Month 8:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5939:222 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 7 November 2014
The Sh'mittah & Yovel I
Establishing the Moedim in Our Time
Introduction - An Urgent Matter
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be with you all as I am called upon to continue in the vein of last Sabbath where I dealt with a couple of important doctrinal controversies (needing resolution and closure) to address another important matter raised by a concerned investigator about the sacred calendar. This matter is of the greatest importance to all those heeding the call and admonition to make preparations for imminent economic collapse and tribulation as well as to those who have perhaps not yet been persuaded of what is on the way that they too may take urgent last minute last minute steps to get their houses in order. As this will be a matter of life and death to many, I am personally congniscent of the urgency of this matter and must therefore deal with it in the short time that may be left to us.
PART A - GENERAL PRINCIPLES
We Know the Time
Two of our most important remaining unresolved theological issues in the "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:21, NKJV) we have been engaged for the last 30 years has been to determine when the Sh'mittah or sabbatical year begins and where exactly we are chronologically - in other words, which year in the calendar are we to celebrate it? This also applies, perhaps even more urgently, to the Yovel or Jubillee Year because of what is required of us at these two times. It is now our belief that we have, with a high degree of certainty, the answers to both these questions now, enabling the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) to plan accordingly in obedience to the Torah mitzvot (commandments). This statement therefore becomes the official position of all the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh throughout the world, beginning with Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon, pending any plenary revelation.
But first let us review the Scriptures themselves:
Sh'mittah - the Law of the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years
"And Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to Yahweh. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land (Sh'mittah), a sabbath to Yahweh. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you, for your livestock and the beasts that are in your land -- all its produce shall be for food'" (Lev.25:1-7, NKJV).
"Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove" (Ex.23:10-11, NKJV)
"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 neighbour shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbour or his brother, because it is called Yahweh's release. Of a foreigner (non-covenant person) you may require it; but you shall give up your claim to what is owed by your [fellow Israelite] brother, except when there may be no poor among you; for Yahweh will greatly bless you in the land which Yahweh your Elohim (God) is giving you to possess as an inheritance -- only if you carefully obey the voice of Yahweh your Elohim (God), to observe with care all these mitzvot (commandments) which I command you today. For Yahweh your Elohim (God) will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.
"If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which Yahweh your Elohim (God) is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,' and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to Yahweh against you, and it become sin among you. You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing Yahweh your Elohim (God) will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.'
"If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you (for indentured service) and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what Yahweh has blessed you with, you shall give to him. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Yahweh your Elohim (God) redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today. And if it happens that he says to you, 'I will not go away from you,' because he loves you and your house, since he prospers with you, then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also to your maidservant you shall do likewise. It shall not seem hard to you when you send him away free from you; for he has been worth a double hired servant in serving you six years. Then Yahweh your Elohim (God) will bless you in all that you do" (Deut.15:1-18, NKJV).
The sabbatical law, long lost to Christendom, was in force in Israel from the day of its inception until its various apostacies and diasporas . Whenever it was neglected or violated it was absolutely guaranteed that Yahweh's wrath would be provoke. Disobedience resulted in curses upon the land and the covenant people to whom this law had been given . The culmination of the sabbatical years was reached each 50th year, or after seven times seven sabbatical or Sh'mittah years. This Year of Release, following immediately after the seventh of a series of seven sabbaticals, was known as a Jubilee or Yovel, which in Hebrew means 'ram', thence shofar or ram's horn by which the year was heralded. During it, the sanctions of the sabbatical year were enforced but additionally, and most importantly, property reverted back to its original owners, debts were remitted, and Hebrews who had been made into indentured servants or slaves because of debt were released. This was announced by means of shofars being sounded throughout the land 6-7 months ahead of time to give everyone the time they needed to make all the necessary transfer arrangements. It was a time of thanksgiving and most importantly it was a time for exercising emunah (faith) in the physical realm that Yahweh would provide a bumper harvest of food, three times the normal amount, so that there would be enough for all while fields lay fallow (Lev.25:8).
The Yovel and Gatherings of Families
But there is a deeper meaning behind the Yovel (Jubilee). The 50th year was sanctified, d'ror (liberty) was proclaimed, and the cry was uttered:
The Divine Economics of Heaven
This was a YEAR OF GATHERING of the families, clans and tribes of Israel, each to his allotted portion. Each year of the 50 year span, the value of the land progressively diminished until the year before the Yovel (Jubilee) the value of the land had sunk below that of one year's harvest (Lev.25:16). For those of you interested in politics and economics, we see here a divinely ordained constructive tension between capitalism (which rewards owners of capital and land) and communism (which accords equal status to all). The Yovel is the perfect system of economic justice, eliminating oppression across generations. Every 50 years, the clans receive back their original territories, including all improvements on their holdings. Had the nations followed Yahweh's Yovel Law there would never have been the conflict between monopoly capitalism and socialism because the two were properly represented in their proper place in the Torah - there would not be the obscene and unjust concentration of money in the hands of an élite few through the crimes of the banking cartels or the tyranny of communism. Today's élite have tried to combine the two in their own way but to their own advantage and the slavery of mankind. Yahweh's perfect system is therefore neither capitalistic nor socialistic in the sense we have come to understand them in the modern world.
