A Double Standard for Jonathan Cahn

Jonathan Cahn ShemitahIn the Bible Jesus often condemned the religious hypocrisy of His day. One of the more vivid examples comes from Matthew 23 where He lectures the scribes and Pharisees, telling them they were “blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel”.

Lately, I admit that I’m bothered by the way some of Jonathan Cahn’s more strident critics have attacked his work and in some cases his character. Mind you, I’m all for constructive criticism given in the spirit of humility and grace. In fact, there are some parts of Mr. Cahn’s book that I’ve disagreed with myself, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

What I’m talking about are those who condemn his work with a sense of self-righteous superiority. While Mr. Cahn’s critics are straining to show the illegitimacy of his Shemitah theory, they fail to hold themselves to the same Biblical standard. In fact, I dare say they are straining at a proverbial gnat while swallowing a camel.

This is really about one of the best kept secrets of Bible prophecy. You see, many of Mr. Cahn’s critics hold a prophetic position far more influential for which they cannot provide a solid Biblical foundation. While they accuse Mr. Cahn of insufficient evidence, misinterpretation, and wishful thinking they are guilty of errors far more egregious. I’ll explain:

Like many of you, I believe in a yet future and literal second coming of Jesus, tribulation period, and millennial reign of Christ. By far one of the most influential passages of scripture related to this futurist belief is the prophecy found in Daniel 9. Most of us know it as the prophecy of 70 weeks. This Messianic prophecy in some ways influences nearly every aspect of our study of eschatology. Whether it be the seven year tribulation, the identity of the antichrist, or the rapture – Daniel 9 shapes our end-times world view.

Here is the uncomfortable secret Mr. Cahn’s critics won’t tell you. Nearly every one of them base their own interpretation of Daniel 9 upon several assumptions for which they cannot provide reasonable Bible evidence. In other words, while they complain about Mr. Cahn’s lack of evidence they do not hold themselves to the same rigorous standards.

Most know that Daniel 9 and the prophecy of 70 Weeks begins with a “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem”. Many assume this “commandment” was given during the reign of the Persian king Artaxerxes (Longimanus), the so called “Artaxerxes” of Ezra and Nehemiah. Remember this “commandment” is the very starting point for the only prophecy in the Bible which gives a specific date for the coming of the Messiah.

This is a big deal!

The problem is Mr. Cahn’s critics cannot prove their starting point with a reasonable rendering of the Bible’s chronological record.

What is so disconcerting about this apparent double standard is that the Bible is rich in chronological evidence related to Ezra and Nehemiah’s place in the second temple era. For example the Bible tells us that Ezra’s father died in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. This single fact creates serious interpretational problems for many of Cahn’s critics, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any mention of it in their writings.

You see, Ezra’s age is important, because it places Ezra and Nehemiah as contemporaries of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes nearly 60 years before the Persian Longimanus. This inconvenient fact moves Cahn’s critics starting point for the 70 weeks prophecy back by over a generation. In order to claim that Ezra was still alive during the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus you would have to believe that Ezra was, at his youngest, a quarter of a century older than Moses! Is that a reasonable rendering of the Biblical facts? Not hardly, especially when there is additional Biblical evidence which places Ezra and Nehemiah in the reign of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes. Here is just a taste:

*The age of the priests and Levites of Nehemiah 10 and 12.
*The curious facts related to the first and second temple porters.
*The chronology of Ezra 6 and 7 and the unnamed Persian “Artaxerxes”.
*The identity of the “Artaxerxes” of Ezra 6 who helped complete the temple by the 6th year of Darius.

Have you ever heard Cahn’s critics talk about any of these Biblical facts? I didn’t think so. Frankly, the second temple era is one of the best kept secrets of Biblical history and for good reason.

But here’s my point. If illustrating the supposed weaknesses of Cahn’s Shemitah theory is so important to sound Biblical teaching then why haven’t Cahn’s critics shown the same zeal towards to their own foundational teachings regarding the most important Messianic prophecy in the Bible?

As believers there is nothing wrong with offering sound constructive Biblical criticism of another believer’s teachings, but let’s do so with a bit of humility and grace. None of us have all the answers, especially as it relates to the study of Bible prophecy.

So as this age draws to a close, instead of attacking each other in self-righteous condemnation, let’s work through the sifting process together in a spirit of brotherly love and good will. We need each other, not only for clarification of error, but encouragement and edification. Let’s not forget the importance of the latter in our zeal for the former.

