COVID-19 OR A GLOBAL SEASON OF REST AND RESET?
In a world that is so busy and preoccupied with the haves and have nots, you will always find a lot of people with chronic diseases like Heart disease; Stroke; Cancer; Chronic Respiratory Disease, and Diabetes. The World Health Organisation projected an increase in these diseases by 15% globally between 2010 and 2020. And their projections said that the greatest increase would be in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and South East Asia where they would increase by 20%. Well, this year has been a very shock to many, the sudden outbreak of Coronavirus in China and spilling over Europe, America then rest of the world has claimed lots of lives and brought many on their knees. People with a previous medical chronic history or vulnerable healthwise mostly have been succumbing to the ruthless virus. It does not discriminate, the casualties have been both the rich and the poor. Countries with assumingly the greatest healthcare infrastructure have been shaken, while the Health workers continue to feel so overwhelmed.
A state of disaster and emergency has been declared by the majority of countries and border controls implemented with immediate effect causing billions of losses in local economies. In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster, The Police service, and National Defense force were deployed to ensure restriction of movement to try to contain the spread of the virus. Some of the human rights were suspended for a period and every citizen asked to stay at home to limit the spread. These were some of the actions that were implemented with immediate effect:
- Travel ban implemented from high-risk countries
- All visas to high-risk countries are canceled with immediate effect
- SA citizens advised to refrain from all forms of traveling
- SA citizens returning to SA will be quarantined
- All travelers returning to SA since mid-Feb will be required to have testing done
- 35 of the 72 entry ports into SA will be closed
- All non-essential traveling is prohibited
- All local/internal flights will be limited
- Social, Church and political gatherings prohibited
- Large events, including government, were canceled
- Schools closed on Wednesday 18 March until after further notice
- Shopping malls, entertainment centre’s shut down, and only essential stores open and had to boost their hygiene control
- The government began identifying isolation and testing facilities provincially.
It is Day 26 today we are still on lockdown as I write this article. Global economies have shrunk, we are in a global recession, countries have been forced to introduce economic stimulation packages, South Africa has just announced a R500 billion social and economic relief fund to provide support to the healthcare sector; to relieve citizens from potential hunger and starvation; and to prolong the economic sustainability of businesses, because companies have to continue paying workers who are at home, the government has to make sure people don’t run out of food and necessities, that is why social grants or lots of relief funds are being made available.
So much uncertainty is on the people on whether will they ever see the end of lockdown. Chaos in every part of townships, people are not used to just doing nothing, Restlessness everywhere, people are not used to being restricted to one place. Others have to confront their deepest fears of having to spend time with their own dysfunctional families, spouses, and children which they hardly do. While all this feels frustrating, I believe it is an unpleasant and pleasing setup for God. I believe that even though COVID 19 might have been an instrument orchestrated by the enemy to destroy nations but God is turning it into an instrument to usher the world into a state of ‘Global Rest and Reset’. Rest is not a state of laziness and inactivity, but it is a state of Spirit-led activities in the nation. A magnification of the revelation of God as the Father, the Judge, and the King. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying God killed people, I am saying that in the midst of all the tragedy we are seeing an amazing awakening in the nations, hearts of fathers are turning to Him and towards the children and hearts of children to the fathers. A lot of people are finding time to rest and to reflect on the goodness of God. Others are using this time to reset priorities and align themselves with the mandate of heaven. What more could be pleasing to God than that? We are in the best season of our lives we just don’t know it yet because the voice of the media is too loud and destructive.
A global season of Rest and Reset!
