America’s ticket for divine judgment may have already been signed and sent off to the printer, but there’s still time for God to cancel the order, according to a leading Bible teacher and author.
That time could be running short, though, says Jonathan Cahn, a messianic rabbi and author of the New York Times-best seller “The Harbinger” and the newly released sequel “The Mystery of the Shemitah.”
In the absence of repentance and mass revival, Cahn sees a continuation of catastrophic “shakings” that will gradually break America down, knocking it off its perch as world leader.
America’s current downward spiral started in 1973 with the Arab oil embargo, economic turmoil, the first lost war and the legalization of abortion, Cahn said in an interview with conservative radio host and theologian Michael Brown.
“It is a wake-up call, and (Cahn’s book) has people thinking about these very issues,” Brown said on his nationally syndicated show, “The Line of Fire.”
Brown asked Cahn what he thought about the skeptics, including many Christians, who have scoffed at the book’s premise that God still sends judgment against modern-day nations.
“I just saw somebody on Christian television say that very thing. I mean it’s almost like temporary deism,” Cahn said, referring to the notion by some theologians that God reserves his judgment of the nations for the end of the age when Christ returns.
“First of all the Bible says that He will judge the nations, but also it gives dynamics and patterns that He does judge the nations. Righteousness is exulted and sin is a reproach to any nation, not just at the end. In the book of Acts, it says ‘here’s grace’ and yet God judges in the church. He judges Ananias and Sapphira. It says ‘judgment begins with the house of God.’
“So how could there be no dynamic of judgment or judgment against sin if judgment begins with the house of God? Clearly it’s the same God yesterday, today and forever. Sin is judged,” he continued. “It can take a good while as it did in the Hebrew Scriptures, but ultimately it does come and all those principles of the Bible come true. God does judge unrighteousness, God does judge nations. They rise and fall, according to his will.”
Cahn listed a number of empires that fell in accordance with the timing of the Shemitah, which starts during the month of Tishri on the Hebrew calendar and is ushered in at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Those that landed on the dust heap of history included the Ottoman and Russian empires in 1917, the German Reich and the Japanese empire in 1945, and the British empire in 1945,
Patterns in history repeated
Cahn looks at history and sees a series of judgments on America that line up with certain biblical seasons rooted in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, Chapter 25. Like Israel, Cahn says America was founded on biblical principles and experienced immeasurable blessings throughout much of its history. By the end of World War II, the U.S. emerged as the uncontested global superpower, a trend that started to unravel, slowly at first, in 1973.
After the oil embargo and the lost war in Vietnam, the nation endured stock-market crashes in the autumns of 1980, 1987, 2001 and 2008. Each one of those years, Cahn has discovered, was a “Shemitah” year, a once every seventh year phenomenon that was marked in ancient biblical times by letting the land lie fallow and releasing all debts. If Israel remained faithful to God, the Shemitah brought blessings. But if it turned its back on God, the Shemitah would bring a series of judgments and eventual destruction, which is what happened in 586 B.D. The judgments, given as signs of warning, were ignored and Babylon rose up as a competing power, defeated Israel and hauled its people off to captivity.
Is America following the same pattern? The Shemitah year of 2000-2001, which brought the Sept. 11 attacks and stock-market collapse, was followed seven years later by the 2007-2008 Shemitah, which brought the Great Recession. Now the next Shemitah year opened Sept. 25, 2014, and runs through Sept. 13, 2015. The collapse usually occurs at the end of the year on Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar. The next Elul 29 falls on Sept., 13, 2015, on the Gregorian calendar.
‘I would take note of it’
Cahn said he is not predicting the pattern of judgment every seventh year will necessarily continue on cue with another market crash or cataclysmic event in September 2015. He said nobody can predict the hand of God, “but it is something we need to be aware of.”
“I’m not saying it has to continue, but I would take note of it,” he told Brown.
Cahn said that once he discovered the exactness of the historical patterns of blessing and judgment, in line with the Shemitah on the Hebrew calendar, he raced to get the book into print before the Shemitah year kicked off. He said the book has already made the bestseller lists, and the publisher has printed 400,000 copies to keep up with demand coming from the likes of Amazon and Walmart.
He said he has been getting calls from financial analysts who always suspected there was “something about” the autumn period that seems to bring out the worst in the stock market but felt baffled when called on to give an explanation. Now they are studying about the Shemitah, he said, also known as the sabbatical year or the year of “release.” This is when ledgers were historically wiped clean of all debts and credits, which is still practiced as a symbolic rite by Orthodox Jews. The state of Israel has started funding research into the Shemitah, Cahn said, because those Orthodox farmers who observe it have been blessed with harvests up to double the normal fold.
Brown said the message of Cahn’s book is clear and timely, but for America it’s not about money or farming. He hopes it will spur believers to get their spiritual houses in order.
“Friends, what we’re saying is, we must be sober,” Brown said. “Even if someone was not looking at biblical prophecy or biblical patterns, just looking at the world, just looking at the economy and the massive debt, looking at the rise of radical Islam, looking at the sexual anarchy in America. Just that alone should sober us up. As Jonathan is seeking to demonstrate in the ‘Mystery of the Shemitah,’ God has not been absent from history, and history is not unfolding in a random pattern.”