Radical Faith Required
The Sh'mittah and the Yovel are a part of Yahweh's temporal provision of security when the people live in His presence on the land which He has deeded to them. They remind the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) never to forget their former status as slaves in Egypt (as unsaved) and now as sojourners and resident settlers, set-free by Yahweh and granted assylum on sanctuary land. Yahweh's Covenant stipulates that Israel will prosper and dwell securely in that land provided she obeys Torah, including the chukkim (the statutes governing agriculture) and mishpatim (the ordinances governing the release of indentured servants and ancestral lands). In return, the Sh'mittah guarantees Yahweh's miraculous provision of a triple harvest from the 6th year's plantings (Lev.25:21). This is not at all logical to the carnal mind, definitely requiring our emunah (faith), which is why Torah classifies agricultural requirements as chukkim (statutes), not at mitzvot (commandments) or mishpatim (ordinances) which are based on rationality or logic. In other words, dwelling securely on the land requires radical emunah (faith), the kind possessed only by the remnant but not by those who compromise with the mitzvot (commandments).
The Downward Spiral of Disobedience
Failure to observe the b'rit (covenant) has dire and tangible consequences, setting the nation on a spiritual path that leads back to slavery in Egypt. In other words, Israel becomes Babylon by a process of radical and destructive spiritual change. This process results in, first, loss of moveable property (Lev.25:14) to the forced sale of ancestral lands (Lev.25:25-28), loss of ones house (vv.29-31), debt (v.36), servanthood/slavery (v.39) and finally selling oneself to a non-Israelite whose family serves idols (v.41). Furthermore, an Israelite must be impoverished before Torah permits him to sell ancestral land. The principle that Yahweh owns all land immediately puts relatives under the obligation to redeem the property of the one so impoverished.
The Kinsman-Redeemer and Home-Coming
Kinsman-redeemers can purchase back property even against the will of the buyer at the Sh'mittah, but if no one pays the price of redemption, then at the Yovel (Jubilee), the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn) proclaims, "Every man to his clan and every clan to its land!" and no one may resist, including those slaves who decided to have their ears bored so that they might remain with their masters forever! In this we see the divine tavnith (pattern) both of the redemption of sinful man by Messiah as well as the concept of the Eternal or Cosmic Yovel (Jubilee) by which all men are eventually redeemed, whether they want to be or not. And just as a released slave may be set free and have his land returned to him though being comparitively penniless, so when hell is emptied of its occupants it will only be to an inferior glory to those who have been true and faithful according to the law of graded salvation. Yahweh is not only the Elohim (God) of the land but of "every living creature" (Jer.32:27) and the principle of redemption and of freedom is the same. That is why Yah'shua (Jesus) proclaimed d'ror (liberty) in Luke 4:21, quoting Isaiah 61:1 in the synagogue, proving His toqef (authority) when He set free all repentant captives surrendering to His Messiahship and Kingship of Israel at the cross, bringing His talmidim (disciples) home to Him. Indeed, another way to render the sense of the Hebrew Yovel (Jubilee) is 'home-bringing' or 'home-coming'.
Yahweh's Rest Too
The significance of rest for the land every seventh year (Sh'mittah) of the 'week of (7x7) years' is not only to be found in principles of soil chemistry, however. Neither does it follow the Canaanite pattern of a seven-year cycle without a harvest followed by seven years of plenty, which is a perversion of the heavenly tavnith (pattern). Rather, the land may be sown and reaped for six years and must then be allowed to rest on the seventh. This is a year's rest both for the land and for Yahweh (Lev.25:23), following the tavnith (pattern) of the weekly cycle and its sabbath. How exactly does Yahweh 'rest'? He rests, amongst other things, from answering the prayers of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) to provide food during the 7th year because He has already done so by providing a triple portion in the 6th year. This is a reflection on one level of the principle of the 'double manna portion' provided for the children of Israel every 6th day during their wandering through the Sinai desert (Ex.16). If we have not been obedient to Torah by storing up (or 'prepping') during the 6th year, then we cannot expect Him to intervene for us when we ask Him to unless we have acted in ignorance, not knowing the emet (truth) of Torah. You will better understand why, therefore, I have been most urgent in my counsel to people to seriously prepare and not to gamble away their lives and the lives of their families.
The Seven Redeemed Women
From all of this we learn that man is not the sole owner of the soil, he does not hold property in perpetuity, but possesses both in trust from Yahweh (Lev.25:23). It is deeded to him with conditions. Indeed, the soul owned by Yahweh by covenant understands that he possesses nothing by inherent 'right', for he was a slave in Egypt (Dt.15:15). Accordingly, generosity is motivated by gratitude. The same principle is reitterated in Isaiah 4:1 when it comes to the seven women, who represent the fullness of obedient and submitted Messianic Israel, calling upon their Kinsman-Redeemer to deliver them from singleness by giving them His shem tov or good name, and so ensure them entrance and passage as the Bride at the Final Sukkot (Tabernacles) and so to heavenly glory:
The Heavenly Husband
"And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, 'We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by Your Name, to take away our reproach'" (Isa.4:1, NKJV).
