The Shemitah & The Sabbath

Michael Heiss—September 28, 2015

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Good morning, everyone. I hope to start a series on what I call The Cycles of Seven. By that, I mean:

  • one unit—out of a set of seven units
  • one day, Sabbath—out of seven days, a week
  • Sabbatical year, land Sabbath, year of release—one year out of seven
  • the Jubilee year—which is seven times seven

Before I actually get into The Cycles of Seven, I don't know if we're actually going to get into the Bible on that this morning, maybe yes, maybe not until tomorrow. The first thing is to bring out some preparatory remarks as to what prompted this cycles of seven idea.

It was prompted, primarily, by my having read and gone through in some detail, two books written by a man that some know; some of you may not know of him. His name is Jonathan Cahn. Jonathan Cahn has a congregation in New Jersey and it's made up of professing Christians as well as Jewish Christians. He has a thorough command of the Hebrew language and he has an interesting insight to the 'sevens.' He wrote two major, blockbuster books that have had quite an impact, but my fear is that they can have the wrong impact. That's what I want to try to correct this morning before we get into the series of sevens.

Those two books that he wrote, I have them here. I'll just draw your attention to them. I'm not suggesting that you go right out and buy them to read them. If you'd like to, you'll find them fascinating. If you don't, that's okay, too. The first one was The Harbinger, and the second one was The Mystery of the Shemitah. Both of these books are easy to read. They're less than 300 pages. It just won't take you that long.

The Harbinger, of course, is written in a novel type format in which he shows that the messages, the warnings and the conditions that preceded the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel; that is Samaria. We're not talking about Judah or Jerusalem, we're talking about Samaria, the northern kingdom. Those conditions that were there are now extant here in the United States today.

Interestingly enough, when I first came to Ambassador College back in 1960—that must have been a lifetime or two ago, I'm not sure—those conditions did not exist. They weren't there, but they are now. He talks about Scriptures that were used back then and some of those same Scriptures were read by leaders of Congress following 9/11. It's amazing, a people in defiance of God. They won't listen to Him. Our country is slowly but surely, maybe not so slowly anymore, turning its back on God. It is a fascinating book—The Harbinger—I just draw your attention to it.

The other one is The Mystery of the Shemitah. We're going to discuss the Shemitah. The Shemitah is the seventh year. It is the year of release. It's the cycle of seven years where all debts are released, the slate is wiped clean, you can't really have any big boom-bust cycles and it prevents poverty, it really does. In connection with the Jubilee year, it's God's answer to poverty, it really is.

Along with these books, Cahn points out some of the events that occurred during the Shemitah year. I'm not going to bother to give you a litany of them it's not that important. For example: Since I was in the tax business, and the financial securities business, I'm well aware of some of these dates. For example:

  • 1987: a terrific crash in the stock market when it fell to over 500 points in one day, that was a Shemitah year!
  • 2001: 9/11 occurred and the crash in the stock market, another Shemitah year!
  • 2008: a tremendous crash in the market, another Shemitah year occurrence

He goes through history and shows what can happen and has happened in the year of the Shemitah.

That doesn't mean that every Shemitah year that comes around is going to have a cataclysmic event. You can go back for hundreds of years and find certain Shemitah years where nothing happened. Other times, you can find heavy events that took place not in a Shemitah year. He does lay it out in a unique way; I just draw your attention to that.

On top of these warning, and on top of the Shemitah year, we now have the blood moons that you've heard about. In fact, I don't know if you saw it this year, it started 6:20-6:30 and the moon was completely covered between eight and ten minutes after seven. The moon had moved completely behind the sun and you see that bloody red color. Then it moves out from behind it.

That was the fourth blood moon this year. They call that a tetrad. A tetrad is an occurrence where you have four blood moons, four total lunar eclipses, in one year. What's even more significant, although how significant remains to be seen, is the fact that it was the second year in a row that we've had four blood moons, two tetrads back to back. How often does that happen? According to the mathematicians, in the last 2000 years, it has happened a total of eight times. It's a rare event! The next one is scheduled to happen in about 400 years. So, you don't see that very often.

