As a part of trying to make money off its cash cow Jonathan Cahn, WorldNetDaily has been promoting his book "The Mystery of the Shemitah," which claims that every seventh year is a "Sabbath year" or “Shemitah” year linked to various cataclysmic events.
WND reported in 2014, when the book came out and when this Shemitah year began, that Cahn explains in the book that "nearly every major U.S. stock market collapse since the early 1900s has occurred during a Shemitah year, as did the terrorist attack and stock market collapse of September 2001 and the financial collapse of 2008." That year ended on Sept. 13, or "Elul 29" on the ancient Hebrew calendar.
WND honed in on that date to promote Cahn's books. As far back as 2012, WND was claiming that "a pattern of recent economic disasters based on the Hebrew calendar portends what some suspect we will be the biggest U.S. financial calamity yet Sept. 13, 2015." In May of this year, under the headline Countdown to disaster: 4 months to Shemitah," WND's Leo Hohmann touted the "climax" of the Shemitah year happening on Sept. 13, "the same biblical day of reckoning that brought record stock-market crashes in September 2001 and September 2008." But to give Cahn some wiggle room on his prophecy, Hohmann added, "Cahn remains cautious about making any specific predictions on how the Shemitah will play out over its final four months. He emphasizes that nobody can predict with absolute clarity what will happen as August turns into September and September into October."
Well, Sept. 13 came and went and, well, not much happened. Which means Cahn and WND had to explain it away.
First up was Cahn, who wrote a Sept. 24 WND column claiming what happened on Sept. 13 really wasn't that important: "And precisely because it is so precise and because it happened in the last two of the Shemitah’s cycles, many saw it as an absolute that a massive stock market day crash had to take place on the next such day, Sept. 13. Thus we have cautioned repeatedly that this particular manifestation and any particular manifestation does not have to occur in every or any one of the Shemitah’s cycles."
Cahn goes on to explain that as long as something bad happens within the "much larger template" of occuring sometime in or near the Shemitah year, his prophecy is fulfilled: "In many of the Shemitah years, the turbulence and collapse continue and may intensify past Elul 29, into the period of the Shemitah’s wake. In others, they do not. But whatever happens from this point forward, the Shemitah has already and again powerfully manifested."
That's some serious goalpost-moving there.
Then, in an unbylined Oct. 6 article, WND complained, "just as a new movie about Cahn’s life, “The Harbinger Man,” is about to be released," about a Right Wing Watch article -- which makes sure to tell us is "George Soros-funded" despite its lack of relevance to the subject -- calling out Cahn for nothing happening on Sept. 13:
Cahn has never made any such prediction or prophecy concerning dates or time periods but rather wrote about historic patterns of the seven-year cycle in his book “The Mystery of the Shemitah.”
All references to this pattern have been accompanied with a word of caution that God “didn’t have to do anything on Sept. 13,” or any other specific date, nor does God have to comply with anyone’s calendar or expectation.
The fact that WND didn't link to the Right Wing Watch item in question (which was written about three weeks before WND's article) tells us that it's hiding something. And despite WND taking issue with Right Wing Watch's assertion that Cahn predicted terrible things would happen on the "exact date" of Sept. 13, RWW backs it up by linking to a November 2014 Charisma magazine column by Cahn in which he appears to do exactly that (italics in original):
One of the most dramatic manifestations of this biblical phenomenon took place on Sept. 29, 2008. On that morning, the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange refused to ring. Then came the greatest stock-market point collapse in Wall Street history. Massive amounts of money were wiped out as financial accounts were nullified.
On what day did this greatest collapse take place? On the biblical day of Elul 29, the central day of the mystery of the Shemitah, the very day appointed to wipe out the financial accounts of a nation. And it was not only the day, but the year. The greatest wipeout of financial accounts in American history took place on the Elul 29 that only comes around once in seven years, the exact biblical day of financial nullification.
It is a mind-boggling phenomenon. And yet it's just the beginning. If you go back seven years earlier, according to the ancient seven-year mystery, you end up in September of 2001, the month of 9/11. But it was also the month of the other greatest crash in Wall Street history, up to that day. It took place on Sept. 17. On the ancient biblical calendar, this other greatest crash in American history took place on Elul 29, the exact same day—and the day that just happens to be appointed in the Bible for the wiping away of financial accounts!
On top of that, the crash of 2001 was caused by the terrorist-inspired events of 9/11. Thus, all these things only could have taken place on the exact date they did in accordance with the ancient mystery, if the timing of 9/11 was also in accordance with the ancient mystery. Thus, even behind 9/11 lay the ancient mystery of the Shemitah.
The WND article then devolves into an personal attack on RWW and the writer of the post, with Cahn asserting that, based on "looking on the web," that the author has been "cited in the past for a lack of truthfulness, the posting of what has been deemed to be slander, and for publishing a continual stream of vicious attacks on Christians." Cahn cited no examples of this.
If Cahn and WND didn't want to be held accountable for its predictions and suggestions on what would happen on Sept. 13, perhaps they shouldn't have hammered that date so hard in the first place.