The Heavenly Husband (Yahweh through Yah'shua/Jesus) is the Redeemer (Saviour) of His uniplural Wife, just as an Israelite husband is the redeemer of his wife or wives after the covenant of qodesh (holy, set-apart) Israelite marriage. Alone and without covering, the Wife wanders away and by the by becomes enslaved by the reproach of her unkosher and sinful dependencies on Egypt/Babylon.
Can the Requirements of the Jubilee Be Carried Out in Our Time?
What of those of us in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) who are not in the Land, and indeed cannot be until Yah'shua (Jesus) returns and again assigns, as He did under Moses and Joshua, the twelve tribal terrorites?  Are the Sh'mittah and Yovel applicable to us today? The answer is yes but within the context of disaspora or dispersal within the nations, which means at each Yovel (Jubilee) there are no ancestral lands that can be returned as of yet. However, countries who have annexed or stolen lands that were not theirs, and not inhabited by their peoples, would be required to return them. As we shall see in a moment, there is, in any case, only one more Yovel (Jubilee) before Messiah comes back, and it is only months away. But before we examine the question further, let us consider when in the year (which month) the Sh'mittah and Yovel begin an on which years they will be occurring in the years ahead.
PART B - ESTABLISHING THE SEASON THE MOEDIM'S START
Do the Yovel and Sh'mittah Begin in the Autumn or Spring?
In the modern Talmudic, Rabbinical or Jewish Calendar (which is not the Biblical one), sabbatical (Sh'mittah) years begin in the autumn (fall) in their Babylonian month of 'Tishri' in accordance with their false 'New Year' at Rosh haShanah. Accordingly they count their 'sabbatical years' from one 'Tishri' to the next. Though Torah most definitely states that the Yovel (Jubilee) is to be announced on the 10th day of the 7th month, at Yom haBikkurim (Day of Atonements) (Lev.25:9), after a count of seven weeks of years (49 years - v.9), it does not say it is to begin then. Clearly the word yom (year) in verse 8 is also to be counted according to the biblical calendar, with the year beginning in Aviv ('Nisan' in the Babylonian Talmudic system). Thus the Sabbatical years should be, and originally were, as were the Jubilees, counted from the month of Aviv (the 1st month) in the spring.
The Evidence from the Conquest
The Torah explicitly instructs us when to begin the counting of sabbatical years:
In the First Month of the Year
"Yahweh said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 'Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to Yahweh''" (Lev.25:1-2, NIV).
Israel was told when to begin counting the Sh'mittah years, beginning with the time when they would come into the Promised Land. If we can identify when they entered Canaan, then we can know when the sabbatical year began:
A few days thereafter Joshua and the Israelites celebrated Pesach (Passover) on Aviv 14 on the west side of the Jordan (Josh.5:10). Clearly the sabbatical years were to be celebrated from Aviv, the first month of the sacred year, in the spring, when Israel entered the land Yahweh gave them to begin a new chapter in history.
"On the tenth day of the first month (Aviv) the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho" (Josh.4:19, NIV)
Do Not Miss Yahweh's Appointments
As it is important that we are on time for the moedim (appointments) of Yahweh we do not want to be in error when it comes to sowing our crops and so break the covenant; neither do we want to be unaware of the times and seasons when Yahweh pronounced judgment on the world for failing to comply with His humanitarian ordinances. Since by Torah a matter is established by one or two witnesses, we shall examine further evidence that together conclusively prove that the Sh'mittah and Yovel must begin in the spring.
A Second Testimony of the Sh'mittah Beginning in Spring
We will first of all observe here that a crop planted in the 8th year produces its harvest in the 9th year. This timing, where the planting of one year is harvested in the next year, only occurs when the years are counted according to the divine calendar, with the year beginning in Aviv. Grain is planted in November/December in the Promised Land and the harvest of grain in the spring is a part of the ceremonies during Pesach (Passover). The harvest of grain begins during Pesach (Passover), when the bikkurim or firstfruits are cut from the field and offered to Yahweh (Lev.23:9-10). Thus while planting occurs in one biblical calendar year, harvesting cannot occur until Pesach (Passover) at the start of the next biblical calendar year. And this is exactly the timing of planting and harvesting described in the passage from Leviticus 25 — sowing in late autumn of the 8th year (the year after the Sh'mittah or Sabbatical year) and harvesting in the spring of the 9th year. Once more the biblical calendar is used in referring to the counting of the Sh'mittah or Sabbatical years.
"And if you say, 'What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?' 'Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest'" (Lev 25:20-22, NKJV).
Proof that the Sh'mittah Cannot Begin in the Autumn
It is important to note that the planting in the 8th year and harvest in the 9th year clearly does not refer to a crop harvested in the 8th year and kept in storage for use in the 9th year. This passage from Leviticus refers to the 9th year as the year when "its produce comes in", meaning when the grain sown in the 8th year is ready to be harvested. Also, the grain could not be planted near the end of the year in the modern Jewish civil calendar (which begins with the seventh month of the Talmudic 'Tishri' in the autumn) and harvested in the next civil calendar year. This would require the grain to be planted in the summer, when there is no rain, and harvested in the autumn. Such a crop would not grow due to lack of rainfall. The rainy season in the Promised Land is the winter time, from November through March. October and April generally have a little precipitation. The remainder of the year, especially the summertime, has practically no rainfall at all.
