WND Ponders “The Mystery of the Shemitah”

New silliness from WND:

‘Harbinger’ author’s new book unlocks ‘The Mystery of the Shemitah’

The Harbinger is by Jonathan Cahn, and the book  interprets 9/11 through the lens of how the Hebrew Bible treats ancient Israelite history. Cahn is a Messianic Rabbi, meaning that he and his congregation are believers in Jesus of Jewish heritage and culture, and for many years he has claimed that his background gives him special insight into esoteric “Hebrew Mysteries” in the Bible and such.

Cahn’s subject may seem obscure, but the Harbinger has been heavily promoted in evangelical and conservative circles (here’s John Boehner posing with a copy): the notion that America is under divine judgement appeals to conservatives who dislike current trends in American society, while the idea that American history can be interpreted by applying a template from ancient Israel is confirmation that the USA is “special”.

The Mystery of the Shemitah is selling the same product as his earlier works:

The eight greatest postwar economic crashes are all mysteriously connected to a biblical Sabbath year pattern known in Hebrew as “the Shemitah,” reveals a book about to be released by the author of “The Harbinger,” the bestselling Christian book of the last three years.

…Among the stunning findings of the author who found jaw-dropping links between the 9/11 terrorist attack and an otherwise obscure biblical passage, Isaiah 9:10, is that 100 percent of the worst U.S. economic calamities since World War II are all lined to the “Shemitah,” the biblical Sabbath year, its wake or the biblical month of Tishri in which the “Shemitah” falls.

Here’s an example of his method:

In 1931, a solar eclipse took place on Sept. 12 – the end of a “Shemitah” year. Eight days later, England abandoned the gold standard, setting off market crashes and bank failures around the world. It also ushered in the greatest monthlong stock market percentage crash in Wall Street history.

This shows that he’s simply looking for anything that might fit in the years he thinks are special. Thus the UK abandoning the gold standard is a sign of “economic crashes linked to Bible pattern”, yet for some reason we don’t have to take account of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The fact that Wall Street’s nadir was actually in July 1932 isn’t a problem either – he simply finds an event in September 1931 that might plausibly be connected, and decides arbitrarily that this the origin of the chain of events (1)

In other words: Confirmation Bias 101.

Incidentally, the solar eclipse which the article also mentions was a partial eclipse that was visible in Alaska and Russia. It’s not clear what this has to do with anything, but the next “Shemitah” year is 2015, and  WND is also promoting a complementary theory about the apocalyptic and Biblical significance of “blood moons”:

Is Cahn predicting doom and gloom on Sept. 13, 2015? He’s careful to avoid a prediction, saying, “In the past, this ushered in the worst collapses in Wall Street history. What will it bring this time? Again, as before, the phenomenon does not have to manifest at the next convergence. But, at the same time, and again, it is wise to take note.”

…Cahn also notes the fact that 2014 and 2015 are marked by a series of blood moons – a pattern that began on Passover 2014 and will conclude on the Feast of Tabernacles in 2015, as discovered by Pastor Mark Biltz, author of “Blood Moons” and the inspiration for a documentary of the same name.

Biltz’s theory has also been promoted by John Hagee, and I discussed it here.

The Mystery of the Shemitah will be published by Frontline, an imprint of Stephen Strang’s Charisma House. Strang also published the Harbinger, and in 2012 Strang and Cahn appeared together on Jim Bakker’s television show to explain that the book itself is the result of divine provenance. Meanwhile, WND produced a tie-in DVD, called The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment, and a number of other WND religious products are branded as “By the Creators of the No. 1 Faith Film The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment”.

And this autumn, Cahn and Bakker will be taking part in a tour of the Holy Land with WND editor Joseph Farah.


(1) However, it’s not actually at all clear that the events are connected in this way: I’ve taken a quick look at a few economic history books, and there’s no sign that the UK leaving the gold standard in 1931 should be understood in catastrophic terms – quite the opposite, in fact. The gold standard is, though, something of a fetish for certain US conservatives.