Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Harbinger by Johnathon Cahn

This is the second in a series of book reviews I'm posting on End Time prophecy.  For the first post you can go here.

I bought this book because Jonathan Cahn is the pastor of a Messianic church that I used to visit when I lived in New Jersey. At first I went out of curiosity because I had never been to a church that was comprised of Jewish people who acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. I continued to visit, however, because I was impressed with how in depth and insightful Mr. Cahn’s sermons were. Many people from my own church would join with members of Beth Israel and do missionary work in Russia, Ukraine, Cuba and Mexico. Although I never was able to go on these trips it was encouraging to hear the tremendous work God did in the lives of the people in these countries through our two church’s mission work.

Mr. Cahn’s book is a work of fiction that nevertheless holds a very real scenario and warning for our times. A man, Nouriel, meets a mysterious stranger who gives him artifacts that he calls harbingers. Each harbinger has a seal with either writing or a type of picture on them. Every time Nouriel is given a harbinger he must discover the mystery behind it and report back to the stranger.

Using this story formula Mr. Cahn reveals disturbing truths about America’s history and possible future and their connection to Old Testament prophecies and harbingers that pertained to Israel. Much of the prophecies he refers to are in the book of Isaiah where the prophet warns Israel of their impending doom if they continue to worship idols and reject God. In the book, the prophet explains to Nouriel God’s purpose for Israel:

No other nation had been called into being for the will of God… No other people had been given a covenant… If (Israel) followed the ways of God, they would become the most blessed of nations. But if they fell away and turned against His ways, then their blessings would be removed and replaced by calamity, as they did and as it was. (pg. 16)

Nouriel goes on to explain the original purpose of America:

To be…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.  It would stand against tyranny….As much as it fulfilled its calling or aspired to, it would become the most blessed, the most prosperous, the most powerful and the most revered nation on the earth-just as its founders had prophesied…but, like Israel, if the people fell away from God and turned against his ways, its blessings would be removed and replaced with curses.(pg19)

Nouriel then compares Israel’s devotion to idol worship of the Baals and Asherah poles to America’s idol worship:

"As God was expunged from American life, idols came in to fill the void-idols of sensuality, idols of greed, of money, success, comfort, materialism, pleasure, sexual immorality, self-worship, self-obsession. The sacred increasingly disappeared, and the profane took its place….the nation forgot its foundations"

“Some would call it ‘tolerance.’”

“Yes. The same tolerance that overtook ancient Israel.. a tolerance for everything opposed to God….a tolerance that mocked, marginalized, and condemned those who remained faithful to the values now being discarded…. A tolerance that put the profane on public display and removed nativity scenes from public sight..contraband, as if somehow they had become a threat- a strangely intolerant tolerance.” (pg. 21)

He compares the attack on the World Trade Center with the Assyrian invasion of Israel. Both, he asserts were warnings to the people that they need to return to the God of their fathers. Throughout the book Cahn compares Israel’s relationship with God to America’s. He quotes several sources showing that America started out as a country devoted to God-not privately but officially. He cites George Washington’s inaugural address which clearly states that without Judeo-Christian foundation, it is impossible to uphold the constitution. Washington gave this speech next to a wall where Wall Street now stands. After the speech, he and the crowd walked to his church which stands to this day at ground zero and was the only surviving building of the attack.

He also exposes some interesting facts about Israel’s response to the Assyrian attack and America’s leaders’ response to the 9/11 attack. In Isaiah, Israel’s response was to declare that they would replace the sycamores that had been torn down with cedars. The metaphor meaning that in spite of Assyria’s destruction, by their own will and might, Israel would rebuild itself. In the book, Nouriel’s prophet directly quotes Presidents Bush and Obama as quoting this very same scripture. He has references and sources in the back for those who wish to verify his assertions.

If you’re familiar with the Jewish year of Shemitah, which is a time of resting the land every seven years, forgiving debts and setting slaves free, then you’ll appreciate the fact that God promised Israel that they would face economic collapse if they didn’t observe Shemitah-which by the time of Isaiah they weren’t. In the book the second harbinger was the fall of Freddie Mac, Fannie May, Lehman Brother and Wall Street which happened on the anniversary of 9/11 seven years later. Both these real life tragedies happened on years of Shemitah.

Cahn makes many startling comparisons such as these. You may or may not believe all he has to say and I personally found it all very interesting and informative concerning the different Jewish promises and warnings as recorded in the Old Testament. However, I really didn’t need this book to show me that America was once a country that followed God and was consequently blessed and now that we are a country that has largely rejected Him that He is going to remove his hand of protection over us and 9/11 was the first harbinger.

In conclusion, I think this is a good book to wake anyone up who is open to its message.

Or Kindle for $9.68

For more information:

Beth Israel


  1. Have you read One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsburry. While it is more about 9/11 then the end of the world, it is an amazing book!

  2. Ashley: No, I haven't read anything by Kingsbery. I didn't know she wrote historical fiction. Thanks for telling me.

  3. Sounds interesting. I always liked the concept of shemitah (especially now, LOL). Have you read American Gods by Neil Gaiman (, it deals with the old gods (Odin, Thor, Anu­bis, elves, lep­rechauns, etc.) dying because peo­ple stopped believ­ing in them to favor the new gods (media, celebri­ties, tech­nol­ogy, money and more). Interesting concepts and a great book.

  4. Man of la Book: I have not read American Gods (I did read your review) but I absolutely believe that Americans have become pagan by their worship of the idols you mention. Mythology fascinates me and I've just read a number of books about the Vikings that I've reviewed but haven't published yet.
    Another thing I'm really delving into is Jewish traditions and customs and their connection to Christianity. I've become good friends with a woman who is a messianic Jew and I've come to believe that if Christians hadn't "Europeanized" Christianity more Jews would understand the connection as well.

  5. Sharon,

    I've been reading a lot about the Ethiopian Jews. They have traditions that date back centuries that the European Jews have lost.
    For example they use a copy of the arc of the covenant in many of their ceremonies.

    I think you'd find it interesting as well, I also think you'd love American Gods and it's multilayered storyline.

    1. I haven't read anything about the Ethiopian Jews, although I have heard about them. I'll have to look up some good sources.
      As for American Gods, well, one more to put on my every growing TBR pile. Thanks for telling me about the book.

  6. I have read this book, and while it does not emphasize the gospel, and is written from a Dispensational (New Evangelical Hermeneutic) perspective, it is a clear call to repentance. Much discernment is always needed when reading books focused on Israel and end times events (as those who followed Harold Camping learned the hard way). The main question should always be, does the book promote the gospel? If Christ is not the focus we have our eyes on the wrong thing, and the book is a distraction.

    1. Mike: I agree with you. I have been studying all the different views and all of them claim to have the corner on what scripture is saying. My conclusion is that I better be one of the virgins who keeps the oil in her lamp and be ready at all times.
      There are many books out there that have all the wrappings of a "Christian book" but, as you say, don't actually support any claim with scripture.
      As with "Harbinger" I find what Cahn says as food for thought and I believe that all world events are leading up to a point under God's sovereign will but the real issue is, are we saved from God's wrath through His Son?
      Thanks for your comment.

  7. Sharon, I am hearing about this book a lot lately. 3 times in the past week. I hope it is opening hearts and minds to find true freedom in Christ, both personally and for our nation. God calls things that are dead to life. He is trustworthy and faithful. He has proven it once and for all by sending Jesus as our substitute.

    1. Phyllis. It's a thought-provoking book. I hope you have the chance to read it sometime.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.