As the climax of the “Shemitah” year draws near, the man who popularized the once-obscure Hebrew word sees more cause than ever for concern.
America is in for a great “shaking,” says Jonathan Cahn, author of the New York Times best-sellers “The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of the Shemitah.”
The Shemitah year began on Sept. 25, 2014, and will hit its climax on Sept. 13, 2015. That is exactly four months away, when the Hebrew calendar lands on Elul 29, the same biblical day of reckoning that brought record stock-market crashes in September 2001 and September 2008.
The Shemitah comes once every seven years and, according to Cahn, can bring blessings or judgments. For a nation that started out dedicated to God but falls into apostasy, each Shemitah year can bring progressively worse judgments until the nation repents and turns back to God, he said.
Cahn remains cautious about making any specific predictions on how the Shemitah will play out over its final four months. He emphasizes that nobody can predict with absolute clarity what will happen as August turns into September and September into October.
But as he looks into the approaching storm, here are his main concerns:
President Obama continues to foster poor relations with Israel, reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear enrichment that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has characterized as a “bad deal” for his nation’s future security.
America continues to slide into the moral abyss, embracing homosexual marriages and pushing transgenderism in the public schools. A landmark Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage is expected in June.
At the same time Obama alienates Israel, ISIS continues to rise in the Middle East and recently carried out a brazen attack on the U.S. homeland with an attempted mass shooting at a free-speech event in Garland, Texas, last week.
The FBI now says it has active investigations into ISIS sympathizers in all 50 states. ISIS claims to have 71 fighters with targets in 15 states. It has threatened to infiltrate the ranks of refugees, which continue to flood into the U.S. from the Middle East and Africa by the thousands every month. Many are coming from known terror-supporting states like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Mosques are rising in cities across the U.S., and the White House Task Force on New Americans is working feverishly in cooperation with governors and mayors to lay out the welcome mat.
While Islam is on the rise, Pew Research Center released a poll this week that found a stark decline in the number of Americans who consider themselves Christian, falling 8 percentage points in just seven years. Only 70 percent now call themselves Christian, and those self-identifying as agnostic reached an all-time high of 56 million.
Cahn sees a connection between what he calls “the apostasy” or falling away from God and Judeo-Christian values, the willingness to abandon Israel and the rise of Islamic terrorism.
A familiar enemy
“The pattern revealed in ‘The Harbinger‘ could be significant concerning America’s future,” he said.
“When ancient Israel was destroyed in 722 B.C., the agents of its destruction were the ancient Assyrians, the same ones who were responsible for inflicting a strike of terror on the nation years before. Assyria was the originator of terrorism,” Cahn told WND. “America’s first strike came on 9/11. Since America has followed the fatal pattern of ancient Israel in defiance and apostasy, since the harbingers of judgment have not stopped manifesting, I wondered whether this part of the pattern would also replay.”
That pattern is this: The same forces responsible for the first strike on ancient Israel returned years later to deliver another, more devastating attack.
In light of this pattern, Cahn sees the rise of ISIS, an outgrowth of al-Qaida in Iraq, as ominous.
“The agents of ISIS not only claim the same region as that of the ancient Assyrians, but they practice the exact same acts as savagery, mutilation of their victims, beheadings, and the publicizing of these acts to inspire terror throughout the world,” Cahn said. “The fact that America is now engaged again with the agents of terror, and in the days of its deepening apostasy from God is doubly ominous.”
What’s this Shemitah business all about? Get an easy-to-understand briefing on the biblical concept of seven-year cycles from WND’s free e-book primer.
And Cahn is not the only Christian leader who sees judgment on the horizon for America. Many others, from Franklin Graham to James Dobson to Joel Richardson have all spoken out with words of warning in recent months.
This week a new voice, Ann Graham Lotz, daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, added her name to the list.
Lotz issued a “Mayday” alert for Americans to engage in a week of steadfast prayer and intersession for the country May 15-23. She believes the U.S. is careening headlong toward judgment “and it’s going to be ugly,” she wrote on her website.
“Institutions will collapse. Banks will close,” Lotz wrote. “The stock market will plunge. Planes will fall out of the sky. Cars will crash on the road. Government in America at every level will disintegrate. Families will be torn apart.”
Lotz even mentioned the tetrad of “blood moons” as major signs that judgment is coming, affirming the work of pastor Mark Biltz, author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs.”
Though the pattern of the Shemitah is that it’s most dramatic consequences tend to come at the end, Cahn believes the beginning may hold clues to the end.
In the Shemitah of 2007-08, for example, the beginning seemed uneventful. Yet on its opening day, there was a quiet clue that few even noticed. The first major bank collapse in more than 100 years occurred in Britain. This event foreshadowed the colossal collapse of the global financial system that would take place at the end of the Shemitah year.
As the current Shemitah began last September, Wall Street suddenly began reeling. It quickly stabilized and then gradually continued its ascent. All concerns were forgotten.
“Could it be a foreshadowing of the collapse of America’s economic and financial realms?” Cahn asks.
And there are other potential foreshadowing events that took place last September.
“An earthquake of over 6 on the Richter scale struck America – on Sept. 25 – the very opening day of the Shemitah. Could it be a foreshadowing of future natural disasters?” Cahn wonders.
And the first manifestations of the Ebola virus in America took place on Sept. 25, again on the opening day of the Shemitah.