A Triple Harvest in the Sixth Year
We are told plainly in the Torah that the 6th year will produce a harvest with enough abundance to last the 6th, 7th, and 8th years, that is to say, until the crop sown in the 8th year is harvested at the start of the 9th year. This could mean that the crop of the 6th year would produce triple the usual harvest or, equally possibly, that the crop sown in the 6th year would continue to provide during the 7th and 8th years by growing again, on its own, each year. And this exact result would naturally occur, if the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years were counted by the biblical calendar, beginning in spring with the month of Aviv.
Short Summary of the Evidence
Logically, then, it makes far more sense for the agricultural society that Israel was, to count the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years as beginning in the spring rather than the autumn (fall). Our ancestors depended heavily on agriculture for survival and a meager harvest in any year could easily result in famine. Yet, during Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years, the Israelites were not allowed to either plant or harvest their fields. Most of the appreciable rainfall in country occurs in the winter. As a result, the planting season for grain occurs in late autumn (fall), in the Roman November or December. The harvest begins during Pesach (Passover), in spring, during the month of Aviv, in the Roman March or April. The bikkurim or firstfruits of the barley grainfields are offered to Yahweh during Pesach (Passover).
Understanding Seeds Ancient and Modern
When the Sabbatical year is counted as beginning in the autumn (fall), with the seventh month ('Tishri') (September/October), grain cannot be planted in the following months (November/December). As a result, when the usual time for harvest occurs in the following spring, there is little grain in the field. Some grain would still grow, since some seed from the previous year's plantings would not germinate until a year or two had passed. Seeds from wild plants commonly germinate in different years; some seed will germinate in the first year and some in subsequent years. Modern domesticated grains, such as wheat and barley, mostly tend to germinate soon after planting, since the seed is taken from plants that germinated soon after planting. The genes which allow for delayed germination have been mostly removed from the gene pool of modern domesticated grains by this process of selection. This effect would have been less pronounced in Biblical times. So there still would be some grain growing in the fields from grain seed of previous years' plantings, but the harvest would be significantly less.
Historical Famines the Result False Sh'mittah Cycles
When Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years were counted from the autumn in post-exilic times after Talmudic corruption changed the calendar (late first century B.C. and thereafter), famine was often associated with the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. The reason is that the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year prevented planting, resulting in a meager harvest. People tried to store up food to get them through the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years, but the amount in storage was often insufficient.
Eating From Unplanted Grain
When the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year is correctly counted as beginning in the spring, with the month of Aviv, the result is dramatically different. In the autumn before the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year begins, planting is permitted. When the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year begins the following spring, the field cannot be harvested, but it is full of grain. And the Israelites were allowed to eat from the grainfield during the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year. Sufficient grain is produced because the field was planted before the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year began.
A Full Crop During the Sh'mittah
The following autumn, planting cannot occur because it is still the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year, but planting is unnecessary! The grain crop from the previous spring could not be harvested and so the grain would self-sow. Just as occurs with wild plants, when the grain is not harvested, the ripe grain seed falls to the ground, naturally sowing the next crop. As a result, in the spring after the Sabbatical year has ended, there is again a full crop of grain in the field. So, again, it makes more sense for an agricultural society to count the Sh'mittah Sabbatical years as beginning in the spring rather than the fall. When Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years are counted from the spring, a good harvest is probable. But when Sabbatical years are counted from the autumn, a poor harvest is much more likely.
Evidence from Historical Events: Josephus
Josephus describes the capture of Jerusalem by Herod the Great. The repeated mention of a Sabbatical year at this time has been problematic for chronologists. Josephus describes the siege and capture of Jerusalem by Herod during the latter half of the first century B.C. First he describes the siege, during the summer before Jerusalem fell. He plainly states that the Judahites at that time "were distressed by famine and the want of necessaries, for this happened to be a Sabbatic Year" (Antiquities 14.475) Then he describes the capture of Jerusalem in the autumn, on the fast day (Yom haKippurim, the Day of Atonements, 'Tishri' 10). Now here's the problem. If the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year was counted as beginning in autumn, with the month of 'Tishri' (the 7th month), then by the following 'Tishri', the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year would have ended. Yet, after the capture of Jerusalem on 'Tishri' 10, Josephus plainly states that the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year was still going on: "...in part by the Sabbatic Year, which was still going on, and forced the country to lie still uncultivated, since we are forbidden to sow the land in that year" (Antiquities 15.7). However, if Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years, at that point in time, were counted as beginning in the spring, with the month of Aviv, then Josephus' statements make perfect sense. The Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year began in the spring before Jerusalem was captured. The Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year continued during the siege in the summer before Jerusalem fell. And the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year was still on-going in the autumn, after 'Tishri' 10 when the city was captured. The Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year ended the following spring.
