The Continuing Storm Surrounding Jonathan Cahn’s “The Harbinger”
We inadvertently quoted whom we believed to be Terry James (from Rapture Ready) throughout this particular post because the quotes come from a page on the Terry James’ Rapture Ready website. What we failed to realize is that the entire contents of that page is actually a rebuttal written BY Jonathan Cahn regarding T. A. McMahon’s review of his book, “The Harbinger.” This realization came to us in the form of a letter sent to us from Jonathan Cahn and the contents of his rebuttal are exactly what is posted on Terry James’ Rapture Ready website. The comments that are credited below as coming FROM Terry James should really be credited as coming FROM Jonathan Cahn. We apologize for attributing to Mr. James what are actually the words of Jonathan Cahn.
Jan Markell (Olive Tree Ministries) has issued an “apology” on WND (Worldnetdaily.com) because of the way certain individuals have reacted to Jonathan Cahn’s best-selling book “The Harbinger.”
She firmly believes that “It says in the book of Daniel that some mysteries would be sealed up until the end and then they would be revealed. Could the ‘Harbinger’ message be one of them? I think so.”
Daniel 12:4 may just as easily speak of the fact that as time progresses toward the end of this age, it will be far easier to understand them because for the most part, they will be the past (regarding the empires that Daniel speaks of and their progression) and simply due to the level of our technology today. It also may mean that there will be a greater understanding of the mystery of lawlessness as evidenced by Antiochus Ephiphanes in 168BC that was in front of Daniel still. Since Daniel wrote these things before any of the things he wrote about had occurred (with the exception of Babylon’s kingdom under Neb), it seems to me that with the passage of time, things have become much clearer.
Jan states, “So why am I apologizing? Some in the discernment crowd are having a field day over something that may be God’s final warning to America. It may even be a final warning to individuals to get right with God. It’s a wake-up call to the church. I am referring to Jonathan Cahn’s book “The Harbinger” and the related film produced by Joseph Farah, “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment.” 
Jan’s difficulty is that people are critiquing Cahn’s book negatively and to her, it appears as though they are also assassinating Cahn’s character. Later in her apology, she notes that not one of these reviewers has taken the time to attempt to contact Cahn about his book. My question would be…why would they need to do that? Doesn’t Cahn’s book speak for itself? Isn’t it an accurate representation of what Cahn actually believes? If not, then he is a terrible writer for people to come away with impressions about the book that Markell, James, and others believe are completely baseless. If his book does accurately reflect what he personally believes about America and Israel and Isaiah 9:10, then why is there further need to contact him for any type of clarification? That’s not the way it works with book reviews. What, before I review any book or before someone reviews mine, there is an unstated obligation to sit down with the author and essentially interview them over areas of the book that are grounds for disagreement? Absurd.
It’s not as if Cahn wrote a 2 to 3 page pamphlet. He wrote a book that contains 272 pages – plenty of time to adequately explain himself. If he failed, then the failure rests with him.
Markell summarizes Cahn’s book in this manner: “If you haven’t read the book or viewed the DVD, Cahn takes nine warnings to ancient Israel and uses them as a signal to America. Israel was warned. America is being warned. Israel shook a fist at God, and America may follow suit – but some, like Cahn, are trying to stop the train wreck.” 
Unfortunately, that is a vast oversimplification of Cahn’s message. He does far more than simply announce that Israel was warned and now America is being warned. He uses Isaiah 9:10 and other Scripture as a jumping off point to actually connect America with Israel. I have my sincere doubts that God is warning our nation of judgment either. God is warning the entire world of impending judgment that is coming in the form of The Tribulation/Great Tribulation. The entire world is going to be fully immersed in it.
Does Markell and others believe that if, somehow, this nation could turn around (I’m guessing that means through our leaders), we would somehow not be part of the worldwide judgment that is coming?
Jan Markell also believes that God used Cahn because he is Jewish (a Messianic Jew), which is as it had to be apparently and according to her. This is also absurd to me. Why does it “have” to be that way? I know some Messianic Jews who are so off-based in their theology, it’s absolutely pitiful, but you can’t tell them anything because they are Jewish and they have the Scriptures.
Do we need to be reminded that Peter was rebuked by both Jesus and Paul for his error? He was Jewish too.
