Monday, January 12, 2015

The Shemitah and USA by Jonathan Cahn - Debunked?

Brothers and sisters, these type of "Bible claims" add credence to mockers and make merchandise of God's people and the writers wealthy.  Forget man's books and read the New Testament, believing what is written. Trust no man. 

  • 2 Peter 3:  3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

The Shemitah

by David James Article Link -
Oct 1 2014
In his book,  The Harbinger , Jonathan Cahn argues for a direct connection 
between what has happened in America since 9/11/2001 and what happened 
to ancient Israel based on what he believes is a template of God’s judgment 
in Isaiah:9:10In the chapter titled “The Shemitah,” Cahn argues that he has 
discovered the mystery of the  Shemitah , which he claims is now affecting the 
United States.

In the Law of Moses, God commanded Israel to observe the seventh day of the
 week as a day of rest, and they were also to observe a Sabbath year, called the
  Shemitah , as a  year  of rest. Every seventh year there was to be no planting,
reaping, or any other work in the fields. In addition, all who owed money to
creditors were to be “released” (the meaning of Shemitah) from their debts
(Dt 15:1-2). In turn, God promised to provide enough in the sixth year to more
than meet Israel’s needs during the seventh year (Lv 25:20-21).

If Israel failed to keep His commandments, however, including the Sabbaths,
the Lord warned: “I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword
after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste….Then the land
shall  rest and enjoy its Sabbaths…for the time it did not rest…when you 
dwelt in it” (Lv 26:33-35).

Centuries later, Israel experienced precisely this judgment because they had
abandoned God’s laws and turned to pagan gods. Because Judah had not
observed the Shemitah for seventy cycles, God sent the nation into captivity
for seventy years.

This imposed Shemitah judgment was very specific and involved  only the 
nation  of Israel . Since no Gentile nations were ever obligated to keep the 
Shemitah, there is no scriptural basis for suggesting that any other nation 
would ever experience an imposed Shemitah judgment. Yet, this is precisely 
what Jonathan Cahn suggests that America has experienced.

Cahn also wrongly implies that the Shemitah is essentially a universal  
principle that is somehow integrated into the order of the universe. Cahn 
makes the following assertion in his book:

[KAPLAN] “Seven years—the biblical period of time that concerns a
nation’s financial and economic realms.” [This and all quotes are taken 
from: Jonathan Cahn,  The Harbinger  (Lake Mary, FL: Frontline, Charisma 
Media/Charisma House Book Group, 2011)]

Although Israel was on a seven-year economic cycle, no biblical passages
support Cahn’s idea that natural economic cycles of seven years exist for
nations in general. Furthermore, financial experts have not identified any
seven-year economic cycle.

Yet, Cahn further states:
[THE PROPHET] “The sign of the Shemitah, given to a nation that has driven
God out of its life and replaced Him with idols and the pursuit of gain. The
issue is the Shemitah as a sign of judgment, the sign that specifically touches
a nation’s financial and economic realms.”

There is no scriptural basis for interpreting recent events as a sign that God is
imposing a Shemitah judgment on the United States or the world. Even if
America were in the very midst of God’s judgment, there are no passages
that connect any  signs  to a Shemitah-type judgment for any nation but Israel.
In ancient Israel, the Israelites were not to work the land at all, and wealthy
lenders were required to forgive debts owed to them. Then, when Israel turned
from God, He  imposed  the Shemitah on Israel by sending the nation into
captivity, collapsing the entire economy. Everyone lost everything.

Cahn goes to great lengths in trying to show from the Bible and history that
God has imposed a Shemitah upon America, and yet he fails because nothing
has happened in America that even roughly parallels Israel’s being forced to
leave the land completely fallow.

Similarly, a study of the credit and debt situation reveals nothing indicating
that America’s economy is under judgment as Israel’s was. Cahn tries to support
 his claims based on the failure of a few large financial institutions (Fannie Mae,
Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and AIG). However, even though these were
significant factors in the economic crisis of 2008, this doesn’t follow “the ancient
pattern” when Israel was invaded and overrun by a foreign army with everything
of value being destroyed or carried away.

In sharp contrast, what America suffered on 9/11 was relatively minor when
compared to Israel’s complete destruction. Even though the US and global
economies went through a serious contraction and many people were hurt
financially, it wasn’t close to the scale of the devastation in ancient Israel.

Cahn himself notes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were rescued by the
Federal Financial Housing Authority, and although Lehman Brothers’
bankruptcy did rattle the US and world markets, Cahn’s analysis is filled with
overstatements that don’t reflect reality:

[THE PROPHET] “Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy—the largest bankruptcy
in American history up to that date. It would be called the collapse heard around
the world. The fall of Lehman Brothers would, in turn, trigger the collapse of
Wall Street and the global financial implosion.”

