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Jonathan Cahn, AFA “Heresy” and the Harbinger: Mis-Understanding Israel & America


After posting an excerpt from a message from Barth Notes, (American Evangelicalism and the Hebrew Roots Movement) Michael was kind enough to pass on the link to a website which has posted an excellent critique  of Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger.

From Ponderings of a Pilgrim blogspot; The AFA “Heresy” and the Harbinger: Mis-Understanding Israel & America

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer as he said, “Only two nations in history have ever had a direct covenant relationship with God, Israel and America.” He claimed that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were America’s covenant documents with God. He was making this claim in the context of promoting Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger. As soon as I heard him say those words, I thought to myself, “That’s the AFA heresy right there. That’s the whole problem with their theology!”

In the list of top-selling Christian books, right along with Todd Burpo and Sarah Young (books I have reviewed and critiqued elsewhere in this blog – here and here), stands The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. This book takes readers to Isaiah 9:10 as a prophecy of the judgment of God against America on 9/11/2001. Cahn point out that “The One-Year Bible” published in 1985, puts Isaiah 9:10 on Sept. 11th -

“The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place. But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies.” – Isaiah 9:10-11, ESV

First of all, before I go any further, any time an author starts playing “numbers games” or hidden-code tricks with the Bible (“secret prophecies”/ citing page numbers from “The One-Year Bible”), run the other way! This is not a responsible way of handling the Bible. The basic “propechy” behind the book rests on Cahn’s ability to string together random events and coincidences and read them into the text of Isaiah 9:10. This is called “eisogesis,” when you read into a text a meaning which is not there.

FACT: No responsible Bible scholar would assert that Isaiah 9:10 anything to do with America whatsoever.

The Harbinger has been heavily promoted on American Family Radio (AFR). I listen to AFR regularly, as they sometimes have some good things to say. However, when they start talking about The Harbinger or the theology of Israel & America which underlies both this book and much of AFR’s message, I get pretty irritated.

I have written a more in-depth blog post (No Distinctions: Lord of All) exposing the flawed theology promoted by AFR, but I will just pick out a few highlights and be more specific. In my other post, I was concerned to be Biblical and not to name names, but sometimes you have to step out and name names.

Here are four key errors that underlie the theology of The Harbinger and American Family Radio:

1. The political nation-state of Israel has a right to the land of Canaan; it is a Promised Land for ethnic Jews.

2. Ethnic Jews are the Chosen People of God forever.

3. America has a covenant with God through our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

4. America is guilty of breaking covenant faithfulness with God and is suffering covenant judgment.

Each of these four statement above is false and un-Biblical

*Please Continue Reading Here

 

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10 comments on “Jonathan Cahn, AFA “Heresy” and the Harbinger: Mis-Understanding Israel & America

  1. But it sure does sell books. When all the usual heretics endorse something – Bingo!”.

    • Sure does.

      I was reading a book recently was listed all the so-called prophecy books which ended up as best-sellers of the last 30 years. At the top, The Late Great Planet Earth. If you haven’t browsed through it in years (yes, i own a copy, ahaha!) you should. Rereading some of Lindsey’s “predictions” from all those years ago is a real eye-opener for how ridiculous they now sound.

  2. I read the book “The Harbinger” because a friend wanted my opinion of it and I found the story quite troubling but for reasons other than what one might think. The basic premise of the book is that God was warning America that punishment is coming by bringing about the events of September 11, 2001 (911).

    911 was to become the warning shot to the United States that unless the nation repented a greater national punishment would come. Between the lines, the implications also include the concept that the nation of Israel should become a priority in future American protocol and that our failure to do so would also bring God against America.

    But that is not what troubled me about the book. To help explain why I do not recommend the book I must add that the military taught me that the best way to engage the enemy is to know them and know them well. Therefore, I have spent a good portion of thirty years or more studying all forms of esoteric, satanic and spiritual practices to have a better understanding of the enemy. And therefore, when someone claims to speak for God and uses scripture to support their claim the first thing I do is pray.

    In this case I was saddened by the fact that this writer used Cabala commentary, the Babylonian Talmud and other sorceries to substantiate his interpretation of Isaiah’s prophecy. And while I know that it is a very long and common practice for evil to masquerade as good (2 Corinthians 11: 13-15) to subvert the works of God it is not my place to judge this writers heart.

