Tuesday, September 1, 2015

042. September 2015 Timeline

Even a causal observer of recent world affairs or manifestations in the sky would notice the unusually large number of important events occurring over the next month. Not only is the sheer number and scale of the events unfolding on the world stage staggering, but their timing seems to be orchestrated by an unseen or divine hand. We see the cadence and symbolism embedded within the High Holy Days of Ancient Israel overlaid with a series of secular and heavenly events. What does it all mean, if anything? Is it so plain to see that most all the world will miss the message(s) entirely? Will we miss it? What is presented below represents an effort to lay out these upcoming events and their timing, with some scriptural context, in an effort to better understand.

Before beginning, a note from Paul about commemorating the holy days (Colossians 2:16-17): “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Our efforts to discover the significance of the holy days can help us gain a greater knowledge of God's will and purposes for our own lives, a deeper appreciation for the scriptures, and a more meaningful relationship with the Lord Himself. Although there may not be one perfectly correct way to observe or commemorate the holy days, as long as we remember that they typify of Christ and are “a shadow of things to come”, their observance can help us recognize our total dependence upon the Lord to save and redeem us.

Sundown 9/12/2015 (Sat) – Sundown 9/13/2015 (Sun): Last day of Shemitah year
Elul 29 in the Jewish calendar. The Sabbatical or Shemitah year is the 7th year in a 7-year period. During the Shemitah year the residents of the land of Israel were to waive all outstanding debts, release indentured servants, and not plant, cultivate, nor harvest their fields (were to leave them fallow), nor prune their vineyards. The current Shemitah year began on 9/24/2014. The Shemitah year can be a double-edged sword, coming as a blessing to the nation that upholds the ways of God, or a sign of judgment to the nation that rebels against Him. This can be seen in the pattern of US history with frequent regularity.*

Undoubtedly, keeping the commandment of Shemitah year required great faith in God’s promises and power. Individuals were also to relinquish ownership of their fields so that whatever produce grew on their lands was considered communal property, free for anyone, except for the owner of the land itself, to take. People were free to take and consume whatever grew on its own, but were not permitted to harvest their crops in the normal manner, nor to store/gather those foods. God promised to make the 6th year harvest last until the beginning of the 9th year. Since the Fall harvest generally occurred at the end of the Jewish year, the harvest of the 6th year would last through the entire 7th or Shemitah year; and since there was neither planting, harvesting, nor storing in the 7th year, the store from the 6th year was again used into the 8th year, when new crops were planted that Spring, harvested in the Fall, which were then consumed at the beginning of the 9th year. God promised the people that there would be sufficient grain to sustain the people through the Shemitah year.

The Shemitah year is a reminder that everything…crops, vineyards, lands, possessions… belongs to God. The Shemitah wipes away or releases whatever has been built up, reminding a nation that its blessings and power only comes from God, and without His support they will eventually fall.

9/13/2015 (Sun): Partial Solar Eclipse
Only visible from South Africa, Antarctica, and locations in Indian and Atlantic Oceans. 

Sundown 9/13/15 (Sun) – Sundown 9/15/15 (T): Rosh Hashanah / Feast of Trumpets / Jewish New Year
Tishri 1 in the Jewish calendar. No feasts were observed in the 4th, 5th, or 6th months. In the 7th month, three feasts were observed. The first, the Feast of Trumpets begins the High Holy Days and is also the first of the Ten Days of Repentance. This feast begins with the blowing of the ram's horn, the shofar, calling God's people together to repent from their sins. Also, this is the first day of the civil year in Israel, or new year’s day. This is a solemn day of soul-searching, repentance, seeking forgiveness, and remembering God, as well as a joyful day of celebration as we look forward to God's goodness and mercy (yet this was not the kind of New Year’s celebration we are accustomed to).

Trumpets were blown at every new moon and were therefore a monthly event. Two silver trumpets were used originally (Num. 10:2), but then in later years to the present day rams’ horn, or shofar, were used. Whether one or two trumpets were blown and whether the blasts were long or short conveyed different messages and the people knew how to interpret and respond accordingly…whether it was to gather (Num. 10:3), to walk as a camp (Num. 10:5-6), to go to war (Num. 10:9), or to worship (Num. 10:10). In some cases the sounding of the trumpet signified liberation, as in the year of Jubilee (Lev 25:9). The people also knew by the blowing of the horn which tribes were to be involved or if it was all of Israel.

