130 of 140 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It has some good evaluation that is based on fact checking. Unfortunately, it seems to me that Mr James wrote with a negative bias in the first place, ignoring the Harbinger' primary theme and purpose. Mr James even titles his book incorrectly: ...FACT OF FICTION. The author of THE HARBINGER indicates clearly that his is a work of fiction. The HARBINGER shows some critical parallels between what happened in his chosen scriptural events and what has and is happening in modern America. A thoughtful reader has the total freedom to deny those similarities or evaluate the warning that he wants America see and to repent before this nation suffers punishments that God warns of for people and nations who deny His legitimate kingship. Throughout scripture, God pleads for humankind to repent and return to Him in repentance and obedience.
207 of 263 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is an update to my original posting.
Setting the background for the rest of this review:
I believe that attempting to claim fulfillment of biblical prophecies in specific current events is futile and erroneous. For example, attempting to specifically identify the Anti-Christ or claiming that any particular event in the Middle East is a direct fulfillment of end-times prophecies is not wise. Such things are futile at best, and misleading and damaging at worst.
My reasoning is far from intellectual on this. It is simple. All I have to do to is read Matthew 24:36 and take Jesus at his word. However, Jesus goes on to command us to "Watch" and be ready. To me, this means it is proper to identify general trends in current events as pointing to the eventual fulfillment.
I do not believe in modern revelations. By that I mean a modern "prophecy" that contradicts or "corrects" the Bible, as is common in some pseudo-Christian sects.
However, as a Pentecostal evangelical, I do believe the gifts of the Spirit are present and active in the Body of Christ today. So, I do believe the gift of prophecy is in operation in the church today. A test of such prophecies, among others, is that the prophecy is consistent with the Bible. But, perhaps more pertinent to "Harbinger" is the gift of knowledge, rather than prophecy. But, that is a debate for Pentecostals, not Cessationists (who would not see the point of debating this, since both are heresy to them.)
All of this applies to serious scholarship, preaching, teaching, study, and the like. I agree with James that sensationalizing prophetic teaching is never proper as part of serious commentary.
However, taken at face value, the book "Harbinger" is none of those. It is not a prophecy. It is not a Bible commentary. It is not a study guide. It is not prophetic teaching, sensationalized or not. It is a work of fiction.
It is best viewed as a parable, or an object lesson. How many times have preachers used the refusal of ancient Israel to repent and heed the words of the prophets as the basis for a sermon? How many times have preachers used 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a call to revival? Are they criticized for applying prophecy intended literally for Israel to America? No. They aren't. Viewed in this light, "Harbinger" is a somewhat more elaborate and lengthy story in that same tradition.
This brings me to one major thing James suffers from in his book "Fact or Fiction". As, apparently, a rock-ribbed Calvinist, he fails to acknowledge the Pentecostal beliefs regarding spiritual gifting in any of his refutations. Hence, to him, there are only two choices: the Office of Prophet, or heresy. (Actually, he would likely consider anyone who claims the Office of Prophet in the Church Age to be a heretic as well, so both are likely heresy to him.) Even if Cahn said that "Harbinger" was a result of prophetic gifting (which he doesn't), he would still not call himself a Prophet. James is seemingly unable to make that distinction. Because of that, all of his critiques on this point reduce down to one thing: his view that all prophecy must come from a person with the mantle of the Prophet of God, and that the Office of Prophet and prophetic gifting ceased to exist with the resurrection and the closing of the biblical canon.
Looking directly at the book "Fact or Fiction", the author engages in "proof-texting" (from "Harbinger", not from the Bible), partial quotes taken out of context, raising straw man arguments, attributing words spoken by a character in the novel to the author, stating his own interpretation of the author's intent as if it was fact, character assassination, and more dubious arguments. In fact, he came very close to demanding that Cahn actually produce one of the clay seals!
I could cite chapter and verse (so to speak) of these and other erroneous statements, comparisons, and conclusions by James, but, I'm merely writing an Amazon.com review, not a book to criticize a book that criticizes a book!
A larger point, though, is "Fact or Fiction" falls in with a long line of critiques of Christian fiction, typically coming from the Cessationist Calvinist side of evangelical theology, where the authors of the critiques seem to confuse works of fiction with scholarly Bible commentary, and who seem to view it as their mission to debunk these works, lest some poor evangelical actually believe it is true! (This is backed up by the opening paragraph of the Forward by T. A. McMahon.)
The number and stridency of these criticisms seems to be directly proportional to the popularity of the fictional works. Does anyone remember the wave of critiques regarding the biblical errors contained in the "Left Behind" books? The same thing is going on here, in my view. This, quite simply, is a failure to distinguish fiction from biblical commentary. Making this distinction is not hard, so one does wonder at the "why" of it all, but speculation on that is also pointless.
But, James goes to extremes even in this extremist camp. In addition to insisting that a work of fiction follow the same rigor as a work of serious biblical scholarship, he insists that it also contain a full statement of the gospel message, complete with a call to salvation. He further criticizes Cahn, himself, for not taking an adversarial and confrontational approach in conversations with representatives of such disparate groups as "Word of Faith" teachers and Mormons. Mr. James does not recognize, apparently, any other approach to these groups as being "true to the faith" and views Cahn's more gentle approach as an indication of Cahn's lack of courage, or worse, implies Cahn is of like mind with these people.
As a book, "Fact or Fiction" is well-written and footnoted (although some of his sources - especially on matters of Pentecostal theology - are dubious), but after the first 3rd or so of the book, it becomes a tedious read, as the author never has another new point to make. Everything following is merely a repetition of his already made points again and again and again. I only completed the book because I said I would. It became real drudgery to finish.
However, since the main purpose of "Fact or Fiction" is to attempt to debunk "Harbinger", on that score, it rates zero stars, on the basis that debunking fiction is pointless. In fact, in my opinion, debunking fiction is worse than pointless, as it tends to lend credibility to the original work by validating it as a serious work of commentary / prophecy deserving of such treatment, and gives license to Pentacostal believers to utterly dismiss James' entire critique on the basis of his Cessationist theology.
Try as James might to characterize "Harbinger" as something else, it is FICTION, for cryin' out loud!
As I said above, how many times have preachers used the ancient Israelites as an object lesson for repentance? How is the message of "Harbinger" different from those thousands of sermons? Is the real objection that, as a fictional work, it engages in dramatic license, biblically-speaking? Or, that it is using that dramatic license to reach millions of people? On that score, "Harbinger" is guilty.
Do some people believe "Harbinger" is an actual prophecy for America? Yes. I, too, have heard disturbing stories of preachers basing sermons on "Harbinger", which is why I was investigating it in the first place after my wife requested a copy for Christmas. The springing up of "study guides" and the like is also disturbing (although I haven't read the study guides, so they may not be as disturbing as one may imagine).
Addressing these issues IS a valid pursuit for one in the apologist ministry, although it would best be done from a Pentecostal perspective, otherwise the criticisms become too easily dismissed, as I have already said. James claims to be doing this, but he clearly has a broader agenda. He defeats his own purpose with all of the dubious argument techniques I mentioned earlier, especially the attempt to discredit Cahn by using the words of the Prophet character from his book. If the attempt is to address the inappropriate or unbiblical USE of this book, then the critique would be much more effective, in my view, if limited to that, rather than trying to also discredit the author.
However, standing on its own, as stated above, "Harbinger" "is FICTION, for cryin' out loud!"
It may be that those "Harbinger believers" need to have that stated again, and again.
I think a significant problem here is people like James treating it as a stalking horse for Cahn's beliefs. In the end, by doing this, James opens himself up to charges of character assassination and muddies his apologist critique, making it difficult to take it at face value.
I have read neither "Harbinger" nor James' refutation of it. My wife listed "Harbinger" on her Christmas list, so I have been checking into it, which led me to this book, and to me checking into who David James is and, by extension, what The Alliance for Biblical Integrity (of which he is a co-founder and the Executive Director) actually believes. This latter investigation places his criticism of "Harbinger" in context, and that context needs to be understood to properly determine how credible the criticism contained in James's book really is.
Here are direct quotes from The Alliance for Biblical Intetrity's web site on what they believe:
"The meaning of any given text [in the Bible] is only that intended by the human author and conveyed exclusively by vocabulary, grammar, syntax and literary context."