Famines caused by the false Rabbinical Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year starting in the autumn were fairly common after the capture of Jerusalem by the Idumean Herod. On the other hand, no mention of a famine caused by the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year prior to the capture of Jerusalem by Herod. There are numerous famines mentioned as occuring in the time before Herod took Jerusalem. However, none of these seem to have been caused by the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year. Yah'shua (Jesus) mentions the famine during the days of Elijah (Lk.4:25), but this was due to a drought. There were 7 years of famine when Joseph served the Pharaoh of Egypt, but 7 years of famine cannot be due to one Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year. Flavius Josephus mentions famine caused by war in the time before Herod took Jerusalem. In fact, the famine during the seige of Jerusalem by Herod seems to have been caused by the war, even though it coincided with a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year. The people could not eat from the grainfields, as they were permitted to do in a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year, because of the siege and the war. They could not harvest the grain, because it was the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year. And, when the war ended, it was autumn, whereas the grain ripens in spring. The grain would have long since fallen to the ground, making it unavailable.
Agricultural Cycles in Other Nations
How does Yahweh provide in lands where there are different sowing and reaping cycles? Those in the southern hemisphere have different rhythms to those in the north, and those in countries like Sweden near the arctic circle where my family lives have different cycles still to those countries further south. And those in countries where they are blessed with multiple harvests in a single year the situation is different still. Whether Yahweh provides a 'wild' crop during the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) or not makes no difference for Yahweh will provided triple so long as we are obedient. Whether we are in some frozen wasteland dependent largely on meat, or in a country where there are multiple harvests each year, Yahweh will provide, even if it is economically so that a food storage can be obtained by purchase. The important thing is to walk in harmony with Torah - the Davar Elohim (Word of God) - and to trust for provision. Those who know the emet (truth) but refuse to act, their prayers Yahweh does not answer because He is resting. Is that just? Yes, because He provides extra in the 6th year and commands us to save and store. Therefore the responsibility is entirely ours. He provided double manna for the Israelites aach 6th day in the wilderness for the Sabbath and He provides triple on the 6th year, one way or another, for the Sabbaticals, and every 48th year for the Jubilees. He provides but on His terms, not ours. If we exercise emunah (faith) in what he has not promised, then our emunah (faith) is in vain, and we - and our families - will starve.
Jerusalem Under Herod
After Herod captured Jerusalem, a number of famines coincided with the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year. Josephus describes a famine in the 13th and 14th years of Herod's reign. Now the first year of that famine was caused by drought. But the second year of the famine is curiously described: "....what seed they had sown perished also, by reason of the ground not yielding its fruits on the second year" (Antiquities 15.302). Since Herod's reign began during a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year, the 14th year could be a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year (depending on how the years are counted). In a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year, the ground would be expected to produce a crop in the second year, in other words, a year-and-a-half after the last time the fields were sown. However, other interpretations of this passage are possible.
Sh'mittahs, Famines and the New Testament
The first shammashim (deacons) of the Messianic Community (Church) were appointed during a time when food was scarce. A dispute about unequal distribution of necessities (most importantly food) caused the Apostles to appoint seven shammashim (deacons) to be in charge of distribution to Greek believers (Acts 6:1ff). The most likely time for such a dispute would be during a Judahite Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year, when the Judeans would neither sow nor harvest their crops (Lev.25:1-7). It has been proposed by Ronald L. Conte that the appointment of the first Deacons therefore took place in A.D. 21. In Acts 11:27-30 and 12:25, Saul and Barnabas are sent to Judea during a famine (Acts 11:28), during the reign of Claudius (Acts 11:28), and about the time of the death of Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1-23). Their purpose was to bring relief to the brethren of Judea. This famine was also mentioned by Josephus (Antiquities 20.51), not long after he mentions the death of Herod Agrippa I (Antiquities 20.1). Herod Agrippa I died in the third year of the reign of Claudius, after his own reign of seven years (see above). Accordingly Conte concludes that the third year of Claudius’ reign was A.D. 28. That year was also a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year (per Wacholder, A.D. 27/28). The destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem occurred at the time of a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year. But the famine at that time, mentioned by Josephus, was due more to the war than to the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year.
Why the Sh'mittah Changes Were Made
The important question remains: why did the Pharisees change the count of the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years and when did this change occur? As described above, at the time that Herod captured Jerusalem (mid-first century B.C.), the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year was counted as beginning in spring. Thus, Josephus states that the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year included the summer before the city was captured and the autumn and winter after the capture of Jerusalem. After Herod captured Jerusalem, he controlled who became the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) and he chose them from a different group of men. "Herod was then made king by the Romans, but did no longer appoint High Priests out of the family of Asamoneus; but made certain men to be so that were of no eminent families, but barely of those that were priests..." (Antiquities 20.247). This change in leadership among the Judeans could easily have resulted in changes to policies set by the Cohen Gadol (High Priest), who had authority over decisions about the religious calendar. This is the most likely time for the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) to have changed the start of the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year from spring to autumn.
Changes in the Calendar
The assertion that there were changes in the Israelite calendar from time to time is not such an unusual idea, as we know from our research on the changes from the Creation Calendar to the modern Jewish one which is a hybrid of the Biblical Calendar and the Roman one. The Rabbis themselves cannot agree about which year is supposed to be the Yovel (Jubilee) year, nor is there agreement on when the Yovel (Jubilee) years were kept in ancient times. Accordingly Messianics  and Evangelicals are divided about this issue too. each proposing different dates.