It is interesting to see a pattern of economic crashes occurring every seven years dating back to the Great Depression. The Great Depression suffered its worst year in 1931, then later we have the Arab Oil Embargo, the S&L crisis, Black Monday, the 1994 Bond Massacre, the 2001 NASDAQ crash, and the 2008 Financial Collapse. Each occurred at the very end of a 7-year economic cycle. This seven-year cycle also lines up with the 7 and 49-year cycles of land rest and jubilee debt forgiveness that God commanded the Israelites. The supercycle, the 49-year cycle ends. This is called the Schmita Cycle. It is the “cycle of cycles” that economists have been looking for. For most of the Economists, this has been regarded as being on the verge of the greatest depression in history, and where most opportunity to profit is for those who would multiple streams of investments. The market crash wipes out equities, and the bond market. Banks close for weeks. No withdrawals at ATMs and that are usually accompanied by the liquidation of so many public and private entities. Then a devaluing of currency. Could these be birth pains of what is coming in 2022? Or it is here already. We are right in the middle of the cycle. We are also confronted with the truth about our global financial system, this year 2020 We have just hit 411 years since modern central banking started in Europe, over 400 years of usury and there is shaking already in the financial market systems of the world. This is all food for thought.
The Schmita (The Hebraic economic cycle)
Every seventh year, the people of Israel were instructed to forgive debts owed by fellow Israelites, refrain from direct cultivation, and permit people and animals to harvest the free-growing crops that remained. The instructions concerning the Schmita are mentioned in passages such as Exodus 21:2; 23:10–11; Leviticus 25:1–7; Deuteronomy 15:1–6; and 31:10–13.
The purpose of the Schmita was to allow the land to recover from agriculture, as well as to provide sustenance for the poor. It was also meant to break the cycle of perpetual debt and poverty in which many people found themselves trapped (Deuteronomy 15:4, 11)
The Sabbath year (shmita literally meaning “release”) also called the sabbatical year or sheviit (literally meaning “seventh”) was the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel,  and still observed in contemporary Judaism.
During shmita, the land was left to lie fallow and all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning, and harvesting, was forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). Other cultivation techniques (such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming, and mowing) were performed as a preventative measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants. Additionally, any fruits which grow of their own accord are deemed hefker (ownerless) and may be picked by anyone. A variety of laws also applied to the sale, consumption, and disposal of shmita produce. All debts, except those of foreigners, were to be remitted.
- Exodus 22:24 (25)—If thou lend money to any of My people, even to the poor with thee, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor; neither shall ye lay upon him interest.
- Leviticus 25:36— Take thou no interest of him or increase; but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.
- Leviticus 25:37— Thou shalt not give him thy money upon interest, nor give him thy victuals for increase.
- Deuteronomy 23:20 (19)—Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of anything that is lent upon interest.
- Deuteronomy 23:21 (20)—Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it.
The Book of Leviticus promised bountiful harvests to those who observe the Schmita, and described its observance as a test of religious faith. As produce grown on land in Israel owned by Jewish farmers could not be sold or consumed, fruits and vegetables sold in that year were being derived from five sources:
- Produce grown during the sixth year, to which the laws of the seventh year do not apply.
- Produce grown on land owned by non-Jewish (typically, Arab) farmers in Israel.
- Produce grown on land outside the halakhic boundaries of Israel.
- Produce mainly fruits.
- Produce grown in greenhouses.