Trumpets are used to announce or proclaim. What are the trumpets of our day? What is their sound? How are their sounds interpreted? How do we respond to their sounds? Who blows the trumpets? In the ancient world, the trumpets were used by the priests “the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow…” (Num. 10:8). Only men with divine callings and the power of God were to blow the trumpets; men who were cleansed, consecrated, and commissioned (Num. 8:6-15). The sound of a trumpet is distinct and unmistakable; everyone can hear it without question or confusion about what it is. The sound of a trumpet brings us to or captures our attention. Trumpets are heralds, not bringing attention to themselves. Their blowing brings attention to something else, even if it be an internal interpretation or understanding of what the pattern of the trumpet blast indicates.

A traditional holy meal of round challah bread and apple slices dipped in honey is served on Rosh Hashanah, symbolizing God's provision and hope for the sweetness of the coming new year. “L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu”, meaning "May you be inscribed and sealed [in the Book of Life] for a good year," is a typical New Year's message found in greeting cards, or in a shortened form as “Shanah Tovah”, meaning "good year." Orthodox Jews take part in a ceremony known as Tashlich on the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah (9/14/2015) where they will walk to flowing water and say a prayer from Micah 7:18-20, symbolically casting their sins into the water by throwing pieces of broken bread into the water:

18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

Sundown 9/13/2015 (Sun) – Sundown 9/23/2015 (W): 10 Days of Awe (or Repentance)

Begins with Rosh Hashanah and ends with Yom Kippur. According to Jewish tradition, it is during the Days of Awe that God decides each person's fate in the next year. Although He has written these judgments in "books" on the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, they can be changed, depending on our repentance and good works performed during this 10-day period, until the end of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), when the books are sealed. The 10 Days of Awe is a period of deep repentance, seeking forgiveness from and reconciliation with others, apologizing for misdeeds, slights, and misunderstandings, as well as serving the poor and needy (performing good deeds and acts of true charity).

9/15/2015 (T): Operation “Jade Helm 15”
US Military training exercise / war games taking place across seven Southwestern states since 7/15/2015 (including Utah, designated a “hostile” state).

9/15/2015 (T): 70th session of the UN General Assembly in NYC
Will they recognize Palestinian statehood?

9/17/2015 (Th): Constitution Day

9/17/2015 (Th): Iran nuclear deal vote deadline

Sundown 9/18/2015 (F) – Sundown 9/19/2015 (Sat): Shabbat Shiva (or Shuva)
Sabbath that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur during the 10 Days of Awe. Shuva literally means “Return!” A day to focus on errors of the past and deep repentance.

9/21/2015 (M) – 9/25/2015 (F): Islamic Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca
            9/23/2015 (W): Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)

Sundown 9/22/2015 (T) – Sundown 9/23/2015 (W): Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement
Most solemn and important Holy Day. The only day of the year where the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple or Tabernacle to make an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people, bringing reconciliation (at-one-ment) between the people and God. After the blood sacrifice was offered to the Lord, a scapegoat was released into the wilderness to symbolically carry away the sins of the people, never to return. A ram's horn is blown at the end of evening prayer services for the first time since Rosh Hashanah. It is common to fast on this day. This is the conclusion of the High Holy Days (the upcoming Feast of the Tabernacles is not considered a High Holy Day).

Sundown 9/22/2015 (T) – Sundown 10/2/2016 (Sun): 70th Biblical Jubilee Year
The year following 7, 7-year periods (or after 7 Shemitah years; 7 x 7-year periods = 49 years total) is a Jubilee year (the 50th year). 2015-2016 is known as the 70th Biblical Shemitah Jubilee since it has been approximately 70 Jubilees since the time of Moses, and 40 Jubilees since the time of Christ. Similar to the Shemitah year, during the Jubilee year, the land was not worked, all indentured servants and slaves were freed, and all fields and houses sold during the past fifty years were returned to their original owners. Individuals were to trust in God to provide for them during this (extended) time and were permitted to eat foods that grew on their own. Current Judaism does not observe nor commemorate the Jubilee year as they take the scripture literally that all 12 tribes must reside in Israel in order to do so. The Jubilee year was a year of liberation and release. The Jubilee year is the first year in the next period of 7 years. Jubilee = Yovel = “Trumpet Blast of Liberty” or “Shout for Joy”.