" Signs, wonders and miracles are supernatural interventions by God in the natural realm whereby He locally and temporarily suspends the normal laws of nature in order to achieve His specific purposes."
"Jesus condemned those who seek signs as being part of a "wicked and perverse generation," indicating that God did not intend for signs and wonders to be characteristic of the normal life of the believer."
"In the present age, God continues to providentially care for His creation in accordance with His will and in response to the prayers and needs of His people, but not in a way that would be considered miraculous in the biblical sense of the word."
"Distinctives of biblical dispensationalism include, but are not necessarily limited to:...A consistently literal hermeneutic that recognizes symbolism and figurative language, but only as it is required by the text."
"The next prophetic event in God's program is the resurrection of New Testament saints and the Rapture of the Church, meaning that these events are imminent, with no other prophecies that must be fulfilled."
(end of quotes from the ABI web site)
Whether or not you agree with these statements of belief is not the point. The point is that James has such a fundamental level of disagreement with Cahn's theology (apart from his book, "Harbinger") that it is hardly surprising that James does not agree with his book.
Putting it another way, James' criticism is reflective of his own theology, especially the part about interpretation of prophecy as literally and constrained to the singular meaning of the human author's words.
90 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I highly recommend Jose Bernal's book, THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARBINGER to dispel the confusion this book has caused!
The underlying problem that shows up REPEATEDLY is that the author keeps attempting to argue hermeneutically against a book (THE HARBINGER) that was merely an APPLICATION of Isaiah 9:10 (and other verses). Jonathan Cahn's book was entitled THE HARBINGER because it's just that - harbingers or "signs". Jonathan didn't just make this up after the book was written in order to silence his critics. This was his intent all along. Now to get into some of the specifics:
1. "SIGNS" (I.E. HARBINGERS) DO NOT HAVE TO BE EXACT MATCHES..& ORTHODOX JEWS EMPLOY THE SAME TYPE OF ARGUMENTATION AGAINST JESUS AS THE MESSIAH.
2. DAVID JAMES IS GUILTY OF LEAVING OUT PORTIONS (PLURAL) OF RABBI CAHN'S QUOTE IN ORDER TO CHARGE HIM WITH JEWISH OR OCCULTIC "MYSTICISM" & HIS OTHER SUPPORTING "RESEARCH" (IF YOU CAN CALL IT THAT) WAS SLOPPY AT BEST!
3. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM.
4. DAVID JAMES' ASSOCIATIONS ARE MUCH MORE QUESTIONABLE THAN RABBI CAHN'S.
5. JESUS HIMSELF DIDN'T ALWAYS FOCUS ON THE "GREATER CONTEXT" AND, SINCE THE HARBINGER IS ONLY AN APPLICATION OF ISAIAH 9:10, THIS FOCUS WAS UNNECESSARY.
6. THE TERM "MESSIAH" IS JUST AS LEGITIMATE AS THE TERM "CHRIST".
7. DAVID JAMES CAN'T STAND RABBI CAHN'S METHOD & ACCUSES HIM OF VIOLATING HERMENEUTICAL GUIDELINES (FALSE CLAIM) EVEN THOUGH HE CAN'T ARGUE WITH HIS FRUIT-JUST LIKE THE PHARISEES OF OLD.
8. DEALS IN TOO MANY FOOLISH & UNPROFITABLE QUESTIONS WHICH ONLY SERVES TO STIR UP CONTROVERSY, QUARRELS & A DISPUTE OVER WORDS-A CLEAR VIOLATION OF TITUS 3:9; 2 TIMOTHY 2:23-26; 1 TIMOTHY 6:4 & OTHER SIMILAR PASSAGES.
9. DAVID JAMES JUMPS TO TOO MANY CONCLUSIONS BASED ON "TRIGGER WORDS".
10. SIGNS, BY THEIR VERY NATURE, ARE PROPHETIC (BEING BOTH FORETELLING & FORTH TELLING).
11. GOD CAN IMPOSE ANYTHING UPON ANY NATION, INCLUDING A SHEMITAH, WITHOUT REQUIRING THAT A NATION OBSERVE A SHEMITAH.
12. IT ONLY TAKES A SPARK TO START A FIRE & THIS SMALL BAND OF MISGUIDED RELIGIOUS LEADERS WITH SOME CLOUT STARTED A DOOSEY.
13. ONE MORE POINT ON THE "HERMENEUTIC" QUESTION.
See below for further explanation of each:
1. David James made a valiant attempt at dismantling the harbingers in his book-comparing what happened in ancient Israel with America-& discovered that they weren't exact matches. However, it apparently never got through to him, in spite of Rabbi Cahn's efforts to explain to him, that what showed up in America were "signs" ONLY and "signs" do NOT have to be exact matches. For example: Jesus said the only "sign" that the adulterous generation He lived in would receive is that of Jonah but Jesus didn't spend three days and three nights in the belly of a fish as Jonah did, did He? Jesus wasn't disobedient to God's will like Jonah had been, was He? Was Jonah the first literal resurrection from the dead or was Jesus? I could just picture the Pharisees of Jesus' day crying out, "Bad hermeneutic, Jesus! You misapplied the Word about Jonah to Yourself so that makes You false. It's a private interpretation!"
On pp. 51, David argued that Jonathan would have to be a prophet, "claim[ing] insight into the mind of God", to know with any certainty that 9/11 was judgment. He argued that signs are always linked with prophecy and that it's often about judgment. He said on pp. 29:
"Some might speculate that His [meaning Christ's] appearance is a sign, but no one could KNOW that it is a sign apart from special revelation. Without a preceding prophecy, it could be given any speculative interpretation with no arbiter between differing interpretations until after the fact [as to whether it was God's judgment or not]."
First of all, Jonah HIMSELF was a sign but there was no special revelation about it BEFORE Jesus came on the scene to call Jonah a "sign". So, there is no way that anyone during JESUS' time, from reading scripture alone, would know this since the N.T. hadn't been written yet. And the same goes for Isaiah 9:10... It's in no way, shape or form NECESSARY for there to be a scripture verse that says that the harbingers would show up as signs in future generations. The events themselves - ALONE - could still function as "signs" without it.
Secondly, the mere fact that Isaiah 9:10 is, in context, about judgment, just as the story of Jonah was, Rabbi Cahn had every Biblical right to conclude that 9/11 was judgment without claiming to be a prophet!
David even SUPPORTS Rabbi Cahn's argument on pp. 30 when he says the following about Jonah:
"Therefore, this event [Jonah's "resurrection"] functioned as a SIGN that God's judgment had not been abrogated and could only be averted by repentance. So, too, Jesus' resurrection was a SIGN that the prophecies of God's coming judgment would still be fulfilled in spite of His death."
He actually said that this EVENT-Jesus' resurrection-functioned as a "sign" of COMING JUDGMENT-without providing a supporting "special revelatory" O.T. verse saying that Jonah was a sign of JUDGMENT to Christ's generation (& beyond)! This found its way into the NT based on Christ's words but Jesus had no scripture he could cite to back it up when He said it. So how can DAVID be sure that Christ's resurrection prophesied judgment? Is it because he understands & admits that signs are "directly and inseparably connected to the RELATED prophecies?" as he states on pp.30 or is HE claiming to be a prophet? We are left with one of two choices: Either Christ violated hermeneutical guidelines or Rabbi Cahn did not. Jesus chided the religious leaders of His day because they could read every other sign EXCEPT Biblical/spiritual ones.
David also argued that Rabbi Cahn's thesis is flawed because there is no repeated consistent pattern of such things happening. I don't see that there HAS to be one but, if this is where David wants to take it, let's explore that idea. Let's consider, for a moment, Biblical "types", "anti-types" & "shadows". Moses was a type of Christ. Joseph was a type of Christ. Antiochius Ephiphanes was a type of anti-christ. Hitler was a type of anti-Christ. Each of those figures are not the REAL thing, only displaying "signs" of such. Now I will agree that Biblical types are FORESHADOWS of the substance & America, which came after Israel, would not fit the bill of a "foreshadow". However, if Israel were to cast a "shadow", it may look like America. So why can't God judge America as a "type" - with SIGNS LIKE Israel's - since our set up was somewhat after the PATTERN of Israel's in that we were conceived & dedicated to the will of God by our Puritan founders & our decline mimics that of ancient Israel? But, you know, God is God & even if America's set-up & decline wasn't ANYTHING like Israel's, He is still consistent & could use ANY template, pattern, sign of, & progression of national judgment on ANY nation He chooses. And that which is spelled out in THE HARBINGER IS consistent with His Word and, let's face it, it happened, and the odds are ASTOUNDING!