Regarding just exactly what Cahn is doing, Markell states, “Jonathan Cahn is not marching up and down Main Street wearing a sandwich board that says, ‘Repent, America.’ He has connected some very mysterious dots on a map that started on 9/11. Each dot is a harbinger. They make perfect sense.” 
No, it really does not make sense, especially when you actually read Cahn’s book. Cahn’s message is very convoluted and at times, confusing, and it tries very hard (stretching credulity in several spots) to make a connection between the ancient Assyrians who came against Israel for instance, and the terrorist of today who comes against the world and America. In fact, Cahn tries to show that the language the Assyrians used is essentially the same language that Arabs use today, or that there is a thread of commonality.
Frankly, Jan’s comments saying that Cahn is not marching up and down the street calling America to repent are odd, as if there is something inherently wrong with that? What is wrong with coming out and telling people directly that they need to repent and explaining exactly what that means? Nothing.
A few days before T. A. McMahon released his review of “The Harbinger,” Jan sent out an email newsletter in which she warned that in a few days, a “hit piece” was going to be published that was critical of Cahn’s book. Had she read the review before it was published? Had McMahon sent it to her to read or discussed the contents with her prior to publication? I don’t know, but why did she refer to it as a “hit piece,” which speaks directly to the fact that she believes McMahon’s review was nothing more than a veiled attempt to assassinate Jonathan Cahn’s character. She was obviously expressing her distaste with the review, intending to color the way people would view that review.
What is interesting to me is that when I read T. A. McMahon’s review of Cahn’s book, I do not see where he has assassinated Cahn’s character. At one point he says, “If Cahn is mistaken about the harbingers and multitudes believe what he asserts, then he has led them astray. That is a serious issue and would identify him as a false teacher. Teaching God’s people wrongly carries a ‘greater condemnation’ (James:3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.).” 
Further on, McMahon states, “Cahn’s isolation of Isaiah:9:10, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. and his symbolic interpretation of that verse to make it fit the September 11, 2001, jihadist attack on the U.S. is preposterous.” 
McMahon’s critical (e.g. thought-provoking and researched) review of “The Harbinger” is on the mark, in my opinion. I fail to see where he has attacked Cahn’s character. He is commenting on Cahn’s book and the various places through it where it painfully looks as though Cahn is deliberately trying to make a direct correlation between God’s judgment on ancient Israel and the attacks of 9/11 on America, using Isaiah 9:10 as his starting point.
Terry James (Rapture Ready) takes on McMahon’s review of “The Harbinger,” attempting to point out what he believes are flaws in McMahon’s arguments. He starts off his review by stating, “I am reminded of the downside – the dangers that such ministries easily fall into: namely, the tendency to attack that which is of the Lord just as readily and just as erroneously as others accept that which is not, the tendency to come against anything that appears to be outside one’s theological box, and the error of thinking that one is doing God and His kingdom a favor by enthusiastically firing rounds of ammunition at His own troops.” 
So because James believes that “The Harbinger” is of the Lord, then obviously those who negatively critique it must be traveling down the wrong path, which places them directly opposed to God. That is the direct implication of James’ words.
James then makes this statement: “McMahon is entitled to his preferences in style, but one only has to look at Amazon.com and beyond to see that most readers in America strongly disagree and describe The Harbinger in such terms as ‘riveting,’ ‘spellbinding,’ and have been unable to put it down, many, and in many reviews, have called it the best book they ever read outside of the Bible.” 
My question to that is so what? So now we are using the majority of reviewers on Amazon to define our theology? If they approve of it, it must be good stuff!
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren has – as of today – 1,238 reviews. Of those, 704 give it a five-star rating. There are 141 who rate it with four stars, 83 give it three stars, 85 two stars, and 225 rate it with a one star. According to James, the book is a smash! It’s wonderful! How can anyone criticize it? It received over three times as many five stars as one stars. Obviously, those who rated it with one star have no clue. They need to get on board with the 704 who gave it five stars.
All the positive reviews in the world do not prove theological or biblical veracity. It simply shows that people like it, or even love it, but what does that have to do with biblical integrity? It’s a meaningless argument. What a completely asinine argument.