    But I feel that one must not automatically discount the warning for two very important reasons: one, America is indeed spoken of in prophecy and two, how one responds to God’s word may send one in a direction one shouldn’t go. For example, even if the writer himself comes and admits that his purpose is to deceive it would be a mistake to say that just because this man practiced evil that America will just continue on forever and that punishment shall never touch her shores because that would be wrong.

    Many professing Christians have been subvertly planted by the enemy by first building up and then tearing down so that confidence in the Word of God is compromised in many hearts. Further, when a so-called prophet has been exposed then that fact can be used to destroy a truth especially if the truth is unwelcomed.

    I am NOT saying that 911 was sent by God to warn us of impending judgment. And I am NOT saying that this man’s vision is true either because it misrepresents what God IS saying to America and unless one is willing to have eyes to see and ears to hear a true warning will go unnoticed, unappreciated, unwelcomed and treated as all the other failed prophecies before and after it. That is the true purpose of this book. Like the little boy who cried wolf, in time, no one pays any attention when truth comes.

    • Like the little boy who cried wolf, in time, no one pays any attention when truth comes.

      Forgive me for pulling out that one line Dave2 but i feel its important, even as a stand-alone statement.

      I do believe the Holy Spirit “dropped” this same truth into my mind and heart years ago as it pertains to false “words” and the prophets who utter them. Our enemy is extremely sly and knows he cannot convince all God’s people that God does not still speak to us today, so he also goes another route…one of bombarding the spiritual airwaves (and the church) with so many false “words” and prophets that we become overwhelmed to the point of tuning out ALL words. I speak first hand for that is exactly what i did for a season. Its actually a pretty clever maneuver. The same principle could be said to apply to spiritual gifts: the great number of false manifestations has caused many to close their hearts to the real.

      Again, sorry. I know this was completely off topic but just felt to comment on your excellent observation.

      As far as the book, i have never read it so can’t comment on its over-all contents. But from what i’ve read about the theology of Jonathan Cahn in the past 2 days, i feel relatively safe in saying there’s not much i’ve found in which i agree with him. The 4 points listed as being in his book, are (as pointed out) not biblical.

      1. The political nation-state of Israel has a right to the land of Canaan; it is a Promised Land for ethnic Jews.

      2. Ethnic Jews are the Chosen People of God forever.

      3. America has a covenant with God through our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

      4. America is guilty of breaking covenant faithfulness with God and is suffering covenant judgment.

  3. When I was a hard-core Patriot, I would eat this stuff up. The Bible, like Edward Casey, Mayan Pyramids or the innards of birds, was a mystery document to tap for hidden secrets of the Future. Would the god of America ever abandon his blessed Republic as long as she remained true to democracy and freedom?! Certainly not!

    It’s not followers of the Lord Jesus who eat these up primarily but syncretic, half-converted, nominal Americans who have a love affair with their country. Functionally, this country was the blessed mediator between god and man. I would know, I was there.

    • Edgar Cayce and the power of the Mayan Pyramids…boy, haven’t thought of that stuff, and all the other paths i traveled down back in the 70’s (before coming to Jesus) for years! :-)

      We seem to have traveled down some of the same dead-end paths Cal, ahah…

  4. Something that I have been asking the Lord to highlight in my day as I walk out this Faith He has given to me comes from this Word about the prophetic voice and the human who speaks for God and does signs that come to pass but …!!!!!

    Deu 13:1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,
    Deu 13:2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’
    Deu 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

    While I believe it is not only foundational, elementary it is function that we study the Old Testament because these things were written for our learning and admonition upon whom the “ends of the ages has come”.

    The reality though is God had this written to keep our eyes on the ball so to speak and know whether or not the sign or wonder coming to pass is of the Lord or just the Lord testing us to strengthen our resolve and His Faith in us:

    Heb 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
    Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

    Notice something here. Those Words are from the book of “Hebrews”. Supposedly this was the ball they should keep their eyes on as we all?

    Question, can you point anywhere in those two verses where God isolates and gives special attention to the United States or present day Israel?

    Seems to me there is a place in whom he appointed the heir of “all” things for both just that Cahn and many many others tend to isolate the United States and present day Israel for some special treatment when Our God is not partial to any of His Elect. We all get fair unfettered and even treatment with it comes to both discipline, as it a wippin’ behind the wood shed and the manifold blessings of Christ!

    Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
    Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
    Eph 1:5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
    Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

    Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
    Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
    Heb 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
    Heb 12:4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
    Heb 12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
    Heb 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
    Heb 12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
    Heb 12:8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
    Heb 12:9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
    Heb 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
    Heb 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

    • Question, can you point anywhere in those two verses where God isolates and gives special attention to the United States or present day Israel?

