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Summary: Most people, church folk included, are clueless to the 3,000 year-old mystery surrounding the word shemitah, but their lives have been critically impacted or altered by its manifestation.

“I Wish We’d All Been Ready” Pt. 1 of 2

8/23/15 CFBC, Chester, IL Dr. Mike Fogerson, Speaker

Introduction:

A Earlier in the year I did a mini-series on a prophetic hot topic called “Shemitah.”

1 Most people, church folk included, are clueless to the 3,000 year-old mystery surrounding the word shemitah, but their lives have been critically impacted or altered by its manifestation.

a The mystery of the Shemitah began nearly 3,000 years ago in a Middle Easter desert when an aged man climbs to the top of the mountain.

aa The mountain is shaking and appears to be ablaze with flames of fire, flashes of lighting and rolls of thunder sounding like a blasting trumpet.

bb At the base of the mountain are over a million people (Over 10 Busch Stadiums), watching in trembling fear.

cc The old man reaches the peak, enters into midst of a thick cloud, and within the cloud (Shikenah), he (Moshe/Moses) is given a revelation that forms the commandments, the moral laws, the dietary laws, laws of cleansings, the blue print for the Tabernacle, establishment of the priesthood and sacrifices, the laws of the Sabbath and Feasts. . . the revelation was the Torah (first 5 books of OT).

b We know that every seventh day is a day set apart for holy rest (per the Torah), but every seventh year is also a Sabbath year; Lev. 25.1-4, “1 The LORD then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, 2 "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the LORD. 3 ~'Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, 4 but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.

aa During that Sabbath year there was no working of the land (sowing, reaping, plowing, planting had to stop at the last day of the sixth year:Exodus 23:10-11 (NASB) 10 "You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, 11 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.

bb The land rested, the people rest, and for a year the land belonged to everyone and no one at the same time.

cc The last day of that Sabbath year (Elul 29) at Sunset, a sweeping transformation took place in the financial realm: everyone who owed a debt was released, and every creditor had to release the debt owed. (All credit/debit was erased) - - - It was a day of Israel’s financial nullification and remission: Deuteronomy 15:1-2 (NASB) "At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. 2 "This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD'S remission has been proclaimed.

dd “remission” & “release” in Hebrew is “shemitah”, in v.12b, it’s called the Lord’s shemitah.

c Every seven years it was a nullification of credit/debt ordained by God on a massive nationwide scale and came to be known as the Year of the Shemitah, or simply, the Shemitah. (It’s the name of the year w/ it’s climax coming on the last night of the year.)

aa Because the effect of Shemitah upon Israel’s ancient economy, the rabbis devised ways to get around the cancellation of debt and came to observe the Shemitah only symbolically.

bb Shemitah had consequences specifically in the financial & economic realm (looks like modern day economic/financial collapse)

cc There are several reasons why Shemitah is important: Everything belongs to God, He’s first in all realms, people were forced to release what they were physically attached to, God’s the source of all blessing, act of humility/submission

2 Israel neglected the Shemitah (a sign of covenant between Israel & YHWH) for 490 years, in 586 BC, the city of Jerusalem was razed by the Babylonians, Solomon’s Temple destroyed, the Israelites were put into slavery, the fields/vineyards were abandoned.

a God sends a prophet, Jeremiah, to speak to Israel about what would happen & why: “And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets . . . buy you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, “Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever . . . Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: “Because you have not heard My words . . . this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” -Jer. 25.4-11 (Abridged)

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