James then begins a criticism of McMahon’s review. He points out one of the major misunderstandings related to Cahn’s book. “The Harbinger never declares that America is in covenant with God. It does note that America’s founders did believe this, did consecrate it to God, and did establish the nation after the pattern of ancient Israel.” 
Funny, but I came away from “The Harbinger” thinking the same thing as McMahon apparently, and I had not read his review until after I had finished Cahn’s book. I wonder how many others have thought that as well? From “The Harbinger” itself, we read, “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…” “The Founding Fathers.” “No, long before the Founding Fathers. Those who laid America’s foundations saw it as a new Israel, an Israel of the New World. And as with ancient Israel, they saw it as in covenant with God.” 
It would appear that James is trying to get us to believe one thing, by denying the very thing that the book espouses. James says that “The Harbinger” doesn’t declare that America is in covenant with God. The passage I quoted above seems to state the opposite. This occurs throughout the book. According to Cahn, not only was America conceived but was dedicated to the will of God from its conception. Doesn’t that presuppose a covenant? James seems content to split hairs, or put his own spin on things, trying to prove that the book itself doesn’t teach that America was in covenant, but the text essentially states the opposite. As I noted in my first review of “The Harbinger,” even if this was true (that America’s founders, Pilgrims, or Puritans believe America was in covenant relationship to God), so what?
James says no, “The Harbinger” does not declare that America is in covenant with God. Okay, then why judgment? If America was never actually in covenant with God, then how could America be judged for moving away from that covenant that, according to James, never existed? This makes little sense.
James would quote from Cahn’s book the places where the lead character points to the many blessings that America has received. Because of all those blessings, there is greater responsibility. The problem though is that it still all goes back to the fact that Cahn believes somebody conceived and dedicated America to God’s will.
James continues by stating, “But even if The Harbinger had asserted the idea as fact, which it does not, none of the mysteries or revelations within the book are dependent on any such premise. Thus this central charge is groundless.” 
That is patently false. If you remove this alleged premise from Cahn’s book, you have no story! You have no connection between America and ancient Israel, therefore, no coming judgment (at least based on the ideas put forth in “The Harbinger”). It’s not as easy as that. The entire book is based on the belief that America was founded as a Christian nation and, as noted above, was conceived and dedicated to the will of God. If you take this away, you have NO BOOK. There is no connection – implied, direct, indirect, or otherwise – between America and Israel at that point. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. The entirety of Cahn’s story rests sufficiently on the belief that America – because of its conception and dedication to God’s will – was blessed because of it. The reason for the nine harbingers is due solely to the fact that our leaders have progressively moved away from that “covenant.”
Regarding the Scripture and references used in “The Harbinger,” James also does not believe that the book oversteps biblical boundaries by relating specific verses of Scripture directed to Israel and applying them to America. I would fully disagree.
Regarding the alleged connection between Washington and Solomon, again James states: “When the Gospel records that a prophetic word came through the mouth of Caiaphas, it wasn’t about Caiaphas, but about the word spoken. Neither is it about Washington – but about what took place on America’s seminal day. The fact remains that on America’s first day as a fully-formed nation, its first government gathered in prayer to consecrate its future to God – and did so on a most significant ground of earth.” [11; emphasis added]
God specifically chose to use Caiphas to prophecy about Jesus’ death for two reasons: 1) As high priest, Caiphas represented the religious leaders of Israel and therefore all of Israel, and 2) through his prophecy, the words he spoke actually condemned him. Here are the words, found in John 11:49-50, with Caiphas speaking to the Sanhedrin: “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
In essence, Caiphas spoke for the nation of Israel. He represented Israel before God as the nation’s high priest, the guy who could venture into the Holy of Holies once per year to offer sacrifices for the nation of Israel. It was absolutely about Caiphas! I cannot believe that Terry James got this wrong, but he would likely accuse me of taking his words out of context or misrepresenting them in some other fashion. God specifically chose Caiphas, the nation’s highest leader to prophecy words that would ultimately prove the truth of the vicarious atonement and condemn Caiphas as well.
It could also be that James meant that the actual words were not directly related TO (therefore, about) Caiphas. In that case, it’s obvious without having to state that “it wasn’t about Caiphas.” I then must assume that the meaning of James’ words “it wasn’t about Caiphas” are related to the fact that God could have used anyone to state those words. I would disagree with that assessment for the reasons stated above.
