God's control of history & Cahn

The Messianic “rabbi”/pastor/teacher, Jonathan Cahn, has written several books recently which seem to show that God is fully in control of history, and is “bending it” toward fulfillment of prophecies in the Scripture regarding Israel.

For example, The Harbinger, The Paradigm, The Mystery of the Shemitah, The Oracle, The Book of Mysteries. All of these books attempt to show that prophetic statements in the Scripture have been, and are, being fulfilled at an increasing rate, and they all relate to the Jews, the nation of Israel, and point to Messiah.

Taken together, they seem to present an iron-clad proof, highly verifiable in detail, that His Plan is being fulfilled in ways, and in orchestration, that could only be done by an all-powerful Supreme Being. I find myself being convinced by what looks like overwhelming evidence.

Yet, i want to be cautious and be alert to any deviations from the Word, or any “twisting of facts”, to make his case appear more indisputable. Does anyone here know what i am talking about? Any evidence that Cahn is using deception of any kind in order to sell books and build a profitable ministry?

I sincerely hope not, but i would like some independent evaluation or confirmation, if possible. Thanks much if you can help.

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@DeanW I think whether or not God controls history is a separate issue from whether or not Cahn’s work is reliable. For those who do not know, Cahn claims that Isaiah 9:10 can be interpreted as applying to America. In that passage, Israel refused to listen to God’s rebuke and instead stood in opposition to God. Isaiah then describes the consequences of Israel’s rebellion. Cahn claims the consequences that came upon Israel will also come upon America.

There are a few key problems with this argument:

  • Isaiah 9:10 is not about America - it is about Israel
  • America was never in covenant with God - even if you believe it was founded on Biblical principles, it was never in covenant with God - only one nation has ever been in such a covenant and that is Israel, so the covenant curses only applied to Israel

The below article provides some additional critiques. Cahn has misapplied the Bible - it really is that simple.

The Danger of Looking for Signs

Not unlike John Hagee, Cahn tries to associate modern events with signs by showing some coincidences. The problem is, coincidences occur - a lot! You can find a pattern in almost any set of events if you really try hard enough… I think Sam Storm’s critique of Hagee is helpful in understanding the dangers of such an approach.

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Thanks much, Sean. That was a helpful article. I had thought that Cahn was a little overboard when it comes to applying prophecy to the US, but that article nails it well.

The thing that i have the most “credulity” about his books, though, the article didn’t touch. Which is his detailing of the pattern of 7’s (Sabbaths, Shemitahs, and Jubilee years) in the history of the Jews and Israel with respect to the prophecies of the OT, especially of Moses.

When Cahn is writing about those historical “co-incidences”, i think he is really on to something. But, to then generalize the patterns to fit today’s and tomorrow’s America is the shaky ground.

If i had more time (and i am tempted to try this), i would like to lay out a diagram or timeline showing the Biblical prophecies and the dates of the fulfillment of them – like the uncovering of ancient Jerusalem, the Balfour Declaration, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the founding of Israel as a modern nation, the capture of Jerusalem by Israeli soldiers, etc, etc. They fit together remarkably, it seems.

Unless anyone knows of that already having been done by someone…It would be exciting to say the least!

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@DeanW That would be interesting. The one caution I would give is that we can find patterns in almost anything and coincidence is statistically more likely than we often assume. For example, consider the birthday paradox…

Birthday Paradox

In undergrad one of my professors did this and it worked. In a room of at least 23 people, there is a 50-50 chance that two people have the same birthday.

Don’t believe me? Check out these fun articles.

Explains how a lot of these ‘happens on the same day’ things are not that unlikely statistically after all and how statistics is counter-intuitive at times.

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Great article, Sean, i once had a degree in math, but i have forgotten much, so thanks for the reminder. (By the way did you know that the word “great” appears 7 times in the book of Jonah? Fascinating…)

As far as my current challenge goes, i think i would like to do a topic here along the lines of “HIS 7’s in Scripture and history”. I started doing a web-search and found an interesting source: sevensinthebible.com (which is where the 7’s in Jonah comes from).

I haven’t yet found a good source for 7’s in history (especially of Israel and the Jews), though, but i will look more deeply. If i don’t find one that covers Cahn’s findings, i may want to focus on that here at RZIM. Is that acceptable to our moderators/advisors? (I wouldn’t plan to get too far into numbers in Scripture, just give a summary to show why we might expect 7’s to be woven into history/Israel much more than would be probable chance.)

It sure is nice being retired, thank you Lord, since i can get wild with my enthusiasms (hopefully Divine inspirations) more easily.

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@DeanW, I just read most of The Paradigm last night and I was a bit disappointed. I felt it was a bit of a stretch to place Ahab/Jezebel as the start of Israel’s downfall and the connections to the Clintons, though I am not a fan of theirs at all, was over the top. He is probably a brilliant scholar and would put my intelligence to shame but I felt like he was using every means to make the connections work. Maybe I’ll regret my comments when I conclude the book but at this point, it didn’t seem professional.

I think i know what you mean, Tim. Still, i think there were many surprising parallels between the Biblical characters and the previous political figures. And Trump has somewhat been the type of character that Jehu seemed to be, but the endings are very different.

I wasn’t trying to defend/recommend his writings that relate to America, but rather point to that part of his works which relate to the history of the Jews and Israel – that is where he is most accurate and verifiable. And so that is the part of his books that i plan to focus on, perhaps in a new topic, this was just to see how much interest there might be.

Personally, i’m excited about the pattern of 7’s (including Jubilees) in historical events regarding Israel, and the return of the Jews to their land, which emerges from his studies. That is where the ultimate control of our God seems to really show up. If this interests you too, you might try “The Oracle” book – some fascinating factual relationships are revealed there.