Apparently the hearts of many Christians are all astir again these days over Jonathan Cahn’s exciting new book, The Mystery of the Shemitah. The blurb on the book’s cover calls it, “The 3,000-Year-Old Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future, the World’s Future, and Your Future!”
Wow. I better get a copy. But fast; its sellers warn that it’s “flying off the shelves.”
Cahn’s previous book The Harbinger was a “runaway bestseller” on the New York Times Christian books list. Looks like this one is on the way to joining it.
What is the shemitah? It’s the sabbath year as laid out in Leviticus.
When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather the fruit thereof;
But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field or prune thy vineyard (Lev. 25:2-4).
Failure to keep this and other things set forth in the Law would bring judgment (Lev. 26:34, 1 Chr. 36:21).
And so Cahn propounds that it is failure to observe the shemitah (pronounced shmeeta) that has caused cyclical devastation every seven years in the earth. I have not read the book but saw it advertised on Charisma News along with an interview Sid Roth (It’s Supernatural) had with Jonathan Cahn. So I watched the interview. Cahn proclaimed to a very excited Roth that it is failure to keep the shemitahs that has brought down judgments upon the world in seven-year cycles going a long way back. He listed several. It included the world wars. The Great Depression. 9/11 in 2001. The last one was the financial crisis of 2008. Apparently the next shemitah is from September 25, 2014 to September 13, 2015, which could bring down on us… who knows what.
There is only one little problem with this teaching. It is entirely false. It is derived from a covenant—the old covenant— that is no longer in effect. Don’t take my word for it; get it straight from the writers of the New Testament:
For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness (Heb. 7:18 NKJV).
In that He says, “A New Covenant,” He has made the first obsolete (Heb. 8:13 NKJV).
If we dare to believe our New Testament, then, the only covenant now extant with God is the New Covenant. The covenant God made with the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) is not a covenant independent of Christ; it is fulfilled in Christ and His New covenant (Acts 13:32-34, Gal. 4:16). And (according to the verses quoted above) the covenant God made with Israel under the shadow of Mount Sinai is obsolete. It is null and void. It is no longer in effect. According to an online site on legal definitions I checked out, “a void contract imposes no legal rights or obligations upon the parties and is not enforceable by a court. It is, in effect, no contract at all.” And so the Sinai covenant, the old covenant, because it is void, because it has been annulled, cannot be enforced. That would be tantamount to trying to enforce a business partnership that has been legally disbanded, or a marriage contract that has been nullified, or trying on the basis of an old title deed to lay claim to land that has been sold to someone else.
God has brought in a BETTER covenant now (Heb. 7:22, 8:6)—better not only for Gentiles, but for Jews (with whom, actually, it was first made). As a result, the old contract is no longer in effect.
But even if the Old Covenant were still in effect there is not the slightest suggestion anywhere in the Bible that the shemitah was in force for any nation other than Israel. In fact the Old Covenant was a covenant God made with Israel alone. How then could the shemitah be something that “holds the secret of America’s future, the world’s future, and your future?”
I find it very distressing, even frightening, that so many Christians are being duped by this kind of teaching.
Distressing… because it is evidence of how grievously lacking they are in their understanding of the basic difference between the Old Covenant and the New; there is such a blindness, it seems, as to the astonishing terms of the New Covenant. And many believe God still holds out the Old Covenant for Jews that don’t believe in Jesus, and they can still come to Yahweh on the basis of that covenant. It is a teaching that does despite to the blood of Christ.
Frightening… because (and I know I am generalizing) this present generation of charismatic/evangelical Christians has strayed far, far from the truth– God’s controversy is with their teachers– and as a result they are abysmally ill prepared for the hour that is at hand. I tell you, there is trouble at the door. Great trouble. And it is going to result in the great and frightening collapse of a realm of Christianity that ought to have prepared its people for that hour, but did not.