Saturday, December 9, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 8

This is part 8 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, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, Part 6 here, and Part 7 here


 In this section of the book, Jonathan Cahn writes about an event in Washington, D.C., that he helped to plan and organize. The event was called “The Return,” and was scheduled to take place on the National Mall on September 26, 2020. Cahn writes:

There were signs of something unique concerning The Return. The sacred assembly called for in Joel takes place against the backdrop of a plague that had come upon the land. So The Return would take place against the backdrop of a plague on the land.


The context of the most famous of verses on national repentance , 2 Chronicles 7:14, is this: “When I...send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray...” Again, the conte4xt specifically mentioned a plague. We were now in that context. The plague had come. Now it was time to humble ourselves and pray. (136)

I certainly believe that God wants His people to humble themselves, pray, and turn from wickedness. But Cahn here seems to be equating the people of God with the modern nation-state of America. This is something he does in all his books, according to what I have seen others write in reviews of them. But the people of God is represented in the New Covenant by the Church—by those who literally are called by the name of Christ—Christians, as I wrote about here several years ago.

But, beyond simply equating modern America with ancient Israel as God’s people, Cahn proceeds to draw linkages between this event he helped organize and things going on in U.S. politics and government at the same time. He traces out how a few speakers at the gathering had gone past their scheduled times a bit, so that  the planned start of a time of prayer and intercession at 5:00 p.m. was missed by a few minutes. Draped in a Jewish prayer shawl Cahn prepared to blow a shofar seven times as the gathered crowd interceded for seven purposes. Cahn announced to the people present that “in the Scriptures, God ordained the trumpet as a vessel of His power” (145). I would like to see a biblical citation for that assertion, as I am not aware of any text in Scripture that states or even implies that God’s power resides in a ram’s horn or its sounding.

But apparently, at least according to Cahn, his blowing the shofar four-and-a-half minutes past the scheduled time had spiritual significance.

I had planned for one last prophetic act to be performed at The Return to seal—one final blast of the trumpets—the blast of several trumpets at once.

In the Bible the sound of the trumpet marked not only the appointed times of God but the appointed moments. The shofars of Jericho are an example of it. It was at the exact moment of the blast that the walls fell down. So too in the Book of Revelation, seven angels are shown sounding seven trumpets. The blasts are matched by an immediate corresponding event in the heavens and on the earth. (146) 

According to Cahn’s telling of events, at the exact same (delayed by a few minutes) moment he and six other men in prayer shawls were blowing the shofars, the president was beginning his announcement of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

It was 5:04 p.m.—4 minutes—and 33 seconds.


When the president opened his mouth to set in motion the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it was 5:04 p.m.—4 minutes—and 33 seconds!

The turning, the undoing of abortion, the altering of history began at the exact moment the trumpets began their blasting and the shout of the multitude went up—the exact same moment. (148) 

All of these anecdotes are curious, and maybe even interesting, but they do not actually establish the outworking of any “ancient mystery” that is just now being revealed.

Is it possible that Cahn is stringing up all of this red yard between events thumbtacked on the wall in an attempt to build his own credibility as a “prophet” or as having special insight for uncovering “ancient mysteries”? Could he be trying to stamp his own actions at The Return with divine importance, as if God needed Cahn to be doing these things at this place and time in order to accomplish His will?

As God’s providence would have it, the very weekend I was writing this review of the eighth part of The Josiah Manifesto, I came across the following in Stephen D. Barkley’s Pentecostal Prophets: Experience in Old Testament Perspective, as Barkley writes about the acted-out prophecies of the Old Testament prophets, particularly Jeremiah:

First, prophetic sign-acts had no innate power and should not be viewed as a form of “sympathetic magic.” The signs had no metaphysical power, nor did they trigger a divine act when performed correctly. The power of these signs lay in their rhetorical force. (85)

Yet Cahn seems to believe (or at least wants his readers to believe) that his “prophetic act” of blowing the shofar was an actual cause or trigger for God to move. This skates dangerously close to the magic and sorcery forbidden by God in the Old Testament. YHWH, the God of Israel, is not to be ordered around and manipulated by the whims of human beings.

Before closing out this part of the book, Cahn attempts to build yet another Jubilee parallel:

Trump’s presidency began with his inauguration on January 20, 2017. His least year as president began on January 20, 2020. January 20, 2020 was also the inauguration of the plague, the day it officially entered American soil. January 20, 2020, was also the inauguration of the Jubilee, the Jubilean day of abortion’s entrance into America on January 20, 1970. So the day that inaugurated the final year of the Trump presidency also inaugurated America’s dark Jubilee. (153)

Cahn here is playing games with the math (and it’s not the first place in this book he does so). Earlier in the book, he makes it clear that the fiftieth year, the year of the Jubilee, starts one day after forty-nine years have passed (see p. 29, comparing the resignations of Batista and Castro; p. 103, when calculating the window of the “Jubilee year” of Roe v. Wade, during which “the reversal” would have to take place; and p. 129, when stating that the majority of Judge Barrett’s first year on the Supreme Court took place during her personal “Jubilean year”). Think of it like birthdays. Your first year starts the day you were born, not on the day you turn one year old. Your fiftieth year begins on your forty-ninth birthday, not on your fiftieth birthday.

So even if the biblical Jubilee worked on anniversary cycles of events, as Cahn mistakenly seems to believe and teach, the “Jubilee year” of abortion starting its path toward being legal in the United States would have begun on the forty-ninth anniversary—January 20, 2019—and not on January 20 of 2020, which would have been the ending of the fiftieth year. But Cahn can’t seem to make up his mind whether to use the beginning of the forty-ninth or fiftieth year as the beginning of the Jubilee. He simply goes with whichever of the two makes things fall into place for the tale he is weaving (possibly hoping that no math nerds like myself are paying attention to hi sleight-of-hand).

Read part 9 here


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