Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 5

This is part 5 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here


 This is one of the book’s shorter sections at only fourteen pages (though somehow Cahn manages to make six chapters out of those pages, which gives you some idea of the organizational of his writing style, which we will address further in a later part of this review). Cahn is still discussion abortion in America (a theme that weaves its way throughout the book due to the weight of the topic), this time focusing more specifically on the courts and Roe v. Wade, rather than the legislative legalization of abortion discussed in previous chapters.

Cahn puts the initial meetings of Norma Leah McCorvey (AKA Jane Roe) and Texas attorney Henry McCluskey as happening sometime in late January 1970, and then links that to the plague of COVID-19 arriving in late January 2020 (with language of a “Jubilee month”). He then goes on to link the initial filing of Roe v. Wade in the Texas court system in March 1970 with the March 2020 “state of emergency, lockdown, and paralysis” caused by COVID (92). I realize I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but the Jubilee was not about one event happening fifty years after another event. It was at the bottom of this page that I made a note that Cahn’s fixation on cycles sounds much more like a Far Eastern or Buddhist outlook on time than it does a Judeo-Christian one. (After I had read this section of The Josiah Manifesto, I read where Dr. Vic Reasoner points out the same thing in his article “The End-Times Theology of Jonathan Cahn” in the fall 2023 issue of The Arminian, Vol. 41, Issue 2. Reasoner writes, “Parallels do not prove that history is replaying. The circular view of history is pagan.”). And by this point, one begins to realize how much of this book must be discarded due to this repeated error. Even though some of the social issues Cahn deals with are certainly concerning and worthy of attention, his repeated abuse of the biblical idea of the Jubilee destroys any shred of credibility he may have possessed.

In chapter 24, Cahn writes about the significance of the date Sivan 23 on the Jewish calendar (which on the Western Gregorian calendar happens to be June 15, the day that Dobbs v. Jackson, the case that ended up overturning Roe v. Wade, was sent to the Supreme Court). This is the date that Mordecai’s edict (authorized by the king of Persia in the book of Esther) allowing the Jews in the empire to band together in every city and defend themselves from those who would do them harm under the former edict engineered by Haman the Agagite. He says this date “was thus commemorated in the Jewish calendar as the day to pray for the annulling of evil decrees”(96). Cahn then writes that one Jewish writer notes, “The holy books teach us that this day is a very powerful day for prayers to nullify decrees and anything bad, evil and horrible against us.”

My immediate question was, “Which holy books say that?” Because there is no such declaration in the Old Testament or New Testament saying that any one day is more powerful than another for certain types of prayers to be effective. Cahn actually provided an endnote (for a change of pace) for his quotation of this unnamed “Jewish writer,” which is in fact a website about various days on the Jewish calendar. One of the things that site says about Sivan 23 is:

Therefore on this powerful day there are a few things you want to do:

1.       Light two (2) candles for Esther and Mordechai

2.       Give three (3) coins to charity. The coins should be held with both hands at the same time when placing in the charity box

3.       Read chapters 22, 83, 130, 142 of Tehilm – Find text below

4.       Read chapter 8 from the Megila of Esther – Find text below

5.       Read Avinu Malkeinu (Without a blessing, just the text)- Find text below

6.       Pray from your heart with your words anything you want and need – Ask from Hashem

7.       Recite the short prayer – Find text below

8.       Take on yourself a good decision to add a Mitzvah to your daily schedule

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure all the above is done and read on the 23rd of Sivan (June 22nd 2022) during the day from dawn till sundown!

 This sounds more like Jewish mysticism than anything biblical (note the specific instructions for how to hold the coins when placing them in the offering box). Dr. Vic Reasoner, whom I cited above, also points out that Cahn’s Book of Mysteries published in 2016 is actually “an introduction to Kabbalah and trains the reader to look for hidden messages in the Bible.” Reasoner goes on to write, “Most forms of Kabbalah teach that every letter, word, number, and accent of Scripture contains a hidden sense; and it teaches the methods of interpretation for ascertaining these occult meanings.” The description sounds very apt for what we see Cahn doing with all the parallel dates, implying that if someone is just clever enough (or in tune with the Holy Spirit enough), that these hidden templates can be unveiled. Yet it is curious how they only seem to be discovered after the fact. I have yet to see where Cahn or anyone else used the Jubilee cycle to foretell any significant happening.

In an attempt to show another “Jubilee pattern,” Cahn points out that the Supreme Court announced in May 1971 that is had accepted Roe v. Wade to be heard before the court. The court announced it had accepted Dobbs in May 2021 (99). Cahn argues that for “the mystery to be complete, the final event of the Jubilee, the return and the undoing, would have to take place within the parameters of” the “Jubilean year” of Roe, between January 22, 2022 and January 22, 2023 (103). 

It’s curious how sometimes Cahn points out that events happened on a fifty-year interval down to the month or even the very day, but when the dates don’t line up perfectly, he broadens the criteria to allow a wider time frame for the fulfilling second event to occur and still allow him to claim it as a Jubilee event. As Reasoner states, “Cahn can be very exact at times, when the information serves his purposes.” This is a classic example of “moving the goalposts”—like when what a “prophet” predicts doesn’t come to pass, they simply redefine what they meant so that the actual data still fits their narrative. It is a dishonest move, and should not be employed by someone claiming to be a Christian teacher.

Read part 6 here

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