Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 3

This is part 3 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here


 In this section of the book, Cahn starts to write about abortion in the United States. He accurately states, “The biblical view that all are made in the image of God and that all human life is sacred and of immeasurable worth was absent from paganism” (37). He also writes, “When a nation or civilization begins emptying itself of God, there is ultimately nothing left to protect it weakest and most helpless, its children, from being abused or murdered” (38). So far, so good.

Cahn makes reference to President Lincoln’s linking the blood shed by both Union and Confederate soldiers in the Civil War to the blood drawn from slaves by the lash of the whip. He goes on to write:

So in view of the fact that the Scriptures identify the killing of children as among the most grievous of evils and one that especially invokes national judgment, and in view of the fact one of these judgments is that of a plague or disease—we must apply Lincoln’s question to the plague that came on America and the world. Could it have come in the context of judgment? And as in the case of ancient Israel, could such a judgment be linked to the blood of its children? (40-41) 

Those last two sentences are a good example of Cahn’s writing style. He is constantly using questions with “Could…?” and “Is it possible…?” to plant suggestions of ideas in his readers’ minds, without really providing evidence that his speculations are in fact provable truth. But if we look at the prophets in the Old Testament, whenever God was going to send a plague in judgment on Israel/Judah, he first sent a known prophet warning that it was coming. It wasn’t a case of Monday-morning-quarterbacking after the disaster came (that was more how the pagan nations understood things—after a flood, a drought, or some other disaster, they would read omens or animal entrails to try to divine which god they had offended and what the nature of the offense was). I don’t recall anything other than vague prophecies that if America didn’t repent, judgment was coming. And I’ve heard statements like that since my teenage years in the 1980s. There were no prophetic words specifically about 2020 that I am aware of (only the shotgun proclamations of the YouTube prophethood, which are so broad it’s easy to look backward and find some way to make the events that actually occurred fit one or more of the “prophecies”).

Next Cahn writes, “The generation that saw the plague of COVID-19 was unique. It was that generation that was responsible for the killing of more children than any other in human history…Ancient Israel had shed the blood of over one billion of its children. The generation alive in 2020 had shed the blood of over one billion children” (41). As tragic as the high pre-born infant death count of modern-day abortion is, Cahn’s claim that ancient Israel had murdered “over one billion of its children” is patently false. At the time of ancient Israel, it is very unlikely that one billion people had even lived on the earth yet in all of human history up to that point, especially if one takes a young earth creation view of the planet only being slightly over 6000 years old as of the present day in 2023. Even if we take the high estimate of the number of Hebrews in the Exodus (2-2.5 million), there’s no way mathematically that Israel had a billion people total over the years from 1400 BC to the exile in 586 BC, much less murdered that many children as sacrifices to idols. Cahn is playing fast and loose with the truth in order to make his point. While I certainly agree that abortion is a heinous evil and that it is a tragedy that millions upon millions of children have been murdered in the womb, we cannot allow ourselves to use false numbers in service to the truth. A lie is a lie, no matter how pious the cause it is used to support.

Cahn then goes on to show how the entrance of abortion-on-demand in the United States started, not in 1973 with the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, but with the introduction of legislation to legalize abortion in New York state in 1970. And when did the COVID-19 pandemic strike in full force? In 2020, fifty years later.

We must now consider the other side of the Jubilee. The Jubilee gives and takes away. It brings restoration but also restitution—and the repossession of the owner means the dispossession of the occupier. If you had taken that which didn’t ultimately belong to you, then in the year of Jubilee, that which you had taken would be taken away from you. The Jubilee takes away that which the taker has taken. In 1970, America took life. So in the year of Jubilee, 2020, life was taken from it—and from the generation that had taken it. (42)

We have already addressed Cahn’s total misrepresentation of the biblical Jubilee as being a fiftieth anniversary of some prior event (when in reality it was a fixed fifty-year cycle). Here again Cahn overlooks the fact that the Jubilee was about legally recognized and regulated financial transactions concerning fields and houses, not things that had been taken through force or trickery. The Jubilee did not “take away that which the taker has taken.” The Jubilee was designed to keep real estate within the family lines and clans to which it had originally been allocated when Israel took possession of the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership, and to keep a handful of people from exploiting the financial hardships of others and amassing great land holdings for themselves while leaving their Hebrew brothers destitute.

Cahn also seems to completely overlook the fact that COVID-19 killed without discrimination. The virus did not check to see if someone was pro-abortion or pro-life before infecting them. When God sent the ten signs against Egypt, His people in Goshen were protected. When the firstborn sons were killed on the night of the first Passover, those who followed God’s instructions to put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts were spared. If COVID-19 was a plague of judgment sent by God in retribution for the scourge of abortion, why did so many faithful Christians get sick, and even die from it? The God of Israel revealed in the Bible seems more than capable of using precision strikes when it comes to judgment.

