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Does the Shemitah Apply to Believers Today?

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Jared Laskey

Does the Shemitah from Exodus 23:10–13, Leviticus 25:1–7, 20–22 and Deuteronomy 15:1–6 apply to us today? Are there paradigms and patterns in the Scripture that can be an analogy for present day events?

Are these patterns applicable to the United States of America? Are we under a possible coming judgment from God if we don’t adhere to tenets of the Law of God as seen in the Torah, which is the first five books of the Bible?

The Shemitah is the final year in a seven-year cycle of debt forgiveness and land use prescribed for Israel in the Old Testament (and different religious groups have various applications for when this year is). The Shemitah applied to Israel but was largely ignored over time especially as the people fell into sin. Yet God in His mercy and love kept calling them back to repentance. Judgment came in its various forms over the years under the old covenant system due to their disobedience.

The modern-day Shemitah interpretation stating it applies to the United States or other nations is using a pesher form of biblical interpretation. The pesher interpretation is taking something from Scripture, turning it into an analogy and making it apply or fit into modern times and events. This is nothing new as some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were commentaries using pesher interpretations in the third to first century BC. This form of interpretation is not widely used, nor is it orthodox.

An issue with this method of interpretation is that anything in the Bible can be used as an analogy being applied to recent events. You can do this right now. Take your favorite bible story, turn it into an analogy and make it apply to yourself, or your nation, celebrities or political leaders. Better yet, consider a news story, headline or and see what you come up with. Consider cocaine in the White House, Joe or Hunter Biden, Donald Trump, the Titanic submarine incident, 9/11, January 6th or other recent events. Find a biblical passage closely related and form your personal pesher interpretation.

What did you come up with?

That may have been a fun exercise, but if we did that then we have pulled Scripture out of context, making it mean something that it doesn’t mean. Throughout history people have turned Scripture into an analogy trying to give themselves some peace of mind for the circumstances they were living in. But it is an incorrect method of interpreting Scripture.

The Shemitah doesn’t apply to nor for our present-day events. Its application was only to Israel within the Old Testament Law, being conditional for them. After Jesus died and rose again, ascending into heaven, the Law was fulfilled and became obsolete as Hebrews 8:6-13 says. No matter how many charts, graphs, historical events and news articles are compared with calendars, “patterns” and history using the Shemitah for present day events, it is merely theoretical and coincidental if there are any similarities.

The Shemitah doesn’t apply today.

Jared and Rochelle Laskey co-founded Fireborn Ministries together to teach believers how to live a daily Spirit-empowered life. You can find their resources and learn more about their ministry at firebornministries.com. They also have e-courses such as “Entry Level Prophecy,” “The Last Days,” “The Baptism with the Holy Spirit” and more on charismacourses.com, and the popular podcast Adventures in the Spirit, available on the Charisma Podcast Network or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

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