The fact is that Wall Street did not collapse, and the global economy did not
implode. They were seriously damaged, but they simply did not collapse. And
though the Lehman Brothers failure was staggering in terms of dollars, if their
assets and debt are added together, the $1.25 trillion represents only 0.6
percent of the world economy and is exceedingly insignificant when compared
to what happened when God imposed a seventy-year Shemitah upon Israel.

Cahn continues to try to make his case by citing the September 29, 2008, stock
market crash as the “greatest single-day stock market crash in Wall Street
history.”  Although it was the largest point drop , it wasn’t close to the biggest  
percentage  drop, which is the only thing that matters. In ancient Israel,  
everything  was wiped away, which is not what happened to America. And
though the Dow Jones did drop 7 percent, Cahn fails to mention that this doesn’t
even rank in the top ten drops in terms of percentages.

The Dow did drop about 25 percent in the two weeks following the defeat of a
bailout bill on September 29, but even this doesn’t rank in the same league as
the 1929 market collapse. At that time, not only did it fall 48 percent in just
over two months, but by the end of the crash, stocks had lost 90 percent of
their value. Even the Great Depression was not of the same relative magnitude
as what ancient Israel experienced. The overstatements continue:

[THE PROPHET] “The crashing of stock markets across the world meant that the
funds invested had vanished and would not be paid back, at least not for the
foreseeable future. Both credit and debt, trillions of dollars worth of credit and
debt, had, in effect, been canceled. ‘ Every creditor who has made a loan to his 
neighbor will let it go, will cancel it ’ . . . a Shemitah.”

… [KAPLAN] “And when the stock market crashed in September 2008, how much
was wiped away?” [THE PROPHET] “All the gains of the past seven years, and then 

How can Cahn maintain that all credit and debt from 2001 to 2008 had “in
effect, been canceled?” Of course, there were losses, but nowhere close to
all debt was wiped away. If all debt had been wiped away, those who found
themselves in upside down mortgages could have kept their homes and owed
nothing. Furthermore, although the biblical Shemitah involved the cancellation
of all debt, Cahn has redefined it to include  the wiping out of savings and 
investments .

Cahn then goes so far as to argue for a  global  imposed Shemitah:
[THE PROPHET] “…The global economic collapse was, itself, one colossal
Shemitah made up of countless smaller ones.”

But in fact the world’s economy did not collapse.

Cahn goes on to point out that September 29, 2008 was also the 29th of Elul
on the Hebrew calendar, the end of the year, according to Hebrew reckoning,
when all debts among the Jewish people are to be forgiven according to the
Shemitah laws. He further notes that seven years earlier on Elul 29
(September 17, 2001, on the Gregorian calendar) the largest stock market crash
up to that time happened in the wake of 9/11.

[THE PROPHET] “Take note…. A seven-year period that begins with a stock
market crash and ends with a second stock market crash…a seven-year
period framed by the two greatest stock market crashes in Wall Street history...”
[KAPLAN] “A seven-year cycle beginning and concluding with two massive
remissions of credit and debt...the Shemitah”

Admittedly the timing is interesting, but is it significant? Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac collapsed on September 7. Lehman Brothers’ stock dropped
45 percent on September 9 and announced a $4 billion dollar loss on
September 10. And then on September 11, Lehman’s stock “took a second
precipitous plunge.” But why is September 11 considered  the  significant
date and not September 15, when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy?
Or why not September 9, when the drop started? Or why not September 7?
 Cahn’s argument is arbitrary and seems to be “cherry-picking” evidence to
strengthen his case while ignoring related evidence that does not support
or undercuts his arguments.

The author cannot have it both ways by arguing for exact precision to the day
but then arguing for “in-the-ballpark” dates to make a similar point, switching
between the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars. Someone has well said, “If you
torture statistics long enough, they will confess to anything.”

Another feature of Cahn’s argument is what he calls “a mystery of sevens,”
which also relies on numbers and statistics. Cahn cites three instances where
“seven” appears in association with the Shemitah and thus “demonstrates
divine intervention”:

1. $700 billion: The amount of Lehman Brothers’ rejected government bailout
2. 7%: The size of the stock market crash in 2008 on the day Congress voted 
        down the bailout
3. 777: The size of that market crash in points

Of course, the number seven clearly has special significance throughout the
Bible, but this is not the issue. The fact is that the above numbers come from
a very large universe of statistics that includes many different numbers. Using
this method, the author could have been trying to prove any number from
zero through nine and found the evidence he was looking for.

In trying to demonstrate the validity of the “mystery of sevens,” Cahn appeals
to what he says are very precise numbers. Therefore, if precision is claimed
to prove God’s involvement, the numbers actually do need to be precise.
Anything less proves nothing more than an interesting coincidence.