I would also like to point out that of all the targets the terrorists went after, i.e. economic, military & probably government, it was the Trade Towers that they were successful at bringing down. David argued that, because our country did not PHYSICALLY experience all the destruction that the Northern Kingdom had, there's NO match. But what did the Trade Towers symbolize? They symbolized our ECONOMIC STRENGTH & the widespread destruction has been in the FINANCIAL realm! This HAS reverberated throughout our land & we're STILL paying the price for it. So there is MORE of a match than he realizes. And to top it off, it only worsened on the Shemitah! Coincidence? I think NOT!
It's also interesting to note that anti-missionaries (Orthodox Jews) have argued that Jesus is not the Messiah by utilizing these SAME "NOT EXACT MATCH" tactics that David James employs by charging the New Testament writers with mis-translating, mis-attributing, & chopping up Old Testament Messianic prophecies... even going so far as to say Christians have invented things out of thin air! If I were to buy into David's thesis, in order to be consistent, I'd have to convert to Orthodox Judaism as well.
2. Jonathan was criticized for leaving out the obligatory "God bless the people of America" portion of Tom Daschle's speech because it ALLEGEDLY changed the meaning while David excluded some VERY CRITICAL portions of Jonathan's quote from his ZOHAR SPEAKS message-the same one he used to charge Jonathan with promoting mysticism. When Jonathan referred his congregation to The Zohar, he specifically said to them, "Listen to the rabbis..on THAT point". David failed to include those last three words in his first edition AND he failed to mention that The Zohar was being used simply as a "hostile witness" even though Jonathan BENT OVER BACKWARDS to explain this-INCLUDING on Brannon Howse's 7/3/12 show (David even cited THIS PART of the interview in his book-but only what suited him), both of which are VERY IMPORTANT. He added them later-after he was called out on it. But it's even worse than that. First, David NEVER mentioned that this was an APOLOGETIC series in EITHER edition. Second, when I compared more of what David quoted vs. what was actually said, I was ASTOUNDED! Below is the way his second edition copy reads:
". . . And now the very hill, the very place, here in, of all places, the rabbinical writings, the Zohar. . . . you want mercy, you go there. Listen to the rabbis on this point. . . ."
and below in caps is the portion David CONVENIENTLY removed:
". . . And now the very hill, the very place, here in, of all places, the rabbinical writings, the Zohar UNWITTINGLY GIVES THE NAME OF IT - GULGATAH - WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY WOULD HAVE CALLED IT AND TEACHES THAT GOLGOTHA IS THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING - OF GOD'S MERCY... you want mercy, you go there. Listen to the rabbis... on THAT point. . . ."
Did you catch that? It's not very clear where people are to go for mercy in David's quote & he EVEN makes it appear as though Jonathan could very well be directing people to go to the Zohar ITSELF for God's mercy. But when Rabbi Cahn is quoted IN FULL, it is CLEAR that he is directing them to Golgotha! What was going on in David's mind here? Were these few extra words too much to include in this quote? Did his hands suddenly go limp & he could type no more? How could he believe this was unimportant?
In June, 2013, I decided to purchase the CD - which is available on the Beth Israel website (Message #840). At the VERY BEGINNING of that message, which prefaces EVERYTHING else that is taught, Rabbi Cahn says:
"The rabbis - who denied Him and yet who bear witness to Him - which is a powerful thing because, remember, these are the words of a HOSTILE WITNESS but, somehow, the Spirit of God has forced these things into the writings so that Messiah, even by denying - is upheld. And so it's a very powerful thing in seeing how real and true and how legitimate - how totally - the Messiah is Jesus!"
Rabbi Cahn also kept repeating the phrase, "EVEN the rabbis [are testifying]..." in that message - CLEARLY downplaying the rabbinical writings while upholding the Word of God!
Had David James thought to purchase this teaching off of the Beth Israel website in order to understand what was taught in its FULL CONTEXT instead of rushing to judgment & impugning bad motives by saying on his FACT OR FICTION webpage, & I quote, "Fortunately, I downloaded that video before Cahn had it pulled from YouTube", maybe he would have figured out that: #1) - Rabbi Cahn has nothing to hide since this teaching is still available for purchase, & #2) - that he does NOT promote the Zohar or any rabbinic writings, but uses them as hostile witnesses ONLY in order to point people to Christ, just as the apostle Paul had done with a hymn to Zeus! Case closed!
And as far as Jonathan quoting from THE ZOHAR in a positive manner... Why is it that people readily understand & accept the fact that Satan, who can only imitate God, can infiltrate the church but don't believe God can invade rabbinic writings or even the occult for that matter? He is a loving God Who wants people to come to a knowledge of the truth. He reaches people where they are. Jesus was criticized for "eating with tax collectors & sinners" because the Pharisees thought He should not associate with such godless people. All Jonathan was doing was demonstrating God's grace in directing people to Calvary with something as unlikely as THE ZOHAR! It causes me to praise God that He - our sovereign God - would lead people to the TRUTH in the most unlikely place!
I have never seen such sloppy research done as I did when I read Chapter 17 - the "mysticism" chapter. David could only use words like "appears", "apparently", "seems to suggest", "may be", & cites only the "titles and descriptions" of 10 messages Rabbi Cahn gave without viewing them before making such a serious charge. He also accused Jonathan of lifting up Hebrew mystical literature when, in reality, if you read that part of the story IN CONTEXT, it's clear that Rabbi Cahn was DISCREDITING it. No doubt, the apostle Paul would have appeared to David as a Zeus worshiper because the hymn he quoted was ABOUT Zeus when originally written. David also charged Jonathan with promoting himself as a prophet. Not true. He compared himself to Baruch the SCRIBE! Rabbi Cahn is WAY too humble to elevate himself to prophet status. This book TRULY is a train wreck that should have NEVER been written & is a clear demonstration that David's feet are WAY too swift to shed innocent blood.
3. Rabbi Cahn is charged with promoting occultic mysticism. However, Chuck Missler said something very interesting when he, himself, was being charged with mysticism. He challenged his own critics to find an adequate definition of mysticism. It's defined as having a direct experience with God... but trying to seek it outside God's Word is the occult. He then went on to explain that both Paul and John were mystics, CHRISTIAN MYSTICS - their highest dream was to be in Christ and Christ in them. David James said Rabbi Cahn was "apparently" promoting a FORM of mysticism but couldn't identify WHICH form. I think Chuck Missler identified it for him (Christian mysticism) & it's VERY Biblical!
4. I find it very strange that David focuses on Rabbi Cahn's "questionable" associations in this book. He has been given a UNIQUE platform to share his message of judgment/repentance/salvation & CORRECTION - like Paul on Mars Hill. This type of message is the ONE exception in scripture to go anywhere and everywhere there is an open door. He doesn't candy-coat but gives the inconvenient truth to ALL, incl religious pagans. He's also been criticized for some of his CHRISTIAN associations while one of David's own VERY CLOSE associates, who endorsed this book AND has been very hypocritically outspoken about this issue, has his own very questionable associations. Jimmy DeYoung PARTNERS with Rabbi Yoel Keren, one who the Bible identifies as an "antichrist". He is an orthodox rabbi & LITERALLY denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. But Jimmy calls him his "good friend" & has told him he's doing the work of the LORD by building the Third Temple. He also associates with other ANTI-CHRISTIAN rabbis like Chaim Richman, Nachman Kahane, & Yehuda Glick. And the REAL kicker is - he gives THEM a platform to present THEIR theological views to his audience &, instead of "correcting", he AFFIRMS them in their apostasy! Where's David now?
5. Rabbi Cahn is criticized for not going into the "greater context" of Isaiah 9 but Christ, alike, would have been lambasted by David James & Associates for quoting Isaiah 61:1-2 & stopping in mid-sentence when He said He fulfilled that scripture in their hearing on one particular Sabbath day long ago. They would have said the kingdom is discussed in that context & that Jesus was negligent because He totally disregarded it.