Still, Cahn tempers his concerns, saying, “We can’t be dogmatic. God doesn’t have to do anything more in this present Shemitah. The dynamics of the Shemitah can manifest more strongly in one cycle and less in another.”
But, he advises, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
‘A great shaking is coming’
“I do believe a great shaking is coming to America – a shaking that will involve the collapse of the financial realm, the collapse of the economy, and a collapse even greater than these. This can take place within the parameters of the Shemitah or beyond, but I believe they are coming,” Cahn said.
Of the last seven cycles of the Shemitah, 100 percent of them have been linked to collapse, he said.
“The phenomenon of the Shemitah has been intensifying. In the last two cycles, the Shemitah’s dynamics have grown stronger in intensity and precision,” he continued. “At the end of the Shemitah 2001, in the month of September, the stock market collapsed in the greatest point implosion in history. The day of its collapse was Elul 29, the very last day of the Shemitah, the same day appointed by God as the day of financial nullification. In exact accordance with the mystery, in September of 2008, the stock market again collapsed in the greatest point crash in world history, and did so on the very same day, Elul 29, the day appointed in the Bible.”
There have already been several significant events having taken place in this present Shemitah.
As the Shemitah began, in its first week, the news came out that America had been overtaken as the world’s supreme nuclear power. That mantle now belongs to Russia.
“For years, I’ve warned that if America doesn’t return to God, the American age, as we have known it, will come to an end,” Cahn said.
Many historians believe the “American age” began around the year 1871, when the U.S. eclipsed the British Empire as the strongest economic power on earth.
In the second week of the Shemitah, more than 140 years from the 1871 benchmark, America’s crown was removed as the strongest economic power on earth as measured by gross domestic product. It passed to China last September as the Shemitah year opened.
“The American age has come to an end,” Cahn said. “The ramifications of this change in the days ahead will be enormous.”
Moral ‘fall’ and the race toward judgment
One of the meanings of the Hebrew word “shemitah” is “the fall.”
“A fall can come about in many ways,” Cahn said. “In 1973, in the year of the Shemitah, the Supreme Court ruled to make it legal to kill unborn children. That was a fall of a moral and spiritual nature. It was accompanied by the collapse of the financial realm and then the economic realm.”
The current Shemitah appears poised to usher in an equally significant moral fall. As it began in the autumn, the Supreme Court made the decision not to defend the striking down of gay marriage bans across the country. In the subsequent days, the number of states that had struck down the biblical definition of marriage went from a distinct minority, in the teens, to a distinct majority, now at 37.
In June of this year, the Supreme Court will issue its ruling concerning marriage.
“It will likely end the historic, traditional, universal, and biblical definition of marriage – the sign of a nation in the midst of a rapid spiritual apostasy and moral fall – the sign of a nation racing toward judgment,” Cahn said. “All this has and will all take place within the parameters of the Shemitah – ‘the fall.’”
Abandoning Israel heaps more judgment
One of the saving graces concerning America’s fall from God is that it has still blessed Israel, Cahn said. But the recent deterioration of relations between the U.S. and Israel is another ominous sign, he said.
“Abraham made covenant promises that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed. But now, even in this realm, the signs point to judgment,” Cahn said. “At the same time America is deepening its apostasy from God, we are witnessing the worst deterioration in relations between America and Israel in the history of both countries. The (Obama) administration has promised to reassess its relationship with Israel and has given an implicit threat that it may abandon the Jewish nation in future days. If we abandon Israel or place Israel in danger, should we then be surprised if in future days we find ourselves abandoned and in danger?”
Cahn believes America has been blessed as much as it has blessed Israel and the Jewish people. But if it ever turns away from that, there is no guarantee of blessings. “And to turn away from God and Israel at the same time, is a dangerous combination,” he said.
Cahn said he sees the American financial system as a house of cards – and one that could collapse at any time.
“There’s no single pattern the Shemitah must follow. In the Shemitah of 2008, it was building up, in a series of collapses, to the collapse of the financial realm in September. In the Shemitah of 2001, the collapse came suddenly, almost out of nowhere, with the event of 9/11, which caused the financial realm to implode.”
In the present Shemitah, the final day of Elul 29 will fall on a Sunday, when the stock market is closed. The last day the stock market will be open will be the 14th anniversary of 9/11.
“Another sign we are racing toward judgment is that the harbingers of which I wrote about in ‘The Harbinger’ have not stopped but have continue to manifest – at the same time the nation descends from God,” he said.
“When I speak of a great shaking coming, some people get scared,” Cahn added. “But we are not to fear. If we belong to God, if He’s first in our life, if we follow Him – there is nothing to fear. On the contrary, I believe that without a shaking, without something to intervene in America’s moral and spiritual implosion, there would be no hope. Through shaking can come revival, among those who will return.”
A nation can be shaken through financial and economic collapse, through natural disasters, through man-made disasters, through the breakdown of a nation’s order and infrastructure, or, as in the case of 9/11, through a terrorist attack.
“When people ask, ‘How can I be safe in days of judgment?’ Or, ‘What should I do to prepare?’ I believe it is wise to have essentials on hand, so that if systems break down, one would be ready,” he said. “Beyond that, the safest place to be is not the Midwest or the South. The safest place is the will of God. And for those who are not saved, the word for safety in Hebrew is Yeshua – the Hebrew word for Jesus. The only safe place to be, is inside Jesus – and to get everything in your life inside of His will.”
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