Beth Elohenu Messianic Congregation
P.O. Box 335761
N. Las Vegas, NV. 89033
Shalom. Our teaching this morning will continue in The Law of Moses. Our verses of study will be Leviticus 25.1-7. And The Title of our Message is, THE SHEMITTAH.
And with that said, let’s read Leviticus 25.1-7.
LEVITICUS 25.1 And The LORD spoke to Moses in Mt. Sinai.
Before getting into The Shemittah, let’s talk a little bit about Mt. Sinai, a mountain that has huge historic importance in Jewish history.
Mt. Sinai is located in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. The Sinai Peninsula is shaped like an upside down triangle that borders Israel on the west, from the Mediterranean Sea to the north. And the Red Sea to the south. And the Sinai is approximately three times larger than today’s Israel. 23,000 square miles. While modern day Israel is approximately 8,522 square miles.
And Mt. Sinai is 7,500 feet to its peak.
However The GOD-given borders of Israel include the Sinai Peninsula.
GOD’S borders of Israel are from the River of Egypt that includes the Sinai Peninsula, to the Euphrates River that flows through northern Syria and northern Iraq. Thus the Sinai is indeed part of Israel. Genesis 15.18-21
Mt. Sinai is also called Horeb, The Mountain of The LORD, and the Mount of GOD. DEUTERONOMY 4.10, NUMBERS 10.33, EXODUS 18.5
Moses first met The LORD in Mt. Sinai where The Angel of The LORD, Who is The LORD GOD, Yeshua The Messiah, appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of a bush. The bush was all in flame, but it was not consumed. It did not burn. And when Moses went up into Mt. Sinai to see this unusual sight, GOD called to Moses out of the flaming bush and said to him, Do not come closer. Take off your sandals for the Place on which you stand is Holy Ground.
And GOD said to Moses, I AM The GOD of your father, The GOD of Abraham, The GOD of Isaac, and The GOD of Jacob. And Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look at GOD.
And GOD said to Moses, I have surely seen the affliction of My People in Egypt, and I have heard their cries. And I have come down to deliver them and bring them into a good land flowing with milk and honey. Come now therefore, The LORD said, and I will send you to Pharaoh and you shall free My People the Children of Israel out of Egypt.
This historic meeting was in Mt. Sinai. EXODUS CHAPTER 3
Three months after the Exodus from Egypt, Moses led the Children of Israel into the wilderness of Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula. And the People camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
And The LORD called to Moses out of the mountain and Moses went up to GOD. And The LORD said to Moses, I will come to you in a thick cloud that the People will hear when I speak with you and believe you forever. Go to the People and sanctify them today and tomorrow. And have them wash their clothes. And be ready on the third day for the third day The LORD will come down in the sight of all the People upon Mt. Sinai.
And Moses went down from the mountain to the People and sanctified them. And they washed their clothes. And on the third day in the morning there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mountain. And the sound of the shofar exceeding loud so that all the People that were in the camp trembled.
And Moses brought the People to meet with GOD. And they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
And Mt. Sinai was altogether in smoke because The LORD descended upon it in fire. And the smoke of the fire rose up like the smoke of a furnace. And the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the sound of the shofar sounded long and louder and louder, Moses spoke and GOD answered him by a Voice.
And The LORD came down upon Mt. Sinai on the top of the mountain. And Moses went up. And The LORD said to Moses, Go down and charge the People lest they break through to The LORD to gaze and many of them perish. And have the Priests that come near to The LORD sanctify themselves lest The LORD break forth upon them. So Moses went down to the People and spoke to them all that The LORD said.
And GOD spoke all the Words of The Ten Commandments. The first Commandment, I AM The LORD Your GOD Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BESIDES ME. EXODUS CHAPTERS 19 & 20
And the Children of Israel remained at Mt. Sinai for just under one year where they built The Tabernacle, and where GOD gave Moses the majority of His Laws, Teachings and Instructions that we know as The Law of Moses.
And the people moved on and headed to The Promised Land. NUMBERS 10.11-13
In Jewish thought, Mt. Sinai is one of the two sacred mountains in Judaism. The other being Mt. Zion which is Moriah where GOD commanded Abraham to take his only son Isaac and offer him up as a burnt offering.
Moriah is the hilltop in Jerusalem where Solomon built The Temple. And where Abraham said to Isaac after he asked his father, where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham answered him and said, My son, GOD will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt offering. 2 CHRONICLES 3.1, GENESIS 22.6-18
It was Mt. Sinai that Elijah the Prophet ran to escape Jezebel. 1 KINGS 19.1-18
Mt. Sinai has played a great role in Jewish history.
Let’s learn about the Shemittah.
LEVITICUS 25.1-2 These verses begin GOD’S teachings for the Shemittah which is also called the Sabbatical Year. Shemittah in Hebrew means let fall, let rest. And also release and abandon.
So let’s read GOD’S instructions for the Shemittah verse upon verse from verse 1 to verse 7.
LEVITICUS 25.1-2 When you come into the Land which I give you, The Lord said to Moses, then shall the Land keep a Sabbath to The LORD.
The Shemittah is only for Israel and no other country.
