common word I’ve heard people use in describing it. So what I would say is this: What is contained in The Mystery of the Shemitah is no less stunning than that which is contained in The Harbinger. It was a total surprise. The mystery is bigger than anyone had imagined—starting with myself!
* * * * * * *

The Mystery of the Seventh Shemitah and End-Time Prophecy

Many people don’t realize the connection of the Shemitah and the Jubilee.  The Jubilee was actually a super or mega-Shemitah. As the Shemitah brought release, the Jubilee brought liberation, restoration, the redemption of possessions lost and the return of the dispossessed to their ancestral home. The Jubilee’s timing was linked to the seventh Shemitah. Thus it could only take place in the year following the Shemitah.

The seminal event of end-time prophecy is the return of the Jewish people to their land and the liberation of their ancient city, Jerusalem. But behind this return is the mystery of the Shemitah moving on a prophetic stage and focused on the land of its beginning.

There has been no greater manifestation of the Jubilee in modern times than the restoration of the Jewish people to their land. It is the fulfillment, on a massive and prophetic scale, of the Jubilee’s ordinance that every man return to the land of his fathers.

Yet the key in the timing of these events is contained in the seven-year mystery of the Shemitah. It involved a world war, the collapse of empires and a British general’s march into the holy land. It would also dictate the timing of the Six-Day War and the return of Jewish soldiers after 2,000 years to the Holy City and the Temple Mount in 1967.

If the progression continues, there is even a possibility of a major prophetic event happening in the near future …

The Mystery of the Shemitah and What Lies Ahead

There is now intense interest swirling around this ancient mystery … for a very simple reason: The next year of the Shemitah is now upon us. In fact, it has just begun.

So what does the future hold? The book’s subtitle reads: The 3000 year old mystery that holds the secret of America’s future, the world’s future … and your future. The mystery’s precision with regard to the timing of world-changing events has been uncanny. In its last two manifestations, the Shemitah’s Day of Nullification has pinpointed the day of greatest stock market collapse in American history, twice.

This brings up two inescapable realities. The phenomenon of the Shemitah is intensifying. At the same time, America’s moral and spiritual apostasy from God is likewise increasing in intensity, deepening and accelerating. Considering the link between the Shemitah and national judgment, these two phenomena are ominous.

The book contains the key dates concerning the ancient mystery with regard to the future—the form, nature and dynamic the mystery assumes, as well as the scenarios in which it manifests. I included this, as I believe we should be ready for what could take place.

Two notes of caution, however: The first is that things do not have to happen as they have in the past. One cannot put prophetic manifestations into a box or onto a regular schedule and expect them to perform on cue. The phenomenon does not have to manifest in every cycle or with the same intensity. It may appear dormant in one cycle and manifest in the next. Nothing has to take place in this current year of the Shemitah.

This second is this: The mystery can manifest as it has before. If so, the pattern is generally that it is the end of the Shemitah rather than the beginning that bears the most dramatic repercussions.

Either way, God’s people should be prepared. We should also take note that the Hebrew word shemitah not only means “the release or the remission,” but also “the shaking, the fall and the collapse.”

A Great Shaking

Whether or not it takes place in the parameters of the Shemitah, I believe a great shaking is coming to this nation (and the world). I believe the shaking will involve the financial and economic realm but not be limited to those realms. It may even begin in another realm. I believe it will involve a breakdown of functioning and a time of scarcity as a type of famine in the land. I believe it will strike the pride, power, blessings and glory of this nation. And most importantly, I believe its purposes, beyond that of the judgment of sin, will be to call those who will hear the call back to God. It will even be a wake-up call to God’s people.

Are we ready?   

Jonathan Cahn is the New York Times best-selling author of The Harbinger, president of Hope of the World ministries and senior pastor and Messianic rabbi of the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel in Wayne, New Jersey. His teachings are widely known for revealing the deep mysteries of God’s Word and for the restoring of the new covenant message to its Jewish richness and power.

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