If that's not enough, you will never again see a full moon like this in your lifetime. It is a series of mathematical calculations with the elliptical orbit of the moon and the earth going around the sun, whereby the moon comes at the closest point to earth. I forget exactly how often that happens, but it's once every few hundred years. Believe me, in this lifetime, you're not going to see it again. Hopefully, as members of God's family, we'll see many of these super moons. It is as clear as can be; it is bigger than usual.

What's the significance of a super, blood moon? Nothing, really! It's just a super blood moon. We had two tetrads. What was the significance of those tetrads? Nothing! We just had two tetrads. These things have come and gone. The financial world and the world in certain religious circles are going gaga over it. They were predicting calamity, predicting mass destruction or massive floods or the stock market was going to crash.

I do have one piece of information to report, since I was active in financial services and subscribe to some of these reports. I get these with monotonous regularity. Let me give you the flavor of what this says. You'll get the feeling of what I mean.

From: "Bloody Wednesday" September 16, 2015: America's Day of Reckoning (

On Wednesday, September 16, 2015... behind closed doors in Washington, D.C... an event could take place that will change everything in your life.

You'll know this and what you must do immediately to protect yourself.

In other words, subscribe to a newsletter, buy the investments that they suggest and you're going to be just fine. In fact, you'll be six times richer. You get the drift of this. They're all the same, but this is what they do. It's interesting.

Mark my words.

Nothing will ever be the same again for your or your family. The America we know and love will be no more.

The fallout of this historic event will be horrific for the unprepared.

It will trigger all-out panic—first in the U.S. bond market...and later in the stock market.

It will destroy millions of jobs...sentence most Americans to a "dark age" of depression and poverty...send gold and silver prices careening higher... and push the U.S. government to the brink of collapse

That's what you would expect certain individuals to believe.

The carnage could ultimately make The Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 pale by comparison.

What's he talking about? What event?

First of all, get ready for that event. I hope you're all prepared for its coming. The day is coming, April 29, 2015. I hope you're getting prepared for April 29th. What did I just read? What you have to do by February 29th to prepare for April 29th! You slept through it all! You blew it! Your life is a wreck! I slept through it! What's wrong? It never happened!

The interesting thing is, what I want to bring out is that God made sure it didn't happen because this year of the Shemitah was a nothing Shemitah in God's sight. I'll show you what he's referring to and what God could have done. It wouldn't have taken much to cause this terrific crash that never occurred.

What was going to take place on April 29th? The Federal Reserve was going to meet! They meet in their open door session meetings every April and every October and they discuss the economy. The main weapon in the hands of the Fed is interest rates. They can raise them. They can lower them. When you raise interest rates, you slow down the economy; you really do. That's one of the things that has caused crashes in the past. When they've loosened interested rates so much, then they tighten them too much, everything crashes because you contract the flow of money and you've got to have flow of money to have an economy.

The betting was that they were going to increase the interest rates. Almost everyone was betting on they were going to increase the interest rates. Guess what? They didn't!

If God had led them to do that, if He had seen to it that they did, indeed, raise those interest rates, this could well have happened, this could well have been true. God chose not to do that. If He had wanted to send a dramatic cataclysmic catastrophe to demonstrate the power of the Shemitah, He could have done that easily, but He chose not to.

We've had people, church members, say, 'Horrible! This is terrible! What's going to happen?' I try to tell some of them, 'Look to God. He's not going to let catastrophe happen, yet.' As long as God has something in mind, as long as God has a work to be done, catastrophe will not happen!

In one sense, it's like Abraham Lincoln—he's one of the great figures in American History and I've learned a lot about him. People were worried about his life, and rightly so. He knew, by the way, that he was going to die. He knew it!

