In the midst of this, some are calling loudly for judgment — and even seem to be enjoying the prospect of it coming. Who and what should we believe? How should we view what is happening around us? What should we do, and how should we pray in the middle of it? Or is it all going down, and there is no point in praying anymore?
I have not been on the Shemitah bandwagon. Most of you probably know what I am referring to. In case you don’t, a New York Times bestseller, The Mystery of the Shemitah, is at the center of it. The last day of the Shemitah year was Sunday, 9-13-15. Predictions were made of a total economic collapse, with a possible huge stock market crash on Friday, 9-11-15, or Monday, 9-14-15, the two closest business dates.
Along with the Shemitah, a lot of attention has been given to the four blood moons falling on Jewish feast days in 2014 and 2015. Three of those have occurred, with the final one coming 9-27/9-28. Although I acknowledge that blood moons on the feast days might be an end-times sign, I have not been a fan of the blood moons emphasis either.
In addition, there have been many reports of visions and dreams of tsunamis devastating both the east and west coasts of America. When Greece defaulted on loans midsummer, a 1994 economic collapse prophecy by David Wilkerson briefly caused a lot of alarm. Over the last few months these things have been widely (and wildly) talked about among some Christians. Fear is a huge problem throughout the world, and clearly the Body of Christ is struggling with it, too. Unfortunately, some in Christian media are capitalizing on that fear through sensationalism.
How do we know whether these phenomena are worth being concerned about? Here is the process I slowly worked through in trying to discern the Shemitah, blood moons, and various prophecies:
1.) I looked at whether the claims agreed with Scripture and whether Scripture was being correctly used in supporting them. I felt that applying the Shemitah to America was not biblically correct. The seventh year of resting the land, canceling debts, and releasing indentured servants was meant exclusively for Israel. America is not a new Israel, bound by Old Testament law, although persuasive arguments were given to prove that it is. The Bible does not connect the Shemitah with economic collapse, either. I felt that Scripture had been taken out of context and misapplied.
The blood moons were said to be a fulfillment of prophecies in Joel 2:31 and Revelation 6:12, 13. It does not look to me as if the current blood moons fit the magnitude of what Joel and Revelation describe.
2.) I researched whether historical facts supported the claims. If economic crashes (or at the very least, downturns) were part and parcel of Shemitah years, and if God was applying them to America, then going back through our nation’s history should have revealed negative economic events showing up every seven years. They did not. Downturns happened erratically, not consistently every seven years.
The timing of past historical events in relation to previous series of blood moons was initially reported inaccurately. The story started out that the blood moons appeared as omens before certain dramatic events connected with Israel had occurred. However, the blood moons actually came after the events had already happened.
3.) I looked at whether numerous people from different streams of Christianity were saying the same things. Quite a few prophetic leaders were not on the Shemitah / blood moon / destruction of America bandwagon. For instance, I did not see Mike Bickle, James Goll, or Cindy Jacobs promoting them. Spirit-filled Reformed and Word of Faith friends were not hearing much about them in their circles, either.
Concerning the dreams and visions of tsunamis on the east and west coasts of America, the sheer number of the revelations, along with the credibility of some who had received them, indicated to me that the basic tsunami visions are genuine.
However, the interpretation and application has been generally poor. Too many have assumed that the timing for these calamities is now, which may not be the case. It is possible that people are seeing into things which will not happen until the Great Tribulation has begun. Some have urged believers to flee from the coasts immediately. However, God does not expect us to make drastic moves without a clear, personal word from Him. And, I don’t think it is completely clear whether the tsunamis are literal or symbolic representations. They could be both.
4.) I listened to what the Lord was speaking (and not speaking) to me. I was hearing that there would be difficult times in 2015, but also that there was nothing to fear and that God would take care of His people. Whenever I asked Him about the predictions and prophecies concerning economic collapse, all I heard was that there was nothing to fear.
5.) I asked, “What is the fruit of the Shemitah / blood moons / judgment disasters focus?”
- Fear, which is not of God. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear” (Luke 21:26) and “fearful looking for judgment” (Hebrews 10:27) are not the heritage of the righteous, yet God’s people have been sucked into these very things. This is not good fruit.
- Emphasis on money and the economic system, rather than dependence on God. I saw that most of us are not trusting in the Lord as our Source of all provision. I was troubled by what I discovered in my own heart and asked the Lord to help me do a better job of depending on Him for my needs to be met.
- The distraction from Jesus, the gospel message, and intercession. Instead, the fascination has been with mystical, obscure signs, speculations, and distress over how to preserve our material goods. This, to me, is the most disturbing fruit of all.
I am not denying that we may have difficult days ahead. Our nation’s sins are a great concern. The shift away from allying ourselves with Israel is, too. Many aspects of current events are indeed troubling.
But I harbor hope and faith that if we persevere in prayer, God will even yet have mercy and set things right. I am still looking for a great harvest of souls in America before the end. My determination is to not give up, to not cave in to fear, and to not be distracted from the Lord and His purposes.
Next time: Ways we can pray in the midst of shaking