By: David Lazarus, Israel Today—
A good friend called me this week to ask what I thought of the Year
of Shemitah and what some are saying is the beginning of the end of the
world. He had been following many of the popular Christian and Messianic
books, magazines, videos and sermons prophesying that there would be
devastating financial turmoil in the American economy coinciding with
this year’s Jewish holidays.
I told him it is wrong for Christians and Messianics to make doom and
gloom predictions based on misguided misinterpretations of ancient
Jewish practices. America may very well be on the verge of calling down
God’s judgments because morality has imploded, not because of Jewish
agricultural customs connected to the Land of Israel.
Nevertheless, when reports of a fall in the stock markets appeared
just days ahead of the Jewish New Year, Christian and Messianic media
screamed again with headlines of “Bloodbath in Global Markets” and
“Blood Moons.” Of course the temporary drop in stock prices had nothing
to do with the ancient Hebrew practice of resting the land every seven
years, nor with cycles of the moon. Stocks dropped over concerns in the
slowing growth of the Chinese markets, and rebounded quickly because the
American economy is, in fact, getting stronger.
Here is why we must not let ourselves be lead astray by these
sensational, unfounded interpretations of the Hebrew calendar, as I told
Christians and Messianics are wasting precious time and resources
waiting for a financial collapse that never happens. It reminds me of an
old Bedouin Muslim I befriended in the Sinai Desert. When I asked him
why the Bedouin’s don’t plant crops on their land, he replied, “Seven
years ago there was a flood that destroyed all of our crops. It is
Allah’s will that it be destroyed, so why should I plant again?” That is
the Islamic belief in fatalism that prevents progress and development.
Christians who follow these sensational proclamations about the end of
the world likewise paralyze themselves by foolishly believing a lie.
Some Christians might find it convenient to disengage from a world they believe will soon collapse.
Following these unbiblical prophecies is dangerous on many levels. We
are left scratching our heads in unbelief when Christian and Messianic
predictions of collapse based on sensationalistic interpretations of
Scripture continually prove false. Some have lost faith altogether.
Nowadays, these popular predictions of collapse spread like wildfire
over the Internet for all the world to see. What do people think about
Christians obsessed with a financial crisis that never happens, or
red-colored moons that never appear? These sensationalistic
pronouncements have become an embarrassment to the good name of our Lord Jesus and are making a mockery of our Messianic faith. It is hard enough explaining to my people how so many terrible things could happen in the name of Jesus. Now I also have to explain to Israelis why Christians believe that American financial markets will crash on a
Jewish holiday? Oy.
I am not excited about the world ending anytime soon, and I would
appreciate it if Messianic Jews and Christians would stop using
misguided attempts to misinterpret Jewish customs to sow fear. What we
already know to be true about our sinful nature and the state of our
fallen world are more than enough to remind us of the coming judgment.
Sufficient to the day is its own evil.