Maranatha!

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8 thoughts on “A Double Standard for Jonathan Cahn

  1. Christopher Savarimuthu

    I imagine Cahn’s critics began their tirade when nothing spectacularly calamitous happened at the end of the Shemitah’s cycle on the 29th of Elul, September 13 2015 on the Gregorian.
    I’ve noticed that when we expect a certain prophecy to take place, especially on a given time frame, it never does. Cahn, Biltz, Hagee and several others have discovered this to their utter astonishment. Men’s wisdom is, after all, God’s foolishness.
    Still, you are absolutely right in pointing out the wayward ways of Cahn’s critics. It is un-Christian and in direct opposition to the character of our Lord and Master Yeshua.
    Thank you, sir, for this timely reminder to the rest of us.

    Reply
  2. Jorge

    Not one man, not one doctrine, not one system of thought holds THE answers or has the full story. This is by design and for our own good; we are born with the carnal mind, the mind of the fallen, which is enmity against God (Romans 8:7-8); that is why we need salvation, because our mind is sick (God did not create this mind, but that discussion is for another post). For this reason, not one human is given all the power, or all the knowledge. If we are to find the answers, then we must learn to work together, looking for the clues and wisdom found within each system. So you are right William, let us respect each other! We must guard against the arrogance of the carnal mind; for it may very well be the anti-Christ spoken of in 1 John 4:3, and the double mindedness referenced in James 1:8 and James 4:8. We are double minded because at the essence of our being (God’s perfect creation – Deuteronomy 32:4) is the mind of Christ. At our best, we operate from this mind; at our worst, we operate from the carnal mind; so it is written “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Let us not make the mistake of thinking this verse is talking about “all those other people out there”…. after all, the Pharisees felt justified in their actions, blinded by their own carnal minds. Let us be forewarned, arrogance is not of God, Matthew 7:22-23 may very well be talking about such.

    Reply
  3. Davina Arton-Powell

    I agree with all the above. I thank God for all those who publish the results of their diligent reading and searching for the mysteries and truth in the bible. If any one or many people could get it all right we would not need God. I learn a lot from all the scholars I read and it is up to me to search and expose myself in order to grow in my relationship with God, always remembering that He will teach me if I study and search diligently, first and foremost in His word! Thank you to all of you whether we agree or not.

    Reply
      1. Lawrence

        “The problem is Mr. Cahn’s critics cannot prove their starting point with a reasonable rendering of the Bible’s chronological record.”

        “From Bible Chronology and The Scientific Method: “D. Positive Response: Academic Jews
        1. Jews in Israel
        a. Yeshivat Aish Hatorah,: While in Jerusalem on January 17,1983, I presented some material to people at a study center directed by Rabbi Noah Weinberg. I was introduced by Mr. Shmuel Lucas….Most interesting to me was sign on the wall, “our Past Lights our Future.” This group had a certain degree of reluctance to examine my research, yet, at the same time, they had a certain curiosity that they could not conceal. I found them much more open to my work than any other group I had confronted.

        b. The Temple Institute: I met with Levi Hazen . …I told them how Daniel’s 2300 years began on Jun3 7, 334 BC, the exact day that Alexander had defeated Darius, and ended on June 7, 1967 AD, the exact day the Temple mount was captured.

        c. The Hebrew University: Dr. Hayim Tadmor , Hebrew University, He wrote the chronology of the Jews for the Jewish Encyclopaedia. He seemed very interested in the methods I had used to resolve the problem surrounding Hezekiah and Sennachrib, that is to place the first campaign against Hezekiah when Sennacherib was still serving under his father Sargon.

        d. Bar-Ilan University: Dr. Yaacov Choueka.
        page 10″”

        Reply
  4. Celeste Fiddes

    Great write up. I love the Mystery of the Shemitah and appreciate your addressing the wide range of criticism against Mr.Cahn. I have to disagree (reading the comment’s thread) that nothing calamitous happened after the approximate
    end of the Shemitah cycle this year. The increase and continual onslaught of terror in Israel is tragic. The weather in other places of the world can not be defined as mild. And raging war in other lands is evidence of upheaval. If we are waiting for one calamitous event as evidence that the Feast and Shemitah and Lunar Cycle are significant for us to gauge God’s movement by I think we might miss out on some of the things he is trying to show us. Thank you Mr. Struse for the article.

    Reply

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