But when it comes to THE HARBINGER, Jonathan DID consider the context & applied ALL the necessary components because, again, SIGNS (i.e. harbingers) do not have to be exact matches. These are APPLICATIONS only & applications have NOTHING to do with the interpretation/hermeneutics. If applications had to match the Biblical text exactly, then God could only use the story of David & Bathsheba to convict a person of their lust for a married Israelite woman named Bathsheba - not for any other type of lust in a person's life, like money, power, fame or even men. And the charge would be that of employing an allegorical or metaphorical hermeneutic since women are COMPLETELY different from money, power, fame or men. This is how strict David gets in this book because he can't seem to figure out that this is not about the interpretation.
But, for argument's sake, let's just say that God DID use the story of David & Bathsheba to convict a man of adultery with a married Israelite woman named Bathsheba, David James would say it's TOO close of a match so it MUST be touching the hermeneutic. And this is the problem with his critique of THE HARBINGER. The harbingers ARE, in fact, TOO close of a match for David James to be able to differentiate between a hermeneutic & an application.
6. Rabbi Jonathan even received criticism in Chapter 9 for using the title "Messiah" over "Christ" in this book. He's a JEW - most Jews use the Jewish form of Jesus' title - Messiah. They also tend to use the name Yeshua over Jesus. BIG DEAL!
ALL of Chapter 9 is FILLED with laughable material about alleged missing critical elements in THE HARBINGER - even focusing on missing terms such as church (in a spiritual sense), Christian, or Christ (as mentioned above) - i.e. DISPUTES OVER WORDS - and forgetting that Rabbi Cahn is targeting a WIDE audience - including Jews - who think of those terms as curse words!
7. David James supposedly presented the gospel in this book but, when I walked away from reading it, that's not what I remembered about it. All I remember is one believer slandering another believer. David James charged Rabbi Cahn with violating hermeneutical/interpretative guidelines but what Rabbi Cahn did in The Harbinger doesn't even TOUCH the hermeneutics. He clearly said in the book that Isaiah 9:10 was TO Israel but is now showing up as "signs" in America. Kind of reminds me of the Pharisees' charge against Jesus when He healed on the Sabbath day when they proclaimed that He violated the law. He may have violated THEIR man-made laws, but not God's law & the same goes for Jonathan Cahn & THE HARBINGER. I've never seen a man so nit-picked at before for some of the most minute things - like HIS OWN presentation of the gospel in his book when it's clear to me that he not only included all components necessary to lead people to Jesus Christ, his presentation was powerful - & the proof is in the pudding. But since he didn't do it David's way with David's wording, that means he didn't do it AT ALL! It makes sense that the enemy would target Rabbi Cahn for attack to attempt to squash his message since he IS making a difference & putting a huge dent in Satan's kingdom. All you have to do is inspect the fruit of what each side is producing: Many people ARE repenting & coming to faith in Christ as a result of THE HARBINGER & Rabbi Cahn's ministry, & David even admits this in his book, but David James & Assoc are producing nothing but divisions in the body - Christ's body - as they call good evil & evil good & continually assist Satan in his role as the "accuser of the brethren".
They remind me of Noah's son Ham in the story found in Genesis 9:20-27 who found Noah drunk and naked & proceeded to broadcast it to his brothers even though: #1) This was something COMPLETELY out of character for Noah, and #2) His getting drunk MAY have even been due to new atmospheric conditions on the earth after the flood - wine fermenting much quicker than previously and/or men being more susceptible to drunkenness. But because Noah - this faithful man of God - had what APPEARED to be "damaging" evidence against him, Ham threw caution to the wind & broadcast it to his brethren.
The only difference between Ham & these men is that they have now made it their life's work to broadcast what they PERCEIVE to be sin in the lives of even those who have been historically very faithful believers & who have been used mightily by God without making an attempt, as Shem & Japeth did, to cover other's alleged "sin" while going privately TO them for more clarity first, as Ham SHOULD HAVE done. And, just for the record, the only reason Jonathan received ANY type of a hearing is because he wrote to his critics & asked for it.
Romans 16:17 instructs us to stay away from those who cause divisions. David James & his buddies do NOT have a monopoly on the truth but that doesn't stop them from lording themselves over every other believer as self-appointed arbiters of truth. They have a tendency to "cry wolf" too much when, as in the case of Jonathan Cahn, it's a "sheep" that's present & their many "warnings" are losing their effectiveness.
8. Re-visiting all the controversial questions asked in this book would be unprofitable & useless - even ruining the hearers - according to 2 Timothy 2:14 so it's not worth going into detail.
9. I have found that David James has knee-jerk reactions & jumps to too many conclusions when he hears trigger words in general but one glaring example from the book is on the bottom of pp. 91. Jonathan used the word "fulfillment" in context of the vow our leaders made, their words going from future tense (We WILL rebuild, etc) to present tense (We rebuild) as the new tower made its way to completion, but David turned it on its head when he said:
"By describing the event as a "fulfillment", Cahn makes it impossible to accept his consistent protest in which he says that recent events are only a parallel or pattern of what happened in the eighth century BC."
The "fulfillment" Rabbi Cahn was referring to was that which OUR LEADERS VOWED THAT THEY WOULD DO IN REBUILDING, NOT a DIRECT fulfillment of Isaiah 9:10! Rabbi Cahn HIMSELF NEVER said otherwise & NEVER touched the hermeneutics/interpretation of Isaiah 9:10 but this is a consistent & FALSE charge against him. David prides himself in considering the context but he's the first one to throw out context!
Had David James & Co taken the time to contact Rabbi Cahn for further clarification instead of UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY CUTTING HIM OFF from responding to his critics any further & rushing to print alleged "inconsistencies" in him in order to discredit & slander him, a lot of confusion - public & private - could have been avoided with this & so many other LIES that have been spoken & printed about Rabbi Cahn. God only knows how much permanent damage these men have done - not only to Jonathan but to the cause of Christ - & it's absolutely shameful. This book was released in a matter of just a few short months, hardly enough time to fully search out the matter before making such serious charges against a faithful man of God. Shame on these men! They should be on their knees begging God for mercy & apologizing to Jonathan Cahn PUBLICLY!
10. On pp. 124, David James gets himself all worked up over Rabbi Cahn saying "It has to happen", meaning the prophesied judgment if people do not repent. He says, & I quote:
'Conversely, if something must happen because of something that was said, then there is a prophetic connection. This is precisely why Cahn cannot legitimately deny that he sees a prophetic connection between Isaiah 9:10 and America. The Prophet said, "If the warning is rejected, then, yes, it has to happen." So, what is it that must happen? The prophesied judgment.'
Rabbi Cahn does not deny that his message is prophetic nor that there is a "connection". He never has. He's used those terms himself. But this does not mean Isaiah 9:10 was written TO or ABOUT America. It can still just be a template or pattern of judgment without touching the hermeneutic.
There is one thing we ALL seem to agree on & that is that America is heading down a road to judgment & needs to repent. Even David James has said this. So why is he getting on Rabbi Cahn's case for saying the SAME thing? Any Bible &/or prophecy teacher worth his salt is saying this too. So why pick on Rabbi Cahn when he is in good company with conservative Bible teachers here? Doesn't the Bible teach that "the wages of sin is death"? Is this only to be applied to individuals? Can't it be applied to nations or relationships, for instance? OF COURSE judgment HAS to happen if the warning is not heeded. I don't know anyone who would say otherwise. This criticism is absolutely bizarre!
Then David says in the following paragraph:
"The author has tried to get around this problem by explaining that Isaiah 9:10-11 is merely functioning as a sign to America (as noted in chapter 3 of this book). However, if what did happen had to happen, then the sign has prophetic force, and any attempt to distinguish a sign from a prophecy in relation to the Isaiah passage is not convincing."
Rabbi Cahn has never distanced himself from calling THE HARBINGER a prophetic message simply by "downplaying" the harbingers as "signs". Let's think for a moment. What is a "sign"? Some signs tell you of something REAL that's coming down the road - like a stop light, for instance. When you see such a sign, you should be prepared to stop if the light is red when you get to it. Others signs give you facts, like the speed limit or give direction. Prophecy has been defined by Bible scholars as both foretelling AND forth telling. So a sign, by its very nature, IS prophetic! I don't understand David's argumentation here.