The first issue is the supposed sign of the 777-point drop on September 29,
2008. Late that day, reported the drop as 778 points. This
was because the actual figure was 777.68 points. If the Lord were trying to
draw attention to what He was doing, causing the drop to be precisely 777.77
or 777.00 certainly would be no more difficult for Him than 777.68. But as
it is, the actual figure is just another number. Furthermore, while the DOW
is important, the NASDAQ and S&P 500 indices are also significant indicators,
 and they fell 9.1 percent and 8.8 percent respectively. Would it have also
been a sign from God if the DOW had fallen 8 percent but the NASDAQ had
fallen 7 percent?

And, in fact the drop was not exactly 7.0 percent. Rather, it was 6.98 percent.
Though this may seem nit-picky, when the basis for one’s arguments is precise
 numbers, they need to be precise. Would it also have been a sign if the
numbers were 6.51 percent or 7.49 percent? How much could it be off and
still be a sign? How difficult would it have been for God to cause a drop of
exactly 7.0 percent? Or better still, 7.7 percent, or even 7.77 percent?

If someone claims to be able to discern what God has done based on precise
numbers, then precision should be expected. Yet the degree of Cahn’s
“precision” is both arbitrary and inconsistent. The numbers are interesting—but
not amazing and clearly not the sure signature of the hand of God. The
historical evidence for a Shemitah judgment is just not there.

Although the above strongly mitigates against Cahn’s theory that God has
imposed a Shemitah on the United States, the theological problem of
proposing that God is using the Shemitah as a  principle  for nations other
than Israel is even greater. The Sabbath day and the Sabbath year, the
Shemitah, were exclusively part of the Law of Moses. If God had any
expectations with regard to the Sabbath day or a seven-year economic or
agricultural cycle apart from the Law, there would be corresponding r
evelation. However, the Scriptures are silent on this, both before and after
the Law, and they never involved any nation except Israel.

The New Testament never indicates any Sabbath-keeping at either the day
or year level for believers after Christ’s death on the cross, but the writer of
Hebrews does give additional insight into the matter of the Sabbath for
believers in Christ. In order to prepare ethnically Jewish Christians for the s
oon-coming destruction of the temple, in chapter 4, the author states that
those who have believed the gospel have already entered into God’s Sabbath
rest by faith—which would include both the Sabbath day and the Sabbath 
year (Heb:4:1-3, 8-10). Therefore,  because Christ fulfilled the Law, God 
does not impose a Sabbath day or a Sabbath year  (the Shemitah) upon believers.

Nor does God any longer expect Jews or any nation to continue keeping the
Sabbath day or Shemitah. Rather, His desire is that all would enter His Sabbath
 rest through faith in Christ. There is no biblical basis whatsoever for Cahn’s
theory concerning an imposed Shemitah. Quite the opposite is true—his
theory runs counter to the Word of God and the gospel.

Jonathan Cahn’s suggestion that America may be under an imposed Shemitah
is antithetical to the biblical concept of the Sabbath laws given to Israel alone
 and the fulfillment of those laws for believers in Christ. This doesn’t mean
that God will not judge the nations, including America. This doesn’t mean
that His judgment is not already underway. It may very well be—and if so,
it is well deserved. However, whatever the judgment is or will be, it is not
an imposed Shemitah judgment connected with Isaiah:9:10.

Adapted from chapter 14 of  The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction


  1. I found your site while looking for articles that examined the Shemitah in light of scripture and context. I appreciated the article and what the author had to say. Just wanted to say though that I don't agree with what you said in your post where you said:" Forget man's books and read the New Testament, believing what is written. Trust no man. " If I take that for what it says, then I shouldn't have read your site (a man's words about God's), nor should I have read the article on your site by David James - another man explaining the words of God. Both David James and Jonathan Cahn appear to be explaining what they think scripture means. Then issue isn't about "not reading what man has written", the issue is one of understanding what is true and evaluating what people say in light of the truth.

  2. Thank you! If I could get everyone to read the New Testament over and over I would be thrilled. The teachers cannot be trusted. 40 to 50 percent of the teachers are addicted to pornography. The majority of teachers tickle the ears. We are in Apostasy. We are never told to trust pastors/kings. The bible is what we need. I know God uses countless other ways, but teachers are much worse than we think. They are not warning about the coming devistation.

  3. I have to agree with Sean. We are not to put our trust in princes, or men; we are to put our trust in the Lord. The Bereans went to Scripture to see if what Paul said was so, no other Greek synagogue did that, and they were commended. Can men twist Scripture to make what they teach seem to be based on sound doctrine? Sure they can. It's up to the Christian to search the Scriptures, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to see if what they say is so. Will many believe the lie? Unfortunately, yes. Only a remnant ever truly obeys the Lord, and only a few will be saved, because they found the narrow gate and path, and stayed on it. The remnant will not stand to have their itching ears filled with lies, they will not give heed to seducing doctrines of demons. Thanks for the great article, and you're right, this guy is a Judaizer, the type of wolf Paul warned us about.