9/23/2014 (W): Fall Equinox (2:22 AM MST)
Summer ends, Fall begins

9/23/2015 (W): Pope visits White House (266th Pope, 266th day of year)
9/24/2015 (Th): Pope addresses Joint Session of Congress
9/25/2015 (F): Pope addresses UN General Assembly; performs mass

9/25/2015 (F) – 9/27/2015 (Sun): UN launches new “universal agenda” known as the “2030 Agenda”

9/26/2015 (Sat) – 9/27/2015 (Sun): Pope visits Philadelphia; performs mass; attends 2015 World Meeting of Families; returns to Rome

9/27/2015 (Sun): Total lunar eclipse, 4th of 4 blood moons of the 2014-2015 tetrad
Supermoon. Eclipse will be visible from most of North and South America, Europe, West Asia and parts of Africa. For most of the world, this blood moon will be visible early in the morning on the 28th, however, for the Americas, the eclipse will begin early in the evening of September 27th. From Utah, the blood moon begins at 6:11 PM on the 27th, reaches its maximum at 8:47 PM, and ends at 11:22 PM (duration: 5 hrs, 11 mins). Since the sunset will occur at 6:49PM MST a partial blood moon and a setting sun will be visible simultaneously.

Sundown 9/27/2015 (Sun) – Sundown 10/4/2015 (M): Sukkot / Feast of the Tabernacles (or Booths)
One of the most joyous Jewish holidays, a time of Thanksgiving, a season of rejoicing, lasting 7 days. "Sukkot" means "booths” (not Tabernacles). Has dual historical and agricultural significance. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the 40-year period of the children of Israel wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif, the Festival of Ingathering, because the work of the harvest was finished. No work was permitted on the first and second days of the holiday, but was on the other days. Fresh fruits and vegetables were consumed. Two important ceremonies took place: 1) torches were carried around the temple, lighting the candelabrums along the walls of the temple to demonstrate that the Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles; 2) priest would draw water from the pool of Siloam and carry it to the temple where it was poured into a silver basin beside the altar. The priest would call upon the Lord to provide heavenly water in the form of rain for their supply. During this ceremony the people looked forward to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Some records reference the day spoken of by the prophet Joel. When Christ attended the Feast of Tabernacles, on the last day of the Feast, He said (John 7:37-38):
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 
And then the next morning, while the torches were still burning (John 8:12):
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 

All of September: FEMA’s annual National Preparedness Month

10/3/2015 (Sat) – 10/4/2015 (Sun): 185 Semiannual LDS General Conference


*Other Shemitah years or their aftermath in this century:
2015-2016: Jubilee Year…
2014-2015: Turbulence in stock market; rise and spread of ISIS; US legalization of same-sex marriage; racial conflict in major US cities leading to riots and violence; nuclear deal with Iran; mass immigration to Europe from Middle East and Africa; on 9/3/2015, President Monson will have served as President for 7 years and 7 months...
2007-2008: Massive stock market crash; great recession; global recession. LDS Church President Gordon Hinckley dies (1/27/2008) and Thomas S. Monson becomes President (2/3/2008).
2000-2001: Massive stock market crash, global recession; 9/11 attacks on US soil, destruction of World Trade Center buildings.
1993-1994: Bond market crash; LDS Church President Ezra Taft Benson dies (5/30/1994), Howard W. Hunter becomes President (6/5/1994).
1986-1987: Stock market crash.
1979-1980: US and global recession.
1972-1973: Legalization of abortion (1/22/1973), completion of World Trade Center buildings; stock market crash; global recession; America fails in Vietnam; Tenure of LDS Church President Harold B. Lee spans just before and after this Shemitah year (7/7/1972-12/26/1973).
1965-1966: stock market crash; 1966-1967 was a Jubilee year: 6-day war between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries. Israel reclaimed Jerusalem for first time since before Roman occupation. Construction of World Trade Center begins.
1951-1952: LDS Church President George Albert Smith dies (4/4/1951), and David O. McKay becomes President (4/9/1951) just before Shemitah year.
1944-1945: End of World War II; America rises as world super power; LDS Church President Heber J. Grant dies (5/14/1945), George Albert Smith becomes President (5/21/1945). Plans for World Trade center are conceived.
1937-1938: Beginning of World War II; stock market crash; global recession.
1930-1931: Although the stock market crash that lead to the Great Depression occurred in the Fall of 1929, it was the huge bank runs in the falls of 1930, 1931, and 1932 that collapsed the banking system, deepened the recession, and left country mired for so long. Many suggest the Great Depression truly started in the fall of 1930.
1916-1917: Stock market crash. Balfour Declaration - Great Britain recognized need for a Jewish homeland and openly supported and legitimized Zionist efforts in an official statement. Britain almost bankrupt. 1917-1918 was a Jubilee year and marked the end of World War I. LDS Church President Joseph F. Smith dies just after Jubilee year (11/18/1918), Heber J. Grant becomes President (11/23/1918).
1901-1902: Stock market crash.

1 comment:

  1. We might miss the good in our search for the ominous.


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