We now continue with our examination of The HARBINGER by Jonathan Cahn based on the book by David James: The HARBINGER: FACT OR FICTION.
PARALLELS ARE NOT PROPHETIC –
The idea that events and proclamations in Israel were mirrored in America’s own events and proclamations inevitably mean that they are in some mysterious way connected is fallacious.
After all, there were plagues in Egypt, such as the immense and devastating swarms of locusts; yet there have likewise been locust plagues elsewhere in the world.
Those plagues in Egypt were a result of God’s judgment upon that nation for refusing to let the children of Israel go.
Does this necessarily mean that other nations were likewise under God’s judgment when they suffered such plagues?
What distinguishes the one from the other is the fact that the judgment of Egypt was foretold in the Scriptures as a judgment sent from God; other locust plagues have not.
If such a connection between Israel and America is a mystery revealed by God, then the one to whom this mystery was revealed would have to be considered a prophet. Yet was this mystery truly revealed by God to Cahn? Does he consider himself a prophet?
ARE MODERN PROPHETS PROFITABLE?
Brannon House of Worldview Weekend asked Cahn about these questions as has Jimmy DeYoung. Howse further asked if Cahn believed that the office of prophet and apostle was valid today; Cahn was asked about the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) Movement and if there were prophets and apostles in that movement.
Cahn doesn’t claim for himself to be a prophet and he further states that he is “cautious” about others who claim to be prophets. He does say that the message he has given in The Harbinger is “prophetic” however.
One must wonder how a book can be prophetic in nature and yet the author claims not to be a prophet? Others have given prophetic sermons or messages, but this is based solely on Scripture and not Scripture plus “mysteries revealed that have never been revealed before” by people with insight enough to perceive them.
This would constitute a “private interpretation” on Isaiah 9: 10, seeing how the mystery according to Cahn involves America today as it did ancient Israel in antiquity:
2 PETER 1: 19-21 19
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Cahn, while not claiming to be a prophet, nevertheless attributes this book as something that God gave him and further, implies that the writing and publishing of the book itself came about my God’s supernatural hand (“Lord, The Harbinger is Your message. I don’t want it to go forth by the ways of man. It’s Yours. You get out the word Your way.” J. Cahn on Commandment Keepers; May 13, 2012).
While on a plane trip he relates how a man sitting next to him prophesied over him, that he will publish a book (more than one) – and that God is about to do something big and it will change his life.
Promotions for the book by Sid Roth’s (It’s Supernatural) and endorsements by Pat Robertson (700 Club) and Joseph Farah (WorldNetDaily) have all gone on record that this is a must read.
Many others as well as promotional materials for the book have likewise endorsed it and have stated that it’s a prophetic message.
“And is it possible that God is now sending a prophetic word to America, a word of warning that the nation lies in danger and unless it returns to Him is heading for impending judgment?” Sid Roth. Roth also stated, “David Wilkerson was a prophet. You [Jonathan Cahn] are a prophet that’s going on really deep revelation of what David Wilkerson saw [sic]. What do you think is going to happen to America?”
David James comments:
“If ever Cahn were going to deny that he is a prophet that would have been the time to do so. Yet not only did he fail to correct Roth, but he also went on to answer Roth’s question, giving his view as to what he sees is yet ahead for the United States, as if he had accepted what Roth had just said about him.”
Among many other observations regarding these issues, Mr. James states:
“Cahn himself seems to believe that God has chosen him to reveal the hidden prophetic message of Isaiah to America (because this idea cannot be understood on the basis of the text alone).” When Sid Roth (from Its Supernatural) interviewed Jonathan Cahn, he identified him as a prophet, comparing him to David Wilkerson (whom Roth believes was a prophet).
What’s important to note is that Cahn never corrects Roth on identifying him as one who has a prophetic message (i.e. prophet), while at the same time, never claiming to be a prophet (nor did Wilkerson). Both of them have had prophetic conviction of a coming tragedy, but whereas Cahn affirmed that 9/11 was the fulfillment of that prophecy, Wilkerson denied it. They can’t both be correct, so through which of these has God genuinely spoken through and who decides?
Note: I, the author of this article, have received many blessings in newsletters and blog articles, as well as video (mostly seen on youtube) from David Wilkerson, but when he spoke with prophetic content on any issue, apart from the foundation of biblical revelation, I had to disregard such things and found it increasingly more difficult to receive from his ministry.
