Jonathan Cahn’s Con – Knowing the Difference Between Shemitah and Shinola

As of this morning, Jonathan Cahn’s best-selling book, The Mystery of the Shemitah, ranked #2 in Amazon’s prophecy category, #3 in religion and #129 in books overall (it did rank at #1). Cahn’s prophetic oracles also graced the New York Times Best-Seller’s list. Cahn has been selling his predictions on almost every major news outlet out there, and up until the last minute yesterday, was digging into his predictions that a great “shaking” would take place across the world.

The problem is, of course, it didn’t happen. The Shemitah ended last night at dark, beginning September 25 of last year. The predictions were not true.

The Background:

Jonathan Cahn, who calls himself a Messianic Rabbi (whose credentials are dubious), wrote a book detailing ten signs present before Israel’s collapse, comparing them to ten signs now present in America, called The Harbinger. With the success of that book, Cahn springboarded into a new divination, this time pulling from the Old Testament ceremonial law the command in Exodus 20:11 that the ground lay fallow every seven years, which was both agriculturally astute and required the Israelites to trust God for their provision. Debts were also to be canceled during that year as well, which was one of a number of safeguards against the holding of longterm debt in Israel’s economy. This year was called the Shemitah, meaning a “releasing” (referring to release from debt), which Cahn has interpreted more ominously as a “shaking.” Doing the math, Cahn reveals that September 25 2014 to September 13 2015 is the Shemitah Year.

Here’s where things get wonky. Cahn argues…

  • God has given warnings to the United States in a seven year cycle going back decades
  • The Lord deals with nations on a seven year cycle, like he did Israel
  • Things like stock market crashes, economic recessions etc have happened in seven year intervals as a warning that this very Shemitah year will be God’s final judgment on America
  • America has been unforgiving of debt and violating the Sabbath years, and so God is judging us in this year’s Shemitah

Along with John Hagee’s Four Blood Moons, the mysticism of these Hebrew Roots-influenced Judaizers has mainstream evangelicalism lapping up their predictions like water. Unlocking secrets, providing hidden keys, and unwrapping prophecies through astrology, star-gazing, date-setting and omen-interpretation seems to be the key to book sales as of late.

The Problem:

  • The Shemitah was an aspect of God’s ceremonial law for the nation of Israel. Unlike the binding perpetuity of the Moral Law, the ceremonial law has been fulfilled in Christ and is no longer in force. Any good confession, like the Westminster Confession or the 2nd London Baptist (1689) could have explained that (chapter 19). This is why we should be catechizing our kids, frankly.
  • The Shemitah, even while in force for Israel, was not applied to any other nation. The notion of God applying Israel’s Old Testament ceremonial laws to gentile nations (either then or now) is pure fabrication
  • America is not some kind of “second Israel.” This is, frankly, a bizarre claim for a “Messianic Christian” to make.
  • The exact dates of the Shemitah are in dispute, and facts tend to make Cahn’s dates differen from what we would have inherited from Moses (if it mattered in the first place).
  • The coincidences heralded by Cahn regarding various “warnings” every seven years for the last few decades are poppycock. There are other “warnings” in between, and one could do the same thing for every 3 years, two years, fourteen years, twenty-three years. It’s a calendar smoke and mirrors that really anyone should be able to see. I demonstrated this in my critique of Four Blood Moons last year, in which I successfully predicted the deaths of WWE superstars based on the “opposition of Mars.”

The Hype:

  • Charisma Mag predicted “10 Things that are Going to Happen within 15 Days of the End of the Shemitah.” A list of a lot of coincidental things planned on the world’s calendar, the author ends by writing, “I am fully convinced that the months ahead are going to dramatically change life in America…” Another false prophet bites the dust, I guess…
  • World Net Daily discussed the “Strange Signs on Shemitah’s Final Days” only two days ago, in which Cahn mention two signs – the collapse of a crane in Saudi Arabia and a rainbow in New York City, both on September 11, of which he said they were “striking signs.” Signs that  nothing would happen, apparently…
  • Cahn was on the Glenn Beck Program just a couple weeks ago, talking about these spooky, mysterious signs that this Shemitah would bring judgment (a fake Rabbi and fake Christian are talking about End Times prophecy…there’s a punchline somewhere but I can’t find it).
  • Cahn has been a repeated guest on Jim Bakker’s program, just recently on again, explaining why the Shemitah would bring certain judgment (right before Bakker started to shill his brand of survival food)

Frankly, the list goes on and on. The Times of India reported last week said that one in ten Google searches was for “Shemitah.”

The Failure:

Yeah, didn’t happen. Not even close. Well, a few things happened…to be fair. Jonathan Cahn sold millions of dollars in books, Jim Bakker sold some survival supplies and Charisma Magazine got some real mileage out of the farce over the last year. The Shemitah is over, Jonathan Cahn is a false prophet, and evangelicals have been made fools of once again. Oh, also – and this is obligatory – we told you so.

The Lesson:

  1. The Bible is sufficient. Stop chasing after prophecies, people. Stop buying for yourselves false prophets. Stop buying books that supposedly “unlock secrets” and “reveal mysteries” and all of that gobbledegook. God doesn’t hide things in the Bible. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to man. Hiding things in His revelation kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think?
  2. If someone says they’ve discovered something in the Scripture that no one else in 2 thousand years has discovered, they’re wrong and trying to sell you something – each and every last and lousy time. Bank on it.
  3. If Charisma Mag, Jim Bakker, and Glenn Beck all promote something, it’s probably seven different kinds of jacked up. Seriously. Look alive.
  4. Interpreting omens, using astrology, and looking at signs is not Christianity – it is occultic.
  5. Seriously, a basic children’s catechism could have saved you all a lot of hassle. Understanding the three-fold divide of Old Testament law and how it applies (or if) to us today would be really helpful. The only reason evangelicals fell for Cahn’s arguments is because we collectively have the Biblical understanding of second graders in a United Methodist Church VBS. Anything more substantive, and we would have shirked this off like the nonsense it was.

By the way, Charisma Mag ran an article by Jonathan Cahn just this morning. He mentioned how many millions purchased Mystery of the Shemitah, but not the elephant in the room – it’s the morning after (after a full year of waiting) and nothing has happened.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. – Matthew 7:15

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