Israelite Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years, in the period of time prior to Herod the great's reign over Jerusalem, began in the spring with the month of Aviv. Sometime after Herod and his army took control of Jerusalem, Sabbatical years began to be counted from the autumn with the month of Tishri. As a result of this change, Sabbatical years were often years of famine. For more about Sabbatical and Jubilee years, see chapter 16 of the book.
PART C - ESTABLISHING WHICH CALENDAR YEARS THE MOEDIM START
The Pharisees and Their Book of Jubilees
We now know that both the Shmittah (Sabbatical) and Yovel (Jubilee) years begin in the spring, at the New Year, or Aviv ('Nisan') 1. We also know that the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) begins in the 49th year of the 50 year cycle and that the Yovel (Jubilee) starts in the 50th year. However, advance warning of the Yovel (Jubilee) is given in the autumn - specifically at Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonements) - to give Israel time to set its affairs in order so that by Aviv 1 the following year all the indentured servants have been set free and all ancestral lands have been returned to their original owners.
Faulty Exegesis and the Book of Jubilees
The blowing of the shofars (rams horns) at Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonements) in the autumn (fall) has, however, led to a faulty exegesis and convinced many that the Yovel (Jubilee) itself begins then, an error well established in Judaism and in most of Messianism which the Pharisees codified into Judean law in their false Book of Jubilees which some messianics have unwisely and precipitously canonised . Worse (because it adds to the confusion) the Pharisees, again on their own authority and contrary to Torah in their Book of Jubilees, merged the Yovel (Jubilee) with the 7th Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year, not only making the Yovel (Jubilee) a 49th year celebration instead of a 50th but thereby upsetting all the calculations in respect of prophecy.
Jonathan Cahn's Work
Why, then, does the research work of messianic authors like Jonathan Cahn , seem to indicate an astonishing harmony between historical events and the extant Talmudic Jewish Calendar? Why does Cahn, for instance, insist that the next Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year begin on 13 September 2015? And is it a coincidence that the Messianic Evangelical Creation Calendar predicts the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) on the same year, albeit it five months earlier in the spring on 19 April 2015? Obviously after a certain number of years, in spite of the 1-in-49 abberation, there were will overlap so that occasionally the corrupt Jewish Calendar of the Rabbis will agree with the Creation Calendar of Elohim (God), at least as far as the year itself is concerned, even though obviously the Talmudists will always be about 5 months late on that particular year because of their marking of the autumn as the start of the divine moed (appointment).
How Yahweh Can Use a False Calendar
Because it is our belief that this next Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year, which is of critical importance to the United States and to the world that will lead to the collapse of the US Dollar along with all other currencies worldwide, and inaugurate a time of much tribulation (not the final "Great Tribulation" (Rev.7:14) but the penultimate one of several - Mt.24:21; Rev.2:22), Yahweh in His omniscience, knowing full well that the majority of Messianics and all Jews would be operating on the false Talmudic Calendar, has, in His grace, used and enabled preachers like Jonathan Cahn, who has a large hearing and has sold millions of copies of his books, The Harbinger (2011) and The Mystery of the Shemitah (2014), to adequately forewarn those who have still not accepted the Creation Calendar to repent and make adequate preparation for themselves and their families before the collapse occurs. Because doctrines like the Creation Calendar, tongues and plural marriage are probably going to be amongst the last of the great restored truths that will be accepted by Torah-honouring believers, and not until after the calamities following a collapse have convinced them to repent fully of all such false traditions, this is how Yahweh, in His loving-kindness, has chosen to forewarn His the bulk of His people and enable them to survive. Cahn is a much sought-after speaker in both messianic synagogues and evangelical churches.
The Sh'mittah and Yom haKippurim
We do not, of course, yet know when the precise days of certain important events will take place (like economic collapse) but we can - based on our knowledge of the Festivals - know when Yahweh's judgments will reach a climax. Yom haKippurim or the Day of Atonements, is understood also to be a day of Divine Judgment and wrath against the wicked, so any Yom haKippurim appearing during a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) or Yovel (Jubilee) year in a nation and a people not in obedience to the mitzvot (commandments) can expect His wrath to be unleashed upon them.
Jewish Yom Kippur vs. Messianic Yom haKippurim Dates
In the corrupt Rabbinical Calendar, Yom Kippur falls around 22-23 September (Chabad Judaism, etc.) which is near the time Johnathan Cahn predicts both the start of the Jewish Shemitah and the calamity of the expected collapse. Though nothing extraordinary is likely to happen on the actual day of 15 September 2015, we can expect something of significance to occur on, or shortly after, the true Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonements) following the Creation Calendar which is 21-22 October 2015, plus or minus one day depending where you live. And even if there is some major event the month before, as Cahn predicts, this will in any case be well within the true luni-solar Sh'mittah (Sabbath) year.