In James’ mind, the prayers of our Founders (“America’s first day as a fully-formed nation…“), are assumed by James to have been offered to the God of the Bible. This is the biggest problem with “The Harbinger,” because it also assumes that the Founders of this nation were Christian, when it point of fact, they were likely Deists or worse. I discussed this in my previous blog about “The Harbinger.” If they were Deists, they were most certainly not praying to the God of the Bible and therefore, it can be argued that God did not hear their prayer.
So these Founders – according to James – consecrated America’s future to the god they prayed to, but we have to verify WHO this god to which these individuals prayed. That makes all the difference in the world, and it is my largest concern where “The Harbinger” is concerned, because it either stands or falls on this premise.
James also points out the following to bulk up his argument that this country was founded upon a type of consecration to God that has been carried through to today. He states, “the very Scripture that binds together all these harbingers, the verse that foreshadows national judgment, and the vow that was proclaimed by Israel after its first warning of judgment was actually proclaimed in America on the very day after 9/11, by the Senate Majority leader on Capitol Hill – word for word.” 
Apparently, this information is given to lend credibility to Cahn’s book. The connection then is that like Caiphas (who prophesied), the Senate Majority leader on Capitol Hill did the same thing, prophesying about America’s coming doom. There really is no connection at all, sorry. It is happenstance.
But if we want to talk about character assassination, let’s look at what James says regarding T. A. McMahon: “McMahon is certainly entitled to his opinions, but I believe his approach and stance with regard to The Harbinger represents a low point in his ministry, and will only have the effect of sowing confusion, misperceptions, and division in the body with regard to the sounding of a critical alarm.” 
That is specifically directed at McMahon personally, in an attempt to point out his alleged absolute lack of discernment. It is most certainly a low blow.
By the way, it is clear to me that people are already confused about the book, because as I pointed out previously, not everyone on Amazon gives Cahn’s book five stars. Some grade it with one star.
A friend told me a short while ago that the disagreement over this book would create a good deal of tension and the world would laugh at all the infighting among Christians. I’ve paraphrased my friend’s comments. I have come to a point where I have to agree.
What can be done? After this post, I doubt that I will say anything more about “The Harbinger.” I would certainly prefer not to, but that all depends on the situation that arises from it or other reviews. I think it is best left alone and God will either bless it or not depending upon His purposes and certainly His will.
By all outward appearances, it seems as though God has blessed it, but we can’t judge by outward appearances. If we did, we would have to say that God has blessed books like “The Purpose Driven Life,” or one of Joel Osteen’s books. They’ve sold a lot and people rave about them, so they must be great and God is pleased! Uh…yeah, okay.
My biggest problem with Cahn’s book, “The Harbinger” rests on his basic premise, implied or otherwise; that America was founded as a Christian nation dedicated to the will of God (in covenant). He views the Founders as individuals who had God’s ear and were dedicated to His will. Everything rests on this one, main point. Whether or not America was actually in “covenant” is beside the point. It remains that obviously our Founders believed themselves to be operating within God’s will (whoever that God represents). Yet, as stated, there are huge questions as to the actual Christian beliefs of our Founding Fathers. If they were not actual Christians, then we have a problem, Houston.
This whole thing greatly saddens me. It should not be. What we have are Christians at each other’s throats over a book. It is a book written by a human being, who was not writing under inspiration from the Holy Spirit, like the writers of the Bible were doing.
I’m really not sure why those who support this book believe so mightily that God is going to use it for His purposes. He may do that, but to elevate it to such a degree that it is even more highly sought after than the Bible tells me something and I don’t like what it tells me at all.
With respect to “The Harbinger,” Cahn is using this book – he believes – to call people to repentance. That’s great and I pray it works, but since there is no real clear gospel presentation in any portion of the book that I could find, I cannot help but wonder exactly what people will repent from and turn to. Will they simply turn to God, whatever they conceive Him to be? Will they rightly understand their need to turn to Jesus whose atoning work on Calvary’s cross makes it possible for people to receive salvation in the first place? Forgive me, but I do not see that in Cahn’s book! It’s not there.