If we were living during the Old Testament period, such people giving prophecies that didn’t come to pass would have been dealt quite harshly (Deut. 18:20-22; Wilkerson also referred to the church as “spiritual Zion” or “spiritual Israel” which is an incorrect appellation as Israel and Zion are terms that apply to the Jewish nation, and not the body of Christ).
Today there exists false teachers in the church (just as there were false prophets in Israel) and these exert an influence equally detrimental to the spiritual health and well being of the church (2 Ptr. 2:1-2). It is the expressed belief here at TTUF that the offices of apostle and prophet are closed due to the fact that no more content is required in the canon of Scripture as the Word itself declares (Rev. 22:19).
However, there is a movement today that is gaining ground at an incredible rate known as the New Apostolic Reformation movement (NAR; TTUF will be doing an upcoming article on this movement) which claims ‘new revelation’ from God, even though such proclamations and prophetic declarations are not always entirely accurate (much less in compliance to the written Word!).
These sort and those Charismatics associated with them, such as Sid Roth, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, Perry Stone (TBN) are among Cahn’s greatest promoters and extol his book as “brilliant” and “extraordinary”. What’s more is that Jonathan Cahn is given a platform among many NAR and related conferences, and more than merely incidentally, but consistently (such as a recent attendance of Chuck Pierce’s Celebrate Passover conference as one of the keynote speakers, and that also included Chuck Pierce himself, C. Peter Wagner, Barbara J. Yoder and Kyle Searcy).
Cahn’s participation in these conferences and ministries would imply his endorsement of such (otherwise why would he participate?) and that is problematic and must be recognized in order to gain a more critical view of his book – which is published by Charisma House, the company built almost exclusively upon extreme charismatic books and whose magazine has regularly featured such people as Benny Hinn, John Arnott, Mike Bickle, T.D. Jakes, Perry Stone, Reinhard Bonnke, Joyce Meyer, Jim Bakker, Fred Price, Rodney Howard-Browne, Oral Roberts, Joseph Prince, among others.
This is, for any biblical Christian, thoroughly contrary to the Scriptural admonition as David James recites in the following passages of his treatment:
2 JOHN 1:9
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
ROMANS 16: 17-18
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
1 TIMOTHY 6: 20-21
20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
David James concludes at the end of this particular chapter that,
"These all point to the fact that Jonathan Cahn has personal and close ministry relationships with these false teachers who are promoting his book. Why he would try to distance himself from these men when speaking and writing to those concerned about the book is puzzling and actually seems rather disingenuous."
FACTUAL FICTION or FALLACIOUS FANTASY? –
As stated previously Cahn has used the vessel of a fictional book to convey certain supposedly factual evidences that America is under God’s judgment. This sort of story has been seen before, particularly where historical and true events are couched by the author as a backdrop with fictional characters and events taking place.
However, no historical novel would be treated like a text book of history because the lines of distinction between fact and fiction are blurred. History can be confusing enough with contradictory accounts of the same events, without further muddying up the waters with contrivances by an author for the sake of a story. Such is the case with these nine harbingers represented by small clay seals (coin sized disks that the prophet in the story gives over to Kaplan, the main character):
[The PROPHET] “Seals like this one were used to mark important documents – edicts, decrees, communications by kings, rulers, princes, priests and scribes – in ancient times. The seal was the sign of authenticity. It would let you know that the message was real, from someone important, and to be taken seriously.” David James asks, “Do these seals really exist as an archeological find, or are they simply part of the fictional storyline? The answer is not clear in the book . . .” If they were real, it would lend some credibility to this work; if they are not then they would lend a false sense of credibility. Other literary elements of the story would seem to make it indiscernible to the reader to judge what is real and what is not, such as the dream of Solomon’s Temple which Kaplan had in which he saw King Solomon dedicating the Temple of God when he suddenly was transformed into George Washington who was being inaugurated as President . . . on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, insinuating some sort of connection between the two men, and the two nations.
Was this account in the story based on a real dream that someone had, or just another literary (and fictional) device used to convey something the author intended to reveal. Cahn asserts that on 9/11 the events that transpired on American soil was a sign that God had removed “His hedge of protection” and allowed America’s enemies to take down the World Trade Center and commenced the judgment of God on the nation.
David James comments:
"To claim to know these things with the absolute certainty affirmed by the author is to claim insight into the very mind of God, including His specific purposes and plans for America in this generation. Although one might speculate and form opinions, these things cannot be known for sure unless God personally reveals them. So does Cahn believe that he has received this necessary revelation? If so, is he right? Is God using him as a prophet . . . given him special insight . . .?"