It also struck me as odd that Cahn writes, “It brings restoration but also restitution.” According to, restitution and restoration are synonyms. I think Cahn probably meant to use retribution instead of restitution for the contrast. That fact that Cahn used the obviously wrong word here, and that his editors did not catch and correct it, is just another demonstration of the lack of attention to accuracy in details (like the one billion Israelite children mentioned earlier) and apparent haste to publish that plagues this book.

Another linguistic oddity occurs on page 45, where Cahn talks about the bill to legalize abortion being “introduced into the Legislature on January 20, 1970. January 20, 1970, was the seminal day, the first fruit of abortion on demand’s entrance into the nation.” Maybe I’m just being pedantic, but seminal has to do with seed, and here Cahn is talking about the first fruit of abortion on demand. If this bill being introduced was seminal, or the seed, then the fruit would be something that came later (such as the first legal abortions being performed once the bill passed and was signed into law). Again, this is an easy find that any decent editor should have corrected. But as it seems like Cahn is trying to use the English language at a level beyond his mastery of it, simply throwing around terms he doesn’t fully understand in an effort to sound erudite.

Chapter twelve of the book begins with “America was founded after the pattern of ancient Israel….And in the days of the American Revolution, the nation’s departure from English rule was likened to the Exodus of Israel from the rule of Pharaoh” (48). One thing that is common to all of Cahn’s books, (based on what I have read about them from other reviewers) is his portrayal of the United States as a “new Israel” in a special covenant relationship with God. Granted, biblical language was invoked by many of the early leaders of the colonies when they were first established. But there is no solid evidence that America has a special covenant relationship with the God of the Bible. God’s covenant is now with the Church, the Body of Christ, who constitute a holy nation that transcends geopolitical boundaries. And while many figures of the American Revolution may have tried to appropriate the biblical Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt as a symbol of throwing off the shackles of British control, the biblical account was about freedom from slavery, yet the colonies who declared independence from England and joined to form a new nation were actively engaged in the enslavement of human beings. I would hardly call that being “founded after the pattern of ancient Israel.”

While the state of New York was the first to introduce legislation to legalize abortion, Hawaii was the first state to complete the process of legalization, with the first legal abortion in the island state occurring on March 11, 1970. Cahn then says that “the mystery would ordain that death would come to America fifty years later—in March of 2020. Did it?” (50) He then goes on to talk many news headlines naming March 11, 2020 as “the day that changed everything” because of the lockdowns and quarantines, and the World Health Organization announcing that COVID-19 now constituted a pandemic (52). The fact that these events happened fifty years apart is interesting, and even curious, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the Jubilee defined in the Bible. In spite of that, Cahn goes on and on about the “Jubilean year” and “Jubilean day” fifty years after the initial events.

In his fourteenth chapter, Cahn makes much about how “almost one out of every two cases was focused on just a small sliver of America—New York” (56). He says that this was divine judgment on the Empire State for being the place where a bill to legalize abortion was first introduced. In a place like the Big Apple, so many people living so closely together, combined with high volumes of travelers coming through its two large international airports (and having contact with the locals who worked in those facilities), would make it very easy for a virus to spread rapidly, especially with the asymptomatic incubation period demonstrated by the novel coronavirus. But such scientific models don’t support the narrative Cahn is trying to build around his own idiosyncratic interpretation of the Jubilee, so he feels free to ignore that data.

In chapter fifteen, Cahn talks about the importance of the city gates in ancient Israel. He then talks about the “western gate” of Washington state and the “eastern gate” of New York. Now, I have no doubt that the Seattle airport may be a significant port of entry on the Pacific coast, but I’m pretty sure Los Angeles, California would have a much better claim to being the “western gate” of the United States when it comes to people and things entering the country (especially when nearby San Diego has a major commercial port for cargo ships coming form Asia). But Cahn writes, “It was the convergence of space and time at the two same gateways. For the day that marked the plague’s entrance into America from the western gate was January 20, the same day that abortion began its entrance into America through the eastern gate” (62).

In chapter sixteen, Cahn tries to compare the number of deaths due to COVID-19 over a three-year window (late January 2020 to late January 2023) to the number of babies killed by abortion in the three years between the introduction of the bill in New York’s state legislature in January 1970 to the Roe v. Wade ruling in January 1973. What is amazing is that in so many other events he tries to correlate to match his “Jubilean cycle,” he goes to great efforts to show an exact correspondence. But now, with the death tallies, he introduces allowances for differences in reporting timeframes, overreporting and underreporting, and other factors that excuse him from being able to make the counts match precisely. Cahn seems to want to play the numbers whichever way will support the narrative he is trying to construct.


Read part 4 here

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