11. Even though the nations use a solar calendar & are not REQUIRED to use the lunar calendar as Israel does to determine important Jewish observance days, God still IMPOSES the phases of the moon upon the WHOLE world. So who's to say God cannot IMPOSE a Shemitah on America? Not only that, but interestingly enough, it was discovered that ALL babies, not just Jewish ones, develop in the womb according to a pattern - celebrating the feasts of the LORD (not Israel - the LORD) mentioned in Leviticus 23. For more information, check out Zola Levitt's "A Child is Born" on his website.
12. On page 203, David said, "Overall, given the number and nature of the problems throughout The Harbinger, THE BOOK AND ITS AUTHOR HAVE ACTUALLY RECEIVED SURPRISING LITTLE CRITICISM". As far as the numbers of people who have criticized vs. those who have not, I would agree-it's just been a very small group within a conservative group of Christians...a group that buys into a TYPE of hyper-dispensationalism-one that teaches you can never APPLY an O.T. scripture to the church or another country that was originally given to Israel. But there are differing conservative camps & not all of them buy into this approach of the scriptures. I know that I never did. But the size of the group matters not since all it takes is ONE spark to start a fire. And they started a doosey! Remember that it was a relatively small group of people, & specifically religious leaders, who turned the masses against Jesus so that they would eventually cry out, "Crucify Him!" Rabbi Cahn has been hit with every imaginable charge from every angle, in every form & venue imaginable, whole shows & segments of shows being done slandering him & his book by, not just anyone, but by religious people of influence..& this is continuing to spread. So, in reality, this has been ANYTHING but "little criticism" no matter how small the group of people that started the trouble. The picture that these people have painted & continue to paint of Rabbi Cahn, you would think he was the devil himself! But there is good reason that THE HARBINGER has been overwhelmingly hailed throughout the Christian world-from Baptist to Charismatic-from Bible schools to theological seminaries-from media & television ministries across the spectrum-because it's well within the bounds of scripture & it is a powerful demonstration of God's sovereignty & that He still warns.
13. Do we have license to APPLY a scripture to Christians or even another country that was originally addressed to Israel as was done THE HARBINGER? Let's take a look Romans 9:22-26. The apostle Paul quoted from the OT book of Hosea & APPLIED it to Gentiles. What's REALLY amazing is that Roy Zuck-who endorsed THIS book-had this to say about this passage in a commentary he co-wrote with John Walvoord: "God was not permanently casting away the people of Israel, however. In the verses quoted by Paul God promised to restore them as His beloved and as His people. By ethnic heritage the Gentiles were not God's people, so PAUL WAS LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO APPLY THESE VERSES TO GENTILES-and Jews also-who were sovereignly chosen by God and called to be HIS PEOPLE IN CHRIST. THE QUOTATION OF HOSEA 2:23 IS RATHER FREE WITH THE ORDER OF THE CLAUSES REVERSED TO FIT THE APPLICATION TO GENTILES. PAUL WAS APPLYING THESE VERSES FROM HOSEA TO THE GENTILES, NOT REINTERPRETING THEM. HE WAS NOT SAYING THAT ISRAEL OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IS PART OF THE CHURCH." (Emphasis mine) (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, pp. 478-479). Paul would have been CRUCIFIED by David James & Co for this if they lived back then. Not only did Paul apply an OT verse that was originally intended for Israel to Gentiles, he reversed the order of the verse AND labeled Gentiles "God's people"-something David claims was NEVER done-see pp. 175! He specifically said that "My people" ALWAYS refers to the nation Israel in every verse except Rev 18:4 (re: trib saints) NOT! It was in THIS context that David threw out the FALSE "replacement theology" charge against Jonathan.
Note: David James had this to say about my review on his Harbinger: Fact or Fiction webpage: "[The] review by "Ladybug" on Amazon...is also largely a straw man that represents a significant distortion of reality on several points." That's easy to say without going into the particulars but David, to date, has never substantiated that statement. So now I make the following offer to David James (I emailed him on July 26, 2013 with it): Please feel free to critique my whole review PUBLICLY in any venue of your choice. I will even give you the details on Point #8 above beforehand (you have my email).
I do NOT recommend you get or read THE HARBINGER: FACT OR FICTION by David James. It is a TOTAL waste of time & just may put you in danger of turning into a Pharisee! But if you feel you MUST read this book, some good old-fashioned common sense is all you need to reject its claims. Remember who it was who turned the world upside down for Christianity - those who were considered the "unlearned". History is repeating itself here & we need to let GOD lead us instead of relying on mere men to tell us what to believe.
An easy way to spot a Pharisee is to look for these SIGNS:
1. One who first picks a fight.
2. One who continually sticks his/her nose in your business, follows you around & examines your life under a microscope (where they are sure to find SOME flaws)
3. One who tends to use & overuse the word "concern", appearing very pious but causing divisions.
4. One who misquotes another or fails to fully quote them in context in order to falsely accuse them. Or, in some cases, they DO quote in full but still find a way to spin it so it sounds worse than it really is.
5. One who allows things in himself &/or his own circle of friends that they do not allow in others.
6. One who adds prohibitions to the law of God.
7. One who criticizes God Himself for intermingling ("eating") with "sinners" by placing truth in godless places like THE ZOHAR!
8. One who focuses on the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. For example, the Pharisees were more concerned about keeping themselves "undefiled" by making sure they did not enter a Gentile's home on Passover while disregarding the murder in their hearts.
9. One who displays a contempt for God's miracles and attempts to explain them away, even lumping God's TRUE miracles in with the demonic/Satanic, which is blasphemy.
10. One who can read physical signs but miss obvious spiritual ones.
51 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is perhaps the most unfortunate expression of a colossal misunderstanding and mishandling of another work I have ever come across. This book attempts to re-write the narrative of another book, The Harbinger, by redefining the meanings of various words and terms used by the author of the other book in order to replace it with one of its own creation. It is based entirely on Cessationist Theology with enough Hyper-Dispensationalism thrown in to muddle the true message of the other book it writes about and criticizes.
What is most appalling is that its author has the temerity to claim that the hermeneutic he employs is synanomous with Scripture - that is the implication one gets when one hears the argument that criticizes another's hermeneutic and then proceeds to present one the author believes is "the correct one," with enough claims of defending the integrity fo Scripture and "writing in defense of the truth," to know that the one making such a claim is full of himself, and every claim made is nothing but a lot of hot air.
This is a book that ought never to have been printed. The debate and division that it has created in Eveangelical Christianity is heartbreaking.
And aftrer a year-long campaign of continual mischaracterizations, and misrepresentations; the people behind this book continue what has become nothing but a religious witch hunt against another person whom is of the same faith as theirs. Truly amazing. This has to be perhaps the most prominent example that we are living in the last days before God's prophetic clock winds down, and Christ returns.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
David James has done an outstanding job explaining why The Harbinger does not stand up to Biblical standards. Although the concept of repentance for our nation is a good one as God promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.", there are many concepts in The Harbinger which do not belong in Christian doctrine. One major point is the question, "Does America have a covenant with God?". We have the Biblical example that God initiated a covenant with Abraham. We do not find Abraham initiating a covenant with God. Biblically, there have only been two covenants: 1) The Abrahamic covenent 2) The New Testament Covenant of Salvation through Jesus Christ. In both, God initiated the covenant. George Washington did not initiate a covenant with God on behalf of American and America is not the new Israel.
Many Christians are being deceived and distracted from the TRUE word of God to falsehood such as The Harbinger. Secondly, Christians have fallen for the lie that Jonathan Cahn is a modern day prophet as a result of reading this book. Jonathan Cahn, himself has said publicly that he is not -- yet when introduced as a modern day prophet on the Glen Beck show, the Jim Bakker show and many others, fails to correct that error. Furthermore, the coincidence of the character of Nouriel in the book being from the line of Jewish priests (as Mr. Cahn's website also boasts of being not only from the Rabbinical line, but also of the line of Aaron) did not escape this reader. From the introduction of The Harbinger, the reader is told that this work is a work of fiction, but claims that the principles in it are real. Which is it? Fiction or Fact (great title there, Mr. James).
The good message of the Harbinger: our nation needs to repent of its sin and return to God (2 Chronicles 7:14). Did it take writing a purported new prophetical book laced with Jewish mysticism to accomplish this message? NO! Is our nation the New Israel? No.