A lot of his friends came and said, 'Look, we've got to do something. We've got to protect you. We've got to set guards around you, and so forth.' This was his answer: He said to this person, 'As long as God has something for me to do, nothing can stop me; no one can harm me. Once I have completed that work, there is nothing you or anyone else can do to save me.' That pretty much says it all.

So, God has something He wants done. Abraham Lincoln called this country—you've heard the phrase—'the last, best hope for the world, for democracy.' That came from Mr. Lincoln; he's the one who said it. We have such freedom in this country that the Gospel can be preached in a way that it cannot be preached in any other country; it really can't. That's why we have freedom of religion; Congress shall make no law respecting religion. As long as we have that freedom, as long as we have an economy, the work will go out. As long as God wants a work to go out He's not going to let total collapse happen. He's just not!

The old Radio Church of God/Worldwide Church of God kind of fell into the same trap. I don't know how many of you are well familiar with the old Radio Church of God, but I first set foot on the Ambassador College Campus in the fall of 1960. The first minister I ever met was Dr. Herman Hoeh, almost the first day I arrived. We hit it off famously. I couldn't figure out why. To this day I'm not really sure why it happened. But Howard Clark was a jovial individual. He was a real miracle. You talk about healing. God doesn't always heal dramatically, but this man had been in the Korean War and he had been so badly damaged he couldn't stand up; he couldn't walk. He was anointed in 1959, and he got up out of the wheelchair and never went back.

When you stop to think about Acts 3 where Peter and John went up to the temple to pray and there's a man sitting there and he says, 'Alms for the poor, alms for the poor.' That type of thing! Peter looks at him and says in effect, 'Gold and silver, I don't have, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.' He rose up and he walked. That's a miracle!

Howard Clark used to say that Dr. Hoeh was very favorably disposed toward odd balls and Jews. Since I was an odd ball Jew, maybe that explains it. We hit it off well. I learned a lot about 19-year time-cycles. I don't know if you've ever gone into those old 19-year time-cycles. They are real. There really are 19-year time-cycles. What do you make of them?

When the Church began, really began after the ascension of Jesus of Nazareth and the Ephesus Era began, you had two 19-year time-cycles to the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the work as we knew it at that time. Not that the Church ended, no it didn't end; it continued to go on. But a major work ended and the second 19-year time-cycle essentially began with Paul seeing a vision of a man in Macedonia saying, 'Come help us.' You read about that in the book of Acts.

The belief was that at the end-time there would be another two 19-year time-cycles before the end. At least this is the scenario. This is how it's calculated. You'd have to go on a hundred 19-year time-cycles down to the end. If you go forward the way it was calculated, one hundred 19-year time-cycles led to 1934.

What happened in 1934? Mr. Herbert Armstrong launched the Plain Truth magazine, the flagship of the old Radio Church of God. Wow! This is it! One 19-year time-cycle later was 1953. What was so great about 1953? An avenue opened, or as the work used to say, a door opened—that was the phrase that was used quite often—to be able to preach the Gospel in Britain, in Europe. Nineteen years it was in Asia and among the Jews and then the remaining 19-year cycle in mass to the Gentiles. We had 19 years in the United States now another 19 years to the world. That would take you to 1972:

  • the end would come
  • the Great Tribulation would begin
  • 3½ years later 1975 would come
  • Christ would return

Everything would be fine. A nice, neat package—right? Yes! Only one thing wrong. It never happened! It didn't happen! Why didn't it happen? You see, human nature doesn't change!

Jesus warned the Church. Let's go take a look at His warning. This was a warning, a piece of advice that Jesus gave the Church, because the disciples were looking for the same thing. This is the time after the resurrection when He had spent 40 days with His disciples. Now He was about to ascend up to heaven.

Acts 1:6: "So then, when they were assembled together, they asked Him, saying, 'Lord, will You restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?'" 'You know, Lord, this would be a good time to do it.' How did Jesus respond? What did He say?

