Trend Update: Sabbatical/Shemitah Year, August 2014

Exodus 23:10-11 You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

The government of Israel has set aside approximately $29 million for farmers who are choosing to honor this law of God. Obedience to the law will result in loss of income to farmers. This upcoming Jewish civil year is a Sabbatical or Shemitah year. It runs from roughly September 24, 2014 through September 13, 2015 on the Gregorian calendar. On a Hebrew calendar, the year runs from Tishri 1 through Elul 29.

Why now? What has possessed the Israeli government to set aside money for farmers to honor this commandment from God? Israel has not paid attention to this law since they returned to the land and were reborn in 1948. The Sabbatical year has not been followed since 70 AD. There is increased interest and concern for this law by farmers and citizens of Israel.

For more details of the Sabbatical Year law see Leviticus 25:1-7 and Deuteronomy 15.

Money has also been set aside in light of Deuteronomy 31:10-11 Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing…” This ceremony is scheduled to take place on the Jewish Holiday of Tabernacles or Sukkot. Christians call it the Feast of Booths. The ceremony will be celebrated at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on September 28, 2015. That evening, there will be a big red lunar eclipse that is a Super Moon. Traditionally, lunar eclipses on holidays are a bad omen for Israel.

So what is the big deal? Why should Israel honor this statute in the 21st century? Is this relevant today?

God warned continually of consequences and judgment if His commandments were not followed. Eventually, judgment came at the hands of the Babylonians. Jerusalem was destroyed. People were killed. Those who survived were taken into captivity by Babylon. See 2 Chronicles 36:15-20 for more detail. God was keeping track. The land will have its rest. 2 Chronicles 36:21 …to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.

Is God still counting??? If so…??? Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill…” –Jesus

Got Jesus…???

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