The Book of Exodus:
“You may plant your land for six years and gather its crops. But during the seventh year, you must leave it alone and withdraw from it. The needy among you will then be able to eat just as you do, and whatever is leftover can be eaten by wild animals. This also applies to your vineyard and your olive grove.” (Exodus 23:10–11)
The Book of Leviticus:
“God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, telling him to speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land must be given a rest period, a Sabbath to God. For six years you may plant your fields, prune your vineyards, and harvest your crops, but the seventh year is a Sabbath of Sabbaths for the land. It is God’s sabbath during which you may not plant your fields, nor prune your vineyards. Do not harvest crops that grow on their own and do not gather the grapes on your unpruned vines, since it is a year of rest for the land. [What grows while] the land is resting may be eaten by you, by your male and female slaves, and by the employees and resident hands who live with you. All the crops shall be eaten by the domestic and wild animals that are in your land.” – Leviticus 25:1–7
“And if ye shall say: ‘What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we may not sow, nor gather in our increase’; then I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce for the three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the produce, the old store; until the ninth year, until her produce come in, ye shall eat the old store.” (Leviticus 25:20–22)
The Book of Deuteronomy:
“At the end of every seven years, you shall celebrate the remission year. The idea of the remission year is that every creditor shall remit any debt owed by his neighbour and brother when God’s remission year comes around. You may collect from the alien, but if you have any claim against your brother for a debt, you must relinquish it. …” (Deuteronomy 15:1–6)
“Moses then gave them the following commandment: ‘At the end of each seven years, at a fixed time on the festival of Sukkoth, after the year of release, when all Israel comes to present themselves before God your Lord, in the place that He will choose, you must read this Torah before all Israel, so that they will be able to hear it.’ You must gather together the people, the men, women, children, and proselytes from your settlements, and let them hear it. They will thus learn to be in awe of God your Lord, carefully keeping all the words of this Torah. Their children, who do not know, will listen and learn to be in awe of God your Lord, as long as you live in the land which you are crossing the Jordan to occupy’.” (Deuteronomy 31:10–13)
The Book of Jeremiah:
Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying: “At the end of seven years ye shall let go every man his brother that is a Hebrew, that hath been sold unto thee, and hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee”; but your fathers hearkened not unto Me, neither inclined their ear.” (Jeremiah 34:13–14)
The Book of Nehemiah: “and if the peoples of the land bring ware or any victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy of them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and that we would forego the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.” (Nehemiah 10:31)
The Books of Chronicles: “… And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon, and they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia; to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had been paid her Sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years. (2 Chronicles 36:20–21)
The Books of Kings: (Isaiah speaking) “… And this is the sign for you: This year you eat what grows of itself, and the next year what springs from that, and in the third year, sow and reap and plant vineyards and eat their fruit. And the survivors of the House of Judah that have escaped shall regenerate its stock below and produce boughs above.” (2 Kings 19:20–30)
THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD
God never wanted his people to be in bondage of debts, even though He allowed them to borrow from one another, He made provision by creating laws that will ensure that the cycle of perpetual debt and poverty in which many people found themselves trapped was broken. Imagine if the law was a shadow of things to come, how much more within this dispensation of Grace, God not only made provision for Jewish people, but He has broken down the middle wall between Jews and Gentiles, now we are one with them in the Commonwealth of God. We are no longer strangers in the covenants He made with Israel.
Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, [a]
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” [b]
What is, “the acceptable year of the Lord?” This term, which Jesus quotes from Isaiah, is used no other place in the Bible. But the meaning is clear: It is the “year” in which the full plan and purpose of God is accomplished, it is also called the year of Jubilee
The year of JUBILEE requires that all land rest, all slaves be freed, and all land be returned to its original owner. This was God’s way, in the nation of Israel, of keeping people free from slavery, and free from debt. But there is a more important spiritual significance to the year of Jubilee. The fact that the year of JUBILEE was every 50th year, and thus completed a cycle of 7×7 years, shows that it symbolized the spiritually perfect plan of God — brought to its fullness.
In our dispensation, this “year” is not a literal year, but the full cycle and a season – ‘the FINISHED cycle — of restoration in God’s redemptive plan’. This “acceptable year of the Lord,” is what Jesus preached all through His ministry, and which He, Himself, came to accomplish.
I believe the Father is bringing His full plan regarding mankind to completion. I strongly believe that the executive orders to stay home are not just the President’s order, but in them there is a Heavenly Executive order of a still voice of the Father saying “ Rest my people, connect with me, let me show you my heart for you, let me show you my heart for your families and the nations. You don’t have to perform to get a blessing from me. I will take care of you and you will overflow and help those who are in need. I will heal you and heal this nation. Just rest and let me be God. I care about you. I allowed my Son to pay the price for you and the nations on the cross. Do not be afraid of COVID-19 and the Recession! Your redemption includes forgiveness of sin, deliverance, healing, and prosperous life which must overflow to others. Don’t get trapped in performance, passion, and possessions trying to please me. Be careful of being on autopilot, let me be the pilot. It is your season to Rest in Me and let me finish what I have started in you, your family and the nations”
Reference: The New Economy Book, by Thabo Mahlobo