Thanks, Mr. James for your patience in writing this review. It was very much needed. Telling the truth comes with a lot of backlash, doesn't it? Why people just don't go to the Bible to know more about God, is beyond me.
The evidence of Kaballah mysticism is explained by the reviewer, RAFAEL but for convenience I will list two youtube videos. One is of Cahn teaching at his church using the Zohar. This video is only three minutes long but if you want the full version search youtube for Jonathan Cahn The Zohar Speaks. The three minute video gets to the point, but after viewing the second video I will provide the link for, you will begin to recognize certain key words from the mystic Zohar that Cahn uses in his sermon. If you're really faithful in wanting to know the truth, listen to the entire Billy Phillips video and you will recognize these "metaphysical" aspects being used in The Harbinger. For me, this information was conclusive and shocking that these concepts are being taught in Christian churches -- introduced slowly and coated with eye dazzling, mouth watering, ear tickling attraction. Regardless of the coating, the inside is foul and rotten from the core. Kaballah teaches mysticism, numerology (Bible/Zohar codes) and metaphysical (Cosmic skull, reaching levels of consciousness, etc). You should be able to recognize the Kaballah tree from The Harbinger.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAFtormiU_0 - Jonathan Cahn Teaches "The Zohar Speaks"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adjuFf2QekE&feature=em-share_video_user - Billy Phillips (no bones about it, he openly teaches Kaballah)
I find it interesting that posters attack the individual for providing proof by accusing them of anti-semitism. This has nothing to do with race -- it has everything to do with occultism that is slowly and steadily creeping into the Body of Christ. We are supposed to reject these kinds of things. Is the Body so dead that it is no longer capable of recognizing truth by discerning using HIS Word -- the bible? If you want to learn to repent (as The Harbinger is supposed to invoke), then READ GOD'S WORD. It's been in there for over 2000 years.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I found it to be rather tedious reading. I did appreciate the way the author was proving his remarks with Bible verses, and I think it should be read by those who believed the Harbinger completely. It does make you think.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Most people who read my material know I am not a friend of dispensationalism. I consider it to be a belief that has zero Biblical support and think that orthodox Preterism awaiting the return of Jesus and the bodily resurrection is the true message of Scripture in regard to eschatology. This does not mean that dispensationalists are my enemy. I married one. (Although she does hope my view is the true one.) I have many friends who are of a futurist persuasion.
Despite this, if I'm cruising around on Facebook and see some sensationalism on the walls of Christians friends, it usually has to do with end times. Just this past week, I've had to deal with the claim that Jesus said the name of the antichrist was Barack Obama (And I am no fan whatsoever of The Empty Suit) and that Obama is also planning to implant RFID chips in people which as we know just has to be the Mark of the Beast!
Unfortunately for the dispensational camp, the sensationalists usually do carry the day. Right now, one of the big items going around is Blood Moons. I still remember being in a Christian bookstore with an aged pastor talking to the clerk about wanting to read the book on it and about his excitement with "Biblical Prophecy."
Sadly, I'm sure books by N.T. Wright, Mike Licona, and William Lane Craig are being neglected while Christians read spiritual junk food.
Another big one in recent times was the Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. Cahn is of the opinion that he saw a message from God that everyone else missed in the 9/11 attack and the following economic collapse and all of this was said to happen according to what was written in Isaiah 9:10. Of course, this is done by selective usage of facts and horrible Scriptural interpretation, but hey, details. Who needs them?
It's natural that a Preterist like myself would condemn such a work.
It's a breath of fresh air that a dispensationalist like David James does.
Yes. James's book is definitely worthy of praise. James does not go in for any of this in the book. He has nothing against Cahn as a person, but he does think that Cahn's idea of America being given a warning of judgment starting with 9/11 has no backing whatsoever. He does think that Cahn is right in that America needs to repent, and I do agree with that point, but the warning has not happened the way Cahn thinks it has.
Naturally, James and I disagree on a number of points. We could probably sign the same statements on the veracity of Scripture and of course, we would agree on the great creeds of the church. Each one of us has a viewpoint that falls within the realm of orthodoxy. Still, I would not agree with his view that much of prophecy is future with the rapture of the church coming and I would not agree with his views on Israel. (I also don't care for the term "replacement theology." I prefer the term "Grafting in theology." God did not replace Israel. He expanded it beyond what it was to include people in all places, of all languages, and all cultures, and all times.)
That's what makes it so wonderful. This isn't a battle of dispensationalism vs. Preterism. This is good interpretation vs. bad interpretation. This is also a danger of getting into the sensational. In a private email with James, I even told him that as I was thinking about futurism, I decided to use Blood Moons as an example and said "Suppose for the sake of argument that these were true messages from God. So what?"
Seriously. So what?
Are we to say that if you knew Jesus Christ was going to return in say, a year, that you'd suddenly start living differently? Then you have a problem right now. If you are truly living a Biblical life, and to be fair none of us truly are definitively, then it should not matter to how you live your life really if you know Jesus will return tomorrow or if it will be 1,000 years from now. Your marching orders are still the same.
Fortunately with the Harbinger, James has done his research and he has done it very well. He looks at each and every piece of information given by the prophet in the story and shows how it doesn't line up. He shows that Cahn is highly selective in the material that he chooses to presents and ignores quite often the historical, linguistic, and cultural context of the information. In many places, he is quite loose with the facts.
James also looks at Cahn's behavior since the publishing of the Harbinger and how many times, while he denies being a prophet (And probably the son of a prophet) and denies that this is really a prophecy about America, his actions seem to say otherwise. There are many chances he's had to clear it up naturally and it hasn't been taken.
Also, later in the book, he shows Cahn is entering quite dangerous territory with using material that could be considered more occultic in nature, like the Zohar. While I have no problem with extra-biblical sources, I do think some can be quite dangerous at times not because of challenging ideas, but if there's the possibility of the occult, we must be careful. Even if it is not so, Cahn gives a more dangerous spin as inspiration seems to play a role into what goes into the Zohar.
James also deals with the idea that America is a covenant people. As I have said, a covenant requires agreement by two parties. Anyone can stand up and say they're in a covenant with God. It isn't one until God returns the deal somehow. No one can force God to be in a covenant. He is the initiator of the covenant.
Unfortunately, the sad reality is more people will read Cahn's junk food than will read James's antidote, and this is a shame. In our society, too many people only want to read or pay attention to that which agrees with their own conclusion and do not show any proper interaction with the other side. I am sure James's character would also be attacked if more people knew about this book. (Well obviously, he's just resisting the Holy Spirit.) Such is the way of thinking, or rather non-thinking, in our culture.
While I disagree with James ideologically, I find in this book he is entirely level-headed and not going for the sensationalist stuff that too many dispensationalists are and sadly, that group that is sensationalist becomes the group that most people perceive the whole as being like. I only wish there were more out there who were like James. While we disagree on many issues, our disagreements will focus more on Scripture than anything else. I urge dispensationalists, preterists, and everyone in between to read this book. If you know someone who has read the Harbinger, get them to read this one as well.
Deeper Waters Christian Ministries
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2013
Book title: The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction
Author: David James
Publisher: The Berean Call, Bend, Oregon 97708-7020
Publication date: 2012
Number of pages: 224 pages in softcover
Retail cost: $9.31 on Amazon at the time of this writing
Unlike the author of The Harbinger, David James, the author of The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction does not employ bait and switch tactics to create sensationalism to appeal to more readers. James brings a depth of analysis to the topic of end-times, employing honest analytical tool and a true hermeneutical approach, which is not present in The Harbinger.
The potential reader, especially one who has actually read the Harbinger, should be warned that The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction is not an "easy read." The author brings an impressive academic background into use, utilizing accepted and proven analytical tools, as he performs an objective and fair analysis of The Harbinger's claims regarding current events and how they might fit into a biblical end-time scenario. James does not employ the dodge that his book is a work of fiction in order to cover up shoddy scholarship, as is the case with the author of The Harbinger. James graciously gives the author of The Harbinger credit where credit is due but pulls no punches in his analysis of the book.