Yah'weh's Inevitable Counterfeits
We must also be very careful as to what we ascribe to Yahweh and what is, in fact, the work of the Enemy who seeks to counterfeit everything though his human Illuminist agents. The Divine Calendar has been perverted for a demonic purpose, a counterfeit Israel has been established for a demonic purpose, and much else besides - and that demonic purpose is convince gullible, lawless (Protestant) and Jewish tradition-bound (Messianic) believers to accept, through a series of 'coincidental' events that seem to tie in with Biblical prophecy, the coming Anti-Messiah or Antichrist and his One World Religion. If you have followed carefully the reports made by insiders like Lindsey Williams  and numerous Illuminati whistleblowers, you will know that economies are carefully controlled by the élite and that crashes are deliberately manipulated and orchestrated to occur at certain times. Though sometimes Yahweh interferes with these plans from, for the sake of the elect and His own unknown purposes, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the Enemy would cause 'events' to occur at key moments which, using false calendars, would appear to synchronise with Biblical prophecy, and by this means pervert authentic prophecy so as to deceive and ensnare born-again believers in false 'moves of the Spirit'. There are two opposite currents of supernatural activity in operation at any one time with their physical manifestations in our world. There is both the emet (truth) and the spoon-fed lies dished out by the élites through their media and church-controlled agencies that seem to be the emet (truth). So we must not jump to hasty conclusions no matter how apparently certain events tie into different calendar systems.
New and Old Prophetic Markers
In consequence I do not propose to look much outside the current seven year cycle, which is clearly on time prophetically and which by 'chance' happens to tie in with at least one other false calendar, the Jewish. Our object is not to make claims based on hindsight but predictions that we may expect to unfold in the way we have already been told prophetically as, for example, with what Yahweh has said about the Mishpat Yahweh (Judgment of Yahweh) received on 5 April 2014 and fall of the United States received on 14 April 2014 and the counterfeit Israel, to name but three markers.
Uncertainty About Scriptural Dating But Important Clues in Events
Nobody yet knows with 100% certainty, from direct calendar calculations, when the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) and Yovel (Jubilee) years are, because nobody yet knows the year Joshua crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land or which year Yah'shua (Jesus) was born. We do know that both events occurred in the spring. That knowledge was lost over 2,000 years ago and hasn't been recovered since. Yahweh has, however, given us pretty glaring clues in current events which Jonathan Cahn brings out skillfully in his second book, The Mystery of the Shemitah, and in numerous TV and YouTube presentations which you can find online. The United States markers are clear showing an escalation of troubles and judgments over equidistantly spaced disasters for Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) years stretching back half a century, and there can be no doubt that the next calamity will bring the present seven-year cycle to an end:
When is the Next Jubilee?
How do we know that a Yovel (Jubilee) will follow the undoubted approaching Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) in 2015-16? We don't, and nor do we need to know, because we aren't living - and can't live - the Yovel (Jubilee) Law until all 12 tribes are back in the Promised Land under proper theocratic rule instituted by Messiah Himself:
Should We Observe the Expected Jubilee?
"Count off seven sabbaths of years -- seven times seven years -- so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the shofar sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on Yom haKippurim (the Day of Atonements) sound the shofar throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a yovel (jubilee) for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a yovel (jubilee) for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be qodesh (holy, set-apart) for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields" (Lev.25:8-12, NIV).
Arguably, the Yovel (Jubilee) hasn't been properly observed from as far back when the 10 tribes were taken off into captivity to Assyria, and since the 2 southern tribes were dispersed - first, by Babylon, and then Rome - there has definitely been no Yovel (Jubilee). None of us can return to our own territorial allotments in the Promised Land, nor would we know what or where they were, and cannot until Yah'shua (Jesus) reassigns them at His Second Coming. Therefore whether we treat the observance of any Yovel (Jubilee) as having no revelance to us at all during this time of dispersion is open to debate, and we cannot pronounce definitely on the matter. It is up every talmid (disciple), in the absence of any revelation on the subject, whether the rule is followed of another year of no sowing and harvesting be observed or not after the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year before it in which the same. Wisdom would dictate that we have extra food stored anyway, just in case, particularly if the expected famine and prestilence lasts more than one year, which is why I have incorporated this into the chart that follows. Use your discretion, seek Yahweh on it, but by no means treat this question lightly or casually because it could have serious consequences.
Historically, the Roman Catholic Church has 're-invented' the Jubilee by acknowleding its veracity every 100 years. On 22 February 1300 (Julian Calendar), Pope Boniface VIII issued a Bull, Antiquorum fida relatio in which entirely on his own authority, he granted full remission of all sins to pentitent catholic paying the 'appropriate' (usually expensive) indulgences. Yet 50 years later Boniface announced a further 'Jubilee' and subsequent to that Urban IV decided to hold it every 30 years to represent the number of years Christ lived in mortality. The length of the Catholic 'Jubilee' has varied between popes, in the end reverting back to the 50 year gap for a short while, but has again become irregular. The last of these so-called Roman 'Jubilees' was in 2000 during the time of John Paul II.
Yah'shua and the Yovel
Catholic perversions of the Yovel (Jubilee) aside, the most recent reference to it in Scripture is in Luke 4 where Yah'shua (Jesus) quotes from Isaiah 61:1-2, proclaiming liberty to the captives. This would have been during Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonements) in a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year, believed by many to have been 11 September, 26 AD, though this is speculation and assumes both the Talmudic Calendar to be correct and that Yah'shua (Jesus) was born in 4 BC .
