UPDATE: WND attempted to reach T.A. McMahon of Berean Call Ministry for several days before posting the below story but received no response to its phone call and email. After the story was posted WND was notified that the article in question on the Berean website had been removed.
Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn has written two books warning America to repent and turn back to God or face judgment, a message that has been repeated as valid by scores of church leaders and roundly criticized by a few others.
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The Berean Call, a ministry based in Bend, Oregon, published an article Nov. 1 on its website titled "Prophecy Run Amok 2: Fearmongering." The article was written by McMahon, who inherited leadership of the Berean ministry following the 2013 death of its founder, Dave Hunt. The ministry takes its name and motto from the New Testament passage in Acts 17:11, which says the ancient Bereans "searched the scriptures daily" to ensure that what Paul was preaching to their community lined up with biblical truth.
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As part of his analysis of Cahn's work and in trying to prove that Cahn is a false prophet, McMahon quotes from a sermon Cahn preached at the Celebrate America conference held July 10 in Washington, D.C. In that address Cahn spoke for more than a half hour on the messages of his two books. "Repent," and "get right with God," Cahn said, because we're living in the "last days" and the time could be short.
But McMahon heard something else. He writes:
"Joining the false signs-and-wonders teacher Rodney Howard-Browne for his Celebrate America Conference, Jonathan Cahn told the audience, 'The financial collapse of the U.S. dollar may happen on Sunday the 13th of September 2015 corresponding to the 29 of Elul 5775 on the Hebrew calendar, the next shemitah of the 7-year cycle.'"
A video-recording of Cahn's speech that day in D.C. revealed no mention of the dollar's impending collapse on Sept. 13 of next year.
Watch video of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's speech July 10 in D.C.:
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McMahon's article is also critical of "Blood Moons" author Mark Biltz, as well as John Hagee, Sid Roth, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker and WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah.
"Believers need to think such things through in the light of Scripture, particularly since our days are loaded with fearmongering false prophets and some 'survival food' con men preaching certain doom. The latest to conjure up forthcoming dark clouds on the horizon are those who promote the teaching that there may well be a combination of two prophetic events taking place in the year 2015 that could result in unprecedented physical cataclysms and financial crashes. The use of italics for “may well be” and “could” is given to note that those purveyors of disasters have used such language in order to cover themselves from being accused of false prophecy. Even so, those 'disclaimer' terms are lost in the hyperbole of their fearmongering.
"The two leaders in this alleged confluence of biblical tribulations are Jonathan Cahn (The Mystery of Shemitah) and Mark Biltz (The Blood Moons). They are supported by a cast of false teachers and sensationalists and their associated organizations that include Jim Bakker, Sid Roth, John Hagee, Pat Robertson of the 700 Club , and Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, to name but a few."
Farah, founder of WND.com, WND Books and WND Films, said he was disappointed in McMahon’s blanket criticisms and especially his distortion of the facts.
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"When you accuse someone of saying something they didn't say it's called 'bearing false witness.' It's a sin. It's a breach of one of the Ten Commandments," Farah said.
The criticisms also appear to be a breach of the biblical admonishment in Matthew 18:15-20, Farah said. That scripture says "if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone." In other words, tell him in private, not in front of the whole congregation or, in this case, in front of the world on the Internet.
"I'm really surprised and saddened by T.A. McMahon's attacks on me, Mark Biltz and Jonathan Cahn. They are unfounded, personal and there has never been any attempt to discuss concerns privately, even though I’ve known McMahon for years and had a close relationship with his long-time partner and mentor, the late Dave Hunt," Farah said. "It’s disturbing that he would continually lash out, for years now, without any effort to establish the truth, convey his criticisms privately and offer constructive criticism and what he believes to be constructive correction. As for my friends, Mark Biltz and Jonathan Cahn, I can say they are extremely responsible and careful in what they say and write, always true to scripture and the call of the Holy Spirit. When so-called 'discernment ministries,' like the one McMahon now leads, do not use proper discernment and biblical principles like those clearly laid out in Matthew 18, it is a grave disservice to God and to the body of Christ."
McMahon's main criticism of Cahn's books is that he allegedly takes biblical passages such as those describing the Shemitah "given exclusively to Israel" and applies them to America.
Why he would have fabricated a quote remains unclear. WND left a voicemail message Monday and sent an email seeking a response from the Berean Call but as of this posting has not heard from McMahon.
Cahn said there are two extremes in God’s kingdom: Those who jump to believe and embrace "virtually anything" that is practiced or taught in the name of the Lord, and those who reflexively reject and "attack almost anything that is presented in the Lord outside of one’s comfort zone or predisposition."
