I realize that this article isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you have a deep interest in Bible prophecy I believe that you are going to be very interested in what I have to share. God has a calendar that is very different from the calendar that our society uses, and that calendar can be found in the Bible. All throughout history, important historical events have happened during extremely significant times on God’s calendar, and I believe that there is a very good chance that this upcoming Biblical year will be a critical turning point.
The first day of the first month on the modern Jewish calendar begins at sundown on Friday. It is commonly known as “the first of Nisan”, but of course Nisan is a Babylonian name that was adopted by the Jewish people during the Babylonian exile. In the Torah, the first month of the year was always called “Aviv”…
Exodus 13:4 – “On this day, you are going out, in the month of Aviv.”
Exodus 23:15 – “You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month Aviv, for in it you came out from Egypt. No one shall appear before Me empty-handed.”
Exodus 34:18 – “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the month of Aviv, for in the month of Aviv you came out of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 16:1 – “Observe the month of Aviv and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Aviv the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.”
Aviv literally means “barley ripening”, and this month always falls in the spring.
And in Exodus 12, we are specifically told that this month “shall be the beginning of months to you”…
Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: 2 This month shall be the beginning of months to you. It shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: On the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to what each man shall eat, divide the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month, and then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the houses in which they shall eat it.
Today, the Jewish people recognize the first of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah) as the day when the new year begins.
But that doesn’t seem to make any sense. How can “New Year’s Day” fall on the first day of the seventh month?
Needless to say, it wasn’t always this way. The Babylonian exile was a very painful time for the Jewish people, and many of their practices dramatically changed during this time. The following comes from an Israeli news source…
We don’t know what the religious life of the Jews was like during the Babylonian exile. But we do know that by the time the Jews returned to Israel, and at the beginning of the Second Temple period (516 BCE), Jewish religious practices had profoundly changed compared with the pre-exile era.
For one, the names of the months that we use to this very day are the Babylonian names. Tishrei for example is a Babylonian month whose name derives from the Akkadian word tishritu – “beginning.”
And that same Israeli news source explains that the first of Tishrei was one of the times when the Babylonians celebrated “New Year’s Day”…
In addition, the Babylonians took their New Year’s Day celebrations very seriously. They called the holiday Akitu (from the Sumerian word for barley) and Resh Shattim, the Akkadian equivalent of the Hebrew Rosh Hashanah. This was celebrated twice a year, at the beginning of Tishrei and the beginning of Nisan, and lasted for 12 days.
Of course the first day of the seventh month does have significance in the Bible too. It is the Feast of Trumpets, and it is extremely important.
But it is not the beginning of the year.
The reason why I went through all of that is because the next “Shemitah cycle” (some render it “Shmita cycle”) is about to begin. In modern times, most rabbis teach that the Shemitah cycle begins on Rosh Hashanah, and most Christians that teach on these things just go along with the rabbis.
If you are not familiar with the concept of the “Shemitah cycle”, here is some background information from Wikipedia…
The sabbath year (shmita; Hebrew: שמיטה, literally “release”), also called the sabbatical year or shǝvi’it (שביעית, literally “seventh”), or “Sabbath of The Land”, is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah in the Land of Israel and is observed in Judaism.
During shmita, the land is left to lie fallow and all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). Other cultivation techniques (such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing) may be performed as a preventive measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants. Additionally, any fruits or herbs which grow of their own accord and where no watch is kept over them are deemed hefker (ownerless) and may be picked by anyone. A variety of laws also apply to the sale, consumption and disposal of shmita produce. All debts, except those of foreigners, were to be remitted.
Chapter 25 of the Book of Leviticus promises bountiful harvests to those who observe the shmita, and describes its observance as a test of religious faith. Modern-day farmers in Israel have seen this happen, with bountiful crops in the 6th year as well as the 8th year.
As Jonathan Cahn detailed in The Mystery Of The Shemitah, for centuries these cycles have been tied to key historical events.
Most Jewish sources believe that the current Shemitah cycle ends in 2022, and 2022 has definitely been quite a year so far. But I should note that there is not universal agreement on the correct timing of the Shemitah cycles.
But if the current Shemitah cycle does end in 2022, that also means that the next Shemitah cycle also begins in 2022.
Like I noted earlier, it is commonly taught that Rosh Hashanah is “New Year’s Day”, and therefore it is nearly universally assumed that the Shemitah cycle begins on Rosh Hashanah.
But the Bible says that the first of Aviv is the first day of the year, and I believe that it is also the day when the Shemitah cycle actually starts.
So if I am correct, the next Shemitah cycle could literally begin Friday at sundown.
One of the reasons why this is so important is because many people believe that “Daniel’s 70th week” must correspond with a Shemitah cycle. The Bible does not explicitly say that this is the case, and so we can’t be too dogmatic about it either way. If you are interested in an extended look at why “Daniel’s 70th week” could correspond with a Shemitah cycle, I would check out the presentation that Pastor Mark Biltz has done. If you have not seen it yet, you can find it right here.
If “Daniel’s 70th week” does correspond with a Shemitah cycle, that has enormous implications.
In the short-term, that could mean that the “7 Year Apocalypse” is approaching very rapidly, or it could mean that we still have quite a while before it arrives.
Either way, the Bible instructs us to be watchful for signs of Christ’s return.
Throughout all of human history, God’s calendar has been prophetic, and I am entirely convinced that will continue to be the case during the times in which we currently live.