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 my friend.
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.