Truth, Understanding, Insight

Times Appointed Part 3

21st September 2023, hej


2) The Sabbath for the Land: the Shmita year

The dates for the seventh year used above came from working back from the year 2007/8 which was 5768 in the Hebrew calendar, or the 824th occurrence of the 7th year, or in Hebrew Shmita. But is the Hebrew 7th year after all these years correct? It is likely that it is.

The law of Moses required every seven years that the land lie fallow (Exodus 23:10-11 and Leviticus 25:1-7). They were told not to worry about food, as in the 6th year there would enough to last until they had new produce in the 9th year (Leviticus 25:20-22). At the end of the 7th year at the feast of Tabernacles they were to come before God at the place he chose to listen to the reading of the Torah. (Deuteronomy 31:10-13). Also at the end of the 7th year every creditor had to remit all debts owed by his neighbour (Deuteronomy 15:1-10), and let any brother who had become his servant to go free (Jeremiah 34:13-14). The seventh year was a year of rest ending in forgiveness and a second chance.

An example was the covenant that the king Zedekiah made with the people which were at Jerusalem, “to proclaim liberty unto them”; That every man should let his manservant, and his maidservant, being an Hebrew, go free (Jeremiah 34:8-9). This proclamation indicates that that year was a 7th year it seems likely this was 593BC and the 4th of Zedekiah's reign. They then took their servants back and in 588BC, 5 years later as Nebuchadnezzar approaches the city (Jeremiah 34:1-7) Jeremiah tells them,

At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which has been sold unto thee; .. ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, return, and brought them into subjection,.. Therefore thus says the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, says the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. (Jeremiah 34:14-17)

Thus in 586BC, a 7th year, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. And 70 years later the temple was completed after the 2nd decree in 523BC and a 7 year intensive construction period ending in a another 7th year, (the 10th from 586BC) in 516BC. Also 432BC is a 7th year and corresponds to the 32 of Artaxerxes and in that year there was a release from debt where they were instructed by Nehemiah to restore property and servants (and in addition to leave off charging interest, or usury).

Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou say. (Nehemiah 5:12).

Working back from modern dates (with 4 years added over the common era), the 7th year fits exactly with the scholars dates for the years where the release is specifically mentioned in the scriptures.

When we look at events around the 7th year in modern times in Israel, there seems more than co-incidence. 1881/2 was a 7th year. In mid to late 1882 people began arriving in the first Aliyah. It was not until the new year (the first year of a 7 year 'week'), that they could begin to plant crops. In 1888/9 the Rabbis enforced the Shmita (arguing for all that year with the settlers and the Rothschilds). This first Aliyah ended in 1902/3 also a 7th year. The year 1916/7 was truly a Sabbath year for the land as nobody would have planted due to the war fought all that year ending November when the British and colonials took Beersheva, beginning the 'release' of the land. In the next first year of the 'week' beginning with the British taking control of Jerusalem in December 1917.

But there is more. The 3rd Aliyah doubling the previous was from 1919 ending in 1923/4 a 7th year. There was a break for the 7th year. Then in the 4th Aliyah from 1924 to 1929, also a 'week', the immigration rate doubles again, but rests in 1930/1, again the 7th year. Immigration picked up again and continued into the 7th year of 1937/8- but in a first year, 1939 immigration is officially restricted. From 1948 immigration increases again but slows in the Sabbath year, 1951/2. This is the first year Israel officially kept Shmita and left land fallow.

The next 7th year marks the move of the Parliament to Jerusalem 1958. The next year of rest 1965/6 begins in November 1956 with the IDF attacking Syria who had been diverting its water. But from 11 November 1966, the beginning of a first year, when a land mine kills Israelis the Israelis begin more reprisals, which escalate to the Six Day war of June 1967. The release of Jerusalem began at the end of the 7th year of release, and was completed in a first year. Then begins another period of immigration.

There is more. The next 7th year of release was 1972/3. At the end of 1972 Anwar Sadat began making threats. And while Israel rested and waited during the 7th year, their neighbours mobilized, beginning action with a training exercise at the end of the 7th year. The attack came at Yom Kippur at the start of a first year. Organised fighting ended in October 1973 at the end of a first year. And this was Israel's last battle to confirm their existence as a nation.

The events following the next 7th years are not so remarkable. The 7th of 1993/4 was a rest after the increased immigration from 1990. But in 2000/1 something unprecedented happened in the world. An obscure campaign called Jubilee 2000 begun by Martin Dent, an obscure academic, in 1996 in Britain, by September 2000 had the ear of the world leaders and, to the puzzle of all, caused nation states to act against their self interest and begin to cancel the poorest nations debts. Though called Jubilee, it is misnamed, as it is really about a 7th year and the release of debts. By April 2008 the US senate passed a bill for the cancelling of debts of the poorest nations noting the seven years 'Sabbath' since 2000! (

And in 2007/8, the most recent 7th year, the whole world experienced the effect of the release from debt of the Shmita year. In September 2007, the beginning of the 7th year, the Northern Rock Bank in England had troubles. But the real action was to be in the USA where from the end of 2007 loan defaults of sub-prime loans increased sharply. The year ended with the debts of a bank Lehmann Bros linked to Israel being cleared (in bankruptcy), at the same time as the Law required people to remit debts owned to their brethren. And the 1st year of the new 'week' began with the US government voting a package to rescue those who could not pay their debts, which was followed by many other nations.

The only major event in Israel's history not about a 7th year/1st year, is the declaration of the state in 1948. Or was it? The events leading to the declaration of 1948 began in 1945 with conflict with the British and Arabs, which was a 1st year and they ended with mass immigration leading to tent cities of over 200,000 people, causing Ben Gurion to sign a reparations agreement with West Germany in September 1952. Thus ending a 7th year with another release. And so it was in a first year of a 'week' that Israel had money to begin to build a country.

There is evidence for Israel having correctly maintained the 7th year. Most seventh years have brought significant events with the last two having world-wide effects. If the 2000/1 year of release was about the release of a few poor nations monetary debt and 2007/8 was about God's principle of releasing debts on an even bigger global scale, what will 2014/5 bring? The release of all debt?

Isaac Newton saw an application of the 'seven weeks' of Daniel 8 at the end time. This is plausible as the time period of seven weeks hangs with no event that fits it. We may also note how it may be read,

From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and sixty and two weeks (Daniel 9:25)

But why 7 + 62? Why not just 67? The passage may note a 2nd coming, as it can be read,

From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks

As of 2007/8 Israel has kept six 'weeks' since 1967 when the Knesset passed the 'Law and Administration Ordinance (Amendment No. 11) Law, 1967', authorizing the Government to apply the law of Israel to a united Jerusalem. The 7th week ends 2014/15.