The Shemitah Holds My Future?

Apparently the hearts of many Christians are all astir again these days over Jonathan Cahn’s exciting new book, The Mystery of the Shemitah. The blurb on the book’s  cover calls it, “The 3,000-Year-Old Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future, the World’s Future, and Your Future!”

Wow.  I better get a copy.  But fast; its sellers warn that it’s “flying off the shelves.”

Cahn’s previous book The Harbinger was a “runaway bestseller” on the New York Times Christian books list.  Looks like this one is on the way to joining it.

What is the shemitah? It’s the sabbath year as laid out in Leviticus.

When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather the fruit thereof;
But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field or prune thy vineyard (Lev. 25:2-4).

Failure to keep this and other things set forth in the Law would bring judgment (Lev. 26:34, 1 Chr. 36:21).

And so Cahn propounds that it is failure to observe the shemitah (pronounced shmeeta) that has caused cyclical devastation every seven years in the earth.  I have not read the book but saw it advertised on Charisma News along with an interview Sid Roth (It’s Supernatural) had with Jonathan Cahn.  So I watched the interview.  Cahn proclaimed to a very excited Roth that it is failure to keep the shemitahs that has brought down judgments upon the world in seven-year cycles going a long way back.  He listed several.  It included the world wars.  The Great Depression.  9/11 in 2001.  The last one was the financial crisis of 2008.  Apparently the next shemitah is from September 25, 2014 to September 13, 2015, which could bring down on us… who knows what.

There is only one little problem with this teaching.  It is entirely false.  It is derived from a covenant—the old covenant— that is no longer in effect.  Don’t take my word for it; get it straight from the writers of the New Testament:

 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness (Heb. 7:18 NKJV).

In that He says, “A New Covenant,” He has made the first obsolete (Heb. 8:13 NKJV).

If we dare to believe our New Testament, then, the only covenant now extant with God is the New Covenant.  The covenant God made with the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) is not a covenant independent of Christ; it is fulfilled in Christ and His New covenant (Acts 13:32-34, Gal. 4:16).  And (according to the verses quoted above) the covenant God made with Israel under the shadow of Mount Sinai is obsolete.  It is null and void.  It is no longer in effect.  According to an online site on legal definitions I checked out, “a void contract imposes no legal rights or obligations upon the parties and is not enforceable by a court. It is, in effect, no contract at all.”  And so the Sinai covenant, the old covenant, because it is void, because it has been annulled, cannot be enforced.  That would be tantamount to trying to enforce a business partnership that has been legally disbanded, or a marriage contract that has been nullified, or trying on the basis of an old title deed to lay claim to land that has been sold to someone else.

God has brought in a BETTER covenant now (Heb. 7:22, 8:6)—better not only for Gentiles, but for Jews (with whom, actually, it was first made).  As a result, the old contract is no longer in effect.

But even if the Old Covenant were still in effect there is not the slightest suggestion anywhere in the Bible that the shemitah was in force for any nation other than Israel.  In fact the Old Covenant was a covenant God made with Israel alone.  How then could the shemitah be something that “holds the secret of America’s future, the world’s future, and your future?”

I find it very distressing, even frightening, that so many Christians are being duped by this kind of teaching.

Distressing… because it is evidence of how grievously lacking they are in their understanding of the basic difference between the Old Covenant and the New; there is such a blindness, it seems, as to the astonishing terms of the New Covenant.  And many believe God still holds out the Old Covenant for Jews that don’t believe in Jesus, and they can still come to Yahweh on the basis of that covenant. It is a teaching that does despite to the blood of Christ.

Frightening… because (and I know I am generalizing) this present generation of charismatic/evangelical Christians has strayed far, far from the truth– God’s controversy is with their teachers– and as a result they are abysmally ill prepared for the hour that is at hand. I tell you, there is trouble at the door.  Great trouble.   And it is going to result in the great and frightening collapse of a realm of Christianity that ought to have prepared its people for that hour, but did not.

15 responses »

  1. Amen Allan!!! I am currently sharing with our group here on this very topic along with “Who Exactly IS Israel?”. Deep darkness is over the whole “earth” because the light has been placed under a bushel. Praise God for His remnant who have been given eyes to see. If any man turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

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    • Hi Tim, good to hear from you! I found Cahn’s first book The Harbinger a very troubling read. Looks like this one is following suit. It’s being widely received because there is so much misunderstanding with regard to Israel and the church these days. Truly a veil is over many hearts, as you said.

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  2. Hi Allan.

    This morning I was reading an article on Biblical eschatology, which led me to this Jonathan Cahn fellow, which led me to your excellent essay. I too find it distressing that so many professing Christians are being sidetracked by these books, authors, speakers and side issues. Studying/preaching the New Testament seems logical enough to understand God, yet so may preachers are derided for doing just that. Sadly, people love having their ears tickled….Lucifer NEVER misses Sunday service!