"The purpose of this book is to bring attention to the fact that there is a better way to understand the biblical and historical evidence that Cahn has presented to support his views. My desire is to provide additional information and another perspective so that the reader will be able to more accurately discern the validity of the author's interpretation of the Bible, his view concerning ancient and recent historical events, and his conclusions about the relationship between the two." - From Preface, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction
Does David James accomplish his stated goals as summarized in the above paragraph? In the opinion of this reviewer, yes he does. His straightforward, point-by-point restatement and analysis of Cahn's claims is a very effective way of exposing the errors that are rampant throughout The Harbinger.
The serious reader of this book will want to have his Bible handy as well as a basic book on hermeneutics, such as Basic Bible Interpretation, by Roy B. Zuck. Reading this book requires a commitment to the exhortation to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15). David James encourages the reader throughout the book to take an approach that is faithful to the truth of God's Word, the Bible.
Some of the severest criticism of The Harbinger is appropriately reserved for the concluding chapters, where Cahn misses his opportunity to redeem himself by giving a clear presentation of the Gospel. "Unfortunately, in addition to the problem of only a few quotes from Scripture, this chapter raises a number of issues directly related to the presentation of the gospel itself. With such an incredibly large audience, a great opportunity has been missed." - From Page 181.
In the Final Thoughts chapter David James gives the author of The Harbinger kudos regarding his call to America to repent. This is a needful thing. However, before America repents, James is calling on those who call themselves Christians, especially "Evangelicals," to repent of their mishandling, whether intentional or inadvertent, of the Word of God. "The real tragedy is what ultimately allowed this [influencing of the `Evangelical' masses] to happen - or perhaps more precisely, what caused this to happen. The Harbinger's popularity and success can be attributed to essentially the same factors that have driven the success of other books that also have serious hermeneutical and theological problems. We aren't too surprised when this happens among those who have long since abandoned the practice of biblical discernment. The difference this time around is the wide-spread acceptance of The Harbinger by so many evangelical believers - who, as a group historically have been so much more careful." - From Page 206
In conclusion, this reviewer will give The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction, four stars on the Amazon "rating" system, partially to avoid the charge of being a sycophant, or a lackey, or a David James "groupie." But, the four star rating is also for the lack of easy readability of this book. That is not necessarily a bad thing and may be more a criticism of the thinking and reading skills of the reading audience than of the writing skills of the author. Having said that, I heartily recommend this book for reading and re-reading and perhaps even as a study guide in a group setting.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2012
AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE LOG ONTO YOU TUBE AND WATCH THE VIDEO CLIP ZOHAR-GOLGOTHA 3 MINUTES & 8 SECONDS.
From the back cover of the Harbinger paragraph 2...."THESE SAME NINE HARBINGERS ARE NOW MANIFESTING IN AMERICA WITH PROFOUND RAMIFICATIONS FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE AND END TIME PROPHECY"(ESCHATOLOGY).
A quotation from the Harbinger page 129 from the Prophet to Nouriel:
"It ALL goes back to the PROPHECY...EVERYTHING-the collapse of Wall Street,the rise and fall of the credit market, the war in Iraq, the collapse of the housing market, the foreclosures, the defaults, the bankrupcies, the government takeovers-EVERYTHING-politics, foreign policy, world history-EVERYTHING that happened after. It ALL GOES BACK TO THE PROPHECY AND THE ANCIENT MYSTERY".
Jonathan Cahn claims that Isaiah 9:10 PROPHETICALLY FORETOLD events from Sept 11, 2001 to Sept 2008 INCLUDING GLOBAL EVENTS. REALLY?
A wise man once said "There are 3 sides to a story. There is your side, my side and then there is the right side". Of all the articles and book reviews I have read surrounding Jonathan Cahn's book The Harbinger, no one has done it better than Dave James to reveal the right side and the truth contained in his book "The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction. With the expertise of an investigator and a legal counselor, Mr. James cuts through all the smoke screen and mirrors, presenting historical, theological, and surprisingly scientific evidence, to reveal the deception
behind one of the biggest HOAXES unleashed across America since a certain individual from Family Radio Stations predicted the end of the world by May 2011! His shocking evidence demands a verdict.
He reveals the emergence of many RELIGIOUS VISIONARIES who today are writing books, videos, cds etc to mislead the body of Christ with heresies. As he puts it in his book, the Harbinger is a radical departure from sound biblical hermenuetics. He also reveals how the Zohar, the classical jewish mystical text of the Kabbalist and the Jewish Talmud have had a direct influence on several of Jonathan Cahn's teachings and sermons. Mr. James exposes how both biblical and historical events were manipulated in order to devise all 9 harbingers with the purpose to create an ELABORATE FABRICATION of a so called ancient mystery that holds the secret to America's future from Isaiah 9:10. As you read and progress from one chapter to the next, you will be left speechless at the mounting evidence presented by Dave James against Jonathan Cahn.
Dave James presents overwhelming evidence to refute Jonathan Cahn's claims about these 9 Harbingers under the following chapters:
Chapter 10: The Ancient Mystery: the nine harbingers
Chapter 14:The Shemitah
Chapter 17: The Tenth Seal-exposes Jonathan Cahn's jewish mystical theology
THE HARBINGER'S 10 FATAL FLAWS
1. Hedge of protection removed/breach: pure speculation-we don't know if there is or ever has been a hedge of protection. 9/11 was not the first attack on U.S. soil, it was not a military breach, and it did not weaken America's defenses in any way.
2. The terrorist: The Assyrians were hardly the first one to use terror tactics-it is just a way to instill fear. The 9/11 hijackers were not Assyrians (which is still an ethnic group that is mostly Christian).In the Harbinger page 40 Mr. Cahn CLEARLY IMPLIES that the Ancient Assyrians were the BLOODLINE ANCESTORS of the 19 hijackers! What a blunder. THE ORIGINS OF THE 19 HIJACKERS ARE AS FOLLOW: 15 FROM SAUDI ARABIA, 2 FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 1 FROM EGYPT, & 1 FROM LEBANON(cf with wikipedia.com).
3. The fallen bricks: in Israel, fallen bricks meant the nation was leveled by the attacks. On 9/11 there were just a few square blocks of one city. In Israel, most buildings were made of bricks, while in America bricks were only incidental with no significance.
4. The tower: Completely manufactured only using the Septuagint translation, not the Hebrew(MASORETIC TEXT). If one uses the Septuagint then both the sycamore and cedar harbingers disappear. HISTORICAL FACTS REVEAL THE SEPTUAGINT VERSION IS NOT A UNIFORM AND CONSISTENT TRANSLATION. It was done by many different hands whose skills, and even philosophy of translating varied considerably. These transmission errors found in the Septuagint include the addition of words to create longer versions of some texts, most notably parts of the book of Jeremiah, and other variants that were the result of misunderstanding or misinterpreting a Hebrew word or phrase.
5. THE GAZIT STONE: Israel rebuilt using gazit (which is just quarried stone), didn't just lay a gazit cornerstone-they replaced the bricks. In America there was only a single cut cornerstone that ended up not even being used at all.
The buildings in Israel were constructed of bricks and easily destroyed when the Assyrians attacked. Israel would rebuild with much stronger quarried stone (gazit). When the tower was to be rebuilt at Ground Zero, a single quarried stone was to be placed as a cornerstone--but even that was later moved and never became a part of the new structure.
6. The sycamore: The sycamore of Israel (fig-mulberry) and that in America are two completely different kinds of trees. In Israel these fig-mulberry trees were cut down by the Assyrians all across the country. In America a single tree (that was not a fig-mulberry) just fell because of the falling buildings.
This is yet another forced parallel that does not withstand closer examination. First, the sycamore (fig-mulberry) of ancient Israel and the American sycamore are two completely different trees that are unrelated in any way. They are not the same species ( Ficus sycomorus vs. Platanus occidentalis ) . They are not in the same genus ( Ficus vs. Plantanus ), nor even in the same family ( Moraceae vs. Platanaceae ). In spite of this, the author tries to make the connection on a linguistic basis. . . .
The tree in Israel is a fruit-bearing tree, with the English translation ultimately coming from the Greek for "fig-mulberry" which is sycomoros . However, this tree is shaqam in Hebrew. So it is not legitimate to claim that this tree was a "sycamore" to the ancient Israelites, who lived long before the influence of the Greek Empire. It was a fig-mulberry--it was a shaqam to them.