When did the Children of Israel come into the Land which GOD has given us? Perhaps on the tenth day of the first month before Passover. But I do not know the exact year. JOSHUA 4.19, JOSHUA 5.6-12
Gilgal was and maybe still is in Israel at the Jordan River north of Jericho and east of Jerusalem.
LEVITICUS 25.3-4 Normal everyday work of the farmer. Six years shall you plant seed in your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard. That is you shall trim your vines and cut away the undesired branches. And gather in your crop. Thus when the Children of Israel came into the land of Canaan which became the Land of Israel, they planted, pruned and harvested.
But every seventh year, The LORD said, shall be a Sabbath of rest for the Land. A Shemittah. And a Sabbath for The LORD. You shall neither plant seed in your fields nor prune your vineyards, saith The LORD.
Thus every seventh year Israel is commanded by The LORD NOT to plant seed or prune their vineyards. It is a Sabbath of complete rest for the Land, and a Sabbath for The LORD.
However Rabbinic rulings enable the Jewish farmers to work their fields during the Shemittah, The Sabbatical year for the land. A precedent followed today in modern Israel.
Rabbinic rulings rejecting GOD’S Law does not make it right. It makes it wrong. For GOD says in The Torah, Whatsoever thing I command you, observe to do it. You shall not add to it nor diminish from it. DEUTERONOMY 12.32, LEVITICUS 26.33-35, 40-46
Think on this for a moment.
In verse 35 of Leviticus 26, GOD says, As long as it (The Land) lies desolate it shall rest “because it did not rest in your Sabbaths when you dwelt upon it.”
The LORD prophesied that Israel would err greatly by rejecting His Law for the Land to rest in her Sabbaths when The People dwelled upon it. And the punishments the People have suffered for their iniquity.
LEVITICUS 25.5 The LORD commands Israel that the after growth, those crops that grow of itself after the harvest during the Sabbatical year of complete rest for the Land, GOD says, You are not to gather those crops, neither gather the grapes of your untrimmed vines. It shall be a year of complete rest for the Land.
The Land must remain fallow, meaning the Land must be left unseeded, uncultivated, not in use, and inactive during the Shemittah, the Sabbatical Year every seventh year.
And The LORD tells us why He commands His People to have a Sabbatical Year of rest for the Land every seventh year.
For the entire Nation to eat, and be full and satisfied.
LEVITICUS 25.6-7 And The LORD said, The Sabbath of complete rest for the Land shall be food for you. Food for everyone in the Land of Israel to enjoy with equal rights along with the owner. The food of the Land shall be for everyone. For the owner, his servant, his maid, for the hired servant, and for the stranger who dwells with you. And for the poor of your people. And for the cattle and the beasts that are in the Land.
All may eat what the Land yields. EXODUS 23.10-11
And if the People shall say, what shall we eat in the seventh year? We are not allowed to plant or gather in the crops.
Here is GOD’S answer. LEVITICUS 25.20-22
LEVITICUS 25.20-21 And if you shall say, what shall we eat the seventh year? We are not allowed to plant or harvest our crops?
The LORD GOD says, I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and the Land will bring forth fruit for three years.
The Land, GOD says, will bring forth crops for three years in the sixth year.
LEVITICUS 25.22 When you plant the eighth year, you will still be eating the stored crops of the sixth year. You will be eating the stored crops until the ninth year until its crops come in. You will never go hungry.
For The LORD says, The Land Is Mine, for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. LEVITICUS 25.23
GOD commands the Jewish People that the Land must never be sold forever.
The Hebrew words for And The Land shall not be sold forever are, VAY HA ARETZ LO TEE’MAH’KHAYR LEETS’ ME’ TOOT. Meaning Don’t Sell It, Don’t Trade It, Don’t Surrender It. The Land belongs to GOD.
GOD will always feed His People. And GOD will do great things for His People beyond number.
The Land of Israel is a gift of GOD that He has given to His Jewish People forever as an expression of GOD’S love for His people.
To be held in sacred trust by His Jewish People.
But GOD has cast His People out of our Land three times because of idolatry, disobedience to The LORD OUR GOD, and rejecting our Messiah, The GOD OF ISRAEL, HA SHEM, YESHUA THE MESSIAH.
722 B.C.E. 2 KINGS 17.7-23
586 B.C.E. 2 CHRONICLES 36.11-21,
70 C.E. Rejecting our Messiah. LUKE 19.41-44
At the end of every seventh year, the Sabbatical Year for the Land, all debts are forgiven.
Do I hear a Halleluyah? DEUTERONOMY 15.1-11
Release in Hebrew is SHEMITTAH
Loans and the like are automatically cancelled at the end of the seventh year, the Sabbatical rest for the Land. A special act of kindness from The LORD.
But the Shemittah was never observed. Rabbinic law rejected it.
But we should remember the foundational teaching of The GOD of Israel. If you will diligently obey The Voice of The LORD YOUR GOD to observe and do all His Commandments which GOD commands us, that The LORD OUR GOD will set you on high above all the nations of the earth. And all His blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you will obey The Voice of The LORD YOUR GOD.
A commandment of GOD might sound frightening at first. But when it’s obeyed, GOD’S blessings are overwhelming.
Shalom. Ira Weinstein, Congregational Leader