Chart of the Next Sh'mittah and Anticipated Yovel
Taking all of these matters together, I have prayerfully constructed a chart or diagram that shows the present time and immediate future relative to these two moedim (appointments) - the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) and the Yovel (Jubilee). It outlines what my own family is preparing for:
It is always tempting to casually ignore a matter when there isn't 100% Scriptural proof for something as important as the timing of a divine moed (appointment). Though many messianics take this attitude of 'live and let live' when it comes to questions about the Divine Calendar and therefore the timing of the sabbaths, new moons, and festivals - itself commendable when there is legitimate doubt as we diligently search the emet (truth) out - clearly when it becomes a matter of life and death we dare not be so casual though. You cannot say, 'let's wait for Yah'shua (Jesus) to fix it when He returns', when you are facing starvation, pestilence, bankruptcy, homelessness or any of the other calamities that are clearly lining up to explode in our faces and have already done so in some parts of the world with the very real prospect there of these things getting considerable worse. We have to know Yahweh's timing and we must believe His promise when He says:
I do not believe for one moment Yahweh has failed to reveal the emet (truth) of all these matters in His Davar (Word), or through His nevi'im (prophets); I believe that He has given more than adequate or sufficient evidence for an intelligent decision to be made - none of the other calendar systems come remotely close in terms of the amount of evidence thyat is available for knowing the True Calendar. For us there is now no longer any dispute about the exact timing of the sabbaths, new moons and festivals which remain mitzvot (commandments) to be obeyed with clearly stated punishments and curses for disobedience. For us there has been reasonable doubt about the Sh'mittah and Yovel years for some time but now, thanks to the research of many like Jonathan Cahn whose work is widely available, that doubt has considerably diminished, and we can declare, with sufficient certainty, that the next Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) begins on Aviv 1 next (Roman) year. It is therefore the official position of this gathering of congegations that the Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) Year begins on 19 April 2015 (plus or minus one day depending on your geographical location) and we shall be observing it as such. It is also our counsel, pending revelation, to treat the year after it as a Yovel (Jubilee) but, pending any clear revelation, shall be a matter for each household head to be resolved to observe or not. But don't wait until that date before you do anything - Yahweh has been giving warnings now for several years and there are many believers in the Middle East, Libya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ukraine and elsewhere who are already experiencing intense fires of persecution and for whom early preparation would have spared them so much agony. So don't be lazy or casual about this, act now. And may Yahweh guide you as you earnestly seek Him so that you are obedient in all things that he requires of you and so that you might be fully prepared for what we know is about to happen and has already started elsewhere. Amen.
"Surely Yahweh-Elohim does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the nevi'im (prophets)" (Amos 3:7, NKJV).
Continued in Part 2
 Nehemiah 10:31; 1 Maccabees 6:49,53; Josephus, Atiquities xii.9.5; xiv.10.6
 Leviticus 26:34-43; 2 Chronicles 36:21; Jeremiah 34:14-22
 The modern Republic of Israel, founded in 1948, does not fulfil the criteria of a Theocratic State and indeed is not subdivided into 12 tribal divisions precisely because the 12 tribes are not yet gathered, not even one single tribe (Judah)! So moving to 'Israel' will not, at this stage, make any difference. See the important series, Jacob's Trouble for a clear understanding of the status of the Holy Land in our day and age
 One of the most serious studies in recent times has been made by Messianic Joseph F. Dumond in his seminal work, The Prophecies of Abraham (Author House UK Ltd., Milton Keynes, England: 2010) but unfortunately he uses the modern Jewish Calendar, and not the Creation Calendar, to make his calculations. According to Dumond, the next Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) is in 2016. Unfortunatelty a number of his predications have not come to pass based on these calculations (including an invasion of Jerusalem by the King of the North in 2012-2013 AD - p.202). Another, Dr. Stephen G. Jones, proposes 2017. Popular Messaianic Jewish speaker and author, Jonathan Cahn, who likewise follows the Jewish Talmudic Calendar, made famous by his controversial book, The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America's Future (Front Line, Lake Mary, Florida: 2011), makes a compelling case for 2015-1026 in his latest book, The Mystery of the Shemitah: The 3,000 Year-Old Mystery That Holds the Secret of America's Future...and Your Future! (Front Line, Lake Mary, Florida: 2014), though he perpetuates the autumn Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) error of Judaism
 Along with other false Pharisaic pseudepigrapha like the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jasher - see Origin of the Canon
 Lindsey Williams, The Energy Non Crisis (Worth Publishing, Wheatridge, Colorado: 1980)
 It is our belief that he was born in 1 BC - see Why We Believe Messiah Was Born on Passover
 Ronald L. Conte Jr., Sabbatical Years Began in the Spring - I am indebted to the research work done here which has contributed to much of Part B of this essay
 Jeffrey Enoch Feinberg, Walk Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy - a Five Part Messianic Jewish Devotional Commentary for Readers of the Torah, Haftorah and B'rit Chadashah (Lederer Books, Clarksville, Maryland: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 & 2003)