In contrast, the American sycamore, as stated before, is not botanically related in any way to the fig-mulberry. There is no semantic connection. Of course, both trees carry the same name--but this is true only for English-speakers , not for Hebrew-speakers.
7. The erez: The cedar of Lebanon in Israel, but a Norway spruce in America-two completely different kinds of trees. In Israel, cedars were much stronger and much more valuable trees to be used in many different ways. But in America a single symbolic tree, that is not necessarily stronger than the tree it replaced.
Cahn's reasoning reveals that he is depending on the taxonomic classification system to make his case. The taxonomic system is based on a hierarchy of seven ranks for classifying all living things on earth.
The first problem with appealing to this classification system is that it is based exclusively on evolutionary theory. In addition, as evolutionary theory evolves, so does the classification system itself, and it can change significantly over time. . . .
The Norway spruce planted at Ground Zero is biblically a different kind of tree than the cedars of Lebanon in Isaiah:9:10. Although the Bible is not a scientific textbook, it is accurate in those matters of science about which it speaks. Consequently, based on the authority of the Word of God there is no amazing coincidence. There is no match. There is no parallel. And there is no harbinger.
8. The utterance: In Israel there was a defiant spirit directed toward the Assyrians and God, ignoring God's direct warnings by the prophets he had sent over and over to his chosen people. In America there was no intentional, prideful, arrogant defiance of God.
9. The vow: In neither case was the statement "we will rebuild" a biblical vow, it was just a statement. Beyond that, how many ways can someone say "we will rebuild?" And how many Bible verses talk about rebuilding? It is no big coincidence that Isaiah 9:10 was used (although wrongly) because what other verses could be used if someone wanted to give hope from the Bible concerning an attack that destroyed buildings? It is not like they just picked one out of 30,000 verses as Cahn says-it is basically one out of one. There is no mystery in that.
10. The Shemitah: This was only for Israel and God wiped out the country after they failed to observe the Sabbath year for almost 500 years. America is not obligated to this and what has happened in America is not the tiniest fraction of what happened to Israel. It is not even remotely close, this is most half of the book, but it is elaborately manufactured out of nothing. The Shemitah/Sabbatical Years was STRICTLY GIVEN TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL UNDER THE MOSAIC COVENANT AND TO NO OTHER NATION IN HUMAN HISTORY. In the Harbinger page 159 Jonathan Cahn claims that the Shemitah was given to America as a sign. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! There is absolutely no SCRIPTURAL BASIS from Genesis to Revelation which he fails to provide to validate his claims.
Cahn determines that this text in Isaiah contains a mysterious prophecy directed not to ancient Israel but to modern America. At this point the author massages /MANIPULATES Scripture, American history and current events in an attempt to prove that God's judgment on the United States has been hiding in these verses from the day they were given by Isaiah, but have now been unlocked by the careful investigation of Cahn. (IN OTHER WORDS MR. CAHN HAD TO PERFORM THEOLOGICAL GYMNASTICS BEYOND OLYMPIC PROPORTIONS IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THIS FEAT). Nothing could be further from the truth and, even more importantly, once someone decides they can cherry-pick verses at will, change the meaning of these texts to fit his theories and use random hermeneutical methods, anything can be "proven." However, very few people will recognize what Cahn has done, and fewer still will do the hard work of investigating his interpretations.
Here is where David James has greatly benefited the body of Christ. He has carefully, graciously and thoroughly analyzed the claims found in The Harbinger and found many of them lacking biblical support and historical accuracy. James has written this book not merely to expose error but to keep God's people from being led astray by false teachings and improper hermeneutical approaches to Scripture. I believe he has accomplished these goals in The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?.
How Serious is False Speculation About Prophecy?
Evangelical Christians agree that the biblical canon has been established. Anyone who claims to have a prophetic word must demonstrate its validity from Scripture. According to 1 Corinthians 14, any supposedly prophetic statement must pass two tests. First, verse 29 states that after two or three speak a prophetic message, the others are to "judge." In other words, the prophetic message must not disagree with the knowledge of God's Word and of truth held by other members of the assembly. Second, verses 37 and 38 demonstrate that just as the apostle Paul submitted his words to the examination of the Corinthians upon the basis of their knowledge of the Word of God, any prophecy that is given must be judged by the standard of the truth already known to the church of Christ. In other words, no completely new truth will be revealed, but rather the prophet will expound and explain truths already accepted and recognized by God's people. Any "prophecy" that conflicts with Scripture is assumed to be false.
Evangelicals also know how seriously the Old Testament viewed false prophecy. It provided two tests to determine whether prophets were true or false. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 states the first. If a prophet calls upon the people to "go after other gods," he is to be considered false, even if his prophecy is fulfilled.
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, "Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them," you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (nasb).
The second test has to do with the prophet's accuracy:
When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him (18:22).
Deuteronomy 13:5 and Deuteronomy 18:20 explicitly state the punishment for false prophets: They shall be put to death.
Yet although many evangelicals are wary of anyone claiming to be a prophet, some are dangerously naive about prophetic speculation. Many of those who would never claim to be a "prophet" (See the ATQ article, Do the Same Kinds of Prophets Exist Today as in Biblical Times?) don't hesitate to claim authoritative insight into the meaning of prophecy. While they would never say, "Thus saith the Lord," they seem to imply that they know what God was saying through the prophet.
The purpose of all prophecy-including prophecy about future events-is to encourage us to examine ourselves, repent, and turn from our evil ways. Sometimes prophecy describes a future event to give hope, sometimes it warns of judgment, but in every case the goal of prophecy is spiritual renewal. Prophetic speculation, on the other hand, is mostly concerned with linking contemporary events to biblical prophecy.
To say this contemporary event is a fulfillment of that prophecy is to claim a kind of prophetic authority. It is a form of "speaking in the name of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 18:22), and just as in the case of false prophecy, it has serious consequences. Scripture and history show that prophecy pertaining to future events is ambiguous before the events occur. (See the ATQ article Can We Know if Current Events are Fulfillment of Prophecy?) Previous historical attempts to predict future events on the basis of biblical prophecy have been disastrous. (See the ATQ article How often in the History of the Church have People Mistakenly Believed They Were Acting in Fulfillment, or Observing the Fulfillment of Prophecy?)
Believing we belong to a small group that understands how prophetic events are unfolding can lead to unintended results, including pride, isolation, and diminishing concern with truth and reality. It can transform one's interpretation of prophecy into an idol, a false god. If enough people are influenced, false speculation can lead to its own "fulfillment"-the satanic opposite of legitimate prophecy-accompanied by self-righteousness, fanaticism, and violence.
This is what happened in Israel in 70 and 135 AD. False prophecy and false prophetic speculation about Messiah led to the destruction of Jerusalem by Roman armies. The fact that many Jews were convinced that Messiah would free Israel from the Roman yoke made them vulnerable to the influence of fanatics. (See the ATQ article How often in the History of the Church have People Mistakenly Believed They Were Acting in Fulfillment, or Observing the Fulfillment of Prophecy?) The same tendency can be seen in those today whose interpretation of prophecy allows them to ignore basic issues of justice and morality while calling for unqualified support for Israel in the modern Middle East, military action, the initiation of new wars, and even the use of nuclear weapons.
It is no wonder that the New Testament discourages speculation about when Jesus Christ will return and specifically states that He will return at a time no one expects (Matthew 24:36-50; 25:13; Acts 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10).
Jesus Christ and other inspired writers not only warn us against speculation concerning the hour of His return, but they imply such speculation prevents serious preparation for His return (Matthew 24:43-44; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Revelation 3:3).
Whether it manifests itself in apathy or fanatic violence, false prophecy and false speculation about prophecy is dangerous. Those of us who get caught up in the destructive practice of prophetic speculation not only lend support to the principalities and powers of evil, but also sow seeds of disillusionment and rebellion against the gospel and biblical revelation. Mark 9:42 declares: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea" (nkjv).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I at first thought he was making too much of a fictional book but as I read this I finally had to admit that the book itself made me think it was truth and not fiction. So in reading this critic, I realized that others too would be thinking like me in that the Harbinger was actually about the truth. Instead of just making the reason for the book a warning about America turning against God, Cahn made it sound like the things that lead up to it were so true. So if you read the Harbinger as a fictional book its okay but I doubt if many do.