Verse 7: "And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority.'" Another way of translating it is that 'it's not your business to know it.' I like that. It's not our business, but human nature doesn't change. We all have the desire, 'When is He coming? What can we see? Jesus gave guidelines in Matt. 24, Mark, and Luke about armies surrounding Jerusalem, about times coming of wars and rumors of wars. But, He said:

  • you preach the Gospel
  • you feed the flock
  • you love each other
  • you grow in grace and knowledge
  • you prepare for My coming

Luke 12:43: "Blessed is that servant whom the lord, when he comes, shall find so doing" (Luke 12:43). But you know, we just can't learn. Human beings will not learn! There's an old saying that we learn from history, but we never learn. Not quite! We don't learn from history that we never learned, we just never learn. That's it!

I wanted to bring that out to show how not to view cycles. The point is, God is not obligated to operate according to any human understanding of the significance of cycles of certain numerical sequences. He's just not obligated to do that. Jesus said, 'In an hour you think not, the Son of man is coming.' That's the whole point.

I can only leave you with this in terms of this overall view. God will do what He will do when He is ready to do it! All your cycles, all the understanding of blood moons, all the Shemitahs, all the 19-year time-cycles don't mean a thing necessarily. They're there. Yes, God has them built in to His system, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything for us today. One day they will, but they don't fit in right at this moment. So, let's not worry about them.

That was my introductory remarks. Let us understand a few basic principles here: The Sabbath itself really represents the Kingdom of God. It represents the totality of the rule of God. The Holy Days hang on the 'hook' of the Sabbath. Put another way, the Sabbath can exist without the Holy Days. The Holy Days cannot exist without the Sabbath.

You look at those Holy Days. They will show you how you get to God's total rule, the Kingdom of God. You've got:

  • Passover—the sacrifice for sin
  • Days of Unleavened Bread—come out of sin, put sin away, because you can't have sin in God's kingdom
  • Pentecost—the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai, the giving of the Holy Spirit and Jesus coming back gathering us up to the clouds with Him

That has to happen before the Kingdom of God can come.

  • Feast of Trumpets—technically it's not the Feast of Trumpets, we call it the Feast of Trumpets

That's not a bad name for it. It's the day of blowing. What would you blow except trumpets? The day of blowing when Jesus will set foot on this planet with us with Him and will start to reign. Then comes the:

  • Feast of Tabernacles—really, truly the Millennial reign of God
  • the Last Great Day—when all the people who've never had an opportunity will be given a chance

After that, the Father, Himself, comes down and you really do have the totality of the Kingdom of God.

The Sabbath represents it all and the Holy Days hang on the 'hook' of the Sabbath. I want to make sure we understand that. Then the interesting part comes. I'll just have enough time for this one concept.

Seven is a remarkable number. There is no seven anywhere in the astronomical measurement of time. It's totally antithesis; it doesn't exist. Astronomers have scratched their heads, historians have scratched their heads, where did seven come from? No civilization has ever had a worshiping on the seventh day. Scholars, whether they're devout Christian scholars who believe the Bible, or those who are simply secular scholars looking into it, they scratch their heads; they don't know where it came from. All they can conclude is, it is unique to Israel; it arose out of Israel. Yes, but that begs the question: Where did Israel get the Sabbath?

Remember the 1993 Presidential campaign where the Clintons had a sign above the doorpost of their war room, 'It's the economy, stupid!'? We can say to the scholars, 'It's God, stupid!' He's the One Who did it! Physiologists have determined—I don't know how they did this, but they say they have and I'll take their word for it—that the human being operates most efficiently and effectively in a cycle of seven with one day for what we would call R & R, rest and repose.

They can figure out how the cells work. By the way, did you know that your cells renew themselves every seven years? Again, seven is in there. Amazing number, seven. Maybe we can cover more of a significance of it in part two. It's a fascinating number. The #7 occurred.