"We need to avoid both errors as they constitute two sides of the same coin. It’s the latter error that (not all but) many of the so called “discernment” ministries have fallen into. The result can be as dangerous as any error they purport to counter, often leading to the attacking of ministries and ministers of God. Such respected Christian leaders as Billy Graham, Chuck Smith, Dr. (James) Dobson, and countless others have been among its many victims. Many consider it a badge of honor."
Cahn said McMahon's article reveals a profound misunderstanding of his books, "The Harbinger" and "The Mystery of the Shemitah."
He said neither book proposes that the ancient prophecies and commandments were given to America. Rather, they propose a very different scenario. He released the following statement to WND:
"That the God of the Bible is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is consistent. His principles, workings, and dealings with nations and the world are consistent with His word. The Bible is filled with patterns and templates which recur or are applied from one context to the next. For those who haven’t yet read it, The Harbinger is the revealing of an ancient biblical template of judgment involving nine specific prophetic signs that appeared in the last days of ancient Israel, before its destruction. Those same nine harbingers are now reappearing on American soil – and appearing in precise and eerie detail. The Mystery of the Shemitah is the revelation of a pattern and template that goes back to Mt. Sinai and yet which has determining events of our day, from the rise and fall of the stock market, the ascent and collapse of nations, global cataclysms, world wars, end-time events, and what may be the fall of America. The phenomenon of the Shemitah is so specific that it has pinpointed the timing of the greatest collapses of Wall Street in modern times down to their exact dates and hours.
"Both The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah have been overwhelmingly hailed by national Christian leaders across the spectrum, from Baptist to Charismatic, from national leaders, pastors, Bible schools, and seminaries. Such attacks come from those of a small camp, some of whom, had they been around in the first-century, would undoubtedly have attacked the Gospel writers, the apostles, and Messiah himself for their exegesis of Hebrew Scripture.
"As for The Harbinger, the specific signs of judgment revealed in its pages have continued to manifest since the book was released. As for The Mystery of the Shemitah, the phenomenon has only intensified since 9/11. I have issued two cautions. 1) God doesn’t have to do anything according to our understanding or our timetables. Nor does He have to attack as He has in the past. Nothing has to happen in a particular year of the Shemitah 2) But the second caution is this: He can, and it could. Whether it happens during the time of the Shemitah or beyond, I believe a great shaking is coming to America and the world, one that will affect the financial realm, the economic realm, the political realm, and the nation itself. We are in the midst of a civilization that is rapidly descending into apostasy and judgment. For this reason, I have written what I have written, that we be ready, that we be right with God, and that the lost be saved."
Biltz, the author of the "Blood Moons" book, also issued a statement to WND countering the attacks from McMahon.
"A Berean he definitely is not. He takes things out of context to serve his own self-interest and does not even understand simple Biblical terms. Here’s one example: In his article he stated the shemittah year had to do with the 7th day of rest. It had nothing to do with it. It was a year for the land to rest. He implied the people had to rest not realizing it was referring to the Land of Israel that had to rest. Non-farmers still worked.
"McMahon obviously doesn’t know Hebrew, Hebrew concepts, or the scientific principles that go with them. Neither does he understand what I am trying to say. In Genesis 1:14 it plainly says God created the sun and the moon for signals. They were created for determining the Biblical calendar when the Jews would be celebrating the new months as well as the Feast days such as Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.
"All I am doing is taking God at His Word, looking at the facts of historical patterns, and saying another pattern is coming that we need to pay attention to. McMahon needs to stop hyperventilating. I am not a prophet, never claimed to be one and am not prophesying what is coming.
- God said He created the sun and the moon to send signals when they occur on His Feast days.
- There were solar and lunar eclipses on the feast days surrounding Messiah’s death. There were solar and lunar eclipses surrounding the destruction of the Temple in 70Ad. There were solar and lunar eclipses around the formation of Israel as a nation. There were solar and lunar eclipses around the return of Jerusalem into Israel’s hands in 1967. There are solar and lunar eclipses this year and next on the Feast days as well and time will tell if there is any great prophetic meaning.
- I don’t control eclipses or the Biblical calendar!
"If you want to dispute these take it up with God or NASA. If you are accusing me of being some charlatan you are totally clueless. I came out with this in 2008 and have given the information away for free for six years and only after about five other people wrote books on my material did I finally write a book so people could get my perspective in more detail.
"McMahon accuses me of fear mongering? When I say, we could be entering the super bowl of human history I am trying to dispel any fear as the 10 spies brought when they were afraid of the giants in the land. Yet he claims I am doing the opposite in fear mongering. Anyone who listens to any of my sermons knows I don’t motivate by fear but by taking courage."
As for Farah, he has a history with McMahon. He wrote about that history in a 2013 column, shortly after the death of Dave Hunt.