    It is not up to me to question JC’s sincerity for the Gospel and love for Christ but his website does have a bit of a “Demtel” look about it. Maybe it’s his way of funding his ministerial projects, etc-who knows. Maybe Messianic Jews have a tendency to cling to the OT?

    Ultimately, the ONLY book of any importance to our eternal soul is the Holy Bible (I too use the NKJV, along with the KJV). We can read it 1000 times and still make new discoveries. Many times I have re read a passage or verse that previously didn’t “speak” to me, only to discover the mystery of His revelations have His impeccable timing, if you understand what I’m trying to say.

    Glad to see you’re still firing on all cylinders, Allan. Keep up the good work. God bless.

    Kind regards,

    Ray

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    • Thanks, Ray. I wasn’t sure I understood what you meant by “Demtel,” but after quickly googling it, I think I have the idea that it’s all about sales.

      I agree with you about making new discoveries in our reading of the Bible. With regard to certain passages that have perplexed me (there are many) I have found that the answers come by reading that passage again, and some time later, again, and later on again, and again… and suddenly one day the light comes on!

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  3. WOE IS ME IF I PREACH NOT THE GOSPEL!! For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL OF CHRIST – For it is the POWER of GOD unto salvation – to everyone that believeth–TO THE JEW FIRST- and also to the Greek- for therein is the righteousness of GOD revealed from faith to faith–This is the only Hope for America, the World, and Your future– the demonstration of GOD’S righteousness through REDEEMING GRACE… THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS ENOUGH for Jew and Gentile and the whole planet– Woe to the shepherds that have caused God’s sheep to ERR from the RUDIMENTS of CHRIST– HIS BLOOD-PURCHASED INHERITANCE— This is the birthplace of everything wonderful- true- wholesome- and pleasing to God.

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    • Amen and Amen, Robert. It grieves me, and frightens me, that so many Christians these days have become enamoured of the types and shadows of the Old Covenant. The New Covenant has become, for so many, the forgotten covenant.

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  4. I could not agree more, Allan. Christians today are largely illiterate as far as the Bible is concerned. That is a tragic state of affairs. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4: 3-4).

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    • It is a great concern, Anna, that there is so little understanding as to the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. First among those differences is that the Old Covenant is no longer in effect.

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  5. First I want to thank Anna Waldherr for commenting on this older blog post and bringing it to my attention. In your response to Anna, Allan, you allude to differences between the Old Covenant and the New. But your response is shorter than it needs to be. This lack of understanding about the difference you allude to goes a long way toward explaining how authors like Cahn gain such a foothold.

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  6. OK, that comment got sent before I was ready. I want to call attention to two passages: Jeremiah 31:31-34 the beginning of which reads “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers…” And Isaiah 42:6-7: “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Jesus, the Messiah, is the New Covenant, the vehicle by which the promised inheritance comes to the heirs.

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    • Thanks, Ellis, for these two comments. Yes, that’s right. Christ Himself is the New Covenant. The main thing I wanted to make clear is that the Old Covenant is no longer extant. God has replaced it with a new (and better) covenant (Heb. 8:6). Not only that, Gentiles were never under the Old Covenant in the first place. So how can it be charged upon them that neglecting to keep the seventh-year sabbaths has brought down God’s judgment upon them? I brought these two things up in the blog post.

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      • Yes I know the point you made in your post. Also in that post you stated:

        “I find it very distressing, even frightening, that so many Christians are being duped by this kind of teaching.”

        “Distressing… because it is evidence of how grievously lacking they are in their understanding of the basic difference between the Old Covenant and the New; there is such a blindness, it seems, as to the astonishing terms of the New Covenant…”

        “Frightening… because (and I know I am generalizing) this present generation of charismatic/evangelical Christians has strayed far, far from the truth– God’s controversy is with their teachers– and as a result they are abysmally ill prepared for the hour that is at hand…”

        I was (and still am) hoping that you could expound on how understanding the new covenant in terms laid out by Jeremiah and Isaiah would prevent people from being “duped by this kind of teaching,” how it would inform people’s understanding of the basic difference between Old Covenant and New, and how it would prepare people for the hour at hand.

        Thanks.

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        • In response to your request, Ellis, there is much that could be said. But in a nutshell, since we are indeed in the days in which the old covenant is null and void, and the new covenant is now in effect, a good place to start would be with the rule that all Old Testament scripture must be viewed in the light of the new covenant.

          And so, let Christians simply believe what the New Testament scriptures say. For example, the New Testament book of Hebrews quotes the Jeremiah passage you quoted, prefacing it with, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…” (Heb. 8:6-8). It’s one thing to read this, another to believe it. To believe it would put an end to Christians continuing to try to maintain an admixture of Old Covenant types and shadows with New Covenant truth (reality), a practice that is quite common in our day.