INQUIRY INTO ISAIAH –
While Cahn states that there is no direct connection between Israel and America but only a pattern or parallel to that “specific pattern” starting with 9/11, on the other hand, he very clearly presents the idea that they are more than simple parallels and that a direct connection does exist:
[The PROPHET] “Israel was unique among the nations in that it was conceived and dedicated at its foundation for the purposes of God . . . But there was one other – a civilization also conceived and dedicated to the will of God from its conception . . . America. In fact, those who laid its foundations . . . saw [America] as the new Israel, they saw it as in covenant with God.”
~ * ~ * ~
[KAPLAN] “So if the ancient mystery is joined to America, then somehow 9/11 has to be linked to the words ‘We will rebuild’ (as quoted from Isaiah 9:10).
~ * ~* ~
[The PROPHET] “Well done, Nouriel. So what would we expect to find in Washington DC?”
[KAPLAN] “Some link between this city and the ancient vow,” I said, “Somehow Isaiah 9:10 has to be connected to Washington DC.”
~ * ~ * ~
[The PROPHET] “Solomon was the king of Israel. Washington was the first president of the United States. There was something in the linking of ancient Israel and America, as with all the other mysteries.”
Cahn asserts that a “hidden mystery” is found in Isaiah 9:10 and is a “driving force” in events here in America over the last ten years. The Prophet in the story links this passage of Scripture to the American economy through what he calls “the Isaiah effect” that came about in America once certain prominent leaders made the declaration of “we will rebuild”.
This ‘vow’ uttered by American dignitaries set forth “an inevitable cascade of events” beginning with the terrorist attack on 9/11. David James points out something else that is essential:
He observes that the argument for a cause and effect relationship made by Cahn between this “Isaiah Effect” of 9:10 and events in America in the form of some mystery, “while also denying that it is a prophecy about America comes perilously close to being a mystical view and application of the passage. It almost sounds as if he is suggesting that the power of the prophecy is bound up in the formulaic use of the words themselves.”
“Although such a use of words is characteristic in certain mystical practices, this is not the way biblical prophecy works. The power of biblical prophecy is not in the words that are spoken but in the LORD who is the source of prophecy (Rev. 19:10)”. This is a peculiar confusion between “biblical approaches to understanding and applying God’s Word with mystical ones.”
A CONSTITUTION . . . and a COVENANT? –
God initiated different programs with people throughout Scripture such as Abraham and David, but also Adam, Eve, Noah and Moses. These are of course, covenants which the LORD God made when He approached these individuals with revelation and a plan of His own design. Some of these were conditional, others were unconditional, but they all had God as the Divine Initiator of them all.
Cahn never states that America has replaced Israel in any way, or has become “a” or “the new Israel”. Yet he does seem to imply that there is a kind of “American Covenant” based upon the beliefs of the early settlers of the New World.
This is the basis for the book, that America has failed to live up to this covenant agreement and as a result us destined for judgment:
[The PROPHET] “Those who laid America’s foundations saw it as the new Israel, an Israel of the New World. And as with ancient Israel, they saw it as in covenant with God.”
[The PROPHET]: “Meaning its rise or fall would be dependent on its relationship with God. If it followed His ways, America would become the most blessed, prosperous and powerful nation on earth. From the very beginning they foretold it. And what they foretold would come true. America would rise to heights no other nation had ever known. Not that it was ever without fault or sin, but it would aspire to fulfill its calling.”
[KAPLAN] “What calling?”
[The PROPHET] “To be a vessel of redemption, an instrument of God’s purposes, a light to the world. It would give refuge to the world’s poor and needy and hope to its oppressed… And, as much as it fulfilled its calling or aspired to, it would become the most blessed . . . nation on the earth – just as its founders had prophesied.”
[KAPLAN] “But there’s a ‘but’ coming, isn’t there?”
[The PROPHET] “Yes”, he replied. “There was always another side to the covenant. If ancient Israel fell away from God and turned against His ways, its blessings would be removed and replaced with curses.”
Based on this, Cahn warns America that this nation also faces judgment. This will happen if America repeats Israel’s mistake (by breaking its covenant with God). While no where in his book is this idea expressed overtly, there are references that strongly suggest such is the case.