Even on the website for Cahn’s Messianic synagogue, there is no real, clear presentation of the gospel! Scripture is implied, but not clearly referenced. Regarding salvation, here is what is stated: “How do you become born again? The Bible says that whoever will receive Him will be saved. It begins when you receive Him, Jesus, as Lord of your life. You receive Him. You follow Him. You receive Him as Lord and you ask for forgiveness of your sins. He’ll cleanse you. He’ll wash you. He’ll begin a new life in you. It’s very simple. The good news is He will not turn away anyone who comes. He says “Come to me and I will not reject you. I will receive you.” But you need to be serious. It’s not a game. It’s receiving the Lord once and for all as your Lord; turning away from sins, turning away from the old life, turning away from following the old ways.” 
Would it have been that hard to actually quote Scripture? What about John 14:6 where Jesus says He is the way, the truth, and the life? What about Romans 10:9-10 which tells us, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
In looking at his website, it is clear that Cahn (or whoever created the website) made it more difficult than it has to be. The fact that he simply generally states Scriptural passage without quoting them directly adds to that problem.
Throughout Cahn’s book, the message is not only meant for people, but also for nations. This is patently absurd, in my opinion. As I said previously, the only nation God ever directly created was Israel and it was for redemptive purposes. America has nothing to do with that at all.
But Cahn had to create a story in which people are led to believe that if only America would repent, then God will spare this nation. If only people will recognize the “harbingers” and see them as coming from God, then God will turn from His anger and save our Land. This is based on the belief that God is interested in saving our nation (or any nation) in the first place.
I do not believe that God is interested in saving America, or frankly, that He will save it. I don’t believe that this is a belief that can be gained from studying Scripture unless it pertains to Israel alone.
Nations come and go. People come and go. People will stand before God on the day of judgment, not nations. (The parable of the Sheep and the Goats is an interesting parable but ultimately refers to how people from various nations treated Israel during the Tribulation/Great Tribulation, cf. Matthew 25:31-46).
Will Jonathan Cahn’s book ultimately lead anyone to Jesus? I’m not sure how because I do not see a clear gospel presentation in the book. Will it cause people to believe that God patriotically wants to salvage America? Yes, it will cause people to believe that. Will it then cause people to shift their focus from people to our nation? I believe it could.
For a long time, I was caught up in the belief that if we could just turn this country around, things would be great. If we could replace a whole lot of liberal people in Washington, DC with true conservatives, then everything would be swell. I got involved in this cause or that one. I found myself becoming angered by the liberalism of the media and politicians.
Here’s the problem: I also noticed that my concern for individual souls fell by the wayside. Someone would say, “well that’s your problem because you weren’t doing it right.” Maybe. But the truth of the matter is that Cahn’s book seems to make two preposterous errors. 1) he seems to more than suggest that America is a covenant nation (or was) with God, and 2) that God is in the business of saving nations.
I cannot disagree with Jonathan Cahn more. I’m sorry about that. I did not intend to come out on the side of “lack of discernment,” but that’s where I am with respect to “The Harbinger.” I also find it odd that though Jan Markell bemoans the fact that allegedly, no one who has reviewed Cahn’s book negatively actually went to Cahn first (and cites Matthew 18), it is not Cahn who is personally trying to clarify the contents of “The Harbinger.” He has apparently, left that to others like Jan Markell and Terry James.
I do not see where America was conceived and dedicated to God’s will by our Founders and I do not see where He is in the business of saving nations either. I think people need to make their own decision about Cahn’s book. The sad fact is that apparently, according to some, you are not allowed to negatively critique the book without being accused of creating strife and division.
 Cahn, Jonathan (2011-09-03). The Harbinger: The ancient mystery that holds the secret of America’s future (p. 19). Strang Communications. Kindle Edition.
Entry filed under: 9/11, alienology, Atheism and religion, Barack Hussein Obama, Barry Sotero, Communism, Demonic, dispensationalism, Eastern Mysticism, emergent church, Gun Control, Islam, Islamofascism, israel, Judaism, Life in America, Maitreya, new age movement, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, Radical Islam, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming, Sharia Law, Socialism, temple mount, Transhumanism, ufology. Tags: jonathan cahn, jonathan cahn the harbinger, t a mcmahon, terry james.