By Nathan Jones
Can the year of Jonathan Cahn's controversial book The Mystery of the Shemitah be pinpointed?
To answer that question, were were blessed to have on our program Christ in Prophecy Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. Rabbi Cahn is the spiritual leader of the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, New Jersey and best-selling author of the book The Harbinger and a new book titled The Mystery of the Shemitah. Both books have been best sellers and highly controversial in Christian circles.
The Bible teaches that God never pours out His wrath on a nation without first sending remedial judgments and prophetic voices to warn of God's impending judgment and to call the nation to repentance. Rabbi Cahn believes that when it comes to the United States, God already has been emphatically warning us, and since we haven't listened, is delivering us from judgment to destruction.
As always has been the case with anyone who historically speaks out in prophetic manner calling people for repentance, Jonathan has of course been severely attacked. So, in this series we are going to discuss the second of his two books — The Mystery of the Shemitah — and the controversies that surround it.
[Note: The interview has been put into article format for ease of reading. For an unedited transcript, please click the PDF button above.]
Objection #2 – Pinpointing the Shemitah Year
Dr. Reagan: One of the problems I have with your theory is that the Jewish calendar is a mess. It's a mess! It's lacking about 250 years that should be in there, because the sages short-termed the Persian rule. They put it down for about 52 years when it lasted over 200 years. So, the whole calendar is off. Since they don't know when the Jubilee years are, how can they know when the Shemitahs are?
Jonathan Cahn: It's interesting, because Jubilee is part of this thing, too.
Dr. Reagan: You never explained that problem in your book. How they determine when these years are, the Shemitah Years?
Jonathan Cahn: The first thing is that we know when the Shemitahs were observed. The every 50-year Jubilees were not. There's a gap as far as their observance in the time of the Messiah, so it is very hard to figure out anything with the Jubilee. So, there is a mystery here, but the other thing is that with the Shemitahs though they were observed in the time of Messiah. They actually were observed. They are recorded by Josephus. They were recorded in the rabbinical writings. They were recorded. And so, simply what they did was by taking the observances which were observed in Bible times, they continued counting them out and they fall on these exact years.
Dr. Reagan: I would argue this. I would say that the Shemitahs were nonobservant during the the 1,800 years that the Jews were out of the land.
Jonathan Cahn: Absolutely.
Dr. Reagan: They only apply to the Jews being in the land. The Jews repossessed the land in 1948. That's when the Shemitah count should begin — 1948. That's when the Jews finally possessed the land, Jonathan.
Nathan Jones: That would then make the Shemitah years 2010 and 2017.
Dr. Reagan: And the first one would have happened in 1954-1955.
Jonathan Cahn: Well, actually, 1948 is when you have nationhood. The fact of the matter is that as soon as the Jews started returning in the 19th Century, that's when they started farming the land.
Dr. Reagan: But they didn't possess it.
Jonathan Cahn: In any case, that's when those Jews went to the rabbis and asked, "How do we time this?" So, that's when they started observing the Shemitahs.
Dr. Reagan: I just think this dating is very arbitrary, Jonathan.
Jonathan Cahn: Well, no, it's actually very specific. Nobody can come up with it. As a matter of fact, all around the world Jews are observing the Shemitah at the same time, and I'd argue from the time of the First Temple.
Here is the thing, Dave, the fact is regardless of when we think the Shemitah falls, here are the years of financial collapse that happen on Elul 29. It's universal as far as when it happens. Financial drops happen on the Shemitah sign. Regardless of what one thinks in the way of timing, go back to the fact that these exact times all happen every seven years. Look again at Wall Street. Look back. It is happening according to Elul 29. It's like saying God wove the Sabbath Year into His judgment plan.
Dr. Reagan: I think the saving grace of your book is right at the end where you say to the effect, "Looking back, we have to admit that things do not always happen on the Shemitah."
Jonathan Cahn: Well, listen, we'll just have to see what happens.
Another point is this. I've had financial guys from Wall Street come to me, because my ministry is not far from there, and say, "Do you know what? This cycle is there." They had no idea about the Shemitah. But, after I wrote the book, all these Wall Street guys acknowledged the seven year cycle and guess when the seven year cycle comes on each time of the year. They've identified this cycle without realizing it. They didn't know about the rabbis' datings. They're not looking at the Hebrew calendar. They are all identifying the seven years that have been happening and the crashes occurring on the time of the Shemitah.
Another economist came to me and showed me the debt cycle. When the debt cycle is the highest, and remember the Shemitah is linked to debt in the Bible, that's when this phenomenon is the strongest. When the debt is the lowest in a cycle that's when it is weaker. The fact is right now we have the most astronomical debt on earth!
Let me finish by saying something here. When it comes to the Shemitah, it's not about observing it every seven years. I'm not interested in what people observe. People write to me and ask, "How should I observe the Shemitah?" No, it's not about that. It's about that God is able to use anything in His Word as a warning, as a sign, to say, "This is My hand behind these judgments."
For example, Dave, you once mentioned in an article that the 2008 Stock Market plunge was by 777 points. Did you know that was also the day of the seventh year — the Shemitah year — from the Bible? That plunge happened on the exact day! Not only that, how much of a percent was wiped out? Seven percent of the Stock Market was wiped out. How much the other time? Seven percent, and that's on the exact day, down to the minute!
The fact of the Shemitah is, as you say, God puts His fingerprints on His judgments. Is it something about the number seven? No, but by using seven it's showing God fingerprints all over the judgments.
"I'm warning you." That's the ultimate message of the Shemitah — our blessings come from God. If the nation ever turns away from God, which it is doing right now, those blessings will be removed. That's what happened to Israel in the Bible, and that's what's happening now.
Dr. Reagan: And that is a good message.
Well, Jonathan, I just praise God for the mighty way in which He is using you to speak out to this nation and call it to return in repentance. I just pray that people will hear the message and that they will come to repentance.