What about “The Harbinger?”

I have had so many people ask me for my opinion about Jonathan Cahn’s  book “The Harbinger.” I have, of course, read it, and have been willing to tell my associates what I think, but I have waited to give a written evaluation of it. Now I have found someone else’s review that mirrors my own feelings about it and explains it better than I could.

Before I refer you to this excellent online review, let me hasten to say that the Harbinger does sound a strong call for repentance and revival. For that, I am grateful and in hearty agreement. It also gives us a powerful and helpful analogy between Israel’s reaction to their judgment and our own 9/11 disasters. Nevertheless, it should not be taken as direct prophecy about the United States.  In the study of Bible interpretation, we learn that there is only one interpretation to any given passage of Scripture, but there may be multiple applications. Thus, like many of the promises to Israel, there may be a similar blessing to other believers, and like this warning to Israel, there is a warning to others who would ignore God’s correction.

The central passage of Scripture for this story is Isaiah 9:10 (noticed by many because it was just before “9/11”).  It says:

“The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with hewn stones; The sycamores are cut down, But we will replace [them] with cedars.”  “The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with hewn stones; The sycamores are cut down, But we will replace [them] with cedars.”

The context of the verse shows that this was a prideful response by Israel instead of the national revival that they needed.  The United States appears to be making the same mistake.  I remember my disappointment as a pastor after the terrorist attacks that only a small number of people seemed to return to the Lord. The churches were full for a few weeks, but then everything returned to the lukewarm spirit of our generation.

Here is the article that will help you understand this book. “The Harbinger – A Matter of Critical Discernment” by T.A. McMahon. He writes:

“The clarion call of The Harbinger, which seems to be quite sincere and one with which all Christians might agree, is that the American people must repent of their evil ways and turn to God in truth. Amen to that! The major problem, however, is the way that the fictional story attempts to encourage such repentance.”

He goes on to show the nine harbingers that Cahn finds in the story are not literal prophecies, and certainly not given primarily for the United States. Therefore the readers must use caution and discernment.

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Pastor and Bible teacher. Editor of Prophecy Central.
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3 Responses to What about “The Harbinger?”

  1. David James says:

    The book, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? written by David James, published by Tom McMahon / is now available at The Berean Call @ http://www.thebereancall.org/harbinger-fact-or-fiction

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  3. Scott Morgan (arrived too late) says:

    One thing T.A. gets wrong about Cahn (as others have) is that he never states that God had a covenant with America. He actually acknowledges that only Israel was in covenant with God. What Cahn suggests, however, is that from its foundations America tried to pattern itself in accord with God. Jesus says that we will be judged according to our words, and it might make good sense that a country once dedicated to God’s ways (at least by claim) might be judged AS a covenant nation.

    Also, Cahn has not described Isaiah 10:9 as a prophecy for America. Instead, he cites the correlation as something of a “sign” not to be ignored. However, I think that one of the characters in the book, “the prophet”, blurs this idea whether it was Cahn’s intent or not. I hope he wasn’t.

    Still, I have other problems with the book–too many to describe here. Here’s something I’ll say: Had I stumbled upon the correlations with 9:10 and America I think I would have been overwhelmed, myself. However, I don’t think I would take them as prophetic warnings (nor proclaimed them as such). But what I think I would do is think to myself, “Wow! We’re falling just like they did.” It would be hard to ignore.

    Anyway, I probably posted too late for this to matter, but I just read the book recently and enjoy pondering it. Also, I think its good for me to talk it through if only for myself. Thank you for allowing me to do this on your site.

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