      Seems to me there is a place in whom he appointed the heir of “all” things for both just that Cahn and many many others tend to isolate the United States and present day Israel for some special treatment when Our God is not partial to any of His Elect. We all get fair unfettered and even treatment with it comes to both discipline, as it a wippin’ behind the wood shed and the manifold blessings of Christ!

      Amen brother Michael, amen! And well said!

  5. “Like the little boy who cried wolf, in time, no one pays any attention when truth comes” Dave 2

    Can I do this here? Can I cry about a real wolf? Can I cry wolf about 9/11?
    A little over a year ago I was watching a christian internet channel one day and they introduced a man who was there to talk about the 9/11 conspiracy. I was surprised. I was actually repulsed. What business does THAT have being on christian television? What does 911 conspiracy have to do with the gospel? How ridiculous I thought. Don’t they know this could offend many in receiving the gospel? I turned it off!! BUT, something stuck in the back of my mind… if I ever get the opportunity I might just take a look at it again and try to understand what they are claiming. Well that opportunity inevitably came.

    Last April my wife was out of town for a week visiting her mother and I found myself with plenty of time on my hands, so I took the time to examine more closely the incident of 9/11. I went to youtube wondering if there was anything there to see. I began to watch all the news coverage and video tapes of the event as it happened that day. I was shocked to realize how much I had forgotten. or never knew about that day.

    In multiple videos you could hear explosions in the buildings during the initial stages of rescue, bombs exploding, firemen saying there were bombs in the building, the ground floor looked like a war zone when the firemen went in, two inch plate glass windows blown out on the ground floor, 911 hero Willie Rodriguez claiming a bomb went off in the basement right before the first plane hit, people in the hospital with injuries and broken bones claiming explosions in the middle and lower sections of the towers. Peter Jennings saying it had all the appearance of a controlled demolition. City employee Barry Jennings claiming bombs were exploding in World Trade Center 7 six hours before it fell at 5:20pm.

    There was a guy who set up his camera and audio across the Hudson river and filmed for 2-3 hours after the first plane hit. You could see the camera shake with the explosions and then the delayed sound picked up by the audio. There was tons of this stuff. Not 9/11 conspiracy info but first hand video and accounts. Then I ran across the video of the fall of the World Trade Center 7 which fell that same day at about 5:20 pm. You should look this up. WTC 7 also falls exactly like a controlled demolition while the official claim is that it fell due to fire. How does a building that size fall all at once due to fire? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv7BImVvEyk

    My mind was changed that day about what happened. It was a revelation to me and a confirmation of what some of us are coming to see about Christians and politics and nationalism and patriotism. It’s not just unbiblical, it’s evil. The world and it’s works are evil. I sat there shaking my head, telling myself, “How could you be so gullibly stupid”? I could never again believe that two airplanes hijacked by terrorists with box cutters brought down those three buildings. It’s fantasy land really.

    Christians, myself included, have been naive in the extreme about the media, the government and our political leaders in the USA. We have been duped by our own “religious leaders” as well. Nationalism is a veil. We can see all the other nations and governments in the world as evil or potentially evil but not the USA. They would never deceive us or mislead us. But they have. Gulf of Tonkin and the start of the Viet Nam war. Pearl Harbor and our entrance into WWII. Now the US is eyeball deep in the Middle East and has been for 11 years through the influence of this horrible tragedy. It’s beyond well documented that George W Bush was seeking a way to go after Iraq long before 911 ever happened. It’s beyond well documented that the USA was warned of an impending attack using airplanes by a multitude of sources 911 was the justification to do so.

    The more we come out from amongst them and are separate, the more we can embrace the truth of God’s word and the more we will see the deception for what it is. What is the deception? A conspiracy at the highest levels of power to affect a One World system through politics, religion and economics and the USA and it’s resources are the prime mover in this goal, all the while draining the economic might of the USA and using patriotic Americans who are being played for suckers, pawns in the terrorism charade while the true agenda is a restructuring of the Middle East into a Middle Eastern Union by removing those dictators and regimes who won’t cooperate with that agenda and replacing them with those who will. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAS_q5TYkSg

    Similar to the structuring of the existing European Union and the future North American Union which is all in line with the United Nations agenda of the world being divided into 10 regional groupings or unions. These are, I believe, the ten horns of Daniel 7:24 and we are getting very close folks. Out of these ten horns a little horn will arise and here we go!!!

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