          As to the Isaiah passage about Christ being the new covenant, it is by being baptized into Christ by baptism in Holy Spirit that people become participants in that covenant, just as they of old were participants in the old covenant by their relationship with Moses, being “baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

          Also what John said in his gospel: “For the law was given by (through) Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Here is set forth for us the primary difference between the two covenants. The first is a covenant of a law works that was enjoined upon the people, and it is a covenant not of truth (ie, of reality), but of “figures of the true” (Heb. 9:24); the new covenant is a covenant of truth, of reality, and of empowering grace to walk in that reality.

          I’ve brought out these things more fully in The True Worshippers. If you’re inclined, have a look at that. You can find it on my blog on the page Other Writings. https://amendingfeast.org/other-writings/

          Perhaps you yourself have a thought or two about this that you’d like to bring forth, Ellis?

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  7. Thank you, Allan, for inviting me to write these thoughts. And thank you for the passages you brought up. I am sure that you could have brought many others as well. The trouble with comments is that so many things have to be left out.

    The three points you made at the end of your post struck me as something that should not happen when the new covenant is lived in. Those points, in brief, are: (1)…so many Christians are being duped by this kind of teaching. (2) …how grievously lacking they are in their understanding of the basic difference between the Old Covenant and the New. (3)…they are abysmally ill prepared for the hour that is at hand.

    The cure for these three maladies, if you will, lies in the differentness of the new covenant.

    In legal language, a covenant is an instrument of conveyance, a vehicle by which the promised assets are conveyed to the heirs. What assets are we talking about here? Life, harmony with the Father, peace, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, righteousness, security, grace, truth, and the list could go on. If Jesus is THE covenant, he is THE means by which these things come.

    I am thinking of Fox’s thumbnail summary of the gospel: “Christ is come to teach his people himself.” The new covenant is present in and among those who receive and walk in his teaching. Maybe someone can confuse me by their slick presentation of falsehood, but if I am listening to the teacher, I have a built-in corrective. Maybe I do not have a deep enough understanding of God’s purpose and action in history, but if I am listening to the teacher, I have a built-in resource of wisdom and knowledge. Maybe I am not prepared for what is coming, but if I am listening to the teacher, he will not fail to prepare me and fit me for the work to be done.

    My eye fell upon a quote from Fox’s letter to all the Kings, Princes, and Governors of the whole world and all that call themselves Christians… In this letter he poses several questions. These questions and their answers are essential ingredients if one would really be Christ-like (Christian). They are at the heart of understanding Jesus as The new Covenant between God and mankind. Fox wrote: “His office, as he is a counsellor; do you hear his voice from heaven, concerning your heavenly state: his office, as he is a leader to lead you out of sin and evil, and to rule in your hearts by faith, as a commander: his office, as he is a shepherd, are you his sheep? and do ye hear his voice? for Christ saith, “I am the good shepherd, and give my life for the sheep:” and again, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and I am known of mine. And he calleth his sheep by name, and leadeth them out; and when he hath put forth his sheep, he goeth before them; and his sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (Works, Vol. V, 319)

    Jeremiah said the new covenant was not to be like the old. But there is one aspect of God’s covenants that never changes. The foundation of the Old Covenant is “if you will hear/obey my voice, I will be your God and you shall be my people. Jesus stated, “The hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the son of God and those who hear shall live,” which brings us back to hear/obey my voice.

    Also from Fox’s Journal: “THE mighty day of the Lord is come, and coming, wherein all hearts shall be made manifest, and the secrets of every one’s heart shall be revealed by the light of Jesus, who lighteth every man that cometh into the world, that all men through him might believe, and that the world might have life through him, who saith, ‘Learn of me;’ and of whom God saith, ‘This is my beloved son, hear ye him.’ Christ is come to teach his people himself; and every one that will not hear this prophet which God hath raised up, and which Moses spake of…is to be cut off. They that despised Moses’s law, died under the hand of two or three witnesses; but how much greater punishment will come upon them that neglect this great salvation, Christ Jesus, who saith, ‘Learn of me, I am the way, the truth, and the life;’ who lighteth every man that cometh into the world; which light lets him see his evil ways and evil deeds….If you hate this light, it will be your condemnation; but if you love it, and come to it, you will come to Christ; and it will bring you off from all the world’s teachers and ways, to learn of Christ, and will preserve you from all the evils of the world, and all the deceivers in it. G. F.” (Works, Vol. 1, p.249)

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    • Hi Ellis, thanks for sharing, I concur with what you have said. You wrote, “I am thinking of Fox’s thumbnail summary of the gospel: “Christ is come to teach his people himself.” Yes. Perhaps some may wonder how it is that “Christ is come to teach his people himself.” This is the result of the coming of His Advocate, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth. For in that One’s coming, Christ said, “I will not leave you comfortless (orphans), I will come to you” (Jn 14:18). So then, the Spirit dwelling within means Christ Himself dwelling within,” teaching, shepherding, guarding, leading into all truth… As you said, the list could go on. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!

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