If you’re an evangelical Christian, you’ve probably been on mission work in Antarctica if you haven’t had someone try to explain to you the Shmita. It really isn’t that complicated. It just sounds all mystical when we use the Hebrew word. The Shmita year is also called the Sabbath year. It comes from the Old Testament Law in Leviticus 25.
For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. The Sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female slaves and for your hired worker and the sojourner who lives with you, and for your cattle and for the wild animals that are in your land: all its yield shall be for food. (Leviticus 25:3-7 ESV)
These things happen every seven years on the Jewish Calendar. We are currently approaching the end of a Shmita year, which is September 13, 2015. If you’re a discerning person, the first question that might come to mind is, why are American Christians so worked up over this if this was a law for national Israel? Here’s why: a Messianic Rabbi, Jonathan Cahn, whom I believe to be sincere, has made some correlations between Shmita years on the Jewish Calendar and major economic moments in U.S. history. I have to admit, these correlations are stunning. I’ve watched a few videos, I’ve listened to a few sermons, and while I wrestle with some things, I don’t doubt his sincerity. (Plus, he has adamantly avoided being a date setter for Christ’s return, and that I appreciate immensely!)
Now, I don’t want to address the efficacy of Cahn’s ideas. What I want to address is the wide spread response to his ideas. If Cahn is correct, then this week will precipitate some sort of economic/political/both crisis for the United States, and subsequently the rest of the world. Pile on top of the Shmita year the tetrad of blood moons, and some speculate that the crisis will be monumental. All of this has led many Christians to do a few things. The most common ones I’ve heard and observed is the stockpiling of food, guns, ammo, and a survivalist mentality.
To be clear, I’m not against preparedness. I’m not against storing up food. I’m not against guns and ammo. I even don’t have anything against survivalists. The question in my mind is, to what end? I’ve heard some say shoot first ask questions later when it comes to protecting their stockpiles. I’ve heard some talk about not going down without a fight. But my questions to those who are prepping for the end of days is this: How does your attitude line up with Christ’s command?
Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus [Peter] stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:50-53 ESV)
What do Christians intend to do with all those guns and ammo? What do Christians intend to do with their stockpiled food? Are they only for you and your family’s survival? When hard economic times come, how do you intend to be the light of the world? By defending your turf? By starting a revolution? Again, let me reemphasize, I’m not against guns and storing food. I own a gun for the purpose of target practice and absolute, last resort self defense. But is this brand of survivalist mentality that many Christians are buying into sufficiently Christian?
What does this have to do with #fantheflame? Let me wrap this up real neat. I don’t know what will happen this weekend. The stock markets close on Friday, September 11 (that gave me chills), and the Shmita year ends on Sunday, September 13. If Cahn is correct, something will. But then again, nothing may happen. But as Christians, we all can agree that one day, something will happen that will shake the whole world economically, socially, and politically. May I suggest to you that we should be preparing? Immediately after telling the disciples about the signs of the end of the age (Matthew 24), he told this parable.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”(Matthew 25:1-13 ESV)
There are a lot of difficult things in this parable that deserve their own blog post at some point. But the one thing I’m going to zoom in on for now is this. Christians should prepare for the end by ensuring that their lights are burning brightly! You have been doing the works of the kingdom. You have been multiplying your talents. You have been storing up so that you may endure. And when Jesus comes, you’re not taken by surprise because you’ve been faithful.
What about my home?
“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20 ESV)
What about my stuff?
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.” (Matthew 24:15-18 ESV)
Don’t you see? My stuff, my home, my domain, my stockpiles, my protection, have led us away from depending on God for our survival. Jesus told that one guy that following him may cost him his home. Jesus warned the inhabitants of Judea that when the end comes, don’t return to your homes, don’t gather your things, but immediately flee to the mountains where God will take care of you!
If I could fan your flame, I would encourage you to fully trust in the Lord during the uncertain times that we face! Don’t trust your stockpiles. Trust your Savior! If you put food away, pray that God will use that food to bless others! If you stockpile guns and ammo, pray that you can share and never have to use them except for hunting!
I don’t know if Cahn is right. Honestly, I pray he isn’t. But regardless of what happens this weekend, the Lord God is your tower of refuge! Be busy doing the works that the Holy Spirit calls you to, and when Jesus shows up, you’ll have been a good and faithful servant!