Cahn seems to believe that the Founding Fathers were correct after all in viewing America as a new Israel (apparently, many of the Puritans may have seen a direct association between the “ten lost tribes of Israel” and the nations of Europe and as a result, America, the colony of Europe and specifically of England, was perceived as a kind of “Northern House of Israel” (British Israelism) and thereby claims legitimacy to the Abrahamic Covenant for Americans, members of the ‘house of Israel’.
Cahn was interviewed by Glenn Beck on his show (June 26th and 27th; See a 12 min. video here).
Listen to Glenn’s Beck words just after 2 minutes regarding a “covenant”.
For more on Glenn Beck on America’s future, Israel’s past and the connections of “the ten lost tribes” (which Mormons subscribe to, believing that they are themselves either related to, or are directly descendant from) Israel to America, check out an earlier interview/discussion he had with others that hold the same views as Jonathan Cahn (whose name is mentioned) here.
David James on the interview between Beck and Cahn:
"Beck used the word ‘covenant’ and his viewers would have completely understood that he was talking about the covenant. Although it is true that Cahn uses the word ‘dedication’ instead, anyone (except perhaps someone who has read Cahn’s denials of believing in an American covenant) would have understood that Cahn and Beck were talking about exactly the same thing – two parallel nations, two parallel places of dedication, two parallel places of destruction, and two parallel covenants".
There is no way that this can be interpreted from what is said in this interview. “Cahn had the perfect opportunity to clarify that he does not actually see it as a covenant with America, Rather than doing that, Cahn tracks with Beck throughout the conversation. All he would have had to say was, ‘I just want to be clear, though – I don’t see America’s dedication as being the same as the covenant that Israel had.’
But Beck does see them as the same, so it is understandable why it would be difficult for Cahn to do this.” In an open letter to T.A. McMahon of The BEREAN CALL, Cahn writes the following:
"What it does state, is something quite different, namely, that America’s founders established the nation after the pattern of ancient Israel, did dedicate it to God, and believed that in this, they were in covenant with God. Whether or not and to what degree God could honor such a commitment or prayer is left an open question. To dogmatically say that He could not honor such a prayer or dedication would exceed scriptural parameters. . . . America has been blessed.
But the idea that this necessitates such a covenant, or that God entered into such a covenant, is never claimed anywhere in the book."
Yet as I have already stated, every covenant God ever made was always with Israel and no other nation, and each of these covenants were initiated by God Himself, never by the people that entered into covenant with Him.
If God did indeed accept this American covenant from these early Puritan settlers, and later by Colonial America’s leaders this would establish a precedent found no where in Scripture; in essence it would be an extra-biblical act of God – contrary to His promise in the Word, which states revelation knowledge would come only through the prophets of God, especially The PROPHET and APOSTLE: Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1; Acts 3:22):
ISAIAH 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
AMOS 3:7 7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
To reiterate, the biblical view of covenants is that they are always established by God and for Israel, never a Gentile nation (strangely enough, Cahn admitted this in a discussion group, and yet also speaks of such things favorably in other settings).
This is not to say that if a nation repents when the pronouncement of God’s forthcoming judgment is revealed, God in His grace will forgive them, but this is not a covenant agreement, this is the astounding work of God’s grace in response to a people whose hearts are turned to Him in a solemn act of repentance.
Such was the case with the people of Nineveh when Jonah declared God’s impending judgment on them; they did not however repent in the next century when they returned to evil and rejected the Word of the LORD from the prophet Nahum:
7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
In summary, David James list five key points regarding these issues of Anglo/British Israelism, and an American covenant:
1) Anglo-Israelism and an American covenant view are often inseperable.
2) The HARBINGER presents an American covenant view clearly enough for Anglo-Israelism proponents to embrace the book and appeal to it for support of that view.
3) Anglo-Israelism has been almost exclusively a defining characteristic of certain cults such as Mormonism and the Worldwide Church of God.
4) Although Cahn has denied holding to an American covenant view in some contexts, he has tacitly affirmed this view, or remained non-committal, or been ambiguous at the very least in other contexts.
5) A growing number of conservative evangelical theologians also interpret Cahn’s words as clearly promoting an American covenant view.
In the next segment we will briefly go over David James’ last point in this chapter before we finally get to examine these Nine Harbingers as listed by Cahn in his intriguing novel and see what David James has to say about these mystical emblems of supposed revelatory knowledge from God.
Until then, be prepared to meet the LORD in the AIR! KING JESUS RETURNS SOON!