Look at a day. I don't remember if it was Ella Fitzgerald, or whomever, who sang the song, What a Difference a Day Makes, 'twenty-four little hours.' Twenty-four hours to a day. Where's seven there? Nothing's divisible by seven. How about a moon, the month—29, 30 days? Where's seven there? It doesn't exist. Nothing's divisible by seven. How about a year? That's it! It's got to be a year, 365¼ days with every 4th year a leap year. In the Hebrew calendar, because it's about ten to eleven days short, then every third year, you have an additional month to make up the difference.
The point is, nothing's divisible by seven. So, where did it come from? It came from God! Seven is the number of complete perfection. When you read through the Bible, you find that. Not only is it complete perfection, but the # 3 is finality.

This is the end of creation week, Genesis 1:31: "And God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was exceedingly good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." All the preceding six days, it says that God saw what He did and behold, it was good. That's the Hebrew word that means good. This is not just good, it's the superlative, you just can't get any better. That's the A+. It's 1,001.

When God did that, it said, 'Behold it was good, or if I can colloquially say this without any disrespect, God says, 'That was a good job if I do say so Myself.' He's entitled to say that. He's God! That's why it says exceedingly good!

Then we come to Gen. 2. Remember, the Torah was never written with chapters and verses. This was man doing this. Actually, Gen. 1 should end at the end of v 3 of Gen. 2.

Genesis 2:1: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And by the beginning of the seventh day God finished His work, which He had made. And He rested on the seventh day from all His work, which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He rested from all His work, which God had created and made" (vs 1-3).

What we have here are three clauses describing what God did. You don't get this in the English but you do in the Hebrew. It says here: "…God finished His work, which He had made. And He rested on the seventh day from all His work, which He had made and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it."

Those three clauses comprise seven Hebrew words each. Three times seven. We can understand it, God is signing off upon His creation week in total perfection. The number three is finality. We use it today. Don't we hear: 'The third time is a charm' or 'three strikes, you're out'? We've heard that and other circumstances, too. Three is finality! We have seven complete perfections and three primal complete perfections as far as the recreation of the earth is concerned. So, God is signing off on His Sabbath.

I'll leave you with a teaser: Do you know that technically, we don't worship on the Sabbath? Do we realize that? No, we don't! We call it the Sabbath, and rightly so, but scholars will say, 'The Lord's Sabbath isn't here.' They're right! Where does it say, 'Behold, the Sabbath Day?' You don't find it. It's not here. Where is the command to keep the Sabbath? Scholars look and say, 'It's not here.' Yes, it is! It's in the Hebrew, but you have to understand that! Rather, we don't worship on the Sabbath. We worship on the seventh day.

Remember about the scholars. Remember about the physiologists, etc. They know that we need one day in seven. That's true, but they can't tell you which day in seven? No! That's where God comes in with His Word; He tells us it's not just any day.

I remember reading the historical works about the pilgrims in other groups of strict Protestants and how they kept the Sabbath. I'm scratching my head. They didn't keep Saturday. They didn't keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Well, no, they kept the Sabbath! Why? A Sabbath is a day of rest. Any day can be called a Sabbath; it really can.

God is emphasizing, here, not so much 'ha Shabbat': the Sabbath, He's emphasizing the seventh day that later on would be called the Sabbath. In part two we're going to go into some detail in Gen. 2:2-3, and see what these words for rest, sanctify and blessed mean. We'll find out exactly what God did, why He did it and when we get to Ex. 20, it points back to Gen. 2, that there really is a creation ordinance!

Scriptural References:

  • Acts 1:6-7
  • Luke 12:43
  • Genesis 1:31
  • Genesis 2:1-3

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Acts 3
  • Matthew24
  • Exodus 20

Also referenced:


  • The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn
  • The Mystery of the Shemitah by Jonathan Cahn

Article: "Bloody Wednesday" September 16, 2015: America's Day of Reckoning (

Proofed: 12-10-15

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